Who was the messenger who appeared to Samson's parents?
The "Iglesia Ni Cristo" teaches that Jesus did not pre-exist. However, some narratives in the Bible, such as the story of the messenger who appeared to Samson's parents seems to teach that Jesus pre-existed. Does this passage really teach that Jesus pre-existed?
When we read Judges 13, we see that the angel of the Lord who appeared to Manaoh, Samson's Father, must be Jesus.
The messenger was the angel of the Lord.
Judges 13:3 (ESV) - 3 And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, "Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.
Notice that the messenger is called the angel of the Lord. This not any angel, but it is a specific angel. It is a messenger so important, he is called the angel of the Lord.
Judges 13:6 (ESV) - 6 Then the woman came and told her husband, "A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome.
Notice also that Manoah's wife was aware that there is a special person called "the angel of the Lord". The people of that time were aware that there was a very special man of God known as "the angel of the Lord".
The angel was a man, like Jesus.
Later in Judges 13, we read:
Judges 13:10-11 (ESV) - 10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, "Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me." 11 And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, "Are you the man who spoke to this woman?" And he said, "I am."
This is important because it lets us know that this man was not ontologically an angel. That is, this was not a winged creature, but a man who was sent by God, just like Jesus.
The man's name is wonderful.
Judges 13:17-18 (ESV) - 17 And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, "What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?" 18 And the angel of the Lord said to him, "Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?"
Whose name is wonderful? It is Jesus' name that is wonderful!
Isaiah 9:6 (ESV) - 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Manoah and his wife worshipped the messenger.
Judges 13:16 (ESV) - 19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. 20 And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.
Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground as an act of worship. They worshiped in response to angel of the Lord going up in the flame. This worship was directed to the messenger whom they had seen rise up in the flame. We know that, because of the next two verses where we see that this event caused Manoah to realize that the messenger was God.
Manoah knew that the messenger was God.
Judges 13:21 (ESV) - 21 The angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.”
Manoah knew that this was the angel of the Lord. Furthermore, Manoah knew what that meant. That angel of the Lord is God. He was not confused. He did not think that this was the Father. He new that this was a distinct person, a man, who was God. This man could be no other than Jesus.
The INC foolishly denies the pre-existence of Christ. If he did not pre-exist, then we would have no way of explaining the angel of the Lord who appeared to Samson's parents. Jesus is the angel of the Lord. Jesus is the man who is God.