"Christ and THE ANGEL of the Lord -II"

Who is "the" angel of the Lord in the Old and New Testament?

      This is the second part of the subject "THE ANGEL" in the Bible. Now the word "the" here only distinguishes this segment from the first. I am persuaded that this subject is important because there is a misunderstanding coming from not understanding who Jesus really is. And for that matter, who an angel is.

1. ANGELS ARE "MESSENGERS" (BRINGERS OF TIDINGS)

      Definition of "angel". The basic meaning of the Hebrew mal'àk is "messenger" (Strong). The Greek equivalent aggelos is "to bring tidings, a messenger" (Strong).

      The word can mean any messenger. Human being or heavenly being. "Angel" simply means "messenger." All apparently agree with this definition. Then some writer has a new revelation and redefines it again and says that if you put "the" in front of it, then you have God (Jehovah, Jesus) Himself an angel.

2. ANGELS ARE WORSHIPPERS.

      God does not worship Himself. Neither does the Son of God. "And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him" (Hebrews 1:6). If a being is designated as an angel, he is to worship Jesus. The Scriptures stipulate "ALL" angels. The angel in Revelation told John not to worship him, the angel, but to worship God. "And he saith unto me, See thou do it not: I am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren the prophets, and with them that keep the words of this book: worship God" (Revelation 22:9, ASV). To worship angels is sinful (Colossians 2:18).

      All angels worship (or should worship) Jesus (Hebrews 1:6). Some have left such habitation (Jude 6). All good angels worship Jesus. Remember in Revelation when John started to worship the angel and he forbad him. For he was John's fellow servant to God.

      "Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God" (Revelation 22:9).

      The angels ministered to Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:11). They are Jesus' servants. The good angels that follow God are designated as Jesus' angels: Matthew 16:27 "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."

      "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with HIS mighty angels" (2 Thessalonians 1:7).

3. ANGELS ARE REPRESENTATIVES

      Angels are spoken of as being the One they represent. We use similar language when dignitaries are referred to as representing their countries at an international event.

      In a recent article on the web a preacher posted his argument from the Hebrew that it was not a "death" angel that passed over Egypt and killed the firstborn but that it was Jehovah God. A study of angels, Biblically, shows that when an angel acts on behalf of God, then God refers to it as Himself doing it. For example, God spoke to Moses from the burning bush and gave him instructions. Yet, Exodus 3:2 clearly states that it was an angel. Later, one of the Seven, Stephen, says that it was an angel that appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Acts 7:30). However, when the voice speaks the passages state that God is doing the speaking. The only alternative would be that the angel was present with Jehovah. Why would God need an angel to accompany Him. Why use a messenger if he's not there to give God's message. The messenger would be the angel speaking for God.

      The Law was received [by the Jews] "by the disposition of angels" (Acts 7:53; cf. with Acts 7:38). This passage is not controversial if we harmonize it with the other passages that state God's using angels to speak for and to exercise His will; e.g., "ministering for them who shall be heirs of salvation" (Hebrews 1:14).

      When Jehovah appears to Abraham in Mamre, it is "men" who eat and speak and walk for their transportation (Genesis 18). God through the "men" promises to return at the birth of Isaac. If the "men" (verse 16) speak, it is designated as God speaking (verse 17). The men go down towards Sodom. One stays behind so that Abraham continues the conversation and pleads for Sodom (verse 33). The two "men" that appear to Lot (19:1) and to the people of Sodom are called "angels". The Lord had sent the angels to destroy Sodom and yet Lot says that Jehovah will destroy it (19:13,14).

      Now when we harmonize the passages, either God did or did not do the destruction of Sodom. He said that He was going to do it (Genesis 18:23). The angel said that he was sent to do it. So if we give God credit for giving birth (Genesis 18:14) and destroying evil, we must admit that angels act for God and are referred to as "the Lord." At least it harmonizes these passages without compromising what we know to be Truth and consequently will explain the "death" angel of the Exodus.

      The language of the Bible never requires or even hint at lowering God to the status of a "messenger boy" and contradicting clear Bible passages. For example, Jesus did not become a "servant" until He lowered Himself and became flesh (Philippians 2:1-10). Even then, he was made "lower than the angels" and not equal to them.

4. ANGELS ARE "SERVANTS" AND WARRIORS OF GOD

      Angels exist separate from the Godhead but are fellow servants to us. They are servant spirits:

      "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14).

      There are many angels. So the angels of Acts and the Old Testament are just selected ones to do a job for the Lord. "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:53).

     Someone may say, "But Jesus is a servant, too; remember He washed the disciples feet." Just as Jesus has the message as Logos (John 1:1), but is not an angelic being, He is a servant without being an angelic being. In fact, His servanthood was in the flesh (Philippians 2; Hebrews 5:4). Paul in Ephesians 6:20 spoke of being an ambassador (representative) for Christ, but Paul was not an heavenly, angelic being. The point is, the angels are servants of God and Jesus is God. They are His servants.

5. WHO IS JESUS THEN?

      1. Jesus is one of the Trinity, the Godhead. "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device" (Acts 17:29). "Even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20). "(Christ) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily...which is the head of all principality and power" (Colossians 2:9).

      2. Jesus is deity: described as both Son of God [son has a source meaning here] and human: Son of man (and source here).

      But Jesus pre-existed as God before His birth of woman (John 1:1; Galatians 4:4). "In the beginning were Gods" (in the Hebrew Genesis 1:1); "Let us make man in our image..." This is clearly stating that God offered Himself on the cross for our sins. He was equal to God but humbled Himself and took on flesh (Philippians 2). "Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God" (Philippians 2:6). He created all things (Hebrews 1:1-4; John 1:1-3). He is not a created being. He is not an angel. No angel died for us. God did. 3. Jesus has the authority (Matthew 28:18ff). "Great Faith." Acceptable faith in Jesus as the Son of God and the Christ, the King, requires that we believe that Jesus is the one with authority, not just a messenger. to send messengers just as the centurion believed in: "The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel" (Matthew 8:8-10).

6. ARTICLES IN GRAMMAR "A" AND "THE" DO NOT REQUIRE THE CONNOTATION THAT'S BEING PUT UPON IT.

      "Basically, there are two types of articles in English: the definite article (the) and the indefinite (a/an). The definite article specifies a particular individual; the indefinite article indicates that the following noun is a member of a class." 1

      The English definite article does not change the meaning of any word. An angel is a messenger. The angel is a specific messenger NOT A "SPECIAL" messenger. End of it. If he's identified as Michael or the Cloud, he becomes "the" angel in the context.

      Illustration: A boy goes into a store. He buys candy. He pays for it. Then the boy leaves the store. "The boy" is the identified boy that entered the store in the context. "The" does not elevate or change the character or person of the boy. He's not a girl. He's not another boy that also enters the store but is not in the context. He's a boy when he goes into the store and he's still a boy when he leaves. Period.

7. BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF THE BOY-STORE PATTERN:

      (a) In Genesis 16:7 just (an) angel appears to Hagar; it changes in Genesis 16:8 to the ["ho"] in Greek; it is the same in the Hebrew. Follows the example of "the boy".

      (b) Genesis 19 begins with "the" two angels going to Sodom. It is understood that "the" angels continues the narrative of the men in chapter 18 and is designating them [one of the men continues to speak with Abraham].

      (c) "An" angel seeks to kill Moses in LXX's Exodus 4:24 but becomes "the" angel in verse 26. Follows pattern of "the boy".

      (d) Jacob dreams of "the" angels of God in Genesis 28:12.

      (e) "An" angel brought Israel out of Egypt (Numbers 20:16).

      (f) "An" angel (Judges 2:1) but changes to "the" in verse 12. Follows pattern of "the boy".

      g) "An" angel changes to "the angel" (Judges 6:11, 12ff).

** CONCLUSION:

      There is no "the" angel in the passages used to make ado out of "the" angel. It is in the King James Version.

      The Greek generally follows the English pattern of changing "a" to "the" when context allows it.

      Jesus is the Christ, the King, and not an angel or common messenger. He is not Michael nor is He Gabriel. These are angels under His authority. He is pre-existent as deity and as the Son of man is elevated to the throne of the Kingdom of God. Only the Father is not under His authority. Those of authority tell others to come and go.

1 http://grammar.about.com/od/ab/g/articleterm.htm. Appreciation to Rusty Hilliard of Haines City Church of Christ who was significant in the perparation of this article.