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Christ Manifestations in the Old Testament


1.  Manifestations in the Old Testament: God appeared in the shape of man many times in the Old Testament:

a.       He appeared to Adam in the Garden of Eden; He called him and talked with him (Gen.3:8).

b.      He appeared to Abraham in the guise of one of three men, one of whom talked to him as God and the other two were angels who went on to Sodom (Gen. 18: 1,13,17).  He also appeared as Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18), the king of righteousness, who accepted tithes and was the owner of the sacrifice of bread and wine.

c.       He appeared to Jacob as a Man with whom he wrestled till the break of  day,  and Who then blessed him and gave him the promises (Gen. 32:24).

d.      He appeared to Moses in the cloud, walking on it, and the children of Israel saw Him (Ex. 24: 9-11).

e.       He appeared to Manoah and his wife in the form of a man and promised that they would beget Samson (Jud. 13: 6, 18).

f.        He appeared to Daniel in the shape of the Ancient of Days, a symbol of the eternity of God (Dan. 13: 14).

2.  The Old Testament Prophecies:

 God was not satisfied with His many manifestations as man in which He  prepared us for the Incarnation, but He prophesied about the Incarnation in clear and unmistakable terms.

         God told the snake: "And I will put enmity  between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel" (Gen. 3:15).

         "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes and to Him shall be the obedience of the people" (Gen. 49: 10).

         "I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob, and a Scepter out of Israel" (Num. 24: 17).

         "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name   Immanuel"   (Isa. 7: 14), and Immanuel means ‘God with us’ although  He  is  also  the  son  of the Virgin, that is, He is the son of man or God made flesh.

         "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, (therefore, He is God, Incarnate God) Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end," (that is, He is eternal and immortal) (Isa. 9: 6,7).

 Thus, the Old Testament includes more than 300 prophecies that accurately describe  the details of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ from his virgin birth in Bethlehem up to His ministry, crucifixion, resurrection and His appearance to the disciples and His ascension to heaven.  The following is a table showing some of these prophecies and their realization in the New Testament.




Prophecy Old Testament New Testament

Personalities in the Old Testament:

 All the events of the Old Testament aim at declaring salvation through Christ; that is why even the personalities of the Old Testament clearly point to the Lord Jesus Christ.

a.       Adam: he is the head of the old creation and indicates the Second Adam, the head of the new creation.

b.      Abel:  he was sacrificed without having sinned, symbolizing the greater Sacrifice Whose blood, which is better than Abel’s, speaks. (Heb. 12: 24).

c.       Isaac: he is the only beloved son who offered himself as a sacrifice, and who was given by his father with joy.  He carried the wood for the offering and returned alive exactly as Jesus Christ carried the cross and rose from the dead.

d.      Joseph: he was called the savior of the world because he saved his people from physical death by giving them material bread.  This is a symbol of the Lord who saved us from eternal death, giving us the Bread of Life.  Just as Joseph’s brothers sold him for silver, so did Judas sell his Master.

e.       Jonah: because of him the nations believed.  He spent three days in the whale exactly like the days the Lord spent in the grave.

f.        Solomon:  he is the successful king who symbolizes the King of Kings, the wise man who symbolizes the Source of Wisdom, and the man of peace who symbolizes the Prince of Peace.

Thus, many symbolized the different aspects of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, The Lord Jesus Christ is the Incarnate God of whom the  Old Testament  tells  a great deal, the Desire of generations and the secret of men’s salvation.

Let us approach Him with reverence, worship, and love, praying that His Holy Spirit might work in us, so that we may be saved by His Blood, and so that we live with Him and for Him forever.



There are exhaustive examples of Jesus the Christ in the Old Testament. The KJV also calls them "ensamples."


(1 Cor 10:5) But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.


"They" are the children of Israel or "all our fathers" of 1 Cor.10:1. Many of them displeased God by not doing His will.


(1 Cor 10:6) Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.


"These things" were the acts of the fathers recorded in the scriptures.


(1 Cor 10:7) Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.


 This happened when Moses was up on Mt. Sinai, and the children of Israel made a golden calf and worshipped it. See Exodus 32:6. They rebelled against Christ, Who was with them in the beginning (John 1:1&10).


(1 Cor 10:8) Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.


See Numbers 25:1-9 where the Israelites committed whoredom (idolatry) with the daughters of Moab. They worshipped another other than Christ, Who is God (John1:1).


(1 Cor 10:9) Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.


This is a reference to Moses lifting up the brass serpent in the wilderness to save the people from snakebites. See Numbers 21:5-9. Jesus said that He would be lifted up just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (John 3:14). Those Israelites way back in the Exodus tempted Christ by speaking against him (Num 21:5).


(1 Cor 10:10) Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.


See Numbers chapter 16, where the Israelites murmured about food, water, the leadership of Moses and Aaron, etc.


(1 Cor 10:11-12) Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. {12} Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.


Paul advises us to heed the ensamples of the fathers lest we fall. We are to study the scripture to learn these ensamples and not allow ourselves to repeat the same mistakes. Study the scriptures to "show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Tim 2:15)


Paul gave those ensamples for us. I would like to give one or two more. The first example I will give will require some knowledge of the Scriptures. Consider the Israelites' sojourn in Egypt, their exodus, and their entry into the Promised Land.


The children of Israel lived in Egypt under the protection of the king because of Joseph. They had a good life in a good land and they were at peace and at leisure. They had everything they needed; indeed they had plenty. Then there arose another king who "knew not Joseph." The new king put them under bondage.


This is an example of the rebellion of Lucifer. The sons of God (angels) were secure under His protection. Then Satan rebelled, causing turmoil in Heaven. Many followed Satan. They rebelled against God and went in to bondage under Satan. Apparently at least one third of all the angels rebelled. Some are presently "reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day" (Jude Verse 6).


Just as the angels who followed Lucifer are in bondage to him, so are the unsaved in bondage to sin. Jesus said, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad" (Matthew 12:30). If you are not with Him, that is, if you are not saved, you are in bondage to sin, which necessarily, in my opinion, puts you in bondage to Satan.


The Israelites cried out to God and God heard their cries so he arranged for them to leave Egypt. But before they left, the firstborn of every family who did not apply the blood of the lamb was sacrificed. They then went out into the wilderness where they wandered for forty years.


Just as the Israelites were under bondage to the new king, so we are under bondage to Satan before we are saved. The Israelites were set free after the blood of the firstborn of the Egyptians was shed. We are set free after we accept the blood shed by God's Firstborn, Jesus. After we are saved, we wander in the wilderness that is the world. Just as the wilderness was not the home of the Israelites, the world is not our home.


Finally, after forty years, which is a period of testing, the Israelites entered into the Promised Land.


After we sojourn in life where we are tested many times, we will enter Heaven, our Promised Land.


So, as you can see, the wandering of the Israelites is an ensample of how we enter into our rest through Jesus the Christ.


Example number two is the example of Jonah. You know the story. Jonah was told by God to prophesy to the Ninevites to save them from destruction. He did not want them to be saved so he ran from God. He boarded a ship, and God sent a storm. The sailors threw Jonah overboard where he was swallowed by a great fish. After three days and nights, the fish spit him up on the shore at Nineva. The Ninevites worshipped Dagon, a god who was half fish and half man. When they saw a fish spit out the prophet they were disposed to listen to him, and they were saved from God's wrath.


This is an ensample of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. After His resurrection, those who follow Him are saved, just as the Ninevites were saved by listening to Jonah and following his advice.


Jesus Himself spoke of this:


(Luke 11:29-30) And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. {30} For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.


There are many, many more ensamples throughout the Old Testament. In fact, each and every story or pericope of the Old Testament is an ensample of Jesus Christ or His church in some way.


The more you study the Word, the more you will learn about Jesus, who is the Word of God. (John 1:1)


What follows is a brief synopsis of Christ in every Old Testament Book.


"The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed" (Gal. 3.8).


If we endeavor to discover how often, and by what modes of statement, such a doctrine as that of our Lord's Divinity is anticipated in the Old Testament, our conclusion will be materially affected by the belief which we entertain respecting the nature and the structure of Scripture itself.


According to Paul the great doctrines and events of the Gospel dispensation were directly anticipated in the Old Testament. If the sense of the Old Testament became patent in the New, it was because the New Testament was already latent in the Old. "The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham." Scripture is thus boldly identified with the mind which inspires it; Scripture is a living Providence. The promise to Abraham anticipates the work of the apostle; the earliest of the Books of Moses determines the argument of the Epistle to the Galatians. Such a position is only intelligible when placed in the light of a belief in the fundamental unity of all revelation, underlying, and strictly compatible with, its superficial variety. And this true, internal unity of Scripture, even when the exact canonical limits of Scripture were still unfixed, was a common article of belief to all Christian antiquity. It was shared by the Church herself with her most vehement heretical opponents. Between Athanasius and the Arians there was no question as to the relevancy of the reference in the Book of Proverbs to the pre-existent Person of our Lord, although there was a vital difference between them as to the true sense and force of that reference. Scripture was believed to contain an harmonious and integral body of sacred truth, and each part of that body was treated as being more or less directly, more or less ascertainably, in correspondence with the rest, This belief expressed itself in the world-wide practice of quoting from any one book of Scripture in illustration of the mind of any other book.




he Bible the Handiwork of the Eternal Spirit

The Church of Christ has ever believed her Bible to be throughout, and so emphatically the handiwork of the Eternal Spirit that it is no absurdity in Christians to cite Moses as foreshadowing the teaching of Paul and of John. According to the tenor of Christian belief Moses, Paul, and John are severally regarded as free yet docile organs of one infallible intelligence, who places them at different points along the line of His action in human history; who, through them and others as the ages pass before Him, slowly unveils His mind; who anticipates the fullness of later revelations by the hints contained in His earlier disclosures; who, in the compass of His boundless wisdom, " reacheth from one end to another mightily and sweetly ordereth all things."




Our Lord's Divinity in the Old Testament

I You will have anticipated, my brethren, the bearing of these remarks upon the question before us. 'There are explicit references to the doctrine of our Lord's Divinity in the Old Testament which we can only deny by discrediting the historical value of the documents which contain them. But there are also occult references to this doctrine which we are not likely to detect, unless, while seeking them, we are furnished with an exegetical principle, such as that of the organic unity of Scripture.



In the Book of Genesis


At the beginning of the Book of Genesis there appear to be intimations of the existence of a plurality of persons within the one essence of God. It is indeed somewhat remarkable that the full significance of the two words by which Moses describes the primal creative act of God was not insisted upon by the primitive Church teachers. It attracted attention in the Middle Ages, and it was more particularly noticed after the revival of Hebrew letters. When Moses is describing this Divine action he joins a singular verb to a plural noun. Language, it would seem, thus submits to a violent anomaly that she may the better hint at the presence of several powers or persons who not merely act together, but who constitute a single agent. We are indeed told that this name of God, Elohim, was borrowed from Polytheistic sources, that it was retained in its plural form in order to express majesty or magnificence, and that it was then united to singular verbs and adjectives in order to make it do the work of a Monotheistic Creed. But on the other hand it is confessed on all sides that the promulgation and protection of a belief in the unity of God was the central and dominant object of the Mosaic literature and of the Mosaic legislation. Surely such an object would not have been imperiled for no higher purpose than that of amplification. There must have been a truth at stake which demanded the risk. The Hebrew language could have described God by singular forms, such as El, Eloab, and no question would have been raised as to the strictly Monotheistic force of those words. The Hebrew language might have " amplified" the idea of God thus conveyed by less dangerous processes than the employment of a plural form. Would it not have done so, unless the plural form had been really necessary, in order to suggest some complex mystery of God's inner life, until that mystery should be more clearly unveiled by the explicit revelations of a later day? The analogies of the language may indeed prove that the plural form of the word had a majestic force; but the risk of misunderstanding would surely have counterbalanced this motive for using it, unless a vital need had demanded its retention. Nor will the theory that the plural noun is merely expressive of majesty avail to account for the plural verb in the words,


"Let Us Make Man"


(Gen. 1.26). In these words, which precede the final act and climax of the Creation, the early fathers detected a clear intimation of a plurality of persons in the Godhead. The supposition that in these words a single person is in a dramatic colloquy with Himself is less reasonable than the opinion that a Divine speaker is addressing a multitude of inferior beings, such as the angels. But apart from other considerations we may well ask, What would be the "likeness" or "image" common to God and to the angels, in which man was to be created? or why should created essences such as the angels be invited to take part in a creative act at all? Each of the foregoing explanations is really weighted with greater difficulties than the Patristic doctrine, to the effect that the verb, "Let us make," points to a plurality of persons within the unity of the one agent, while the "likeness," common to all these Persons, and itself one, suggests very pointedly their participation in an undivided nature. And in such sayings as "Behold the man is become like one of us" (Gen. 3.22), used with reference to the Fall, or "Go to; let us go down, and there confound their language" (Gen. 11.7), uttered on the eve of the dispersion of Babel, it is clear that an equality of rank is distinctly assumed between the Speaker and those whom He is addressing. The true sense of the comparatively indeterminate language which occurs at the beginning of Genesis is more fully explained by


The Priestly Blessing


which we find prescribed for ritual usage in the Book of Numbers (Num. 6.23-26). This blessing is spoken of as a putting the Name of God, that is to say, a symbol unveiling His nature upon the children of Israel. Here then we discover a distinct limit to the number of the persons who are hinted at in Genesis as being internal to the unity of God. The priest is to repeat the most Holy Name three times. The Hebrew accentuation, whatever be its date, shows that the Jews themselves saw in this repetition the declaration of a mystery in the Divine nature. Unless such a repetition had been designed to secure the assertion of some important truth, a single mention of the Sacred Name would have been more natural in a system, the object of which was to impress belief in the Divine unity upon an entire people. This significant repetition, suggesting, without distinctly asserting, a Trinity in the being of God, did its work in the mind of Israel.





The Adoration of the Seraphim


Let us observe the crowning significance of the vision of Isaiah. In that adoration of the most Holy Three, who yet are One; by the veiled and mysterious Seraphim; in that deep self-abasement and misery of the prophet, who, though a man of unclean lips, had yet seen with his eyes the King, the Lord of Hosts; in that last inquiry on the part of the Divine Speaker, the very terms of which reveal Him as One, and yet more than One, what a flood of almost Gospel light is poured upon the intelligence of the elder Church!





The Theophanies


From these adumbrations of personal distinctions within the being of God, we pass naturally to consider that series of remarkable apparitions which are commonly known as the Theophanies and which form so prominent a feature in the early history of the Old Testament Scriptures. When we are told that God spoke to our fallen parents in Paradise (Gen. 3. 8), and appeared to Abram in his ninety-ninth year, there is no distinct intimation of the mode of the Divine manifestation. But when "Jehovah appeared" to the great patriarch by the oak of Mamre (Gen. 18.1), Abraham "lift up his eyes and looked, and lo, three men stood by him." Abraham bows himself to the ground; he offers hospitality; he waits b his visitors under the tree, and they eat. One of the three is the spokesman; he appears to hear the sacred name Jehovah (Gen. 18. 17); He is seemingly distinguished from the "two angels" who went first to Sodom; He promises that the aged Sarah shall have a son, and that " all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in Abraham." With Him Abraham intercedes for Sodom; by Him judgment is afterwards executed upon the guilty city. When it is said that "Jehovah rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of Heaven," a sharp distinction is established between a visible and an Invisible Person, each bearing the most Holy Name.





The Angel of the Lord


This distinction introduces us to the Mosaic and later representations of that very exalted and mysterious being, the Angel of the Lord. The Angel of the Lord is certainly distinguished from Jehovah; yet the names by which he is called, the powers which he assumes to wield, the honor which is paid to him show that in him there was at least a special presence of God. He seems to speak sometimes in his own name, and sometimes as if he were not a created personality, but only a veil or organ of the Higher Nature that spoke and acted through him. Thus he assures Hagar, as if speaking in the character of an ambassador from God, that "the Lord had heard her affliction" (Gen. 16.11). Yet he promises her, "I will multiply thy seed exceedingly," and she in return "called the Name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou, God, seest me." He arrests Abraham's arm when the patriarch is on the point of carrying out God's bidding by offering Isaac as a sacrifice (Gen. 22.11, 12); yet he associates himself with Him from whom "Abraham had not withheld his son, his only son." He accepts for himself Abraham's obedience as rendered to God, and he subsequently at a second appearance adds the promise, ""In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed ; because thou hast obeyed My voice." He appears to Jacob in a dream; he announces himself as "the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto Me" (Gen. 31.11,13). Thus he was "the Lord" who in Jacob's vision at Bethel had stood above the ladder and said, "I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac." He was, as it seems, the chief of that angel-host whom Jacob met at Mahanaim (Gen. 32. 1); with him Jacob wrestled for a blessing at Peniel; of him Jacob says, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." When blessing the sons of Joseph, the dying patriarch invokes not only "the God which fed me all my life long unto this day," but also "the Angel which redeemed me from all evil."





In The Burning Bush


In Midian the angel of the Lord appears to Moses "in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush." The bush remains miraculously unconsumed. "Jehovah" sees that Moses turns aside to see, and "Elohim" calls to Moses out of the midst of the bush. The very ground on which Moses stands is holy; and the lawgiver hides his face, "for he was afraid to look upon God." The Speaker from the midst of the bush announces Himself as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. His are the mercy, the wisdom, the providence, the power, the authority of the Most High ; nay, all the Divine attributes. When the children of Israel are making their escape from Egypt the Angel of the Lord leads them; in the hour of danger he places himself between the camp of Israel and the host of Pharaoh (Gen. 14.19). How deeply Israel felt the value of his protecting care we may learn from the terms of the message to the King of Edom (Num. 20. 16). God promises that the angel shall keep Israel in the way and bring the people to Canaan ; his presence is a guarantee that the Amorites and other idolatrous races shall be cut off. Israel is to obey this angel, and to provoke him not, for the Holy "Name is in him." Even after the sin of the Golden Calf the promised guardianship of the angel is not forfeited, while a distinction is clearly drawn between the angel and Jehovah Himself. Yet the angel is expressly called the Angel of God's presence (Exod. 33.14); he fully represents God. God must in some way have been present in him. No merely created being, speaking and acting in his own right, could have spoken to men, or have allowed men to act towards himself, as did the Angel of the Lord. Thus he withstands Balaam on his faithless errand, and bids him go with the messengers of Balak, but adds, "Only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak."





"Captain of the Host of the Lord"


As "Captain of the host of the Lord" he appears to Joshua in the plain of Jericho. Joshua worships God in him (Joshua 6.2); and the angel asks of the conqueror of Canaan the same tokens of reverence as had been exacted from Moses. Besides the reference in the Song of Deborah to the curse pronounced against Meroz by the Angel of the Lord, the Book of Judges contains accounts of three appearances, in each of which we are scarcely sensible of the action of a created personality, so completely is the language and bearing that of the Higher Nature present in the angel. At Bochim he expostulates with the assembled people for their breach of the covenant in failing to exterminate the Canaanites. God speaks by him as in His own Name; He refers to the covenant which He had made with Israel, and to His bringing the people out of Egypt; He declares that on account of their disobedience He will not drive the heathen nations out of the land (Judges 2.1-5). In the account of his appearance to Gideon the angel is called sometimes the Angel of the Lord, sometimes the Lord, or Jehovah. He bids Gideon attack the Midianite oppressors of Israel and adds the promise, "I will be with thee." Gideon places an offering before the angel that he may, if he wills, manifest his character by some sign. The angel touches the offering with the end of his staff, whereupon fire rises up out of the rock and consumes the offering. The angel disappears, and Gideon fears that he will die because he has seen " the Angel of the Lord face to face" (Judges 6. 11-22). When the wife of Manoah is reporting the angel's first appearance to herself, she says that " a man of God came to her," "and his countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very terrible." She thus speaks of the angel as of a being already known to Israel. At his second appearance the angel bids Manoah, who "knew not that he was an angel of the Lord," and offered him common food to offer sacrifice unto the Lord. The angel refuses to disclose his name, which is " Wonderful" (cf. Isa. 9. 6). When Manoah offers a kid with a meat-offering upon a rock unto the Lord the angel mounts visibly up to Heaven in the flame of the sacrifice. Like Gideon, Manoah fears death after such near contact with so exalted a being of the other world. "We shall surely die," he exclaims to his wife, "because we have seen God" (Judges 13.6-22).





Who was this Angel?


But you ask, Who was this angel? The Jewish interpreters vary in their explanations. The earliest fathers answer with general unanimity that he was the Word or Son of God Himself. Whether in the Theophanies the Word or Son actually appeared, or whether God made a created angel the absolutely perfect exponent of His thought and will, do they not point in either case to a purpose in the Divine mind which would only be realized when man had been admitted to a nearer and more palpable contact with God than was possible under the patriarchal or Jewish dispensations? Do they not suggest, as their natural climax and explanation, some personal self-unveiling of God before the eyes of His creatures? Would not God appear to have been training His people, by this long and mysterious series of communications, at length to recognize and to worship Him when hidden under, and indissolubly one with a created nature? Apart from the specific circumstance which may seem to have explained each theophany at the time of its taking place, and considering them as a series of phenomena, is there any other account of them so much in harmony with the general scope of Holy Scripture, as that they were successive lessons addressed to the eye and to the ear of ancient piety, in anticipation of a coming incarnation of God?


There is much dispute about which passages are Christophanies, which are appearence of God (theophany), and which are appearances of angels (angelophany).


Some authors also use Christophany to refer to post-resurrection appearances.


Distinguishing Criteria?

How do we distinguish an Old Testament appearance of Christ from an appearance of an angel or a person?


No man has seen God at any time (John 1:18).

Best criteria - Does the New Testament refer to the event as an appearance of Jesus?

Does the person receive worship?

Is the person addressed as the Lord?

Bible Passages - An exercise in discrimination

In the Garden of Eden

Gen 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.


Abraham's Visitors

Gen 18:1 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

. . .

31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake.



Gen 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.


Psa 110:4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.


Heb 5:6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

. .

Heb 5:10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

. . .

Heb 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 7:1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 7:2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. 7:4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

. . .

Heb 7:24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.


Passage portion Arguments for Identification as a Christophany Arguments Against Identification as a Christophany

Without father and mother Means he wasn't "human". Means he had no recorded geneology. Having no geneology shows he was not part of levitical priesthood

brought bread and wine Jesus brought bread and wine Ordinary form of hospitality in ANE (Ancient Near East).

Blessed Abraham Greater than Abraham due to the blessing. Jesus is greater than Abraham. Was the priest of God. Could recognize God's favor on Abraham.

Was Priest and King Jesus is Priest and King Unique individual to be both priest and king. Not uncommon in ANE that king would be the high priest..

Without end of days, no beginning, no ending. Jesus is eternal Refers to recorded life, not eternality.

King of  Salem Figurative title Literal King of [city] Jerusalem


Jacob's Wrestling Match

Gen 32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

. . .

Gen 32:32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.


The Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament

Exo 14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:


Exo 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.


Num 22:22 And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.

. . .

Num 22:35 And the angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.


Judg 6:11 And 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.

. . .

Judg 6:23 And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.


Characteristics of the angel of the Lord

Assumes divine titles

Assumes divine perogatives

Accepts divine homage

Rock in the Wilderness

Num 20:11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.

. . .

1 Cor 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.


Pillar of Fire

Exo 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.


Captain of the Lord's Army

Josh 5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? 14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? 15 And 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.


Tossed into the Fire

Dan 3:23-25 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.



We read that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and-in consequence of it-was made acquainted with His righteous designs, and received directions how to escape from a perishing world. The story of Abraham is full of accounts of such manifestations. In one of them, the Lord called him out of his sins, and from his kindred, to go to both the heavenly and the earthly Canaan. In other revelations, he promised Abraham a son, Isaac, and Isaac's mysterious seed. Several years after, for the trial of his faith, God commanded him to sacrifice his son; and when the trial was over, He declared His approval of Abraham's conduct. He even went further! Read Genesis 18 and see how the divine philanthropy appeared, in His condescending manner. to clothe Himself with the nature He was later to assume in the virgin's womb, and to converse - in this undress - with the father of the faithful, like a prince with his favourite, or as a friend with his confidant.


Sarah, Hagar, Isaac, and Rebekah, all had their divine manifestations, but those of Jacob deserve our particular attention. When he fled to Syria, from the face of his brother Esau, and lay desolate in a field, having only a heap of stones for his pillow, the God of all consolation appeared to him and stood above a mysterious ladder, on which the angels of God ascended and descended, and said to him `I am the Lord God of Abraham, thy father, and the God of Isaac : the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed ... and, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest.'


Jacob called that place Bethel, the house of God, and `the gate of heaven'. This seems to have been an intimation that no one ever found the gate of heaven by his own efforts, but by a manifestation of Christ, who is alone the Way to the Father, and the door into glory. When the same patriarch returned to Canaan, and was left alone one night, a Man wrestled with him until daybreak. Then, when this extraordinary person said `Let me go, for the day breaketh' he replied `I will not let thee go, except thou bless me'; and we read that `he blessed him there', acknowledging that Jacob had power with God, even with Him whose name is Emmanuel. Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, for, he said `I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved....' The design of this manifestation was merely to strengthen Jacob's faith, and we learn from it that the children of faithful Abraham may wrestle in prayer with the Lord, as Jacob did, until they prevail and are blessed in the way that he was.


Moses was favoured with numerous manifestations, sometimes because of his official position as a leader, and at other times only on the grounds of him being a common believer. `And the Angel of the Lord* appeared unto him, in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed ... And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see the bush, God called unto Moses out of the midst of the bush.' Many witnessed a sight which was equally glorious, however, on another occasion `Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and seventy of the elders of Israel saw the God of Israel; there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in its clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not His hand; also they saw God, and did eat and drink.' Sometimes all Israel shared in the manifestation : `They all drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them' comments Paul `and that rock was Christ.' The cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, according to the Jewish historian, and fire was upon it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel. `It came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. And all the people saw the cloudy pillar ... all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.' (*The reader may be surprised to see that the author is equating this special angel with the Son of God. If he refers to the opinions of our forefathers he will discover that this is not an unusual idea)


So gracious was Emmanuel to Moses, that when this Jewish leader said `I beseech thee, shew me thy glory' the Lord answered `I will make all My goodness pass before thee ... but thou canst not see My face, for there shall no man see Me and live.' These displays of divine goodness and glory left a deep impression upon even the countenance of the man of God; his face shone in such a glorious way that the children of Israel were afraid to come near him, and he was obliged to put a veil over his face before conversing with them. Though this appears to be very extraordinary, the Apostles inform us that the change which took place in the countenance of Moses, now occurs in the souls of believers. By faith they behold the Lord through the glass of gospel promises and, beholding Him, they are made `partakers of the divine nature'-changed into the same image from glory to glory.


Joshua, Moses' successor, was blessed with many similar manifestations, each of which conveyed to him new degrees of courage and wisdom. To give one example only: when Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there stood a man over against him, with his sword drawn in his hand; and Joshua went up to him, and said to him `Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?' And he said `Nay, but as Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come'. And Joshua (aware that it was Jehovah speaking) fell on his face to the earth, worshipped his Visitor, and said `What saith my Lord unto His servant?' And the Captain of the Lord's host said to Joshua `Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy'; and Joshua did so. Every true personal discovery of Christ has a similar effect; it humbles us and makes us worship Him. Those who are blessed by an open revelation see holiness to the Lord written upon every surrounding object; they are loosed from earth and earthly things, and the towering walls of sin fall down, like those of Jericho fell down soon after this manifestation occurred to Joshua.


After Joshua's death a heavenly person, called the Angel of the Lord, came from Gilgal to Bochim and spake such words to all the children of Israel, that the people were universally melted; `they lifted up their voice and wept ... and they sacrificed there unto the Lord.' Nothing can so effectually make sinners relent as a sight of Him whom they have pierced; when they have such a revelation, whatever place they are in becomes a Bochim, a valley of tears and adoration.


Not long after this, the Lord manifested Himself to Deborah; by the wisdom and fortitude communicated to her in that revelation, she was enabled to judge Israel and lead desponding Barak to certain victory, through 900 chariots of iron.


The condescension of our Emmanuel appears in a still more striking light in the manifestation which He granted to Gideon. The mysterious Angel of the Lord (repeatedly called Jehovah) came and sat under an oak in Ophrah, and after appearing to Gideon, said `The Lord is with thee ... and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.' And the Lord looked upon him (what a courage-inspiring look this was : as powerful, no doubt, as that which met cursing Peter's eye and brought repentance to his heart!) and said, `Go in this thy might ... have not I sent thee?' And Gideon said `Alas, 0 Lord God ! for because I have seen an Angel of the Lord face to face.' And the Lord said unto him `Peace be unto thee; fear not; thou shalt not die.' Thus strengthened and comforted, Gideon built an altar to Jehovah-Shalom and threw down the altar of Baal. From this, we learn that when Jesus manifests Himself to a sinner. He fills him with a noble contempt of the devil and gives him an effectual resolution to break down Satan's altars, together with a divine courage to shake off the yoke of the spiritual Midianites. He imparts to an awakened sinner a comfortable assurance that the bitterness of death is past, and that Jehovah Shalom, the God of peace, even Christ our peace, is with him; and the sinner, constrained by the love of Christ, offers his believing heart and makes sacrifices of thanksgiving on that best of altars. In this way, there begins a free exchange between the Lord and a modern Gideon-only of a far more spiritual and more delightful nature.


Some years later, the same Angel of God appeared to Manoah's wife, and promised her a son. Her husband prayed for the same manifestation and God hearkened to his voice; the heavenly Personage manifested Himself a second time. Manoah asked Him for His name, and the Angel said to him `Why askest thou thus after My name,seeing it is secret?' Manoah offered a burnt offering; the Angel received it at his hands and, while He ascended in the flame of the altar, Manoah fell on his face to the ground; he knew that this was the Angel Jehovah and so he said to his wife `We shall surely die, because we have seen God.' However, in due course, the birth of Samson(and not their death) resulted from this unusual two-fold manifestation.


There was a time when Samuel did not know the Lord, and also when the Word of the Lord (that Word which was afterwards made flesh) was not revealed to him. The devoted youth worshipped `in the dark' until the Lord appeared again in Shiloh, until He came, stood, and called Samuel. From that memorable time, the Lord was with him, and he did not let any of God's words `fall to the ground'. The fellowship between God and this prophet soon grew to such a degree that the sacred historian says the Lord told him in his ear what He wanted Samuel to know.


David had many manifestations of Christ, and of His pardoning love; and, far from supposing this blessing peculiar to himself (as a prophet) he declared that `for this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee Lord, when thou mayest be found.' He knew his Shepherd's inward voice so well that, without it, no outward message (though ever so comfortable) could restore peace to his troubled mind. When he had been convinced of his sins of adultery and murder (by the close application of Nathan's parable) the prophet assured David that the Lord had put away his sin and so he should not die. Such a report would content many of our modem penitents, but nothing short of a full and ready manifestation of our forgiving God could comfort the royal mourner-`Wash thou me' he prayed `and I shall be clean'. Nathan's words of comforting assurance, though ever so true in their way, could not give David an awareness of forgiveness; `speak thyself merciful Lord and make me to hear joy and gladness, so that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.'


Solomon was favoured with a quite remarkable revelation : In Gibeon, to which place Solomon had gone to sacrifice, the Lord appeared unto him in a dream by night; and God said `Ask what I shall give thee'. And Solomon said. .. `Give, therefore, thy servant an understanding heart'... The speech pleased the Lord ... and God said unto him `Because thou hast asked this thing ... I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and understanding heart ... and that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honour.' Though this promise was made to Solomon in a dream only, he knew by the change which he found in himself, after he awoke, and by the powerful evidence which accompanies divine manifestations, that it was glorious reality. Fully persuaded of the promise, he did not hesitate to offer peaceofferings and to make a feast for all of his servants, to mark the occasion. Nor was this the only time Solomon was thus favoured : when he had finished building the temple and had prayed for a blessing upon it, the Lord appeared to him a second time, as He had appeared to him in Gibeon and said `I have heard thy prayer'.


Elijah has always been famous for the power which he had, through the prayer of faith, to obtain divine manifestations, that James-in his Epistle-uses him as an example to the church, for a pattern of successful 'wrestling with God'. Who is the God of Elijah but that same Lord Who manifests Himself to His worshippers still, in opposition to Baal and other false gods ! The Lord answered Elijah by fire at the foot of Mount Carmel, and by showers on the top of the same. When Elijah lodged in Mount Horeb, in a cave `Behold, the Word of the Lord came to him... "What dost thou here, Elijah? Go forth and stand upon the mount before the Lord". And behold, the Lord passed by.'


Micaiah, another man of God `saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right hand and on His left.'


Elisha was not only blessed with frequent manifestations of the Lord and of His power, but also of His heavenly retinue. He saw in an hour of danger `the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire' ready to protect him. And, at his request, the Lord condescended to open Elisha's servant's eyes, so that his drooping spirit might be revived.


Job, after long debates with his friends, met with the Lord Himself `out of a whirlwind' and saw a manifestation which caused him to utter these famous words : `I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.' From this, we learn that nothing apart from a personal discovery of the Lord can silence vain reasonings and unbelieving fears; a revelation of the Lord, alone, makes us to lie prostrate at our Maker's feet.


John, in his Gospel, informs us that Isaiah saw Christ's glory and spoke of Him, when he described the glorious manifestation in which he received a new seal of pardoning and sanctifying love : `I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple' ... `then said I "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts". Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand ... from off the altar ... he said... "Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged"...' Many are not truly aware of the forgiveness of their sins, until they see-by faith-the Lord of Hosts, and are melted into repentance, then inflamed with love at the glorious sight. Isaiah not only beheld Christ's glory, but was blessed with the clearest view of His sufferings. He saw Him as `a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.' These revelations were not only intended for the good of the Church later, but also for the establishment of the prophet's faith then.


I shall not mention those of Ezekiel, for they are so numerous that a complete account of them would fill a book alone. I suggest that you re-read the Second Book of Kings, with this subject in mind, in order to recall the wonder of those days.


Jeremiah, speaking of God's people, wrote that the Lord had appeared to him, saying `Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.' Daniel enjoyed the same favour: `I beheld ... the Ancient of Days ... and one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven.' We may assume that Daniel's three hebrew companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, were also aware of their heavenly Deliverer's presence. In fact, they must have been more concerned at the discovery than Nebuchadnezzar, who himself cried out `Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.'


It would be absurd to suppose that the lesser prophets, and other men of God down through the centuries, to whom the word of the Lord came, had no awareness of the Lord himself-the essential Word. If some display of His presence had not attended their every revelation, might they not have said `Thus saith my warm imagination'; `Thus saith my enthusiastic brain', instead of `Thus saith the Lord'?


From the variety and authenticity of these manifestations left upon sacred record, I conclude that the doctrine which I maintain-far from being new and unscripturalis supported by the experiences of God's children from the creation of the world until the close of the Old Testament.


Concerning what is extraordinary (as to the design and circumstances of some of these manifestations) I refer you to the distinction which I made on that subject in the third chapter. Should you raise the objection that the contents of that chapter prove only that God favoured the Patriarchs and Jews with immediate revelations of Himself, because they had neither the Gospel nor the Scriptures, I answer


1. The Gospel was preached to them, as well as to us. The Patriarchs had tradition, which answered the end of the Scriptures in their day; the Jews, in the time of the Judges, had not only tradition but a considerable part of the Scriptures also, consisting of-at least-all the writings of Moses. Under the kings they had the Psalms, Job, Ecclesiastes, the Proverbs, and a thousand and five songs of Solomon, only one of which has been handed down to our times. They had also the book of Nathan the prophet, the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and the visions of Iddo the seer, which are now lost. These contained the substance of the Bible.


2. When the Lord answered Saul no more-neither by prophets nor by dreams-the reason assigned for it by the Holy Spirit is not that the canon of Scripture was filled (so that there was no further need for open revelations), but that the Lord was departed from him, and had become his enemy!


3. David (who had the honour of being a sacred writer himself), after his relapse into sin, could no longer find satisfaction in the Psalms he had written, but mourned, prayed, and watered his bed with his tears; he could not be calmed until the Lord revealed His pardoning love to him, saying to his soul `I am thy salvation'.


4. If, because we have the letter of Scripture, we must be deprived of all immediate manifestations of Christ and of his Spirit, we are great losers by that blessed Book, and we might reasonably say `Lord, bring us back to the dispensation of Moses. Thy Jewish servants could formerly converse with Thee face to face, but now we can know nothing of Thee except by their writings. They viewed Thy glory in various wonderful appearances, but we are left only with black lines telling us of Thy glory. They had the bright Shekinah; we have only obscure descriptions of it. They were blessed with lively oracles; we only with dead letters. The ark of Thy covenant went before them, and struck terror into all their adversaries, but a book of which our enemies make daily sport, is the only revelation of Thy power among us. They made their boast of Urim and Thummin, and received immediate answers from between the Cherubim; but we have only general ones, by means of Hebrew and Greek writings, which many do not understand. They conversed familiarly with Moses their mediator, with Aaron their high-priest, and with Samuel their prophet; these holy men gave them unerring directions in doubtful cases; but alas! ... the Apostles and inspired men are all dead, and Thou, Lord Jesus, our Mediator, Priest, and Prophet, may not be consulted to any purpose, for Thou dost manifest Thyself no more! As for Thy sacred Book, Thou knowest that sometimes the want of money to purchase it, the want of learning to consult the original, the want of wisdom to understand translations, the want of skill or sight to read it, prevent our making the most of it, and keep some from reaping any benefit from it at all. 0 Lord, if because we have this blessed picture of Thee, we must have no discovery of the glorious Original, have compassion on us, take back Thy precious book, and impart Thy more precious Self to us, as Thou didst do to Thine ancient people.'


5. Paul declared, that although the Mosaic dispensation was glorious, that of Christ exceeds it in glory! However, if Christ revealed Himself to the Jews, but to Christians only by the letter of a Book, it is plain that the Apostle was mistaken. How can anyone deny that it is far more glorious to see the light of God's countenance and to hear His voice, than merely to read something about them?


6. Particular manifestations of Christ, far from ceasing with the Jewish era have increased in brightness and spirituality during the Christian dispensation. I shall endeavour to prove this to you in the next chapter.

Jesus In the Old Testament

Share | By Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Ph.D.,

President Emeritus



There is no finer teacher on whether Jesus is to be found in the pages of the Old Testament than the teaching of our Lord Jesus himself.


He it was who said in John 5:39, “You [Jewish people] diligently study the Scriptures [which at that time were the 39 books of the Tanak/Old Testament].... These are the Scriptures that tes- tify about me.” That should settle the question.


But even more famously, Jesus rebuked Cleopas, and that other unnamed disciple, as they walked along the road to Emmaus on that first Easter Sunday, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the [Old Testament] Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27).


Even King David predicted the resurrection of Jesus back in 1000 B.C. as he, too, saw what was ahead, namely, that Jesus would not be “abandon[ed] ... to the grave, nor [would he] let his Holy One see decay” (Ps 16:8-11; Acts 2:30- 31). Therefore, it is not unexpected that we, too, should find Jesus present in the events and the predictions found in the Old Testament.


It is only right that we should find that Jesus was both actually present in the Old Testament


and accurately predicted, and that he would come first as our Savior, and then in a later sec- ond coming, would appear as the King supreme over all the earth. Such an unusual state of affairs is possible because he was, he is and he is the One to come. But sad to say, all too many miss both his real presence in the Old Testament narrative and the numerous predictions of both his first and second advents/comings. To remedy this, let us turn first to those places where he appeared in a Christophany in the Old Testament times. Then we will sample some of the numer- ous predictions of his comings.


Old Testament Appearances of Christ


Jesus is first seen in the Old Testament as the person who appeared as “the Angel of the Lord” in his sudden confrontation with Sarah’s maidser- vant, Hagar (Gen 16:7). Thereafter, he continued to appear intermittently throughout the earlier books of the Old Testament. These real occur- rences, initiated by God, were characterized by the fact that they were convincing revelations of his person and work, as much as they were also


transitory, fleeting, but audible and clearly visible appear- ances. He came temporally in the form of a human, much before his final incarnation as a babe in Bethlehem, yet this same “Angel of the LORD” is called and is addressed often as “the LORD/Yahweh” himself (Gen 12:7; 17:1; 19:1; etc.).


This “Angel of the LORD” was a title that stood for his office, but it did not describe his nature. The Hebrew word for “angel” (mal’ak) had the basic idea of one who was “sent,” a “messenger.” Of the 214 usages of the He- brew term used for “angel,” about one-third of them refer to what is labeled by theologians as a “Christophany,” a temporary appearance of Christ in the Old Testament. It is certain, however, that this special angel of the Lord is divine, for Hagar “...gave this name to the LORD, who spoke with her [as the Angel of the LORD]: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ as she observed, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me’” (Gen 16:13). 1


Other instances of Jesus’ appearances in the Old Testa- ment can be seen representatively in Genesis 22:11, 15, where it was the Angel of Yahweh who spoke from heaven to Abraham when Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, and stopped him from proceeding. Again, it was the Angel of Yahweh who appeared to Moses in the flame of fire in Exodus 3:2. Throughout the dialogue at that burning bush, it was also declared that he was no one less than “Yah- weh,” who spoke at that time, causing Moses to hide his face from him (Ex 3:6).


Later, it was the same Angel of the Lord who appeared to the wife of Manoah (Judg 13:2-25), mother of Samson, whom she reported to her husband was indeed a “man of God” that had appeared to her. When Manoah asked for the “Angel of the LORD” to also appear to him as he had appeared to his wife, the Angel repeated the appearances and his conversations to him, after which he ascended in the flame of the altar (Judg 13:20), implying the sacrifice was in worship of the Lord himself! Moreover, this “An- gel” is regarded as a “Redeemer,” who saves Israel from evil (Isa 63:9).


How can readers of the Old Testament doubt that these sample instances, along with a host of other such descrip- tions in the earlier Scriptures, were anything less than pre-incarnate appearances of our Lord Jesus in real flesh, even if it was in those days only a temporary in-flesh-ment/ incarnation for the immediate needs of the people until he would come and take on flesh permanently? Oftentimes Jesus came to earth to help his people in their distress and their need for direction. The only examples of the Angel of Yahweh turning against Israel occur in 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21, where the Angel is the agent of God’s punishment of David, because he disobeyed God and conducted a national census.


Old Testament Predictions of the Coming Messiah


In addition to the real presence of Jesus as the Angel of the Lord/God, J. Barton Payne2 listed some 574 verses in the Old Testament that had direct personal messianic foretellings. Payne found 127 personal messianic predictions involving some, 348 verses that had any or all types of real and typological prophecies of Jesus’ first or second coming. This number was exceeded only by Alfred Edersheim,3 who noted that in some 558 rabbinic writings in pre-Christian times, there were some 456 separate Old Testament/Tanak passages used to refer to the Messiah or to messianic times!


In my own book, The Messiah in the Old Testament,4 I was able to identify 65 direct predictions of Jesus’ com- ings in the Old Testament. Few will dispute that there are at least six direct Messianic predictions in the Pentateuch: Genesis 3:15; 9:27; 12:2-3; 49:8-12; Numbers 24:15-19; and Deuteronomy 18:15-18.


Eve was promised in Genesis 3:15 that a male descen- dant from her line would crush the head of the serpent, i.e., the Devil himself, and win completely over evil, as the prince of evil, Satan, would be finally vanquished. Then in Genesis 9:27, God would come and live/dwell in the tents of Shem, the Semitic peoples. But which one of the Semites did God intend: the Arabs or the Jewish people? Abraham settled that question, for God called him to go from Ur of Mesopotamia to Israel, and he was to be a blessing for all the nations on earth in Genesis 12:3.


This promise could be narrowed down even further for the tribe of Judah. Son number four of Jacob would be the one God would invest with the scepter of ruling and the one from whom the line of Messiah would descend (Gen 49:8-12). In fact, this coming one from Judah would be “A star [that would] come out of Jacob, a scepter [that would] rise out of Israel” (Num 24:17). Moreover, the Messiah who would come would also be a “prophet” (Deut 18:15) as well as a “king” (Ps 72).


If the book of Job is to be placed in the period of the patriarchs (c. 2100 – 1800), as we believe he is to be placed, then there are four texts in Job that should be added to the six in the Pentateuch. There Messiah is called an “angel” and a “Mediator” (Job 33:23-28).


Add to these 10 direct Messianic prophecies another five from the times both prior to and during the Davidic period. He is seen as the “Anointed” one in 1 Samuel 2:1-10 and the “faithful Priest” in 1 Samuel 2:35-36. But the most outstanding text by far is the Davidic Covenant text found in 2 Samuel 7 (repeated in 1 Chron 17) and elaborated on in Psalm 132, which pointed to the dynasty/house of David as the place where God would originate his throne, dynasty and kingdom forever. The promise given to King David was so astounding that David cried out in 2 Samuel 7:19c that “This is the law/charter for [all] humanity.” In other words, God had just now conferred on David an enlargement of the promise he had originally made with the patriarchs.5


There is not enough space to relate how 11 Psalms celebrate the person and work of the coming Messiah, but even though he would be rejected (Ps 118), and betrayed (Pss 69, 109), die and be resurrected (Pss 22, 16), he would come as Conqueror and Enthroned Ruler (Pss 2, 110), as Planner and Groom (Pss 40, 45), and as Triumphant King (Pss 68, 72).


In addition to the previous 15 direct references to the coming Messiah, there are some 39 predictions of the Mes- siah in the Old Testament prophets. A sample of these announcements before they happened would include these facts. First, it was predicted that Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isa 7:14; cf. Mt 1:33). His birthplace would be Bethlehem (Mic 5:2; cf. Mt 2:1, 6), and John the Baptist would be his forerunner (Isa 40:3-5; Mal 3:1; cf. Mt 3:3, Mk 1:3; Lk 3:4-6).


It was further announced ahead of time that Messiah would enter Jerusalem [what turned out to be Palm Sun- day] in Triumph as the crowd shouted “Hosanna” (Zech 9:9-10; Ps 118:25-26; cf. Mt 21:9; Mk 11:9; Lk 19:38; Jh 12:13). But in less than a week, he would be betrayed [by one of his own disciples, Judas, as it turned out] (Ps 69:25; cf. Acts 1:20).


Messiah’s side would be pierced (Zech 12:10; cf. Jh 19:37), and he would suffer vicariously for the sins of the world (Isa 53:6, 9, 12; cf. I Pt 2:21-25; Rom 4:25). Even more dramatically accurate was the fact that Jesus would be killed with the “wicked” ones (Isa 53:9a, note the plural noun in Hebrew) [as he hung between two thieves], yet he would be buried with the rich one (Isa 53:9b, note its singu- lar form in the Hebrew).


But that was not the end of the matter for the predic- tions about Jesus in the Old Testament, for Messiah would return to earth a second time (Daniel 7:13; cf Mk 13:26; Lk 21:27), and he would one day rule in the city of Jerusalem as King of kings, as the nations would go up to that city to be taught in his ways, never more to “train for war any- more” (Isa 2:3-4).


As far as the case for the Messiah in the Old Testament is concerned, the relationship between the Old and New Testaments is one of strong continuity and a progressive revelation. The seminal seeds of the doctrine of the person and work of Jesus bloom and blossom in the New Testa- ment even though the Old Testament often carried in semi- nal seed form much that eventually developed out of the Old. What a gracious, revealing God, and what a wonder- ful gift of a Savior who has come to earth once, but who is due to return once more in all his fullness and glory!


Chronological Order of Christ in the Old Testament


How much do you really know about the Old Testament Messiah?


The Physical Appearances of Christ in the Old Testament


Genesis 14:17-20 (Hebrews 5:6; 7:1-8) - Jesus is called Melchizedek, priest, man, Son of God.  He blessed Abraham.


2 reasons why some say Melchizedek was not Christ:


Hebrews 7:3,15 - made like unto the Son of God (Daniel 3:25)


Hebrews 7:4 - called a man (Genesis 18:1-2; 32:24; Joshua 5:13)


5 reasons why I believe Melchizedek was Christ!


called priest of the most high God (before the Law was given) - Hebrews 7:1


called a priest forever (like Jesus) - Hebrews 5:6; 7:3,17,21


called "king of Salem" (peace) - Isaiah 9:6; Ephesians 2:14; Hebrews 7:1-2


called "king of Righteousness" - Romans 10:1-4; Hebrews 7:2


without genealogy (Eternal One) - Hebrews 7:3


Genesis 16:7-13

(called angel of the Lord - blessed Hagar)


Genesis 18:1-14

(called Lord, man - blessed Abraham)


Genesis 32:24-30 (Hosea 12:2-5)

(called man, God, angel - blessed Jacob)


Numbers 22:22-35

(called angel of the Lord - warned Balaam)


Joshua 5:13-15

(called man - fought for Joshua & Israel)


Judges 2:1-4

(called angel of the Lord - rebuked Joshua & Israel)


Judges 6:11-22

(called angel of the Lord, Lord - fought for Gideon & Israel)


Judges 13:1-22

(called angel of the Lord, God, man - raised up Samson for Israel)


2nd Samuel 24:13-17; 1st Chronicles 21:12-18; 2nd Chronicles 3:1

(called angel of the Lord, Lord, angel - chastened king David & Israel


1st Kings 19:1-7

(called angel of the Lord, angel - strengthened Elijah)


Daniel 3:23-28 (Hebrews 7:3)

(called Son of God, angel - protected Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego)


Zechariah 1:7-19; 2:1-3; 3:1-6; 4:1-5; 5:5-10; and 6:4,5

(called angel of the Lord, angel, man - revealed truth to Zechariah)



The Personal Appearances of Christ in the Old Testament


Genesis 21:17,18

(called angel of God - cared for Hagar)


Genesis 22:11-18

(called angel of the Lord - blessed Abraham)


Genesis 28:13-16

(called Lord - blessed Jacob)


Genesis 31:11-13

(called angel of God - instructs Jacob)


Exodus 3:1,2 (John 8:58 and Acts 7:30-33)

(called angel of the Lord - instructs Moses)


Exodus 13:21 (Exodus 23:20-23)

(called Lord - leads and protects Israel)


Exodus 14:19

(called angel of God - leads and protects Israel)


2nd Kings 1:3,15

(called angel of the Lord - protected Elijah)


2nd Kings 19:35 (2nd Chronicles 32:21; Isaiah 37:36)

(called angel of the Lord - Zechariah 1:11,12; 3:1,5,6; 12:8)


Daniel 6:22 (Numbers 20:16 and Isaiah 63:9 and Daniel 3:28)

(called angel - protected Daniel)



The Personal References of Christ in the Old Testament


Genesis 24:7,40

(called angel - Abraham instructs servant)


Genesis 48:16

(called angel - Jacob recalls Genesis 32:24-30)


Exodus 23:20-23; 32:34; 33:2 (Numbers 20:16)

(called angel - Exodus 13:21; 14:19; Isaiah 63:9)


Numbers 20:16

(called angel - Exodus 13:21; 14:19; Isaiah 63:9)


Judges 5:23

(called angel of the Lord - Judges 2:1,4; 6:11,12,21,22; 13:3,13,15, 16-18,20,21)


Psalms 34:7; 35:5,6

(called angel of the Lord)


Isaiah 63:9

(called angel of his presence - Exodus 23:20-23)


Hosea 12:4

(called angel - Genesis 32:24-30)


Zechariah 12:8

(called angel of the Lord - Zechariah 1:11,12; 3:1,5,6; 12:8)


Ecclesiastes 5:6

(called angel)
































  Get in the Word of God!


Jesus Christ’s appearances in the Old Testament–pt. 1

The God we serve is very complex in his character and many times it is difficult to comprehend why or how he does what he does.  This is one reason why critics of Christianity resist having the Lord as part of their lives.  When they look at the Old Testament (OT) and compare it to the New Testament (NT), they fail to see how the two interconnect.  They deny that all three persons of the godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) were active in the Old Testament and claim that the Trinity is nothing more than an idea conjured up in the New Testament.


Mankind in his sinfulness is more comfortable serving gods who are created in his image, but the God of true Christianity expects us to be like him because everything he does is done in truth and righteousness.  Critics of the true and living God fail to realize that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are his ways our ways because his thoughts and ways are much higher than our thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8,9).  Furthermore, the existence of the Trinity is expressed in the very first chapter of Genesis (Gen. 1:1,2,26) where God’s name is Elohim, which is plural (yet at the same time is singular), and where in v. 26 God refers to himself in the plural.


Careful study of the OT also reveals that Jesus Christ made several bodily appearances, or Christophanies, long before he entered Mary’s womb.  One such appearance was in Gen. 18 when Jesus, along with two of his angels, visited Abraham.  In v. 3 of that chapter Abraham greets one of the men as “My Lord” (“Adonai” in Hebrew) which is a phrase in scripture used only to refer to God (see Ps. 110:1).  Starting in Gen. 18:13, this man is called “the LORD.”  Whenever the word LORD appears in scripture with all caps, this identifies God’s name Jehovah or Yahweh.  As this chapter ends, two of the men begin a journey to Sodom while Jesus remains behind to tell Abraham that Sodom will be destroyed.  Upon learning of Sodom’s upcoming destruction, Abraham intercedes on their behalf to Jesus.  In the next chapter the two angels who were with Jesus arrive at Sodom to rescue Lot and his family.


Jesus also made an appearance to Jacob in Gen. 32:24-30 where he wrestled with Jacob all night.  Several theologians have said that Jacob was merely having a psychological battle, not a physical one, because of his feeling guilty for taking Esau’s birthright.  However, I have never heard of someone having a psychological battle where their hip gets knocked out of joint as Jacob’s did–have you?  Since Jacob held his own against Jesus in the wrestling match, he was granted a blessing.  His name was changed to Israel, which is proof that this man had to be Jesus.  Israel means “he who prevails with God” or “he will rule as God (rules).”  Jacob had literally prevailed with God by wrestling with him in the person of Jesus.  This was a reflection of Jacob’s spiritual growth in that he could persevere and overcome by faith without cheating as he had done in the past.  Jacob realized who he wrestled with in Gen. 32:30 by naming the place Peniel, meaning “the face of God,” knowing he had seen him face to face and lived.


Jesus appeared to Joshua also in Josh. 5:13-15.  Joshua was near Jericho when he saw a man with a sword drawn.  Immediately Joshua wanted to know if he was friend or foe and he was told by the man that he was captain of the Lord’s host.  Upon hearing this, Joshua fell on his face and worshipped him.  This man did not stop Joshua from worshipping him as any other servant of the Lord would do (see Acts 10:26; 14:15; Rev. 19:10; 22:9 where servants of God stopped other men from worshipping them).  Joshua asked Jesus what his message was and Jesus responded by telling Joshua to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground, which is the same thing he told Moses in Exodus when he appeared to him in a burning bush.


The final physical appearance of Christ in the Old Testament was in Judges 13:3-23 when he encountered Samson’s parents before Samson was born.  He is referred to as “the angel of the Lord” in this chapter.  You may ask “Why is he called an angel when we know Jesus is not an angel? He’s the Lord.”  Well, you would have to examine what the word angel actually means.  Angel not only refers to the spiritual beings who carry out God’s commands, it refers to the office one holds as delivering messages from God.  If you read Revelation chapters 2 and 3, the pastors of the seven churches in Asia are called angels based on this second definition.  Therefore, it stands to reason that the ultimate angel, or messenger, of the Lord would have to be Jesus.  Throughout his ministry Jesus said repeatedly that he was speaking what the Father told him to speak.


Now, getting back to Samson’s parents, Jesus appears to tell Samson’s parents what is required of them to raise Samson.  The first clue we have that this is Christ is when Samson’s father, Manoah, asks the angel what his name is.  The angel replies that his name is “secret” in Gen. 13:18.  This word “secret” also means “wonderful”, the adjective version of the noun “Wonderful” used as one of the names of Christ in Isaiah 9:6.


The second clue occurs when Manoah and his wife offer a burnt offering to the Lord after the angel suggests it.  As the offering is burning, the angel ascends up to heaven in the flames.  This signifies that the offering is acceptable and pleasing.  No one except God has the right or authority to consider an offering acceptable, so this angel was undoubtedly Jesus Christ.  The final clue is given to us from Manoah who says “we have seen God” after the angel ascends in the flames.


It is clear that all three members of the Trinity played an active role in the affairs of men in both the OT and NT.  This proves that the word of God is consistent and not contradictory.  We serve a God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.


Substitute “Jesus” for the word “wisdom” in Proverbs, and you’ll have some interesting reading.


There’s a father/son team in Christian music but I can’t remember their names. They wrote a powerful song called, “He Is.” It follows along the line of what your post mentions. I remember the lyrics because I’ve performed this song in praise and worship. I hope it blesses you!














Erroneous beliefs and preconceived ideas are a lock on the door of the human mind; they have proven to be very effective in keeping the truth at bay. In the past, the belief systems of most people were acquired directly from their parents as they grew up. Countless generations clung to their inherited beliefs with great tenacity, vigorously promoting them as bequeathed truth. Yet in the vast majority of cases, the origin of these beliefs was not based on fact, but rather on supposition or hearsay.


Unfortunately, this has been doubly true in the case of religious convictions. Most who have professed to be Christians have not studied God's Word to prove or disprove their beliefs, as God commands and expects (I The. 5:21; Acts 17:11). Instead of the Bible, many have relied on their priest, pastor, or minister to explain God and His purpose to them. Some of those who did look into the Bible for themselves sought out "proof texts" that seemed to substantiate their original views. Usually taken out of context, these "proof text" verses were esteemed at the expense of the rest of the Bible. Any Scripture which appeared contradictory to their beliefs was ignored or rationalized away.


Satan the devil has used this prevalent flaw in human nature to deceive almost the entire world about one of the central topics of the Bible, the prophesied Messiah. The identity and activities of the one to whom all authority in heaven and on earth has been given (Matt. 28:18; I Cor. 15:27) remains a mystery to most of the world. However, the Bible discloses who this being is and what he's been doing to accomplish God's plan for mankind. In this article, we're going to see what God's Word has to say about the Messiah before his birth to Mary.


Many believe that God the Father was the one who interacted with ancient Israel personally, appearing and speaking to the patriarchs and to Moses. Yet the Bible plainly and absolutely contradicts this belief:


JOHN 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. (NKJV)

JOHN 5:37 "And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form." (NKJV)

JOHN 6:46 "Not that any man hath seen the Father, except he who is from God, he hath seen the Father." (RWB)

I TIMOTHY 6:14 . . . Our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 who at the due time will be revealed by God, the blessed and only Ruler of all, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal, whose home is in inaccessible light, whom no man has seen and no man is able to see: to him be honor and everlasting power. Amen. (Jerusalem Bible)

I JOHN 4:12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. (NKJV)

As you can see, the New Testament makes it abundantly clear that the Father has never been seen by mankind. So who was the one called "God" (Heb. 'elohim) or "the LORD" (Heb. YHVH) who appeared and spoke to Noah, Abraham, Moses and others in the Old Testament? The information we will examine in this article strongly indicates that it was the one who later came in the flesh as Yeshua of Nazareth!


Let's begin by reviewing some generally overlooked evidence from ancient Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Scriptures called Targums. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) gives us some background on what the Targums are and where they came from:


The most elementary meaning of the word targum is "translation" or "interpretation" . . . In later times the term targum became associated primarily with the various Aramaic translations of the OT . . . Often these translations tend to be paraphrastic, and sometimes they contain extensive annotations rather than pure literal renderings of the Hebrew text.


. . . The Hebrew Scriptures were the primary source and inspiration for the Jewish way of life. Thus it was imperative to interpret the meaning of holy writ. The oral tradition, like the Targums, provided a more or less official interpretation of the meaning of Scripture . . . The Targums, like the oral law, contain a wealth of information concerning the way the Jewish interpreters of late antiquity understood the Scriptures . . .


. . . Most scholars agree that the practice of translating the Bible into Aramaic was an early custom. Certainly the large Jewish community that remained in Babylon after the decree of Cyrus (537 B.C.) would have eventually required a translation of the sacred literature into Aramaic. . . . The Targums were indeed an actualization of the Bible, and they often elucidate the ancient Jewish understanding of particular texts.


The earliest Targums known are those discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. . . . It may well be that the Targums were preserved and transmitted as oral tradition long before they were committed to writing. Already the Mishnah and the Tosefta described the custom of reading the Hebrew Bible and having it translated into Aramaic . . .


The study of the Targums is of paramount importance, for they reflect early Jewish ideas, customs, and Halakah as well as Jewish interpretation of Scripture. Hence the Targums are relevant sources for the study of the Hebrew OT not only because they demonstrate how the text was translated and understood, in much the same way as the LXX and other ancient Bible translations, but also because the Targums preserve remnants of Jewish thought from late antiquity. In this respect . . . they can elucidate Jewish life and understanding of the Scripture from the time of nascent Christianity. (pp. 727, 728, 729, vol. 4, "Targum")

As the ISBE points out, the Targums can be helpful in understanding the way a first- century Jew at the time of Christ would have understood the Hebrew Scriptures. When the Tanakh shows God ('elohim) or the LORD (YHVH) conversing with human beings, who would Yeshua's Jewish contemporaries have understood this to be?


The Targums help us to answer this question. We're going to examine some Old Testament appearances of God and see how the Targums interpret these appearances. First, let's look at the story of Hagar's flight into the desert away from Sarai:


GENESIS 16:7 Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And He said, "Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai." 9 The Angel of the LORD said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand." 10 Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, "I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude." 11 And the Angel of the LORD said to her: "Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has heard your affliction. 12 He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." 13 Then she called the name of the LORD [YHVH] who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, "Have I also here seen Him who sees me?" (NKJV)

The name YHVH (also variously rendered "YHWH," "Yahweh," "Yahveh," "Yehovah," or "Jehovah") is found over 6,800 times in the Old Testament. A detailed review of the Hebrew Scriptures shows this name was applied to God the Father (Deu. 18:15; Psa. 110:1), the Angel of the LORD (Exo. 13:21; 19:20), and even to other angels (Gen. 19:18, original Hebrew text). So the appearance of this name, which seems to be used like a surname (Eph. 3:14-15), does not automatically identify the spiritual entity referred to here.


In verse 13 we see that Hagar called the "Angel of the LORD" who spoke to her by the name YHVH. However, the Targums record another name for this being:


GENESIS 16:7 And the Angel of the Lord found her at the fountain of waters in the desert; at the fountain of waters which is in the way to Chagra. 8 And He said, Hagar, handmaid of Sara, whence comest thou, and whither does thou go? And she said, From before Sara my mistress I have escaped. 9 And the Angel of the Lord said to her, Return to thy mistress, and be subject under her hand. 10 And the Angel of the Lord said to her, Multiplying I will multiply thy sons, and they shall not be numbered for multitude. 11 And the Angel of the Lord said to her, Behold, thou art with child, and thou wilt bear a son, and thou shalt call his name Ishmael, because thy affliction is revealed before the Lord. 12 And he shall be like the wild ass among men: his hands shall take vengeance of his adversaries, and the hands of his adversaries be put forth to do him evil; and in the presence of all his brethren shall he be commingled and shall dwell. 13 And she gave thanks before the Lord whose Word spake to her, and thus said, Thou art He who livest and art eternal; who seest, but art not seen! (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, translated by J.W. Etheridge)

GENESIS 16:13 And Hagar gave thanks, and prayed in the Name of the Word of the Lord, who had been manifested to her, saying, Blessed be Thou, Eloha, the Living One of all Ages, who hast looked upon my affliction. (Jerusalem Targum, translated by J.W. Etheridge)

Targum Pseudo-Jonathan (so named because of an initial misidentification of its composer by scholars) and the Jerusalem Targum both tell us that it was the Memra (Aramaic for "Word") of YHVH who came and spoke to Hagar.amed because of an initial misidentification


We know from the New Testament who first-century messianic Jews identified as the Word of the LORD:


JOHN 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NKJV)

JOHN 1:14 And the Word became 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. (NKJV)

REVELATION 19:11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. (NKJV)

Jewish knowledge of a high-ranking spirit being called the Word (Ara. Memra, Gr. Logos) is well attested at the time of Christ. Several of the Targums use this designation to describe the one who interacted with the patriarchs and the nation of Israel in the wilderness. Additionally, the writings of Philo of Alexandria, a contemporary of Yeshua, give us a lot of information about who this Word was understood to be (for additional details on Philo's discussion of the Word, see my article "Who is Jesus Christ?").


Next, let's examine the appearance of YHVH to Abraham at Mamre:


GENESIS 18:1 Then the LORD [YHVH] appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. (NKJV)

The Hebrew text of Genesis 18:1 says that YHVH was the one who appeared to Abraham. However, the Jerusalem Targum gives us further identification of who came to him:


GENESIS 18:1 Therefore was there a word of prophecy from before the Lord unto Abraham the Just, and the Word of the Lord was revealed to him in the valley of vision; and he sat in the door of the tabernacle, comforting himself from his circumcision in the fervour (or strength) of the day. (Jerusalem Targum, translated by J.W. Etheridge)

The Jerusalem Targum records that YHVH who appeared to Abraham after his circumcision was actually the Word of YHVH.


Later, we see that God tested Abraham's commitment and obedience:


GENESIS 22:1 Now it came to pass after these things that God [ha'elohim] tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." 2 Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." (NKJV)

Targum Pseudo-Jonathan further identifies the 'elohim who told Abraham to sacrifice his son:


GENESIS 22:1 The Word of the Lord at once tried Abraham, and said to him, Abraham! And he said, Behold me. And He said, Take now thy son, thy only one whom thou lovest, Izhak, and go into the land of worship, and offer him there, a whole burnt offering, upon one of the mountains that I will tell thee. (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, translated by J.W. Etheridge)

Here we see that the 'elohim who told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac was the Word of the LORD. Later in the story of Abraham and Isaac, we find Isaac asking his father where they were going to acquire a sacrificial animal. Abraham told Isaac that 'elohim would provide the sacrifice:


GENESIS 22:8 And Abraham said, "My son, God ['elohim] will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together. (NKJV)

The Jerusalem Targum identifies this 'elohim as the Word of the LORD:


GENESIS 22:8 And Abraham said, The Word of the Lord will prepare for me a lamb; and if not, then thou art the offering, my son! And they went both of them together with a contrite heart. (Jerusalem Targum, translated by J.W. Etheridge)

The understanding that the Word, and not the Father, was the one who actually tested Abraham helps explain a puzzling statement found in Genesis 22:12:


GENESIS 22:10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, "Here I am." 12 And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for NOW I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." (NKJV)

If God is omniscient ("all-knowing"), wouldn't He have known already whether or not Abraham feared him enough to obey the command to sacrifice Isaac? Clearly, the scriptural answer to that question is "yes" (Isa. 46:10). But if we recognize that the one testing Abraham was not God the Father, but rather the Word of the LORD (also known as the Angel of the LORD), then this episode makes sense.


This same Angel is the one who appeared as YHVH to Jacob at Bethel, as the following two related passages of Scripture confirm:


GENESIS 28:10 Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 And behold, the LORD [YHVH] stood above it and said: "I am the LORD God [YHVH 'elohey] of Abraham your father and the God ['elohey] of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you." 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it." (NKJV)

GENESIS 31:11 "Then the Angel of God [mal'ak ha'elohim] spoke to me in a dream, saying, 'Jacob.' And I said, 'Here I am.' 12 And He said, 'Lift your eyes now and see, all the rams which leap on the flocks are streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God [ha'el] of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family.' " (NKJV)

This is also the Angel that later wrestled with the patriarch Jacob:


GENESIS 32:24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, "Let Me go, for the day breaks." But he said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me!" 27 So He said to him, "What is your name?" He said, "Jacob." 28 And He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God ['elohim] and with men, and have prevailed." 29 Then Jacob asked, saying, "Tell me Your name, I pray." And He said, "Why is it that you ask about My name?" And He blessed him there. 30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: "For I have seen God ['elohim] face to face, and my life is preserved." (NKJV)

The Targums give us a better understanding of who this Angel was that Jacob wrestled with, and why he could say that he had seen "God" ('elohim) face to face:


GENESIS 32:24 And Jakob remained alone; and a Man wrestled with him till the morning ascended. 25 And he saw that he prevailed not with him, and he touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was dislocated in wrestling with him. 26 And he said, Let me go; for the morning ascendeth. And he said, I will not let Thee go, unless Thou bless me. 27 And He said to him, What is thy name? And he said, Jakob. 28 And He said, Thy name shall be no longer Jakob, but Israel; for a prince art thou before the Lord, and with men, and thou hast prevailed. 29 And Jakob asked Him, and said, Show me now Thy Name! And He said, Why dost thou ask My Name? And He blessed him there. 30 And Jakob called the name of the place Peniel: because I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face, and my soul hath been saved! (Targum Onkelos, translated by J.W. Etheridge)

GENESIS 32:24 And Jakob remained alone beyond the Jubeka; and an Angel contended with him in the likeness of a man. And he said, Hast thou not promised to give the tenth of all that is thine? And, behold, thou hast ten sons and one daughter: nevertheless thou hast not tithed them. Immediately he set apart the four firstborn of the four mothers, and there remained eight. And he began to number from Shimeon, and Levi came up for the tenth. Michael answered and said, Lord of the world is Thy lot. And on account of these things he (Michael) remained from God at the torrent till the column of the morning was ascending. 25 And he saw that he had not power to hurt him, and he touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jakob's thigh was distorted in his contending with him. 26 And he said, Let me go, for the column of the morning ascendeth; and the hour cometh when the angels on high offer praise to the Lord of the world: and I am one of the angels of praise, but from the day that the world was created my time to praise hath not come until now. 27 And he said, I will not let thee go, until thou bless me. And he said, What is thy name? He answered, Jakob. 28 And he said, Thy name shall be no more called Jakob but Israel, because thou art magnified with the angels of the Lord and with the mighty, and thou hast prevailed with them. 29 And Jakob asked and said, Show me now thy name. And he said, Why dost thou ask for my name? And he blessed Jakob there. 30 And Jakob called the name of the place Peniel; for he said, I have seen the Angels of the Lord face to face, and my soul is saved. (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, translated by J.W. Etheridge)

Targum Onkelos informs us that the 'elohim who wrestled with Jacob was actually the Angel of the LORD. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan goes a step further and identifies this Angel as Michael (cf. Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9; Rev. 12:7). We will further discuss the identity of Michael a little later.


At the end of his life, during Jacob's adoption of his two grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh as his own offspring, he speaks once more of the 'elohim who had blessed and redeemed him:


GENESIS 48:15 And he blessed Joseph, and said: "God [ha'elohim], before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God [ha'elohim] who has fed me all my life long to this day, 16 the Angel [hamal'ak] who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." (NKJV)

In this passage, Israel parallels the 'elohim of his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac with the Angel that wrestled with him and redeemed him from evil. This Angel is the one who changed his name from Jacob (lit. "supplanter") to Israel (lit. "God strives"). It was this Angel who was the 'elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.


Another ancient appearance of the Angel of the LORD took place at Mount Sinai when Moses saw the burning bush:


EXODUS 3:2 And the Angel of the LORD [mal'ak YHVH] appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, "I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn." 4 So when the LORD [YHVH] saw that he turned aside to look, God ['elohim] called to him from the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." 5 Then He said, "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground." 6 Moreover He said, "I am the God ['elohim] of your father -- the God ['elohey] of Abraham, the God ['elohey] of Isaac, and the God ['elohey] of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God [ha'elohim]. (NKJV)

This 'elohim who appeared to Moses is called the Angel of the LORD in verse 2. Both the Old and New Testaments show that the Angel here was YHVH, also known as the Word of YHVH, who acted as the primary spokesman for God the Father.


In the book of Acts, Stephen, during his testimony before the Sanhedrin council, confirms that it was this Angel that spoke to Moses, and not God the Father:


ACTS 7:30 [Stephen said] "And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai." (NKJV)

ACTS 7:35 "This Moses whom they rejected, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge?' is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. (NKJV)

A little later in their dialogue, Moses asked the Angel in the burning bush what he should tell the children of Israel when they asked him the name of the God that sent him to them:


EXODUS 3:14 And God ['elohim] said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.' " (NKJV)

The Angel's reply has been understood in several different ways, but the Jerusalem Targum confirms that this 'elohim speaking to Moses was in fact the Word of the LORD:


EXODUS 3:14 And the Word of the Lord said to Mosheh, He who spake to the world, Be, and it was; and who will speak to it, Be, and it will be. And he said, Thus shalt thou speak to the sons of Israel, EHEYEH hath sent me unto you. (Jerusalem Targum, translated by J.W. Etheridge)

Stephen, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, also tells us that the Angel of the LORD was with the Israelites in their wilderness journey from Egypt:


ACTS 7:38 This [Moses] is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living oracles to give to us. (RSV)

The apostle Paul makes mention of the spiritual being who brought the Israelites out of Egypt in his first epistle to the Corinthian church. Let's look and see who he identifies as the one who accompanied the Israelites:


I CORINTHIANS 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. (NKJV)

In this passage, Paul is continuing an exhortation to the Corinthians to hold fast to their faith in Christ. He tells them that their ancestors, the ancient Israelites, were led out of Egypt by the Messiah. Paul says that those people who were under the supernatural cloud and passed through the parted Red Sea were spiritually fed by "that spiritual Rock that followed them." Paul clearly states that this Rock was none other than Christ himself!


According to Paul (I Cor. 10:4), the Angel of the LORD was the one who later became Yeshua the Messiah. Unfortunately, the term "angel" conveys a specific meaning to most people today. However, the Hebrew word mal'ak, usually translated "angel" in the Old Testament, merely means "messenger," one sent with a message. Haggai is called "the LORD'S messenger" (mal'ak) because he brought the words of God to the Jews (Hag. 1:13); Malachi says that people should seek the law from the mouth of a priest, who is a "messenger (mal'ak) of the LORD" (Mal. 2:7).


Let's look at a couple of key verses in the story of the Israelites' escape from Egypt:


EXODUS 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. (NKJV)

EXODUS 14:19 And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. (NKJV)

In these verses we see the one who shepherded the Israelites out of Egypt identified. In Exodus 13:21 he is called YHVH. However, in Exodus 14:19, the being in the cloud going before the Israelites is called the "Angel of God" (Heb. mal'ak ha'elohim). How do we explain this apparent discrepancy? Are these two separate entities, or are they one and the same?


Evidence from several sources indicates that the being called YHVH in Exodus 13:21 is the same entity referred to as the "Angel of God" in Exodus 14:19.


The burning bush encounter wasn't the only occasion on which the Angel of the LORD talked to Moses on behalf of the Most High, God the Father. In Acts 7:38, Stephen states that it was this Angel who spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai after the Israelites initial arrival there, and later on Sivan 6 when the Ten Commandments were delivered to all the people.


The Jerusalem Targum plainly identifies who this Angel was:


EXODUS 19:3 And Moses went up to God [ha'elohim], and the LORD [YHVH] called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: (NKJV)

EXODUS 19:3 And Mosheh went up to seek instruction from before the Lord; and the Word of the Lord anticipated him from the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou speak to the men of the house of Jakob, and teach the congregation of the sons of Israel. (Jerusalem Targum, translated by J.W. Etheridge)

EXODUS 19:7 So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the LORD [YHVH] commanded him. 8 Then all the people answered together and said, "All that the LORD [YHVH] has spoken we will do." So Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD [YHVH] . 9 And the LORD [YHVH] said to Moses, "Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever." So Moses told the words of the people to the LORD [YHVH]. (NKJV)

EXODUS 19:7 And Mosheh came and called the sages of Israel and set in order before them all these words which the Word of the Lord had commanded him. 8 And all the people answered together in the fulness of their heart, and said, All that the Word of the Lord hath spoken, we will do. And Mosheh returned the words of the people in prayer before the Lord. 9 And the Word of the Lord said to Mosheh, Behold, My Word will be revealed to thee in the thickness of the cloud, that the people may hear while I speak with thee, and may also believe for ever in the words of the prophecy of thee, My servant Mosheh. And Mosheh delivered the words of the people in prayer before the Lord. (Jerusalem Targum, translated by J.W. Etheridge)

EXODUS 19:20 Then the LORD [YHVH] came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the LORD [YHVH] called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21 And the LORD [YHVH] said to Moses, "Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to gaze at the LORD, and many of them perish." (NKJV)

EXODUS 20:1 And God ['elohim] spoke all these words, saying: (NKJV)

We see here that the entity referred to as "the Angel" by Stephen is the same one called YHVH and 'elohim in these verses from Exodus. This proves that the terms "LORD" and "Angel of the LORD" were used interchangeably for the same being in the Bible.


The Jerusalem Targum rendering of Exodus 20:1 confirms that the 'elohim who spoke to Israel from Mount Sinai was the Word of the Lord, not God the Father:


EXODUS 20:1 And the Word of the Lord spake all the excellency of these words saying: (Jerusalem Targum, translated by J.W. Etheridge)

Exodus 23:20-23 confirms that the Angel who spoke to the Israelites from Mount Sinai was in the wilderness with Moses and the congregation of Israel during their wandering. This passage shows that the Angel's duties included keeping the Israelites in God's ways and bringing them into the Promised Land:


EXODUS 23:20 " Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him. 22 But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. 23 For My Angel will go before you and bring you in to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites and the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off. (NKJV)

This Angel was a messenger delivering God the Father's words to Moses and the children of Israel, and God's name ("YHVH") was upon him. Because of this role, at times he referred to himself in the third person when relaying God's words. Without an understanding and awareness of his role, things can get a little confusing when reading the statements and activities of this Angel. In fact, the Scriptures even show Moses himself becoming confused in one instance:


EXODUS 33:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Depart and go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, 'To your descendants I will give it.' 2 And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. 3 Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people." (NKJV)

God the Father, through His messenger the Angel, tells Moses that He will not accompany them into the Promised Land. The Angel so translucently communicates God's remarks to Moses that it appears as if he is talking to Moses himself, instead of God the Father speaking through him. This situation seems to confuse Moses, because he goes on to say that the Angel had not let him know whom he would send with him to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land (Exo. 33:12). He obviously didn't recognize that the Angel was speaking for the Most High God in verse 3 and not for himself. Moses apparently thought that the Angel of the LORD, who had accompanied them to this point, would be replaced by another angel. God, through the Angel, reassures Moses that His "Presence" would continue to accompany them:


EXODUS 33:14 And He said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." 15 Then he said to Him, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here." (NKJV)

The Angel of the LORD is the one referred to here as the "Presence" of YHVH. Moses proclaims this to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 4:37, and in Isaiah 63:9, the Angel of the LORD is called the "Angel of His Presence":


DEUTERONOMY 4:37 [Moses said] "Because he loved your forefathers and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength," (NIV)

ISAIAH 63:9 In all their [the Israelites'] affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old. (NKJV)

The Angel of the LORD was also called the Angel of God's Presence because he possessed the nature, character, and authority of God the Father. This concept has numerous parallels to Christ in the New Testament:


II CORINTHIANS 4:4 . . . Christ, who is the image of God . . . (NKJV)

COLOSSIANS 1:15 [Christ] . . . is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (KJV)

HEBREWS 1:3 [Christ] . . . being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power . . . (NKJV)

In I Corinthians 10:9 Paul once more identifies YHVH who accompanied the Israelites in their desert sojourn as Christ. The incident he mentions here (recorded in Numbers 21:5-6) occurred while the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness for 40 years:


I CORINTHIANS 10:9 Nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted [Christ], and were destroyed by serpents; (NKJV)

NUMBERS 21:5 And the people spoke against God ['elohim] and against Moses: "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread." 6 So the LORD [YHVH] sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. (NKJV)

A comparison of the two Scriptures above makes it clear that Christ, "God" ('elohim) and "the LORD" (YHVH) mentioned in Numbers 21:5-6 are all the same entity.


Judges 2:1 confirms that it was the Angel of the LORD who led the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land:


JUDGES 2:1 Then the Angel of the LORD [mal'ak YHVH] came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: "I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, 'I will never break My covenant with you.' " (NKJV)

Just as the Angel of the LORD was God's messenger to the people of Israel, Christ was also a "messenger" of God the Father in the New Testament. Regarding his role, Yeshua said "I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has told me what to say and what to speak" (John 12:49).


Another pair of Scriptures further identifies the Angel of the LORD as the Messiah. Recorded in Judges 13 is the story of Samson's parents being notified of his impending birth by the Angel of the LORD. Manoah, Samson's father, did not realize that the one who foretold the birth of his son was the Angel (Judges 13:16). He asked the Angel of the LORD what his name was, so that they might honor him when his prophecy came true. The Angel's answer is very revealing, if understood correctly:


JUDGES 13:18 And the Angel of Jehovah said to him, Why do you ask this about My name? Yea, it is Wonderful. (A Literal Translation of the Bible)

The Angel of YHVH answered Manoah by saying that his name was "Wonderful." When we compare the Angel's answer to the prophecy of the coming Messiah recorded in Isaiah 9:6, the similarities are striking:


ISAIAH 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (NKJV)

The name the Angel gave Manoah is one of the names prophesied to be applied to Yeshua the Messiah. By itself, this could simply be discounted as a coincidence. However, when considered with the weight of the other evidence we've examined, it's clear that the Angel of the LORD is the one who became Christ.


In the first century C.E., the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint (LXX) was widely used by Greek-speaking Jews. In the LXX, this same verse is rendered somewhat differently:


ISAIAH 9:6 For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us, whose government is upon his shoulder: and his name is called the Messenger [aggelos] of great counsel: for I will bring peace upon the princes, and health to him. (Brenton's LXX)

As you can see, the Septuagint calls the coming Messiah the "Aggelos (Angel) of Great Counsel." Both the Hebrew and Greek versions of this verse link the coming Messiah to the Angel of the LORD. The evidence is substantial that the Angel of the LORD and Yeshua the Messiah are one and the same!


Some people have trouble with using the designation "Angel" for the preincarnate Messiah. However, the Scriptures clearly show that this is a description that applies to him:


MALACHI 3:1 "Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger [mal'ak, lit. "Angel"] of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming," says the LORD of hosts. (NKJV)

In Malachi, we see that "the Lord" who "will suddenly come to His temple" is also called the "Angel of the covenant." Plainly, the Scriptures indicate that "Angel" is one of the titles of the coming Messiah.


Another appearance of the being we know as Christ is recorded in Joshua 5:13-15. Here he calls himself the "Commander of the host of YHVH":


JOSHUA 5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, "Are You for us or for our adversaries?" 14 So He said, "No, but as Commander of the army [tseva', "host"] of the LORD I have now come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, "What does my Lord say to His servant?" 15 Then the Commander of the LORD's army said to Joshua, "Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so. (NKJV)

From Revelation 22:8-9, we know that worship of angels is forbidden. However, here we see Joshua bowing before and worshiping this Angel. Indeed, just as with the Angel of the LORD in the burning bush on Mount Sinai (Exo. 3:5), the ground where this Angel stood was considered holy. Clearly, this is no ordinary spirit being!


In their commentary on this passage of Scripture, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown state: ". . . The address and the adoration of Joshua, the holiness communicated to the spot by the presence of this Personage, and the application to him of the name Jehovah (ch. vi. 2), identify Him with the Angel of the Lord . . . " (p. 13, vol. I, part 2, A Commentary: Critical, Experimental, and Practical).


This Scripture identifies another role the Messiah plays in God's plan: that of the commander of His holy angels. Several New Testament passages show that the Messiah is the commander of the army of God's loyal angels:


REVELATION 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." (NASU)

JUDE 14 It was also about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, "See, the Lord is coming with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all, and to convict everyone of all the deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him." (NRSV)

MATTHEW 25:31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory." (NKJV)

MARK 8:38 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." (NASU)

The Messiah's position as the commander of the army of holy angels goes hand-in-hand with his role as guardian of the nation of Israel, as we will see.


Is there any other character identified in the Bible as the commander of the holy angels and the protector of the nation of Israel? Yes, there most definitely is!


DANIEL 12:1 "At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people [Israel], shall arise. There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. (NRSV)

REVELATION 12:7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon [Satan]; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. (RSV)

Most people believe that Michael is one of several high-ranking "archangels" that serve God. Yet a look at what the Bible says about this topic shows that this belief is not scripturally substantiated. The term "archangel" is found only twice in the Bible.


JUDE 9 But Michael the archangel [ho archaggelos], when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" (NASU)

I THESSALONIANS 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel [archaggelou] and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (NASU)

The word "archangel" is simply a transliteration into English of the Greek word archaggelos. This compound word is comprised of the Greek words arche and aggelos. Arche means primacy, either in relation to time or rank; aggelos has the same meaning as the Hebrew word mal'ak; it refers to a messenger or an envoy. The literal meaning of archaggelos is "chief messenger." The Bible clearly shows that Christ was God's "chief messenger" to mankind.


JOHN 8:26 " . . . He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him." (NKJV)

JOHN 12:49 [Christ said] "For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak." (NKJV)

In I Thessalonians 4:16, we see that the Lord Yeshua will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel. It is Yeshua who is shouting, and it is his voice that will raise "the dead in Christ." This is confirmed by Yeshua's own words, recorded in John 5:25:


JOHN 5:25 "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. (NASU)

This Scripture clearly shows that ONLY Yeshua's voice will initiate the resurrection of the dead. Paul tells us in I Thessalonians 4:16 that it is the voice of "archangel" that sounds at Yeshua's return and raises "the dead in Christ." Therefore, logic leads us to the conclusion that "the voice of the archangel" belongs to Yeshua. Additionally, Daniel records that the appearance of Michael the archangel at the end of the age will be accompanied by a resurrection (Dan. 12:1-2).


As we saw in the Scriptures above, Michael is the only "archangel" specifically referenced in the Bible. The belief in multiple "archangels" is not scriptural. A belief in archangels appears to have developed in early Judaism; a similar belief evolved in the Catholic church. The concept seems to have been derived from a passage in the book of Daniel:


DANIEL 10:13 "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one ['echad] of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia." (NKJV)

In this verse, Michael is called "one" of the chief princes. The majority of translations render the Hebrew word 'echad as "one" here. Most scholars take this to mean that he is only one of an unspecified group of equivalent rank. However, 'echad can also be translated "first," as it is in Young's Literal Translation, shown below:


DANIEL 10:13 'And the head of the kingdom of Persia is standing over-against me twenty and one days, and lo, Michael, first ['echad] of the chief heads, hath come in to help me, and I have remained there near the kings of Persia;' (YLT)

When this meaning of 'echad is applied, Daniel 10:13 takes on an entirely different context. In Young's translation, Michael's position is shown to be above the other "princes." The Bible reveals that these rulers are actually powerful spirit beings (commonly called "angels") who have been given authority over the various nations of the earth. For additional details on this topic, see my article "The Heavenly Divine Council."


In Daniel 10:21 and 12:1, Michael is designated as the spiritual prince ruling over the nation of Israel:


DANIEL 10:20 Then he said, "Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I am through with him, lo, the prince of Greece will come. 21 But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince. (RSV)

DANIEL 12:1 "At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time; but at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (RSV)

When all the Scriptures on this topic are objectively examined, we can see that the belief Michael is one of several archangels is not supported. In fact, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary states this about the Jewish understanding of the identity of Michael in first-century Judaism:


Michael was sometimes spoken of as the angel who mediated between God and Moses in the giving of the law at Sinai (cf. Jub. 1:27; 2:1) and so may be the angel mentioned at Acts 7:38. (p. 716, "Michael")

As we have already seen, the angel mentioned by Stephen in Acts 7:38 is the Angel of the LORD, who has been identified with Yeshua the Messiah. Additionally, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan says the Angel who wrestled with Jacob was Michael.


The first-century messianic Jewish understanding of who Yeshua had been before his incarnation was one of the reasons the distinction between the Messiah and the other angels had to be drawn in the first chapter of Hebrews. Rather than denigrating the position of the angels, this chapter was meant instead to elevate the status of Michael (Christ) in order to clarify his role to the messianic Jews of that day.


There is another pair of Scriptures, one from the Old Testament and the other from the New Testament, that seem to connect the Angel of the LORD with Michael:


ZECHARIAH 3:1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?" (NKJV)

JUDE 9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" (NASU)

As you can see, in both instances Michael and the Angel of the LORD reacted identically to Satan. Taken with the other Scriptures we've examined, this is further evidence that Michael is another name for the Angel.


In fact, the Hebrew name "Michael" literally means "one who is like God." This name fits perfectly with the Angel of the LORD, who had God's name in him (Exo. 23:21) and was the "Presence" of YHVH (Exo. 33:14; Deu. 4:37; Isa. 63:9). It also fits perfectly with Christ, who was the exact image of God (II Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3). Michael, the one who will "appear" at the time of trouble at the end of this age and raise the dead with his voice, is surely another name for Yeshua the Messiah. The Bible shows it is the Messiah who will return at the end of the age and rule over his people, all the tribes of Israel, after they have been brought back into the Promised Land.



As we've seen from various translations of the Old Testament, the Messiah has had numerous roles in God's plan for mankind. He acted as the guardian of Israel when they came out of Egypt, traveling with them in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. The Messiah was the one who delivered God's words to the Israelites from Mount Sinai. He protected them in the wilderness and punished them when they sinned. This Angel stood up for God's people when Satan slandered them before the heavenly throne. As the commander of the holy host, Christ has battled against Satan and his demons and triumphed. It's time to realize and appreciate the central role that God designated in His plan for the one we know as Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah. He's our Savior, Redeemer, Shepherd, Protector, Brother, and Lord.





Jesus in the Old Testament










of Old







 Example Verse



 Seed crushes serpent 3:15


Innocent blood covers sin 3:21


King/Priest Melchizadek 14:18-20


Covenant requires blood sacrifice 8:20; 15:10


A substitute sacrifice 22:13


Christ's kingdom to come 49:10



 Moses as deliverer chapter3


Aaron as the high priest 28:1


Making intercession 30:1


Passover/Lamb of God 12:1-22


Bread of life 16:35; 25:30


Light of the world 25:31-40



 The sacrifice chapter 1-7


The high priest chapter 8-10



 Nazirite vow 6:1-8


Passover celebration 9:1-14


Unblemished sacrifice 19:1-10


The rock 20:7-10


Israel's king 24:17


The six cities of refuge 35:6-15



 Moses prophecies about Christ 18:15



 Scarlet cord 2:18, 21


Ark of the Lord 3:6


The "Commnder of the army of the Lord" 5:13-15


Fulfilled promise 23:14



 Judge (Ps 75:7)


Savior (Is 45:21)



 Boaz as the redeemer chapter 4


1 Samuel

 Samuel as the prophet 3:20


Samuel as priest (combining offices of prophet & priest)


David, God's king 16:1


David as shepherd 16:11


2 Samuel

 His eternal kingdom 7:13


Son of God 7:14


1 Kings

 Greater prophet than Elijah (Matt 17:1-5)


Greater king than Solomon (Matt 12:42)


2 Kings

 Superior priest (Heb 7:22-28)


Greater king (Matt 12:42)


Final king (Rev 19:16)


1 Chronicles

 Sacrificio descansos plaga de muerte captiulo 21


2 Chronicles

 Temple 3:1



 Ezra does the will of God 7:10


Ezra as the priest 7:11


Ezra's spiritual reform chapter 10



 Nehemiah's courage 2:18


Nehemiah as a prayer warrior 2:1-10;6:9-14


Nehemiah's dedication 8:9, 10



 Ester's submission & dependence 2:20; 5:4


Esther's intercession 4:16


Esther's sacrifice 4:16



 There are no direct references to Christ in this book, but Job demonstrates a type of Christ in his suffering, persecution and restoration



 God's son will rule the nations 2:7-8


Messiah comes from David's lineage 110:1


Christ's zeal 69:9


Christ's suffering 69:9


Christ's parables 78:2


Christ's rejection 118:22


Christ's priesthood 110:4


Christ's betrayal 41:9


Christ's crucifixion 22:1-18


Christ's resurrection 16:9-11


Christ's kingdom 8:6



 There are no direct references to Christ in this book. However, the qualities of a life wisely lived - obedience to God, right behavior patience and wisdom illustrate Christ.



 Christ's view of materialism 2:1-11, 18-26; 4:4-6; 5:8-14


Christ's view of obedience 11:7-12:14


Song of Songs

 Christ is the Husband of His bride, the church (Rev 21:2)



 Emmanuel 7:14


Davidic ruler 9:6, 7


Branch of Jesse 11:1-5


Precious cornerstone 28:16


Shepherd 40:11


Lamb of God 53:7


Servant of God 42:1-4; 49:1-7; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12


Redeemer 59:20



 Wept for the people 13:17


Suffered injustice 37, 38


Jesus refers to several passages (Matt 21:13); 5:21 (Mark 8:18); 6:16 (Matt 11:29); 50:6 (Matt 10:6)



 Our hope 3:21, 24, 29


Christ reveals the mercy of God 3:22, 23, 32


Our redeemer and judge 3:58, 59



 Ezekial as the son of man 2:3


The Messiah prophesied 17:1-0 (Is 11:1; Rom 15:12)


Priestly character of the Messiah 45:22


Christ as the divine shepherd 34:11-16 (John 10:11-16)



 Fourth man in the oven 3:25


Son of man returns 7:13


Vision of Christ 10:5, 6



 Christ includes all in His family 1:6, 9 (1 Pet 2:10)


Christ as the husband / church as the bride 2:19, 20 (Eph 5:25-32)


Christ taken out of Egypt 11:1 (Matt 2:15)


Christ breaks the power of death 13:14 (1 Cor 15:55)


Praise to Him brings forgiveness 14:2 (Heb 13:15)


Hosea buys back his bride 3:1-3



 Christ our savior 2:32



 No references to Amos. However, this book is quoted in the New Testament 


 Final day of the Lord verse 15 (Isaiah 11:6-9)


Jesus as savior verse 21


One Lord of the kingdom verse 21



 God's love for the whole world 4:10,11 (John 3:16)



 Christ foretold 1:3-5


Christ the Word of God 2:2


Christ as King and Lord 2:12, 13 (Luke 4:18)


Christ born in Bethlehem 5:2


Christ as shepherd 5:4


Christ's dominion 5:4


Prince of Peace 5:5



 Christ our peace 1:15


Lioness replaced by Lion of Judah 2:11, 12 (Rev 5:5)



 Came in the fullness of time 2:3 (Gal 4:4)


Foundation of Christ's message 2:4 (Rom 1:16, 17)


Salvation through God's Anointed 3:13



 The just hidden with Christ 2:3 ( Col 3:2, 3)


Rejoicing over the saved 3:16, 17 (Luke 15:7)



 Christ, the desire of all nations 2:7


Christ indwells human temples 2:7 (1 Cor 6:19, 20)


Christ, the Prince of Peace 2:9


Zerubbabela sing of the servant 2:23 (Matt 1:12)



 The Lord's servant, the branch 3:8


Both king and priest 6:11-13


The man - the branch 6:12


The meek king 9:9 (Matt 21:5)


The true shepherd 11:4-11


Sold for 30 pieces of silver 11:12, 13 (Matt 26:15


The pierced Savior 12:10 (John 19:37)


The suffering Savior 13:7 (Matt 26:31)


Christ's second coming 14:4



 Messenger of the new covenant 3:1


Christ's judgement 3:2


Son of Righteousness in victory 4:2, 3



||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

||    The Orthodox Faith (Dogma)    ||    Family and Youth    ||    Sermons    ||    Bible Study    ||    Devotional    ||    Spirituals    ||    Fasts & Feasts    ||    Coptics    ||    Religious Education    ||    Monasticism    ||    Seasons    ||    Missiology    ||    Ethics    ||    Ecumenical Relations    ||    Church Music    ||    Pentecost    ||    Miscellaneous    ||    Saints    ||    Church History    ||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Patrology    ||    Canon Law    ||    Lent    ||    Pastoral Theology    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bibles    ||    Iconography    ||    Liturgics    ||    Orthodox Biblical topics     ||    Orthodox articles    ||    St Chrysostom    ||   

||    Bible Study    ||    Biblical topics    ||    Bibles    ||    Orthodox Bible Study    ||    Coptic Bible Study    ||    King James Version    ||    New King James Version    ||    Scripture Nuggets    ||    Index of the Parables and Metaphors of Jesus    ||    Index of the Miracles of Jesus    ||    Index of Doctrines    ||    Index of Charts    ||    Index of Maps    ||    Index of Topical Essays    ||    Index of Word Studies    ||    Colored Maps    ||    Index of Biblical names Notes    ||    Old Testament activities for Sunday School kids    ||    New Testament activities for Sunday School kids    ||    Bible Illustrations    ||    Bible short notes

||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

||    Prayer of the First Hour    ||    Third Hour    ||    Sixth Hour    ||    Ninth Hour    ||    Vespers (Eleventh Hour)    ||    Compline (Twelfth Hour)    ||    The First Watch of the midnight prayers    ||    The Second Watch of the midnight prayers    ||    The Third Watch of the midnight prayers    ||    The Prayer of the Veil    ||    Various Prayers from the Agbia    ||    Synaxarium