Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris McNeely] Do angels exist? Who are they? How did they come to be? Should angels be worshipped? And what do they look like? And above all, what is their purpose?
Angels are a common sight today. At least the concrete or stone types that grace gardens or cemeteries. Many people feel they have had encounters with angels and some even feel that they have a guardian angel. What’s the truth?
Well let’s consider this passage from the Bible.
“Do not forget to entertain strangers,” it says, “for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels” (Hebrews 13:1-2).
Notice what it says: “Some…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: God Messengers and Spirit Army.”
[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 from 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 look at 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’d 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 that 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 they understand a relationship with God. Let me read you another scripture that shows why people feel this way. It’s in Psalms, the 91st Psalm.
It says this, “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 scriptures to understand the true nature and the 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 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). Now 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 while 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 works?
Jesus said, “My Father works and so do I.” God created the universe. He created life on planet Earth. And 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.
You see, angels are sinless, immortal spirit beings with great power. They can be “flaming spirits of fire” the Scripture says (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. As I looked at them, I wondered if they might be even worshipping those angels. Many people today do this as a form of New Age spirituality. The Bible tells us angels should not be worshipped.
Notice what it says here in the Scripture. 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 that you need to know about angels. Angels 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. The work of angels always points to God. Angels worship and serve God and are examples for us in our lives.
So what have we learned about angels? What yet do you need to understand? 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—the scene in heaven. Let’s look at a couple of places.
One is where 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 that the Jerusalem temple was modeled after a heavenly temple, the prophet Isaiah clearly understood that what he was seeing was the throne of God (Isaiah 6:1)
Above the throne, he saw large angels called seraphim. These are six-winged beings that hover over the throne and their words were clearly heard by the prophet. 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 that he might come completely undone by his own personal 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).
In 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 His mind is upon the earth and can be seen by those who seek Him. This reminds us of what is said in Romans where it says:
“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. God 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 that 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 to 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. It makes you think very long and very hard about such matters. When we read about angels in the Bible we see that they are pointing to God. It’s a healthy reminder that we should fill our minds with more of God and less of the clutter.
So, 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?
Let’s look at another scene from God’s throne. It’s found in the book of Revelation. Another vision where Christ gives to the apostle John—in chapter four—as John is invited to come through an open door into heaven and see future events. Before the apostle 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!”
Now stop and imagine these powerful beings, similar in description to a vision that 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! 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 anywhere, but you get the point.
But nothing that 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 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 (Luke 2:13 GW). 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. In a moment, I’ll be joined by my fellow presenters, Gary Petty and Steve Myers.
But first, to summarize:
Many of us have been given an incorrect view of angels. Understand that about yourself. Secondly, angels glorify God. And third, angels direct us to God.
Now 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.
When we look at what the Bible tells us, we find out that there is actually quite a different view from the Bible and what we are accustomed to.
[Gary] I think when most people think about angels, they think as someone appearing as a human being. And obviously in the Bible they do appear to human beings as a human being. But when you look at the Scripture and you look at all the descriptions—and that angelic world in that spirit world, it’s amazing! I mean we’re looking at beings created by God who in that spirit dimension are so unique, so incredible, so beautiful, so multi-faceted that we can’t even imagine when we look at those descriptions, what they actually look like.
[Steve] Sometimes the Bible describes them as spiritual hosts. Literally armies of heaven. And even Christ talked about calling 12 legions of angels to His defense if He wanted to. And so sometimes we forget that aspect and we paint them as little cherubs…
[Darris] Yeah the fat, cuddly kind.
[Steve] Yeah, little babies, or even sometimes women with wings. And we see the little statuettes and it all gives the wrong impression of what angels really are, and it takes away from the awesomeness that God made them in. And so, I think that is such a contrast to what the truth of the Bible is really about.
[Darris] And when you get there, the image of what is shown in the Bible, there is a lot more confidence inspired, I think in us, as to what really God can do through His angelic beings. You mentioned little statues of angels, I had the story of going through a home and every room filled with little figurines of angels. Do you think people’s lives are missing something that they are trying to capture by the obsession that they might have with angels, and what might that be?
[Gary] We were designed by God to have a relationship with Him. To connect to the spirit world, to Him. And what happens is if we are not careful, we know angels exist. We know that God uses them, they are messengers. We actually become so fascinated with angels, we try to have a relationship with angels. And yet there is nothing in the Scripture that talks about us having relationships with angels. We are to have relationship with our God, with Jesus Christ, His Son. And so, what happens is if we are not careful, our fascination with the spirit world creates almost like an intercessor between us and God, using angels that way. And they are not, They are messengers of God. But our relationship is directly to God. That’s where we should be focused.
[Steve] Yeah, we get off track when you consider the purpose of angels verses, well, we want to feel spiritual. We want to have this connection and yet it shouldn’t be through that source. And then it’s all these wrong images anyway. Where do you find an angel appearing that way in the Bible? If you really take the challenge and look, you won’t’ find angels in the Bible with just two wings. But that’s the way most of the time people imagine them. Or, if they were to appear to people, they don’t’ appears as women or babies. They appear as young men. And so just take the challenge. Look in your Bible and you will find a totally different perspective on what angels really are.
[Darris] Alright. Let’s go a little bit deeper on this. Let’s go beyond just the appearance and some of the popular ideas. I’ve talked to people as I’ve studied New Age Spiritism and I’ve actually talked to people who feel that they have channeled angels from some other dimension. Benevolent angels for good that help them, and it’s quite popular. People pay a lot of money to spend time in a room channeling angels. What’s going on here?
[Steve] Sometimes I think it’s what you’ve said. They are making money. Make money because everybody is interested about themselves…
[Darris] Yeah, I’ve noticed that. To channel an angel, put down the money.
[Steve] Yeah and they have books galore about the whole thing, and so they want your money. I think that’s an important point.
The other thing is there is an evil realm out there. Satan appears as an angel of light so even sometimes these types of things can interfere with us and in that sense, short circuit what God’s purpose and His plan is. And so, the satanic realm is powerful.
[Gary] You don’t see in the Scripture where anybody channels an angel. Now you see people who are demon possessed…
[Gary] But that’s a totally different thing. So, channeling is something we need to stay away from. In fact, it’s mentioned in the Scripture as something that is forbidden by God. So the channeling of angels is actually wrong spirituality.
[Darris] So, really what you’re talking about is earlier Gary, you were saying that we have a relationship with God. We don’t have a relationship with angels.
[Steve] This channeling that people get into is trying to have a relationship with an angel contrary to Scripture.
[Gary] Contrary to Scripture. And that’s very important. It is against Scripture.
[Darris] So what do we learn? What’s the most important take away that we should have as we try to wrap our mind around this huge topic about angels?
[Gary] How awesome God is! He is the Great Creator. We look at ourselves, we look at this physical creation and it’s amazing! And then to realize there is a whole other creation out there. A whole other dimension that we get to interact with once in a while. And whether these, who knows, millions, billions of angelic beings that are amazing, creative, intelligent beings. Then this whole other world. It draws us in to realize just how awesome God is.
[Steve] And to go along with that, how awesome His plan is. That this angelic realm which is so amazing, that for a moment we are below that realm. And yet in the future, we have the opportunity to be in God’s family and above that angelic realm. And so, God is awesome and He has an amazing plan for us.
[Darris] Let’s put God first and keep angels in their proper role.
I certainly hope you that have learned much about the subject of angels during today’s program. As God’s messengers and His spirit army, angels faithfully carry out God’s vital purposes and plans and they diligently serve the needs of “those who will inherit salvation.”
But first, to help you understand even more about what the Bible says regarding angels, we have prepared a valuable, free study aid entitled, Angels: God’s Messengers and Spirit Army . This important publication will aid you in better comprehending this key subject and learn why it has significant meaning in your life.
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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 !