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God’s Word for You

Zechariah 1:11 The Angel of the Lord

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, June 13, 2022

11 And they answered the angel of the LORD, who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have gone throughout the earth. Behold! We found the whole world resting and at peace.”

This verse presents four details which we should examine, but the first one we will take up last. The second is that the angel was standing among the myrtle trees; since there is no distinction made at all between this angel and the ‘man’ from verse 8, this angel and that man are the same individual.

The third detail is that the group of angels answer this heavenly angelic man that they have “gone throughout the earth.” These were not aimless wanderings like the scramblings of kittens darting around and chasing sunbeams. The angels use the seventh Hebrew verb stem to describe their travels, the verb stem known as the hithpael, which implies that this search was back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, systematically searching all throughout the earth, like the Lord describing his journeying “in the recesses of the deep” (Job 38:16) and Abraham describing his whole life of faith (Genesis 24:40). But as always, it is the context more than the form of the verb that tells us that this was a systematic search, since the angels were sent on a mission from God, they would have made a very thorough search.

The fourth detail is the condition in which the angels found the world. It was “resting and at peace.” When we compare this with the message of the prophet Haggai, we see that the Jews of Jerusalem were frightened of the neighboring peoples. They were afraid that if they were working on the temple and the walls of the city, they might be attacked by invaders. The fear of the Babylonians was still very much in their hearts. Now, Babylon had been conquered by Persia, and the Persian king is the one who had sent the Jews home. But we learn in Ezra 4:1-5 and other places that the people of Judah were harassed by some of their neighbors who accused them of illegally building their temple. Indeed, this became such a problem that Ezra went out of his way to search the Persian and Babylonian records for copies of the letters that were sent by the government giving Israel permission to rebuild. These letters were copied out by Ezra in their original Aramaic language and are found in Ezra chapters 4 to 7. So the peace and rest that is among those nations could be a comfort to God’s people (no one is getting ready to attack Judah), but was not going to last for Israel’s enemies.

Now, we should return to the first detail, which is the identity of the angel of the Lord. In this case, we will shortly see that the angel of the Lord will speak with God the Father (and therefore he is not identical with God the Father), but that he intercedes on behalf of the church (verse 12). We see some of God’s attributes in the angel of the Lord in this chapter:

1, He intercedes on behalf of God’s people (Zechariah 1:12)
2, He proclaims the word of God (Zechariah 1:14-17)
3, He sends prophets to proclaim the word (Zechariah 1:14,17)
4, The angels obey his commands and report to him (Zechariah 1:11)

Of these, the first, third, and fourth points show this angel of the Lord to be a member of the holy Trinity, and in fact the Second Person of the Trinity, which is to say our Savior before he took on flesh as Jesus Christ. His first appearance in the Bible as the angel of the Lord was to comfort Hagar in the wilderness (Genesis 16:7), where he showed himself to be divine by promising to her, “I will increase your descendants” (Genesis 16:10).

We see the doctrine of the Trinity proclaimed in detail in the New Testament, but we also find it in nearly as much detail in the Old Testament. Old Testament believers believed that the Messiah, for example, would truly be God and sent by God. He is called by divine names. He is called Adonai in Psalm 110:1, Elohim (which is God) in Psalm 45:6 and Isaiah 35:4 and also El, a shorter form of “God” in Isaiah 9:6. He is called Jehovah or Yahweh in Jeremiah 23:5 and Hosea 1:7, and Lord of Hosts in Isaiah 44:6 and Zechariah 12:5, to name a few.

The Messiah is also shown to have divine attributes in the Old Testament. He is eternal (Micah 5:2), omnipotent or all-powerful (Isaiah 9:6), omniscient or all-knowing (Proverbs 8:22). He is also begotten of the Father from eternity in Psalm 2:7 and Micah 5:2 and he is called the Son of God in Psalm 2:7, Isaiah 9:6 and Proverbs 30:4.

To this we add the Messiah’s divine works, participating in the creation (Genesis 1), working miracles (Isaiah 35:4), achieving salvation (Isaiah 45:17), justification (Isaiah 53:11), the preservation of the church against her enemies (Psalm 110:1), raising the dead (Job 19:25), and being the judge on the Last Day (Genesis 18:25; Isaiah 45:23).

There is also the clear teaching in the Old Testament that the Messiah would be sent both by the Father and the Holy Spirit. Isaiah says in chapter 28, “The Lord Almighty and his Spirit have sent me,” and the same prophet says that the Holy Spirit would rest upon Christ in Isaiah 11:2 and 42:1.

When we put these things together, we see that the Messiah, that is Christ (“Christ” is simply the word Messiah translated into Greek), is (1) truly and eternally God, (2) that he is a person before his incarnation by the Virgin Mary and in fact back into all eternity, (3) that he is a person distinct from the Father, and (4) a distinct person upon whom the Holy Spirit would rest. These are the four key points about the person of the Christ in the Old Testament, and which New Testament believers all acknowledged in Jesus.

Jesus came to do more than talk to angels in visions, and yet most of us would be happy to spend eternity doing nothing more. No, Jesus came to rescue mankind from our sins. In fact, this was in his heart from the very beginning. It had always been his plan and his purpose, and he accomplished this on a barren tree thrust by pagans into a bald, rugged little grag outside the walls of the City of David. His blood covers the sins of all mankind from Adam and Eve to you and me. He is the Messenger of God, the Angel of the Lord, our Savior. Put your trust in him.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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