Daily Archives: August 18, 2014

Questions about Angels and Demons: Are There Angels among Us?

 

Our society has a fascination with the supernatural, and angels receive a lot of attention. We see bumper stickers, jewelry, T-shirts, movies, and tv shows that glorify angels, especially guardian angels. Some people allege having encounters with angelic beings and contend that there are angels among us.

Maybe you have heard the stories: a mysterious man rescues someone in peril, but as soon as the victim is safe, the mystery person vanishes into thin air, to the confusion of the one he helped. A young woman walking alone passes a would-be rapist lurking in the shadows but is not harmed; the foiled attacker later admits he did not bother the girl because of “the two large men walking on either side of her.” A woman is prevented from getting on an elevator by a strange, intense-looking man in white clothes; the elevator doors close, and the elevator immediately plunges down the shaft, killing everyone on board—but the body of the man in white is never found.

Some people swear such stories are true. Others remain skeptical. Some pray to angels and claim to have their requests answered. Still others believe childish imagination and myth are at the root of all angel-talk.

We could interview people all day long about their theories on angels and never arrive at the truth. The exclusive authority on angels is the Bible. Throughout Scripture, we see numerous instances in which angels were an integral part of God’s plan. One verse alludes to the possibility of angels walking among us today: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2). The obvious reference is to Abraham, whose angelic visitors appeared to him as mere men (Genesis 18). This verse may or may not confirm that angels are indeed walking among us unawares; “have shown” is past tense, so present-day encounters are not explicitly mentioned.

There are dozens of scriptural examples of angelic encounters, so we know that God can and does use angels to accomplish certain things. What we don’t know for sure is how often angels allow themselves to be seen by people. Here are the basics about angels from the Bible: angels can instruct people (Genesis 16:9), help people (Daniel 6:22), deliver messages to people (Luke 1:35), appear in visions and dreams (Daniel 10:13), protect people (Exodus 23:20), and help carry out God’s plans.

We know that God created angels, and He uses angels in His plan. Angels have a sense of individuality, as some have names (such as Gabriel and Michael) and all have different responsibilities within the angelic hierarchy.

But do they walk among us? If God so chooses to use them in His custom-made plans for us, yes, they absolutely can walk among us doing God’s will. Angels are mentioned in Genesis and in Revelation and witnessed the creation of the world (Job 38:7). God has used His heavenly host from the beginning of time and will still use them at the end of time, according to Scripture. It is quite possible that many people today have met or seen an angel without realizing it.

If angels do walk among us, it is because they are serving a God-ordained purpose. The Bible mentions demons who wander the earth with no purpose other than to destroy (Matthew 12:43). Satan and his demonic force can probably appear physically, much like holy angels can. Satan’s purpose is to deceive and kill. Satan “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

An important note: angels are not to be glorified or worshiped (Colossians 2:18). They are entities who carry out God’s will, and they refer to themselves as “fellow servants” with us (Revelation 22:9).

Regardless of whether we actually experience angelic encounters, the most important thing is that we experience salvation through Jesus Christ. He is beyond all angels and all humans, and He alone is worthy of worship. “You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you” (Nehemiah 9:6).[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about False Doctrine: What Are Angelic Humans? Is the Idea of Angelic Humans Biblical?

 

An “angelic human,” according to some New Age teachers, is a person who has been “awakened” to his or her “divine nature” and true “mission” on earth. Angelic humans, sometimes called “earth angels” or “Homo Angelus,” listen to divine messages within their hearts and act on those messages. According to this teaching, humanity is in a process of spiritual evolution as more and more angelic humans realize their place in the cosmos and their duty to enlighten mankind. When enough angelic humans have been awakened to who they really are and the world is full of their acts of goodness and love, the world will enter a new era of peace and goodness. Humanity will finally become one with the Divine Consciousness.

According to promulgators of the angelic human belief, angelic humans are akin to celestial angels; the difference is that celestial angels have no physical body, but earth angels do. Some New Age teachers think that angelic humans have invisible wings that can be felt with the psyche and used to perform powerful works. Externally, angelic humans look like “normal” humans, but they differ emotionally, psychologically, and, of course, spiritually. They are angelic spirits who are indwelling human bodies. As philosopher and Jesuit mystic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin put it, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience” (Le Phénomène Humain, 1955).

Some New Agers attempt to incorporate the Bible with their teaching. For example, some use Psalm 8:5, “You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor,” to “prove” the Bible teaches the idea of angelic humans. Many also speak of a universal “Christ consciousness” that enfolds a person with non-judgmental, unconditional love. Jesus, according to New Age theology, was the epitome of someone who learned to channel the “Christ consciousness” and fully realized his divinity.

The problems with a belief in angelic humans are many. The Bible says that God created “all angels” as “ministering spirits” (Hebrews 1:14). If “all” of the angels are “spirits,” then there are none created with human bodies. The Bible says that mankind was formed of physical material and animated by the breath of God (Genesis 2:7). No human-angel hybrid or special class of “earth angel” is ever mentioned in the Bible. Psalm 8:5 is speaking of humans, not angels in human form.

The teaching of angelic humans recycles many old lies. It says that Jesus was nothing more than an enlightened man. The Bible says Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). The angelic human theory says the answers we seek reside within us. All we must do is listen to our hearts and understand that God is speaking to us. This directly contradicts the Bible’s teaching of the depravity of man and the danger of trusting ourselves (Isaiah 53:6; Proverbs 3:5–6). The false New Age teaching of angelic humans also says that we possess the divine, that we will one day usher in a utopia on earth, and that we will become one with God. The Bible refutes all of this. Mankind is separated from God, and “there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:11). Man’s sin will bring destruction to the earth in the form of plagues during the Tribulation (Revelation 16–18). We will never become one with God; rather, believers in Jesus Christ will be granted eternal life with God in heaven (John 17:2).

Those who believe they are angelic humans reject the Word of God in favor of their own feelings and imaginations. In seeking spiritual guidance and power apart from the Holy Spirit, they open themselves up to demonic influence and satanic lies. Satan wants to be seen as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), and one of his deceptions is to convince humans that they, too, can be “angels” if they focus hard enough on their own divinity. We know Satan’s end: “The devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur” (Revelation 20:10). We dare not fall prey to his deceit.[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Family / Parenting: How Should Christians Discipline Their Children? What Does the Bible Say?

 

How to best discipline children can be a difficult task to learn, but it is crucially important. Some claim that physical discipline (corporal punishment) such as spanking is the only method the Bible supports. Others insist that “time-outs” and other punishments that do not involve physical discipline are far more effective. What does the Bible say? The Bible teaches that physical discipline is appropriate, beneficial, and necessary.

Do not misunderstand—we are by no means advocating child abuse. A child should never be disciplined physically to the extent that it causes actual physical damage. According to the Bible, though, the appropriate and restrained physical discipline of children is a good thing and contributes to the well-being and correct upbringing of the child.

Many Scriptures do in fact promote physical discipline. “Don’t fail to correct your children. They won’t die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death” (Proverbs 23:13–14; see also 13:24; 22:15; 20:30). The Bible strongly stresses the importance of discipline; it is something we must all have in order to be productive people, and it is much more easily learned when we are young. Children who are not disciplined often grow up rebellious, have no respect for authority, and as a result find it difficult to willingly obey and follow God. God Himself uses discipline to correct us and lead us down the right path and to encourage repentance for our wrong actions (Psalm 94:12; Proverbs 1:7; 6:23; 12:1; 13:1; 15:5; Isaiah 38:16; Hebrews 12:9).

In order to apply discipline correctly and according to biblical principles, parents must be familiar with the scriptural advice regarding discipline. The book of Proverbs contains plentiful wisdom regarding the rearing of children, such as, “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother” (Proverbs 29:15). This verse outlines the consequences of not disciplining a child—the parents are disgraced. Of course, discipline must have as its goal the good of the child and must never be used to justify the abuse and mistreatment of children. Never should it be used to vent anger or frustration.

Discipline is used to correct and train people to go in the right way. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). God’s discipline is loving, as should it be between parent and child. Physical discipline should never be used to cause lasting physical harm or pain. Physical punishment should always be followed immediately by comforting the child with assurance that he/she is loved. These moments are the perfect time to teach a child that God disciplines us because He loves us and that, as parents, we do the same for our children.

Can other forms of discipline, such as “time-outs,” be used instead of physical discipline? Some parents find that their children do not respond well to physical discipline. Some parents find that “time-outs,” grounding, and/or taking something away from the children is more effective in encouraging behavioral change. If that is indeed the case, by all means, a parent should employ the methods that best produce the needed behavioral change. While the Bible undeniably advocates physical discipline, the Bible is more concerned with the goal of building godly character than it is in the precise method used to produce that goal.

Making this issue even more difficult is the fact that governments are beginning to classify all manner of physical discipline as child abuse. Many parents do not spank their children for fear of being reported to the government and risk having their children taken away. What should parents do if a government has made physical discipline of children illegal? According to Romans 13:1–7, parents should submit to the government. A government should never contradict God’s Word, and physical discipline is, biblically speaking, in the best interest of children. However, keeping children in families in which they will at least receive some discipline is far better than losing children to the “care” of the government.

In Ephesians 6:4, fathers are told not to exasperate their children. Instead, they are to bring them up in God’s ways. Raising a child in the “training and instruction of the Lord” includes restrained, corrective, and, yes, loving physical discipline.[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Pursuing Righteousness

If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. 1 John 2:29 NIV

John’s point is simple: some likeness of a father and mother is seen in the life of a child. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” So what would it look like to be born of God?

John says, “If you know that God is righteous, it will be obvious to you that everyone who does what is right has been born of God!”

What does that mean? John says, “If we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). John is not saying that everything Christians do is right. He’s saying that a true Christian hungers and thirsts after righteousness, pursues righteousness, and by the grace of God, makes progress in doing what is right.

Righteousness does not begin with a personal system of values. It begins with God. “If you know that he is righteous.” You’ll allow him to tell you and show you what is right. How? Through what God has said in his Word he teaches, rebukes, corrects, and trains us in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). If you are born of the God who is righteous, you will do what is right, and you will learn what is right as you place your life under the authority of God’s Word.

John does not say, “If you do what is right, you will be born of God.” He says, “If you are born of God, you will do what is right.” If the life of the God who is righteous is in you, then it will become evident in your pursuing what is right.

Are you pursuing and making progress in doing what is right?

That’s this week’s LifeKEY!

Colin S. Smith
………………………………………………………………………..
From the message by Colin Smith called “Signs of Life – Part 1” from the series “Regeneration: How Christ Changes Your Soul.”

Click Here to Review the Entire Series

Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

3 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. (1 John 3:13 ESV)

There is a vast difference between the wisdom of the world and that of the Holy Spirit. What I mean is that no matter how profound or emphatic or pious sounding an enemy of the truth is, it is almost laughable how easy it is to spot their error and observe their self-importance as they attempt to belittle those who stand firm in the midst of God’s truth. I have a set of rules for governing comments on my blog. I had to implement them because there are certain people who think it is their job to disrupt or shout down God’s truth. The rules are really quite simple. If anyone desires to dispute what I have taught or what a commenter has said then they must do so by using the…

View original post 1,301 more words