Who is “The (Arch)angel of the Lord”?

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According to Holy Scripture, there are not several archangels — all of whom are creatures. For there is only one Archangel or Leader of the created unfallen angels – Michael, the uncreated God the Son Himself.

Extra-Scriptural views expand this greatly, and revere up to twelve created archangels. Post-Tanachic Judaism notes Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Uriel.   Gnosticism has Iao, symbolized by a snake — and ruling over one of the seven then-known planets.   Mediaeval Judaism and the unreformed Church expanded these to include also Raguel, Remuel and Sariel. Whereas Islam has Israafiyl, ‘Izraaiyl, Jibriyl, Mikaal — and the four throne-guardians of Allah.

Such a multiplicity of archangels undermines God’s pre-eminence.   For it inserts created archangelic creatures, or rather man-made items, between Him and all else.

‘The Angel of the Lord’ is the pre-incarnate Second Person of the Trinity.   This is the Son-exalting doctrine of the infallible Word of God.   Genesis 16:7-13; 18:2f,33 to 19:1,27; 22:11-15; 31:11-13; 32:24-30; Exodus 3:2-14; 13:21; 19:3 to 20:19; 23:20-23; Joshua 5:2-15f; Judges 2:1-5; 6:12-23; 13:3-22; Isaiah 63:8-14; and Daniel 3:25; 7:13f; 12:1f.   Also  Zachariah 1:3-16; 2:3-10; 3:1-7; 4:1-7; 5:5-11; 6:4f; 12:8f; Malachi 3:1-5 & 4:2 cf. Matthew 11:10 & Mark 1:2 & Luke 1:76 & 7:27; Acts 7:30-38; First Corinthians 10:1-4; and Galatians 3:17-29.

Also Pre-Christian Judaism agrees.   This is reflected in its Targum on Genesis  32:25; its Midrash on Exodus 18:5; and its Book of Jubilees 1:27 & 2:1.   In the latter, Michael is ''the Angel of the Presence" Who instructed Moses on Mt. Sinai.   In the Ascension of Isaiah 9:22, He is the Mighty Angel Michael, praying on behalf of humanity.   And in the Testimony of the Twelve Patriarchs, in the Testimony of Dan (6), Michael is "the Angel Who intercedes for you — for He is the Mediator of God and man for the peace of Israel" (cf. First Timothy 2:5).

There are few Hebrew texts on the Archangel Michael which date from before or at the time of the completion of the inspired Books of the Old Testament.   Yet, "the Angel of the Lord" also in the Pentateuch; and "Michael" in Daniel 10:13 & 10:21 & 12:1; and "The Angel of the Covenant" in Malachi 3:1 cf. 4:2f from around B.C. 400 — do indeed all seem to be expressions teaching manifestations of God Himself.

The A.D. 165 Ante-Nicene Church Father Justin Martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho (62) declared: "This Offspring…was with the Father before all the creatures….   The Scripture by Solomon has made clear that He Whom Solomon calls ‘Wisdom’ was begotten…before all His creatures….   He was also declared this same thing…by Joshua (5:13-15)."

So too in the Early Church’s writing The Passing of Mary (8).   There, "the Lord delivered the soul of Mary to Michael Who was the Ruler of Paradise — and the Prince of the nation of the Jews" (cf. Daniel 10:21 & 12:1).

Also Irenaeus observed in his Against Heresies IV:10:1 regarding Moses that "the Son of God is implanted everywhere throughout his writings.   At one time, indeed, speaking with Abraham when about to eat with him; at another time…bringing down judgment upon the

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Sodomites [Genesis 18:2-33 & 19:1-27]; and again when He becomes visible and directs Jacob on his journey [Genesis 31:11 & 32:24-30] — and speaks with Moses from the bush [Exodus 3:2-4]."

Too, Tertullian stated something similar in his Against Marcion (III:9:1).   "Christ…did Himself…appear to Abraham." Genesis 18:2 to 19:27.

Further, the Greek Father Eusebius in his Church History I:2:1-13 remarked: "The Lord God…appeared as a common man to Abraham while he was sitting at the oak of Mamre [Genesis 18:1f].   And he, immediately falling down, although he saw a man with his eyes, nevertheless worshipped Him as God…and confessed that he was not ignorant of His identity when he uttered the words: ‘Lord, the Judge of all the earth, will You not execute righteous judgment?’ [Genesis 18:25]."

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