Skip to comments.[PART TWO] The Flurry of Wings: What Angels Do
Posted on 12/29/2010 3:44:56 PM PST by wmfights
Angels are flying low these days. Walk through your bookstore and you will discover that they are not only flying low, but very busy doing all kinds of nice deeds for us. Here are some of the titles I discovered in a quick tour through a local bookstore: Angel Letters; Angels Within Us; The Mysterious Messengers; Ask Your Angels; Angelic Healing; A Celebration of Angels; Messengers of Light; Angels Among Us; and finally, Im sure the book my wife would have wanted me to buy: Be An Angel.
I believe in angels; I know they exist and also believe that they move in and out among us; I may have encountered one or two in my lifetime. I know some people whose experience is more credible than mine and I have to believe them when they tell me that they have encountered angels.
Why this fascination with angels in our culture?
First, we have learned that angels supposedly enable people to have a spiritual experience without bothering with God. You can be in touch with a non-judgmental, friendly being without having to face unpleasant matters like your sin and disobedience. God might, at times, be harsh and mysterious; but a visitor from heaven bent on helping us and communicating helpful messages seems appealing, indeed.
Rather than studying the Bible, it is much easier to shuffle a deck of angel cards. We prefer a tame divinity, a friendly spirit who will actually help us when we have a car accident, or personal difficulty. In the book Angels Among Us, we have one account after another of angels coming to the rescue. Just think, we can have all of these benefits without our rebellious hearts being revealed.
Second, angels seem to make the world appealing and friendly. In a culture that at one time was prone to dismiss the supernatural as superstition, angels are an inviting entry point. And, now it is acceptable to use the S words: soul, sacred, spiritual, supernatural.
In an article in Vogue magazine the writer says that the angel craze is, perhaps, an attempt to retain altitude at a time when the culture is short on thrust. The baby-boomers are on a quest for spiritual meaning no matter what direction it takes. The notion of heavenly visitors strikes a responsive cord.
According to a recent poll published in Newsweek, 28% of Americans say they have had a revelation from God in the last year. Nearly 13% percent say they have seen or sensed the presence of an angel. Even better than choosing your own religion is to chose your own angel. Angels transcend religious barriers.
I glanced through the contents of some of the angel books, looking for a story where an angel actually was unhelpful; I was wondering whether there were any bad angels out there. Maybe I missed something, but I couldnt find so much as one account where a good angel actually turned out to be either deceptive or harmful.
Do I believe all these stories? I have no reason not to believe that people have had encounters with supernatural visitors. It is the interpretation of what is reported that is most important. The Bible teaches that there are also evil angels who sometimes appear as good ones. We need to have some discernment at a time when people are encouraged to dabble in the spirit world without a metaphysical map to guide them. More on that later.
The Bible is filled with references to angels. When God led Israel out of Egypt, He sent His angel to do it. When Christ was tempted by Satan and needed to recuperate, we read, angels appeared to Him, strengthening Him. There are at least 300 references to angels in the Bible. Yes, there are heavenly visitors, just ask the virgin Mary.
What do angels do?
Angels Stand In the Presence of God
Isaiah pictures them as singing, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory! (Isaiah 6:3). John describes what he saw in heaven, Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. (Revelation 5:11,12).
Angels can actually see God as He is; they have no limitations of sinfulness; there is no barrier between them and the Almighty. Since they have not sinned, they can approach the throne directly to worship the One who is worthy of all praise. Angels worship in the presence of God.
Angels Run Errands For God
Angels do the will of God; Isaiah pictures them as flying, ready to do whatever the Almighty asks. They do not struggle with jealousy; no one feels as if he is overlooked. If Gabriel gets more spectacular assignments, they rejoice as much for him as they would for themselves.
Angels never appear as a mediator between man and God. We are never to pray to an angel, or say, take this request back to God. Christ alone is the bridge between God and man.
An angel, will never draw attention to himself, but will always direct people to give the glory to God. Angels are not independent messengers who seek to run errands for us. They come only when sent and give the message they have been given. If they do help us, it is their intention to remain unseen so that God might be glorified.
The sender is always more important than the messenger. Angels, like pastors of churches, are of secondary importance. Angels are never, in the Scriptures, to detract from the glory of God; they are to enhance His glory and make people wonder at it.
The word angel means messenger. Indeed sometimes the word angel is applied to humans who are messengers for God. Perhaps thats the way we should understand the messages to the churches in the book of Revelation which always begin, To the angel of the church of... The angel is the chief messenger, likely the pastor of the church.
How would the angels react to the publicity they are receiving on earth? Gods angels would be appalled. To think that mankind would seek them out as a kind of substitute for their relationship with God, is idolatry of the worst sort. Though the Bible refers to angels many times, it always does so with restraint.
The evil angels which populate the world are of course delighted with the attention; after all, they can masquerade as good angels and get by with it in an age that lacks discernment. They desire that people think more of themselves than they do of God. What really delights them is when they have contact with humans who think them to be the good angels of God! There is a whole network of evil angels, who appear as angels of light to deceive people on the earth.
Only a deceived populace can think that we, without the light of Gods revelation, can enter the world of angels and know the difference between good and evil. In the book Ask Your Angel, the author says that if you pray to your angel, You can be sure that your request will be answered. God is just a shadowy figure who plays a minor role in the angelic enterprise. He is not as accessible as the angels.
John was so startled by a vision that he fell at the feet of an angel, and the response of the heavenly being was instructive, And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).
We should never seek contact with an angel. We must let God decide whether the angel is to be sent to us. Nowhere in Scripture are we encouraged to seek angels. God may send you one, but that decision is wholly His. As we shall see in chapter 4 when you make contact with an angel, you do not know which kind will show up.
What if an angel were to appear saying that God is loving and we can get to heaven by doing acts of kindness? Many people would believe that message. But Paul, knowing the gullibility of the human heart wrote, But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! (Galatians 1:8).
Angels run errands for God and, when they speak, their message is consistent with the Bible. They bring no new Gospel, nor do they add insights about God. We know all that we need to know from the Scriptures.
Angels Act On Gods Behalf
Angels often do carry out the specific acts of God. Gabriel was not just the bearer of good news for Mary, but he also carried out the judgment of God on Zacharias. Then, when Peter was in prison, an angel came and took him by the hand and led him out. Angels are sometimes involved in battle; for example, Michael and Satan fought over the body of Moses (Jude 9).
In 2 Kings 19:35, one angel killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When Elijah was at Dothan, he asked God to open the eyes of his servant, and when that happened the man saw that the horizon was filled with heavenly warriors.
Are there angels among us? Yes. And they might appear as an ordinary person. Abraham, you will recall invited some strangers into his tent and did not know that they were angels. This incident is used by the author of Hebrews to encourage us to invite visitors into our homes, for ...some have entertained angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2).
Yes angels are with us. Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14). When they appear they may or may not be visible to us. We dont know how often angels have helped us, because we probably did not recognize them to be heavenly visitors. We may not see them, but they see us.
A missionary who returned to his home church in Michigan, reported this story. In Africa he left town with medical supplies he was carrying to a remote village. Enroute he slept along the way and then resumed his journey.
When he returned to the same town several weeks later, he stopped to give medical aid to a man who had been wounded in a fight. The man told the missionary this story: He and some other gang members had seen the missionary leave town with the medical supplies. They followed him at a distance with the intention of killing him while he slept so that they could steal his supplies and sell them for cash. As they surrounded his campsite, they noticed men standing guard around him.
The missionary was astounded at the story because he knew he had been alone that night! But the man insisted that there were men on guard that night; he even counted them, there were 26!
When the missionary told this story in his home church, a man stood up in the congregation and told this story: he and his church buddies were planning to go golfing one Saturday morning, but suddenly he had such a burden for this missionary that he encouraged the men to come with him to the church to pray instead. Now they compared calendars and allowing for time differences, discovered that they prayed exactly when the missionary would have been sleeping. To verify the story, he now asked all those who had prayed with him to stand to their feet. Incredibly, the number was 26!
What do angels do? They are on assignment, doing whatever God desires.
But how much do they know?
2nd installment on Angels.
Satan can appear as an angel of light.
People who trust those experiences are opening themselves up for all kinds of deception.
Thanks so much for posting it.
Pretty scary when you think about it.
= = =
(Am familiar w/ Lutzer because of ONE MINUTE AFTER YOU DIE which I read a few years back.)
Great article wmfights. I think it's important to remember that angels who were visible in the scripture had MAJOR ASSIGNMENTS from God to the people they addressed.....these were not some meager chit chat sessions or professing directions some today make claim to, but huge events. We have Gods word to direct us and the compass by which we travel thru life....when angels do their work on our behalf it is as this article states...without our awareness so that the Glory is His.
That’s a Catholic belief you’ve posted there.
Why do RC's pray to Angels then?