In our previous message we reflected on the archangel through whose voice the Lord descends from heaven (1 Thes. 4:16). This voice of the archangel is the very voice of the Son of God – God’s Chief Messenger. Thus Jesus said: “the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live” (Joh. 5:25). This voice is a pure and powerful word that imparts His life. Christ Jesus, the Word, the Logos of God, is expressed and revealed in the voice of this archangel. These are not ordinary sounds but words that possess resurrection power, conquering all the forces of darkness within, quickening us from the dead and establishing within the reign of Christ.
However, as we will see, this angel is not only a mere messenger, He is the very message. He not only proclaims the word of God, He is the Word. This mighty angel is an expression of the living word of God conveyed by the spirit of revelation. Thus, even to us who are in this dispensation, Jesus declares: “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things” (Rev. 22:16).
The testimony of the word of God offers abundant evidence that the coming of Christ is not a solitary event but includes many different manifestations, each bearing the mighty in-workings of His nature, power, and glory in His elect. As we lay hold of these multi-faceted experiences of Christ’s appearing, we should be reminded that the Lord also comes to and in us as the angel of the Lord.
The “angel of the Lord” is an expression often used in the Old Testament to indicate a special manifestation of God Himself. The angel of God was a means by which Christ came to His people to help and heal and save. It was this messenger of God who appeared to Lot, went before the children of Israel in the Red Sea, spoke to Moses face to face, ministered to Hagar, stood in the way of Balaam, brought a promise to Manoah, and encountered Elijah, David, Joshua and many others. No wonder then that the apostle Paul saw it fit to testify of Jesus from both the Law and the prophets from morning till evening.
It was not just Paul, all those men and women of old who encountered the angel of the Lord knew they were in the presence of the Lord Himself. Of Abraham we read: “Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: ‘By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants’” (Gen. 22:16-17). This angle speaks with divine authority as the Lord Himself even making a covenant with Abraham. Surely, Abraham’s covenant was with God and not an angel.
Gideon also called the angel that appeared to him as the Lord God. “Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the Lord. So Gideon said, ‘Alas, O Lord God! For I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face’” (Judg. 6:22). In neither of these occasions do we see this angel of God refusing the glory and honor that these men bestowed on Him. Herein then is the profound mystery of Jesus Christ appearing as the angel of God.
“Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him. But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries” (Exo. 23:20-22).
The message of this passage can be perplexing. How is it that God speaks of an angel in this way? Here is an angel of the Lord who is counted worthy to bear the very name (nature) of God, for it states that the name of the Lord is in Him. This angel also has the authority to pardon sins. He is ordained with the mandate to lead God’s people to the place that has been prepared for them. And those to whom He is sent are instructed to beware of Him, that is; to keep, guard, observe and give heed to Him and His voice. So, not only is their weight to His nature, but there is power in the words of His voice.
All these distinctions seem too lofty to place upon an angel. But we can see by the mark of this angel that He is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. Who else possess the name and nature of the Father but Christ Jesus? What other voice is there, that we are to heed and obey, than the voice of the Son of God? Of Him the Father declared: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Mat. 17:5). Surely, the voice of this angel is the Bridegroom’s voice and the voice of the Chief Shepherded who also comes to us in the voice of an archangel.
Notice also that the main mission of the angel is to keep us in the way and to bring us into the place which God has prepared. It was in in the same spirit that our Lord Jesus said: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Joh. 14:3). He is the ordained Way to the place which He has prepared for us in Himself. In Him we are released from every bondage of corruption to find our true inheritance and eternal possession. Thus, we also read that this angel has the authority to pardon sins. “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Luk. 5:21). Surely, only the Christ of God can forgive sins because He is the image and expression of God. Is this not why Isaiah prophecies: “In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the Angel of His Presence saved them” (Isa. 63:9)? Another translation reads: “the messenger of His presence saved them”. Praise God, the message of His presence is going forth into all the earth in this hour to redeem a people ordained for manifest sonship.
One only needs to read the book of Revelation to understand that the angel of the Lord is still at work in the midst of the Lord’s elect. This same angel seen by Abraham, Lot, Moses, Gideon and others is also witnessed by John the revelator as a might angel (Rev. 10 & 18). The appearings of the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament depicted the visible Presence of the Lord coming into human experience to bring divine influence. But God, who in ancient days appeared to our forefathers in visible form, comes to us today by the Spirit of His Son, whom God has sent into our hearts. Those with circumcised ears can attest that the Lord is speaking to them today by His Son. And despite the diverse ways He manifests Himself, every child of God who has received the spirit of Sonship in this hour recognizes the voices that proceed from this might angel (Rev. 10:3).
These symbolically signified voices by the mighty angel are heard from the heaven within ourselves. The only heaven we now know is the spiritual realm touched and experienced within our very own spirit. It is from the heights of that reality that we hear the voice of our Chief Messenger. And it is only when that voice is heard with spiritual ears that it causes a resurrection in our souls – quickening and raising up our mind, will and emotions into that of Christ’s.
May the voice of our Chief Messenger continue to be heard and sounded by a people who hasten the coming of the Day of God!