Role in Religious Texts:
- Moses talking with the Angel of the Lord through a burning bush (The Book of Exodus)
- Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord while seeking a blessing (The Book of Genesis)
- The Angel of the Lord testing Abraham's faith as Abraham prepares to sacrifice his son Isaac (The Book of Genesis)
- The Angel of the Lord comforting Hagar as she wanders through the desert with her son Ishmael (The Book of Genesis)
- The Angel of the Lord leading the Hebrew people toward the Promised Land (The Book of Exodus)
- The Angel of the Lord encouraging Gideon before a battle (The Book of Judges)
- The Angel of the Lord confronting Balaam about his mistreatment of an animal (The Book of Numbers)
The Angel of the Lord is known for communicating clearly as God and for acting in ways that only God the Creator (rather than created angels) would act. Unlike created angels, who know only what God reveals to them, the Angel of the Lord seems to be omniscient. Some of the other ways that the Angel of the Lord distinguishes himself from other angels are by: creating life (Genesis 16:10), possessing the power to forgive sin (Exodus 23:21), and encouraging worship from human beings (Exodus 3:5 and Joshua 5:15).
Since the Angel of the Lord is the all-powerful God, people pray to him about every topic. Both the Bible and the Torah describe human encounters with the Angel of the Lord, who speaks as God but appears in angelic form, which the Book of Exodus reveals is the only way that sinful people could connect with a perfectly holy God at that time in history. In Exodus 33:20, God says to the prophet Moses "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."
Many Christians believe that Jesus Christ was the one who was appearing to human beings as the Angel of the Lord prior to his incarnation (after which no appearances of the Angel of the Lord were recorded). The Bible says about Jesus in Colossians 1:15: "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation." Jesus tells people asking about his identity in John 8:58: "Before Abraham was born, I Am!" and the Angel of the Lord tells Moses in Exodus that his name is "I Am." In 1 Corinthians 10:2-4, the Bible links Jesus Christ to the Angel of the Lord; it refers to the Angel of the Lord who accompanied Moses and the Hebrew people through the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land (in the form of fire at night and a cloud by day) by describing "the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ."