Here is the final bit on angels in the Jewish tradition, from chapter 2 of How Jesus Became God. Again, this is only in draft form, and it is nowhere near a complete treatment. There are entire books written on angels from a scholarly perspective – and a couple of very significant books on Christ as an angel or angel-like being. Here I have been able only to scratch the surface. But on the upside, if you scratch a surface well enough, it is possible to see what is underneath.

This discussion will be significant later in my book since I argue, as you may recall, that Jesus was thought sometimes to have become an angel when he was taken up into heaven.


There are Jewish texts that not only speak of angels (or even God) as becoming human, but also of humans who become angels. Many people today have the view that when people die, they become angels (well, at least if they’ve been “good”). That is a very old belief indeed. In one of the great apocalypses that has come down to us from early Judaism, the book of 2 Baruch, we learn that righteous believers will be transformed “into the splendor of angels… for they will live in the heights of that world and they will be like the angels and be equal to the stars…. And the excellence of the righteous will then be greater than that of the angels” (2 Baruch 51.3-5). Here, then, those who are righteous become angels who are greater than other angels – greater even than the stars, who were believed by many ancient people to be fantastically great angels.

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