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20 “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him.

Is this speaking of The Lord Himself?

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  • Love it! Thank you! – Laur Feb 22 at 14:46
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Exodus 23:21 New International Version

Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him.

The Name refers to God. In Judaism, HaShem (lit. 'the Name') is used to refer to God.

23 My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out.

It was the personal angel of God.

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  • It was the personal angel of God, which is The Lord of Hosts! Got it! Thank you for answering my question. – Laur Feb 22 at 14:48
  • Glad to be of service. – Tony Chan Feb 22 at 15:16
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The following passages make it clear that the “Angel of the LORD” is almost always, the LORD (Jehovah) Himself, probably the pre-incarnate Jesus in particular. Gen 16:7-13, 22:11-17, 32:24-30, 48:16, Ex 3:2-6, 23:21, 22, 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, Rev 8:3-5, 10:1-10, 18:1, 20:1-4.

A closely related phrase, “Angel of God” who is clearly God as in 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, etc. See also Acts 10:3, 4, Gal 4:14.

In Isa 63:9, “the Angel of His [LORD’s] presence saved them”, and is almost certainly a reference to the same being.

The same is true of Ex 23:20, 21.

In other places we see that the LORD sends the LORD:

  • 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.

Thus, unsurprisingly, Jesus is the messenger to the human race and underlines the importance that the Godhead places upon such messages.

This is not to suggest that Jesus is an angel in the sense that He is less that God; far from it! However, the Greek and Hebrew word for “angel” simply means messenger and it is in this sense that Jesus is the messenger in the above passages and under-scores the importance that God places on some of these messages that are personally delivered.

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Yes. This angel was the Lord. We already know this from the start of the book of Exodus. This angel was in the burning bush...

EXODUS 3:2 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush.

Then not much Later in this exchange we read ...

EXODUS 3:4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush,

So we met the angel in verse 2, and in verse 4 he (the angel) is referred to as both the Lord, and also God. Because from Moses’s perspective, it was God. (Even though it was the angel.)

You need to understand the Hebraic view of representation. If a messenger or envoy representing a higher official is standing before you, it is as if that higher official themselves was standing there. And any written or oral record of that encounter would write/present it as if that higher official themselves was actually there.

The angel of the Lord represented God. Fully. And, both had and could act ‘in’ the full authority of God. It was as if God himself was there. But, this angel had no tolerance, and could not forgive. Only God can exercise Mercy. Angels can neither exercise Grace or Mercy (forgiveness), nor receive it! This is what Exodus 23:21 is warning Moses about. (This angel would not exercise any tolerance for transgressions.)

So the Old Testament encounters with the Lord, and even God, are all of the same manner. Some believe that (some angelic) appearances are actually a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus. And provide compelling evidence to support this view.

For a more scholarly view to support this view of representation, see Where did the idea that the law was administered through angels come from?

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  • Excellent, Thank you! – Laur Feb 22 at 14:46
  • How it is possible that the MLAK (an envoy, a messenger) of יהוה was יהוה himself? This conclusion defies all logic. The MLAK here described must be a different person, a personal angel of Him, probably His own Son, whom we called Jesus Christ. – Saro Fedele Feb 22 at 17:29
  • @Saro Fedele It wasn’t God. It was an angel representing God. But, it was as if God was there. The angel was standing ‘as God’. The angel had ‘the name of God’, so in effect, was there ‘as’ God. To be precise, the angel had or was the image of God. (Although many with a traditional foundation will dispute this interpretation.). And as you said, many see these cases as a Christophany – Dave Feb 22 at 19:01

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