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34 | Are there angels among us?


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Hi my name is Dean Smith, and in this podcast I want to talk about angels. According to the Bible, angels are spiritual beings inhabiting the Heavenly realm that have the ability to appear in human form.

But first I want to share a couple stories about my mother who passed away a few months ago. She was in her nineties, and believed in Jesus later in life. Mom also had a bit of dementia. It wasn’t bad, and the majority of time she was fine. But I wanted to add this as a caveat.

Shortly after my dad died in 2017, I was visiting with my mom at her care home in another city and she made the craziest statement to me.

She told me that someone had come into her room and asked her if she was interested in moving to a different place. My mom told the person that she was completely fine with that.

It was such a weird conversation to have with your mother shortly after your father had passed. I was immediately gripped with the fear that she would also soon pass, you know go to a completely different place, heaven.

I told my wife what she said and didn’t think anymore about it and because of the nature of the conversation, I decided not to tell my sister, who lived in the same city as mom.

About five months after this conversation I got a phone call from my sister, who lived in the same city where mom was because she had found out that the care home where my mom was staying had another residence that was only five minutes from where my sister lived and wondered if we should move her.

In fact, this other residence had a room available and within a few days my mom was in her “new place.” Aside from being only a few minutes away from my sister, this new care home was totally set up for people in my mom’s stage of care.

When I went to visit her, you never knew where she would be because they had activities going on all the time. Even the doctor noticed a distinct improvement in mom after the move.

My mom passed away at the end of September this year and my wife reminded me of the second strange conversation that I had with mom in the previous year, August 2018, after she had moved into the new care home.

A man came into my mom’s room and had another conversation with her. He asked mom so “how about another year, Mrs Smith” and as she had had answered previously, my mom said that she was fine with that.

And about one year later, mom died. I remember getting the call Saturday morning from my sister shortly after the care home contacted her about mom’s passing. We were surprised because she was doing well and even the care home staff were surprised, because there are usually signs that a person is in the final stages of life. None of these took place for mom.

Looking back at those two conversations, they are not the type that staff would have had with mom. Both my wife and I wondered if these were angelic visitations because of their prophetic tinge.

The Bible mentions angels between 295 and 305 times. There are some very obvious descriptions of angelic visitations and a handful that are uncertain.

But here is an interesting factoid, while the Old Testament makes up 75% of the Bible, the New Testament has 175 references to angels compared to only 110 for the Old Testament. Clearly, angels were playing a bigger or, at the very least, a more obvious role in the development of the fledgling church.

Along these lines, the Book of Hebrews provides two interesting verses about angels. First it says:

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

What does this verse tell us?

First it suggests that most of the work of angels is secretive – they purposefully don’t want you know what is happening or what they are doing. They just do it.

Of course, sometimes the circumstances hint of their involvement, such as with my mother. There are also several examples in the Bible of where angels made their presence clearly known.

In the second verse, the writer of Hebrews provides a description of an angel’s primary role:    

14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

Hebrews 1:14

Angels serve those who, and notice the tense here, will inherit salvation. In other word, angels will not only minister to those who are Christians, but those who will become Christians.

So what roles do angels play in the Kingdom of God. I am going to discuss three of these along with what I believe are modern examples of angels working in the world today.

First, angels strengthen believers

To discover how angels can strengthen believers we need to look at the prophet Daniel’s encounter with an angel in Daniel chapter 10.

From verses 8 through 19, we see the seven different interactions the angel had with Daniel and the impact the angel’s word and touching had on the prophet.

In verse 9, the angel touched Daniel and he fell to his knees trembling. But in verse 19, we see that the angel specifically spoke these words to Daniel:

“Do not be afraid, you are highly esteemed. Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”

Daniel 8:19a

And then Daniel described what happened to him after the angel spoke:

“When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.”

Daniel 8:19b

The angel was able to strengthen Daniel, by simply speaking words to the prophet.

We find the exact the same thing happening in the Garden of Gethsamane as Jesus braced Himself for the crucifixion. Jesus was in an intense time of prayer where He was actually sweating blood and we are told that an angel of the Lord came to Christ to strengthen Him.

The Greek word translated strength is “enishuo,” that literally means “empowered.” At this moment, Jesus was functioning as fully man and I believe the Angel spoke words to Jesus that gave him the inner strength, courage and fortitude to press ahead.

And I believe angels are still ministering to people today during difficult times.

An article in England’s Daily Mail cites the amazing story of an angelic visitation that Annabel Beam, then 12, experienced when she fell 40 feet (ca. 12 m) down the inside of hollowed Cottonwood tree on their Texas property in December 2011.

It took several hours, for Annabel to be rescued and taken to the hospital. However, after a thorough examiniation revealed no serious injury, Annabel was released.

However, a couple days later, Annabel told her mother a strange story. As she sat at the bottom of the Cottonwood tree she had seen Jesus in heaven and He told her that everything was going to be alright. And as she waited for the emergency crew to rescue her, a small angel stayed with Anabel and comforted her.

Concerned that these bizarre stories suggested a concussion, Annabel’s parents took their daughter back to the doctor, however, after additional tests revealed no hint of a concussion, Annabel was sent home.

So did Annabel see Jesus and experience an angelic visitation?

Well in fact, there might be evidence she did, but I will let you decide.

In 2008, Annabel was diagnosed with intestinal pseudo-obstruction mobility disorder and has been in and out of the hospital. It is an incurable condition where the intestines do not work properly and can’t push food through her digestive track.

It is a very painful condition and at times Annabel even wished she could die. It’s also potentially life threatening and she was on a very restrictive diet and taking 10 medications a day.

Shortly after her encounter with Jesus and the angel, Annabel’s symptoms completely disappeared. Her parents took their daughter back to the doctor who didn’t know what to think because there is no cure for her condition.

But the doctor agreed to start weaning Annabel off some medication to see what would happen.

Today, Annabel is completely healed of an incurable affliction. Throughout the book of Acts, we are told repeatedly that God confirmed His word through signs and wonders.

The second thing angels do is minister to those who will inherit salvation

By that I mean they play an active role in people becoming Christians and we see a clear example of this in the early church.

In Acts 8, we have the account of how an angel told Philip, one of the lesser known 12 apostles, to specifically walk down “the desert road” where he encountered the Ethiopian Eunuch and led him to the Lord. The Eunuch’s master was a person called Candace, which was the official name given the mother of the Ethiopian King.

Of course the big question is are angels still doing this today?

I recently read a story by popular Christian columnist Lee Grady, who told the remarkable story of the conversion of an Iranian Muslim living in Australia. It is a serious step for a Muslim to become a Christian. At the very least they risk being cut off from their family and friends and in extreme situations their lives could even be in danger.

Because of this, making the decision to become a Christian is taken very seriously and often requires some type of miraculous intervention. In 2016, the young Iranian man saw the movie Hacksaw Ridge, that told the remarkable story of a Christian medic, Desmond Doss, who became the only conscientious objector during World War II to win the medal of honor.

One scene in the movie caught the Iranian’s attention as it displayed the Lord’s prayer in a picture frame — you know, “Our Father who art in heaven.”

Intrigued by the prayer, after the movie the young man looked up the Lord’s prayer on the internet. But what happened a few days later is what caused him to become a Christian and get involved in a church.

He found two pieces of paper in front of his home. They were pages out of a Bible containing the Lord’s prayer.

Believing this was a sign from God, he became a Christian and according to Grady the young man still has those two pages tucked away in his Iranian Bible.

How did those two pages end up in front of this man’s home?

Certainly, a wind could have blown them there, but I suspect it is more likely an angel deposited the pages.

As part of this, I believe Angels will play a significant role in spreading the Gospel in the end times.

In the book of Revelation, we read that during the end times there will be an angel preaching the Gospel in the mid heavens:

Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.

Revelation 14:6

As I mentioned earlier, angels have the ability to impact people by the words they speak. Now I don’t believe that people will become Christians directly by this, but I believe it will cause people to be more open to the Gospel and even increase their interest in spiritual things.

I believe this will pave the way for one of the greatest revivals in world history.

The third thing angels do is defend and protect people

According to the Christmas cards, at the birth of Christ, we are told of the appearance of an angelic choir dressed in longing flowing robes holding candles singing about the birth of Jesus.

Well the Christmas cards have it mostly right. They just made a mistake in a couple of key areas. They were not cherubic angels in long flowing robes, the word ‘host’ literally means army. These were grizzled, hardened warrior angels who were wearing scarred and battered armour. They were not holding candles, but spears, shields and swords.

They were there to ensure the safety of Christ until His death on the cross.

The angel who spoke to Daniel, who I mentioned earlier, said that he had been hindered from delivering the message by the Prince of Persia, a demonic spirit over that country. But a second angel, Michael the guardian angel of Israel, showed up and allowed the angel to deliver the message. The Angel then said when he was done speaking to Daniel, the angel would be going back to fight the demonic spirit over Persia.

There is a warrior division in the Kingdom of God and when they are not fighting demonic beings, according to the Psalmist they are protecting believers:

For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;

Psalm 91:11

In the Book of Acts, we see that an angel of the Lord broke Peter out of jail twice after he was arrested for preaching the Gospel. During his second arrest, the authorities took no chances and assigned four quaternions to guard Peter.

A quarternion was made up of a group of four soldiers. So apparently these four units worked in shifts. During each shift two guards sat on either side of Peter as he sat in the jail and the other two watched the entrance to the jail cell.

An angel of the Lord broke Peter out of jail by blinding the guards. 

So are angels still protecting people today?

In 2015, a bizarre story came out of Utah that was picked up by several media media outlets telling the story of a strange rescue of an 18-month-old girl. Lynn Groesbeck, 25, was traveling with her daughter down the road near Spanish River when her vehicle spun out of control and ended upside down in the River.

The next day, a man out fishing noticed part of the vehicle sticking out of the water and called emergency services.

Then a strange thing happened. The four police officers at the scene all heard an adult voice calling from the car. In fact, one of the police officers actually replied to the call for help and telling the person to just hang in there.

All four officers heard the call.

When they got to the vehicle, they found that Lynn was dead and the autopsy reveal she died shortly after impact, 14 hours earlier.

But her young daughter who was strapped in by the car seat was unconscious, but still alive, as the seat belt kept her out of the water.

In an interview with KSL, all officers said they heard the call for help and it was definitely an adult.

Officer Tyler Beddoes said:

“It wasn’t just in our heads. To me it was as plain as day. I remember hearing a voice that didn’t sound like a child just saying ‘help me.'”

Tyler Beddoes, KSL

A lot more could be said about angels, but I want to wrap up this podcast with this.

When God moved in the early church, two things happened. First there was a powerful moving of the Holy Spirit, but along with this there was a dramatic increase in angelic activity. To the point, that we are told in Acts 12, that an angel of the Lord actually killed Herod of Agrippa.

I believe angels are mobilizing. Something powerful in on the verge of happening. I think we need to brace yourselves for interesting days ahead.

Sources:

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