I received an inordinate number of responses to my post discussing Christ as an angel in Paul, many of them suggesting to me that I had not provided enough background to make sense of this identification (Christ as angel), in light of ancient Jewish beliefs.  So here a discussion from early in the book about that, taken from my chapter 2.   There is more to be said about angels as both divine and in human form, and I’ll say more later in other posts.  But this at least gives some background – that to some may be a bit surprising.  If the followers came to think of Jesus as an angel, they may have had passages and views like the following in mind.


 Angels in ancient Judaism were widely understood to be superhuman messengers of God who mediated his will on earth.  It is striking that various angels sometimes appeared on earth in human guise.   More than that, in some ancient Jewish texts there is a figure known as “the angel of the Lord,” who is regarded as the “chief” angel.   How exalted is this figure?   In some passages he is identified as God himself.   And yet sometimes he appears as a human.   This is the Jewish counterpart to the pagan view that the gods could assume human guise to visit the earth.

The Angel of the Lord as God and Human

An example early in Scripture can be found in Genesis 16.   The situation is this.  Abraham had been promised by God that he would have many descendants: he would be the father of the nation of Israel.  But he was childless.  His wife Sarah handed her servant Hagar over to him so that he could conceive a child with her.   Abraham willingly complied, but then Sarah became jealous of Hagar and mistreated her.  Hagar ran away.

FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, log in as a Member. Click here for membership options. If you don’t belong yet, GET WITH THE PROGRAM!!!