These are my concluding thoughts for a blog discussion here.
So for the three of you who know what I'm referring to...
Here's what the discussion is not about:
It's not about progress of knowledge.
It's not about trust in Messianic prophecies.
Those are important questions for another time.
Here's what I am not saying:
I am not by any means saying that the Angel is the only title by which Christ is known in the OT.
Neither am I saying that every divine Person of the OT is Christ (the Appearing LORD reveals God Most High in the power of the Spirit).
I am not saying that Christophanies are the only or even the main way by which Christ was present to the OT saints (there were also the promises and types).
I am not saying that everyone who had true faith had to have met the pre-incarnate Christ.
I am not saying that conscious faith in the Mediator stands or falls on an identification of the Angel as Christ.
What I am saying:
The Angel who is both of the LORD and is the LORD was correctly identified by OT authors and saints. This shows that they had a trinitarian conceptuality able to identify the distinct, divine Person of the Mediator.
The Angel - the Sent, Appearing God from God - can be none other than the Image of the invisible God, the eternal Christ.
Reticence to identify the Angel as Christ betrays a quite different conception of revelation, mediation and doctrine of God.
There seems to be two interdependent presuppositions informing this reticence:
1) OT saints could not grasp a divine, distinct Mediator
2) OT saints did not need to grasp a divine, distinct Mediator.
1) remains stubbornly opposed to the plain sense of the Angel texts.
2) is what's really worrying me...
What I am worried about:
I still think solus Christus is threatened here.
While-ever the 'anonymous Christian' position is entertained...
While-ever the entirety of the Hebrew Scriptures are considered as pre-incarnate Son (a truly bizarre and worrying proposition)...
While-ever mediation is considered a broader concept than the concrete Person of the Mediator...
While-ever phrases like 'ultimate', 'final', and 'par excellence' dominate the discussion (as opposed to 'eternal', 'universal' and 'only')...
While-ever the history of interpretation on this issue is set aside, driven as it has been by solus Christus...
While-ever such stubborn resistance has been put up to the obvious meaning of the Angel texts...
While-ever it is considered that even if the Angel was a divine Visitor, He needn't be Christ...
'Christ alone' is patently under threat.
Some might feel I insist on a particularly strong version of 'Christ alone.' In my opinion 'sola's stop being 'sola's when they are weakened.