ANGELS


I beg my reader’s indulgence to allow me to write of a subject I know little about but am pursuing in earnest. Angels, who are they, what are they and how do they fit into God’s creation?
Large portions of society have designated this group of beings as some type of spiritual being that can or cannot be attached to the belief or existence of God. People are very vague in tying down their beliefs but often attribute the unexplainable to that of the work of these unseen beings or random luck. If you do believe in God and Christ as your savior then are you supposed to buy into this whole fuzzy angel subject? Well, I do not believe it to be a fuzzy subject at all because angels are documented all throughout scripture fulfilling critical purposes. They have names and are given specific jobs to complete. Some are messengers, such as Gabriel who played a critical role in and around the birth of Christ by telling both Mary and Joseph of the holy conception. He also announced John’s coming as well. He is recorded all throughout the scriptures as delivering this message or that to humans. Then Gabriel announced Christ’s birth to all the shepherds and was backed up by a heavenly choir. So we know there are messengers and singing angels who play musical instruments as well (Luke 1: 11, 1:19, 1:26 & Daniel 8:16, 9:2 [not a total reference list]).
We know through the prophets, Daniel, Jude, Elijah and many more that there is a great and fierce warrior angel that is in charge of God’s heavenly armies and his name is Michael. (Daniel 10:21, 10:13, 12:1 & Jude 1:9 & Revelations12:7). In 2 Kings 6:17, Elisha prayed that the eyes of the fear-filled servant would be open. The servant saw all the angel armies surrounding Elisha with the glow of fire all around them. This is a good story to illustrate the power and need of prayer. So many discount prayer as a weak instrument or a last resort but it should always be first and continual. Angel armies fighting for men at the behest of God who answered the holy prayers of his children.
I do not know if I would be grateful for the gift of seeing these ‘unseen’ battles between angels and the forces of evil. Humanity cannot win over heavenly beings so when the armies of the Lord go against humanity, it is a certain slaughter. Again and again, there are examples of God’s angels answering prayers, consoling others, directing, teaching, saving from harm, delivering messages, and making reports to our Creator. We have guardians surrounding us fighting the battle we cannot see but I certainly assure you that you may suffer glancing blows from the evil forces. In Matthew 18:10, Jesus tells us directly, “see that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in Heaven.” This tells me that God has appointed guardians over his children because he loves us and they communicate with our heavenly Father about us.
This topic of the unseen world of angels and demons caused me to engage in some deep pondering. How weary the angels must be because of humanity. Sure, the angel population has been around long, long before humanity was created and they have had battles with evil before us but just think of how much more work they have because of how often we screw up. I could not help but feel saddened for them. They never get a break and humans are not running out of ideas of how to sin and create more evil on this planet.
We only have a small glimpse into this other unseen world so we are infants in our understanding. There are so many unknown mysteries of the Bible and huge swaths of history that has been deliberately omitted that no one, not even the most learned Biblical scholar, can claim to understand in total. God omitted things because we cannot fathom it, we could not wrap our finite brains around the infinite wonders that always have been. I pray for the angels all the time because I know, I myself, make their job much harder than it should be because I sin. Christ paid the price of my salvation but we must accept and live with the consequence of each of our sins. I just feel very sorry for the angels and wonder when they will ever be able to lie down their swords and enjoy their creator. Perhaps they get time off? I have no idea but I know prayer works and that we take it for granted as we do this huge population of angels who have been working hard to help us humans since God first placed Adam and Eve on the earth.
I know how frustrated and disgusted I get with my fellow human beings so I can only imagine how that feeling is intensified when you have been fighting the same battles for so long. I continue on my journey to research these fantastic agents of good and those who chose to hate us, namely Satan and the rest of the fallen. Even the existence and account of Satan’s fall tells me that the angels have freedom to choose as well. This realization led me to the question of why would the angels continue to choose to help humans who never, ever learn? They love Christ and Christ loves us so they will obey Christ and do what they are commanded regardless of whether we humans ever get it right. I just imagine they must be weary after all this time. They need our prayers so that the heavenly hosts can remain strong in the Lord. At the very least, we should be grateful to them.
Now, do not cross the line and think they are beings to be prayed too, because there are several accounts in scripture where a human fell to worship an angel and the angel rebukes them telling the person to worship God only. John recounts this time and again, as he is recording Jesus’ revelation in our book of Revelation. Therefore, we know that we are not supposed to pray to them or worship them but that does not mean we cannot thank them for the battle they fight on our behalf…every single day. However, do not get cocky and think you are better than the angels. Jude 1:9 clearly tells us that we humans dare to speak boldly and foolishly about the unseen world, demons, and angels without having the least bit understanding. Jude reminds us that even Michael, the archangel dared not rebuke Satan directly but called upon the power of the Lord saying, “The Lord rebuke you!” Certainly, there is a relationship that can be had there between humans and angels but only with the understanding that we will not have full understanding until we see Christ return. Until then I think gratitude in the form of prayers offered for the angel armies would be appropriate. I am certain the war has heated up as the entirety of creation is groaning with the wounds it creates.

God Bless you all and thank you for indulging my ramblings.

Artwork original by Samantha(Barto)Thomas titled: Anguish

THE SECOND DEATH…


Revelations 20
The Judgment of Satan and Humanity.

At an early day in my lifetime, I was impatient for the Lord’s return. Every direction I turned, I saw evil ruling. Anger reigned in my being as I interpreted the situation mankind had worked itself into as a result of an impotent God. I felt God had turned his back on the suffering throughout the globe and within my own personal world.
Fighting to survive and thrive was an arduous task and I used my anger to fuel my worldly accomplishments, which have been few. I managed to earn a couple degrees from a couple of institutes of higher learning and worked in a few career zones where I was attempting to make my plans come to fruition. My goals and God’s goals were different but the path was the same. Studying the history of man revealed to me that the suffering, the pain, the evil mankind was capable of was nothing new. Thousands upon thousands of years of humanity making foolish, selfish choices has caused the suffering of billions upon billions. Satan has used the earth as his playground and he delights in bringing the children of God to ruin through their own choices.
In my youth and haste I prayed for the Lord’s return, I did not understand exactly what I was asking to see happen. All I knew was that I wanted those who were evil to others, who caused suffering and misery to the innocent…to suffer. I wanted them to be punished by God now. I wanted something that mankind is incapable of producing…JUSTICE and PEACE. These things are impossible with mankind.
Everyone I knew in my young adulthood was saved, that is, they had given their life to Christ and accepted his gift of eternal salvation. Everyone, even though we all struggled to live this life and follow Christ, everyone was saved in my small world. I knew with all assurance that everyone I cared about would not be taken from me by death, for I would see them all in Paradise again. I was secure in that knowledge no matter how crazy or cruel the world became I knew that I would see everyone I loved again in Heaven.
Then something began happening that revealed to me that God’s delay in returning is his incredible Mercy rather than Neglect toward his children. The circle of people I cared about, my small world, began to grow exponentially as I went to college, made friends, colleagues and clients. Yet, I must admit, it was when my family began to grow that I realized how God was demonstrating incredible Mercy in delaying his return. Although I was never blessed with a child, each of my two sisters were blessed with children. These children began to grow into adults, as children have the habit of doing. They began making their own choices and their own mistakes.
Within the last decade I have begun feeling an incredible weight upon my spirit in knowing all those whom I love now are not going to be with me in Heaven if they should die now or if the Lord should come back now. It is this sorrowful knowledge that has shown me that God, in his awesome wisdom, is being Merciful in holding back his return. He wants all of his children to be with him for all of eternity and so he is being patient with us so that we may have time to repent and chose to love him. Now, in this hour, I think not only upon my nieces and nephews who have not chosen to allow Christ into their lives, but upon the billions upon billions who would be lost if the Lord returned this very hour.
I feel the deep sorrow for all those who have refused the Lord both in the past, present, and future. We are each upon this earth such a short time in relation to all of human history and many feel that they have to make an indelible mark upon the world but God has created each of us to make an indelible mark upon one another. If we are Christians and striving to follow Christ, imperfectly, then it is a full time job in and of itself. The Scriptures tell us that there is a Second Death, which is the one that will last throughout eternity. When we shed our earthly shells it is considered the first death but it means little except to those left behind. The Second Death is the one where each and every human who has ever taken a breath will stand before the throne of God and be Judged. If you have chosen Christ then you will spend eternity with him but if you have rejected him then you will experience a Second Death, which is the final death where God will toss you into the lake of burning fire that forever burns but never consumes its inhabitants.
In truth, this is what I longed for because I wanted to see the evil men and women of this world get the punishment they deserve. However, now I love many who do not know Christ or who refuse to know him. Friends and loved ones who refuse to accept the gift of Salvation and my spirit is heavy for them.
As fervently as I prayed in my youth for God to hurry his steps upon his return, I now pray for his delay. I understand why he waits, for his heart breaks to think of losing one of his children to Satan. If my heart breaks over children who are not borne of my womb then I can only imagine how we have broken the heart of God.
Everyday my body has tasted pain and I know it will increase day by day but I do not ask for God’s speedy return. Now, I pray for time for those who are attached to my heart whether they be blood or friend, it matters little. I understand that God’s delay is purposeful, deliberate but above all it reveals his great Mercy and Love.

The Second Death is for all eternity and I would do anything to help as many as I can to avoid it. I would suffer, gladly, another hundred years of life if it will only give more time for others to accept the Christ that longs to embrace them to his heart.
Our minds are so finite that we have difficulty imagining what eternity really is but I try to think of it as the moments, good or bad, where time seemed to stop. That is as close as we humans can get to experiencing eternity while we live so try to think of a moment where nothing moved. Time did not go forward or backward, just a moment that seemed to never end. I have experienced these moments a few times in my life. Most of these moments were enveloped in pain and suffering but a couple were good and pleasant. If you can remember a moment like this, think upon it because this is what forever feels like and you have the choice to spend it with friends, loved ones but above all Christ or be lost forever.
We all will experience the loss of many whom we love before we draw our final breaths in this temporary shell. We will shed tears for those who go before us but if we are Christians and we know that the person who has died was Saved then our tears are mixed with joy, for we will meet them again and rejoice.

I have lost someone I loved deeply and he chose to reject Christ, openly. When this man died, I grieved deeply because I knew I had lost him forever and I wept bitterly. I cannot endure the thought of anyone whom I love dying the Second Death but I know that this is going to happen. For, God has given each of us a choice and it is our choice alone to make.

Once you lose an unsaved loved one…you will understand true loss…then you will feel a level of grief you never knew existed. I am in no way minimizing the pain felt when death claims someone who is saved but I am saying it should be different. I have experienced both too many times and the difference is sharp.

So I pray for the Lord’s delay and his Mercy to continue.