Having discussed sub-headings 1. The only begotten Son and 2. The Son as the logos at creation, we now turn to subheading 3.
3. The preincarnate Logos as the angel i.e. the messenger of YHWH
‘Logos’ was not only the name of the Son of God but also defined his role and relationship with God, His father. All face to face encounters with God (YHWH) were encounters with the Son, who was the agent of YHWH, and never directly with the Father who is invisible and has never been seen. This is affirmed by Apostle John in John 1:18 “No one has seen God at any time. The only-begotten son, the one being unto the Father’s bosom, that one declared him”. Jesus also in John 6:46 said “it has been written in the prophets, ‘And they all will be taught of God.’ therefore, the whole collective of the [ones] having heard from the Father and having learned comes to Me (not that anyone has seen the Father, except the one who is from God this one has seen the Father)”.
The Son was the one who communed with Abraham and promised him a son saying “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” And again He said “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.”(see Genesis 17 esp. v21 and Genesis 18 esp. v10). John 8:56-58 further records a conversation between the Jews and Jesus concerning encounter Abraham had with the Messenger of YHWH. Jesus said “Your father Abraham rejoiced so that he may see my day. And he saw [it] and was joyful.” Then the Judeans said to Him, “You have not yet reached fifty years, and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I tell you, before Abraham originated, I AM.” The Jews then proceeded in attempt to stone him accusing him of blasphemy because Jesus was claiming to have existed before Abraham, implying that he was of divine nature and was Lord of Abraham who rejoiced over him.
There are many encounters with the Son who was God’s Messenger, and bearing God’s name when he delivered God’s messages to the patriarchs in the scriptures. I have highlighted a few, but before looking at them, it must be borne in mind that before angels were mentioned in the scriptures, there was a mysterious character who was not himself ‘God’ since he was God’s “messenger”. One cannot be a messenger of himself. Both the Hebrew and Greek words translated as ‘angel’ simply mean ‘messenger’ and are used of both heavenly messengers and human messengers (see Genesis 32:3,6). Therefore, the term ‘angel’ does not indicate a particular kind of creature. This can only be ascertained by the context. However, unlike the other heavenly “messengers” (angels), this “Messenger of YHVH” was God’s own personal spokesman, His fully authorized Agent. He spoke for God in the first Person as though He were God Himself, using God’s name (YHVH) with all of the authority of God. None of the other heavenly messengers (angels) dared to do so.
The messenger of YHWH’s first appearance was to the pregnant Hagar who had just fled from Sarah her mistress because Sarah had treated her harshly. (see Genesis 16). He then promised to bless and multiply Ishmael and make him Ishmael a great nation.
Another appearance was to Abraham when he was commanded to offer up his son Isaac, Genesis 22:1-2, and 15-18.
“Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
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.”…
Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” Note that the Bible records the Angel of YHWH calling to Abraham a second time, yet there is no record of him calling him previously in that passage except the time when Abraham was called by God and responded “here I am”. This implies that it was indeed the Angel of YHWH who called Abraham but Moses almost intentionally records it as God testing Abraham.
Moses records the words of the Angel of YHWH as though it was God himself speaking. In fact the Angel of YHWH himself also speaks as though he was God himself. This we observe in Genesis 31:11-13 when he appeared to Jacob in a dream.
“Then the Angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, ‘Jacob.’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’ 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. I am the God 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.’” Notice how the Angel of YHWH calls himself “the God of Bethel”
He also appeared to Moses in the burning bush, Exodus 3:2-6
“And the Angel of the Lord 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. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.”
Notice how the writer, Moses, interchanges The Angel with God as though he was YHWH himself.
The Angel then led Israel out of 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.”….
Exodus 14:19-20 – “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. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.”
The Messenger of YHWH then delivered the law to Moses. Acts 7:37-39
“This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.’
“This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us, whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected…”
The messenger was also the one who actually entered into the covenant with the nation of Israel.
Judges 2:1 “Then the Messenger of 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.’”
After He had delivered the law to Moses and having entered into the covenant with Israel, He led them into the promise land. Exodus 23:20-23
“Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him. 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. 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”
There are many more examples in the old testament that further establish the important fact that all the old testament encounters with God was actually encounters with the Angel of YHWH. These also include the occasion when Moses requested to see God’s full glory in Exodus 33. The Bible records God covering Moses’ eyes until he (God) had walked by and then he lifted his hands from Moses’ face allowing Moses to see his back. Was this YHWH himself or was it his Messenger? After all, the scripture also says “No one has seen God at any time. The only-begotten Son, the one being unto the Father’s bosom, that one declared Him”. Hence since the only-begotten Son “declared” God in the absence of anyone having seen God “at any time,” the implication is that any manifestation of God “at any time” has always been the “only-begotten Son.”
So concluding with this subheading knowing that no one at any time has seen the Father, there is one other aspect of scripture worth discussing, that is, who was it that talked and walked with Adam in the garden?
Here’s an interesting excerpt from Theophilus of Antioch, a Bishop in AD 120-190)
“Hear what I say. The God and Father, indeed, of all cannot be contained, and is not found in a place, for there is no place of His rest; but His Word, through whom He made all things, being His Power and His Wisdom, assuming the Person of the Father and Lord of all, went to the garden in the Person of God, and conversed with Adam. For the divine writing itself teaches us that Adam said that he had heard the voice. But what else is this voice but the Word of God, who is also His Son? Not as the poets and writers of myths talk of the sons of gods begotten from intercourse [with women], but as truth expounds, the Word, that always exists, residing within the heart of God. For before anything came into being He had Him as a counsellor, being His own mind and thought. But when God wished to make all that he determined on, He begot this Word, uttered, the First-born of all creation, not Himself being emptied of the Word, but having begotten Reason, and always conversing with His Reason. And hence the holy writings teach us, and all the spirit-bearing [inspired] men, one of whom, John, says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,” showing that at first God was alone, and the Word in Him. Then he says, “The Word was God; all things came into existence through Him; and apart from Him not one thing came into existence.” The Word then, being God, and being naturally produced from God, whenever the Father of the universe wills, He sends Him to any place; and He coming, is both heard and seen, being sent by Him, and is found in a place.” (See Theophilus, To Autolycus, Bk. II, ch. Xxii).
So far one thing is certain, the Son who was in fact His Father’s Messenger had in him his Father’s name and spoke as though he himself was God in the first person. Something other messengers in scripture did not dare attempt to do. But with the Son here is what the Father says concerning him in Exodus 20:20-22 “Behold, I send My Messenger before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him. 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.”
The Father regards anything that His Son says as something that he Himself has said. In other words, if you disobey the Son you are disobeying the Father also. This aligns neatly with something Jesus also said in John 5:22-23 “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent Him”. Similarly also Apostle John in 1 John 1:23 “ Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also”
4. The Logos known as God
It is extremely important that we clearly define a word before using it. Specifically, the word ‘God’. It is also crucial to understand what the word ‘God’ implies something about the person to whom it is applied. Once a definition is clearly laid out, it makes perfect sense every time the word ‘God’ is used in the Bible and it clears up a lot of confusion. The word ‘God’ literally means “Sovereign over all”, i.e. the one who has dominion and exercises authority over all creation. The word ‘God’ never refers to the qualities of a person. Neither does it have anything to do with the divine essence or nature of a being. For example, many often make a statement like this “There is one God and three persons”. By using the word ‘God’ in this statement, they are attempting to refer to the divine nature/essence and dividing it into three. Hence they use the ‘God’ as referring to the divine nature which then becomes a wrong application of the word. Consequently they cause a lot of confusion both to themselves and those listening to them. The word ‘God’ ought correctly to be used always in reference to a person, that is, one person at a time. The word ‘God’ in the Bible is always used in reference to one being. It is personal and singular and is never used in a plural sense. For example in John 20:28, we read of Thomas touching Jesus’ side and his nail pierced hands after his resurrection. Thomas then says to Jesus “My Lord and my God”. Thomas uses the word ‘God’ in a personal sense, calling Jesus his God, and therefore placing Jesus sovereign over him as having authority above him.
The word ‘God’ is seen in many other instances used in reference to lesser gods. This people do showing that those lesser gods have authority over them. We also see God himself calling the Jews gods in Psalm 82:6, explaining that they were unjust judges in the exercise of their authority.
Above all gods is one who is truly sovereign, that is the Father. Whom Jesus acknowledges when he said in John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent”
So again the word ‘God’ is always used in the singular referring to one person and never in the plural. The word never refers to divine essence or nature but rather sovereignty, authority and rule.
So then what about the Son, is He also God? Yes!!
Firstly, The Father himself who is the true God with sovereignty has made Him God.
Philippians 2:9-11 “Consequently, also, God highly exalted Him and gave to Him the name above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee might bow, of celestial, of terrestrial, and of subterranean, and every tongue should acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Master to the glory of God the Father”
Secondly, The Father calls him God through King David.
Hebrews 1:1-2 “God, formerly speaking at many times and in many ways to the fathers by the prophets, upon the end of those days has spoken to us by the Son whom He appointed Heir of everything, through whom He also fashioned the ages…”
v5, “For to which of the messengers has He ever said, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You”? And again, “I will be to Him a Father, and He will be to Me a Son”?
v8-9, “Yet unto the Son: he says“Your throne, O God, is for the age of the age, and the scepter of Your Kingdom is the scepter of integrity. You loved justice and hated lawlessness. Therefore God, Your God, anointed You with the jubilation oil in the presence of your fellow [heirs].”
David here as written in Psalm 45 calls the Son God and the Father his God. Notice how the word ‘God’ is being used in a personal way twice in this passage but is being applied singularly and differently to both the Son and the Father. David calls the Son ‘God’ while speaking about the Son’s throne and reminds him (the son), that his God has anointed him and given him (the Son) honour.
Thirdly the Apostles amongst many others call him ‘God’.
1 John 5:20 Apostles John writes “Yet we have observed that the Son of God is present and has given to us understanding, so that we may know the True One, and we are in the True One, in His Son, Jesus the Anointed. This one is the True God and the age-enduring life”
Titus 2:11-13, Apostle Paul writes “For the grace of God shined upon all men, training us, so that denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live sensibly, justly, and devoutly in the present age, anticipating the joyful Hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and our savior, Jesus Christ”
Contrary to that which is popularly believed among some, Archangel Michael is not the main captain or overarching authority over the army of God. Nonetheless, Michael is one of the highest ranking commanders in God’s army of angels. He is not the one having sole sovereign authority over all the other chief ranking commanders of God’s army. This can be known from Daniel 10:12-13 “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the commander over the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days: but, behold, Michael, one of the chief commanders, came to help me”. Michael is simply one of the chief commanders out of a few or many. The number of chief commanders is unknown as scripture does not speak about this in particular detail. Nevertheless Michael is portrayed as an important, strong and powerful figure in all five occasions his name is mentioned in scripture. Three times in Daniel, once in Jude and once in Revelation. (See Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 1:9; Revelation:12:7)
So what about the Son of God? How does he exercise authority over God’s angelic army?
Revelation 19:11-16 “And I observed the sky having been opened, and look, a white horse! And the One sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and with justice He judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, (see Rev. 1:14) and on His head are many crowns (see Zech 6:11-12 LXX) having a name engraved that no one knows except Himself. And He was clothed in a robe having been dipped in blood (see Isaiah 63:1-6). And His name is called Logos of God (see John 1, Hebrews 4:11-13). And the armies in the sky were following Him on white horses, having been dressed in linen white and clean. And out of His mouth proceeds a sharp sword so that with it He may strike the nations. And He will shepherd them with an iron rod (see Psalm 2:9). And He treads the vat of the wine of the fury and wrath of God (see Joel 3:13, Rev. 14:17-20), SOVEREIGN OVER ALL. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name having been engraved, “King of kings, and Master of masters.”
There is no doubt that Apostle John is describing the risen Christ, Jesus who is the Son of God. John describes the risen Jesus in Revelation 1:13 with eyes like a flame of fire. John also writes in Revelation 1:17-18 “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He placed His right hand on me, saying to me: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. And I am He who lives, and became dead, and look, I am alive unto the ages of the ages! Amen. And I hold the keys of the grave and death”
This same Jesus, who John saw sitting on the white horse with the armies of God behind him is also recognised as the Logos of God. Therefore he is in fact the general captain of God’s Army, the King of kings, and Master of masters.
The Son of God had the role of captain over God’s army also before he became flesh. Joshua 5:13-15 “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?” So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army 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?” 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.”
Notice Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped this Commander, yet this Commander did not rebuke Joshua nor tell him not to do that. On the contrary he accepts this worship and instructs Joshua to take off his sandal. Every other heavenly messenger in scripture made it clear to anyone who attempted to worship them that they ought not to do that (Revelation 19:10, 22:8-9, John 9:35-38, Colossians 2:18-19).
There are also two very important passages that further upholds Jesus, the Son of God as the general Commander of angels even as far as declaring him as the Lord of Hosts spoken of in scripture. John 12:35-41 records Jesus instructing his listeners to walk in the light while they still had the light. This he said pointing to himself as that light which came to save the world. Here is what John writes about Jesus “Yet having done so many signs before them, they did not believe unto Him so that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled which he said, “Master, who has believed our report? And to whom was the arm of the Master revealed?” Therefore they were unable to believe because Isaiah said again, “He has blinded their eyes and has hardened their heart so that they should not see with the eyes and apprehend with the heart, and might turn and I might heal them.” These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke about Him.”
John reveals something profound about Jesus Christ. The passages John is quoting from can be found in Isaiah 6 and Isaiah 53. Isaiah 53 prophesies about a servant of God who was going to be rejected by his own people and led as a sheep to the slaughter. A sheep that would be wounded, bruised and killed for the sin of those who would reject him. It is a prophesy that is only fulfilled in Jesus (more of this concept in Part 3 of this series). Isaiah 6 on the other hand, records a vision Isaiah had of a being sitting on His throne. In the vision, Isaiah saw the glory of this person sitting on the throne while also hearing the voices of creatures praising Him saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory”. In amazement and shock from what he was seeing and hearing, Isaiah said “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; my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.”
John recounts all of this by quoting Isaiah’s writing and tells us that the one Isaiah saw on the throne was indeed the Son of God before he became flesh in the person of Jesus. Recalling Isaiah’s words, John writes “These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke about Him”
This Part of the series has strived to show the truth of the Son of God and his role before he became flesh. To achieve this it has explored 5 areas namely, 1. The only begotten Son, 2. The Son as the logos at creation, 3. The preincarnate Logos/Son as the messenger of YHWH, 4. The Logos known as God and 5. The Son of God, the captain of the Lord’s army, The Lord of hosts.
Part 2 of this series will expound on the humanity of the Son of God. That is, the son of God becomes the Son of man. Part 2 will also look into the means by which the Son of God became flesh and the various implications that flows from it, as well as the theological underpinnings behind the virgin birth particularly his human lineage and the changes to his divine nature.
3. The preincarnate Logos/Son as the messenger of YHWH
Tim Warner, ‘Messenger of YHVH, who bears Gods name and speaks as God’ <www.4windsfellowships.net>
Tim Warner, ‘The Son’ <www.4windsfellowships.net>
No one has seen God – John 1:18; John 6:46; John 8:56-59; 1 John 4:12
God is invisible – Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17; 1 Tim. 6:16; Heb. 11:27;
Angel of God leads Israel out of Egypt – Numbers 20:16, Isa. 63:9
Angel of God delivers law to Moses – Acts 7:37-39, Malachi 3:1
Brings Israel into the promise land – Judges 2:1
4. The Logos known as God
Philippians 2:9-11 – The Father has made his Son God
Hebrews 1:1-2,5,8-9 – The Father through David calls Him God
Psalm 45 – David calls Him God
1 John 5:20 – John Calls him God
Titus 2:11-13 – Paul calls him God
5. The Son of God, the captain of the Lord’s army, The Lord of hosts.
Archangel Michael – Daniel 10:13,21; Daniel 12:1; Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7
His eyes are like a flame of fire – see Rev. 1:14
His head are many crowns – Zech 6:11-12 LXX
He was clothed in a robe having been dipped in blood – see Isaiah 63:1-6
His name is called Logos of God – John 1, Hebrews 4:11-13
He will shepherd them with an iron rod – see Psalm 2:9
He treads the vat of the wine of the fury and wrath of God – Joel 3:13, Rev. 14:17-20, Isaiah 63:1-4
Captain over God’s army – Joshua 5:13-15
Angels not to be worshipped – Revelation 19:10, 22:8-9, John 9:35-38, Colossians 2:18-19
John 12:35-41, Isaiah 6, Isaiah 53 – Jesus, The Lord of Hosts