Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris McNeely] If there is one great question in this life that people ponder it’s “What is the origin of evil?” Where did it come from? Why is it a part of the human condition?
It was a warm summer day in 1974. My wife and I were heading home after a long day on the road visiting members of our church. As the miles ticked by the scenery faded into the background as we talked over the many conversations we’d had that day. Our way home crossed a large bridge spanning a deep river gorge. You know how it is on a long drive, cars pass, you don’t even think about them anymore, and everyone stays in their lane. But not today.
A large truck was pushing us towards the edge of the bridge. For a moment I pictured us falling to our deaths in the river below. And in a snap the car moved back onto the road and settled down. I managed to get off the bridge and safely pull over to the side. We were shaken but alive. The driver of the truck came running to check on us. I remember the words he said as he ran up. He said, “I thought I had pushed you over the bridge for sure.” My wife says that she felt the car swerve back to the left, back into the lane of the road. I know that I didn’t turn the wheel. It happened too quick. Both of us feel that on that day we had the hand of an angel literally move our car back into the driving lane and save us from certain death. And to this day we both believe that there was an extra bit of help helping us on that occasion. An angel helping us.
Now people have had a lot of experiences they say with angels and maybe some of you have your own stories. But today for a few minutes let’s discuss this topic of angels. It’s one of the most interesting parts of the word of God that I think that we could get into and yet it is also one of the most misunderstood by many people today.
What do you believe about angels? What do you know about angels? Many do believe that they exist and there are differing ideas depending on how we find these. Many are true and many are not. Many of the ideas actually hide God’s purpose for creating the angels and their purpose within the plan of God.
When we look at what the Scripture tells us, the real role of angels that we find from God’s word is going to actually surprise us. So what we’re going to do today is take a look at 3 surprising facts about angels that we can find from the very word of God to help our understanding of this critically important topic of the Bible and most importantly our relationship with God.
So what does the Bible teach about angels? Well quite a bit. There’s quite a bit. In fact the Bible tells us that there are different types of angels. There are angels described as cherubs, there are angels that are described as seraphim as they are called. The Bible tells us why they exist, the Bible also tells us what they do, and it will also tell us about their fate – at least for some of them.
Now when we look around our world today there is a wide variety of belief about angels. So much so that people really don’t understand what the Bible does actually say about the topic and would frankly be surprised as these facts that we talk about today will do for you I think and for those of you that are watching at home.
You know I’ve known people that think that they are talking to angels and actually try to contact angels in different ways and forms. But they’re not talking to something that is good in every case. They are actually in most cases talking to something that is far more sinister.
This is a topic that we need to be informed about from the Word of God and not be deceived about a lot that we find within our popular culture. You know I have with me today this little cherub, this very familiar image of an angel. When you look at what the Bible does describe, and it does give a lot of very specific graphic descriptions of an angel, it doesn’t look anything at all like this. There is nothing in the Bible that tells us of an angel looking cherubic like this kind of writing in a book with the wings. In fact it is something far more awesome and important and even more interesting than what can be depicted like this.
Angels as we probably know are a part of our popular culture in many different ways. There have been movies and television programs that have popularized angels. We’ve had shows that have taught us about being touched by an angel, we’ve had teen angels, we’ve had even a city of angels and they’ve made it into the baseball world. Angels in the Outfield. All kinds of different forms and probably the most well-known is Clarence from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” that airs quite regularly on television. The ideas are a mixture of good and evil, human and spirit in some of the depictions that popular culture tells us. They all make for a very good story but they leave a lot of wrong ideas that are not biblical and actually hide the very purpose for why God has made the angels and a very important purpose about our relationship with God as well. Unfortunately popular culture has created just a lot of misinformation about the angels.
So let’s look at what we can call the surprising fact #1 about angels. And it’s this. Angels are ministering spirits to the human realm. To the human creation. They are created as ministering spirits. Why? Because they serve mankind as part of the plan of God. They do more than just fly around on wings and get into mischief or try to interact on their own with the human realm. They are mature beings that actually play a part in the plan of God as the Scripture tells us.
One of the critical passages to begin to look at this topic is in the book of Hebrews 1 beginning in verse 6 where we find this description laid out here about angels. Hebrews 1:6 tells us that one testified in a certain place saying let all the angels of God worship him “and of the angels,” he says, “who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.” And so the angels worship God. And then down in verse 13 it says, “But to which of the angels has He ever said: ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool’? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?”
So this amazing fact #1 is that they are ministering spirits. They are sent to serve mankind, those that the Scriptures tell us here are to inherit salvation. That’s mankind, that’s the human creation. A different part of the creation than that of the angels. Angels are a very critical part of God’s creation. In fact when we look at some of the details that Scripture does give us it’s fascinating. They serve God’s people. One of the ways of which they serve God’s people are as what we might call intermediaries. They in a sense come from heaven, interact at various times and ways as I think that it did in our case for my wife and I a number of years ago and in other ways, between God’s realm and the human realm.
We all know the story of Jacob’s dream from the book of Genesis chapter 28 where the patriarch Jacob laid his head down in a place called Bethel and he dreamed a dream of a ladder that was set up on earth and the top of that ladder reached to heaven. And as the scriptures tell us there were angels of God ascending and descending on this ladder. And so in the context of that particular passage of Jacob’s life he had this dream and we see this interaction of angels going up and down in a sense as intermediaries and I think that is one of the key things for us to learn from that passage in Genesis. That they act as intermediaries between God’s realm, the Divine realm, the throne of God as other passages show us and human beings and the human realm in ways that we can’t even begin to fully imagine. They’re ministering servants and in this image here I guess we could say this is the original stairway to heaven that we have in the dream that Jacob has there. They are ministering servants acting as intermediaries serving the will of God and the human creation.
Now let’s consider one other question that often comes up in this context. Do each of us have an angel, what we might call a guardian angel? Think about that. The idea for a guardian angel, that is one angel assigned specifically to you and I, to individuals, they come from the one of the passages in the Bible that we read about in Acts 12. It’s another one of those interesting stories in the book of Acts where the Apostle Peter is let out of prison, he’s been in there by the authorities and an angel lets him out. He goes there to where the disciples are gathered there praying and Acts 12 he knocks on the door and a servant girl named Rhoda comes and answers the door. She sees Peter she can’t believe that he’s there, she’s startled and she shuts the door, runs back in and says well you know, Peter’s at the door. And they said within the house, oh you’re beside yourself. It’s his angel, they said. It’s his angel. And so from that one passage people sometimes take the idea that we have a guardian angel because well it says that Peter had an angel.
Well what the story is really telling us is that it was Peter there not an angel. An angel had let Peter out of prison and then gone on and Peter had come to the house. Peter had come from prison.
Now we do have angels watching over us. But to say that we have a guardian angel specifically assigned to us that’s really not something you can prove from Scripture and let’s not take it any further than what the Scripture tells us. To say that we have a guardian angel is to really take the step toward a different idea of some type of a protective divinity, a household god like the ancient Romans and the Babylonians did. We don’t want to go that route. That’s not at all a biblical teaching. You don’t want to go there because when you do you begin to create a god in your own image and that violates one of the commandments of God. And so we stay away from that. We don’t want to become like a lot with a kind of a backyard god, a backyard angel, to whom we look and to whom we think. It takes us away from God.
Now this topic is so important that we have a booklet that we’re offering on today’s program that helps understand this topic of angels as ministering spirits of God to mankind. “Angels: God’s Messengers and Spirit Army.” It’s a great dive into what the Bible really does reveal about the work of the angelic realm. We want you to visit our website beyondtoday.tv or go to the number that is on your television screen and ask and we’ll send you a free copy of this booklet “Angels: God’s Messengers and Spirit Army.” We want you to have a free copy of that to help go into deeper understanding of this topic about angels.
Now we’ve talked about the fact that angels are ministering servants to God’s creation. Let’s talk about another misunderstood fact about angels and I think this one will really surprise you. It’s this. Number 2. Evil originated in the angelic realm. Think about that. If there is one great question in this life that people ponder it’s what is the origin of evil. Where did it come from? Why is it a part of the human condition? What is its origin? The Bible gives us the answer.
People look today at horrific individuals and events that have taken place creating great suffering upon people in the world. Where did this evil come from or what is its origin? The Bible tells us that it originated in the angelic realm. There is a passage in the book of Ezekiel 28 that is talking about an image of a being called the king of Tyre which is really a type of a powerful spirit angel, a covering cherub named Lucifer that we’re told in another passage of the Bible and here is what it says. Beginning in chapter 28 and verse 14.
“You were the anointed cherub who covers,” this fantastic spirit being was a powerful cherub that covered the very throne of God, “I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God. You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones,” God says. “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,” which is what is true about the angelic realm, they were a part of God’s creation. Spirit, but created. You were perfect it said, “Till iniquity was found in you.” Sin. Sin was found in this covering cherub named Lucifer. “By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.”
It’s an interesting story. It’s a parallel to another one found in Isaiah 14 that talks about this fall of an angel named Lucifer who had within him evil. Sin. Iniquity.
Now other Scriptures show us that this rebellion wasn’t done in a vacuum. Wasn’t done all alone. Lucifer persuaded it seems one third of the angels to follow him in this period of rebellion.
Another passage in the Bible talks about angels that sinned and left their first estate. Sin. Evil. Iniquity. It originated in the angelic realm. Not in the realm of God. God did not create that. We find in Scripture that it comes in the angelic realm. A force of angels that became demons. Less than Divine but still spirit.
It appears their creation was not complete until they chose between good and evil. And once they chose these created beings were set and they could not go back. So what does that lead us to? The evil in today’s world is largely fueled by the evil in the angelic realm. You don’t want to dabble with that realm at all. It is real and it can bite.
The Scriptures also show us that they desire to be worshipped in various forms. And nntil God in His perfect plan chooses to remove that influence it will continue to generate evil in this world. In fact Revelation 16 shows that in the final confrontation on earth between forces of man and the returning Jesus Christ there will be spirits of demons come out of the mouth of two beings described as a false prophet and a beast and they will gather the armies of the earth together to fight in that great battle the Day of the Lord God Almighty that is described there in Revelation 16. Evil originated in the angelic realm.
There is a lot more that Scripture tells us about this particular part of the nature of angels and what has happened there. And again the booklet that we are offering today “Angels: God’s Messengers and Spirit Army” goes into a deeper understanding and study of this. There is actually a whole chapter in here dealing with the origin of Satan and his demons that will help you to understand exactly what it is I’m talking about here. Understanding that helps put into perspective the role of the angels and God’s intent for them. So go to our website beyondtoday.tv, call the number on your screen and order this free study aid. It’s extremely important to get this understanding right.
Now we’ve talked about the purpose of evil. Let’s talk about one other question on this particular topic of angels. And it’s one that again might surprise you. Angels are not to be worshipped. Surprising fact number 3. Angels are not to be worshipped. You worship God.
Let me tell you a story. A few years ago we were on the road with Beyond Today doing a public appearance campaign in a major American city. We had gone into a hotel on a Sunday morning to set up all of our equipment in preparation for the public appearance where we had invited Beyond Today subscribers. Across the hall from us in this large lobby was a bunch of tables set up with books, people coming in to a meeting there. We began to notice what was going on we saw the books and looked at them and they were dealing with topics about the spirit world. The spirit realm. Angels. Channeling spirits and all kinds of differing ideas. So we got really curious and we peaked inside the room of one of the meetings that was going on. What they were doing is they were channeling spirit beings. We found out who they were it didn’t take long to pull up on our computers who this group was what they were all about. It was a New Age group and the people were coming there to find out more about New Age worship of beings that were really angels to communicate with them and they were going through channeling exercises right there.
We were there to preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God and right across the hall from us on that very day and the very same spot was a different group preaching a different gospel. Satan’s influence was right next to us. It was an amazing, amazing episode that we encountered. It follows patterns that you see in the Scripture of Satan having his minions right on the scene at times as God’s servants do preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God.
Let me tell you one other story. Several years ago I was living in another location. I’d been called to visit with a subscriber to our magazine, someone wanted some spiritual counsel, so I made the appointment knocked on the door, walked into their house one evening and it was a rather interesting house that I walked into. On the mantel piece, on the walls, were images of angels. All kinds of angels. Good looking angels, bad looking angels. And even a picture of Satan, the depiction of Satan with the horns and the pitchfork in one corner and I began to look around at all of this and think what have I walked into. They wanted spiritual counsel. I looked off into a corner and there was a statue of Elvis. Elvis shows up everywhere. And I got to thinking are they worshipping Elvis or are they worshipping angels? It was an interesting visit to say the least. I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. We had an interesting talk that night. New Age, spiritual religions of all kinds confuse people on these topics. Angels are not to be worshipped. Angels are not to be depicted in some way in our backyard garden and the walls of our home in any way as beings that we worship.
Angels, when we see the scriptures, point us to God. We don’t worship angels, we are to worship God. That is what we should do.
There is an interesting passage in Revelation 22. At the end of Scripture, at the end of the fantastic message out of the book of Revelation that the Apostle John was given where he had seen visions and he had seen images and received information and it says as it came down to Revelation 22:6, these things “are faithful and true. And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.” A lot of what had been revealed was through angels. “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” And here’s John’s reaction. “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.” John makes the mistake of worshipping an angel. And the angel “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,’” he said. Don’t worship me.
We don’t worship angels. The Apostle Paul said that when we begin to worship angels we are allowing ourselves to be cheated out of our reward by taking too light the false worship of angels. It has no place whatsoever in the Scriptures to the true worship of God. This is something that Paul dealt with in the ancient world and it’s a type of worship that is here today in different forms. We call it spiritualism we all it New Age, sometimes it’s even called outright angel worship.
Angels do influence world affairs. They do influence in a wrong way so much that takes place in this world as we’ve seen. And we need to be aware of the work of fallen angels while at the same time we can appreciate the work that God does do through His righteous angels and what they show us in means of being an intermediary with God, helping us even at times. We have the clip of what my wife and I felt was truly an intervention where we were helped. We didn’t worship that angel. We don’t necessarily think it was an angel that was assigned to us. But we do appreciate and we did appreciate and we gave thanks to God for that protection He provided for us on that particular day.
Scriptures show that we are going to judge angels. And that is a vast difference between us and the creation and the angelic realm. You and I can change. We can change our nature. We are not locked into one way. Fallen angels, the demons, have decided their course. We have a choice to make. What about us? Do you want to choose the right over wrong? The fact is that we can.
God created humans at a much lower level than the angels. Again in Hebrews 2 we are told this as part of what God outlines for us here in His word speaking about man and his purpose and being crowned over the works of God’s hands, and verse 9 he says we see “Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” Man was created lower level than the angels but man is going to judge the angels.
We have the opportunity to change our nature to take on the nature of God. We are the ones who are to inherit salvation. That is the awesome purpose for which God has created mankind and He’s created the complimentary angelic realm to be ministering servants to those who are to inherit salvation. They are not to be worshipped but they are a part of God’s purpose and plan.
Now again when we look at what is available to us from the Word of God regarding this important topic about angels we’ve only touched the surface here today. The booklet that is a part of our program today is a very important booklet for all of you to look at, to be reviewed, to get your own copy. In that booklet we show what God reveals in His word that angels are not to be worshiped. They are ministering servants to God. So go to beyondtoday.tv. Go to the address on your screen and order that copy of your booklet.
Now, we’ve covered three surprising facts about angels. They are ministering servants sent to the human realm. Evil originated in the angelic realm. And we are not to worship angels. Keep these three facts in mind. Understand this as we look at the work that God is doing with us in bringing many sons to the glory of inheriting salvation. When we keep our eyes on God then we are putting our eyes exactly where God wants us to be in understanding His great purpose for us and what we are to become.
[Narrator] Call now to receive the free booklet offered on today’s program, “Angels: God’s Messengers and Spirit Army.” What comes to mind when you picture angels? Babies with wings, or a statue on someone’s lawn? Or fallen angels causing trouble? The truth about angels is one of the most fascinating yet misunderstood subjects in the Bible. They bear little resemblance to what you find in popular books, movies and TV shows. This free study aid will help you cut through the false ideas about angels. It also reveals why God created these special beings, and describes their origin and future. Our Study Aid answers common questions such as: Is it okay to pray to angels? When and how do they appear to people? Do we each have a “guardian angel?” These and other questions are answered in our booklet, “Angels: God’s Messengers and Spirit Army.” Order now. Call toll free 1-888-886-8632 or write to the address shown on your screen. The subject of angels does not have to be confusing. You can understand! Learn what the Bible reveals about the spirit world. When you order this free study aid, we’ll also send you a complimentary one-year subscription to Beyond Today magazine.
Beyond Today magazine brings you understanding of today’s world—and hope for the future! Six times a year, you’ll read about current world events in the light of Bible prophecy, as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family. Call now to receive your free booklet, “Angels: God’s Messengers and Spirit Army” and your free, 1-year subscription to Beyond Today magazine. 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv.