Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight– why the bush does not burn up.” When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. (Exodus 3:1-6)
Perhaps the most amazing reference to angels found anywhere in scripture is the title – “the angel of the LORD.” Who and what is the angel of the LORD?
The title – ‘the angel of the LORD’ is found numerous times in the Bible. In many of these references the angel of the LORD speaks as though He is God; identifies Himself with God; and demonstrates many of the attributes of God. In several incidents, those who saw Him stated that they had “seen the LORD.” Therefore, most Bible scholars believe that ‘the angel of the LORD’ is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Does this mean that Jesus is only an angel as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other groups teach?
The word “angel” can mean more than what we normally consider to be an angel. The same word that we translate as angel can also be translated as ‘messenger.’ When scripture refers to Jesus as being “the angel of the LORD”, it is not an indication that He is an angel, but that He is a messenger from God. One great proof that the angel of the LORD is more than an ordinary angel is the fact that he often receives worship. Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9 clearly teaches us that angels are not to be worshipped. Angels are no more than our fellow-servants. According to angels, only God is worthy to be worshipped.
Why should we be concerned with the identification of the angel of the LORD? Search for His many appearances in scripture and you will see that though He was often worshipped, He did not come for the purpose of worship. Jesus said that He came not to be ministered to, but to minister. (see Matthew 20:28)
What great humility the Son of God must have that He would be willing to become a man and to die on the cross for our sins. I close today with this passage from the book of Philippians –
Philippians 2:6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.