Gideon, the Deliverer
Dr. Joe Temple

Review

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Judges, that portion of the Word of God which we are studying together. Turn, please, to chapter 6. As you turn to this portion of the Word of God, you will keep in mind that we suggested to you that the first two chapters and the first few verses of chapter 3 deal with the approach to the book–the background–and the reason God found it necessary to treat the children of Israel as He did in this period of time known as the time of the Judges. We then reminded you that from chapters 3-16, we had listed the apostasies into which the children of Israel slipped because of their disobedience to God. The remaining chapters of the book represent the appendix. We will remind you again that the appendix is not something that is extra; it represents the various events in the life of Israel which the Spirit of God was pleased to gather together without reference to chronological order and put them together in one place for the purpose of emphasis of special truths.

In our study of the book of Judges, we have noticed the children of Israel as disciplined by the hand of God for their disobedience by being turned over to Mesopotamia. When they disobeyed the Lord, they were given over to foreign powers for disciplining. When they cried unto the Lord, He heard their cry, provided their deliverance, and we discovered Othniel was the deliverer. Incidentally, that is the real meaning of the original word for “judge.” Othneil was the deliverer from the Mesopotamians. They lived in peace for a time. They disobeyed God again; and they were turned over to the Moabites, with special reference to Eglon, the king of the Moabites. They cried unto the Lord, and Ehud was raised up to deliver them. Then again they were delivered from the Philistines by the hand of Shamgar. Very little is said in the Scriptures about this deliverance. As a matter of fact, no reference is made to any specific disobedience on the part of the children of Israel. Some Bible scholars are of the opinion that probably the Philistines were attacking and Shamgar with his ox goad was raised up of God to deliver.

You will remember that they disobeyed God again, and this time they were taken by God and turned over to the Canaanites, with particular emphasis upon Jabin, who was king of all of the Canaanites.

We learned in our last lesson how Deborah was raised up by God to deliver the children of Israel from the hand of the Canaanites. We suggested to you that it was hardly fair to say that Deborah was the deliverer because with Deborah was Barak, the man who led the military forces, and with Deborah and Barak, there was a woman by the name of Jael, who struck the final blow that resulted in the killing of the leader of the Canaanites at Sisera.

Today we are going to begin to look at the discipline they endured at the hand of the Midianites, and we are going to notice that the deliverer that was raised up was a man very familiar to most of us, if not all of us. Gideon was his name. Remember, we told you there is a four-point outline that all of these stories followed. There was the disobedience of the people. There was the discipline that God administered, and there was the deliverer that was raised up to provide salvation for them. Then there was the deliverence. This four-point outline is followed in all of these stories.

Three General Lessons

Before we look at that four-point outline, I would like to point out to you three general lessons which I think it would be wise for us to consider individually, because they represent truths which are taught elsewhere in the Word of God, truths in which we are interested and about which we may have some questions. I would like for you to notice verse 11 of chapter 6 with me first:

Judges 6

11And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.

For the purpose that I have just suggested, we are interested in the first part of verse 11:

Judges 6

11And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah…

One of the general lessons which is introduced here and which I think would be wise for us to consider together is the lesson that we are going to find in the Scripture related to the Angel of the Lord. This is a truth with which some of us are familiar; it is a truth which some of us don't know too much about; it is a truth that I think would be profitably reviewed by all of us. Notice verse 24 of chapter 6:

Judges 6

24Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

Notice the word “Jehovahshalom.” This is one of the compound names of Jehovah. This particular one means “the Lord, our peace.” So we are going to have a lesson, God willing, on compound names of Jehovah because they describe to us the characteristics of our God in a way that should encourage our hearts. Notice, beginning in verse 33:

Judges 6

33Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.
34But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him.
35And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.
36And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,
37Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.

We want to spend one lesson on the matter of putting out the fleece. This will not be new information to many of you because we have brought messages along this line before, but I think in this series in the book of Judges, we need a lesson along this line, generally speaking, because there are a number of people who believe that in this Age of Grace we should not put out the fleece. Some Bible scholars tell you that in this Age of Grace it is inconsistent with Scriptures to put out the fleece. We want to find out if that is true or not. Some Bible scholars will tell you it is inconsistent for believers to make a vow to God in this Age of Grace. These are things that we need to settle in our own minds, from the Scripture, as to whether or not they are true.

So today I would like for us to become familiar with the subject of the Angel of the Lord. Just what does this involve? What does the Scripture have to say about it? We trust that in the way that we are going to present this all of the questions we usually have will be answered.

A Visible Manifestation of God

There is a word with which you need to become familiar. It is the word “theophany.” It comes from the Greek word theos , and the Greek word phaino . Theos means “God.” Phaino means “appearance” or “manifestation.” So a theophany is a visible manifestation of God.

You may ask, “What has all that to do with the subject of the Angel of the Lord?” Well, this is what theologians call it. They call it a “theophany,” and if you are looking for information in a Bible dictionary, or if you were looking for a discussion in systematic theology concerning whether or not the Angel of the Lord is deity, you would need to look under the heading of this word, “theophany.” It comes from the Greek words theos and phaino –God appearance, a visible manifestation of the Lord. We are going to make the assertion and try to show you from the Word of God that what we say is true, that the expression we read here in Judges, chapter 6, “There came an angel of the Lord, and sat under the oak, which was in Ophrah,” that the Angel of the Lord was deity. After we make the assertion, we will attempt to show you why we know this to be true.

A Direct Message From God

I think it would be good for us to keep in mind that there are various kinds of theophanies, and if you keep that in mind and are able to remember it, you will know exactly where you stand when we study the word. We speak of a theophany that is described by the words, “a direct message.” One illustration of God delivering a direct message to an individual is described in Exodus, chapter 19. You may wonder why we put this in a class by itself. I think the answer is evident, if you turn to chapter 19 of the book of Exodus. You will find in verse 9:

Exodus 19

9And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.

This is a theophany. God appeared to Moses in a thick cloud, but never once did the children of Israel see God in the sense that Gideon saw the Angel of the Lord when he sat under the tree at Ophrah. That is, he did not see a visible bodily form. He saw only the cloud from which a direct message was delivered unto Moses.

Let's go back to chapter 18 of the book of Genesis, and notice beginning in verse 1:

Genesis 18

1And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
2And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
3And said, My LORD, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
4Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:
5And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

We will not take the time to read the rest of the story, but you do not find the Angel of the Lord mentioned in the sense that you find in our story in Judges, a direct message from the Lord to Abraham as Abraham sat in his tent door.

Appearance In Dreams and Visions

Another kind of theophany we have described by the word “dream.” God was pleased sometimes to make His appearance to his servants not visibly, but in a dream, as is illustrated in Genesis, chapter 28, beginning in verse 10:

Genesis 28

10And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
11And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
12And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
13And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father [a theophany in a dream–God making His appearance to Jacob as he slept after his wearisome and tiresome journey, running away from home]

Then the third kind of theophany we bring to your attention we have described by the word “vision.” A vision is different from a dream. A dream is what you have when you have fallen asleep. A vision is something that you may have in the bright light of day when you are oblivious to everything about you and are gazing upon the thing that God would bring to your attention. John, on the Isle of Patmos, said he was in the Spirit on the Lord's day when he had his vision. Here in Genesis, chapter 15, which we have used for an illustration, you find the words:

Genesis 15

1After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

The story goes on about how Abram carried on his conversation with the Lord in a vision. Possibly there is a question in your minds at the moment, and that question is, “Do people see God in dreams and in visions today?” I'm not prepared to answer that question. I would say, if I were forced to analyze every dream and every vision that people have told me they have had–I would prefer not to analyze them–I believe in this day of perfect revelation, the Word of the Living God, that there is no need for dreams and visions. God can speak through His Word. He does speak through His Word, and yet I would hesitate to say that a believer today could not have a dream in which God would speak to him. Job said such a thing was possible.

I would hesitate today to say that a believer could not have a vision in which God could speak to his heart. I would offer this word of caution. Please don't misquote me; don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying people do have them. I'm just saying that I am not willing to say that they can't have them. I would offer this word of caution, and that is that every dream and every vision ought to be received–if there are such–and analyzed in the light of the Word of God. You can be sure that if the dream or vision in question contradicts anything in the Word of God, then it is not of God. As a matter of fact, I would prefer to steer clear of dreams and visions, because there are elements of uncertainty about them, and the Word of God is absolutely sure.

Appearances of the Angel of the Lord

There are other kinds of theophanies that we should consider, and we are getting closer to the immediate subject at hand now, and that is theophanies sometimes occur under the title, “the Angel of the Lord.” In chapter 16 of Genesis, verses 7-10, we have an illustration of this. The first mention of the appearance of the Angel of the Lord appeared unto Hagar, when she was about to lose the life of her son, she thought, because she had to leave home. The journey was long, there was no water, and she placed her son under a tree to die. The Angel of the Lord appeared and identified himself as deity and made provision for Ishmael, saying that he would not be forgotten.

Sometimes the phrase, “the Angel of the Lord,” is used and Bible scholars say that whenever you find “the Angel of the Lord,” you know it is deity; but that is not an accurate statement, because sometimes the phrase, “an Angel of the Lord,” is used–not the definite article “the,” but “an”–as is represented in Judges, chapter 2, verses 1-5, which we looked at earlier in our discussion, the angel of Bochim.

Sometimes the phrase, “a man,” is used as is indicated in Genesis, chapter 32, verse 24. You may ask, “How do you know that when the phrase, 'a man,' is used, that it is speaking of deity?” Because of the context, because of related passages of Scripture that indicate that “man,” in question was Deity. Well, why does it use the term, “a Man?” This is not the usual word for man, Adam, from which Adam gets his name, but it is a word that speaks of a being, a creature. It could refer to male or female. A creature, a being, a man, is sometimes used to describe a theophany.

Sometimes the phrase, “the Angel of God,” is used, as is true in Exodus, chapter 14, verse 19–not “the Angel of the Lord,” but “the Angel of God.” I make mention of this because I have read and heard it said that the references to deity in the Old Testament, in the sense of theophanies, are always referred to by the phrase, “the Angel of the Lord.” This you can see not to be true. These other terms are used as well.

Another term that is used is “the Angel of His Presence,” and that is found in a very precious portion of the Word of God. You might like to turn to Isaiah, chapter 63, verses 7-9:

Isaiah 63

7I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.
8For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour.
9In all their affliction he was afflicted, [now notice carefully] and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

Notice the phrase, “the Angel of His presence.” What a precious promise that conveys to our minds. “The Angel of His presence” is always with us. We are never alone.

Now, another phrase that is used is simply “the Angel.” Here again we have to be very careful what we say because every time we see the word “angel,” it is not necessarily speaking of “the Angel of the Lord” in the sense of deity; but–listen carefully–it is not necessary to have the phrase, “the Angel of the Lord,” before a reference to deity is made. Sometimes, simply “the Angel,” is referred to, and that angel is indictated by the context, as you find in II Kings, chapter 19, as deity. We are not taking the time to look at all of the passages of Scripture, because we wouldn't have time to finish our discussion, and what I am trusting will happen is that you will absorb enough of this so that you can be studying it yourself and you will see the truth of what we have been saying.

We made the assertion right at the beginning that “the Angel of the Lord” and these other terms are representations of deity, manifestations of deity on the earth. We said we would attempt to prove that assertion, so we would like to offer you some of the proof that some of these beings to which we have made reference under the various titles that we have used are more than angels. These beings are more than what we ordinarily think of as being angels.

The Angel Identified as God

The first proof we offer to you is that in each instance where the term is used in the manner in which we have suggested, the Angel in question is identified as God. If you will go back to chapter 16 of the book of Genesis, you will notice an illustration of how we know the Angel in question, the Angel of the Lord, Angel of God, or the Angel is deity. Chapter 16 tells the story of Hagar, beginning in verse 11:

Genesis 16

11And the angel of the LORD said unto her [Hagar] , Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
12And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
13[Now notice] And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?

Notice in verse 11 that the being is referred to as the “Angel of the Lord,” but when Hagar addressed him, she called the name of the Lord that spoke to her, “Thou God seest me.” She identified this being that spoke to her as God rather than an angel.

The second proof we would offer to you is that these beings are recognized as God elsewhere in the Scripture or in the immediate context. In chapter 32 of the book of Genesis, we noticed with you when we were describing the various terms that were used that the words “a man” were used–“a man wrestled with Jacob.” Yet when you turn to Hosea, chapter 12 and notice verse 4, you find that that man is identified as deity. It is not an ordinary man who wrestled with Jacob; rather, in Hosea chapter 12, verse 4, he is identified in the words that can't be denied.

Hosea 12

4Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us;
5[Who was the angel?] Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial.

Another proof that we would offer to you is that these individual beings, regardless of the phrase that might be used to describe them, are presented in descriptive terms befitting deity–that is, terms that are used of deity and are not used of ordinary men. Let's go back to the book of Joshua, chapter 5, for an illustration of what we are talking about, and notice verse 15. You recall that Joshua was ready to do battle; he was fearful.

Joshua 5

15And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

The captain of the Lord's host was the Angel of the Lord who appeared unto Joshua, and the Captain of the Lord's host (the Angel of the Lord) said, “Joshua, you're standing on holy ground; take your shoes off.” Then you will compare that with what you will find in the book of Exodus, chapter 3, verse 5, when there is no question as to the terminology and the reason for its use. In Exodus, chapter 3, you have the familiar story of the appearance of God to Moses, and you will remember the burning bush:

Exodus 3

3And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
5And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

There could be no question that the voice in Exodus, chapter 3, was the voice of God. He said, “Don't come any closer to Me. Take off your shoes. You are standing on holy ground.” The Angel, Captain of the Lord's host, in Joshua said the very same thing. Terms were used in that instance that befitted deity and deity alone.

Self-identification

There is another proof that these beings were more than angels, and I don't know of a better way to describe it than with the words “self-identification.” The Being identified himself as deity instead of an ordinary angel. In some cases, He even referred to himself as an ordinary being instead of permitting an individual to refer to him as deity. You will notice in Genesis, chapter 31, verse 11:

Genesis 31

11And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.

Then in verse 13 of that same chapter, the angel identified himself and said:

Genesis 31

13I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.

Here the Angel of God is mentioned in one verse, and in another verse in the same passage of Scripture the Angel of God refers to himself as deity.

Speaking With Divine Authority

Another proof that these were other than angels is that the individuals concerned, regardless of how they might be described–that is, with what terms they might be described in the Scripture–always speak with divine authority. There is a good illustration of that in our study of the book of Judges. You remember in chapter 2, verse 1:

Judges 2

1And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

You read the rest of the paragraph, and these very same words God Himself used when He spoke of delivering the nation of Israel from the land of Egypt; and so we find this Angel, so-called, speaking with divine authority which ordinary angels would not even attempt to do.

The sixth reason that we would offer you that these Angels of the LORD, Angels of God, are deity is that they received and accepted worship. Turn to Judges, chapter 6, the paragraph that beginning with verse 17:

Judges 6

17And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.
18Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.
19And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.
20And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.
21Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.
22And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O LORD God! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.
23And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.

What Gideon did when he killed the kid and poured out the broth was to offer a sacrifice and a drink offering to this Angel. Had this Angel been an ordinary angel, he would not have dared to have received this worship. He would have refused it saying, as we shall see a bit later, to Gideon, “I am an ordinary creature like you, and I can't accept worship from you.” The thing that we are most interested in, because the Angel of the Lord is most often presented to us as the Lord Jesus Christ, is proof that the Angel of the Lord, as presented in the Old Testament, is actually the Lord Jesus Christ.

Deity Represented as Christ

What proof do we have that these beings about which we have been talking are the Lord Jesus? This is a wonderful thing to keep in mind if it is true, so we need to know for sure that it is. We offer you the proof that these angels, when they made their appearances, in some instances were the Lord Jesus Christ because they were distinguished from God the Father. Let's go to Genesis, chapter 48, and notice an illustration of what I am talking about. The Angel of the Lord was deity. This we know. Do we have any right to believe the deity represented in the passage of Scripture was the Lord Jesus Christ? We say we do. Genesis, chapter 48, verses 15 and 16, are illustrations of why we do. You will notice:

Genesis 48

15And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day [This is Jacob now, blessing Joseph and his sons] ,
16The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

Notice in verse 15, he mentions Elohim and in verse 16 he mentions the Angel of the Lord, making a definite distinction between God the Father and the Angel of the Lord, His Son.

Distinguished From Other Angels

The next proof we have already called to your attention earlier in relation to the matter of whether these angels were deity or not, and that is that they are distinct. The Lord Jesus Christ, “the Angel of the Lord,” in His appearances, was distinguished from angels in that they do not accept worship. In Revelation, chapter 22, there is the best proof of the fact that angels refused to accept worship that is belonging to God and God alone. In chapter 22 of Revelation, after the book is over, you will notice in verse 8, John records:

Revelation 22

8And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
9Then 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.

If the angel in question accepted worship, then you could be sure he was deity. If the Angel of the Lord accepted worship, then you could be sure He was the Lord Jesus Christ.

Addressed By Messianic Titles

Another reason we know the phrase, “the Angel of the Lord,” more often than not, refers to the second person of the Trinity is that the Angel of the Lord is more often addressed by Messianic titles. A Messianic title is a title that refers to the Messiah, and the Messiah, of course, is the promised Redeemer. We know Him as Jesus, our Savior. The Old Testament saints looked forward to the appearance of their Messiah, as we look forward to the appearance of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when He returns the second time. In Judges, chapter 13, which we will notice in the future, beginning in verse 15, Manoah, a servant of the Lord, was seeking wisdom from God as to how he and his wife might rear Samson, the promised child, and so we read:

Judges 13

15And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee.
16And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the Lord.
17And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?

Let's stop for a moment because you may be confused. You may be thinking that this passage of Scripture is saying that this was not the Angel of the Lord. The emphasis is placed upon the fact that the Angel of the Lord refused to accept Manoah's worship because he had not recognized him as God. He was simply recognizing him in a superstitious way, as he would any unusual personage. Now notice verses 17 and 18:

Judges 13

17And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?
18And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?

This is an unhappy translation because it would lead you to believe the Angel of the Lord said, “What are you asking my name for? Don't you know that my name is a secret? Don't ask what it is; it is a secret.” Actually the word “secret” is “wonderful,” and the Angel of the Lord said unto him, “You're asking my name. My name is 'Wonderful'.” What has that to do with a reference to Messianic titles? Turn over to Isaiah, chapter 9, verse 6, when prophecy was made concerning the Messiah who was to come. This is a familiar passage of Scripture which you have noticed again and again, particularly around the Christmas season:

Isaiah 9

6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, [the word ”Wonderful” here and the word ”secret” in Judges, chapter 13, come from the same Hebrew word] Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

So we say to you that the Angel of the Lord could be proven to be Jesus Christ by virtue of the fact, among other things, that He was called by Messianic titles.

New Testament Identification

The Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament is identified with Christ in the New Testament, and this should be sufficient proof. In Exodus, chapter 14, verse 19, we are told that the Angel of the Lord in a cloud preceded and followed the children of Israel as they made their way through the wilderness. The Apostle Paul, in I Corinthians, chapter 10, using another name, said, “The Rock which followed the children of Israel, the Person who followed the children of Israel, was Christ.”

Now the fifth proof that we would offer is that in the Word the Angel of the Lord is equated with the returning Christ. We have used those words for the purpose of brevity. What we mean is that the Angel of the Lord is spoken of in characteristic phrases as is the Lord Jesus Christ when He returns to this earth. Now we have already looked at Joshua, chapter 5, verses 13-15, a picture of the Angel of the Lord Who was described as the Captain of the Lord's host with drawn sword, ready to do battle for God. If you compare that picture with what is recorded in Revelation, chapter 19, you will see that the Lord Jesus Christ returning to the earth is described in similar language. The one is equated with the other.

There is one last thing which we would like to think with you about in relation to these references to the Angel of the Lord which we trust will be of help and that is the theological implication. Theology is something that I don't think many of us study because we think that we have to go to a theological institution if we do that, but theology really is the study things related to God.

Proof of the Trinity

So what are the theological implications that are related to our knowing that the Angel of the Lord is deity in the Old Testament? Well, in the first place, it is an excellent proof of the doctrine of the Trinity. The word “Trinity,” as you know, is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible. It's a word that theologians have coined to save the use of words. To believe in the Trinity is to believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Now, everybody doesn't believe in the Holy Trinity. Unitarians, for example, would not believe in the Holy Trinity. They believe in God. The Jews do not believe in the Holy Trinity. They believe in God. There are some segments of the Christian church, so-called, which do not believe in the Holy Trinity. They are called “Jesus only” people because they believe in Jesus. They don't believe there is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They believe in God the Father. Then He became God the Son, now He is God the Holy Spirit. Then there are other groups of the Christian church who do not believe in the Holy Trinity because they do not believe in the personality of the Holy Spirit, in the sense that we are speaking about. They believe that the activity of the Holy Spirit is revealed only in the Word. I say that these theophanies that we have been studying represent a good proof of the Holy Trinity because they prove the truth of what is found in Deuteronomy, chapter 6, verse 4, which is the key verse for the Trinity in the Old Testament. Notice, please, verse 4:

Deuteronomy 6

4Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:

If you were reading this in the original text, you would find that the word God is Elohim , which is the plural of El . The Lord our God–plural–is one Lord, the great Three-in-One. When we find God in Heaven, the Angel of the Lord on the earth, then we know that there is a Holy Trinity. In some instances, the Holy Spirit is mentioned as coming upon the individual while God was in Heaven, and the Angel of the Lord was addressing him.

Proof of the Incarnation

Another implication is that the Old Testament theophanies are ample proof of the probability of the incarnation as it is described in the New Testament. One of the choice verses describing the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ is John, chapter 1, verse 14, where John writes:

John 1

14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

The Eternal Presence of God

Now, a personal word. The implication that is precious to my own heart is that these theophanies but illustrate and emphasize the fact of the eternal presence of God with those who are His own. Whenever their hearts needed a definite word of encouragement, the Angel of the Lord was there to give that encouragement, and today, in this Age of Grace, we are encouraged to believe in that same eternal presence.

You might like to turn to Hebrews, chapter 13, for an encouraging word of promise, as we bring our remarks to a close:

Hebrews 13

5Let your conversation be without covetousness [that is your manner of life; it isn't talking about what you are saying] and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

You may not have much, but you have Him; and He has promised, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” As we have pointed out at other times in the study of this verse, there are double negatives in the original text included in the verse, so that it might be read, “I will never, never, never, never, never, never, never,” and just go on to infinity. “I will never leave thee.” And the passage, “nor forsake thee; I will never, never, never, [go on to infinity] let you down.” That is the real meaning of the word “forsake,” and of course, the Spirit of God said, “So that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” The word “man” here could be interpreted “any creature.” The Lord is my helper. I know it. He's with me, and He is never going to leave me, and I'll not fear what any creature will do to me. This is the promise of His presence as illustrated in the proof of theophanies.


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