Let us now contemplate some verses regarding Joshua. "And it came to pass, when Joshua was in Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, 'Are You for us or for our adversaries?' So He said, 'No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.' And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped..." (Josh. 5:13,14). Although the Being is not identified as the Angel of the LORD, He does call Himself the Commander of Jehovah's army. He also tells Joshua to remove his sandals because he is standing on holy ground. In other words, Joshua is in God's presence. Two verses later (in 6:2), it is the Lord Himself speaking to Joshua. Is the Commander still speaking with Joshua at this time? There is no good reason to think otherwise. This passage suggests that God showed Himself to Joshua in the form of a Man or divine Commander. Although this does not prove anything specifically regarding the Angel of the LORD, it does offer further evidence that God manifested Himself in a human-like form long before Jesus was born of Mary.
Later in Joshua's life, Judges 2:1,2 records - "Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: 'I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, "I will never break My covenant with you. And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars." But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this?'" Here the Angel of the LORD affirmed that He led the Israelites out of Egypt and that He was the One who made the promises to their ancestors. Interestingly, other passages affirm that God Himself did these things (Exo. 20:1,2; Gen. 13:14,15; Lev. 26:44,45). The reasonable conclusion is that the Angel of the LORD is divine; He is God!
Let us now consider an event from the life of Manoah. In Judges 13, the Angel of the LORD appeared to Manoah's wife and then returned again in response to Manoah's prayer. The Angel gave the couple instructions regarding the birth and upbringing of their special son, Samson. Afterward, "Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it upon the rock to the LORD. And He [i.e., the Angel of the LORD] did a wondrous thing while Manoah and his wife looked on--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. 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. And Manoah said to his wife, 'We shall surely die, because we have seen God!'" (Jud. 13:19-22). At first, Manoah did not know the identity of the Angel. He believed He was merely a Man of God. However, after the Angel of the LORD ascended into the altar's flame, Manoah knew that He was much more than a Man! In fact, he believed that seeing the Angel of the LORD was equivalent to seeing God Himself. In other words, Manoah believed that the Angel of the LORD was God Himself. Was Manoah mistaken? I don't believe so.
Now that we have demonstrated the fact that the Angel of the LORD is God Himself, we will take the proof to its final step in our next lesson. We will endeavor to show Scriptural evidence that the Angel of the LORD was most likely the preincarnate Christ.