The theological term Christophany refers to the visible manifestations of the preincarnate Christ recorded in the Old Testament. As I will be demonstrating in this blog, these appearances were at the same time Theophanies, or manifestations of God Himself, since Christ, the eternal Word, is Himself God in the person of the Son. The very term “word” (Gr. lógos) is a revelatory one, and could be defined as “a vehicle of expression or communication.” A thought remains invisible and unknown until it becomes visibly or audibly expressed as a word. In a similar manner, the truth communicated through Christ’s title, the Word, is that He has always been the visible expression of the invisible God. He is the visible image of the invisible God (Col 1:15).
Even prior to the incarnation of Christ, the term Logos was already being used by some of the Jewish Rabbis to refer to divinity.  The Jewish philosopher Philo (20 BC – 50 AD) referred to the Logos as the divine being who revealed the unseen God to the material world and held all created things together by the power of His might. 
The Father, whom no man has seen, was revealed to mankind when the divine Logos, who eternally existing with God and as God, became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn 1:14). God is spirit and dwells in unapproachable light, and for that reason He has not been seen – indeed, He cannot be seen with our physical eyes (1Tim 6:16; Ex 33:20). No one has seen the Father except the Son who is from God, being Himself God (Jn 6:46, cf. 1:1). John said of Him:
“No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” (John 1:18 RSV)
“No one has ever seen God. The only one, himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father, has made God known.” (John 1:18 NET) 
Some would argue that the Son as the Word never revealed God to mankind prior to His kenosis when He emptied Himself, being born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit, taking upon Himself the form of a man (Matt 1:20; Phil 2:6-8). However, the use of the perfect tense in John 1:18 “has made Him known,” implies that the Word’s visible manifestations of God to mankind were not limited to His incarnation.
Indeed, the fact that God appeared to man in visible form numerous times in the Old Testament prior to the incarnation, requires that such Theophanies be in fact understood as Christophanies or preincarnate appearances of the Son, since no one has ever seen the Father at any time except the Son and those to whom He has revealed the Father.
When Christ’s birth was prophesied in Micah, it stated that He would come forth out of Bethlehem, but at the same time He emphasized that His goings forth had been since the very beginning of time:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old,
from everlasting (from olam).” (Micah 5:2)
Those who would accuse us of looking for Christ in the Old Testament fail to take into account that Jesus Himself told us that the Old Testament Scriptures spoke concerning Him. When the scribes and Pharisees did not receive Him as their Messiah, He exhorted them to take another look at the Scriptures, because they all spoke of Him. He said:
“Search the scriptures (imperative); for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” (Jn 5:39-40 KJV)
So, Jesus Himself instructs us to look for confirmation concerning Himself in the Old Testament. As we briefly saw in the previous blog, the New Testament authors consistently and unmistakably identified Jesus as the Yahweh of the Old Testament (Heb 1:8,10-12, cf. Psa 45:6-7; Isa 6:1-5,9-10, cf. Jn 12:37-41; Isa 45:22-24 cf. Phil 2:10-11; 1 Cor 10:1-4; 1 Cor 10:9; Jude 5).
Paul indicated that the Old Testament contains shadows which find their fulfillment in the person of Christ (Col 2:17). He demonstrated that Jesus was the Christ, using the Old Testament Scriptures (Acts 18:28). The mystery of the person and work of Christ which was concealed in the Old Testament is now revealed in the light of the New Testament. There are many statements in the Old Testament which are puzzling and ambiguous until they are seen through the lens of Jesus Christ.
The Angel of the Lord
As we shall see, the numerous references to the Angel of the Lord were intentionally mysterious and enigmatic prior to the incarnation of Christ, and the Jewish Rabbis were understandably puzzled by them. The Angel of the Lord is often identified as God and yet distinct from God. Likewise, Christ is identified as God while at the same time being distinct from God. Both are said to be eternally preexistent. Mere created angels never accepted worship, but the Angel of the Lord was worshipped as God, just as Christ is worshipped as God.
If indeed the Angel of the Lord was the preincarnate Son of God, we would not expect to see any further reference to the Angel of the Lord in the New Testament after the incarnation, and that is exactly what we find. The Angel of the Lord never again appears in the New Testament. Every reference to angels after the incarnation of Christ is anarthrous, without the definite article. And the angels of God in the New Testament never identify themselves as being God Himself, as we see the Angel of the Lord doing consistently throughout the Old Testament.
Some have argued that Christ could not have been the Angel of the Lord since the author of Hebrews in the first chapter argues that Christ is superior to and distinct from the angels. However, the word “angel” (Heb. mal’ak), in and of itself, is not an ontological term, but rather a functional one. It simply means “messenger,” and is often used of men who are sent with a message or mission. It is closely related in meaning to apostle (apostolos) which means to be sent on a mission.
One passage which illustrates this is Malachi 3:1 where we see the word mal’ak “angel or messenger” used twice in the same verse, once referring to a human messenger, and once as the Angel of the Lord coming in the form of the incarnate Christ:
“Behold, I send My messenger (mal’ak), and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord (Yahweh), whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger (mal’ak) of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming, ’says the Lord of hosts.’” (Mal 3:1)
Here we first see reference to the coming of Elijah or John the Baptist as a messenger (mal’ak) to prepare the way before Yahweh Himself, also identified as the Messenger or Angel (mal’ak) of the covenant referring to Christ who came in flesh to initiate the New Covenant in His blood. In neither instance is mal’ak referring to a literal ontological angel. Likewise, as we consider the references to the Angel of the Lord in this blog, it will become evident that they are not speaking of a mere created angel, but rather of Yahweh Elohim Himself in the person of the preincarnate Son.
The first mention of the Angel of the Lord is in Genesis 16. When Sarah, Abraham’s wife, saw that she was barren and without a child, she suggested that Abraham have a child through her bondservant Hagar. But when Hagar became pregnant, Sarah despised her and treated her so harshly that she fled into the wilderness. It was there in the wilderness where the Angel of the Lord first appears to a lowly abandoned slave woman in despair. The narrative reads:
“Now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And He said, ‘Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?’ She said, ‘I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.’ 9 The Angel of the Lord said to her, ‘Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.’ 10 Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, ‘I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.’ 11 And the Angel of the Lord said to her: ‘Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord (Yahweh) has heard your affliction…13 Then she called the name of the Lord (Yahweh) who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, ‘Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” (Gen 16:7-11,13)
At first sight, one would think that it is only referring to an angel sent from the Lord with a message for Hagar. However, in verse 10 it becomes apparent that the One speaking to Hagar is not a mere angel. When the Angel of the Lord says, “I will multiply your descendants,” it becomes clear that it is more than an angel speaking for God, since only God is the giver of life (Deut 32:39). The Angel of the Lord is said to do that which only God Himself can do. Where else do we find One with this same divine prerogative? Jesus said: “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will” (Jn 5:21). In fact, Jesus is called the “Author or Originator of life” in Acts 3:15. So, we see the Angel of the Lord doing that which only God can do, and we also see the Son claiming the same divine prerogative exclusive to God Himself. This is a clear indication the Angel of the Lord was in fact the preincarnate Son of God.
Then, in verse 11 the Angel of the Lord seems to speak of the Lord as being a distinct person from Himself. Yet, in verse 13 Hagar identified the Angel of the Lord who spoke to her as having been Yahweh Himself. Likewise, in the New Testament we see the Son being referred to as being God and yet distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit.
When Hagar’s son Ishmael was a child, Sarah insisted that Hagar and her son be sent away into the desert. When their water supply ran out and she thought they would die of thirst, the Angel of the Lord once again appeared to her. Initially, He refers to Elohim as distinct from Himself in the third person, but then He again switches back to the first person.
“And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God (Elohim) called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, ‘What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I WILL make him a great nation.” (Gen 21:17-18)
In Genesis 12:1-2 Yahweh said to Abraham: “I will make of you a great nation.” Here we see a similar promise being given concerning Ishmael, but now it is the Angel of God who makes the promise. This brings to mind the words of Jesus when He said that whatever the Father does, the Son does in like manner (Jn 5:19).
“Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’
And he said, ‘Here I am.’ 2 Then He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you…’ 9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ So he said, ‘Here I am.’ 12 And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, FROM ME.’” (Gen 22:1-2, 9-12)
Here we see God (Elohim) testing Abraham, telling him to offer up Isaac, his only son of promise, as a sacrifice. Then, in verse 11 the Angel of the Lord is the One who calls to him from heaven saying, “now I know you fear God since you have not withheld your son, your only son FROM ME.” Here again, He switches from the third person, saying that He knew that He feared God, to saying in the first person that He Himself was the One to whom Abraham had offered up His son. If the Angel of the Lord were merely a created angel, then Isaac couldn’t have been said to have been offered to Him, since it was to Yahweh Elohim and not a mere angel to whom the offering was presented.
“Then the Angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, ‘Jacob.’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12 And He said, ‘Lift your eyes now and see, all the rams which leap on the flocks are streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow TO ME. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family.’” (Gen 31:11-13)
This passage is especially significant since the Angel of God identifies Himself as the God of Bethel where Jacob made a vow TO HIM. He was referring to Jacob’s encounter with the Lord in which he saw the angels ascending and descending from heaven. The God who appeared to him at Bethel identified Himself as Yahweh Elohim:
“And behold, the Lord (Yahweh) stood above it and said: "I am the Lord God (Yahweh Elohim) of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.” (Gen 28:13)
Monotheists who seek to deny the triunity of God often appeal to the Hebrew practice of appointing a legal representative or emissary (Heb. shaliah), who was basically a legal agent who was at times appointed to make transactions in representation of another person. Actually, it is nothing unique to the Hebrews, since nearly every society utilizes legal representatives with authority to make transactions in the place of another or go in representation of another. However, a shaliah only represented those who sent them, they never impersonated them. A representative of king David may have said: “I come in the name of the king,” but a shaliah would never say, “I am the king.” In passages like this where the Angel of the Lord says: “I am the God of Bethel, ect.,” His claims clearly go beyond anything that could be called a mere messenger or representative of God.
Again, we see that the Angel of the Lord is at times referred to as distinct from God, and other times as God Himself. They are distinct, yet one. We see Jesus make the same claim for Himself. He could say: “He that has seen Me has seen the Father,” and “I and the Father are one” (Jn 14:9; Jn 10:30). That is why the New Testament authors identified many Old Testament passages referring to Yahweh as being Jesus Himself in His preincarnate state (Heb 1:8,10-12, cf. Psa 45:6-7; Isa 6:1-5,9-10, cf. Jn 12:37-41; Isa 45:22-24 cf. Phil 2:10-11; 1 Cor 10:1-4; 1 Cor 10:9; Jude 5). Who else could the Angel of the Lord have been if not the preincarnate Son of God?
Before Jacob died and was gathered to his people, as he was blessing Joseph’s two sons, he said:
“God (Elohim), before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God (Elohim) who has fed me (lit. “been my Shepherd”) all my life long to this day, 16 the Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless (sing.) the lads.’” (Gen 48:15-16)
Jacob, after describing the One and only Yahweh Elohim as the God of His Fathers and his Shepherd, the Angel who had redeemed him from all evil, concluded by saying “may He bless the lads.” His use of the singular, “may He bless” instead of “may they bless,” indicates that God and the Angel are in a real sense one and the same.
“Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, ‘Let Me go, for the day breaks.’ But he said, ‘I will not let You go unless You bless me!’ 27 So He said to him, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘Jacob.’ 28 And He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.’ 29 Then Jacob asked, saying, ‘Tell me Your name, I pray.’ And He said, ‘Why is it that you ask about My name?’ And He blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: ‘For I have seen God (Elohim) face to face, and my life is preserved.’” (Gen 32:24-30)
Jacob wrestled with someone who appeared to be a man, but at some point he realized that He was no mere man. Believing Him to be God in human form, he refused to let go of Him until He blessed him. The Man blessed him, changing his name from Jacob which meant “supplanter,” to Israel, which means “one who prevails with God,” saying that he had struggled with God and with men and had prevailed.
While the Man is not here referred to specifically as the Angel of the Lord, in Hosea 12 where it recounts the same incident, He is identified as the Angel or Yahweh Elohim whom he encountered in Bethel. Recounting the life of Jacob, it says:
“He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and in his strength he struggled with God.
4 Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed; he wept, and sought favor from Him.
He found Him in Bethel, and there He spoke to us — 5 That is, the Lord God (Yahweh Elohim) of hosts. The Lord (Yahweh) is His memorable name.” (Hos 12:3-5)
Here again, it is important to note that when the Angel of the Lord appears, it is in the form of a man and not a literal angel. Therefore, it is evident that the term mal’ak is being used in a functional sense as a messenger rather than referring to an ontological angel.
Nearly everyone is familiar with the account of the burning bush when God appeared to Moses, but few are aware that it was the Angel of the Lord who is said to have appeared to him. Reading through the account, one can see an intentional melding of the title “Angel of the Lord” with Lord (Yahweh) and God (Elohim), yet at times making a distinction, just as Jesus did between Himself, the Father and the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. Note how the Angel of the Lord is also alternately referred to at times as Yahweh Himself and at other times as Elohim:
“Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, ‘I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.’ 4 So when the Lord (Yahweh) saw that he turned aside to look, God (Elohim) called to him from the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ 5 Then He said, ‘Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.’ 6 Moreover He said, ‘I am the God (Elohim) of your father — the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God (Elohim). 7 And the Lord said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." 11 But Moses said to God (Elohim), ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’ 12 So He said, ‘I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God (Elohim) on this mountain.’ 13 Then Moses said to God (Elohim), ‘Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?’ 14 And God (Elohim) said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ … 16 Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, 'The Lord God (Yahweh Elohim) of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me…” (Ex 3:1-14,16)
Just as the Angel of the Lord is also alternately referred to here as both Lord and God, we see Jesus or Emanuel (God with us), at times being referred to as Lord and other times as God after His incarnation – something unthinkable if He were a mere created being.
No one has ever seen God, yet we see that God was visibly present in the bush. In verse 16 Moses said that it was Yahweh Elohim who visibly appeared to him (Heb. ra’ah, “to be seen”) in the burning bush. For that reason, Moses hid his face in order to avoid looking at Him (v.6). When individuals saw the Angel of the Lord, they are said to have seen God Himself (Gen 16:13; 32:30; Judges 13:22). In like manner, Jesus is said to be the visible image of the invisible God whom no man has seen nor can see, and for that reason Jesus could say, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). Only when we see these Old Testament references to the Angel of the Lord as being the preincarnate Word, the Son of God, revealing God to man, do they all make perfect sense.
Also, as we will be considering in the following blog, Jesus on numerous occasions identifies Himself as the preexistent I AM who here appeared to Moses in the burning bush. No mere angel would identify himself as the I AM, as we see the Angel of the Lord doing here. Nor was anyone ever said to be standing on holy ground in the presence of a mere angel.
“Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!’ 13 Gideon said to Him, ‘O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.’ 14 Then the Lord (Yahweh) turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?’ 15 So he said to Him, ‘O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.’ 16 And the Lord said to him, ‘Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.’ 17 Then he said to Him, ‘If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. 18 Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You.’ And He said, ‘I will wait until you come back.’ 19 So Gideon went in and prepared a young goat, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot; and he brought them out to HIM under the terebinth tree and presented them. 20 The Angel of God said to him, ‘Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.’ And he did so. 21 Then the Angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the Angel of the Lord departed out of his sight. 22 Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the Lord. So Gideon said, ‘Alas, O Lord God! For I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face.’ 23 Then the Lord said to him, ‘Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.’ 24 So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it The-Lord-Is-Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.” (Judges 6:11-24)
Here again, we see Yahweh coming to a specific location, under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, and appearing to Gideon in physical form in the person of the Angel of the Lord. Gideon actually asked Yahweh to stay there under the tree while he went and prepared a meal offering for Him and returned. Afterwards, he feared for his life knowing that no one can see God and live (Ex 33:20). No one in Scripture ever feared death after having seen a mere created angel.
Some may point out that no one ever feared for his life after seeing Christ during His earthly ministry as they often did upon realizing that they had been in the presence of the Angel of the Lord. However, in the incarnation the eternal Son of God emptied Himself of the glory He previously had with the Father, being found in the likeness of man (Php 2:5-8; Jn 17:5).
There was one instance, however, where Jesus revealed His glory just for a brief moment. When the soldiers came to arrest Him, He asked them who they were looking for. When they said “Jesus of Nazareth” Jesus responded with the divine title, I AM (ego eimí), and the soldiers all fell to the ground powerless (Jn 18:4-5). Just one brief glimpse of His veiled glory was enough to demonstrate what Jesus had previously said concerning His own life in John 10:18, “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” When the glorified Christ appeared to John the revelator in His glorified state he fell at His feet as dead, even though John was in the Spirit at the time (Rev 1:17).
The full display of His glory was veiled during His earthly ministry, just as it was veiled to varying degrees in His Christophanies as the Angel of the Lord in order that man might be able to see Him and live.
“So the woman came and told her husband, saying, ‘A Man of God came to me, and His countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome; but I did not ask Him where He was from, and He did not tell me His name. 7 And He said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. Now drink no wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’ 8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord, and said, ‘O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.’ 9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the Angel OF GOD came to the woman again as she was sitting in the field; but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 Then the woman ran in haste and told her husband, and said to him, ‘Look, the Man who came to me the other day has just now appeared to me!’ 11 So Manoah arose and followed his wife. When he came to the Man, he said to Him, ‘Are You the Man who spoke to this woman?’ And He said, ‘I am.’ 12 Manoah said, ‘Now let Your words come to pass! What will be the boy's rule of life, and his work?’ 13 So the Angel OF THE LORD said to Manoah, ‘Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. 14 She may not eat anything that comes from the vine, nor may she drink wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean. All that I commanded her let her observe.’ 15 Then Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, ‘Please let us detain You, and we will prepare a young goat for You.’ 16 And the Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, ‘Though you detain Me, I will not eat your food. But if you offer a burnt offering, you must offer it to the Lord.’ (For Manoah did not know He was the Angel of the Lord.) 17 Then Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, ‘What is Your name, that when Your words come to pass we may honor You?’
18 And the Angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?’
19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it upon the rock to the Lord. And He did a wondrous thing while Manoah and his wife looked on — 20 it happened as the flame went up toward heaven from the altar — the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar! When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground. 21 When the Angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and his wife, then Manoah knew that He was the Angel of the Lord. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, ‘We shall surely die, because we have seen God (Elohim)!’ 23 But his wife said to him, ‘If the Lord had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have told us such things as these at this time.”
Here the Angel of the Lord appeared as a man, first to the woman who would become Samson’s mother, and then later to her husband Manoah also. They noted that His countenance was like the Angel of God but didn’t positively identify Him as the Angel of the Lord until He ascended in the flame of the altar, just as He did in the case of Gideon. When Manoah saw that it was the Angel of the Lord he said, “We shall surely die, because we have SEEN GOD!” It is clear that those who encountered the Angel of the Lord somehow knew that He was God Himself and not a mere angel representing Him.
It is more than significant that when Manoah asked Him what His name was, He responded, “Why do you ask My name, seeing it is Wonderful?” To me, this response was a deliberate mystery that would later enable us to positively identify the Angel of the Lord as having been the preincarnate Christ. Isaiah prophesied concerning His incarnation saying:
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isa 9:6)
So, included among the very obviously divine names given to the Messiah in addition to Jesus, which means “Jehovah saves,” and Emanuel which means “God with us,” we also see that His name is Wonderful, the very name the Angel of the Lord used to identify Himself to Manoah and his wife! It is incomprehensible to me, in the light of all these names affirming the full deity of Christ, that some today still deny that our Lord Jesus Christ is Himself God the Son incarnate.
Also, while the affirmation that the Angel of the Lord was the preincarnate Christ may not be a test of Orthodoxy, I personally believe that the Lord would say to those who deny that He was the one who appeared as the Angel of the Lord prior to His incarnation the same thing he once said to the Pharisees: “Search the scriptures for they testify of me.”
 An example of the Word being referred to as a distinct person within the Godhead is found in a commentary of Deuteronomy 32:39 in the Targums. It reads: “When the Word of the Lord shall reveal Himself to redeem His people, He will say to all the nations: ‘Behold now, that I am He who is, and was, and will be, and there is no other God beside Me: I, in My Word, kill and make alive; I smite the people of Beth Israel, and I will heal them at the end of the days; and there will be none who can deliver them from My hand, Gog and his armies whom I have permitted to make war against them.’” (Targ. PS.-J.)
 Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (2nd ed): Philo Judaeus, 1999
Adam Kamesar (2004). "The Logos Endiathetos and the Logos Prophorikos in Allegorical Interpretation: Philo and the D-Scholia to the Iliad" (PDF). Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies (GRBS). 44: 163–81. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-05-07.
 John 1:18 tc The textual problem μονογενὴς θεός (monogenēs theos, “the only God”) versus ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός (ho monogenēs huios, “the only son”) is a notoriously difficult one. Only one letter would have differentiated the readings in the mss, since both words would have been contracted as nomina sacra: thus qMs or uMs. Externally, there are several variants, but they can be grouped essentially by whether they read θεός or υἱός. The majority of mss, especially the later ones (A C3 Θ Ψ ƒ1,13 M lat), read ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός. P75 א1 33 have ὁ μονογενὴς θεός, while the anarthrous μονογενὴς θεός is found in P66 א* B C* L. The articular θεός is almost certainly a scribal emendation to the anarthrous θεός, for θεός without the article is a much harder reading. The external evidence thus strongly supports μονογενὴς θεός. Internally, although υἱός fits the immediate context more readily, θεός is much more difficult. As well, θεός also explains the origin of the other reading (υἱός), because it is difficult to see why a scribe who found υἱός in the text he was copying would alter it to θεός. Scribes would naturally change the wording to υἱός however, since μονογενὴς υἱός is a uniquely Johannine christological title (cf. John 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9). But θεός as the older and more difficult reading is preferred. As for translation, it makes the most sense to see the word θεός as in apposition to μονογενής, and the participle ὁ ὤν (ho ōn) as in apposition to θεός, giving in effect three descriptions of Jesus rather than only two. (B. D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, 81, suggests that it is nearly impossible and completely unattested in the NT for an adjective followed immediately by a noun that agrees in gender, number, and case, to be a substantival adjective: “when is an adjective ever used substantivally when it immediately precedes a noun of the same inflection?” This, however, is an overstatement. First, as Ehrman admits, μονογενής in John 1:14 is substantival. And since it is an established usage for the adjective in this context, one might well expect that the author would continue to use the adjective substantivally four verses later. Indeed, μονογενής is already moving toward a crystallized substantival adjective in the NT [cf. Luke 9:38; Heb 11:17]; in patristic Greek, the process continued [cf. PGL 881 s.v. 7]. Second, there are several instances in the NT in which a substantival adjective is followed by a noun with which it has complete concord: cf., e.g., Rom 1:30; Gal 3:9; 1 Tim 1:9; 2 Pet 2:5.) The modern translations which best express this are the NEB (margin) and TEV. Several things should be noted: μονογενής alone, without υἱός, can mean “only son,” “unique son,” “unique one,” etc. (see 1:14). Furthermore, θεός is anarthrous. As such it carries qualitative force much like it does in 1:1c, where θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος (theos ēn ho logos) means “the Word was fully God” or “the Word was fully of the essence of deity.” Finally, ὁ ὤν occurs in Rev 1:4, 8; 4:8; 11:17; and 16:5, but even more significantly in the LXX of Exod 3:14. Putting all of this together leads to the translation given in the text.tn Or “The unique one.” For the meaning of μονογενής (monogenēs) see the note on “one and only” in 1:14.