The Sinai

Who Spoke to Moses from the Burning Bush?

Credit: BiblePhileTim
Who was the mysterious character who appeared to Moses and spoke with him from a burning bush? 

Throughout the 1,500 years of recorded history in the Scriptures ‘the angel of the Lord’ appears in bodily form and spoke with people, especially in times of crisis. When he revealed himself to Moses it was not his blazing presence or his call to Moses by name, but his statement that ‘’I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,’’ that made Moses cover his face in fear. [1]

Who did Jesus think encountered and blessed Abraham?

When discussing his identity with the religious leaders of his day, Jesus associated himself with this figure who appeared to Abraham. When the people rebut Jesus saying he could not have seen Abraham for he was not even fifty years old Jesus answered, ‘’I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM! [2]

 

Who did Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, think led Israel through the Sinai?

Jude the half-brother of Jesus writes that Jesus/Lord/God/Christ rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not remain faithful. [3]

 

Who did John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, think was actively guiding all people throughout history?

In Revelation, the last book of the Bible, John is given a vision of the resurrected Jesus and how he is ruling the world in his glorious eternal state. In chapter one Jesus says that he is the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come. He is the first to rise from the dead and the ruler of all the kings of the world. John falls like a dead man at his feet when he sees Jesus’s eyes like flames of fire, his feet like burnished bronze refined in a furnace, and hears his voice like rushing waters. [4]

 

Who did the 2nd and 3rd Century Church Leaders think Spoke to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Prophets in the Old Testament?

The Church Fathers, such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Ambrose, and Athanasius held an unwavering belief that the Second Person of the Trinity appeared frequently in the Old Testament in a variety of forms: the Angel of the Lord, the Burning Bush, the Son of Man, and the one like a Son of God in Daniel.

What made 4th Century Church Leaders cautious about identifying the Angel of the Lord with the Lord Jesus Christ?

Some influential early Christian leaders such as Augustine (354 – 430) was cautious about associating the ‘angel of the Lord’ with the Lord Jesus Christ.

During Old Testament times angel simply meant ‘messenger.’ An angel could be a human or a spiritual messenger. By the time the New Testament was being written angels were understood to be created spiritual beings distinct from God and people.

In the early 4th century a man from Alexandria called Arius was teaching that Jesus was a created being. His teaching became popular though much of the Roman empires even after it was denouced as heresy by the Church leaders from all over the world who met at the Council of Nicaea in 325. 

Within that context, Augustine was careful not to create further misunderstanding by associating Jesus with an angel and by inference a created being.

 

Do Modern Scholars associate the Angel of the Lord with the Lord Jesus Christ?

Some modern theologians are also cautious about associating the ‘angel of the Lord’ with the Lord Jesus. They quite rightly don’t want to see Jesus where he doesn’t belong. Yet respected theologians such as John Gill, Warren Wiersbe, John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul identify the ‘angel of the Lord’ as Yahweh and the Lord Jesus Christ appearing in pre-incarnate forms. 

What effect does the Angel of the Lord have on those He encounters?

What is clear is that characters such as Hagar, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, the parents of Samson, Gideon, Elijah, and King David believed God had appeared to them as the ‘angel of the Lord’ and had spoken the Word of God to them, blessed them, and accepted worship from them. 

As a consequence of their encounter with the ‘angel of the Lord’ each of these people’s lives were transformed. Each became a significant history-making leader who brought hope, faith, and timely service to their respective communities. 

Question for Thought:

Would you like to encounter the Angel of the Lord?

What do you think He might want to say to you?

References

[1] Exodus 3:4-6.

[2] John 8:58.

[3] Jude 5.

[4] Revelation 1:12-18. 

Related Reading