In all of the Bible versions I have looked at the angel of the Lord says “you have not withheld from me your son” or something like “you have not withheld thy son, thine only son from me”.

If God is the one who asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac then why does the angel of the Lord say "withheld from ME thy son" instead of "withheld from GOD thy son”?

  • Hi Otto, welcome to BHSE! Please do take the site tour when you get a chance. One of our users (who was not helpful enough to speak to you themselves) has flagged your question as 'needing details or clarity' - essentially it does read like a string of questions, and would definitely benefit from being a bit more targeted. I disagree that it warrants Closure in its current state, but would recommend you have another go at refining it. Have a great day.
    – Steve can help
    Commented Feb 17, 2020 at 15:00
  • 1
    Thank you for the help!
    – Otto Felix
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 23:17

3 Answers 3


The angel of the Lord first appears as the angel of the Lord at Genesis 16:7. And he says in the following verses that he will multiply Hagar's descendants at verse 10. At verse 13 Hagar says, "Thou art a God who sees; Have I even remained alive after seeing Him."

At Genesis 17:1-2 you have the Lord appearing to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. verse 2, And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply your exceedingly."

Going to Genesis 22:1 it says, "Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham etc." At verse 11, "But the angel of the Lord called to him/Abraham from heaven, AND SAID, Abraham, Abraham! etc." verse 12, "Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him, for now I KNOW that you fear God, since you have not WITHHELD your son, your only son, FROM ME."

Verse 15, "Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, verse 16, AND SAID, "By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, verse 17, "indeed I will greatly multiply your seed as the starts of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies." Verse 18, "And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because YOU HAVE OBEYED MY VOICE."

So what we have here is the angel of the Lord at Genesis 16 who multiplied Hagar's descendants and was identified as God is the same being who made the covenant to Abram at Genesis 17:1-2 who is identified as God. It is also the same being (the angel of the Lord) at Genesis 22:16-18.

All of this is backed up by the writer of Hebrews at Hebrews 6:13-14, "For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, HE SWORD BY HIMSELF, Verse 14, "saying, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply you." At Luke 1:73, "The oath which He swore to Abraham our father."

A couple of points of interest. The angel of the Lord is speaking in the "first person" here. This is confirmed at (Genesis 16:10, Genesis 21:18, Genesis 31:13). Also the angel of the Lord appears at, Genesis 16:7-14, Genesis 22:11-16, Exodus 3:2-4, (the burning bush), Numbers 22:22-38, Judges 2:1-3 and at other places.

Also note, that the angel of the Lord never appears in the New Testament, although he is mentioned at Acts 7. Another important point that people miss is there is a difference between the words, "a or an" as opposed to the word "the." For example, some will say the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph at Matthew 1:20 and say "the angle of the Lord appeared etc. despite the fact that the word used is "an" angel of the Lord appeared.

The grammatical function of "an" or "a" is to connote a thing not previously noted or recognized. In other words, it's just that, an angel/messenger. The word "the" connotes a thing PREVIOUSLY noted or recognized, i.e "THE angel of the Lord. Finally, I'm convinced by the evidence that the angel of the Lord is the preincarnate Jesus Christ.

  • So is this The Word taking on the appearance of a man-and appearing to Abraham?
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 21:19
  • I mean the angel of God did not literally take on human form here but yet he ate food right?
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 21:40
  • @Kris The "Word/Logos" and the angel of the Lord are one and the same person who appears in the Old Testament including at Genesis 18:1, "Now the Lord appeared to him/Abraham by the oaks of Mamre etc. He also ate food along with two other actual angels who took human form. at vs 5. So God in the person of Jesus Christ assumed a temporary physical form. Hebrews 1:1-3, "God after He spoke long ago to the fathers and prophets in these last days has spoken to us in His Son." The Son is the fulfillment of what was promised by the old covenant. The final revelation of God in a permanent human form.
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 15:08
  • Interestingly the taking on of a temporary physical form is exactly how JWs explain Jesus being resurrected.
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 19:06
  • To the contrary of (demonic) JWism: It is sown a soulish body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a soulish body, there is also a spiritual one.
    – Walter S
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 5:04

This is one of the characteristics of the way God speaks to individuals - He sometimes talks about Himself in the third person as in Gen 22. On other occasions God speaks in more general revelation of Himself in the first person by saying "fear me", eg, Zeph 3:7, Deut 5:29, Jer 32:39, 5:22, Isa 57:11, etc.

Quite often (not always), "angel of the LORD" is the LORD (Jehovah) Himself, eg, Gen 16:7-13, 22:11-17, 32:24-30, 48:16, Ex 3:2-6, 32:34, Num 22:22-35, Josh 5:13-15, Judg 2:1-4, 6:11-23, 13:3-23, Isa 63:9, Dan 3:25, 28, Hos 12:4, 5, Zech 3:1-7, Mal 3:1. Similarly, "Angel of God" is often (not always) used in the same way, eg, Gen 6:13, 8:15, 9:8, 17, 15:13, 17:3, 4, 21:12, 16-21, 35:1, 10, Ex 4:3-8, 6:2, 23:20, 21, Deut 1:6, 1 Kings 12:22.

Even more interesting, the OT often talks about God as more than one person such as:

  • Zech 2:6-12 – the LORD (= YHWH) claims three times that He has been sent by the LORD.
  • Isa 48:11-16 – again, the LORD has been sent by the LORD.
  • Isa 63:7-10 – the LORD (described as a Father) sends His divine servant (the angel of His presence) and His Holy Spirit who is grieved (compare Ps 78:40).
  • Ex 23:20 – the angel of the LORD’s presence has the power to forgive sin (but will not). This and the previous reference probably make the angel of the presence the pre-incarnate Jesus.
  • Hos 1:7 – the LORD saves by the LORD their God.
  • Prov 30:1-4 – the Son of God is as unfathomable as God Himself.
  • Psalm 110 – “The LORD says to my Lord” – Jesus asked about this Psalm on how someone could be both Son and Lord of David – see Matt 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42, Acts 2:34.
  • Ps 45 (quoted by Heb 1) talks about the “Son” being God in addition to God the Father.

Thus, it is unsurprising that Gen 22 is couched in the terms that it is - similar language is used in many other places.


'cause Jehovah is this Angel, the Son of God. The Sender and Sent One are Father, Son, and Spirit; the plural God, the plural-singular God. The Word was with God and the Word was God. Baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Before Abraham came into being, I am. So they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple.

  • Hi Walter, welcome to BHSE. Please take the site tour when you get a chance. This Answer is very short, and could be expanded to become a better answer - more clearly showing its quotations and reasoning. As this site is about Biblical Hermeneutics, we would always encourage Answerers to engage with the source passage. It's often difficult to answer a question well without a single reference to the actual passage referenced.
    – Steve can help
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 10:22
  • If you don't understand my answer, you're welcome to ask me about it. If you think longer's necessarily better, you're more than welcome to answer the question yourself. Thanks
    – Walter S
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 21:39
  • Thanks Walter - I understand your answer, but there is room for improvement. As this is a Hermeneutics site, we encourage engagement with the source text and clear use of quotations where available. I'm just trying to help, sorry for any offence caused.
    – Steve can help
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 8:25
  • no offence at all. I apologize if I caused you or any one else any offense or grating in the least. But if you understood, maybe you can be comforted that others possibly could too. Neither the original question, nor my answer, are trigonometric equations. Since the source text itself couldn't be improved for clarity, I only wanted to reinforce it and show Bible consistency, without repeating others' posts
    – Walter S
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 17:14

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