Posted in advent

Nativity & Advent: The Angel Gabriel

By Elizabeth Prata

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her,”Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:26-33).

What a blessing that believers read this and know that we know the Lord, and even better, that we love Him and we know that He loves us.
Continue reading “Nativity & Advent: The Angel Gabriel”

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Examining Christmas traditions #1: Do angels sing?

It’s the Christmas season and the lights are up inside homes and all over the neighborhood. Children are having photos with Santa and moms and dads are hurriedly finishing their shopping lists. Kids at school are doing Christmas crafts with paint and Popsicle sticks and teachers are counting the days until Christmas vacation. Churches have cookie swaps and families enjoy the annual classics, “It’s A Charlie Brown Christmas”, “Frosty The Snowman”, and “It’s A Wonderful Life”. In the south where it is warmer and more rural, many places host a live Nativity, where animals roam in an enclosure and a manger is set up with shepherds, Joseph, Mary, and a baby (or a doll) for the enjoyment and interest of the locals. These are some of our annual traditions here in America.

There are traditions regarding the Christmas story within the faith, also. We have Christmas carols with lyrics that say that angels sing, set up nativity scenes with Wise Men, erect Christmas trees, and more.

Do these traditions have any bearing from scripture? If not should we care? If not, should we abandon them? Accept them? Are we disrespecting Christ by perpetuating them? Or not?

In this essay from Answers In Genesis, “Hark! The Herald Angels Said?“, the author wrote,

The idea of angels singing on the night of Christ’s birth has become so common that many are surprised to learn that the Bible does not unequivocally state this. This example provides a good opportunity to discuss traditions. In and of themselves, traditions are not wrong, but they must be based on and consistent with Scripture. If they contradict Scripture, then they must be rejected. …

One of the points of this series on misconceptions is to lead us all to look closely at what the Bible teaches. Far too often traditions have been the basis of our thinking, and we end up believing things that are not found in Scripture. We have heard and sung about angels singing on that night so often that many do not bother to look closely at the text.

Looking at the specific issue of whether angels sing, we do know there are a great many Christmas carols saying they do. However, scripture never indicates once that the angels sing. They shout, proclaim, and praise, but not sing. However, given the various contexts in which they are rejoicing, such as on the night Jesus was born, it is possible they they sang, also.

Answers In Genesis explains things from their view:

As we wrap up this Christmas article (pun intended), you are probably wondering if the angels did sing to the shepherds. In light of the fact that there is a strong connection between praising and singing in the Bible, and since angels, in all likelihood, are capable of singing, there exists biblical support for the tradition of singing angels found in the Christmas hymns.

GotQuestions thinks they do. Robin Schumacher thinks they do. John MacArthur thinks they do. J. Vernon McGee doesn’t think so. Phillip Holmes at Desiring God doesn’t think so either.

Since scripture doesn’t say one way or the other if angels sing, we are not being unscriptural by singing carols that say they do. It’s a tradition that isn’t harmful to a person’s faith if they want to believe angels sing. The point of the season is to focus on Jesus, His incarnation, and respond with song, praise, and worship.

AiG finishes this way:

In any case, when we think about God’s amazing gift of a Savior to mankind on that night, we should glorify and praise God, whether in spoken word or in song, just as the shepherds did on that incredible night after they had seen the newborn King.

Posted in Uncategorized

Consider the Supernatural: The invisible realms are busy

Did you ever stop to consider the supernatural in your everyday life?

I’d like to write something that will hopefully open your mind to the teeming activity in the supernatural realms which our current eyes cannot see. However the bustling activity is all around us on earth  and extends into the second and third heaven.

151,600 people on earth die each day. Each death releases a soul that had formerly been imprisoned in a body. Upon death, this soul is immediately catapulted into the supernatural realms. The soul either goes up or goes down. So if the 6,316 people die each hour, there is a lot of traffic going up and down. (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Satan is the prince of the power of the air, Ephesians 2:1-2 reminds us, as does Ephesians 6:12 which says there are “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” In 2 Kings 6:17 Prophet Elisha’s servant was cowed by the impressive number of enemy men encircling the camp. They were severely outnumbered. However Elisha prayed, ‘O LORD, open his eyes so he may see’. Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. The air was filled with blazing angels at attention and ready to fight for God against the human armies.

Daniel also was given heavenly insight into the supernatural realms, specifically the second heaven. He prayed to God and God immediately dispatched an angel with a response. However one of the chief unholy angels of the nation of Persia caused a delay in the holy angels’ progress and there was a fight. Michael the archangel had to eventually be sent to help the angel burst through the opposition in order to reach Daniel. (Daniel 10:12-14). Angel wars not only occur in the second heaven of the air, but they go on in heaven, also. (Revelation 12:7)

In another case, Daniel was visited by a mighty angel on earth, which only Daniel could see, but the men with him felt the presence of heavenly glory and trembled. Some just ran away. (Daniel 10:7). The same thing happened with Saul when he was knocked down on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9:3-7).

Revelation 5:8 and 8:3 give us a hint of the prayers rising from the saints’ lips to the throne room of God, where much activity is performed regarding these prayers.

God sends His ministering angels from heaven to His people with tasks, messages, comfort, and other ministry. (Genesis 19:1, Hebrews 13:2 & etc.)

So we have recently released souls departing for their final destination, demons zooming around in the air, angel wars, chariots abounding, angels coming and going, and prayers rising…that is a lot of activity. We can’t see any of it. But it’s there.

When I sailed on the ocean, we were guided in navigation by a nautical chart. Cargo ships, cruise ships, pleasure boats…all adhered to the rules of the road. This what it’s actually called, the rules of the road. The chart lays out the comings and goings of ships so they won’t crash into each other, especially as they near the busy port. They are called shipping lanes. Every mark on the chart means something and ships obey them if they don’t want to crash. It’s all highly managed. It looks like this:

Chart mapping San Pedro Channel; Dana Pt. Harbor, Catalina Island, SoCal

The real sea in that area looks like this.

It’s much the same with the supernatural comings and goings.

Consider the supernatural. To that end, my exhortation here today is:

1. Revisit the amazing supernatural life that you have in Christ. Every breath, every moment, is driven by a series of continuing supernatural events in us and around us that propel us forward into the Kingdom of Light, and;

2. God is completely sovereign. His omnipotence extends from heaven to earth and every area, realm visible and invisible in between. He is directing an expansive and magnificent plan that will culminate in His glory shown through a renewed universe and a multitude of redeemed humanity, all in obeisance and worship of Him.

Further Reading

When a person dies, where does his or her spirit and body go until the Second Coming?

Does the soul cease to exist after death?

Entertaining angels unawares