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Query for the Month
Next up-date: August 1st 2008 (God willing).
Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.
Some perpetual questions ....
Is there really an immortal soul?
Do you know the difference
between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world? Click here to find out!
Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends. It's called "Light on the Dark Side of God" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read!
Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.
2 Kings 6:15-17
And when the servant of the man of God[Elisha] was risen early, and gone forth, behold, a host [an army of the Syrians] compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! How shall we do?” And he answered, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them”. And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray You, open his eyes, that he may see”. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
If they had an army of God's loyal angels about them every day, why do we so often hear of Israel's defeats in the Old Testament times? Why was the servant given the view?
The short answer to the first part of the question is that they did not have an army of angels about them every day! Why not?
When every human is born we have a guardian angel assigned to us who never leaves us during the whole of our relatively short (to them) life. These heavenly watchers shield us from the power of the wicked one as we allow them. Satan recognized this when he said: “Does Job fear God for nought? Have not You made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side?” Job 1:9-10.
How does it work?
When we rise in the morning, if we feel our helplessness and our need of protection and strength from God, and humbly, and from the heart, make known our wants to our heavenly Father, loyal angels mark our prayers. If these prayers have not gone forth out of insincere lips, when we are in danger of unconsciously doing wrong and exerting an influence which will lead others to do wrong, our guardian angel will be by our side, prompting us by God’s direction to a better course, suggesting our words for us, and influencing our actions.
Of course, if we should deliberately decide to do something we believe is wrong, then he cannot interfere.
If in doubt regarding any action, all we have to do is ask, listen, and obey. If we are not familiar with talking to God or His angel, then we can read the Bible and take that as Him speaking to us. A combination of both is best.
If we feel in no danger, and if we offer no prayer for help and strength to resist temptations, we will be sure to go astray. Then our neglect of duty will be marked in the book of God in heaven, and we will be found wanting.
Every one of us who comes up in the first resurrection will one day understand the ministry of loyal angels in our life. The angel who was our guardian from our earliest moment; the angel who watched our steps, and covered our head in the day of peril; the angel who was with us in the valley of the shadow of death, who marked our resting-place, will be the first to greet us in the resurrection morning – what will it be to talk with him, and to learn the history of divine interaction in our life, of heavenly cooperation in every work for humanity! We may even meet him while we are on earth, for it is written, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares”, like Lot. Hebrews 13:2; Genesis 19:1-3.
Although the following words were written originally regarding what we should eat or not eat of foods which had been blessed by a false god (this was a real problem for the early Christians), they have a principle within them that applies in this case too. “Have you faith [in your proposed action]? Have it to yourself before God [don’t ask another human’s opinion]. Happy is he that condemns not himself in that thing which he allows. And he that doubts is damned [guilty] if he eat, because he eats not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin”. Romans 14:22-23.
But if we should do something wrong, that need not be the end of it, for Jesus said to us as well as to the unsaved, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents [who comes to the Saviour for help]”. Luke 15:10. He warned the Pharisees, “Take heed that you despise not one of these little ones [Christians]; for I say to you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven [they have immediate access to Him]”, for the salvation of the people of this world is the #1 priority in heavenly matters. Matthew 18:10.
Thus we see that God's people, exposed to the deceptive power and unsleeping malice of the prince of darkness, and in conflict with all the forces of evil, are assured of the unceasing protection of an overwhelming force of heavenly angels. The Son of man assured us of this. “Then said Jesus to him [Peter], ‘Put up again your sword into his place: for all they that take the sword [try to protect themselves] shall perish with the sword. Think you that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently [immediately] give Me more than twelve legions of angels? [This could be from 48,000 to 60,000!] But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?’” Matthew 26:52-54. [When God gives, He gives to overflowing. e.g. Psalm 23:5.]
Such assurance is not given without need. If God has granted to His children promise of grace and protection, it is because there are mighty agencies of evil to be met, – agencies numerous, determined, and untiring, of whose malignity and power none can safely be ignorant or unheeding.
Rebellious angels, in the beginning created sinless, were equal in nature, power, and glory with the holy beings who are God's messengers. But now, fallen through sin and lacking the power of the loyal ones, they need to join together for the dishonour of God and the destruction of men. United with Satan in his rebellion, and having left heaven with him (Jude 1:6), they have, through all the succeeding ages since then co-operated with him in his warfare against the divine authority. We are told in Scripture of their confederacy and government, of their various orders, of their intelligence and subtlety, and of their malicious designs against the peace and happiness of men.
Therefore John wrote: “. . . I saw four angels [representing the loyal angelic host] standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind [of trouble and strife, whether human or angelic] should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree”. Revelation 7:1. However, while the rebels are being limited to a great degree by loyal angels, they cannot be stopped completely. It is because of human choice that they can work. However, at the very end of time will it have to be said “to the sixth angel which had the [war] trumpet, ‘Loose the four angels [who represent all of the rebel angels] which are bound in the great river Euphrates [the lifeline of Babylon, to do as they wish]’.” Revelation 9:14.
What has this to do with Elisha and his servant?
When we as humans group together many loyal angels join with us and become a mighty force in protection. (Consider Hebrews 10:25.) This is what happened in Dothan. Elisha the prophet, who had asked for twice the power of love that Elijah his teacher had had, was so close to the Son of God and His messengers that many extra angels as well as humans congregated around him every day. These angels, combined with the heavenly beings who ministered to the other Christians in that city, made a formidable barrier between them and the Syrians, and at the same time were a wall of protection for the sinners in the town.
It is written: “There shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come nigh your dwelling. For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone”. Psalm 91:10-12. The problem is that when loyal angels come to help us they bring with them their awesome connection with the God of life and this can hurt sinners. Any rebel venturing too near a group of them without the express protection of the Son of God could die. Therefore the angels are careful of what they do. As we know from the story in 2 Kings, Elisha was able to lead the enemy army away from his angelic host into the safety of the city of Samaria.
But most of the time when the people of God fight against their earthly enemies as they did in the Old Testament, they do so in their own strength, and this leads to many defeats, for the rebel angels often help the opponents. So there is a war going on which we cannot see, but which we can be aware of, with the eye of faith. It was for this reason that Elisha’s servant had his eyes opened – to witness for us that this is so.
In the Old Testament times of combat they were told, “And it shall be, when you are come nigh to the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people, and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you approach this day to battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be you terrified because of them; for the LORD your God is He that goes with you, to fight [in His way] for you against your enemies, to save you’.” Deuteronomy 20:2-4. Often it is simply by means of the presence of His loyal angels that the Son of God does this, for neither He nor His companions fight aggressively at any time.
But if the people as a whole had neglected to hear the word of the LORD as spoken by the priest, or if an individual had neglected his morning prayer, then the outcome could not always be as God intended. Then it is that Satan and his angels have a freer hand. In those cases, sometimes he destroys and sometimes he saves! He is not above killing his own troops either, for he regards humans as expendable! Whatever places the Son of God in a bad light suits him. Sometimes he even leaves humans to battle it out on their own, for he knows that unregenerate men and women really love to fight, and this takes their minds off the efforts of God to save them!
Here is an example of how God works:
2 Chronicles 20:
14 Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; 15 and he said, “Hearken you, all Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you king Jehoshaphat, Thus says the LORD to you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's. 16 Tomorrow go you down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and you shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand you still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you”.
18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD. 19 And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise [in song] the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high.
20 And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem;
“Believe in the LORD your God, so shall you be established;
believe His prophets, so shall you prosper”.
21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers to the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, “Praise the LORD; for His mercy endures for ever”.
22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. 23 For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.
[As the enemy army approached the loyal angel barricade national jealousies began to surface and they came to regard one group among them as enemies, and so they slaughtered them. Then they fell on each other! Such can be a result of approaching the power of God too closely, for rejecting love produces hate. See Zechariah 14:13 as an example.]
24 And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked to the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped. [The last few probably committed suicide, the ultimate hatred of God, for it written, “He that sins against Me wrongs his own soul: all they that hate Me love death”. Proverbs 8:36.]
So it is today.
While we may not fight literal wars any more for our religion, the great controversy is still going on and we still need the protection of God while we fight it. So we are told, “Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take to you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand [succeed]”. Ephesians 6:11-13. If we fail to do this, then the following prophecy will come true in a spiritual sense. “Your men shall fall by the sword, and your mighty in the war”. Isaiah 3:25. This does not mean that the “dead” Christians are lost, but simply that their spiritual activities will be severely hampered from that time on, and that they will one day need a resurrection from an earthly grave.
That’s when these words apply. “And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”. Matthew 24:31.
We have a guardian angel with us all the time and he protects us as much as we allow him. Where many Christians gather extra angels come to join in.
Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library. No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.
Next query. To be discussed from August 1st, 2008.
And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
Where did Cain's wife come from?
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