Angels: The Strange and Mysterious Truth

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9781590527023: Angels: The Strange and Mysterious Truth
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Separate Fact from Fiction For centuries, men, women, and children have been fascinated by stories of angel sightings. Yet many contemporary beliefs are based on misconception and myth rather than solid, biblical truth. Responding to our widespread, modern cultural interest in the agents of heaven and their role in our world, popular Bible teacher Dr. David Jeremiah provides an in-depth, biblical look at the hot topic of angels. His broad and thorough survey of scriptural teaching is illustrated by powerful quotes from prominent teachers Billy Graham, Corrie ten Boom, C.S. Lewis, and others.

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About the Author:

David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in San Diego , California , where he also serves as chancellor of San Diego Christian College . He is the founder of Turning Point, a ministry committed to providing sound Bible teaching through national radio and television broadcasting. His radio program is heard nationally and internationally on over 2,000 stations. He has served on the board of directors for the National Religious Broadcasters since 1996. Dr. Jeremiah lives in Southern California with his wife. They have four grown children and six grandchildren.

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Chapter One
WHAT IN THEWORLD ARE ANGELS DOING?
 
 
IN A DOCTOR’S OFFICE one fall day a decade ago, I was told I had cancer. I’m sure you’ll understand when I say I was fearful. It was one of those times when I would have cherished having an angel with me in the room, assuring me everything would be okay.
 
In the months that followed I felt the same fear when I prepared to have surgery on two occasions. An angel’s hand holding mine as I was wheeled into the operating room would have been treasured comfort.
 
But as far as I knew, I’d never seen an angel. Never. Did that mean something was wrong with me? Why did only other people have that privilege? Wasn’t I spiritual enough?
 
Maybe you’ve asked the same questions. And maybe you’re dissatisfied with the answers you’ve received. The widespread interest in angels has thrown a lot of information your way—but also confusion and contradiction and flimsy speculation. Where can you go for solid, meaningful information? How can you gain a balanced and accurate perspective that’s built on God’s reality and eternal truth?
 
That’s what this book is all about.
 
Welcome Wonders, or a Waste of Time?
Ever since the 1990s, angels are everywhere—or rather we find them talked about everywhere, from major magazines and bestselling books and I popular TV shows to kitchen conversations and university seminars. Lots of people say they have actually seen or felt the presence of an angel. Never in history, I suppose, has so much attention been directed at these heavenly beings as in our day.
 
So what’s the significance of it all? Is the Lord delighted by this burst of curiosity and belief? And does he want you and me to join in the fun—or at least to take a bit more notice of angels than past generations did? Should we be looking around on earth for these heavenly beings? Should we be confident of daily care and protection from angel guardians?
 
Or is all this a waste of time? Maybe the angel craze that peaked in the 90s was at best just another trivial fad, and at worst a deceptive tactic of Satan’s to divert people’s spiritual attention away from real truth. Like young children at the Grand Canyon who can’t see beyond the spoiled chipmunks darting along the rim seeking tourist handouts, if we start focusing on angels, we might miss the grand, sweeping view of God.
 
On the other hand, could more attention on angels actually be God’s desire and plan for his people at this moment in history? Is it perhaps a clue and signal that we’re on the threshold of something bigger in God’s timetable for the world? Is the present age about to end? In God’s mercy and love for sinners, has he caused a belief in spiritual angels to be more respectable so people can better accept the spiritual message of the gospel—before it’s too late?
 
Or as some highly respected Bible teachers say, is there no such thing as angelic activity in our world anymore, since the close of Bible times?
 
The questions go on and on. (I wonder if the angels are asking them too.)
 
Probably no major theological issue has received as much secular attention in modern times as the doctrine of angels has in our day. You would expect Christians to be delighted at this, and start rushing in to make the most of this fresh opportunity for spiritual dialogue with the non-Christian world. But a good many Christians don’t know what (if anything) to think about angels.
 
At least when the “God is dead” notion grabbed headlines a few decades ago, Christians were united in their response: No, they proclaimed, God is alive! But when headlines along the grocery checkout lane talk about widespread angel activity and belief in personal angels, the typical Christian reaction is: Well, maybe—or maybe not.
 
The Dangers
The angel craze seemed to trigger a major shift in thinking for our culture. What had once been mostly a myth to previouis generations became a fascinating reality in the popular mind. For example, more than a million people worldwide read the bimonthly Guideposts magazine Angels on Earth, in which each issue features a handfull of stories about people who believe they’ve encountered angels.
 
This all seems to fit into a greater openness to spirituality that’s been building for years. Few people think anymore that all of life’s important answers can be found in science and rational thought and reasonable logic. They know reality has another dimension—a spiritual dimension beyond science and reason. And this “other” side of reality keeps growing bigger in popular thought.
 
What does all this mean? Is it good or bad?
 
The biggest danger may well be greater susceptibility to spirituality’s dark side. Mankind’s mental doorway may be open wider to thinking about religion and eternity, but it’s probably also open wider to Satan’s influence.
 
Scripture warns us that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Perhaps this strategy of deception wasn’t so effective in the generations just before us. People weren’t as open to believing in angels then, and if you talked about seeing one or wanting to, you might have been called flighty or foolish or weird.
 
Now the situation has changed. It’s acceptable and even fashionable to believe in angels, and millions around the world are looking for angelic activity as never before.
 
But a stronger belief in angels is no guarantee of greater understanding of God’s truth. The devil can ensnare us as much through “angelism” as he can through materialism or sexual lust or power-hunger. In fact he has scored some of his greatest triumphs in the disguise of angels. In the year 610 the oppressive religion of Islam was born when Muhammed received the contents of the Koran in a series of visions from someone he believed to be the angel Gabriel. Twelve centuries later, the deceptive cult of Mormonism
supposedly arose when an angelic being called Moroni got Joseph Smith connected with the Book of Mormon.
 
Is Satan doing the same thing again? Or instead of launching a big new anti-Christian religion or cult, perhaps he and his demons are simply using angelic disguise—a little here and a little there—to flirt with people’s fascinations and to create a curiosity and craving for angelic presence. By influencing the right people with the right connections to get the right books and magazine articles published and the right TV shows on the air, he can lure millions into a false sense of spiritual experience and security. The syrupy sweet,
spirit-tingling taste of a little angelism can ruin people’s appetite for the good, solid food of God’s Word and his gospel of grace and truth.
 
Even secular publications recognized at least partly this aspect of angelmania. They noted the easy lure of preferring angels over God and describe how angels offer a form of spirituality devoid of Jesus and God. Because belief in God is no longer “popular” in America, it is possible to believe in anything. People are searching for spirituality–but not if it involves God. Time magazine insightfully stated, “angels are the handy compromise, all fluff and meringue, kind, nonjudgmental. They are available to everyone, like aspirin.”
 
Life magazine attached the label “God Lite” to the angelism movement. The magazine’s reporter visited a conference of angel enthusiasts. Unlike the mighty heavenly beings described in the Bible, the reporter said the angels described to him at the conference were
 
a more benign and bite-size species, cuddly as a lap dog, conscientious
as a school crossing guard. I heard angels likened to spiritual
kissing cousins, flower delivery messengers... and just a nice feeling
of warmth and love that washes all over you. Today’s angels seem to
spend a lot less time praising God than serving us. While they are
still making super-hero, nick-of-time rescues, they are also showing
up in less dire emergencies to track down a set of lost keys or make
a chicken casserole more flavorful. Indeed, nearly all the angel
believers I met got around to mentioning their parking space angel
whom they call upon while cruising crowded city streets.
 
If some of your neighbors or friends or family members become attracted to an empty and frivolous but potentially dangerous angelism, will you be able to steer them out by showing them God’s truth about angels? It’s my prayer that this book will help you do just that. There’s nothing that deals with error like a good dose of truth.
 
Meanwhile let’s remember God is sovereign. He’s shown in history that he uses even the mistakes and tragedies and follies of mankind to accomplish his higher will. Could it be that in our day he’s using angelmania—even though it’s often excessive and eccentric—to give his people a certain push? Does he want to sharpen our sensitivity toward spiritual realities? After all, it looks as if angels will be a big part of our eternal environment, which will be far more substantial than our short and shadowy presence on this earth. Being eternal themselves, angels have a greater claim to “reality” than our homes and jobs and hobbies. And unlike our homes and jobs and hobbies, the holy angels are always pointing us in the right direction: toward God.
 
Just thinking about angels can give us a fresh reminder that there’s another world besides this one that clings so closely all around us. Angels already experience the f...

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9781601422699: Angels: Who They Are and How They Help--What the Bible Reveals

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