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Angels As Biblical Superheroes | Colleen Stock

We all long for someone to swoop in and rescue us from a sticky situation, or pluck us from an impending tragedy. Contemporary society is obsessed with superheroes, so much so that the Marvel franchise is among the highest-grossing in Hollywood. In most Christian circles we place angels at the top of a Christmas tree, or assign them as the celestial choir at the birth of Christ. Angels are mentioned over 300 times in the Bible. Sadly, within the global church arena, demons seem to get more attention than angels.

Unfortunately, Renaissance art and the Catholic Church’s symbolism have shaped the modern understanding of angels as small, cute babies (cherubs) and euphoric females in beautiful flowing gowns, rather than the huge, awe-inspiring supernatural beings I’ve encountered. For adults, and in church culture, the subject of angels is often still taboo, and is considered too mystical for mainstream church. I fully understand the church’s response to angels. Humans naturally idolise things. If their focus were on esoteric experiences, people could become side-tracked and not keep their eyes on God and Jesus. I never spoke of my encounters for fear of being labelled weird, strange or in need of therapy. I, therefore, chose silence.

Throughout history, Christians and non-believers alike speak of angelic visitations. I’ve encountered angels from an early age, but I’ve rarely shared these encounters. My experience of them has been contrary to the mainstream pictures and ideas of angels, and in my encounters with these spiritual beings, they appear very different to how I’d usually perceive things in visions or dreams. It’s not a vague picture in my mind’s eye or a movie, but a hologram or apparition. The encounter is very real and tangible. I’ve seen some only as rays of light or a vague shape within sparkly glitter. They usually come with a message, and introduce themselves by a title rather than a name. Until a few years ago, I had never shared these experiences with anyone.

Why bother with angels? What is their significance? Most of these angelic interactions seem to be so far-fetched and esophoric that for centuries, most churches sidelined angels in scripture. They seem so unreachable and inaccessible, belonging to another place in an otherly realm reserved for mystics. Yet it is God’s interaction with angels within scripture that sets a precedent for our relationship with Him. Angels mirror how He wishes to interact with us and represents the symbiotic relationship we should have with Him.

Most of those who encountered angels described their experience as something worth recording. They had no doubt that these supernatural beings were sent by God with a message (Joshua 5:13; Daniel 10; Luke 2:8–16; Revelation 22:8). According to scripture, some of their functions are to bring messages (Mark 16:5–6; Luke 1:19); bring peace (Luke 2:10); answer prayers (Daniel 9:23; Revelations 8:3–4); direct us (Genesis 24:7, 40; Acts 8:26, 27:23–24); give supernatural strength (Daniel 10:16–18).

Throughout years of church theology, many viewpoints and suggestions around angels have been merged together, creating a misconception of their true appearance and function. According to Dr Michael Heiser, author, researcher and biblical teacher, this should rather be the “heavenly host”. He says the Old Testament speaks of holy ones, spirit beings, sons of God, stars (hosts) and then functional roles ‒ messengers, ministers, mediators, watchers and guardians of the throne ‒ rather a job description than a supernatural being or an angel.

During this festive season, as you place ornaments on your Christmas tree, or wrap a gift adorned with trumpeting angels, take a moment and consider the fact that God placed angels front and centre at the birth of Christ Jesus.  Let us be like little children and not question their existence, but rather allow the awe and wonder of God to enrich our lives. The mystery is reserved for those that have eyes to see what others do not. Don’t be afraid to ask God to send the help of these biblical superheroes.  Scripture says they are commissioned to aid and assist us through healing and miracles. It is their duty to watch over and soothe us. Take courage and rejoice that angels are God’s agents bringing words of encouragement and wisdom to hopeless situations. In Billy Graham’s words: “Believers, look up—take courage. The angels are nearer than you think.”

For me, these experiences enhance my awe, wonder and belief in God. They bring hope, challenge, encourage and caution me. I’ve devoted 2 chapters in my book ”Keys to unlock the treasures of Heaven” to angels. In it I look at biblical references to angels and tackle some long held myths about them. I share my experiences and interaction with the heavenly host and challenge you to be open to encountering them for yourself.

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