Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Pre-Incarnate Son, The Word of God, The Angel of the Lord (Filiology)

The second person of the trinity, the Son of God, the pre-incarnate Jesus, is mentioned throughout the Old Testament.

The Word of God

The first time the second person of the trinity is mentioned is at the very beginning of the Bible in the creation story, in Genesis 1:3This is clearly referring to the Word of God, who is God's Son as explained by John 1-4,14,18This shows that the first thing the Son did was be the Father's vehicle of creation and life. This was confirmed again in Colossians 1:16, 1 Corinthians 8:6, and Romans 11:36

The Mediator Between God and Man

Extending from that role, the Son was also then the liaison, or mediator between the Father and the creation. No one can see the Father directly without dying (Exodus 33:201 Timothy 6:16) and because of our sinfulness, no one can go directly to the Father, so we must go to the Father through the Son (John 14:6b-7, 9b-10).

     The Messenger (Angel) of the Lord

As the Word of God and the mediator between the Father and creation, the Son's second role in the world was as the Father's messenger. This is why he was known as the Angel of the Lord (the word Angel means messenger).  He came to Abraham to make his covenant with him (Genesis 15:1-6). In Genesis 16:7-12, he appeared to Hagar as she was fleeing and told her to Go back. He also told her that she was pregnant and should name her son Ishmael. He appeared to Abraham again in Genesis 22 to tell him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, as a test, and then to stop him from doing it. Later, in Genesis 32 we are told that Jacob wrestled with a "Man" (verse 24) who identified Himself as God (verse 28). In fact, Jacob says, "I have seen God face to face..." (verse 30). Since we know from John 1:18 that no one has seen God the Father, Jacob must be talking about the Son in a pre-incarnate appearance. This is confirmed in Hosea 12:3-5 where we are told that the Jacob wrestled with was "the Angel" who is also the "the Lord, the God of hosts."

He appeared to the prophet Balaam and gave him orders (Numbers 22:22-35). He appeared to all of Israel to tell them to stop worshiping idols (Judges 2:1-4).  He instructed Gideon to deliver Israel from the Midianites (Judges 6). He prophesied the birth of Samson and sent up in a flame of the altar. (Judges 13). In both of those last two instances, Gideon, as well as Maboah and his wife thought they would die from seeing God after the Angel of the Lord came to them, but they did not. He called Sameul as a boy (1 Samuel 3) as spoke to him throughout his life (1 Samuel 15:10-11,23). He spoke to Isaiah in Isaiah 6:1, which is confirmed to be pre-incarnate Jesus in John 12:41 and Philippians 2:5-8. He spoke to Malachi (Malachi 3:1), telling him he was sending His Son, who is his messenger (Angel). He spoke to Zechariah (Zechariah 1 and 3), where he refers to the Word of the Lord, the Angel of the Lord, the Lord of Hosts, and "the Branch" interchangeably. Jesus is referred to as the branch, shoot, or root of Jesse throughout scripture (John 15:1-8Romans 15:12Revelation 5:5).  He also spoke to other prophets, such as Nathan (2 Samuel 7:4), David (2 Samuel 22:1-31 Chronicles 21:18), Gad (2 Samuel 24:11), Solomon (1 Kings 6:11), and Elijah (1 Kings 19:3-5).

Further evidence that the Angel of the Lord was the pre-incarnate Jesus is the fact that the Angel ceased to appear after Jesus became incarnate in the flesh. At that point in time, the Angel Gabriel took over the responsibility of serving as God's chief messenger.

The Shepherd of His People

In Genesis 48:15-16, we see that the God of Abraham and Isaac, is the "the God who has been my shepherd" is the same "Angel who has delivered me from all harm." This shows that the Angel of God is also the good shepherd.  Jesus says he is the good shepherd in John 10:11. This shows that the third


     He Protects His People

When the Assyrians threatened to destroy Jerusalem, it was the Angel of the Lord who killed 185,000 of them in one night, forcing those remaining to retreat (2 Kings 19:35). Also Psalm 34:7 states "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them"

      He Leads His People

In Exodus 3, the Angel of the Lord appears to Moses in the burning bush to tell him what to do and states that He is God, accepts Moses' worship, and names himself as, "I Am." Jesus confirms that was him in John 8:58. He also led the Children of Israel in the wilderness as a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night (Exodus 14 and Judges 2:1). Interestingly, in Revelation 10, John sees in his vision the "strong angel" coming down from heaven, who has the title deed of the earth in his hand. He puts one foot on land and the other in the sea and lifts the title deed in the air as a symbol of his claiming all of creation for himself. He has a "face like the sun" (just like the transfiguration) and has feet that are like "pillars of fire." Jesus was also providing the sustenance to the Israelites (Exodus 17:1-7) as the rock from which the water comes from, as confirmed in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4


He is the Word of God
God Created the World through Him
He is the mediator between man/creation and God
     He is God's messenger to man/creation
He protects and leads people as the good shepherd

Now looking at the roles of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son, they make a lot of sense:

He is God's revealed Word to us in these latter days, instead of prophets (Hebrews 1:1-4)
God redeemed the world through Him (John 3:16)
He is the mediator between man and God (1 Timothy 2:5)
     He reconciled us to the Father (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
     He intercedes for us with the Father (Romans 8:34)
He is our good Shepherd (John 10:11)
He will come again to Judge the world (Matthew 25:31-46)