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Does ἄγγελος κυρίου in the NT (e.g. Acts 12:7) refer to the angel of the LORD in the OT?

An example of Apollonius Corollary. is ἄγγελος κυρίου (angel of the Lord) at Acts 12:7.

Wallace promotes the grammatical argument that it is “most probable that ἄγγελος κυρίου is the angel of the Lord in the NT and is to be identified with the the angel of the Lord of the OT as Apollonius Corollary. [a]

An example in the LXX is Genesis 16:7.

Does ἄγγελος κυρίου in the NT (e.g. Acts 23:7) refer to the angel of the LORD in the OT?


[a] One of the many theologically significant constructions is ἄγγελος κυρίου (cf. Matt 1:20; 28:2; Luke 2:9; Acts 12:7; Gal 4:14 [ἄγγελος θεοῦ]). In the LXX this is the normal phrase used to translate מלאך יהוה (angel of the Lord”). The NT exhibits the same phenomenon, prompting Nigel Turner to suggest that “ἄγγελος κυρίου is not an angel but the angel [of the Lord].” Indeed, although most scholars treat ἄγγελος κυρίου in the NT as “an angel of the Lord,” there is no linguistic basis for doing so. Apart from theological argument, it is most probable that ἄγγελος κυρίου is the angel of the Lord in the NT and is to be identified with the the angel of the Lord of the OT. (GGBB 252)

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    I wasn't aware that there is only one angel out there. – Lucian Jun 14 at 22:02
  • @ThomasPearne: The Sultan sent an emissary to Romania. Upon arrival, the emissary had the following to relate... (Just because something is determinate within a given context, does not imply it is so universally). – Lucian Jun 15 at 7:49
  • Correct. But you seem to imply that "the context" is whenever the words "an/the angel of the Lord" are mentioned. – Lucian Jun 16 at 13:43
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    The phrase "εἷς ἄγγελος κυρίου" never appears in LXX or NT. – Tony Chan Jun 19 at 22:14
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There is a difference in the definition of the word "an/a" and the word "the?" The chief grammatical function of "an/a" is to connote a thing NOT previously noted or recognized.

The little word "the" connotes a thing PREVIOUSLY noted or recognized.

Even Wallace, who quoted Acts 5:19 said it's "probably" the angel of the Lord which means he's not sure.

Re Genesis 16:7. This is the first appearance of the angel of the Lord AS the angel of the Lord. What does he tell Hagar at Genesis 16:10? "Moreover, the angel of the Lord said to her, "I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they shall be too man to count."

What does she say to him at Genesis 16:13. "The she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, "Thou God does see me; for she said, Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?"

The idea that the angel of the Lord multiplied Hagar's descendants begs the following question from Genesis 17:1-2, "Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord APPEARED to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; Walk before Me and be blameless, vs2, And I will establish My COVENANT between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly."

Why does God Almighty allow the angel of the Lord to multiply Hagar's descendants but He clearly says at Genesis 17:1-2 that He will personally multiply Abraham's descendants? So is it possible that the angel of the Lord and God Almighty are one and the same being? Not one and the same person because the Bible makes a clear distinction of persons in both text of Genesis 16 and Genesis 17. And by the way, "the" angel of the Lord never appears as the angel of the Lord in the New Testament. He's mentioned but he does not function as the angel of the Lord.

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  • @ThomasPearne I fully agree with your edit, sir : the removal of personal references and the removal of questions addressed to the OP. And I respect the restraint shown, also, within the edit and within comment. – Nigel J Jun 16 at 4:52
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Grammatically speaking, there is no indefinite article in Koine Greek, but its place is often supplied by the indefinite pronoun (any, a certain, a mighty angel).

In LXX, ἄγγελος Κυρίου can refer to THE angel of the LORD. Judges 6:22:

When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD [ἄγγελος Κυρίου], he exclaimed, "Alas, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD [άγγελον κυρίου] face to face!"

But it can also refers to an arbitrary angel of the LORD. Zechariah 1:12:

Then the angel of the LORD [άγγελος κυρίου] said, "LORD Almighty, how long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and from the towns of Judah, which you have been angry with these seventy years?"

So, the phrase ἄγγελος Κυρίου is ambiguous in the OT.

Yes, ἄγγελος κυρίου in the NT ambiguously refers to the angel of the LORD in the OT.

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