Angel of the Lord

In your sermon this past Sunday you said when the Bible talks of "the angel of the Lord" that it refers to that angel being Jesus. However, John 1:1 states that Jesus was God. If He is God then how could Jesus be an angel or the angel? If Jesus is God, then how can He be, or ever was, an “angel?”
Sincerely, Confused follower

Please don’t be confused. First there is a big difference in the scriptures between AN “angel of the Lord” and THE “angel of the Lord.” AN angel is just an angel, THE angel, I pointed out, usually refers to Jesus.
Let me begin my long explanation.
Sometimes we take a word and change it’s meaning. Like Kleenex, it’s a brand, but now any tissue (whether generic or actual) is called Kleenex. The term Xerox was used a few years ago the same way; a lot of people say would say, “Xerox that” meaning “make a copy” not actually use a Xerox machine.
The term “angel” today has fallen victim to the same mindset. We have the word “angel” and made it an entity and not a description. When I say “angel” from the front, everyone sees wings, harps, and halos. The term angel, in its roots, simply means “messenger” or “one who is sent;” as a matter of fact even human beings are called “angels.” In the book of Revelation, the leaders of the 7 churches (pastors) are referred to as “angels” because they are to bring God’s message.
But, when we read “The Angel of the Lord,” there is no reason why it cannot be Jesus.
THE Angel of the Lord first appears in Genesis 16:7 and then intermittently throughout the early Old Testament books. We must be able to differentiate from the context whether the word refers to the office of the sent one or to the nature of a created and finite being.
In some contexts the term "angel of the LORD" refers to nothing more than any other angel (as in Judges 6:11). But as the narrative of Genesis progresses, sometimes the term “angel” transcends the angelic category and is described in terms suited only to a member of the Trinity.

  • After being told that Hagar had been speaking with the angel of the Lord (four times in Gen 16:7, 9-11), Genesis 16:13 informs us that Hagar "gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: `You are the God who sees me.'"
  • Jacob's testimony in Genesis 48:15-16 identifies the God in whose presence his fathers Abraham and Isaac had lived as "the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm."
  • This angel spoke to Jacob earlier in a dream and identified himself by saying, "I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me" (Gen 31:11, 13).
  • Exodus 3:2-6 the phrase "the angel of the LORD" is used interchangeably with "the LORD." In fact the angel claims, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob" (Ex 3:6).
  • In Genesis 22 THE angel swears by “himself” because there is nothing higher or greater (22:16) and tells Abraham He hasn’t withheld his son from Him (22:12) when God was the one who called him to the act.

The ANGEL, in the above verses, has divine qualities, prerogatives and authority. He has the power to give life (Gen 16:10) and to see and know all (Gen 16:13; Ex 3:7). We know that only God can forgive sin, yet this angel did the same in Exodus 23:21. THE angel performed miracles such as keeping a burning bush from being consumed (Ex 3:2), smiting Egypt with plagues (Ex 3:20), calling forth fire on the rock to consume the meal set for him (Judges 6:21) and ascending the flame of the altar (Judges 13:20).
AN angel was not to receive worship, but THE angel commanded and received worship from Moses (Ex 3:5) and Joshua (Joshua 5:14). 
Again, in a Hebraic context “angel” doesn’t have to mean simply be a created being (like Michael or Gabriel), though it can mean that); But it can also mean the one delivering God’s message, which can actually, at times, be God Himself.