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Angel of the Lord.

The expression “the angel of the Lord” or “the angel of God” occurs more than 40 times in the OT. “The angel of the Lord” appears, e.g., to Hagar in the wilderness, Gn 16:7–14; later again, Gn 21:17; in company with 2 created angels, He visits Abraham in Mamre, Gn 18; appears to Abraham as he is about to sacrifice Isaac, Gn 22:11; to Jacob at Bethel, Gn 31:11–13; cf. 28:10–15; Jacob wrestles with Him at Peniel, Gn 32:24–32 (cf. Hos 12:3–5); Jacob asks Him to bless the sons of Joseph, Gn 48:16; He appears to Moses in burning bush, Ex 3; goes before camp of Israel, Ex 14:19; God warns Israel not to provoke Him, Ex 23:20–25; He is again promised to Israel after they committed idolatry with the golden calf, Ex 32:34; 33:1–11; He leads them to Kadesh, Nm 20:16; appears to Balaam, Nm 22:22–35; to Joshua as Captain of the Lord's host, Jos 5:13–6:5; comes to Bochim, Ju 2:1–4; tells Israel to curse Meroz, Ju 5:23; appears to Gideon, Ju 6:11; to Manoah and his wife, Ju 13:2–5; His name is used in a proverbial expression, 1 Sm 29:9; 2 Sm 14:17, 20; 19:27; when David had numbered Israel, “the angel of the Lord” stretched His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, 2 Sm 24:16, 17; 1 Ch 21:15–30; He appears to Elijah under juniper tree, 1 K 19:5–7; sends Elijah to Ahaziah, 2 K 1:1–3; smites 185,000 Assyrians, 1 K 19:35; 2 Ch 32:21; Is 37:36; David mentions Him, Ps 34:7; 35:5–6; Isaiah calls Him angel ot God's presence, Is 63:9; He appears to Zechariah, who mentions His name, Zch 1:8–21; 3; 12:8; and Malachi calls Him the Messenger, or Angel, of the covenant, Ml 3:1.&

Commentators are divided in opinions regarding the identity of “the angel of the Lord” in the OT. The formula of earlier dogmaticians is still held by some: Whenever the name of Jahweh or divine works and worship are ascribed to the Angel in Scripture, this Angel must be understood as the Son of God. Accordingly, this angel is often referred to as the Logos* or the Angelus increatus, and His appearances are regarded as appearances of the preincarnate Son of God.

Others hold that “the angel of the Lord” is not necessarily to be interpreted as reference to the preincarnate Christ but that manifestations of this “angel of the Lord” are nonetheless theophanies, or manifestations of God. M. Luther does not specifically identify this angel.

Examination of passages cited above reveals that “the angel of the Lord” speaks at times as if He Himself were the Lord, at times as one who speaks in behalf of the Lord, in some instances sppears in both roles interchangeably. OT Scriptures themselves offer no basis for definitive explication of precise nature of relationship bet. “the angel of the Lord” and the Lord Himself. Such NT occurrences of “the angel of the Lord” as Mt 1:24 and Lk 2:9 suggest that the NT writers did not relate this title to Jesus Christ. WW

See also Angels, Good, 1

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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Content Reproduced with Permission

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