The Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament -Part I -- By: John M. Baze, Jr.

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 01:3 (Dec 1997)
Article: The Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament -Part I
Author: John M. Baze, Jr.


The Angel of the Lord
in the Old Testament -Part I

John M. Baze, Jr.

Associate Professor of Biblical Languages
Tyndale Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX

Introduction

From the early Church fathers to the modern era, there has been considerable speculation by Bible commentators and scholars to accurately understand the nature and mission of the unique Old Testament personality referred to as “the Angel of the Lord.” As James C. Moyer expresses in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology:

Various interpretations have been suggested including an appearance of God Himself, an appearance of a messenger or one of God’s many angels, or an appearance of the preincarnate Christ. Each interpretation has difficulties, and there is no consensus.1

Even without an interpretative consensus, an inductive analysis of the evidence from Scripture, fifty-six direct references2 and many indirect contextual references3 , will disclose precise details of His personal character and interaction with others. Then after compiling these details, an identity will emerge that is clearly discernible within each narrative section. The primary thesis of this presentation will confirm, through a systematic process of elimination, that these unique traits and actions can be attributable to only one extraordinary person.

Was the second person of the Godhead, the eternal Son of God, inactive in the Old Testament? Is it possible that the passages concerning this unique person can reveal a specific identity and special ministry in the Old Testament that centers upon the preincarnate Christ?

Recently, several books4 have proposed the controversial position that the Hebrew name of Jesus (Yᵉshûaʿישׁוּע)existed in the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament through a special code classified as equidistant lettering

sequence (ELS).5 Even without the discovery of ELS, the Hebrew text itself reveals a significant involvement of the preincarnate Christ in the personal lives of a select group of Old Testament individuals. He interacted with these individuals as one of the most fascinating personalities in the Old Testament, “the Angel of the Lord!”

Preliminary Considerations

Several important factors require clarification before the iden...

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