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Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Men, Not Angels, Preach The Gospel

Do not get your gospel from an angel!

Don't get me wrong, angels are awesome, these messengers of God are full of power and might and radiate the glory of God so much so that even the saints mistakenly worship them. But they're not preachers, yet.

Let's look at it this way, if Jesus could have used angels, why did he bother with disciples? Angels are awesome, they're big, they're glorious, they cannot be ignored. But according to Robert Manson Wood:
Jesus does not use created angels to accomplish the enormous taks of preaching the gospel to everyone on earth. Preaching the gospel is a redemptive work. God has given that redemptive work to man only and by that means makes it possible for man to share equally with Him in the eternal rewards of joint partnership... The created angels are not permitted to preach the gospel because they do not understand it and have not experienced it. 1 Peter 1:12 says "...-things which angels desire to look into." (Angel in Your Future, Pg 196, Robert Manson Wood)
In 1 Peter 1:12 the word "desire" in the original Greek is epithyme┼Ź which is a STRONG desire, a lust, to covet. Angels REALLY want to experience the Gospel but they can't, each angel is created, they don't live in our world, they just visit it. They don't mature, fall in love, catch colds, have children, experience the pain of losing a loved one to a debilitating disease. They do know disobedience and lawlessness, as Satan has proved. They are familiar with us but they can't appreciate Jesus' sacrifice. The gospel of salvation was written for sinners, not angels, but that doesn't mean they're not fascinated by it.

CS Lewis famously said this about devils:
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight. (C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, 1942)
I believe this should apply to angels too. I know folks who ignore all talk of angels and I know people who have a houseful of angel icons, pictures, statuettes, birdbaths, etc. Mostly when you see angels depicted we don't see a biblical representation of a Cherubim as found in Isaiah 6:1-2, rather than awesome and fearsome to look upon we see depictions of babies with wings or something closer to mythological fairies with halos.

We need to keep in mind that angels and devils (demons) have the same origin, just the fact that they can rebel against God proves they're far from perfect. When comparing angels and men you'd have to agree that of the choice between the two, angels have less reason to rebel. Other than scripture (special revelation), man's only material evidence that God exists is this rock we're standing on (general revelation). Angels have no doubt in their minds that God exists, all they have to do is ask Him. ("Lord, do you exist?" "Yes." "Thank you." No doubt at all). How can a being stand in the presence of the Almighty and say to themselves "This isn't enough, there's got to be someone better to follow."? Angels can look awesome, but they, like us, are flawed
17 Can mankind be just before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker? 18 He puts no trust even in His servants; And against His angels He charges error. (Job 4:17-18)
Obviously angels can be as flawed as we are and although they can appear glorious when God uses them for specific purposes but they are no substitute for God. We only have one mediator between us and God, it's not an angel, it's not Mary, it's Jesus Christ our lord and savior. God has used prophets and Jesus to deliver his Good News, but angels have been used as protectors and messengers, never as preachers. In Acts 10:3-6 an angel could not tell Cornelius how to be saved, the angel could only direct Cornelius to Peter who could share the Gospel with him. Yes, Revelation 14:6 does speak of an angel carrying the Eternal Gospel to man, but that is in the midst of tribulation when men will be killed by the anti-christ for preaching the Gospel.

So we know that angels are both good and bad, and even if good, they're not perfect. We know that they don't preach the gospel, but are messengers for God who have been known to redirect the lost to people who do have the gospel. These alone aren't reasons to discount the gospel if preached by an angel, so we're going to rely on past experience:

In 610 AD an angelic being identifying itself as Gabriel started appearing before a 40 year old illiterate trader. The trader thought for a long time that Gabriel was an evil demon. Eventually Gabriel commanded the illiterate Muhammad to recite the gospel that was given to him which became the Qur'an. Sometimes Muhammad would see Gabriel, sometimes he would only hear him and at other times he'd the ringing of a bell through which the words of the angel came.

There are many differences between the Bible and the Qur'an, most notably the Qur'an denies that Jesus is God and that he was Crucified and risen from the dead, that the Holy Spirit is the angel Gabriel, and that man is basically good. The bible affirms that Jesus is God and the son of God, that he was crucified, died, and rose from the dead, that the Holy Spirit is the third person in the Godhead. These are two different stories so how could they be the same Gospel? They're not
"God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19)
In 1820 God made his only appearance to a human being since Adam (see John 1:18). "God" and "Jesus" told a local 14 year old not to go to church. A couple of years later an angel who claimed to be a resurrected human lead the young man, now 17, to a secret book written on gold plates stashed in an upstate NY hillside. The angel was Moroni the lad was Joseph Smith, the book is the Book of Mormon, and the teaching from the angel is almost as distant from biblical teaching as Islam is.

Moroni told Smith that God has a physical body (John 4:24), that Jesus is a created being and actually had a contest with Satan, the winner would be the savior, the loser would be the devil. (the Mormon Book of Moses 4:1-4 (see John 1:1, Proverbs 30:6)), that the Holy Spirit isn't a force but is a personage of spirit separate and distinct from both the Father and the Son (see Hebrews 9:14) and that Jesus built His church but was not able to keep it together (History of the Church Vol 6 pp. 408,409) Contrast that last bit with Matthew 16:18.

The similarities between Islam and Mormonism are astonishing, both deny the deity of Jesus, both deny the Trinity, both deny the deity of the Holy Spirit, both deny the nature of God. Both are the exact same on prophesy (the Qur'an has none, Mormonism has none that came to pass in any recognizable way, shape, or form) and both came from "angels" and not the holy spirit.  Now you know why Paul said:
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! (Galatians 1:8)
Obviously angels can and have preached false gospels, these are only two examples, how many more times has an angel of questionable virtue tried to teach a false gospel? William Branham claims to have had a revelation from an angel that stated that the doctrine of the trinity was demonic, that Eve had sex with the serpent, and that baptism should only be in Jesus' name. His followers are called Branhamites and there's still 10,000 of them around. Ellen G. White was visited by an "accompanying angel" on June 27, 1850 who revealed to her that “time is almost finished .... that the last 7 plagues were going to be poured out before the rapture..” she founded the Seventh Day Adventists who deny the deity of Christ. I don't want to go into Jehovah's Witnesses and their angels, that's worth a posting of its own. Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight books, claims she received help from at least one "terrifying" spirit guide - another angel?  The Twilight Books are nearly holy writ to the Wiccan wannabe teens.

There may be more out examples out there that died out before poisoning too many souls, and I pray that there are many more that never got started because the person the angel tried to sell a load of horsefeathers to was more discerning than the angel realized. 

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