I can't do Phil's fancy font-effects, but have decided to bring a comment from the last post up into a post of its own. Craig Bennett asked:
Hey DJP,To this I, of course, replied:
What would your reaction be towards a person who said an angel appeared and spoke to them [sic] today?
Cut to the chase, Craig: you're pregnant.The good-humored Craig responded:
bawhhhaaa haaa nice 1 DJP,Here's my serious response.
No I'm not pregnant. However Scripture does tell us to be hospitable to strangers for they might be angels.
I'm just wondering if you would believe today if someone said they [sic] had an angelic encounter...
Craig, straight-up, I'd doubt it, on this basis:
Passages such as Hebrews 1:1-2, and 2:1-4 (among many others) make it clear that God is not sanguine about professed believers impatiently looking past His word for something better, more exciting, more entertaining. He didn't take it well when Israel ignored repeated (real-live, inerrant and binding) prophetic pleas:
Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, "Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets." 14 But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the LORD their God. 15 They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the LORD had commanded them that they should not do like them. 16 And they abandoned all the commandments of the LORD their God, and.... (2 Kings 17:13-16)"And" what, you ask? Does it really matter? They turned from the word of God to something else. The specific form of rebellion and unbelief is secondary. He says again in Jeremiah 35:15 — "Also I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them again and again, saying: 'Turn now every man from his evil way, and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to worship them, then you shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your forefathers; but you have not inclined your ear or listened to Me'" (NAS).
Now that revelation has reached its climax in God's own Son (Matthew 17:5-8; Hebrews 1:1-2), is it sane or reasonable to imagine that God's attitude towards His inerrant, binding, sufficient revelation would be more shoulder-shruggy? If we imagine so, we aren't getting the idea from His Word (Hebrews 12:25).
That, in a word, is the mind of God for our age: hear and heed what He has already said. We don't need new, we don't need more. We need to deal with what He has given. And by and large, we aren't.
As every one of us here at Pyro assesses our age, professed Christians are "into" everything but the Word of God: entertainment, fake tongues and fake prophecy and fake semi-revelation, showmen, flattery, and all the rest that the three of us frequently hold up to the harsh light of Scripture.
We've seen it in many of our commenters over the past two years. Numerous brothers and sisters scarce peep when the Gospel is perverted, when Christ is in effect dethroned, when the truth is twisted. They're non-participants. Try to open up some doctrine of Scripture, and eyes glaze over. They're no-shows.
But boy oh boy oh boy, say a word affirming the sufficiency of Scripture, or critiquing their pet-distraction, and they've nothing more exciting to do than argue. To us, it's a bit like the doctor with his "Does this hurt?" "No." "This?" "No." "This?" "YAAOOOWWWCH! WHAT ARE TRYING TO DO, KILL ME? And besides, it's not a problem!"
So, to your question, I'd start out with the expectation that God Himself is unlikely to do something that would surely be turned into Excuse #47958 For Focusing On Something Other Than God's Inerrant, Abiding, Living, Sufficient Word, something that would birth books like "Walking with Angels" and "My Homey Gabriel," and seminars on finding your angelic guide.
If it grieves a dull pinhead like me to see "evangelicals" so indifferent to His Word, and so excited about made-up playtime amusements, it's hard to imagine how God must see it.
Lame analogy: every one of my kids has on occasion balked at something their mother (or I) serve at mealtime. Now my dear, long-suffering wife has never yet served them a plate of poison toadstools or bloated roadkill. Her food's always good, nourishing, edible, made with mother's love, all that wonderful stuff. So I require that they eat what they're served, no matter what dramatics they produce — and let's all grant that all kids know how to bring the drama.
Sometimes these sessions have developed into fairly long-lasting contests of will. I have memories and mental images that still amaze me.
Now, if I have said (sing it with me), "This isn't a cafeteria, it isn't poison, I expect you to you eat what you're served," and there's resistance — what should I do? If I go back on my word, then my kids know forever that I can be rolled, that I don't mean what I say, that they can't take what I say on its face and go to the bank with it. In short, that I'm a weak-willed liar. I would have done them a terrible disservice.
But suppose I came in and said, "Oh, while you're sitting there disdainfully contemplating the food your mother served you, and deciding for yourself what you feel like doing about it — whether you think you want to eat it or not — here's a bit of chocolate! And if you hold out longer, I'll go get some pizza and ice cream."
What then? Haven't I just undone my whole point, and made it easier for them to disrespect and disobey and miss the whole point of this exercise?
So, living as we do in the epoch following the completion and close of the Canon, I would approach a claim to angelic dialogue with a strong bias towards its unlikeliness.
And yes, I am aware of (and believe) the verse in Hebrews. It's about being hospitable. We should be hospitable. It isn't about looking for angelic visitation, is it?
Thanks for asking.