Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris McNeely] Have you ever met an angel? If you did, would you know?
Consider this passage from the Bible.
“Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels” (Hebrews 13:1-2).
Here we find a verse that opens a door of understanding into part of the spirit world—the world of angels.
“Some…” it says, “have unwittingly entertained angels.” This simple statement shows us God’s unseen hand in our lives and in the course of history. Angels are God’s servants in His divine, creative plan for mankind.
What are angels, and how do they affect your life? Join us on Beyond Today as we open the Bible and take a look at “Angels: Agents of God.”
[Announcer] Join our host Darris McNeely and his guests, as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today !
[Darris] It was a hot sunny day in North Carolina. My wife and I were driving home after spending a day visiting with members of our church. We had been married for a little more than a year, and we were young in life’s experiences and new to God’s ministry.
As we drove along the interstate highway that day, we began to pass over a large bridge spanning a major river. We all know what it can be like after several miles of such travel. You’re driving. You’re thinking about other matters. You’re passing cars and cars are passing you. Everyone’s driving and everyone assumes that everyone else is being alert and careful with their vehicles.
Except this time a man driving a large truck wasn’t.
Halfway across this bridge, a sudden jolt lifted our car and began pushing it toward the railing. The truck had hit the rear of my car. In an instant, I realized we could be going over the rail and plunging into the river far below—a fall that would have meant certain death. But, before I could even react, my car came back into the driving lane and steadied itself. The truck screamed past us only inches from my door.
I managed to get off the bridge and pull over on the shoulder of the road to inspect my car. The driver of the truck had also stopped and rushed up to me.
“I thought I had pushed you over the bridge when I hit your rear bumper,” he said.
My wife and I were shaken, but relieved. We were glad to be viewing the damage to our car and talking with the driver as well as swapping insurance information. It was a close call. The driver had been tired and momentarily dozed at the wheel of his speeding truck when he veered into my lane and caught the left rear of my car, sending it toward the side of the bridge.
He thought we had gone over. I thought we could have gone over. But we didn’t. My wife says she felt the car move back to the left. I know that I did not turn the wheel to make it happen. We both feel on that day at that moment, we had the hand of an angel move our car back into the driving lane—keeping it from going off the bridge.
I didn’t see an angel, but to this day we strongly feel there was a bit of extra help—an angel helping us.
I have spent many years in pastoral ministry since this event. I have heard other stories from people who have felt they, too, entertained angels unawares. These are stories from stable, sensible people of faith who understand the Bible and a relationship with God. Let me read you another scripture that shows why people feel this way. It’s in Psalm 91.
“No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone” (Psalms 91:10-12).
To this day, my wife and I do not start out on a trip without asking God to place His angels about us. We ask this in faith—not out of some primitive superstitious belief. We’ve experienced this in our life and we also understand why God employs angels to carry out His purpose and in many interactions within the physical realm.
And while we always look to God for physical protection, we also know that bad things can happen to good people for any number of reasons.
These great and powerful angelic beings are not just personal bodyguards. They are much more than that. Angels serve to direct us to God. They are powerful spirit beings, created by God as agents to accomplish His spiritual purpose with humankind on this earth. Angels even teach us how to look at God and His role in our life.
What do you know about angels? Most of us have been given an incorrect view. Some think we become angels when we die.
Well let’s take a look at a few key scriptures to understand the true nature and role of angels. Angels were created by God before the foundation of the world. Countless spirit beings, brought into existence for a purpose—a purpose that involves you.
The story of angels begins long ago before there was time as we know it. We find it in the book of Job. After experiencing a life-shattering trial, Job began to complain that he was being persecuted without cause. God responded to Job’s complaints by asking a question, “Who…” God asked, “laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:6-7, NIV).
Angels existed before our planet or the known universe was formed—they were shouting for joy as God laid its cornerstone. The Bible tells us that, through Jesus Christ, “all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers” (Colossians 1:16). This tells us that angels must be created beings.
But created for what?
The answer is found in the book of Hebrews; here in the first chapter, where it contrasts the human creation with the angelic creation. Man is created for a different purpose than angels. Humans are created physical beings. Angels are created spirit beings.
Humans have the potential to join the family of God, at a higher level than the angels. Here in Hebrews it states that “angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14, NLT). Angels were designed as servants of God, meant to aid and care for His people—those who will inherit salvation. They are agents of God’s creative work.
Have you ever considered that God is at work?
In John 5:17 Jesus said, “My Father works and so do I.” God created the universe. He created life on planet Earth. God, along with Christ at His right hand, today continues to manage and direct this creation to His intended purpose. To help in this work, angels were created. And they exist to help God bring many sons to glory.
Angels are sinless, immortal spirit beings with great power. They can be “flaming spirits of fire” (Psalms 104:4).
So let me ask you a question. Is it appropriate to worship angels? Is it okay to pray to an angel?
This is where popular religious and spiritual thinking goes way off the track.
A few years ago my wife and I were house hunting in a new city. One home I remember well. As we walked through the rooms, I remember seeing dozens of angel statues and figurines. The homeowner was obviously obsessed with angels. I wondered if they might be worshipping those angels. Many people today do this as a form of New Age spirituality. But the Bible tells us angels should not be worshipped.
Notice: The apostle John made the mistake of falling down before an angel sent to him with a message. It says, “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 you 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’” (Revelation 22:8-9).
This is perhaps the most important thing you need to know about angels. They point us to God. They are ministering servants of God, agents of God, with one focus—to worship God, to serve God, to assist God in His great purpose for human life which is to bring many sons to share His glory for all eternity.
We should not worship angels. We don’t need to fashion images from our own imaginations and place them around our home or in our yard. But when we look into the Bible and we see what they do, angels then serve as an example for us to have a singular focus in life on God and His Kingdom. Learn this, and we come to the real biblical teaching about angels.
Angels do exist, just as God exists. Next, we will examine more closely the throne room of God to understand their role. The work of angels always points to God. They worship and serve God and are examples for us in our lives. The study aid that we’re offering today also points to God. It’s titled: Life’s Ultimate Question: Does God Exist?
We live in a world today where many people wonder if God is real and if so, what He expects and how He can help us. If you would like a solid, compelling information and scriptural authority about the absolute reality of God, be sure to order a free copy of Life’s Ultimate Question: Does God Exist?
This free study aid will help you firmly grasp, not only the certainty of God’s existence, but how you can build a wonderful, personal relationship with Him. Indeed, God is ready, and willing and able to help you today and to open the doors to an exciting and a rewarding future in His coming Kingdom.
So, please don’t wait! This thorough, Bible-based study aid is available to you completely free of charge. To order your free copy of Life’s Ultimate Question: Does God Exist? simply call: 1-888-886-8632. That’s 1-888-886-8632. Otherwise, you can read it on our BeyondToday.tv website or write to us at the address shown on your screen throughout the program [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].
What have you learned from angels? What can be learned? We have to go to the Bible to learn the answer.
Let’s take a closer look at the righteous angels God uses to monitor and further His work. Have you ever wanted to see God in heaven? Well, the Bible gives us a glimpse into this scene. Let’s look at a couple of places.
The prophet Isaiah received his commission from God through a vision of the throne of God in heaven, and he wrote about it. He said that he saw the Lord sitting on a high throne that seemed to be floating without support. The throne was in a large room, like the temple that Isaiah frequently visited in Jerusalem. Knowing the Jerusalem temple was modeled after a heavenly temple, Isaiah clearly understood what he was seeing (Isaiah 6:1)
Above the throne, he saw large angels called seraphim. These are six-winged beings who hover over the throne and their words were clearly heard by Isaiah. The seraphim spoke loudly to each other with powerful voices that must have echoed through the temple saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:2-3).
In Isaiah’s vision, the voices shook the entire temple. Smoke filled the room. The prophet was overwhelmed by the scene. He felt inadequate to view the events and felt he might come completely undone by his sin. “Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:3-5).
After saying these words, a seraphim flew toward him with a live coal in his hand. The angel touched his mouth with the coal and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is purged” (Isaiah 6:6-7).
Two things come out of this passage. First, these angels, these seraphim, seem to have a primary function to promote and to preserve the holiness of God. Their words remind the other angels what God is about. God is holy. His holy glory, His divine purpose and mind is upon the earth and can be seen by those who seek Him. This reminds us of what is said in Romans:
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
The creation and the intricate interdependent nature of earth gives brilliant testimony to God for any who open their hearts and their minds to Him. He can be found and He hears those who diligently seek Him.
The second lesson from this scene is the forgiveness or the reconciliation made possible by God’s mercy. Fire purifies and here the fiery ember touching Isaiah’s lips purified him to be able to stand in God’s presence. Holiness is not for the fearful. God is holy and this angelic scene shows that eternal truth.
What should we be taking away from this? Righteous angels are placed in close proximity to God to show His glory. On our lips should be such words. God is holy! The creation about us reflects that glory. These seraphim point us to God’s holiness. They remind us that praising His glory should be something we not only think about, but we also talk about.
Too often our talk is of things that matter very little compared to the lasting beauty and truth of God and His work. Like you, I get caught up in the chatter of media, television, talking heads—taking far more time than you and I should give them. Have you ever asked yourself, what exactly have I learned after putting in several hours of my time listening to these news shows—instead of directing my mind and my life to the true values of the Kingdom of God?
It’s one of those hard questions to ask yourself. Studying the Word of God and understanding what happens around His throne, well, it makes you think very long and hard about such matters.
What do angels look like? What do you picture when you think about them? How powerful are they as God’s agents? Can we respect their power?
Well let’s look at another scene of God’s throne. It’s found in the book of Revelation. It’s a vision Christ gave to the apostle John. In chapter four, John is invited to come through an open door into heaven and see future events. Before him is a throne and God is sitting on that throne. (Revelation 4:1-2).
Around the throne are 24 additional thrones with 24 beings described as “elders” clothed in white robes and wearing crowns of gold on their heads. Here is another high level of angelic being functioning close to the throne of God.
Next we see in the midst of the throne upon a sea of glass, what are described as “four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second” it says, was ”like a calf…the third…had a face of man and the fourth …was like a flying eagle” (Revelation 4:6-8).
Verse 8, again tells us that these beings have eyes around and within and they do not rest day or night, saying “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
Stop and imagine these powerful beings, similar in description to a vision Ezekiel had of what are called cherubs. Cherubs! This folks—this scene is a far cry from the normal picture of cuddly, fat, little cherubs hovering around with bows and arrows doing who knows what! These angels have eyes—many eyes that see everywhere.
And this gets us to a main point today: God uses angels to monitor His creation and human activity. We can be encouraged and we can be strengthened by that understanding.
The angel’s vision takes in the entire universe. They see all and report all to the throne of God. These angelic beings are better than the most sophisticated satellite today. Technology today has eyes on any part of the earth with great detail. We know that.
You know, on my smartphone, I have an app that allows me to track any airplane in the sky, in any part of the world, at any given moment. You can even watch the plane land at its destination! If you see a plane flying overhead, you can point the phone to the plane and the app will tell you the type of aircraft, the carrier name, the flight number and its destination. This amazing technology gives you eyes to see anywhere—well, not quite, but you get the point.
But nothing we have devised with human technology compares with what is described in these verses. God’s “satellites”—His angelic force—gives Him the best on-the-sight spirit sight to serve His needs and His purpose.
Looking at these verses helps make more sense from other scriptures like this one in Proverbs that tells us that “The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).
You and I may look around today’s world and get very discouraged over the evil that we see—and we see quite a bit with cable television and the 24-hour news cycle. One way to deal with the blitz of bad news today though is to “look up.” Look to God. Look to God and trust in His hand. Look at what He shows us in these scriptures about His angelic hosts and armies who are deployed throughout creation. God has made every provision to guide this world and human events to His planned end. Angels play a key role in doing this.
We have only begun to touch on the subject of angels in the Bible and what can be learned about God’s spiritual armada of beings who fan out around this world monitoring, helping and serving God and His elect.
I’d like to take a moment to remind you again to order your free copy of our helpful Bible study aid, Life’s Ultimate Question: Does God Exist? Additionally, we will send you a free subscription to our Beyond Today magazine! Six times a year you’ll receive articles on subjects that will both help you change your life for the better, and assist you in effectively understanding current events in relation to Bible prophecy. Besides that, Beyond Today magazine will help you learn more about God and how you can build a durable, personal relationship with Him.
To order your free copy of Life’s Ultimate Question: Does God Exist? and Beyond Today magazine, call: 1-888-886-8632. That’s 1-888-886-8632. Or, write to us at the address shown on your screen [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254]. Of course, you can read Life’s Ultimate Question: Does God Exist? and Beyond Today magazine online at BeyondToday.tv .
Today’s program has been focused on the role of angels in the plan of God. We have only begun to scratch the surface. So I have brought in my fellow Beyond Today hosts, Gary Petty and Steve Myers to get their view on this very important subject.
Does the Bible give us a different view of angels than what is commonly believed?
[Steve] There is no doubt. When you look at what the Bible says, it is in the direct opposition to what most people believe. Take, for example, angels in the Bible never have two wings. Now most people would say, “Well, that’s ridiculous—all depictions of angels have two wings.” But, check out the Bible and you’ll see that’s not what the Bible says. And talk about scratching the surface. You start digging in, you’ll find many things that the Bible says are fact about angels where most people have misconceptions.
[Gary] What’s really amazing is the Bible describes all different kinds of angels. Now, there are angels with multiple wings and then there’s angels that actually appear as human beings.
[Gary] So, you have just multiple different kinds of angels. That’s just fascinating.
[Darris] It is. It’s one of the most interesting topics in the Scripture. Why is it though that you think this is a fascination for people?
[Steve] I think the spirit world is fascinating. There is another dimension that interacts with our world and when we have experiences like you had, it certainly brings that to mind and we want to know more. And we can’t help but try to dig in and find more and more answers to the questions that we have.
[Gary] We’re actually designed to have an interaction with God. So we’re designed to have an interaction with the spirit world, but we don’t know how to connect so we’re just fascinated by it.
[Darris] We wanted to do this program in order to give another perspective of the righteous angels in scriptures and what they do to actually further the plan of God as opposed to demons, who are adversaries of God’s throne.
This fascination that people have, do you think there’s something missing in people’s lives that creates this fascination with angels? I mentioned a person who had angels all through his house and you see these depictions, and what is it?
[Steve] I think sometimes it can almost take the place of God, if we’re not careful. That we imagine these beings that are—well, part of their purpose is to help and assist man—and yet, it can sometimes interfere with our relationship with God.
[Gary] You know, look how many movies, even television shows there have been over the years. I think of Angels in the Outfield. You know, all these movies about angels who come down and help us. We all know and desire help, supernatural help, and I think you’re right. I think if we’re not careful, people actually take angels and supersede them between them and God—and that’s not true. They are the helpers of God to do His work, but their purpose is always to get us to look directly towards God.
[Darris] You know, all of us want to be significant. We want to make a difference. We want to have a sense of esteem and worth and value. And I sometimes think that people get a little bit too carried away with angels, to the point of angel worship. Seeking perhaps something different and unique that is their particular niche of spirituality. And it, again, gets the focus off of God.
What’s the one point you think that we should learn from this brief study about angels?
[Steve] I think one thing that stands out in my mind is that angels are a reflection of God’s love. That He cares for us. He loves us. He’s given us these messengers, these servants to help us, to protect us, to watch over us and they further our relationship with God is what they should do. To recognize His hand in our lives and that He does love and care about us, and He uses these angels to watch over us and protect us. And in that way, it is an expression of His love.
[Gary] It’s the title of the program, “Agents of God.” That they go out and do God’s will and carrying out God’s plan and are involved in our lives.
[Darris] Well, remember our free offers today, Life’s Ultimate Question: Does God Exist? and Beyond Today magazine. Call: 1-888-886-8632 or go online at BeyondToday.tv for your copies. Or, write to us at the address on your screen [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254]. These publications will help you in your life, and in your Bible study.
And, if you would like to learn even more about the truths of the Bible, be sure to tune in every other Wednesday night to our live Bible study webcast. You can find them at BeyondToday.tv.
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[Steve] Hi, I’m Steve Myers. I’m the pastor here at the United Church of God Cincinnati East congregation. I’d like to welcome you to come and join us on this great spiritual journey. We have hundreds of congregations around the United States and across the world. Click on the “Congregations” tab to find a church near you. We’re committed to growing in our relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ as well as fellowshipping with each other.
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We’re happy that you’re looking into what God is doing in our efforts to bring His message to the world. God is certainly pleased that you’re looking into knowing Him better. And we’re here to help! We would love to have you come and visit and worship with us. We’re looking forward to meeting you soon! Come and join us!
[Darris] Angels are real. They impact the world in ways we can’t begin to imagine. Angels are powerful agents employed by God to monitor great events. They can also at times impact your life. It is possible that your life has been touched by an angel of God.
Angels serve as a reminder to worship God. They are His servants sent to do His work. Be encouraged by this. Begin to look to God in your life and worship Him and serve Him in every part of your life.
That’s our program today. Remember to pray with us, “Thy Kingdom come.” I’m Darris McNeely. Thanks for watching.
[Announcer] For the free literature offered on today’s program, go online to BeyondToday.tv . Please join us again next week on Beyond Today!