*GOD THE SON: HIS PRE-EXISTENCE*
The Angel of the Lord
Being at the same time PERFECTLY HUMAN and PERFECTLY DIVINE, the Lord Jesus Christ was both like men and also unlike the sons of men. The Scripture is clear regarding His likeness to men (Jn1:14; 1Tim3:16; Heb2:14-17), presenting Him as a man among men and also God, who was tempted by Satan in Mat4 and Luke4, tempted like us yet without sin Heb4:15, who lived, who suffered, and who died as a man. But he is also different from men, not only in the sinless character of His human life, His sacrificial death, His glorious resurrection and ascension, but in the fact of His eternal pre existence.
On the HUMAN SIDE he had a BEGINNING; He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. On the DIVINE SIDE He had NO BEGINNING; He was from all eternity. In Isaiah 9:6, we read: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” The distinction is obvious between the child which was BORN (human side) and the Son which was GIVEN (divine side, Jn3:16). In like manner, it is stated in Gal4:4, “But when the fulness of the time was come, GOD SENT FORTH HIS SON, made of a woman, made under the law.” He who was the eternal Son was, in the fullness of time, “made [the offspring] of a woman”
The fact of the pre-existence of the Son of God is established by two distinct lines of revelation — (1) as directly stated, and (2) as implied:
*I. AS DIRECTLY STATED*
The pre-existence of Christ is clearly seen in many verses:
–“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with (‘facing’, ‘pros’ in Greek) God, and the WORD WAS GOD. The same was in the beginning with God” Jn1:1,2
–“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from EVERLASTING” Micah5:2; Is7:13,14; 9:6,7
–“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM” Jn8:58; to this statement, Jews tried to stone him for blasphemy, understanding that Jesus claimed to be God, using the words of God, ”I AM” (IHWH). He did not say, ‘I was’. Note also, Exod3:14; Isa43:13, Jn10:30-33
–“And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” Jn17:5. ‘World’ in Greek is ‘kosmos’ which means universe or all creation. Jesus existed before any creation existed, which means He is not creation, or a created angel as some believe.
–Read also: Jn13:3; Phil2:6; Col1:15-19; 1Tim3:16; Heb1:3;13:8
*II. AS IMPLIED*
–1. The works of CREATION are ascribed to Christ Jn1:3; Col1:16; Heb1:10 and to God alone, Gen1:1, Is.44:24. He therefore antedates all creation, being God
–2. The ANGEL OF JEHOVAH (or ‘Yahweh’) whose appearance is often recorded in the Old Testament is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Though He appears at times as an angel or even as a man, He bears the unmistakable marks of Deity, He appeared to Hagar Gen16:7, to Abraham Gen18:1;22:11,12; note Jn8:58, to Jacob Gen48:15,16; note also, Gen31:11-13;32:24-32, to Moses Exod.3:2,14, to Joshua Josh5:13,14, and to Manoah Judg13:19-22.
He defends His own and accepts worship and sacrifices 2Kings19:35; Zech14:1-4; 1Chron21:15,16; Ps34:7. An angel is not allowed to accept worship: Col2:18, Rev19:10, 21:8
–3. The TITLES of the Lord Jesus Christ indicate His eternal Being.
“The Son of God”
“The Only Begotten Son”
“The First and the Last”
“The Alpha and Omega”
“Lord of All”
“Lord of Glory”
“The Mighty God”
“The Father of Eternity”
“God with us”
“Our Great God”
“God Blessed Forever”
These titles relate Him to the Old Testament revelation of Jehovah-God (comp. Matt1:23 with Isa7:14; Matt4:7 with Deut6:16; Mark5:19 with Ps66:16; and Ps110:1 with Matt22:42-45)
The New Testament names of the Son of God are associated with titles of the Father and the Spirit as being equal with them (Matt28:19; Acts2:38; 1Cor1:3; 2Cor13:14; Jn14:1;17:3; Eph5:5; Rev20:6; 22:3), and He is explicitly called God (Rom9:5; Jn1:1; Tit2:13; Heb1:8)
–4. The pre-existence of the Son of God is implied in the fact that He has the ATTRIBUTES OF GOD: Life Jn1:4, Self-existence Jn5:26, Immutability Heb13:8, Truth Jn14:6, Love 1Jn3:16, Holiness Heb7:26, Eternity Col1:17; Heb1:11, Omnipresence Matt28:20, Omniscience 1Cor4:5; Col2:3, and Omnipotence Matt28:18; Rev1:8
–5. The pre-existence of Christ is implied in the fact that He is WORSHIPED as God Jn20:28; Acts7:59; Heb1:6 Since the Lord Jesus Christ is ‘from everlasting to everlasting’, therefore He is God.
–What many fail to understand about Jesus can be explained with AN EXAMPLE: imagine 3 brothers, equal owners of a factory; the three brothers convene that one day one of the brothers goes into the factory as a worker, hiding his true identity; after working diligently for a few years, earning his pay and even getting promoted because of his hard work, suddenly he tells the other co-workers, ”I am the owner of the factory”…but nobody believes him! They had heard him said, ”the great boss is greater than me…” (because in his experience he is a worker at the moment), but also saying ”the great boss and me have the same blood, nature and family name”.
Jesus said in Jn16:12 that He had wished to tell his disciples many other things, but they didnt have a capacity to understand them, but later the Holy Spirit would teach them, things which the apostles have written in the New Testament later. The same way Jesus did not reveal publicly from the beginning to all Jews that He was God.
–Is6:1 says that Isaiah saw the LORD (understood as God), while Jn12:41 explains that Isaiah had seen not God the Father but Jesus in a pre-incarnate apparition, some 600 years before His incarnation, Phil2:5-8. Jn1:18 says, ‘no one has seen God at any time’. ‘No one can see Me and live’ Ex33:20. Also see 1Tim6:16.
–Gen32 says that Jacob fought with a man, which Hosea12:3-4 identifies as both ‘Angel’ and ‘God’.
–In Ex3:2 the Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush. Then in v6 the Angel (”messenger” in Hebrew) spoke to Moses and said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”
–In Ex23:20-23 God says about the Angel of the Lord, “My name is in Him”, not on his forehead or elsewhere, not ‘with’, but ”inside” literally. The Name of God means nature and presence.
–Does the title, “the Angel of the Lord,” mean that Jesus is a mighty angel like Gabriel or Michael? Answer: Not at all. In fact, we are told that Jesus is “much better than the angels” Heb1:4 because He is the one and only Son of the Father Heb1:1-5. Even though in the book of Job ”the sons of God” refers to the angels, John3:16 calls Jesus only begotten, which means, ‘the only possession’ or the only one of his kind, none is similar to Him: all angels are created while Jesus is not created.
Therefore, the angels worship Him Heb1:6-7. Also, the angels were created at a point in time Ps148:1-6 whereas Jesus has existed eternally Jn1:1-14. In fact, the Bible asserts that Jesus Himself was the one who created the angels Col1:16.
–In Rev10 John sees a “strong angel” coming down out of Heaven. The angel has the title deed of the earth in his hand. He puts one foot on land and the other in the sea and lifts the title deed in the air as a symbol of his claiming all of creation for himself.
I don’t think there is any doubt that this “angel” is Jesus. He is clothed in a cloud, crowned with a rainbow, and has a “face like the sun” — all of which are symbols of deity Rev1:13-17. His feet are like “pillars of fire,” indicating He has come in judgment — and all judgment has been given to Jesus Jn5:22. Most important, He holds open in His hand the title deed of the earth Rev.10:2, a deed which we are told in Rev5:5-7 that only Jesus is worthy to open.
Some object to the identification of this angel as Jesus because He makes an oath by the name of God (Rev.10:6). They ask, “How can God swear by God?” But in Heb6:13 we are told that when God made His promises to Abraham that “He swore by Himself” because “He could swear by no one greater.” We see the same thing in Jer22:5 where God says, “I swear by Myself.”
–Mat28:2 says, ‘(an) angel of the Lord descended and rolled back the stone’. It does not say, ”the angel”, there is not an article before the word angel in the original Greek, even if your bible might wrongly have ”the” instead of ”an”. This verse speaks of an angel, not about the Angel of the Lord (Jesus).
–Jesus, called ”the Angel of the Lord” in the Old Testament, is called ”Son of God” in the New Testament, not in the same sense as Adam is called son of God, being created by God in His image Luke3:38, but as one that was appointed as SON of God, see Rom.1:4, Acts13:33. ”Son” speaks of rank and position here.
By Pastor Daniel