Jesus As The Old Testament Angel Of The Lord

There are many occasions in the text of the Old Testament scriptures, where Jesus appears on the earth in the form of “The Angel of the Lord.” It is apparent that these appearances are an effort to demonstrate the eternal nature of God, and His ability to pierce linear time at any point that He desires. There are many people who do not believe that God is actively involved in the lives of people. The idea is that God is just to busy to be working in the lives of every person, every day, for thousands of years. This is due to a misunderstanding of who God is. It is no difficulty for the Lord to be with each one of us, all at the same time. God is Spirit and He is not limited by a physical body that restricts Him to just one place at a time.

When Jesus was here on earth in the form of a man, He told the disciples that it was good that He would be departing the earth soon, so that the Holy Spirit could come and help them. In His human form, Jesus was limited to be in one place, at one time. The Holy Spirit is not bound by these restraints and can hear and respond to every single person on the earth at a singular moment.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.  —John 16:7

As the Angel of the Lord, Jesus appears on the earth during different times, to different people; all with the same purpose: to bless, encourage, and strengthen those that He comes to meet.

When Isaiah was describing the character of the Messiah who would be afflicted with all the suffering of those He died to save, he said that this Savior would be the Angel of the Lord.

For He said, “Surely they are My people, Children who will not lie.” So He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the Angel of His Presence saved them; In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; And He bore them and carried them All the days of old.  —Isaiah 63:8-9

Notice in this prophecy of Isaiah, that he mentions; “the Angel (capitalized) of His Presence that saved them.” This is indicative that the Angel was the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, who is so often seen in the Old Testament—described as The Angel of the Lord.

The Angel of the Lord was frequently near those, in the Old Testament, who were afflicted and in great distress or had been cast out and isolated from the world.

Hagar, when she was cast out of Abraham’s house.

Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.  —Genesis 16:7

Abraham, when he was in the greatest testing of his life.

But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.”  —Genesis 22:11

Gideon, when he was frightened and discouraged.

Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!”  —Judges 6:11-12

Israel, promised by the Lord that He would never break His covenant with their nation.

Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: “I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you.’ ” —Judges 2:1

The attributes of the Angel of the Lord, in the Old Testament, are identical to those of Jesus as we see Him in the New Testament.

This is one of the many supernatural elements of the Bible. By design, the Lord has engineered the Bible in such a way that we find certain characteristics that exist in the stories of the Old Testament, that are later mirrored by Jesus in the New Testament. God wanted to show us that Jesus is the Eternal God, by placing Him in the Old Testament, so that when He arrives in the New Testament, we will understand who He is.

Jesus confirmed this fact when He spoke to the Pharisees in John, chapter 8, where He informs the leaders of Israel that “before Abraham existed, He existed.” This statement compels us to go back to the Old Testament and see where the LORD met Abraham. We find this place in Genesis chapters 17 and 18. This event will be covered in detail in the following chapter: Sodom and Gomorrah.

As we read the story of God’s destruction of these two cities, we learn that there are three person who come to Abraham and Sarah and later go to Sodom and Gomorrah. Two of these individuals are angels, the third is called: the LORD, or Yahweh. When we arrive in the New Testament and see the terms that Jesus is called by; One of these names is LORD. We realized that Jesus is the same Yahweh who is described by the Old Testament scriptures. Jesus stated that this was true when He appeared before the leaders of Israel.

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM (Yahweh).” Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.  —John 8:56-59

Here Jesus makes it clear that He was on the earth, during the time that Abraham was alive, speaking to him. “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” If there was any doubt about what Jesus is really saying, the statement “before Abraham was, I AM,” makes Jesus statement absolutely clear. The words I AM are the eternal name for God, as established by the Old Testament. In the Hebrew language, I AM is Ehyeh asher ehyeh.

We see the pre-incarnate Jesus in the book of 2 Kings, who comes to fight for Judah.

In the book of 2 Kings, Ahaz becomes the king of Judah

In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned nine years.  —2 Kings 17:1

Israel and Judah had fallen away from the Lord and forgotten Him. In place of serving the God of Israel, they had began to worship the gods of the surrounding nations.[1] God sent Isaiah to testify against the people of Israel and Judah, that they should return to the Lord and serve Him only. The people would not listen; they were stubborn and proud and continued to worship and serve other gods.[2]

The Lord became angry with Israel and removed His protection and blessing from the nation. Soon after, Judah followed in the footsteps of Israel, and the Lord also turned them over to the hands of their enemies.[3] God allows the king of Assyria to bring people from Babylon and other nations that they had formerly conquered, to take possession of Samaria which was located north of Israel.[4]

Hezekiah begins his reign in Judah

King Hezekiah is a good king, and he does what is right in the sight of the Lord. As a result, the Lord is with him and he prospers in all that he does. Soon after, Hezekiah determines that he will no longer submit to the king of Assyria.[5] As a result of Hezekiah’s rebellion, the king of Assyria sends his army to Jerusalem. They stood before the people and spoke to them concerning King Hezekiah who would not submit to the authority of the king of Assyria.

Then the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rabsaris, and the Rabshakeh from Lachish, with a great army against Jerusalem, to King Hezekiah. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. When they had come up, they went and stood by the aqueduct from the upper pool, which was on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. Then the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say now to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: “What confidence is this in which you trust? You speak of having plans and power for war; but they are mere words. And in whom do you trust, that you rebel against me?”  —2 Kings 18:17-20

Speaking to the people of Jerusalem in Hebrew, the Rabshakeh (field commander), representing the king of Assyria, determines that he will cause fear in the hearts of the people of Israel and to insight rebellion against Hezekiah, their king.

The Rabshakeh informs the inhabitants of Jerusalem that none of the other nations who have attempted to withstand the king of Assyria were able to endure. All the other nations who called on their gods for help were defeated by the king of Assyria. Then He said to the people of Israel, What makes you think that you can call upon your God and be delivered?[6]

The people of Jerusalem, under the direction of the Spirit of God, did something very wise. They said not a word. In doing so, they shut up the mouth of the king of Assyria.

But the people held their peace and answered him not a word; for the king’s commandment was, “Do not answer him.”  —2 Kings 18:36

King Hezekiah listened to their threats, and instead of taking matters into his own hands or being paralyzed with fear, he spread them out before the Lord. In other words, he told the Lord about all the things the king of Assyria was threatening to do to him and his people.

And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.  —2 Kings 19:14

Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard.’ 2 Kings 19:20

On a night shortly thereafter, just one Angel came into the camp of the Assyrians and killed one hundred and eighty five thousand men. The enemy turned in defeat, and king Hezekiah and all Jerusalem were delivered by the Lord.

And it came to pass on a certain night that the Angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead.  —2 Kings 19:35

This Angel of the Lord, is the same LORD that we meet in the New Testament; who is LORD and Savior.


NOTES:
[1] For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and they had feared other gods, 8 and had walked in the statutes of the nations whom the LORD had cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. 2 Kings 17:7-8
[2] Yet the LORD testified against Israel and against Judah, by all of His prophets, every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.” 14 Nevertheless they would not hear, but stiffened their necks, like the necks of their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God. 2 Kings 17:13-14
[3] Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone. Also Judah did not keep the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made. And the LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them from His sight. 2 Kings 17:18-20
[4] Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities. 2 Kings 17:24
[5] Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea the son of Elah, king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign. 3 And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done. 7 The LORD was with him; he prospered wherever he went. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. 2 Kings 18:1-2, 7
[6] Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out with a loud voice in Hebrew, and spoke, saying, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he shall not be able to deliver you from his hand; nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, “The LORD will surely deliver us; this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” ’ Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and every one from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern; 32 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive groves and honey, that you may live and not die. But do not listen to Hezekiah, lest he persuade you, saying, “The LORD will deliver us.” Has any of the gods of the nations at all delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim and Hena and Ivah? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’ ” 2 Kings 18:28-35