Alumni of Ohio State University like to let everyone know that their university is unique from all others and is in a class all its own. They will refer to it as “The” Ohio State University to make that clear. There is not any others like it! Of course that’s one of the grammatical uses of the definite article “the.” I hesitated to use that example but it does illustrate the use of the definite article. The Bible used that article when referring to one particular angel in the Old Testament. In Greek the word for “Angel” is also frequently translated as “messenger.” I think that’s why John Nelson Darby translated Malachi 3:1 leaning on the Greek Translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint. Most translations call this person the “Messenger of the Covenant.” But, Darby translates it as “Angel of the Covenant.” This verse in the last book of the Old Testament foresees the coming of a messenger who will prepare the way for the Messiah. We see the Gospels quoting this part of the verse to refer to John the Baptist. But the verse goes on to foresee the coming of Jesus, who will fulfill God’s promises of salvation as contained throughout the Old Testament. Here’s how Darby translates Malachi 3:1, “Behold, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord whom ye seek will suddenly come to his temple, and the Angel of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he cometh, saith Jehovah of hosts.”

There are lots of angels mentioned in the Bible but there is only one “Angel of the Covenant.” He is “the” angel! Now he is called other things in the Old Testament but always with the definite article. He is referred to as “The Angel of the Lord” over a hundred times. He’s called “The Angel of God.” The term “Angel” is even used to refer to Satan as the unique and only angel like himself. Revelation 9:11 calls him “The Angel of the bottomless pit.” But “The Angel of God,” “The Angel of the Lord,” and “The Angel of the Covenant” cannot be mistaken for anything but the pre-incarnate Jesus, the Messiah himself. Isaiah 63:9 calls him “The Angel of His Presence.” Meaning the manifestation of God Himself to his people. In 1 Kings 19:7, It was “The angel of the Lord” that fed Elijah in the wilderness and Charles Boll observes “ He who prepared a meal for weary Elijah and said to him, “Arise and eat,” is the same who prepared a meal for tired disciples on the shore of Galilee and said to them, “Come and dine.” Yes, the scriptures make it obvious that “The Angel of the Lord” is none other that the Christ Himself.

Malachi calls this Angel “the one you delight in.” He is not the one you need to fear and cringe before. He’s the one who brings comfort to his suffering people. Jesus said himself that he did not come to “condemn” but to “save.” Those who believe in Jesus, look forward to his coming. He is the one we delight in. In so many of the references referring to the actions of “The Angel of the Lord” we see that when he appears he brings comfort to the people amidst great trials and sufferings. He was the one who comforted Hagar in the wilderness. He was the one who fed Elijah, He was the one that Abraham spoke to, that Isaac followed, and that Jacob called on the bless his descendants. At his death in Genesis 48:15-16, Jacob prays, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys; and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” Finishing up the quote from Isaiah 63:9, we read about this “one and only angel” that took care of His people, Israel, and will take care of us: “ In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.”