"The Angel of the Lord" APPEARED on many different occasions before Jesus was ever born.
As written in The New Testament Joseph had a dream where he saw "the angel of the Lord". The other instance was after the crucifixion and burial of Jesus:
Matthew 28:2 "And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it."It's my contention that Jesus, or The Word, is "The Angel of the Lord". This agrees with many of our church father's, but modern commentary fails to see this! In Matthew it's clear to me that a transfigured Jesus merely stepped through the stone walls of the sepulchre, ascended to heaven then came down and rolled back his own gravestone, not so he could get out, but that others could see in! Later on Jesus just appeared in a locked room with the eleven disciples. The Resurrected Jesus was supernatural in that walls could not contain him, but natural in that he was real!
John 20:25 "The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he (Thomas) said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe."Thomas doubted, but eight days later, the doubt ceased:
John 20:27 "Then saith he (Jesus) to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God."Jesus, after the Resurrection, could come and go as he pleased, not constrained by time nor walls. Although he traveled in the supernatural, his wounds showed him to be a natural man. We can expect, when we die, that we may be like Jesus. Perhaps not only will we have a real body, but that body will truly be free! However, we have to wait a time before we are rewarded. At The General Resurrection in God's time we will have incorruptible bodies and be like Jesus, but what will we have in the interim?
I recently wrote of the true story of Lazarus and the rich man. The rich man in hell saw Lazarus by Abraham's side in heaven! Abraham spoke to the rich man in hell although there was a chasm between the two. This shows that in both heaven and hell exist real people. Lazarus and Abraham were recognized in heaven and the rich man truly existed in hell. It would appear that things happen to everyone upon death! Nobody is exempt because there is life after death and death after death.
There are various thoughts on what hell is like. The rich man was there! (Some say he was only in Hades, but that's another issue). However, Abraham was in heaven (aka paradise) and Lazarus was with him. The rich man SAW both of them. It would appear that they both had a "cup" if you will. Something recognizable which contained their mind and soul. We know that it's not possible for man to be resurrected before Jesus died so that we might be. What, then, was the rich man seeing? An apparent body. A temporary container until the body is restored to it's place.
The first thought is "That cannot be!" Scripture never speaks of a temporary body or an apparent body. However, we know that The Word became flesh, but like Abraham and Lazarus, he was "seen" and touched before he was ever born. We know it was Jesus because he was not created, but was here from the beginning. He was transformed from "something" to a man who is God with flesh just like us! Let's go back to the best example from The Old Testament when Jesus was referred to as "the angel of God":
Genesis 32:24 "And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. 30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."
"Penial" means "face of God". It's defined right here as it's used! Jacob saw God face to face! However, no one has seen God!
John 1:18 "No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son (Jesus), which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."Jesus who is by the side of God has declared God. His "declaration" is appearing to mankind! It's obvious from the time when Jacob saw God face to face, it was the pre-incarnate Jesus he was seeing. In fact "Jesus" or at least "God With us" (Emmanuel) was seen and spoke many times in The Old Testament before Jesus was ever born! Being "The Word" whenever God spoke, it was the voice of Emmanuel who spoke!
Jacob not only saw Emmanuel "face to face". Emmanuel had a face just like ours because Jacob wrestled with "a man". Not only was he seen and appeared to be like a man, but he was really there. He wasn't just a spirit nor a vision. Jacob wrestled with him. Emmanuel was a real man! This man was Emmanuel just as Jesus was Emmanuel, but it wasn't the same body which Jesus had. Jesus' incarnate body is what made him God and man. He only became Jesus when he was born, but yet he physically existed before he was ever born!
Emmanuel appeared to Jacob as a man. Likewise, he did when he appeared in the fiery furnace with Shadrach and his brothers. However, to the Hebrews he appeared also as a burning bush, a cloud and as light. Emmanuel was able to have "apparent bodies". They were different "cups" he took on for different uses. I hesitate to call them bodies because they weren't of the flesh as we know flesh to be! Whatever they were, Jesus had temporary recognizable forms before he put on the flesh of mankind!
As Jesus was had temporary forms at different times for different reason, Lazarus and Abraham did too! Before Jesus was Resurrected Abraham and Lazarus, both of who were dead, were alive and could be seen and heard. God gave them an "apparent form" and it was one with hearing, speech and memory. Although their flesh was in the grave, they still existed in a temporary form, both of them were already in heaven.
My guess is that that "apparent body" is angelic in nature. They are creatures different from us, but they are able to take on different forms for God's use. Perhaps before our bodies are resurrected, we become angelic! Angels too could be seen, heard and spoken to. That's the same form that Abraham and Lazarus had! We don't become angels, but before we become like Christ, perhaps for a spell we become like the angels.
After that temporary state, our bodies will be called up from the sea and from their graves and will rejoin our souls in the sky! What a glorious time that will be! We will become like Jesus. After leaving our temporary "apparent" bodies, our real flesh will be resurrected and made whole again with our unseen attributes. As Jesus was Resurrected, we too will be resurrected!