16 October 2016

A Sunday School Lesson: Revelation and Angels:

According to the Bible, sometimes God declines to communicate directly with an individual through visions which interrupt that individual's conscious state of awareness or through dreams during that individual's unconscious state of sleep. Instead, he sends a divine angelic messenger.

Angels are called holy ones (Heb. 1:1-4), spirits (Ps. 89.5-7), and “sons of God “(Job 1:6). As suggested by the term spirit, they are invisible. Christian philosophers attempt to establish the intelligibility of their ontological status by suggesting that they simply creatures of another order whose properties vary slightly from existing living things. Just as lower animals are bodies without minds and human beings are bodies with minds, angels are minds without bodies. See, they're not all that different.

The Bible describes angles as great in power (2 Pet. 2:11). They know more than us and because they possess not physical senses, whatever knowledge they possess must be intuitive. Scriptures, however, describe them as “looking into” human affairs to learn (1 Pet. 1:12).

Because they possess a spiritual existence, they are invisible. On occasions, however, God enables humans to see them (Num. 22.31, 2 Ki 6.17, Luke 2.13). It is not clear if these are physical perceptions or  visions.

Other times, angles take on human form and perform human activities like eating and drinking (Matt. 28:5; Heb. 13:2). Again, the scripture do not clarify if these accounts describe the incarnation of immaterial spiritual entities or more games-playing with our senses.

And like the human societies which believe in them, angels exhibit a hierarchical spiritual order of Thrones, dominions, principalities,and powers. (Col 1:16).

So what exactly do angels do?

It seems their primary mission is to delivery communications from God. Most scriptures describe them performing this task. Indeed, the Greek word for angel means messenger. Angels called to Abraham "out of heaven" (Gen. 22:11). An angel provided revelation WITHIN a revelation when one gave Matthew direction in a dream (Matt. 1:20). Other angels provide prophetic messages about the future (Zech. 1:9).

Angels protect believers (Ps. 34.7, 91.11, Dan. 6:22, Acts 5:19-20, Heb. 1.14), except when they're not. Believers suffer from the same human and natural evils as everybody else. According to the scriptures, angels especially look over children (Matt 18:10), except when they're not. Again, believers suffer the same tragedies involving their children as everybody else. And they are no friends of the unborn. Conservatives detest the modern barbarism of abortion. But conservative Christians have some explaining to do about the lack of angelic protection for the unborn. Maybe in conformity to the guidelines established by Roe v. Wade, they only get involved after the second trimester.

Angels not only deliver divine messages and guidance, but also execute divine plans. They initiate plagues in judgment.(2 Sam. 24:16-17). They intervene in battles to effect geopolitical changes (2 Ch. 32:21). They manipulate the cognitive faculties of humans to move humans to do God's bidding (2 Ch. 18:19-21). And the horrors of the “end times” vividly described in the book of Revelations are unleashed by angels. These are, by the way, the good guys.

When people are not talking to angels, they are singing about them . . .

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