While studying the Bible recently, I read about The Wonderful Messenger once again. Hidden within the pages of the Hebrew Scriptures, yet there for all to see, is the magnificent One known as Malakh YHWH “The Angel of the LORD”. Known also as Angel of His Presence or Face, this unique Messenger is seen, often in human appearance, interacting on behalf of or with the Chosen People in amazing situations and in various ways. The word for messenger in Hebrew is malakh and when translated into English is the word “angel”. Yet He is certainly not your garden variety angel. In fact, at times, if you read carefully, it almost seems as if He and the LORD God are one! How often I have wished that I had been with those who encountered Him just to see Him face-to-face!The first time we learn of Him is in Genesis 16 when He touches the life of Hagar and foretells the birth of her son Ishmael. Later in Genesis 22, on Mount Moriah, this same Malakh YHWH calls out from heaven to the great patriarch Abraham and commands him not to slay his beloved son Isaac. In Genesis 32:24 however, Isaac’s son Jacob wrestles with a “Man” throughout the night but thereafter states clearly in verse 30 that he has seen God face-to-face! In Exodus He is in the midst of a flame of fire appearing within the burning bush at Mount Horeb in chapter 3, yet speaking as God. In chapter 14 of Exodus He is before and behind His people in a pillar of cloud while they face Pharaoh and his armies at the Red Sea.In the book of Numbers, Balaam, a false prophet for hire, encounters The Angel of the LORD while planning to curse God’s people. The Angel of the LORD hails the cowering Gideon as “a mighty man of valor” and charges him in Judges Chapter 6, to rise up and deliver the Children of Israel from the grip of their Midianite oppressors. The Malakh YWWH also prophesies the birth of the judge Samson (of Delilah fame) to his parents in chapter 13 in Judges.It is this Angel of the LORD in 1 Kg 19 who leads the fearful prophet Elijah to Mt. Horeb after his dramatic encounter with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel… and it is this same Wonderful Messenger who commands a repentant King David to build an altar in Jerusalem on the threshing floor of Ornan in I Chronicles 21.While the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob clearly tells Moses in Exodus 33 that no one can see the face of God face and live... the Word of God also tells us that those who meet this "Angel" face-to-face seem to recognize Him as God and remain alive to tell the tale!Isaiah 9:6 states ”For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." This "given" One is a child and a son… yet at the same time … He is The Mighty God and The Everlasting Father! How can this be possible?In the “Hebraic” manner of thinking so to speak I believe it is perfectly acceptable. It is not either or, but both! In referring to the Most High, do we not read that His ways are not our ways, yet He dwells among us? Are we not told that He is full of mercy but also an all consuming fire judging throughout generations? It is a paradox… a puzzlement.In reading about The Angel of the LORD, Isaiah 63:9 tells us " In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence (the Messenger of His Face) saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old (since the beginning).” This clearly describes our faithful God and Savior... God with us and for us! How easy it is to see that the Malakh YHWH is the pre-incarnate Messiah... Yeshua, Jesus. Even before He took on the nature of man, He personally touched man, reached man, spoke with man!Though disclosed "in part" to just a "few" as The Angel of the LORD in the pages of the Hebrew Bible, the same Scriptures also promise that a day is coming when all of mankind shall stand openly before Him. Such a day... like no other! The Wonderful Messenger once only beheld by patriarchs and prophets will look directly at us!Now we see through a glass darkly, but then we shall see Him as He is...eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart and face-to-face! Until then, we wait... we watch... we abide...
Face to Face
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LAURIE BARNETT is the founder of Shadows of the Messiah, a Bible teaching ministry that shares the richness of the Hebraic foundations of Scripture with women in the Body of Christ. Laurie began examining the Jewish background of the teachings of Jesus and of the New Testament more than 25 years ago.