A. In our last study, we pointed out 3 possibilities to consider when the Bible uses
the word "Angel."
1. It could be a human messenger.
2. It could be a special, heavenly being (creature).
3. It could be the preincarnate Christ (Second Person of the Trinity)
C. Let's consider these possibilities in our text:
1. Could it be a human messenger?
a. There is a more uncommon, Jewish view that says this "angel" is Moses.
b. However, the attributes mentioned in V. 21 alone do not seem likely to
apply to Moses:
1) "He will not pardon your transgressions."
2) "My name is in Him."
c. Some have suggested this angel is the Law of Moses Itself,
1) But the word "angel" has to do with the messenger,
not the message.
2) Since we consider all Scripture to be the Word of God, that would
make Moses here the "messenger" of God's Word (which could
possibly make Moses an "angel," in a sense, but would not make
"the Law" itself an angel).
2. Could it be a special, heavenly being?
a. Some have suggested it is Michael or some other specific angel.
b. There is really no sufficient evidence of this that we can find.
3. Could it be the preincarnate Christ?
a. This is the most common view.
b. There are several considerations that suggest this:
1) We have already discussed how this "Second Person of
the Trinity" is the "Word" (the "expression" or "manifestation"
of God) and that the Word became flesh at the birth of Jesus.
2) Therefore, before Jesus, God showed Himself through
certain manifestations which we consider to be technically
"the preincarnate Christ."
3) One of these manifestations was the burning bush discussed in
the previous lesson.
4) Another is the "Pillar of Fire" and the "Cloud"
a) Compare the Pillar of Fire and the Cloud to the
1)) The physical substance (cloud/fire/smoke?...)
2)) "from the midst of the bush"/"through the pillar"
3)) "Thy cloud"/"Thou" (Numbers 14:14)
b) We believe this "Pillar" is the Angel of our text.
c) And if the Angel is the "Pillar," we believe we have
yet another expression (or manifestation) of God through the
"Second Person of the Trinity"
5) 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 is probably strong evidence to support
a) The Cloud
b) The Manna ( see John 6:31-35)
c) The Rock
Based on the evidence of this passage, compared to other scripture, this angel which led the Israelites through the wilderness is most likely a manifestation of God Himself (or the preincarnate Christ). As He was the Cloud, and the Manna, and the Rock, I believe it was the preincarnate "God the Son" (the Word) which led the Israelites.