Who was the “man” who wrestled with Jacob in Genesis 32?
Most commentaries agree that the man was in some way a representation of God. Some say that the event was a dream in which God appeared to Jacob in the form of a man. However, I tend to discount this concept since Jacob had a physical limp as the day began.
Some other commentaries suggest that the “man” was actually an angel since angels can evidently take the form of human beings (Heb 13:2). The Bible uses the term angel to describe both physical and spirit beings. The word is similar to the word “messenger” in present usage. It refers to the spirit beings (angelic form) but also to anyone (such as a pastor) who presents the message of God to others. It is possible that the “man” was an angel but Jacob was convinced that he had seen “God” (v.30).
I believe that the “man” was a pre-incarnate form of the 2nd person in the Godhead – Jesus Christ. This would satisfy the comment by Jacob that he had seen God and still not conflict with the Jewish belief that no one can see God and still live. Here are some Scriptures that may help sort out (seeming) conflict: John 1:18; Exodus 33:20; Matthew 11:27; Colossians 1:15.
The “man” in this story seems to fit the “office” that Jesus fills in the Godhead – that of Savior, Redeemer & Intercessor. As we will see in one of the next articles, this is the objective that God had for this event.
As always, your comments are encouraged….