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As a recent writer in the Washington Post put it, "We are in the midst of an extraordinary boom of interest in angels."

According to Publishers Weekly, more than one hundred new nonfiction books about angels appeared in one publishing season recently. Scores of angel sites have surfaced on the Internet and three glossy national magazines devoted exclusively to angels recently began publishing.

You can now purchase a book that claims to teach you how to consult your angels on investing, home improvement, and how to cook a great dinner. There are books on how to harness your "angel energy." Books that turn angels into fortune-tellers and financial counselors. Books that teach you to look for angels in floating feathers, tinkling bells, and passing pigeons. And if you need to drop a few pounds, "The Angel's Little Diet Book" is your ticket to a heavenly waistline.

This would all be amusing if the implications weren't so serious.

You see, there's just one problem with this avalanche of angelology. Most of it is at odds with the only reliable source on angels we have - the Bible. The good news is, God's Word has quite a lot to say on the subject. In fact, the word angel appears more than three hundred times in the Bible.

Until recently, many Americans never considered angels to be anything more than an image to be fanned in the snow, baked into sugar cookies, or perched atop the Christmas tree. But today, an explosion of interest in angels has forced Americans to consider the reality of these beings that have been written about for millennia.

In a 1996 Gallup survey, fifty-five percent of those polled said angels are higher beings created by God. Fifteen percent believed angels are people who have died. And twenty-three percent said angels are merely religious symbols. Needless to say, there is a broad diversity of opinion about angels.

Yes, over the past 15 years, there has been an astounding increase in people's curiosity about angels - not just in religious circles, but in the secular world as well. Never before have people been as interested in any spiritual subject as they currently are about angels. The proliferation of literature about angels and demons and the realm of the spirit they inhabit, reveals that these days almost everyone, whether religious or not, is fascinated with the supernatural.

Signs of the Times
This increased fascination with spiritual beings may seem remarkable when you first think about it. But actually, it isn't so remarkable if you consider the day in which we live. We are in the final days of this age. We are living in the generation that is going to usher in the millennial reign of the Lord. And already we are witnessing many biblically predicted signs that indicate the time is near. The most significant of these is the reestablishment of the nation of Israel.

History records that after Jesus was crucified, intense persecution came upon the church in Jerusalem. The persecution was so severe that it scattered the Jewish Christians throughout the world. Then in 70 A.D., the Roman emperor leveled Jerusalem and massacred anyone who was remaining. For almost 1,900 years after that, the Jewish people had no homeland. Then an amazing - in fact, a miraculous - thing happened. In 1948, the international community recognized the sovereignty of Israel as a nation, and Jewish people from all over the world began to return to their homeland.

What does that mean to those of us who watch for Jesus' Second Coming? It means a lot! In Mark 13:30, Jesus proclaimed that the generation which witnessed the regathering of Israel (a process that began in 1948 and has been continuing ever since) won't die: Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. We are that generation!

The Bible states clearly that no man will know the exact day or hour of the coming of the Lord. (Mark 13:32.) However, it also says that day shouldn't take us by surprise. (1 Thess. 5:4) If we are alert to the scriptural signs, the Bible says we will know when Jesus' return is near.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no doubt about it. The signs are all around us. We are the generation that will see the close of this age and witness the establishment of Jesus' millennial reign.

It is so thrilling to think about that reign and the age to come. In that day, God will bring His kingdom, the realm of the Spirit, into contact with this natural, temporal earth. Then Jesus will literally and physically set up His earthly reign.

As we move closer towards that time, we will see more and more manifestations of the spiritual realm. Appearances of the angelic host, the seraphim and the cherubim and a variety of different angels will be increasingly commonplace in our generation.

Don't Believe Everything You Hear
It shouldn't surprise us that people are starting to talk about these events or that there are so many reports about angels. In the coming days, we can expect secular newspapers and magazines to publish an increasing number of reports about people's encounters with angels. There will be television specials about them, and more books will be written about them.

Certainly, those things will be exciting to hear and read about, but we must be discerning. It is important to remember that not everything we hear through these sources will be accurate. In fact, much of the information that will be promoted will be deceptive and even dangerous.

The reason for all this erroneous information is very simple. Even though angels are real and the realm they inhabit is real, the human intellect alone can't understand them. Our minds have been created primarily to accommodate our needs in this earthly world. Our minds, in and of themselves, aren't spiritual. Thus, on our own, we simply don't have the capacity to properly interpret the spiritual manifestations that are becoming more and more commonplace.

If you want proof, just look a little closer at the results of the 1996 Gallup poll mentioned previously. They reveal the extremely inaccurate assumptions many people have made about the spiritual realm. The only good news in this study is the finding that despite how technologically advanced and sophisticated we like to think we are, seven out of 10 Americans do believe in angels.

The bad news is, of those seven who believe in angels, 50 percent believe only in "good" angels. They don't believe there is an evil angelic host. They believe that angels, by definition, are good and are sent by God to bring blessing to those who are in need.

Furthermore, 55 percent of those polled said they believe angels are a higher order of being (meaning higher than human beings) created by God. Fifteen percent of those polled believe that angels are people who have died and somehow acquired harps and wings. Twentythree percent of those polled believe angels hold an important, symbolic place in a variety of religious persuasions but that they probably aren't real. Finally, seven percent of those polled simply believe that angels are figments of the human imagination.

What makes this study so significant? Two things. First of all, it reveals that this isn't just a "fringe" topic of study. This isn't something of interest to only a small minority of people because the majority of Americans believe in, and have some degree of interest in, angels.

Second, this survey demonstrates that ignorance about angels and the realm of the spirit is almost universal. It amazes me how little most people know about the subject. There are some people, I'm sure, who are well-versed in this area. However, the vast majority - Christians included - don't know as much as they should know about the mission and mandate of angels.

How can we solve this problem? How can we gather more accurate information about angels? We can do this by studying the only reliable resource we have - the Bible.

The Word as Our Guide
You can't discern spiritual truth with your natural senses. Therefore, anything you hear or read that doesn't originate from the Word of God has to be the opinion of man and, as such, should be taken with a grain of salt.

For that reason, it is my purpose to approach the subject of angels with the Bible as the final word on the subject. In the chapters that follow, we will look into the Word of God to define who angels are, how they were created, for what purpose they were created, what their capabilities and capacities are and how we are to relate to them. With the Word as our guide, we will be better able to judge encounters angels have with people. We will also come to understand the role angels play in the realization of our eternal destiny and our life on this earth.

Please understand that this article isn't meant to simply satisfy your curiosity about angels. It is meant to help you understand what God created them to do for you. How important is it to have this understanding? Well, let me put it this way.

After studying what the Bible says about the subject, I'm firmly convinced that if you don't understand and draw upon the ministry of angels, it is unlikely that you will ever realize God's highest purpose for your life. Without the ministry of angels, you will probably never experience the fullness of His blessing or the magnitude of the destiny He has planned for you. It is that important.

As Christians, all of us need a greater revelation of the ministry of angels if we are to be used in the way God wants to use us.

Source: Angels At Your Service by Mac Hammond
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Minute, which is seen locally in the Minneapolis area and can also be viewed at winnersminute.com. He is also the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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