Priest as an Angel in Malachi

". . . it appears that not only John the Baptist, but possibly Jesus and his family as well, were close to the Qumran community. At any rate, there are numerous points of contact with the Christian message in the Qumran writings. It is a reasonable hypothesis that John the Baptist lived for some time in this community and received part of his religious formation from it."
-Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration
OK ... but this is speculation ... it's a reasonable hypothesis that John knew of, but was not shaped by, Qumran ... certainly his baptismal theology does not reflect Quran theology or practice.
To do this particular topic justice, one would have to show where the two (Qumran and Christ) were aligned, and where they differed.

I would suggest the key to that is on the Person of Christ.
I think perhaps as a very rough analogy, perhaps Christianity came out of the Essene branch of Judaism, in the same way that the Baha'i faith came out of the Shia branch of Islam?
I think perhaps as a very rough analogy, perhaps Christianity came out of the Essene branch of Judaism, in the same way that the Baha'i faith came out of the Shia branch of Islam?

Shia Islam itself has different branches. The Babi Faith emerged from Shaykhism. The Baha'i Faith emerged from the Babi Faith. Similarly, I think the Baptist movement emerged from the Essenes. The Jesus movement emerged from the Baptist movement.
Cautious alignment in general drift -- but not to overplay the parallel, imo?
the Essenes practiced daily immersion (so not strictly conversion), rather something more akin to orthodox Jewish ritual, but also with an apocalyptic end in view. John’s was a 'baptism of repentance' (Luke 3:3), although he taught that his baptism was a foreshadowing of salvation through Christ.

These are from my notes from reading Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls on the conversion comment.

Those outside of the Qumran community were considered sons of darkness. To become a son of light, you would need to go through the process of initiation - which, after a period of time, involved a certain baptism that you were not admitted to until after a yearlong probation.

There was daily ritual washing, but the Essenes also had baths filled with a purer kind of holy water. When describing the Essenes, Josephus writes: "After he has given proof of his self-control in this time, they bring him closer to their way of life: he participates in the purer waters for purification.”

The ritual is pointless unless the candidate is truly repentant:

"Anyone who refuses to enter the society of God, preferring to continue with his willful heart, shall not be initiated into the Yahad of His truth . . . He lacks the strength to repent . . . He is not to be reckoned among the upright . . . Ceremonies of atonement cannot restore his innocence, neither cultic waters his purity. He cannot be sanctified in oceans and rivers, nor purified by mere ritual bathing . . . for only through the Spirit of God's true society can there be atonement for a man's ways, all his iniquities; thus only can he gaze upon the light of life and so be joined to His truth by His Holy Spirit, purified from all iniquity. Through an upright and humble attitude his sin may be covered, and by humbling himself before all God's laws his flesh can be made clean. Only thus can he receive the purifying waters and be purged by the cleansing flow." (1QS 2.25-3.9)

The Essenes also call themselves the "repentant ones of Israel" repeatedly.
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I think perhaps as a very rough analogy, perhaps Christianity came out of the Essene branch of Judaism, in the same way that the Baha'i faith came out of the Shia branch of Islam?
My question would then be, had Jesus never met the Essenes, would His essential message have been the same?

I'd answer that we simply don't know – how can we?

But we can assert that what He preached, especially as understood and preached by John and by Paul, is a whole different world compared to the teachings of the Essenes (as we understand them) as it does any and every other school of Jewish mystical speculation.

For Paul, 'baptism' is not the ritual washing in the mikvah as done by Jews generally (including the Essenes).

Baptism is a concrete transformation in the person here and now – a participation in the death and resurrection in the Risen Christ.

In Romans 6 Paul speaks of baptism. In the early church, it seems baptism was a complete immersion. The catachumen stripped off their old clothes, and were then clothed with new – possibly a gift of the community, perhaps just a garment worn on that occasion to symbolise the idea of rebirth and, perhaps, transfiguration.

Paul does not interpret the ritual in terms of cleansing (as it was commonly understood). It was that, and more.

“Are you ignorant that whoever has been immersed into Christ Jesus has been immersed into his death?” (6:3). To go under the water is to die with Christ and to be buried with him, while to rise out of the water is to be raised from the dead and to ascend with him to new life.

"For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." (6:5-11)

Paul is fully aware of the dilemma in the early church with regard to the immanent return of Christ in Glory and, so far, His failure to reappear. He (as does John) preaches that we will be raised into the glorified life of the eschaton—hence the future tense (“we shall also live with him”) – but here and now we share in the power of the resurrection of Christ in his Spirit:

"But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you." (9-11)

“Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

This latter speaks of a corporeal resurrection in the eschaton – again something His contemporaries did not preach.
Similarly, I think the Baptist movement emerged from the Essenes. The Jesus movement emerged from the Baptist movement.
But the ritual washing in the mikvah is common to Judaism, it's not unique to the Essenes, it's an inherited practice.

As stated above, Baptism might well have been influenced by orthodoxy or the Essenes, but it took on a whole other dimension in Christianity that cannot be attributed to them, directly or otherwise.
Baha'i took a different trajectory away from Shia Islam? It was never a branch of Shia?

In the same way Christianity was never an 'offshoot' or branch of Essenne Judaism? It was always an altogether new creature?
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OK. This is a rather fundamental statement that separates, irrevocably, the Baha'i from the Abrahamic Traditions.

Angelology is common to the three great monotheistic religions. In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the angelic orders constitute the first creation, the “intelligible” foundation of the material world, and this liminal world is the domain of the soul, the psyche and the senses.

The angelic world provides the image of an ordered hierarchical universe (Cosmos) consisting of multiple degrees of reality, to which correspond multiple states of consciousness, that are in themselves degrees of knowledge. This “world” full of [spiritual] “Intelligences” is intimately linked to the cosmos and consequently to humanity which is in its keeping and supposed to be its keeper.

The Cosmos is a theophany.

A manifestation of the Spiritual Realm in Judaism and Islam, the angel is subordinate to the Logos in Christianity. In the NT angels herald the mysteries of the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Resurrection – the angels are in His service.

For us, angels are the prototype of the spiritual life, they are the mode and figure of the contemplative life. Angels are the guardian and servant of the soul.

This monotheistic traditions do not have a monopoly on mediating beings – they are there in Buddhism, for example, and although devas are not precisely the same, the are too akin to be ignored or dismissed.

In understanding angels we have to preserve ourselves against the narrowly defined fundamentalisms of a materialist world that denies the liminal, the spiritual and the mystical on the one hand, and the romantic and sentimental ambience of pseudo- or neo-spiritualisms of the New Age with its crystals and incenses anddream catchers.

Above all is the need to reawaken the eye of the heart, so long occluded by the narrow and arid materialism of the secular world that in promoting a so-called 'autonomy' reduces what it is to be a truly human 'person' at every ststep.

Where are these angels according to these ancient minds, @Thomas? To clarify, I do not want a modern answer. I want the one the ancients would have given me.
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (St Dionysios or St Denys as the Orthodox know him) – most likely a Syrian monk writing in the 5th-6th century, wrote extensively on the Angelic orders, and their representation in symbolic and figurative form in Scripture, in The Celestial Hierarchy.

He speaks of 'supercelestial Intelligences' that are spoken of, but it reality utterly transcend the sensible images and sacred symbols used to describe them.

I consider, then, that: in the first place we must explain our conception of the purpose of each Hierarchy and the good conferred by each upon its followers; secondly we must celebrate the Celestial Hierarchies as they are revealed in the Scriptures; and finally we must say under what holy figures the descriptions in the sacred writings portray those Celestial Orders

He makes the point that:
... we ought to be guided through those (sensible) forms lest we, like the many, should impiously suppose that those Celestial and Divine Intelligences are many-footed or many-faced beings, or formed with the brutishness of oxen, or the savageness of lions, or the curved beaks of eagles, or the feathers of birds, or should imagine that they are some kind of fiery wheels above the heavens, or material thrones upon which the Supreme Deity may recline, or many-coloured horses, or commanders of armies, or whatever else of symbolic description has been given to us in the various sacred images of the Scriptures.

Theology, in its sacred utterances concerning the formless Intelligences, does indeed use poetic symbolism, having regard to our intelligence, as has been said, and providing a means of ascent fitting and natural to it by framing the sacred Scriptures in a manner designed for our upliftment.

I am an apophatist, therefore while I delight in symbol, I: "... prefer to regard the Divine Orders as pure and ineffable in their own natures, and beyond our power of vision"; I think in terms of "Celestial Intelligences", "incorporeal natures" and "incorporeal and spiritual substances".

I labour this because in the Christian Tradition angels were seen as incorporeal beings, with rational natures, their role and mission defining their 'personality' in the sense that the archangels are one in kind, but differ in mission.