“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 (Isaiah 63:9 KJV)
The expression “angel of his presence” appears only once in the entire scriptures. Furthermore, the context in which Isaiah uses this phrase shows us plainly that this angel is no ordinary angel; the angel of His presence is God Himself, identified in Isaiah 63 as the Holy Spirit. But how could God be called an angel?
God is not an angel but frequently appeared to His people as angels did. Though this thought appears absurd to us today, it was common in those days for God’s people to call God an “Angel.” For example, Jacob clearly called God an angel in Genesis 48:15-16. However, angels never call God an angel in the scriptures; God’s people call Him that way mainly because He appeared to them the same way angels did. Interestingly, God Himself also used the term “Angel” to refer to His visible presence that accompanied the people ( Exo. 23:20).
The context of Isaiah 63:9 identifies the One Isaiah called the Angel of His Presence. In verse 10, Isaiah says, “But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit.” He repeats this truth from verses 11 through 14, describing their interactions with the Spirit of God, who was the Angel that led them through the desert. They saw this Angel of His Presence as a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night.
The Holy Spirit is the Angel of God’s Presence. Calling Him, an Angel does not mean He is one amongst the many angels in heaven; instead, it means, He is a Carrier or Messenger (the meaning of the word “angel” here) of God’s Presence in the same way that Jesus, the Word of God, is the Messenger of God’s Word (John 10:36).
The Angel of God’s presence is permanently in you today as a Christian.
Can you see how the Lord relates His Presence to the Spirit in Ps. 51:11?
Apply the Word
Develop consciousness of God’s Presence with you today. The Holy Spirit in you is the very definition of the Presence of God.
Thank the Lord for giving you His Spirit. Ask the Father to teach you to develop a closer relationship with this Angel of His Presence.