A Messenger Who Is Also God?
The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,
16 the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm—
may He bless these boys.
And may they be called by my name
and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
and may they grow to be numerous within the land.
Note that this passage is found not in the New Testament, but in the Book of Genesis which is part of the Pentateuch, the 5 books written by Moses. And this is Jacob speaking -- the very same Jacob mentioned in the phrase "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." This is that Jacob praying that:
- the God before Whom his fathers walked
- the God Who has been his Shepherd all his life
- the Angel who has redeemed him from all harm...
may He bless these boys.
Jacob says God plus the Angel equals a "He."
Not a "They."
Since many have different ideas about angels and what they look like, it may help to point out that the Hebrew word used by Moses in that verse was the word, "malakh," which simply means "messenger." This is someone who takes on a human form that humans can relate to and understand. The word does not necessarily indicate that He is a winged, sword-bearing angelic being. He is simply One Who is sent by God.
So why do Jacob and, by implication Moses, say that this Messenger is God?
Several times in the Old Testament a figure in the form of a man appears Who is addressed as God. At times He is called the Angel (Malakh) of the Lord. This is the same Messenger with whom Jacob wrestled. The Messenger Who then says to him:
28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” He said. “It will be Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.”
29 Then Jacob asked Him, “Please tell me Your name.”
But He answered, “Why do you ask My name?” And He blessed him there.
30 Jacob then named the place Peniel, “For I have seen God face to face,” he said, “and I have been delivered.” Genesis 32
The prophet Hosea concurs as to the identity of the Messenger:
He is about to punish Jacob according to his ways;
He will repay him based on his actions.
3 In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel,
and as an adult he wrestled with God. Hosea 12
1 “See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming,” says the Lord of Hosts." Malachi 3
We find the fulfillment of this prophecy in the Gospels, where Jesus identifies the first messenger spoken of in the verse as John the Baptist, and Himself as the Second.
Jesus says that He is the Lord ("ha adon" in Hebrew, a title which is used only for God) described in Malachi 3. He is the Lord Israel seeks Who will come to His temple. Jesus says He is the Divine Messenger of the covenant they desire (for more, see "Jesus is Malachi's YHWH" and the other resources linked to below). And He proved it with His death and resurrection.
Is Jesus God?
Without a doubt!
With thanks to Dr. Michael Heiser for pointing the passage out and discussing it (interview video link is below).
Jesus is Malachi's YHWH
The God Who Walks the Earth
Dr. Darrell Bock and Dr. Michael S. Heiser discuss The Unseen Realm
Jesus, the Divine Messenger of the Old Testament, Part I, by Anthony Rogers