- Throughout the Old Testament God has appeared as an angel to convey a special message or to demonstrate His power.
- As the first person of the Trinity, God has a very unique relationship with time and space. His omnipresence allows him to manifest himself in numerous ways and in various places simultaneously.
- In Genesis 48, the words God and angel are used interchangeably in Moses retelling of God’s wrestling match with Jacob.
- The angel in Exodus 23 shares the same characteristic traits as God.
Before you think we’re crazy for making such a statement as the headline above… Bear with us… We are about to show you the scriptural proof to back up this assertion. Get ready to have your eyes opened!
The most important take away from this article is: This is not saying that God is an angel, it is saying that God can appear as an angel – but God is always God.
Before we delve into this controversial matter, let’s consider that God is composed of the Trinity: The father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is also omnipresent, able to be everywhere at once. Therefore, he can and does, appear as an angel on earth, while also still being present everywhere else simultaneously, overseeing His creation.
It’s also important to remember the Scripture and in John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
We also want to recall Proverbs 8:23: “From everlasting I was established, from the beginning, before the earth began.”
Jacob and the angel
In Genesis 48, we find a definitive passage that refers to an angel and God, which makes clear that both are one and the same.
In the following passage, Joseph is on his deathbed offering words of blessing to Joseph’s children.
“Then he blessed Joseph and said:
The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,
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.” – Genesis 48:15-16 (bold emphasis added)
The first thing to note here is the parallel of the sentence structure: the God before…, The God who has…, The angel who has…
This parallelism affirms that this angel he is speaking of is God.
We know that God is eternal and existed before all things, as well as that angels are beings created by God.
The second, very important point is that it reads: “the angel who has redeemed me,” and “may He bless these boys.”
Only God can redeem and only God can bestow blessings. This further makes clear that God and the angel are one and the same, that God can appear as an angel.
The angel in the wilderness
Another important passage of Scripture which demonstrates the ability of God to show Himself in angel form to humans is found in Exodus.
“I am going to send an angel before you to protect you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared. Be attentive to him and listen to his voice. Do not defy him, because he will not forgive your acts of rebellion, for My name is in him.” – Exodus 23:20-22
What is important to note here is the godlike qualities this angel is said to have, which are types of authority that only belongs to God. Only God has the authority to pardon sins.
What is most important to note here is the statement “for My name is in him.”Essentially, Moses is being told by God that He is in this angel.
There are many more examples than just these two that have been given here. You will find that God and the angel are one and the same in the burning bush in Exodus 3:1-6.
You will also find examples of God taking the form of an angel in the following:
- Genesis 16
- Genesis 22
- Genesis 31
- Genesis 32
- Hosea 12
- Judges 2
- Deuteronomy 4: 37 (read in the light of Exodus 23:20-23)