Posted by: rogermitchell | December 8, 2009

talking to angels

Johnny Viner has raised the question of the relationship of angels to the creation and how we can work with them. I think a good place to start is by talking to them. This is how I understand speaking in tongues. What the apostle Paul refers to as the tongues of angels. I speak in tongues a lot and certainly recommend it. I see it as an important way of connecting heaven and earth which is part of what being human is about. My understanding of the angelic from the gospels is that they connect heaven and earth from the heavenly side and we from the material side, so interfacing with the angelic is a good way to avoid dualism and overcome the negatives of a mindset where the spiritual and material are divided.

I love the way the writer of the book of Job describes the relationship of the angelic to the creation when the Lord asks Job: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding, who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7). This way of understanding the role of angels in the creation makes sense of the Septuagint translation of Deuteronomy 32:8, which relates the boundaries of the nations to angelic activity as the Message translation puts it: “When the High God gave the nations their stake, gave them their place on Earth, he put each of the peoples within boundaries under the care of divine guardians.” This suggests that at least some angels are territorial and that their responsibility within that location is to advance of the kingdom of God in relationship with the people who find their way there. This makes sense in turn of the writer to the Hebrews’ point about the purpose of angels: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb 1:14).

As a follower of Jesus, this is how I understand the call or cry of the land that many people sense. It helps explain in part the way that some places seem more spiritually alive than others – what some call thin places, because the overlaying layers of the spiritual and material seem more easily discernible. I remember being hidden away in the heart of Newfoundland and sensing with great clarity the desire and delight of the angels who had been working to draw people there for generations and their brokenheartedness when the European settlers had overwhelmed and destroyed the ancient Beotuck people who could have been their partners in a new people group there. I have felt the same cry for shalom in many places. This is one way of getting beyond metaphor to understand what it means for blood to cry out from the land.

These days talk of the angelic seems far less far-fetched than it used to in the modern world of positivistic rationalism. Once you talk of the devil and fallen angels however many postmodern people [of whom I regard myself as one] can get decidedly jumpy. This is, I suppose, because the existence of good and evil sounds to some people like the assumption of some kind of organised control system of right and wrong, should and shouldn’t. However it is not necessary to have a control system or law to recognise the existence of good and evil. It can come directly from a freely given love relationship with Jesus and through him to the Father by the Holy Spirit. This is not negative control but positive advice. That’s how I take the gospel story. So if we are to co-operate with angels we need to be aware of the demonic too.

The temptation narratives in Matthew and Luke  are very informative about the relationship of the angelic and the demonic in the spiritual realm (Mtt4:1-11; Lk4:1-13). They tell of how the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil and how angels took care of Jesus while he was resisting the devil there. Jesus then returned in the power of the Spirit into the towns and villages of Palestine displaying the justice of the kingdom in his practical service to the multitude. As Luke describes this fulfilled the prophet’s words:  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind and to set free those that are oppressed. To proclaim th eyear of the Lord’s favour” (Lk4:18).  We need this wholistic coming together of labour for God’s justice together with resistance against the devil and his demons if we are to experience the kingdom of God “on earth as it is in heaven.” It seems that angels are here to help if we will connect with them.

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Responses

  1. A very helpful post, Roger.

    • Thanks for the feedback

    • I also found this very helpful.Thanks Roger

  2. oh what fun. We get to work with angels in ministering to the land – creation and all the species living there. I feel very encouraged about it all. I note that here in Piacenza a new people is being put together now as Italy has the highest percentage of immigrants of any European country. We have everyone here now – africans, chinese, eastern europeans. And together this new people will have to make choices towards a more sustainable city, one that honours creation instead of just using it. Isn’t it interesting that there is so much angelic stirring of the ethnic pot all over the earth at just this critical moment. c.

  3. That’s great Roger, thanks for posting on this topic.


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