Why does the Bible say that Christ was an angel?

Is the Lord Jesus sometimes spoken of as an angel?

How can this be, seeing He is the Son of God, higher than the angels, and the Object of their worship?

We cannot be too jealous for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. The first chapter of Hebrews establishes His superiority over the angels in various ways, which we need not recapitulate. He has a place, a relation, prerogatives, and glory far transcending those of the highest of angelic beings. But the Hebrew word, “malak,” from a root “to depute,” and the Greek word, “angelos,” from a root meaning, “to announce,” both usually translated “angel,” are also frequently translated “messenger,” e.g., Genesis 33:3; Numbers 20:14; 1 Kings 19:2; 2 Kings 5:10; Haggai 1:13; Isaiah 42: 19 (presumably of Christ Himself); and in N.T., Matthew 9:10, referring to John Baptist; Luke 7:24, messengers of the Baptist; Luke 9:52; 2 Corinthians 7:7; James 2:25.

So that when we affirm that there are places where the words “malak” and “angelos” represent the Lord Himself, we are not bringing him down to the level of His own creatures, the angels, but emphasising the fact that He was the MESSENGER OF JEHOVAH. There is indeed a number of O.T. passages where we are obliged to understand the angel mentioned as a Divine Being. In Genesis 48:16, for instance, could it be a mere angel of whom Jacob speaks as His Redeemer, whose blessing he invokes on his grandsons? Is not this to place an angel on the level of God?

Then in Exodus 3:2, “the angel of the Lord” becomes “God” in v. 4. Later on Jehovah speaks of sending an angel before Israel, and adds, “Beware of him and obey his voice; provoke him not, for he will not pardon your transgressions, for My Name is in him” (Exododus 23:21). Could all this apply to a mere angelic being? In the case of Manoah, how could anyone but a Divine Person dare to identify Himself with the burnt offering? Certainly Manoah and his wife believed they had seen God (Judges 13:20-22). To assert that God made Himself known by merely angelic beings is a flagrant denial of the truth of the words, “The only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, HE hath declared Him” (John 1:18). He did not cease to dwell there. When thus revealing God, the Son of Man was in heaven, though on earth (John 3:13). Blessed paradoxes! Human reasonings stumble at them; faith bows to God’s word and adores.

To close I would refer to Malachi 3: , where the word “malak” is translated twice “messenger”—(1) as applying to John the Baptist, (2) to the Son of God manifest in flesh as the Messenger of the covenant,” exactly the same Hebrew expression as is used in the rest of the O.T. for the “angel of the covenant.” Is it not conclusive then that this Being is Divine, and represents Him whom we know to-day as the Lord Jesus Christ?

W.H.