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Richard Smoley's Blog

God and the Great Angel

Several days ago I posted a link to my article, "The Strange Identity of Jesus Christ," saying that the Christians who wrote the New Testament didn't think that Jesus was God incarnate. They thought he was the incarnation of the Great Angel, Metatron, the "archangel of many names," as Philo described him. Some of these names were the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Logos = the Word, and so on.

There is another, earlier chapter to the story. The God of the Old Testament seems to have evolved in much the same way. He started out as a tutelary God of the Midianite league (Moses first encounters Yahweh in Midian) and later for the Israelites.

Only later was he identified with the high god, known as El in the Canaanite pantheon.

You read "The Lord is God" in the Bible. To us it is redundant, almost meaningless.

Not in Hebrew. In Hebrew it is "Yahweh is El." This was a highly revisionistic statement, dating from no later than the sixth century BC.

It had theological consequences that we are dealing with to this day.

At the left I'm posting a link to an article I wrote about five years ago that explores all this in more detail.
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