Here’s a bit from my chapter 7 of How Jesus Became God where I talk about why I think Paul understood Jesus, before coming to earth, to have been an angel. There’s more to the argument than just this, but it’s a start. As you’ll see, this isn’t just a crazy idea I had. I learned this from some very smart colleagues in the field, who have convinced me. It’s one of the HUGE surprises that I’ve had writing this book, coming to this realization. It affects a LOT in terms of New Testament interpretation.

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Many people no doubt have the same experience I do on occasion, of reading something numerous times, over and over, and not having it register. I have read Paul’s letter to the Galatians literally hundreds of times in both English and Greek. But the clear import of what Paul says in Galatians 4:14 simply never registered with me, until, frankly, a few months ago. In this verse Paul indicates that Christ was an angel. The reason it never registered with me is because the statement is a bit obtuse, and I had always interpreted it in an alternative way. But thanks to the work of other scholars, I now see the error of my ways.

In the context of the verse Paul is reminding the Galatians of how they first received him when he was ill in their midst, and they helped restore him to health. This is what the verse in question says:

Even though my bodily condition was a test for you, you did not mock or despise me, but you received me as an angel of God, as Jesus Christ.

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