Sermon #14 Exodus Series
Title: “The Angel of the Lord”
Text: Exodus 3:2
Subject: Christ as the Angel of the Lord
Date: Tuesday Evening — March 7, 2006
Tape # Exodus 14
Readings: David Burge & Rex Bartley
The well-known account of Moses at the burning bush is introduced with these words…
(Exodus 3:1-2) “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. (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.”
Tonight, I want us to focus our attention is on the One who appeared to Moses in the burning bush. Who is “the Angel of Lord”?
Proposition: I want to show you clearly, from the Word of God, that our Lord Jesus Christ is “the Angel of the Lord.” I have stated that fact many times. Tonight, I will show you how this blessed fact is set before us in the Word of God. I want you to see something of the blessedness of our Savior’s character and work as “the Angel of the Lord.”
Jehovah and Jehovah’s Angel
To say that Christ is “the Angel of the Lord” does not, in any way contradict the fact of his eternal Deity. He is both Jehovah and Jehovah’s Messenger. In his eternal Deity, our Savior is God himself, over all and blessed forever. In his mediatoral capacity, as our Surety and Substitute, he is “the Angel of the Lord.” When the Scriptures speak of our Savior as “the Angel of the Lord,” appearing in the form of a man before he actually assumed our nature in the incarnation, they are telling us that God’s own Son, the Surety and Mediator of the covenant, the man Christ Jesus, is the Revelation of God. Jesus Christ, our Mediator, is, always was, and ever shall be the only one in whom and by whom God makes himself known to men. Christ is God’s Message; and Christ is God’s Messenger.
The word “angel” simply means “messenger”. When we think of angels, the first thing that comes to mind are those of the angelic order. Those heavenly spirits are God’s servants, sent forth to minister to those who shall be the heirs of salvation (Psalm 103:20; Hebrews 1:14).
(Psalms 103:20) “Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.”
(Hebrews 1:14) “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
The whole religious world is caught up in superstition, sentimentality, and idolatry.
· Some people pray to and worship angels.
· Many wear idolatrous little “angel” pins, as good luck charms, to keep them from evil. — (Illus: Audrey Grace – “How? It doesn’t have any eyes.”)
· Multitudes foolishly imagine that when babies and little children die, they become angels.
Before the completion of Holy Scripture, before the entire canon of this Sacred Volume was written, God spoke to men both by angels, and prophets, and apostles (Matt. 2:13, 19; Luke 1:19, 26; Heb. 1:1). He confirmed the word spoken in such a miraculous manner by miracles, signs, and wonders. But those days are over. Since that which is perfect has come, now that which was in part has been put aside.
· We now have the complete Revelation of God in Holy Scripture.
· There is no need for, nor can there be, any inspired prophets or apostles, with a new word from God.
· Because we have no new word from God, we do not now live in the age of miracles, signs, and wonders, those things needed in the church’s infancy to confirm the apostles as the messengers of the Messiah.
· For the same reasons, the Lord no longer sends angels, in visible or audible manifestations to direct us in his will and ways. — We have God’s Word for that purpose.
However, that does not mean that the ministry of God’s angels has ceased. Not at all! The angels of God are just as active today as ever. Without question, there is a specific order of heavenly beings called “angels.” The fallen angels (Rev. 12:4), are commonly referred to as “devils” or “demons” (James 2:19). Those fallen angels are messengers of Satan, bent upon the destruction of our souls. Whereas the angels of God are described as “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.”
We have far more friends than we know. As we make our pilgrimage through this world, as we seek to serve our God, as we walk through the midst of our enemies in this world of darkness, if only we could hear, we would hear the rush of angels’ wings, “God’s hosts,” at our side and round about us. If only we had eyes to see, we would see “the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire round about” us. — “Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him…And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God’s host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim” (Gen. 32:1-2).
In Revelation 1:20 we read, “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” In chapters two and three, the pastors of local churches are called “angels,” because faithful men, gifted and called of God to the work of the ministry are God’s messengers to his people. Not all pastors are designated “angels;” but all who are truly God’s messengers to the souls of men are to be esteemed as such. Why? Because God has ordained the salvation of his elect by the hearing of the gospel (Rom. 1:16-17; 10:17; 1 Cor. 1:21-24; James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23-25).
Let no one despise or lightly esteem the ministry of the Word. Gospel preachers are the gifts of the risen Christ to his church. They instruments in the hands of the Savior by which he calls chosen, redeemed sinners to life and faith by his Spirit and edifies, comforts, and instructs his church (Eph. 4:11-16).
It is important for us to recognize what the Scriptures teach about the angelic creatures and about gospel preachers. But both those heavenly creatures and every gospel preacher would have us focus our attention on…
Christ the Angel of the Lord.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Savior is “the Angel of the Lord” who appeared to Moses “in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush.” “The Angel of the Lord” is clearly identified for us, in this passage and throughout the Scriptures, as our God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In verses 3 and 4, he is called “Lord” (Jehovah) and “God” (Elohim).
(Exodus 3:3-4) “And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. (4) And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.”
· In verse 6 the Angel of the Lord, who spoke to Moses out of the bush, declared “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
· In verse 14, the Angel of the Lord is still speaking to Moses out of the bush, and says, “I AM THAT I AM.” That simply means, “I AM WHO I AM,” and expresses his eternal self-existence as our God, the great “I AM.”
· Again, in verses 15-18 and in chapter 4 (vv. 4-5), the Angel of the Lord identifies himself as our God our Savior.
(Exodus 3:15-18) “And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. (16) Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: (17) And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. (18) And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.”
(Exodus 4:4-5) “And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: (5) That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.”
· In Genesis 16 13, Hagar spoke to the Angel of the Lord, and called his name, “God who sees,” — “Thou, God, seest me.”
· In Judges 6:22, when Gideon spoke to the Angel of the Lord, he called him the “Lord God.”
· Then, in Judges 13:18, Manoah and his wife asked the Angel of the Lord to tell them his name, he said, “It is Wonderful” (Isa. 9:6-7).
(Judges 13:18) “And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?” — (Margin — “Wonderful!”)
(Isaiah 9:6-7) “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
The Angel of the Lord who appeared to Moses in the bush performed what none but he who is himself God could perform.
· He promised that when Pharaoh would refuse to release the Israelites from bondage, “I will stretch out My hand and smite Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in the midst thereof” (3:20) – a promise He ultimately fulfilled in ten plagues (chs.7‑12).
· He miraculously caused Moses’ rod to change into a serpent, then back into the rod (4:1-5).
· He miraculously caused Moses’ hand to become leprous, then restored it (4:6‑8).
· Then he identified himself as the Creator and as he who causes man to be deaf and dumb, seeing, or blind (4:11).
Worshipped As God
When Moses saw the Angel of the Lord and heard him speak, he worshipped him, reverencing him as God. — “Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God” (3:6). If ever a man sees God in his absolute holiness and sees his own complete sinfulness, he will hide his face before him (1 Kings 19:13; Judges 13:22). Even the cherubs cover their faces in God’s presence (Isa. 6:2). God is too holy to look upon sinful man (Hab. 1:13), and man is too sinful to look upon the holy God (Exodus 33:20). God must either veil his glory (as in Exodus 19:9), or we must cover our faces. Else we cannot look upon God and he will not look upon us, except in the person of Christ, the Angel of the Lord, being washed in the blood, robed in his righteousness, and accepted in him who is made of God unto us “Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). It is clear, unmistakably clear, that the Angel of the Lord who spoke to Moses is God our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He appeared to Moses, as he did to chosen sinners throughout the Old Testament, in the form of a man, identifying himself as the Mediator who would, in the fulness of time, be made flesh, made of a woman, made under the law, that he might redeem us from the curse of the law.
Remember, the word “angel” means “messenger.” As the Angel of the Lord, “the Messenger of the covenant,” the Son of God comes to men to reveal and fulfil all the stipulations of the covenant of grace for us (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:6-13), thereby securing our “eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:12).
Having fulfilled all the requirements of the covenant as our Substitute, our Savior now sits upon the throne of universal monarchy, ruling all things according to the purpose of God, as our God-man Mediator, to give eternal life to his people (John 17:2; Rev. 10:1-6).
(John 17:2) “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”
(Revelation 10:1-6) “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: (2) And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, (3) And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. (4) And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. (5) And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, (6) And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:”
He, and he alone, is able to fulfil the book of God’s decrees (Rev. 5:1-7).
(Revelation 5:1-7) “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. (2) And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? (3) And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. (4) And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. (5) And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (6) And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. (7) And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.”
He who rules the universe is God in human flesh, our Savior and Redeemer, “the Angel of the covenant.” Rejoice! Our Lord Jesus Christ is pre-eminently the Angel of the Lord. He is the Angel who came with a great chain of omnipotent power and bound Satan (Rev. 20:1-3).
(Revelation 20:1-3) “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. (2) And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (3) And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”
He is the Angel by whom all the earth shall be judged at last (Rev. 20:11-15). He is the Angel who sits upon the throne and will, at last, bring all the universe to its divinely ordained completion (“It is done!” Rev. 21:6).
Our Lord Jesus is Michael the Archangel, who contended with and conquered Satan, when he delivered us from the hands of divine justice and the curse of the law (Jude 9; Zech. 3:1-5). “Michael” means “One who is as God.” “Archangel” means “Chief of Angels,” or “Prince of Angels.” That is our Savior, “The Prince of Angels, the Man who is God!”
He is the Angel of the covenant (Mal. 3:1). In Isaiah 63:9, our Savior is called “the Angel of his presence.” He is that One who is our Redeemer and Savior, the great Lover of our souls, who constantly watches over and protects us in this world.
(Isaiah 63:9) “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.”
Bro. Daniel Parks wrote, “His presence is Jehovah’s presence because God’s name and nature and perfections are manifested in Him. He is indeed ‘the brightness of (God’s) glory and the express image of His person’ (Hebrews 1:3).”
Our blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ is called “the “Messenger of the Covenant” (Mal. 3:1), that is the Messenger of the New Covenant, the Everlasting Covenant of Grace, because he is the Surety and the Fulfiller of it (Heb. 7:22). God delivered the Old Covenant to Israel by Moses, through angels (Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19). But the New Covenant, the “better covenant” which has abrogated and replaced the Old Covenant (Heb. 8:6-12), was delivered by Christ, “the Messenger of the Covenant,” the Mediator and Surety of it (Heb. 9:15; 7:22). It is Christ, the Messenger, the Angel of the Covenant, who is the Revelation of God (John 1:1-3, 14, 18; Heb. 1:1-3; 2 Cor. 4:4-6).
(John 1:1-3) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
(John 1:14) “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
(John 1:18) “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
(Hebrews 1:1-3) “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
(2 Corinthians 4:4-6) “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (5) For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. (6) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Our great Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ is not only the God’s Messenger, he is God’s Message. He is the divine Word of God (John 1:1) incarnate in human flesh (John 1:14). A words are vehicles of communication by which the thoughts of the mind are made known to others. The Triune God has communicated to man the thoughts and intents of his own mind in the person of his Son, our Mediator, the Man, Christ Jesus. He is the complete, full, final revelation of God. — “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the godhead bodily” (Col. 2:10). All that God is is in the Man, Christ Jesus. And all that can be known of God is revealed in him. He is the great “I AM,” who revealed himself to Moses in the bush (John 8:58).
(John 8:58) “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”
John’s primary object in writing his gospel narrative was to demonstrate our Savior’s eternal deity as one with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity (John 1:1-3; 14:9). Therefore, it is not surprising that he constantly tells us that the Lord Jesus called himself the “I AM,” both directly and indirectly. He said to the Jews, “Before Abraham was I AM.” He could not have been more direct in the assertion of his Godhood. Here are twelve instructive examples of the same thing in the Gospel of John.
1. “I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE”(6:35, 50-58). — If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.
2. “I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD” (8:12). — He who follows Christ, the Light, no longer walks in the darkness of tradition, superstition, idolatry, and sin, but rather walks in the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.
3. “I AM THE DOOR” (10:9). — Christ is the only Door of entrance into the kingdom of God. He is the Door of the sheep. And all who enter in by him shall be saved.
4. “I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD” (10:11, 14-16). — The good Shepherd gave his life for his sheep, knows his sheep, gathers his sheep, and keeps his sheep.
5. “I AM THE SON OF GOD” (10:36). — Thus the man Christ Jesus asserted his divinity (10:33), his eternality, the plurality of Persons in the Godhead, and the unity of the divine Persons.
6. “I AM THE RESURRECTION” (11:25). — Those who believe on him shall never die.
7. “I AM HE” (13:19) — He of whom the prophets spoke, whose name is I AM, who came to save his people (18:49).
8. “I AM THE WAY.” — Without him we cannot come to God.
9. “I AM THE TRUTH.” — Without him we cannot know God.
10. “I AM THE LIFE” (14:6). — Without him we cannot live before God.
11. “I AM THE VINE” (15:1-10). — We are the branches. The branches bear fruit of the vine. But in order to bear fruit, they must be pruned and must abide in the vine.
12. “I AM KING” (19:19-22). — He is king everywhere, over all things, forever. He must reign! The Father decreed it. He deserves it. And all his saints desire it and delight in it.
Our Savior is called the Angel of God’s Presence, because his name is “Immanuel,” “God with us” (Matt. 1:23; Isa. 7:14). He is, as Thomas declared, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). The Lord Jesus Christ is God with us, God in our nature, God our Savior, who has delivered us from a bondage worse than that of Egypt and a foe mightier far than Pharaoh! The horse and his rider, he has cast into the sea, triumphing over sin and Satan, and making us more than conquerors in him (Ex. 15:1-18).
(Exodus 15:1-8) “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. (2) The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. (3) The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. (4) Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. (5) The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. (6) Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. (7) And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. (8) And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.”
(Exodus 15:11-18) “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? (12) Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. (13) Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. (14) The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. (15) Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. (16) Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. (17) Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. (18) The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.”
And, soon, the Angel of the Lord, Christ Jesus our Savior, the mighty Archangel shall come to bring us into the land of our everlasting inheritance in resurrection glory (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
This, at least this much, is what he revealed to Moses, when “the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of the bush.”