THINKING ABOUT ANGELS

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I confess! I don’t know the first thing about angels, but I am persuaded that many of our cherished pictures are wrong. Are you really sure that you can tell me what an angel looks like? Are you absolutely positive that they always wear white? Do they play harps? Do they have halos? Are they the embodiment of feminine loveliness?

There is little doubt in my mind that art has weakened the Biblical conception of angels. As you stand looking at those stained-glass figures, try to remember that you are gazing at a purely imaginative human conception, and a tradition which seems to have begun after the sixth century. Putting wings and feathers on God’s messengers appears to be more our doing than God’s. (As Charles Hodge observes, “It is true that the Cherubim symbols have wings but otherwise there is nothing to indicate that angels have wings.) And have not there been times when these messengers have simply appeared as men? And where in the Bible do we read about them having harps or halos? The concept of feminine loveliness seems to have been borrowed from Buddhism.

God’s Word pictures angels as excelling in strength and power. Think of a flaming sword wielded by strong arms. Or consider the destruction of Sodom and remember that two angels were commissioned for this task. Or think of the mighty army of Assyria and recall that it was by an angel that it was destroyed. And who rolled away the stone from the tomb of Jesus? An angel!

 Perhaps we need to alter some of our cherished views by letting the Bible speak for itself. The word “angel‟ is used therein to translate Hebrew and Greek words meaning “messenger‟. These messengers seem to embody the characteristics of discipline, strength, swiftness and obedience. And nothing that I am aware of in all the whole Bible lends countenance to the idea that anything short of the highest combination of courage and power is meant by an angel. ~~ John Gibson, Little Rock, AR.

 A few more scriptures and insights:

¨ “In speaking of the angels He says, “He makes His angels winds, His servants flames of fire” — Hebrews 1:7

¨ “Are not all angels ministering spirits to serve those who will inherit salvation?” — Hebrews 1:14

¨ “….Even angels long to look into these things” — 1 Peter 1:12b

¨ King Nebuchadnezzar had Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego put into the fiery furnace because they chose to obey God and not this heathen king. They were not harmed, an angel rescued them. The heathen king, at first said “he looks like a son of the gods” (Daniel 3:25), but in verse 28 he reverses his thought (we don’t know why?) and praises God, saying that this fourth personality in the fiery furnace is the Lord’s “angel‟.

¨ Sometimes it seems the “Lord’s angel‟ is Christ Himself! Quite mysterious!

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