Subtitle: Who They Are and How They Help…what the Bible Reveals
Author: Dr. David Jeremiah
Publisher’s Synopsis: The Remarkable Truth about the Agents of Heaven
People have long been fascinated by stories of angel sightings, yet many contemporary beliefs about angels are based on misconception and myth rather than solide, biblical truth.
As he’s done so brilliantly for decades, respected Bible teacher Dr. David Jeremiah uses Scripture to unveil the remarkable truth about these agents of heaven and their role in our world and our lives.
What are angels? What is their role in God’s plan? Are they present? Do they appear? Do they give us personal insight about our work and our worship?
In this broad and thorough survey of Scripture, Dr. Jeremiah clearly and simply separates fact from fiction as it relates to angels. His enlightening findings are supported with illustrations and insights from prominent teachers, such as Billy Graham, Corrie ten Boom, C. S. Lewis, and more.
Dr. Jeremiah’s down-to-earth style guides readers around the hype about angels and directly into the “substance of things unseen!”
Where to begin? You see, I have a ‘system’ for doing book reviews. It’s pretty basic. They arrive at my house, I open them, read the back, rub my hand over the cover a few times (no this isn’t some mystical ritual designed to infuse the words into my soul by touch, I just like how new books feel), and then put them in the “to read” basket. I need to take a picture of that sometime. It’s pretty cool. Anywho, then, a week or two before the blog tour, I pull out the book, stare at it for a day or three while I write on my own stuff, and finally crack it open. Then I usually inhale it in about two hours, open up my WordPress dashboard, and click on that “new post” button. The review begins, ends, and posts in about half an hour with interruptions. Not too shabby.
But, once in a while, I start to read a book and realize, I can’t do it that way this time. There is so much information packed into the book that I want to share, that I’m terrified I’ll forget when it comes time to write the review. So, with those books (and I can count on one hand the number there have been… two I think), I start with the WordPress post open and write as I come to things. I’ll bet it’s easy to find them based upon a different writing style, and yep, you guessed it; this is one of those books.
I expected a book on angels to be either riveting, nauseating, or down right boring. Well, we’ll see but from the bit I’ve read thus far, I’m going for riveting. Grab a cup of coffee, get yourself a cookie or twenty, and make yourself comfortable. We’re in for a journey through the fascinating but often misunderstood subject of Angels.
I read along through the first pages nodding at the frustration of the actual worship that some people seem to have of angels. Most of my doubts about whether Dr. Jeremiah would be one of those worshipers dissipated during those pages. He points out that Satan himself was once an angel and presents himself as an angel of light. Two of the most influential religions in the world today began with the ‘vision’ of an ‘angel’– Islam and Mormonism. Page sixteen has a quote I feel compelled to share. “The syrupy-sweet, spirit-tingling taste of a little angelism can ruin people’s appetite for the good, solid food of God’s Word and His gospel of grace and truth.” Wow. That’s all I’ve got to say. If the rest of the book is this good, we’re in for an amazing journey.
It was a sobering thought to be reminded that every person who claims to have encountered an angel and yet, has does not claim Jesus as Savior, cannot have possibly been helped by an angel of God. A fallen angel, perhaps, but Hebrews makes it clear that God sends angels to help His children. This really drove home to me how often I ignore the very real truth that Satan’s angels are still angels, and they are still at work in this world. You see, I tend to get a little tired of people blaming Satan for their own selfishness and sinfulness. The old ‘the devil made me do it’ just doesn’t cut it with me. I’m sorry, but every time you snap at your husband for forgetting the one thing you needed and he promised he’d bring home (not that I’ve ever done anything so revolting, mind you), it’s not Satan there forcing you to do it or even luring you into the temptation. Nine times out of ten… or more like ninety-nine out of a hundred, you did it without needing his encouragement. He’s probably grateful to get the credit without the work, though. The fact is, every man who falls into pornography wasn’t necessarily tempted there directly by Satan. A man is perfectly capable of immersing himself in it without any outside inducements. The same is true of the lust of money, the overindulgence of food, or the sin of anger or bitterness. Yes, Satan tempts us to sin– but I really don’t see Him doing it when we’re doing a fine job by ourselves.
What did all of that have to do with angels and whatnot? Well, I was trying to point out that because I tend to refuse to give Satan the credit for my own sinfulness that didn’t require his additional help, I tend to gloss over the fact that he and his minions DO try to prowl about and seek those who otherwise need his distractions from the truth of God.
Dr. Jeremiah makes an excellent argument for modern day angelic activity and while I’ve never doubted the presence of angels in our world, I have unintentionally dismissed it. The odd thing is, so many times in my life something should have happened that didn’t. I’ve been protected from minor things like a ricocheted bullet barely grazing the side of my face instead of piercing my eye as it should have to several times that I might have been molested had it not been for an unusual intervention that shouldn’t have occurred. I always saw them as God’s protection over me and that hasn’t changed, but reading the book, I do question why I never wondered if God had used angels for that purpose. Other times, I’ve no doubt of the prompting of the Holy Spirit, but those times were more for me to do something rather than for my own protection. Pray for this person, send that person something to encourage them, make that phone call. You know that nagging in your spirit that won’t go away until you yield… I’m not talking about that. I’ve no doubt that those times, I’m feeling the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. It’s a very fearsome thing, wonderful, but fearsome. However, those times that something should have gone wrong but inexplicably didn’t… who knows? Perhaps I have an angel or twenty to thank for their service to the Lord.
As I read, I started to wonder, why angels? This is the omnipotent God of Heaven and Earth. Why on earth would He need angels to do what could happen with a thought.. I think it’s because of our humanity. We respond well to direct interaction. Our spirit reacts to it. We crave interpersonal connection that God has chosen to reserve for Heaven. I cannot touch God. I cannot weep on His shoulders. However, if He chose to, He could send an angel to bless me with that kind of ‘in the flesh’ support. I think that’s why God uses angels, but so far, it’s just a theory. Let’s see if Dr. Jeremiah happens to address it.
I have to say, I enjoyed the “flight of the angels” as I like to call his speed trip through Scripture to show what angels in Scripture did and why. I understand why he broke the Bible up into sections to show specific purposes to angelic activity lumping all the announcing into one, all the protection into another, and all the warrior activity and so forth. I’m just a chronological kind of gal and that little bit bugged me. Nothing major of course, but it bugged me.
He gives us three warnings that he sees in scripture(paraphrased):
- Don’t recreate angels into our own ideas of what they are or should be.
- We cannot allow ourselves to let angels replace God in our lives.
- Don’t try to worship angels.
One of the most poignant reminders in this book is of the meaning of the word angel. It’s root word means “messenger”. Now, if you’re like me, you learned that in Sunday school or maybe it was in Bible lessons at school. Whichever it was, you knew in your head that this is so, but man, it really hit home to me exactly the point of angelic activity. I’m not talking about further revelation from God. Yes, I believe the canon of scripture is complete, I do not believe that we receive new and continuing revelation today that is on par with scripture in any way, shape, or form. However, that doesn’t mean that God does not use these messengers to proclaim His truth (that will not be contradicted from His Word) to us in some more physical or other fashion. Seeing an angel as a messenger certainly helps drive away the “Christianized Santa Claus” that so many people seem to expect from angels. “I can’t find my check… maybe God will send an angel.” Sigh. He drives home the point that the messenger is the envelope that carries a piece of the person writing. You don’t admire and give your loyalty to the envelope– you save it for the message and the one who wrote it. Brilliant analogy in my opinion.
A nit-picky aside: Why is it that he capitalizes “Another” when referencing the Holy Spirit but when referencing Jesus, the Father, or the Holy Spirit as “he” there is no capitalization. I truly despise the way we’ve removed capitalizing the pronouns for deity.
One of the most profound parts of the book were the last three little paragraphs of chapter four. Here, Dr. Jeremiah points out that there is an aura of mystery and awe around angels in scripture, but modern Christians have become very arrogant in trying to reason the Lord and His ways out into neatly compartmentalized and easily understood boxes. We think we’ve cornered the God market. How foolish we are. Angels are just one tiny bit of proof that the Lord of Heaven and Earth is far too majestic, holy, and awesome for us to possibly grasp with our feeble, fallible minds.
He makes a case for angels having been created to help us. I think his case is weak. I’m not saying it isn’t possible or that I even disagree with him, however the fact is, I don’t see scriptural support for his premise, and therefore, I don’t’ think he’s proven his case. He also makes speculations about different things in scripture possibly being angels. While I don’t disagree that they could be (one was the star over Bethlehem at Jesus’ birth), the way he did it felt a little… oh, I’m having trouble with the right word. I think careless is as best as I can do. He’s a little careless with his theories. While he does identify them as simply possibilities, there is something about the way he writes that makes it easy to see them as assumptions. I think he treads near dangerous waters with the theories. I’m sure it could be done in a way that makes the speculative aspect more overt, and I wish he’d done that.
One of the most simple but amazing things that the book talks about is order. After several paragraphs about the possibilities of ranks for angels, he says, “Unlike the angels and nature, we humans have deliberately turned away from God’s original design for us. So now we have to go through the struggle of rediscovering that ordinary design, then understanding and applying it.” And then later “Yes, orderliness is just as important in church and at home as it is in nature and the angelic sphere.” He asks if the reader is experiencing disorderliness at home or in the church and if so, where might Satan (and I’ll add our own sinfulness because I do like to put blame where it is due)… he asks specifically, “Can you pinpoint the ways that God’s designed is being overlooked or opposed?” Wow. Just, wow. YEP! That really made me think. I have a feeling that this one small section of the book might be life changing for me!
I loved how he shows us what we can learn from angels. How to worship, how to revere, how to fear the Lord. In a day when simple reverence is missing from so much of our lives, it’s a fine thing to be reminded, especially by those constantly in the presence of the Lord, just how majestic He is. We need a little old fashioned awe, and one way to learn it is by watching how the angels react to the Lord and His presence. One could say we learn how to react to the present of His presence. Just sayin’. They also show us how to work– how to serve God! This is something people are always wanting to do, and so often not succeeding.
Through chapters on Satan and through to how angels accompanied Jesus through His life, this book gives very solid Biblical information about angels. The author is very careful to point out when he is speculating, but his writing style or something always seems to soften it as almost fact. A lazy reader could easily come away from the book believing things that the author himself may not agree with. It’s my only real problem with the book. On a topic so important and so nebulous, it’s very important, in my opinion, to make any suppositions very clear– abundantly clear, so as not to perpetuate the modern folklore that surrounds angels. So much of it is pure garbage.
Do I recommend the book? Absolutely. Am I glad I read it? You bet! It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever read on the subject and I think that what he shows as absolute truth is spot on. Much of his theory I think is loosely but Biblicallly supported. It’s a book I’d recommend to anyone who knows they have a lifetime of misinformation to correct. However, if for nothing else, his point regarding orderliness is worth the read alone.
Waterbrook provided this book for review and a second copy for me to give away. I am having a drawing from the list of commenters. So, don’t forget to leave a comment and when you do, tell me what about angels interests you most!
I’ll try to draw on Friday. I’m off to draw for Male Factor right now!