Written by Sue Bohlin
I was about thirteen years old when I had my first encounter with an angel. I was going upstairs to my room, pulling my entire weight on the handrail, when it suddenly came off in my hand. I fell backwards, head first. Halfway into a terrible fall, I felt a strong hand on my back push me upright. There was nobody there–well, nobody visible!
Angel stories are always fascinating, and in this essay I address angels: the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good angels are the holy ones, the bad angels are the evil ones, which the Bible calls demons, and the ugly angels are demons disguising themselves as good angels. These ugly angels have deceived many people in a culture that has embraced “angel mania.”
AN ANGEL OF LIGHT?
Satan: An Angel of Light?
If you could see and meet the devil face to face, what would he look like? He is commonly depicted as a cartoon character in a red suit with a pitchfork or as a hideous-looking ghoul.
But neither of these characterizations is anywhere close to the truth.
In reality, if you were to meet the devil, you would find him attractive, engaging and persuasive. Though he is really the prince of darkness, Satan successfully presents himself as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Satan is a master of misrepresentation. He is the world’s greatest advertiser, packaging his product so it seems attractive and appealing while in reality it is deathly poisonous. He wants his clients to see him as good, beneficent and trustworthy. He wants his product -sin and rejection of God-to appear enticing and inviting, and he is usually quite successful.
Satan never presents sin as it really is. He never presents both sides of the story, pro and con. He presents only what he wants us to see, something that appears fun and exciting. He wants us to focus on pleasure, on what feels or looks good at the moment. He wants long-term consequences to be the last thing on our minds while he entices us to sin.
Angels or Demons?
Todd Bentley and “The Beautiful Side of Evil”
18Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
Demons that masquerade as angels love to twist and distort God’s truths and whisper deadly advice into their subjects’ ears. They are evil, not good, and we need to know the difference. Use God’s Word as your standard, and study the following chart.
|Two kinds of angels|
|God’s Angels||fallen Angels|
|Accountable to God (Job 2:1)||Oppose God|
|Sent by God (Ex. 23:20)||Requested by humans|
|Respond to God’s will (Psalm 91:11)||Respond to rituals (at their will)|
|God chooses which angel (Matt. 18:10)||We choose our favorite angel|
|Fulfills God’s will (Luke 4:10)||Fulfill our will (at first)|
|Speaks in the name of God (Luke 1:28)||Speak like us (if they choose)|
|Brings awe, respect, fear (Luke 1:11-13)||Appear friendly and natural like us|
Did you notice the similarity between angels and the self-made goddesses in Chapters 2 and 3? Remember that people who create their own deities usually imagine them in their own image. No wonder, then, that today’s angelic goddesses reflect their maker’s noble dreams and human cravings. Designed with a little help from the “angels”, they have become alluringly approachable.
We all want an accessible God who loves us as we are. The true God fits that need, but the evil one is always trying to tell us otherwise. His goal is to draw us to himself so that he, not the Holy Spirit, will guide our thoughts and actions.. And since Satan can tailor-make his counterfeits to match Christian as well as pagan wants, even committed Christians are vulnerable.
Embraced by the Light
Few authors have changed our spiritual orientation more than Betty Eadie who wrote Embraced by the Light. During her supposed “near-death” experience  she met a loving “Jesus” who appeared “more brilliant than the sun.”30 With three “angels” as her guides, she was shown an occult spiritual system that fused her Mormon and Native American heritage with contemporary New Age teachings. Her supposedly “Christian” experience contradicts the Bible on every point. Who do you think was her source of “wisdom”?
Many people see near-death experiences as opportunities to preview heaven. Few know the darker side.31 In pagan cultures, shamans often “met” their personal animal spirit (spirit guide or demon) during childhood near-death experiences which opened doors to demonic spirits and visions. Apparently, Betty Eadie did. During a serious illness after her mother, a “full-blooded Sioux Indian”, had left her at a boarding school, the girl slipped into a coma. While in this trance-like state, she saw a spiritual being whose beard sparkled with light.32
“Most shamans receive an ‘initiatory call’ … during a personal illness serious enough to induce a coma (a form of trance),”33 wrote William Lyon in his biography of Indian shaman Black Elk.
Unlike Christian families who come under God’s protection, tribal cultures are driven by superstitions, fears, and rituals that buy protection from certain powerful spirits or demons against more frightening ones. Today the same occult rituals merge with all kinds of occult arts and teachings. “Angels are firmly rooted in the collective unconscious of the human race,” writes Geoffrey James, who looks at angels through the filter of Jungian psychology. “Their energy can be tapped by practicing the Western magickal system of Angel Magic. . . a practical application of the Cabal (or Kabbala, an ancient form of Jewish occultism), Tarot, and Astrology.”34
Evil is back by popular demand. And while, Satan, masquerading as ‘an angel of light,’ can only oppress Christians to the extent God allows,35 he has all the rest of humanity to trap and train as counterfeit “ministers of righteousness.”36 Their main work is to turn people away from God and link them to the occult. (Nothing fits their plan better than “Christians” who receive their lies and proclaim them to others as prophecies from God.) Most of these “ministers” fit one of the following levels of service:
1. Pagan priests, shamans, spiritists, and New Age teachers — people who actively seek to harness occult powers and lead others into the occult.
2. Followers and supporters — those who promote the new spirituality and participate in its rituals.
3. The deceived masses — those who flow with the social changes and deny the realities of God.
4. So-called Christians without a personal relationship with Christ — those who bear Christ’s name but don’t follow His ways. They serve Satan by discrediting Christ outside the church and confusing Christians inside the church.37
The Journey Home
The way to heaven is never smooth for those who love God. It means suffering those “needs, persecutions, and distresses” that train us to trust, persevere, and triumph. It means clinging to God’s Word while the world twists His eternal truths into every kind of deception the human mind can invent and demonic forces can inspire.
It means letting God use our weaknesses to demonstrate His sufficiency along our winding journey. The best of our own strength can neither fulfill God’s purposes nor bring us into heaven. This simple fact offends women like Karin who imagine their own standards for God’s approval. “The cross is foolishness to” those who would boast of their own performance rather than God’s perfections—and would trade our Father’s heaven for a goddess-powered earth. A Lutheran friend, Jane Larson, summarized it well:
“The one true God is He who died on a cross as a condemned felon to save us miserable sinners. This isn’t an image that flatters men or women. It may offend anti-Semites that He was a Jew. It may offend feminists that he was male and invited us to pray in His name to God as our Father…. It’s especially offensive to those who want to re-image God in their own image….
“Long ago, God’s people wanted a golden calf. Leaders rose up to give to them. There will always be cravings for self-glorification. There will always be false shepherds and false shepherdesses who will accommodate such cravings.”[40 ]
While He walked on earth, Jesus Christ was a flesh-and-blood human being, not a mythical god formed by the human imagination. He was and is God who, for a moment in time, left the unseen eternal to enter into human history. His life, suffering, and death were documented historical facts, not fables told by creative storytellers. What He told us about humility, death and resurrection is not open to our reinterpretation. “If we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed,” wrote Paul. (Galatians 1:1-24)
On the other hand, if we will come to Him in our need and let His Word like a beacon guide us through the times ahead, He will prove His faithfulness over and over and over. One simple way to come close to Him, is simply to follow the prayer outline Jesus taught His disciples long ago. (See What Jesus taught us to pray)
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31-39
In der gegenwärtigen Religionskultur stehen die Engel für die Suche nach neuer Spiritualität, nach Geborgenheit und Kraft. Sie verheißen dem Einzelnen unerschöpfliche Energie und persönliche Wärme. Engel in der Esoterik sind vor allem “himmlische Dienstleister” (vgl. hierzu den gleichnamigen EZW-Text 196/2007 von Murken/Namini; http://www.ekd.de/ezw/42714_himmlische_dienstleister.php): Sie geben alles, fordern aber nichts. Letztlich geben sich die Engel im Engelmagazin weniger als Boten Gottes denn als ideale Projektionsfläche einer esoterisch gestimmten Sehnsuchtsreligiosität zu erkennen, die aus den “Boten Gottes” unsichtbare Maskottchen werden lässt, die für vieles herhalten müssen. Für den kritischer Beobachter, der das Engelmagazin durchblättert und schließlich beiseite legt, bleibt leider nur die bittere Erkenntnis: Engel können sich nicht wehren.