Jesus is God and is often seen in the Old Testament as the Angel of the LORD. This Angel is a very significant figure, but he is not an angelic being. The word is malak (H4397) in the Hebrew and pronounced mal awk. According to Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon, the word comes from an unused root that means to dispatch as a deputy. It is a messenger specifically of God, that is, an angel, but also a prophet, priest or teacher. This word is used to describe the office of the prophet, Haggai (Haggai 1:13), of the priest, Malachi (Malachi 2:1), or the office of John the Baptist (Malachi 3:1; cp. Matthew 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:27). It can also mean a messenger from one man to another as in Genesis 32:3, 6 (cp. Numbers 20:14; Joshua 7:22; Judges 6:35 etc.). It can also mean an ambassador or a prince as in Isaiah 30:4 which may also be implied in Isaiah 33:7. Therefore, since this word describes a number of offices, it does not necessarily mean an angelic being. The Angel of the LORD may just as well have been translated as the Messenger or Ambassador of the LORD, and may imply being the LORD’s Prophet, Priest or Prince—all titles of Jesus in the New Testament!
As the Angel of the LORD, the one who became Jesus was peculiarly involved with the formation of the Israelite nation and their protection. We discover the title, Angel of the LORD, for the first time when this Angel appeared to Hagar after she ran away from Sarai, her mistress (Genesis 16:7). The Angel told her to return to Sarai and that he would multiply her seed (Genesis 16:10). This is not a prerogative of an angelic being. Angels simply do not take part in deciding which family will grow large and which will not, or which will become a nation and which will not. Moreover, in verse-16 Hagar called upon the name of the LORD that spoke with her. That is, she called him—the Angel of the LORD, God. It is evident that no one spoke with her but this Angel, and he did not correct Hagar as she worshiped him. This would have been unacceptable, if this Angel were not God himself (Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9). Yet this particular Angel has never prevented anyone who desired to worship him from doing so.
Jacob, himself referred to the “Angel” as Almighty God in Genesis in Genesis 48:3. The only one who appeared to Jacob was the Angel of the LORD (Genesis 31:11-13), and this Angel referred to himself as God. In Genesis 48:15-16 where Jacob blesses Joseph’s children, he implies that this “Angel” was the only God that he and Abraham and Isaac had ever known.
To continue this study see The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.