By S M Chen, posted Jan 13, 2016
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” – Hebrew 13:2
Call me Stella.
For I think I may have come from stardust (we’re not known for being romantic but occasionally indulge in sentiment and flights of fancy). I don’t know for sure, and it doesn’t matter. What does is that I, along with legions of others like me, came into being sometime before your planet, at which time the first man was made from Earth dust.
My name, “aggelos,” in Greek, means messenger. In English I’m known simply as an angel.
I don’t age or die. Neither do I reproduce. I am imbued with only positive attributes, but do have free will. Being a spirit, I am usually invisible.
Some of us (cherubim and seraphim) have wings, which may or may not be used in what humans call, in English, “flight.” Though humans have made great progress since they invented machines in which to travel through the air, they are still limited by factors that do not affect us.
One of the most cogent examples of this is recorded in Dan. 9:21. If one compares Luke 1:19, it is safe to assume that Gabriel traveled from heaven to Daniel’s side on Earth during the time it took for Daniel’s prayer, as recorded earlier in Daniel 9. It was probably a matter of minutes at most; certainly under an hour.
The nearest star to Earth is about 4 light years away. Heaven is much more distant. Man has not identified anything faster than the speed of light.
We differ from humans in a number of ways, who were made a little lower. How much lower? Comparisons are not easy, but if man is Mt. K2, we are Mt. Everest (objects, similar to those viewed in the side mirror of a motor vehicle, are not to scale). We are children of God, man a lesser child (but no less loved).
We’re stronger and more powerful, but not omnipotent. Wiser, but not omniscient. We cannot divine the future or peer into the heart of man.
The names of at least two of us appear in Holy Writ: Gabriel and Lucifer. Lucifer, the Light Bearer, was once the greatest among us. The higher the pedestal, the harder the fall. So it was with him. Once set in motion, his descent from glory and grace was precipitous and complete.
I knew some of the third of us who fell with him. I yet grieve, particularly as I have seen the transmogrification of what was once lightness and good into darkness and evil.
We are mentioned over 100 times in the Old Testament, and over 150 in the New. Our role in the affairs of humanity and your planet is an active one and we have been involved with you throughout your history.
One of us guarded the gate of Eden with a flaming sword after the Fall, barring your first parents from re-entering. And, at the end of time as you know it, some of us will help reunite families of the righteous at the Second Advent.
What is our function? In addition to bearing messages, we worship, praise, guide, protect, provide, comfort, encourage, record, warn, and execute (e.g. the 185,000 Assyrian soldiers, the Egyptian firstborn just before the Exodus). We do the bidding of the Almighty.
We also sometimes appear as human beings.
Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy wrote a wondrous short story, “Where Love Is, God Is” (1885).
I can tell you that the characters with whom Martin the cobbler (while awaiting a visit from Christ one day to his shop) interacted – Stepanitch, the soldier’s wife, and the old apple-woman – were angels. While itself fictional, the inspiration for the story came from a place beyond. Similar events occur throughout your world all the time.
Do you not also think we may have a hand in how migrating birds, particularly the Arctic tern, find their way over thousands of miles of unfamiliar terrain? And how anadromous salmon swim great distance from fresh to salt water and back again to the waters of their youth to spawn? Just as ravenous lions into whose den Daniel was cast did not harm him.
You may one day know which of us closed the door of Noah’s Ark (and opened it after the Great Deluge); who were with the three Hebrew worthies at Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace; which rolled away the huge rock from the tomb of Christ at His Resurrection; who preserved John the Beloved from perishing in a cauldron of burning oil; which among us protected Martin Luther from those who would do him harm after his presentation at the Diet of Worms.
There are many instances when we did not intervene. The many who were tortured and died during the Inquisition; millions who perished during the Black Plague in Europe; millions more executed during the Holocaust; countless others in various pogroms and “ethnic cleansings.” Those who died in 9/11. Victims of Islamic State. Your neighbor or friend or relative who was shot, died of cancer during the prime of life, had a fatal vehicle accident. The list is heartbreaking.
The ways of the Almighty are far above yours, and ours as well. Your history is, in the big scheme of the cosmos, short; His is not. I, too, have lived a long time, and I can assure you that Father knows best. All the best attributes you can imagine, He possesses and is. When He said,”‘I am,” He could have added: “all things good.”
His greatest gift to you, to planet Earth, was His Son. We created beings did not understand it. According to the immutable laws of the universe, the man and woman’s disobedience warranted death. As with the law of the Medes and the Persians, that law could not be abrogated. Humanity, like the Biblical Daniel, seemed doomed.
The plan of Redemption, crafted as a contingency before your world came into being, was ingenious, almost incomprehensible, incredibly generous, and fraught with concern as to its outcome. We feared for the Son.
We hoped that, somehow, the foretold fullness of time would not come, that Christ would be spared the Incarnation. But that wishful, almost magical thinking did not come to pass; it was not to be. Some of us were allowed the privilege of ministering to Him at various times during His lowly birth and sojourn on Earth.
With fascination and horror we witnessed the Crucifixion, not fully realizing the capacity of man’s inhumanity to man (not to mention to divinity). With rejoicing we observed the Resurrection, and some of us were there to comfort those present at His ascent into heaven.
The day will come – when I do not know, but this I do: it becomes sooner with every passing day – when what was set in motion long ago in a faraway place will play itself out.
The Son will return to planet Earth, not as a helpless babe, but as the majestic Lord we know and love.
And life – and the universe – will never be the same.