Friday, February 7, 2014

Angels Aren't Cute!

This particular blog post is in line with why I created my blog; to have a place to house my random thoughts. I’m certain that the title caught your attention. That’s exactly what I intended! The truth of the matter is that angels are not cute, cuddly beings like we see so often portrayed.

Oh, we’ve all seen the adorable babies “dressed like angels,” used sayings like, “what a little angel,” and some people even go so far as to claim when someone has died, “Heaven gained another angel.”

Well, I want to put those false, incorrect beliefs to rest for those who read my blog. Angels are not cute, and people do not become angels! Additionally, not all angels are good, kind, or there to protect you! So, without further ado, let us begin by looking at how the Bible describes angels.

Ezekiel 1:5-14 describes the angels that Ezekiel saw:

5 Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. 6 Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. 7 Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves’ feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. 8 The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. 9 Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward.

10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies. 12 And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.

13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning. 14 And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.
(Emphasis added for descriptors)

Does that sound, at all, like the chubby baby angels we see so often portrayed? I won’t summarize what you’ve just read since I’ll assume you actually read it, but that is not a cute, cuddly look!

Revelation 4:6-8 also records angels with a different look than what we are used to seeing!

“6 Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.

7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. 8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:

‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!’”

Another passage of Scripture that describes angels is Isaiah 6:2-3 which says:

“Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:

‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’”

It is true that angels can also take human form as seen in Genesis 18 when Isaac was promised to Abraham, and in Hebrews 13:2:

“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”

With that said though, angels were created by God and they do not need to be visible (since they are spirit and not flesh).

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)

Another example of angels not needing to be visible at all times can be seen in 2 Kings 6:15-17 where we see:

“15 And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’

16 So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

So, all of this should go to prove that angels are not the sweet, chubby, cuddly little children we’re so used to seeing.

In fact, the image of the chubby baby with wings comes from various mythological sources and from renaissance art. Charles Dempsey writes:

“This iconography was known to Renaissance artists via the survival of classical statuary, and adapted into Christian art. Its popularity at this time is largely due to the influence of Donatello, although there are many examples prior to him.” (Inventing the Renaissance Putto, UNC Press 2001).

Angels are not cute! That still leaves us with two other things to speak on. Namely, people do not become angels, and not all angels are good, kind, or there to protect you.

I’ll tackle the fact that people do not become angels first. The clearest way to say it is simply this: people are people and angels are angels! But, since that is never enough, let’s turn to Scripture.

Hebrews 12:22-24 speaks of the heavenly kingdom and claims that there will be both angels, and redeemed humans.

“22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.”

Speaking of Jesus, Hebrews 2:16 again differentiates between humans and angels.

“For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.”

Psalm 8:4-5 also makes a direct comparison between angels and humans.

“4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? 5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.”

Revelation 19:9-10 records an angel speaking to John, and the angel itself draws a distinction between himself and those with the “testimony of Jesus”.

“9 Then he said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.’ 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’”

These are just a handful of verses but should be enough to show that humans and angels are not the same creatures, and that in Heaven, there will be both redeemed humanity and angels.

Finally, not all angels are good or are trying to help you. That fact should be illustrated by the fact that Lucifer/Satan/the Devil was created as an angel! He was once in Heaven until he rebelled against God!

Isaiah 14:12-15 is an excerpt of this declaration:

“12 How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;

14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.”

Luke 10:18-20 again references Lucifer’s fall from Heaven when Jesus speaks to the Disciples about casting out evil spirits.

“18 And He said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.’”

It is evident that at least one angel, Lucifer, has been cast out of Heaven and is at war with God and humanity. Speaking to the serpent who was a liar and deceiver (Satan/Lucifer!), God proclaimed in Genesis 3:15:

“And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”

And when you consider the fact that Satan/Lucifer took a third of Heaven’s angels with him when he rebelled (references momentarily), you see that there are all kinds of angels (we call them demons) that are NOT trying to help you and are actively at war with God.

In the book of Revelation, Satan/Lucifer is called the “Dragon”. This is seen by the actions of the Dragon and other references. Remember how Lucifer was cast out of Heaven like lightning?

“And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit.” (Revelation 9:1b)

Then in the first part of Revelation 12:4, we see that the Dragon (Lucifer) took others with him.

“His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.”

Before you say, “hold on a minute, Benjamin, how do you know the stars are angels,” let me continue. As Revelation 12 unfolds (verses 7-9), we see:

“7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.

9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

Not only does that reaffirm that Satan/Lucifer is the Dragon, but also that his angels were cast out with him.

Now we see that Lucifer/Satan/the Devil is aided by fallen angels (demons) and that they number a complete third of Heaven’s forces!

All this should go to show that not all angels are good or want to help you. Why am I telling you this? I tell you this simply because this post has become more of something to combat the false beliefs that have sprung up surrounding angels.

Whenever someone thinks of angels, the majority of people think of cuddly, chubby babies with diapers and wings, who are coming to help humanity. That, or they believe that angels are their dead loved ones.

While it is true that angels that are loyal to God outnumber those loyal to Satan/Lucifer, not all angels want to help you! Some are actively at war with you and with their Creator (God).

While angels CAN take human form, whenever we see angels in a heavenly setting, they are usually creatures unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.

And while we are eternal beings who will spend eternity in either Heaven or Hell, we do not become angels. Angels are a separate, created race. Humans are separate, and also created.

If you’ve made it through this lengthy read, I commend and thank you. This is by no means an exhaustive study into angels (though it may have been exhausting). Hopefully though, it will help you gain a more accurate view of angels as the Bible presents them.

As always, thanks for reading, and God bless!


1 comment:

  1. That was VERY interesting Ben. I look forward to more posts!