Angels We have Heard and Seen
A number of religions were started by angels, Mormonism, Islam and it certainly looked like the genuine thing to the recipients. Without honestly testing the appearances of apparitions one is left to believe whatever they experience as being from God. In this current so called Revival that is expanding in Lakeland, we have testimony by participants of encountering angels. Not since the book “Angels on Assignment” by the Hunters has the church had such interest and pursued contact with angels. It is as if Bentley is starting a new religion with scraps of Christianity in it.
Bentley’s ministry is concentrated on angelic visitations, encouraging others to do the same by teaching his own experiences of contact with the angels- called an open heaven. This is a dangerous precedent, offering his (counterfeit) experiences to others. The reason one can say they are counterfeit is because Biblically they are foreign to how Scripture describes interaction with these beings. Because his is not a biblical teaching, it actually puts people in the unfortunate position of being visited by angels of light. Fallen angels who come to deliver new revelation and deceive by experience. Revelation from an audible voice, supernatural dreams or visions, communication of angels all have to be tested by the Scripture as if your life depends on it, because it does.
Bentley claims to be visited in Dec. 2000 by an angel who said “I am a healing angel . . . You are going to take miracles, signs and wonders around the world.” “I was with William Branham.” The prophetic movement is said to be started by a woman angel named “Emma,” which the Bible certainly has nothing to say about. This same fallen angel is said to be working with Bentley.
Todd Bentley states: “Angelic Visitations: We know in scripture that angels are referred to as ministering spirits and messengers. Through out the bible we see numerous directions given, messages and intervention by angels. Why not today? Visitations Of the Lord: This is simply when Jesus visits his servants as when Moses and Elijah visited Jesus on the mountain. I know that the Lord comes to his people today. Yes if he came to the disciples for 4o days and 40 nights after his death and resurrection. He can make selected visits now and has.
Translations and transportations: I want to make a difference here between translations and transportations. Translations are when the spirit is when one goes in spirit but transportations are when the body, soul and spirit go.
Acts 8:39 39) And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
We also have Elijah the prophet in 2 Kings 2 and an example of Enoch be transported right into heaven. For Enoch walked with God and he was not.
“We can also only assume that is there is a third heaven, and then there must be a first and second heaven. In Gen 1:1 the bible declares: In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth. Heavens is plural, more than one heaven. The bible also says Jesus ascended to the highest heights of heaven. I would describe the first heaven as the natural realm. The second heaven is the realm where angelic and demonic activity takes place and is recorded in Eph 6. The third heaven is the realm where God dwells, the immediate presence of God or paradise. The third heaven is one of if not the highest level of revelation and prophetic experience. When we are taken into this place it is more than a vision where I know I was still in my home or church while I had it. When taken into the spirit or caught up, you know you are in another place and it is so real that when you are aware of your natural surroundings again. You find yourself like Paul "Whether or not I was in my Body or not I do not know". He said that twice in a few verses. You will ask yourself did I really go? Or was it in the mind and its impact will never fade. I was taken into the spirit several times and quite I will feel my body be sucked up like a vacuum. I will immediately shake and feel myself hurled through space and time. I have even seen and felt myself leave the earth, travel through the stars and flash of bright light and I am somewhere. Did my physical body go? Never that I know but when I find myself aware of where I was before I went I know I was in another place. All my emotions are heighten and involved in a caught up experience and most times I feel my self go.” ( http://www.etpv.org/2002/aohe.html An Open Heaven Todd Bentley Ministering Under An Open Heaven Sep 23, 2002 )
What’s the problem with what Bentley is saying? First of all he is taking a few rare instances in the Scripture and making it normative. Thus, his teaching of an open heaven, a bridge from earth to heaven and heaven to earth is open. Let’s look at each of his fallacious arguments separately.
Bentley- Moses and Elijah visited Jesus on the mountain. Yes, they were summoned by God. These two prophets are representative of all the prophets in the Old Testament and discussed the very purpose Jesus came to earth, all that prophets prophesied of- his death and resurrection. The Father and His glory were also there, and the Son showed His glory to his three closest disciples. There was a specific purpose for this to take place. This revelation is not repeated ever again to anyone. So why should we expect it to take place today again?
Bentley- “I know that the Lord comes to his people today. Yes if he came to the disciples for 4o days and 40 nights after his death and resurrection. He can make selected visits now and has”
Jesus before he ascended to heaven stayed 40 days to further train his apostles after his resurrection, teaching them the foundation that they would lay for the church. He did not come from heaven but was still on earth, so this is a non sequitur argument. After His ascension the Lord appeared one more time in glory to appoint the last apostle. Paul saw a light, he heard him speak from heaven but he did not see a human form. Paul says in 1 Cor.15:8 he is the last of all people to see the Lord. Jesus is at the right hand of the Father just as Steven saw him in a vision, until he returns for all the church at the same time. He is not making special trips to earth, especially to those who teach falsely about him. This false idea of Jesus visiting people includes a parade of people from the word faith teachings. It seems that Jesus always picks to visit those who have false, wacky doctrines. Kenneth Hagin, Jesse Duplantis, Roberts Lairdon, Benny Hinn, and Sung Myung Moon, etc..
“We also have Elijah the prophet in 2 Kings 2 and an example of Enoch be transported right into heaven.” These two rare events are separated by thousands of years, and both happened to a prophets, one whom God used to write the Scripture. They never came back and wrote a book or toured telling their story. Bentley misapplies these events to be something that should be found in everyday Christianity.
Some cite that there were chariots of fire were seen all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:15-17) so we can see the angels. This true, but it was a one time event that never repeated itself again in Elisha'sj life nor any other prophet throughout the Old Testament."And Elijah prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he might 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. (II Kings 6:17). So did Elisha pray every time to see angels? No. He never prayed this again. He is the only one who participated in this one of a kind revelation.
Our conclusion is that this is an unusual one time answer to Elijah’s prayer that the Bible records to give us all insight (by faith) that there is a real spiritual war going on around us. He did not have an experience with the angels but was allowed to see that they were more than the enemy, it gave him faith in God.
What about entertaining angels? Hebrews 13:1-2: “Let brotherly love continue Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”
This passage does not necessarily mean angels are constantly among us, for it can also be translated messengers, as in those who bring the gospel (the context is about caring for brethren). But if it does include angelic beings, it can in no way be used the way Bentley explains his supernatural adventures, for it implies that they do not make themselves known.
Bentley says “I’m releasing it back to where it all started in 1948 I’m releasing it back.” Y’know I told the lord why can’t I just move in healing and forget talking about all that other stuff, he said because Todd, you got to get the people to believe in the angel. I said, God why do I want the people to believe In the angel instead about getting the people to believe in Jesus, he said the people already believe in Jesus but the church doesn’t believe in the supernatural. The church has no problem believing in Jesus what we don’t believe in is the supernatural we don’t believe in angels, we don’t believe in the prophetic.” (source: http://healtheland.wordpress.com/2008/05/23/todd-bentley-jesus-christ-is-not-supernatural-but-angels-are/
He calls himself an evangelist- to preach angels? And this is said to him by God! What apostle was ever taught this? Can you find this taught to the church? Why is this strangely missing? The comment of 1948 is about the Latter Rain- this is our answer- new revelation. Maybe if the church was taught the Bible we would believe these things in their correct manner, which is not what Bentley is leading people into at all.
Jesus spoke a lot about angels at the end of the age Matthew 13:41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend (Mt.13:49; 16:27; 24:31, 25:31). The Bible also tells us in the end of the age it will be just as in the days of Noah. One of the more significant events taking place beside the increase of sinfulness which resulted in violence is an increase in angelic visitations (Gen.6).
For believers God does assign angels to guard us, protect us from harm, they stay invisible to us.There are only a few accounts in the New Testament of angels interacting with man. Contrary to the promoters of angelic appearances these creatures mostly work behind the scene fulfilling God’s divine will, not revealing themselves to us. In the Old Testament “The Angel of the Lord” gave revelation and visions or dreams to the prophets and Israel i.e Ezekiel. There are a few occurrences with Daniel that Gabriel the angel appeared and explained to him the details of the vision he had from the Lord (Dan.8:19; 10:6). Bentley’s experiences are neither biblical nor believable. There is no comparison. In fact Bentley refers to Rick Joyner's book, The Final Quest where a story of angels has similarities but does not agree with the Bible at all. So he he has a variety of influences to form his ideas.
Branham believed the angel that came to him was THE Angel of the Lord from the Old Testament (whose name is Emma according to Bob Jones). “The Angel of The Lord stood right here before several hundred people. And now He's doing something real supernatural now, too. So we're just expecting great things” (The Revelation of the Seven Seals p.180).
In Hebrew “The Angel of the Lord,” is called Malach Yahweh (The messenger of Yahweh). These appearances in the Old Testament are called theophanies (God appearances). The term "the angel of the Lord" is an Old Testament reference to the pre-incarnate Christ, (the Son of God). This Angel is an ambassador who has God’s name attached to his title, as He is called the Lord himself. For example in Gen.22:1-16: “Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD” It is in Ex.3:2 this angels identity is clear when Moses encounters the Lord at the burning bush. “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and V.4: “And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And He said, Here am I. In v. 6 This angel identifies himself “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
God said, “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. “ Exodus 23:20 He is called the angel of God Exodus 14:19 the angel of his presence Isa. 63:6.
Much of the angelic appearances found in the Old Testament were to protect and fight for Israel, the Angel of the Lord camped around Israel (Psalms 34:7).
If you hear people say they are visited today by “The Angel of the Lord,” they are not. He was the pre-incarnate Jesus who came as a messenger from heaven (like an angel) in Old Testament times. In the New Testament he took up a body and this is why we do not see or hear of The Angel of the Lord in the New Testament any longer. The Angel of the Lord is not longer appearing; he hasn’t for nearly 2,000 years since Jesus took a human body. It seems that the angel Emma being referred to as "the Angel of the Lord" is a lying spirit.
In the Latter Rain movement Branham said He was visited by the Angel of the Lord. Paul Cain said “the Angel of the Lord” visited him for the first time when he was 8. There is a difference of an angel of the Lord and the Angel of the Lord.
Cindy Jacob’s spoke of her experience with The Angel of the Lord at the end of Dutch Sheets message, at the National School of the Prophetic, Colorado Springs, CO., on 1/29/99. "…The Angel of the Lord has come into our midst and he showed me a vision… (the same angel that came to me in 1984 and I saw the finger of God outline South America in fire)… and the Lord spoke to me. The same angel that appeared to a young prophet in Argentina in a 30 foot pillar of flame,” … I was in Columbia with Bill and Evelyn Hamon. Before I went to the platform, The Angel of the Lord came. I didn’t see him, but I heard him. He said, "I am here" …. I said, "Lord how will I know it is really The Angel of the Lord?" (We were in a stadium of about 14,000.) "To show you I am here, when you stand in front and raise your right hand every one will fall under the power." I didn’t tell anyone and when I raised my right hand everyone fell under the power and then he stood in front of me and spoke to me of the revival in Columbia.”
This is her testing and proof- a demonstration of sheer power, neglecting that the angel of the Lord is no longer valid according to teaching from the Bible. No apostle, no one in the New Testament saw The Angel of the Lord.
The mention of Angels is found over 200 times in the scripture. They are mentioned in almost every book of the Bible, 34 out of the 66 books and letters. 118 times in 18 books of the Old Testament 115 times in 15 books of the New Testament.
So in answer to Bentleys question “why not today?” God’s Holy Angels do not commonly show themselves and it is quite unusual even in the New Testament times. God used an angel to reveal to Zacharias, his child would be the forerunner to declare the Messiah is coming and reveal him to Israel. Mary and Joseph were given the news of the coming birth of Christ. But nowhere are we told to anticipate angels or pursue having an encounter with them. We are NOT told to look for angelic appearances or pray for them. Bentley’s teachings prove he has nearly no grasp on the meaning of Scripture and what it means in context. Those who experience messages contrary to the Bible by being visited by an Angel, we can safely consider are not angels from heaven, but angels of light which Paul warned are transformed fallen angels (demons) 2 Cor.11:14. God’s angels are not sent as teachers but messengers or ministers. They do not come to stay and teach but come and go quickly.
In Lk.1:11 the New Testament introduces us to an angelic visitation to Zechariah, he is told his wife would give birth to the forerunner of the Messiah, John. The reason we have angels appearing, it is with those directly associated to the Messiah or His ministry. These encounters are not always seen, and the experience is nothing like what Bentley describes.
In Luke (1:26-38) Gabriel appears to Mary with the news that she would conceive and give birth to a son and they have a conversation" and you are to give him the name Jesus." Mary's reaction was "How can this be? I am still a virgin"; the angel's reply was "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason the holy child to be born will be called the Son of God."
Notice he did not make her conceive, and the content of his message surrounded the Messiah. It is for this reason he appeared to her.
Angels are seen by shepherds in the field announcing the birth of the Messiah Lk.2:9. Mt.1:20 Joseph is warned in a dream to flee. Mt.2:19 Joseph again in a dream is told to have them come back from Egypt to Israel because its safe.
After Jesus was tempted by the Devil three times Matthew 4:11:“Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”
Bentley mentions the Jn.5 incident of a healing waters and angel many, many times. So it would be important to look at what he says and what the Bible teaches on this matter. “Everywhere I have seen this angel the miracles continue after I leave and a healing well is established in that church and in that city. When that angel visits, we have another John 5 Pool of Bethesda experience as God releases His approval. That is why God repeatedly visits Jesus throughout His life to place His stamp of approval on every stage. After we start to examine this topic, it's easy to see how important angels were throughout Scripture” (ANGELIC HOSTS by Revivalist Todd Bentley).
“First, I'm going to describe different angels and some experiences I have had with these beings. At times I've had visitations from a healing angel like the one which stirred the waters at the pool of Bethesda” (ibid.)
“Next, my spirit was quickened when I read about the angel in the Bible—John Chapter 5. The word says there was a pool called Bethesda (v. 2) and multitudes of lame, blind, sick would come there and at a certain time, an angel of the Lord would come down and stir the waters. Whoever could get into the pool first would be healed. I started to understand the angel described in John Chapter 5 was one of many thousands of angels that are in heaven that are called to bring healing, not just through ministries, but in cities and in nations. This revelation resonated within me and in January, 1999 I was taken into the heavens and saw over 100 healing pools. I thought of several famous healing evangelists and also the Toronto Blessing and the revival in Pensacola. So I said, “Lord what are you saying?” He said, “I am going to release angels” (DISCERNING THE CALL OF GOD by Revivalist Todd Bentley - [as edited by Kathy Thorne] Part 2 of 2).
“In one service I saw heaven open, it was like a hole tore open in the air and I saw a glory light like a pillar come out of this portal. Then I saw a 14-20 foot angel in the pulpit by the name of healing revival. At that time God spoke to me that this Angel was like the Angel (John 5: 1-4) that came down at a certain season to stir the waters of the pool of Bethesda.” (Todd Bentley Ministering Under An Open Heaven, Sep. 23, 2002 "http://www.etpv.org/2002/aohe.html).
In John 5:4-9: “For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.” V.6-9: “When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me." Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.”
This does not have any human interaction, the angel came and stirred the water and left, he did not speak to anyone. Jesus’ healing has absolutely nothing to do with the pool or the angel. He does not help the man into the pool but offers him healing directly. He sees he is desperate and has lost hope. He appeals to his apathetic will offering him the solution. We should take notice, not everyone was healed, this one man is the only one healed. We can see Bentley has completed missed the meaning of the passage and put the emphasis on angels that heal instead of Jesus that heals. For Jesus did not endorse the pool healings but instead offered to heal the man himself. Contrary to what Bentley claims, it is not the Lord that is saying this is the same angel at Bethseda, that He is going to release angels to heal or send angels of healing revival. Bentley’s point is clear as he has connected this with Toronto and Pensacola and the Healing Rooms.
There were very few appearances of angels in Jesus’ life. After he was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:11). Lk.22:43 an angel was sent by God (not man) to strengthen Jesus in Gethsemane at his suffering. Angels appear at the tomb to roll the stone away from the tomb Mt.28:2, 5. Mary saw two angels at the tomb Jn.20:12.
Only a few of the apostles had encountered angels and they were sent for specific reasons. In the ministry of the apostles we have in Acts 5:19; 6:15;12 “an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, three times. Acts 12:5-11 Peter was in prison, the church was praying for him V. 6 And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, "Arise quickly!" And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, "Gird yourself and tie on your sandals"; and so he did. And he said to him, "Put on your garment and follow me." So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.”
Paul recounts “For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.' Acts 27:23-25
The angels give instruction, there are no long conversations Acts 8:2 “Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza”
The angels are sent to comfort and minister, to protect the saints (Hebrews 2:16), especially the apostles who were the leaders to the church in its infancy.
Acts 10:3-7: “an angel of God In a vision came to "Cornelius!" And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, lord?" So he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do." And when the angel who spoke to him had departed.”
As believers in Jesus we have the pattern in the New Testament and what Bentley teaches is far removed from this. Revelations by an angel were rarely given and it was to an apostle for specific reasons. In this case, it was to officially bring the gentiles into the Body of Christ. Acts 10:9-17 Peter goes the housetop to pray, V.10 He became hungry “he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean." And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common." This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house” They show up at the house where Peter is "Cornelius the centurion (Acts 10:22) as divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you." Peter had no contact with the angel, but Cornelius did. The Lord was speaking to Peter while the angel was arranging the meeting with Cornelius.
An angel judged Herod, because the people kept shouting, "The voice of a god and not of a man!" Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God” (Acts 12:22-23.) He was unseen.
In the book of Revelation the majority of angels are sent to do God’s judgments and are mostly behind the scene and are not visible nor do they visit men. John who is the last living apostle is given this vision and is able to see heaven as an angel is sent to him. Revelation 1:1-2 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants--things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.”
For the most part the angels are so astounding in appearance that those who see them tremble; they often begin their message with the words “Fear not” (Matt. 28:2-5).There are some angels you never want to meet, as the angelic war consummates at the end of the age “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9) there is a time coming when the devil and ALL his angels will be stuck on earth
1 Pt.3:22: “is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having made subject to Him.”
Angels are not subject to us but to Jesus who is OUR LORD. And we are subject to HIM.
Bentley says instead, “I'll go and preach and have an incredible revival because I say, “God, let the harvest angels come with me. There are people who are going to inherit salvation. I don't want the Devil and darkness to prevail over the crusade, so I release the angels right now. I loose them in heaven now in Jesus name.”(ANGELIC HOSTS by Revivalist Todd Bentley).
He is using what he thinks is his authority of binding and loosing which has absolutely nothing to do with this.
As we look over nearly all the incidents in the New Testament we find what Bentley describes as missing. There are just a few contacts with angelic beings and they have specific purposes at a specific time because Jesus was among the people.
To come in contact with angelic creatures has to be discerned for if they are not sent by God to have as mission as angels do, then they are fallen angels with the purpose to deceive.
An Open Heaven- Bentley's Highway to Heaven- A closer look at his many visitations and trips to heaven, how they are NOT biblical.