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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood

 

Gathered by Angels

Aug. 18, 2013

And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. (Mark 13:27, NIV)

Do you believe in the existence of angels?

The Bible certainly does. It contains almost 300 references to angels and always takes their existence for granted. In fact, the Book of Revelation tells us there are “ten thousand times ten thousand” angels (5:11) and the Book of Hebrews speaks of “thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly” (12:22).

Angels are especially active in the ministry of Jesus. Not only is His birth heralded by angels (Luke 2:9-15), twelve legions of angels were at His disposal if He desired to avoid the cross (Matthew 26:53). Angels ministered to Him following His temptation (Mark 1:13). An angel strengthened Him in Gethsemane (Luke 22:43), and two angels were present at the empty tomb following His resurrection (Luke 24:1-8).

Jesus is going to return to earth in great glory and with all the angels (Matthew 25:31). What a re-entry! His return is described as being revealed in blazing fire with His powerful angels (2 Thessalonians 1:7).

The angels accompanying Jesus at His return are harvesters for all humankind. They are not only sent to gather the elect to join Jesus, they also take unbelievers to judgment (Matthew 13:41,42).

Could there be a connection with Luke 16:22 where angels carried the beggar Lazarus to Abraham’s bosom and Matthew 13:39, “The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels”?

The above passages give a prominent role to angels in transporting persons into eternity: the elect to meet Jesus, the wicked into hell, and Lazarus — representing the righteous who die before the final judgment.

You don’t have to look very hard to find numerous popular current books about angels. You will also find many books on near-death or after-death experiences. A frequent phenomenon occurs in these stories — the presence of a light. Could the existence of a light actually be an angel who has arrived to escort the individual to his or her eternal destiny?

We do know angels project powerful light. When angels appeared announcing Jesus’ birth, the glory of the Lord shined around the shepherds, and the angels at the empty tomb on the morning of the Resurrection had an appearance like lightning and clothes as white as snow (Luke 2:9, 24:4; Matthew 28:3).

We may not know for sure an angel will meet us at death, although we do know angels will escort all humans at the end of the age. But their presence with Lazarus may give us a clue. It would also explain why unsaved people, in describing near- or after-death experiences, relate that they saw a bright white light. What they may be seeing is not an angel of mercy taking them to heaven, but an angel assigned to take them to hell.

We do know angels are so powerful they cannot be resisted. The Bible often calls them “mighty.” In fact, it takes just one angel coming down out of heaven at the close of this age to manhandle the devil with a chain and personally throw him into the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-3).

There are many mysteries we would like to know. One thing is for sure — the end is coming for all of us. When Christ dispatches an angel to gather you, where will that angel take you?

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, on the day of Your appearing, I’m ready for one of Your mighty angels to take me home to be with You.

DR. GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

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