Mystery of the Angels
Charles W. Weller
Elwin R. Roach
In memory of our dear friend, Charles (Chuck) Weller (1948 - 2001), whose thoughts were the inspiration for this article. Chuck was a free thinker—not free from Christ to think as he well pleased, but free in Christ who thought as Him, one who was free from the imaginations of the world and traditional doctrines of men. So, please be blessed and enjoy as you hear Chuck’s voice, joined with my own, which we pray both are in union with that of our Lord’s. I am honored to share together with him that which we both have received from the throne of grace. He called his unpublished portion, “Angels - yet unfinished, rough draft ....” His wife, Joyce, so graciously sent it to us to be used as we felt would be good. Thus, a joint rendition of “Mystery of the Angels” to the body of Christ:
There has always been a fond interest in the world about angels, especially in the field of religion. One form of angels are pictured as Cherubs, little children with wings fliting around the world while shooting arrows of love into people’s hearts. But very few, if any, take these imaginary figures seriously. Most think of angels as supernatural spirit beings with wings that can materialize and be seen as men or women. This view was popularized a few years ago after a well known minister wrote a book called “Angels. ” Others have been written along the same lines which has kept this belief alive in people’s way of thinking. Yet, the truth about angels goes undiscovered by the both religious and secular worlds.
First, the word angel in the Greek simply means a messenger whether it is a bearer of good news or bad news, and to answer some questions about them:
1. Yes, there are angels, but not as they are generally perceived by the world nor by most religions.
2. Yes, they do work for God.
3. Yes, they do appear in the world whether from the spiritual dimension or being natural men and women sent with a message by God.
4. Yes, for a large part, the angels are otherworldly in contrast to this earthly.
5. Yes, the angels do fly through heaven, but that does not mean a literal sky nor with feathery wings.
6. Yes, you can entertain them unaware.
7. Yes, it is true that in heaven they neither marry nor are given in marriage.
8. And yes, it is true that there are neither male nor female angels in heaven, but what does it all mean?
In the same manner that Paul referred to those in Christ that there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond or free, male or female, that is, although people’s natural race does not change, their race has no bearing on those in Christ. It is likewise for the bond and free, although they are in Christ, a slave was still bound to his master and the free man remained free. Neither the man nor the woman in Christ loses their gender by being in Him. The man is still a man, the woman is still a woman, they both still fill their role as father and mother to their children; but their gender has no bearing on their service in Christ. And it is the same in heaven with men and women who are angels.
They neither marry nor are given in marriage in the sense of Israel’s laws and customs of that day. In heaven, a woman is not given to a man as an arrangement by two families whether she is in agreement to it or not. She is free from such bartering and the control of her family. Being neither male nor female in a legal sense of religious law, she is not bound to obey anyone except the Lord. God’s pronouncement in the beginning upon her due to having been beguiled by the serpent is lifted therein. The past is forgotten. The man and woman’s decreed places in a marriage under the law upon them is rendered null and void. Therefore, those in heaven, men and women (angels), are free from the laws and customs applicable to those under rule of religion and/or God’s judgment.
9. Painters of the Middle Ages have greatly influenced the concept of what angels supposedly look like. During that time, for the most part, only the priests could read. This was predominately a church-kept privilege which worked well for maintaining control over the people. The Bible was even attached to the podium so that no one could take it. The clergy and some aristocrats could read; but few others were allowed or could afford that luxury. Paintings were a means by which the masses could interpret the scriptures according to church doctrine and dogma. Plays were also used for the same purpose during those times.
Paintings were commissioned by the church in some cases, and independent artists' works were also condoned if they did not stray from their religious ideals. The purpose was to assist the uneducated to understand and enjoy the Bible according to what had been deemed as truth. The artists had no real source to draw from concerning angels as well as other spiritual things. So they painted angels as handsome young men and beautiful women clothed with white robes, halo/aura shrouded, winged flyers that, for the most part, were Caucasian. Because of the beauty of these paintings and the power of the visual effect on people, there has been the assumption that angels look like pictures they have seen all their lives.
In the 1990's there was a great deal of study on death and out of body experiences. In 1988, at Moody Bible Institute, a Christian research scientist explained the phenomena of "out of body experiences." She had interviewed many people who claimed to have such an experience as well as discussed with the doctors on the individual cases. Her conclusions were quite informative, as Chuck related:
“First, the similarity of two groups was in the 80% range. There were those who said they had died and left their bodies, and there were those who were comatose. Both had similar experiences. Such a high percentile of similarity suggests almost conclusively, as we cannot say totally conclusively; because it is not known with current technology if the people who had out of the body experiences were dead or not.
“The monitoring equipment that helps determine death does not always do so. While some appear dead on the machines say that they later ‘revive.’ Were these people dead and came back to life or were these people so deep in a comatose state that the machinery could not record it? The answer is unknown at this time.
“The truths of these out of body experiences are therefore subjective and not objective. The interesting facet of these studies was that religious people had; for lack of a better word, visions of either hell or heaven situations. Nonreligious people had a drawing to a light experience. Question: If these people were really dead would they not all have the same understanding because of the commonality of it all? Question: Is their social and religious upbringing influencing their out of body experience, and if so, can these influences really formulate what the future is? But in reality whether or not having a mental experience is based upon his or her subconscious and cultural upbringing, or the lack thereof?” –End quote.
Why raise these questions? It is because one's concept of angels is built upon ethnic, social, religious and traditional factors as well as what is so imbedded within that they are subconsciously real. For example, when someone talks about "hell" you think of a horrible place filled with fire and people burning therein but never dying. But there is no fire in hell. Hell is simply a grave or any other place or realm that is unseen by the natural or spiritual eye, but tradition ties the two together.
Are angels really white robed? Do they really fly? If so, do they have to flap their wings? If so, why did Jesus say that we entertain angels unaware? Is it because angels are people or appear as they once were as people with natural bodies?
Many traditions of the church come from pagan practices brought into the church by the assimilation of cultures, which was a common practice of the Roman Catholic church as it conquered people into the faith, even as Islam has also done throughout its history and especially today.
We want to remove the mask off of erroneous teachings that are centuries old, which hinder the manifestation of Christ Jesus in you so that you might be free to reveal Him and see Him in others. If you dare to read the next few pages, be prepared to be challenged in your current understanding. In so doing, we encourage you to test all things and hold fast to that which is true. Prove all things as scripture speaks. Above all things, seek Him and He will verify the truth to you.
Are Angels Men?
Some angels have names and others do not. Everyone has heard the name, Gabriel. One place we find Gabriel mentioned in the Old Testament is Daniel 9:8. He is also found in the New Testament when declaring a word of prophecy to Mary, Luke 1:19, 26. To be reminded all names in Hebrew are indicative of a person's nature. In fact, the name declares the nature of the person and the way that the person will act, their personality, if you will. Gabriel in Hebrew is a word that means a valiant man of God, a warrior of God. It is derived from two words "Geber" meaning valiant man or warrior and el meaning power, mighty, God.
El is often translated God. It is a word used with the Holy One because His omnipotent power, true power comes from Him. Can a man have such a power? The answer is yes, he can. Did not Peter heal people through the power of the Holy Spirit? Did Paul not deliver people from demons? Are not these gifts in use today as well? The answer is yes to all. So, the word, Gabriel, as rendered by the King James writers hides the truth, because of its transliteration unless you know for what the name stands.
Valiant means to be courageous, bold, brave, gallant, and chivalrous. Generally these words are used concerning men and not with the traditional concept of angels. The word has within it the idea of a warrior. It relates to men of God that fight against principalities and powers. Of course, there are angels in heaven warring against Satan and his angels as we see in the 12th chapter of Revelation; but this does not speak of a historical, pre-Adamic war, which is another subject.
The same Hebrew word that means valiant is used in the Old Testament when speaking of David's mighty men. Why did they not use the word Gabriel rather than saying mighty men of valor, which David's men were. The translators, for consistency of translation, could have translated mighty men of valor as a company or army of Gabriels! David had Gabriels around him. Why the inconsistency when it is the same word? Why would one use of the word be translated as a special heavenly being and another place be translated as a company of mighty men? The inconsistencies in the King James are almost endless. These mistakes by the translators corrupted the true meaning. Nonetheless, for the most part, these men did the best they could under the duress of their culture, their king, and their understanding, or the lack thereof.
Even though the word, Gabriel, is used in every situation in relation to men and not angels, the translators were humans and prone to error. Translating takes a special anointing in order to establish the spiritual connotation, which is sometimes misplaced because of Adamic frailties, the inability to rightly discern God's word, and cultural bias.
This is even verified further when we read Daniel 9:21 in the New American Standard which reads: "While I was still speaking in prayer, then the MAN Gabriel whom I had seen..." (Upper case letters supplied for clarification). You see, Gabriel was a MAN. Gabriel was not a white robed, feather-winged creature as taught by the Christian traditions, but rather, HE WAS A MAN. A more true translation would be that "While I was still speaking in prayer, then a valiant man of God, whom I had seen..." Even the NAS that is a fairly accurate translation accepts the traditional interpretation of the word as Gabriel without further question. Tradition is unconscionable when it comes to translating the scriptures..
Scripture can and does interpret itself. We cannot be selective in the scriptures that are used to prove a point or even to create doctrinal issues with others. The truth will stand on its own merits and will cause all falsehood to crumble before it. The scriptures always interpret themselves. The key is to be familiar enough with the texts so that the correct interpretation is rendered.
In Daniel and Luke we see that a valiant man comes and gives a word to Daniel and Mary. Do we suppose this was a spiritual apparition, a winged creature, or a person, a man that came to them? Moreover, it is clear that Daniel’s prayer was interrupted by a man and not a spiritual apparition.
This man with which Daniel spoke, was it the same man that spoke with Mary? The time period difference is over 500 years. Surely, God could sustain such a person that long. After all, Adam lived 937 years. But the reality is, the length of life declined as sin increased. It is, therefore, most likely that they were two different valiant men. It could be that one of those men’s nameS was Abner and the other Ebenezer, or Henry; but we have no way of knowing since we are only told what type of men they were. However, if either or both were apparitions, they were spiritual men sent from the other side of the veil who had been at one time natural men on this side.
One place, of course, that shows angels are men is not sufficient upon which to build a truth; because God always gives a witness of at least two places to establish a truth, so we will consider more along this line of thought.
Who Gave Us The Law?
As we read in Acts, we find that Stephen is testifying before the Council (Acts 6 & 7). In his testimony, he declares to the Hebrew leaders that they "...have received the law by the disposition of ANGELS and have not kept it.” Acts 7:53 (KJV). There is no place in the Old or New Testament which states that the law, the Ten Commandments, the ordinances, the statutes, etc. - were given by “angels.” Think about it. Moses brought the Ten Commandments to the people. The ordinances and statutes were given to the people by the priesthood. The prophets reiterated the law to the people. All these law givers were “men, people.”
Yet, Stephen stated that the Israelites received the law by angels. The Scriptures do not lie neither do they contradict; but it is not in man to comprehend God or the depth of His plan. Beloved friends in Christ Jesus, few will question the traditions of men, but we will. A man, Moses, gave the Israelites the Law. Prophets and Priests gave the people the Law or restated it to them, but there is no scripture that states a "heavenly creation" that is a "non-human" gave Israel the Law.
Let us also consider Acts 6:15. In the NAS it states: "And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel." Here we find that Stephen's face was like that of an angel. His appearance revealed who he was. What happened with Moses when he came down from the Mount? "So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him." Exodus 34:30, NAS. The people were afraid because Moses appeared to be otherworldly—an angel to them. When Peter saw Jesus transfigured before him., He was ready to build booths (tabernacles) because he thought the change had come.
When people see something that is out of the ordinary, otherworldly, they often call it an angel. The word, angel in the Greek means a messenger, nothing more nothing less. Most often the messages they delivered were that of good news. So, the appearance of an angel is the one who brings good news, and those of the scriptures were of another order other than the one present. Thus, the consternation of the Council concerning Stephen.
The shock of seeing an angel, called a man, by Samson's mother (Judges 31-25), and the fear of Mary (Luke 1:26-38), all exhibit the reactions of those about to receive a radical word of the Lord. Stephen was given a special message to the Council. Every prophet of the Old Testament was given a special message by God for the people. Every special message comes from God in a dynamic way—but by human agency.
The Law was given to man by men who had been transformed and appeared as angels or divine messengers. The men who brought the word to the people brought good news. The word was from another realm. The power of the proclaimed word was so strong that it created a light in darkened minds. It opened another realm to the listeners, who then proclaimed, the word received was angelic.
Again, Acts 7:53 states that the Law was given by the disposition of angels. Therefore, concerning the Law, the main angel then has to be Moses. He delivered the message, the Ten Commandments, twice that was given to him on the mount. He delivered the Law first by throwing the tablets of stone down and braking them. The second time this chief messenger of the law delivered them into the Ark of the Covenant. Moses gave not only the message of the Ten Commandments to the people; but he also gave the ordinances, the statutes, the pattern for the Tabernacle, and its vessels.
While it is difficult for a lot of people to picture Moses as an angel, it was not hard for Pharaoh to see Moses as God. Exodus 7:1 clearly shows that God told Moses he would appear as a god to Pharaoh. If Moses could appear as a god to Pharaoh, could he not also appear as an angel?
Stephen's face shone when he was stoned. Moses' face shined with the glory of God when he came down the mount with the Ten Commandments. Jesus glistened with the glory of God when He was transfigured before them, and “His face did shine as the sun” Matthew 17:2. Some thought Jesus was angelic also, or at least, one of the prophets who were angels according to Acts 7. The prophets, like Moses, brought the law to the people.
Jesus quoted Psalms 82:6 when He told the Pharisees that they were gods. Why then is it so hard for us to grasp that people are angels? If Moses can be a god to Pharaoh, then we can be angels! An angel is one who has had God work a divine purpose in his or her life. The purpose may be great like Moses' or one that is unknown except to God. But the work wrought in you is what makes you a divine messenger—an angel!
Paul - An Angel of God
Except from what can be gleaned from the scriptures, not a lot is known about Paul. What we do know is that he was a well educated man. He profited in the Jews' religion above many of his equals, and was more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of his fathers. (Galatians 1:14). Having been born of Roman citizenship he would have obviously known Latin. Yet, he lived in an area where Greek was spoken which he had to know to communicate, and he studied Hebrew as a Jew under Gamaliel. Not many people can speak three languages. God prepared him in his command of language and called him for such a special service.
Yet, when he became a Christian, his means of livelihood as a Pharisaical Levite of the Jews was over. Paul expresses that he made tents (Acts 18:3). Other places seem to indicate he also made nets. He worked with his hands as he preached. Unlike so many today, he charged nothing for the word of God. Eventually, others wrote his letters for him. Whether he could not write because of the shackles, arthritis, or some other reason, we do not know. Some feel that his eyesight was failing him. Surely a man who performed miracles could have one for himself; but if he had a physical infirmity, it was not in the plan of God for Paul to be healed. God received glory whether Paul was abased or whether he abounded (Philippians 4:12).
There is no doubt that Paul was a human just like each of us. Yet, his own opinion is considered part of the canon of Scripture (1 Corinthians 7:6, 12, 25). Here was a man so dedicated to God and wrought by God that even his own thoughts were God's. It is to this that we should attain in our faith individually, because if he could, so can we.
The writings of Paul under the anointing of the Holy Spirit became a part of our Bible. His letters were a great encouragement to all because of his experience with God and the anointing of God in the words he wrote. Consider Paul in Galatians 4:14 where he wrote: "...you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus..." (NAS). Paul was received as an angel. Was this man an otherworldly person? No, in the sense he was of flesh and blood like you and me. However, the same question can be answered. Yes, if he is considered as a spiritual man! Is a man capable of being a divine messenger, an angel? Yes, if he is given a message from God to proclaim. Paul was given such a special gospel (Romans 2:16, 16:25).
People received him as an angel. The anointing on Paul made him appear as an angel, a divine messenger. Note too that the same verse indicates Paul was received as Christ Jesus. Some authorities say that whenever the phrase "Christ Jesus" is used by Paul it is referring to the ascended Lord not Jesus Christ, the man.
Since Galatians 4:14 is part of the canon of Scripture and is considered inspired, we will then accept the statement that Paul was seen as an as an angel, even as Christ Jesus. What an authoritative statement! Would you dare say that you were seen as Christ? Yet, our life is hid in God with Christ. We have been translated out of the kingdom of darkness into His marvelous light, and it is no longer you or I that live but Christ in us. So, we too could say the same—if the truth of it has been wrought in us. Paul, a man, was an angel.
We have now seen four men: Gabriel, Stephen, Moses, and Paul as angels. All of these men, as well as the prophets were angels, divine messengers of a new order, otherworldly, if you please. These men were so called out, set apart, consecrated to God, that the world saw the vast difference in them. Gabriel was a man. Stephen was a man. Moses was a man. Paul was a man. Yet, each was considered an angel, a messenger with a divine purpose for the people of God!
Therefore, dear saints of God, when we read about angels in the scriptures, let us know what or who those angels are. Namely, men and women sent to deliver messages to His people and the world. Praise the Lord for Chuck’s insight about the angel’s that harmonizes so well what the Spirit had instilled in me many years ago, and now we can share it together as witnesses one to the other!To be continued...
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