To answer your good question, let’s read Exodus 23:20-24, “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.”

This angel certainly appears to be much more than a mere ‘messenger’ (which is the literal meaning of ‘angel’).  This specific angel, I believe, is the Lord Jesus Christ.  In verse 22, we read, “…my name is in him.”  This implies that he is endowed with the power and authority of God.  Does this mean that the Lord Jesus is a mere created angel of God?  Absolutely not!  Christ is not a created being.  No, He is the creator of all things as we read in Colossians 1:16, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.”  Here, He takes on the role of the authoritative messenger of God.

Let’s look at another example of the Lord appearing as an angel.  Exodus 3:2-4, “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.”  Notice that the ‘angel of the LORD’ appeared to Moses in the burning bush.  Yet we read that ‘God called unto him out of the midst of the bush.’  This is another occasion when the angel is really the Lord, Himself.

This is what is called a Theophany, or pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord in the world.  It’s important that we realize that the Lord Jesus did not begin with His birth in Bethlehem.  The Lord Jesus, because He is God, has ALWAYS existed.  John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Let’s compare that with John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  This makes it clear to us that the Word is Jesus, who was ‘made flesh and dwelt among us.’  The Word (the Lord Jesus Christ) was with God, and was God, way back in the beginning of anything that ever had a beginning.  This takes us back ever further than Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”  This beginning refers to the beginning of creation.  Long before that time, the Word existed with and as God.  It was at birth that the Son of God was named ‘Jesus’, but He did not have a beginning, He IS the beginning as He says in Revelation 22:13, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”  (203.2)