When Good Angels Help
Bad People

Should angels show love and compassion to people without good qualities?

Find Out:What kind of angel appeared to Hagar in Genesis 16? Was it a cherub, a seraph, or perhaps Hagar’s guardian angel? Who or what is "the angel of the Lord"?

The angel of the Lord is a genuine "mystery angel." In the Bible Satan is the premier "bad" angel and the angel of the Lord is the premier "good" angel. The angel of the Lord has fascinated readers of the Bible for ages. In the Scripture it is clear this angel is not a guardian angel, a seraph, a cherub, or an archangel, and it does not belong to any of the hierarchy of angels mentioned in the Bible.

When angels appear they come on the command of God to do the mission he gives them. They are careful not to take any glory for themselves; they give the clear message, "Worship only God."

But, there are times that the angel of the Lord turns out to be none other than God himself. When Hagar ran away from Sarah, the angel of the Lord found her and promised to do himself what only God can do (Genesis 16:10-12). In verse 13 ("She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: 'You are the God who sees me…'") the passage is clear that the "angel of the Lord" and the "Lord" (Yaweh or Jehovah) are clearly one and the same. We find this is also true in the story of the burning bush (Exodus 3:2) when "the angel of the Lord appeared to him (Moses) in flames of fire from within a bush." Two verses later, "God called to him from within the bush." The words for God and the angel of the Lord are used interchangeably. There is general agreement by Bible students that "the angel of the Lord," at least in many places in the Old Testament, is a theophany, or a visible appearance of Christ in the Old Tesatament before his incarnation.


In Zechariah and elsewhere, the angel of the Lord talks to the Lord Almighty. How can the angel of the Lord be God and be separate from God at the same time? This mystery can be understood only if we recognize it as being similar to [the passage] John 17 when Jesus, in his earthly life, prays to the heavenly Father in his high priestly prayer.

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William D. Webber
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