Thursday, January 03, 2019

Is the Archangel Michael the Son of Man?

Some commentators think the Son of Man in Dan 7 is the Archangel Michael. Here are some problems with that identification: 

i) Dan 7 depicts the Son of Man as the cloud-rider. That has its background in Baal, who was the cloud-rider. That was appropriated by OT writers, who reapply it to Yahweh. Yahweh is the true cloud-rider. In OT usage, that's a divine prerogative. 

Therefore, it can't apply to an angel like Michael. For the Son of Man to be the cloud-rider is a divine insignia. 

ii) There's the question of what Daniel saw. What did the Son of Man look like? Supposed he looked like Jesus at the Transfiguration or the Christophany in Rev 1. That might have an angelomorphic appearance in the sense of a radiant being. But that doesn't mean the Son of Man is an angel. Just that, like angels, he looks, in that setting, like a celestial being.

iii) Also, the context of Dan 7 is not about an angel appearing before Yahweh. Rather, it's an enthronement scene. The ancient of days represents the old king, while the son of man represents the crown prince who's now entering into the kingship as the royal successor or coregent.

iv) Angels might be in the pictorial background of Dan 7 as courtiers in God's throne room. That, however, doesn't make the Son of Man an angel, for the relationship between the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man is a royal father/royal son dynamic.

For another perspective:


  1. According to some crackpots, the "original" Jesus was a celestial being. Now, it can't be said that there were no celestial beings in Judaism. Such entities were well known. They were called angels. So if the "original" Jesus was a celestial being, we must assume that he was an angel. But if we find any evidence that Jesus was not an angel, then the celestial Jesus theory will be refuted. Now consider the following:

    Do you not know that we will judge angels? (1 Cor. 6:3)

    For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? (Heb. 1:5)

    The only way for a mythicist to escape the implication of these passages is to suppose that Jesus is a very unusual kind of celestial being. But it is far less likely that Jesus is a very unusual kind of celestial being than that he is just a celestial being. Of course, there are countless other objections to the mythicist "theory", but this one is worth bearing in mind.

  2. Concerning i): Agreed. But I'd go one further. Many divine theophanies are storm theophanies. That seems to be a preferred way for God to manifest Himself. That goes arguably back to the very beginning of scripture. I'd say "storm/cloud-rider" as a divine epithet has its basis in historical theophanies. So I'd argue it is more proper to say that Baalism appropriated the title.