You’ve seen movies and TV shows or read books that have supernatural ideas. A lot of times, it’s entertaining. Boys who are warlocks with magical powers, women who see the future, a girl who sees and talks to dead people—as ideas go, these have great potential to tell a good story. But is it real? And if so, what does that mean to me?
The Dark Side of the Supernatural will show you the truth behind the supernatural. It’s a handbook that separates truth from fiction, while looking at each topic in light of the Bible.
Bill Myers has spent years researching supernatural phenomenon, and has even made movies about it. In this book, he’ll share his research, along with interviews and true-life experiences of psychics, Satanists, people who have been possessed, and even abducted by aliens. The stories he shares may sound like Hollywood movies, but they are based on real events.
His encounters with a variety of supernatural topics will open your eyes to what is real and what is fantasy. You’ll learn more about:
Chapter 2- The Truth About Angels
Angels are everywhere these days. Angel pins. Angel books. Angel music. Angel TV shows. In his book Angels, Angels, Angels, Phil Phillips points out:
"There was a time when we only made angels in snowdrifts, baked cookies in the shape of angels, topped Christmas trees with angel ornaments, or dressed our children in white sheets so they might be angels in Christmas pageants. No longer. Angels are now a year-round and highly profitable business phenomenon." ¹
Phillips quotes a Time magazine survey that reveals 46 percent of Americans believe they have their own guardian angel. A good number of folks are undecided, but only 21 percent don't believe in guardian angels at all.
All this, of course, is good.
After all, angels are heavenly creatures. The Bible mentions angels more than 300 times, and the word "angel" comes from the Greek word angelos, or "messenger." Heralding messages from God is, in fact, one of the primary functions angels perform in God's kingdom. It was an angel who told Mary she would give birth to the Messiah. Angels sang in the skies over Bethlehem to announce the Savior's birth the night Christ was born. An angel will sound the last trumpet, proclaiming the day of God's judgment.
Aren't all angels by nature pure, holy, and completely above suspicion?
Well, as a matter of fact-according to the Bible-they aren't.
ANGEL OF LIGHT
The Bible states that Satan himself was once a high-ranking angel and that he is still capable of showing himself as an angel of light. (See 2 Cor. I 1: 14.)
Although the Bible doesn't provide great detail on the topic, several Scriptures indicate that somewhere back in time Satan led a revolt against God.
Apparently, Satan's chief sin has always been pride. He had status. He had standing. But it wasn't enough. Somehow he used his clout to get one-third of all the angels to join with him in an attempt to overthrow God himself! The book of Revelation puts it this way:
"And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down-that ancient serpent called the devil,or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to earth, and his angels with him." (Rev. 12:7-9)
GOOD GUYS AND BAD GUYS
According to the Bible, there are lots of good angels. But there are also bad angels. Some are very bad angels. What makes it even worse is that at least at first glance, it's impossible to tell them apart.
Satan and his angels don't wear red tights. They don't run around with pitchforks. They don't have horns sprouting out of the tops of their heads or bats' wings protruding from their backs. Interestingly enough, the only physical description I can recall of Satan in Scripture is as that "angel of light."
Now let's go back to the question we asked at the start of this chapter: Isn't it great that there are angels all over the place these days?
It all depends upon what kind of angels they are. If they're God's angels, it's wonderful. If they're angels following Satan, it's not so wonderful.
Don't misunderstand. I don't think there's anything wrong with wearing an angel, collecting angel figurines or paintings, or reading angel books ... as long as we go to the Bible and double-check what those books say. Unfortunately, when we consult the Bible it seems that much of what's pro-claimed these days directly contradicts God's Word. As a result, many people are buying lies about angels. And in some cases they're even opening themselves up to evil influences.
There's great danger in thinking of angels as something they are not and in looking to them as authorities in areas where they have none. And it's especially dangerous when a natural and healthy awe of angels grows into full-fledged worship. The Bible is clear in its teaching that angels are not to be worshipped. In fact, any angel who encourages or accepts our worship of him is not to be trusted.
The apostle Paul warned against the worship of angels when he wrote, "Do not let anyone who delights in ... the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize [of salvation through Christ]" (Col. 2:18).
In the book of Revelation, the apostle John tells what happened when he attempted to worship an angel who appeared to him: "I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, 'Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the imony of Jesus. Worship God!"' (Rev. 19:10).
As a young man just out of college, I received a telephone call from a gentleman who claimed he was in constant contact with angels. It would have been easy to dismiss him as someone who needed a good therapist, except he was somewhat of a psychic celebrity and used these "angels" to help the police solve baffling crimes. In fact, he even told me that my telephone number had come to him in a dream.
As we talked, he told me that the angels sometimes spoke through him, and he offered to let me speak to one of them. I agreed. Immediately, his voice changed -- completely. It became stronger, deeper, more authoritative.
Being young and naive, I was excited by this possibility and remember putting my hand over the mouthpiece and whispering to my wife, "I think I'm talking to an angel!"
Over the next couple of days, I had more conversations with this fellow and several of his "angels." Was he faking it? I didn't think so. Each entity that spoke through him was so unique, with its own voice and distinctive way of speaking, that I felt certain I was talking to several different beings. Besides, they told me things about myself they couldn't have known except through supernatural means. They knew, for instance, that I was an aspiring writer. In fact, one of the voices assured me that I was going to be a successful author, and that I was going to accomplish great things for God through my writing. Of course, this was what I wanted to hear! The "angels" went out of their way to feed my pride and tantalize me with visions of glory. They constantly flattered me and made me feel I was somebody special.
They also seemed eager to help me achieve this fame by offering to help me write a book proclaiming the "deeper mysteries of God's love." I grew uneasy. I didn't know much about angels then, but I began to suspect that these beings didn't really have my best interest in mind. They were a bit too slick. And instead of encouraging me to grow in humility and love, I sensed them stirring up my pride and desire for success.
Finally, I decided to ask one of these beings a crucial question: "Is Jesus Christ your Lord?"
"Absolutely!" he said. But before I could even breathe a sigh of relief, he added, "In fact, not only is He my Lord. He's also my brother."
I could feel the hair on the back of my neck rise.
Why? Because I knew Satan and his demons have always been driven by a desire to be considered God's equals. In fact, the Bible says, "You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God ... but you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit." (Isa. 14:12-15).
Satan and his angels are so full of pride that they simply can’t help themselves. If they see a chance to equate themselves with God, they go for it.
I knew then that I wasn't talking with angels. I was dealing with demons. And once they realized I had caught on to their identity, their attitude toward me changed completely. At first, they tried to reason with me, but their reasoning had a sharp, sarcastic edge to it. They wondered how I could be so narrow-minded, and why I insisted on clinging so stubbornly to my outdated beliefs. When I wouldn't give in, they took to insulting me, saying that I was stupid, calling me names, and behaving in ways that didn’t exactly fit the angel personality profile.
There's much more to the story, but I'll save it for later. Right now, the point I want to make is that the beings who spoke through this man were most definitely not the angels they claimed to be.
After my "close encounter" with fallen angels, I had a new appreciation for the Bible's words in the eighth chapter of Romans: "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, n either height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (vv. 38-39). 1 had never before understood the part about angels trying to separate us from the love of God. Why would they want to do that? It seems clear to me now that true angels wouldn't. Fallen angels, or other beings masquerading as angels, would like nothing better.
THERE'S A WHOLE LOTTA LYIN' GOIN' ON
Today, as I look through some of the most popular books on angels, I see right away that I'm not the only one who has been lied to. When I check what these books say against the Bible, it becomes obvious that they are full of lies and dangerous half-truths:
When an angel seeks to draw attention to himself and not to God, he is no angel.
When an angel gladly accepts the adoration of men and women, you can be sure that he didn't come to us from heaven.
When an angel tells us that he will answer our prayers and give us what we desire, he is attempting to usurp God's authority, and he is not to be trusted.
When an angel tells us that we can be equal to God, he is no angel.
And yet the angels described in the pages of many current bestsellers do all of these things and more.
Author Phillips says that before he began writing Angels, Angels, Angels, he bought more than $500 worth of current books on the subject. He found that 90 percent of those books contained teachings about angels-who they are and what they do-that aren’t consistent with the Bible.
My own experience is that Phillips’ 90% figure may be low.
SATAN'S THREE FAVORITE LIES
Over and over again in this literature, three "angelic messages" keep coming through. They're the same three lies Satan has been selling to gullible people since he first encountered Adam and Eve in the Garden: of God-and
Christ is not the only begotten Son other teachers and angels are on a par with Him.
There are many paths to peace with God-and so Christ's death on the cross wasn't really necessary.
We all have within us the innate power to become like God-if only we would learn how to unleash it.
None of these statements agrees in the least with what the Bible teaches.
Some of the angel books I've read are particularly dangerous because they start out with sound biblical teaching, but give it a spin here and a twist there until nothing of the truth is left. They contain language familiar to most Christians-and that helps give even the most deceptive statements a ring of truth.
As Phillips writes, this has "opened the door for many Christians to be sucked in. Whereas Christians could once readily identify and reject New Age teaching because of the emphasis on reincarnation, the new emphasis on angels...has a much closer alignment with what many Christians think they have grown up believing. What they don't understand is that the New Age understanding of...angels is far different than the one they learned in Sunday school." ²
WHAT DO THESE ANGELS WANT?
Linda Georgian of the Psychic Friends Network is a big fan of angels. In her book Your Guardian Angels, she writes that you don't have to subscribe to any particular religion to get help from angels, and adds that as she matured in her understanding of spiritual matters, she cast off her narrow-minded Christian (Catholic) upbringing. She says that just about anyone can learn to converse with angels, who are "always trying" to find an opening in our subconscious so they can communicate with us.
But why? What is it that they want to teach us?
To answer that question, let me tell you about a couple of famous men who have listened to angels. The first is Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Did you know that Islam was founded on the teaching of angels? According to Muhammad, it was the angel Gabriel who appeared to him and taught him that Christians have things all mixed up.
I don't believe Gabriel really appeared to Muhammad. But Muhammad thought he did, and so does the 20 percent of the Earth’s population that follows his teachings. And yet there is simply no way Islam and Christianity can both be right. They are diametrically opposed to each other.
Another man who listened to angels was a fellow named Joseph Smith.
One night, when he was twenty-five years old and contemplating what to do with the rest of his life, Smith reportedly was visited by the angel Moroni. Moroni said that he had come directly from the presence of God, and that God had chosen young Smith to restore the true Christian church, whose doctrines had been corrupted over the centuries.
You may know the rest of the story. The angel directed young Joseph to a nearby hillside where Joseph allegedly dug up some ancient tablets covered with hieroglyphics. Smith carried the plates home, and, even though he knew only English, he began translating them. He worked for days on end, stopping only for short breaks to eat or sleep. Finally, when the monumental task was completed, Moroni supposedly appeared again and took the strange tablets back to heaven.
Today, we all know Joseph Smith as the founder of the Mormon religion, and the work he "translated" as the Book of Mormon.
But there are some things about Joseph Smith you may not know. For instance, before his encounter with the angel, young Smith allegedly had been involved in the occult. In fact, he had developed something of a reputation as a "seer."
On May 3, 1877, an article in the Chenengo Union newspaper of Norwich, New York, reported:
In the year 1825, we often saw in that quiet hamlet Joseph Smith Jr. ...(living with) the family of Deacon Isaiah Stowell... (who had) a monomaniacal impression to seek for hidden treasures, which he believed were hidden in the earth...Mr. Stowell ... heard of the fame of ... Joseph, who by the aid of a magic stone had become a famous seer of lost or hidden treasures.... He with the magic stone was at once transferred from his humble abode to the more pretentious mansion of Deacon Stowell. Here, in the estimation of the deacon, he confirmed his conceded powers as a seer, by means of the stone, which he placed in his hat. And by excluding the light from all other terrestrial things could see whatever he wished, even in the depths of the earth.
This poses an interesting question: Did Joseph Smith’s venture into the occult pave the way for his encounter with the "angel" Moroni? Certainly the theology of the Mormon Church contains many elements found throughout occult literature.
Mormons, for example, believe that the God who rules over the earth is not Lord over the rest of the universe. They believe there are many planets with intelligent life on them, and that each of these planets is subject to a different god. In fact, they believe that all human beings have within them the potential to be like God.
Islam and Mormonism are two vastly different religions whose founders said they were influenced and guided by angels. Their teachings don't agree with each other, nor do they agree with all the basic tenets of Christianity.
WHOM DO YOU TRUST?
This leads us to a vital question: How can we tell God s side from the dark side in what we read about angels? Or, if an angel appears to us, how do we know we can trust him?
Here are the facts, according to the Bible:
Any angel who directs our attention to himself or who lets us worship him shouldn't be listened to. Angels who come from heaven always seek to direct attention and worship to God.
An angel who tells us that we have the power within us to bring about our own salvation or to accomplish other great things isn't to be trusted. Angels who come from God understand that we are all powerless apart from Him, and that it is only through His power that we are able to do anything at all.
If an angelic visitor tells us anything that contradicts the Bible in any way, we can be sure he doesn't have our best intentions at heart. But then again, we have to know the Bible if we're going to catch those contradictions! So we must study the Word. It is our best protection against false doctrine.
TOP TEN LIES ABOUT ANGELS
Phillips lists several lies about angels often contained in literature on the occult. ³ They are:
I. We should seek angels.
Many of today's most popular "experts" on angels teach that we should seek to have experiences with angels. They offer ways to help make these experiences possible, including:
The chanting of mantras
Summoning the angels by name
Let's look briefly at each of these practices.
First, meditation. There is a huge difference between biblical meditation and meditation as it is taught by today's New Age teachers. Biblical meditation involves contemplation of Scripture and filling our mind with God's majesty. Occultic meditation involves emptying our mind in order to encounter supernatural creatures or experiences
Next, the chanting of mantras. A mantra is a word repeated again and again in order to relax the body and enter an altered state of consciousness. Again, it involves emptying the mind and thereby opens us up to dangerous supernatural influences.
Then, the naming of angels. In her book Angels of Mercy, Rosemary Ellen Guiley writes,
We must discover names for our guardian angels if we wish them to manifest in their fullest magnitude. Name is an important ritual: it defines and it invests life, power, and potential. Without names) we cannot call out to the higher planes; we cannot invoke or evoke the beings, forces, and energies into our own dimension. 4
It's very interesting to me that demonic rituals also call for the summoning of demons by name. I can't help but wonder who is really being summoned here.
The truth is that there is no legitimate power in the names of angels, but only in the name of Jesus. And the Bible says that we are to seek after God alone. The person who is chasing after encounters with angels has been distracted from the only thing that is of lasting importance-a relationship with God.
As I said in my FORBIDDEN DOORS series:
Angels, heaven, hell, the supernatural-all are legitimate experiences if they come from God. But when we take a shortcut and try to create a supernatural experience on our own -through meditation, channeling, Ouija boards, drugs, crystals-we open ourselves up to possible satanic counterfeit. 5
2. Angels work miracles.
In The Angel Book, Karen Goldman says that "the angel in you can heal you in many ways. Angels can help to heal illness, poverty, anger, despair. There is an abundance of pure healing energy, joy, creativity, and unwavering inner strength available for you at all times." 6
Where is there room for God in all of this? Angels aren't in the miracle-making business. Miracles-including healing-are God's line of work.
3. All angels tell the truth.
We've already seen that this isn't the case. Angels aren't infallible beings. Remember that Satan himself was once a high-ranking angel, presumably an archangel, and yet Jesus, said of him: "He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he: lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44).
4. When you are lost, angels desire to get "right inside your heart" and lead you home.
This is highly dangerous. Demons desire to get inside of you, and when they do it's called "possession." Anyone who invites an angel into his heart in this way opens himself up to demonic control. The Bible tells us that it is the Holy Spirit's job to lead and guide us from within-and His job alone.
5. Angels can help us gain access to heaven.
According to Jesus, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). The only way we can get to heaven is to surrender our life to Christ, accept the fact that He paid the price for our sins when He was crucified, and believe that He was resurrected on the third day.
6. Human beings are able to become angels.
The Bible says we and angels are two distinct creations. We are not angels, nor will we ever be. In fact, Scripture says you and I will one day judge the angels (see 1 Cor. 6:3).
7. Angels serve only to uncover our innate goodness and divinity.
The Bible doesn't teach that we have innate goodness or divinity. Instead, we are a fallen race, tainted by the sin of the first man. The Bible says that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).
8. Angels are always trying to reach out to us.
The truth is that real angels reach out to us only when God commands them to do so. They are His messengers, His servants, and their desire is to do His will, period.
9. Angels can be felt in every atom of creation.
No way! As Phillips writes, "It is God who indwells every atom of creation by virtue of His creative power." 7
10. Angels know what it is like to be you.
While it is true that angels are created beings just as you and I are, they don't know what it is like to be human. They will never know the joy of salvation. Jesus Christ died for the sins of humankind, but not to redeem angels. Angels know and love God deeply, but they can never sing "Amazing Grace" the way we can!
THEN WHAT DO ANGELS DO?
I've spent so much time talking about what angels don't do that you might think my intent is to disregard the importance of angels in general. Not at all. Angels are vital beings in God's kingdom. They are His ministering servants. The Bible tells us that they worship before His throne in heaven, having direct access to His presence. They are His messengers. They are His warriors, doing battle against the armies of Satan. At God's command, they watch over us and protect us.
The Bible tells us that when Jesus returns to earth, He will come "in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels" (Luke 9:26). Jesus also said, "Whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God" (Luke 12:8-9). Obviously, then, angels are key creatures in God's design of the universe.
My quarrel here is not with angels-I wouldn't dare quarrel with angels!-but with beings who claim to be angels and are not, and with angels who claim to speak for God, but who in reality lost that right countless years ago!
The Bible tells us to " the spirits" in order to be certain that they come from God (see 1 John 4:1-3). Certainly God also expects us to " the angels."
I do believe that God's angels are watching over us every minute of the day, doing their best to keep us from harm. But I also believe they reveal their true identity to us only when it is absolutely necessary for them to do so. Most of the time they stay in the background, silent and invisible.
Other times we may encounter them and not even know that we were in their presence.
That's why the book of Hebrews says, "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it" (13:2).
One final note. When people of the Bible encountered angels, they were struck with terror and fear. When practitioners of the occult meet their angels, they are oft en filled with warm fuzzies. What's the mix-up?
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