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A question of angels

T

One of the 'religious offerings' on BBC recently featured a programme about

people who claimed to have had contact with angels. According to a

psychologist interviewed on the programme, UFO abductions and near death

experiences are 'out' in paranormal circles and angels are 'in.' Some of the

experiences recounted on the programme appeared quite genuine, with people

speaking of supernatural deliverance from situations of great danger. On the

other hand many were definitely suspect spiritually and as usual with the

BBC there was no attempt to discern between the genuine and the counterfeit.

 

One woman interviewed conducted 'angel parties', going into people's homes

and inviting angels into the midst. She said, 'Angels are around us in huge

numbers. They are telling us that we must change and love one another as all

the masters - Buddha, Krishna, Christ - taught, or destroy one another.' A

lady who had taken part in her party said she had had a visitation from an

angel, who - surprise, surprise - was called Gabriel and came with brilliant

light. She had an impression of a velvet cushion with a trumpet and a pen.

Her explanation of this was, 'It is time to blow my own trumpet.'

 

Another lady called Vicky had a house and garden which had become a 'bit of

a centre where people experience angels. Angels flow by me, through me, at

me.' She conducts 'angel readings' with people to find out where they are at

spiritually. She said, 'I began to look into other cultures and they spoke

volumes to me in a way that Christianity has never done. I don't feel very

comfortable in churches. They're repressive, they tell me what I can and

can't believe. I'm not having that.'

 

What can we know about angels?

 

The word angel is taken from the Greek word 'angelos', which is a direct

translation of the word used in the Old Testament 'malach' meaning

messenger. The Bible teaches that angels exist and that they are

'ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit

salvation.' (Hebrews 1.14). It follows therefore that God's angels will be

working on behalf of God's message of salvation.

 

The Bible also teaches that there are fallen angels (demons) who joined in

Satan's rebellion against God (Job 4.18, Matthew 25.41, 2 Peter 2.4, Jude 6,

Revelation 12). In 2 Corinthians 11.14 Paul tells us that Satan is able to

transform himself 'into an angel of light' for the purpose of deceiving

gullible human beings.

 

With this simple piece of information to hand it is easy to discern that the

examples above from the BBC programme are visitations of fallen angels, not

angels of God. The message of the Bible is that Jesus is the Messiah, the

one mediator between God and human beings. So the lady who is putting Jesus

along with Buddha and Krishna is bringing a message, which contradicts the

message of the Gospel, and is therefore coming from a demonic source. The

interpretation of her vision, 'It is time to blow my own trumpet', in other

words to exalt oneself, is the opposite of the message of the Gospel which

is to deny oneself and exalt Jesus.

 

Vicky's 'angels' tell her to reject the Christian message because it is

repressive, telling her what she can and can't believe. It is true that God

does tell us in the Bible not to believe and practice certain things - with

good reason! They are untrue and they are harmful. Good parents tell their

children not to put their hands in the fire, not to be repressive, but to

protect them from harm. For example the Bible says,

 

There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter

pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or

one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a

medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.' (Deuteronomy

18.10-11).

 

The reason these things are forbidden in the Bible is that there are real

powers of evil, which can be contacted through such practices. The practices

encouraged in the 'Angels' programme are an open door to familiar spirits

(demons) who pretend to be angels from God in order to come in and take over

people's lives. The last days before the second coming of the Messiah Jesus

will see a huge increase in spiritual deception of this kind as false

prophets and false Messiahs go out into the world. Their teachings are

accompanied by lying signs and wonders (Matthew 24.24, 2 Thessalonians

2.9-12) which bring a strong delusion on those who receive them.

 

On the other hand God's angels are working in the unseen world on our behalf

all the time. 'There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one

sinner who repents' (Luke 15.10). The idea that we have a 'guardian angel'

is not directly taught in the Bible, but Jesus did say, 'Take heed that you

do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven

their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven' (Matthew

18.10).

 

The angels of God are his messengers working on behalf of those who are

seeking salvation or have found it and protecting us from evil, but we are

not to look for them or seek to make contact with them. In every description

in the Bible of an encounter with an angel, it is the angel who makes

contact with the person, not the person who seeks the angel. Those taking

part in the 'angel parties' described above will generally make contact with

a supernatural being - but it will be a fallen angel or demon, not an angel

of God. We should seek God alone, through the mediation of the Messiah Jesus

who has died and risen from the dead to remove the barrier of sin, which

separates us from Him.

 

We are also not to worship angels, as they are created beings. John wrote in

Revelation 22.8-9, 'Now I John saw and heard these things. And when I heard

and saw I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me

these things. Then he said to me, 'See that thou do not do that. For I am

your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who

keep the words of this book. Worship God.''

 

Interestingly there are examples in the Old Testament, which seem to

contradict this. At times the being described as 'the Angel of the Lord' is

given divine status of being able to redeem and pardon from sin. To see Him

is to see God and He is given worship (Genesis 18, Genesis 32.24-30, Genesis

48.16, Exodus 14.19, Exodus 23.20-23, Joshua 5.13-15, Judges 13). Rabbinic

literature has puzzled over the identity of this being, giving him the title

'Metatron' who is also described as the 'Middle Pillar, the Mediator between

Heaven and Earth and the Keeper of Israel.'

 

There are times where the Angel of the Lord is clearly more than a created

being and is given divine status in his manifestations to people in the Old

Testament. This is a problem to the rigid monotheism of Rabbinic Judaism

(i.e. how can God appear in a visible form?). For believers in Jesus as the

Messiah there is no problem at all. Where the Angel of the Lord appears as a

divine being, it is Jesus appearing in his pre-incarnate form as the

Redeemer of Israel. For further information on this subject send for the

book 'The Great Mystery - how can three be one?' by Rabbi Zvi ha Nassi or

the tape on the Metatron by Yakov Prasch or the tape 'The Trinity in the Old

Testament' by Tony Pearce.

T