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I’m No Angel!

July 6, 2015

It’s amazing how many misunderstandings there are about what Christian faith actually teaches. How have we managed to distort and reinterpret so many of the glorious truths of the Bible? The new “truths” are never an improvement, and every misconstrued doctrine is a liability and a step further from God’s truth!

One of these has recently been brought to my attention, in connection with people dying young: “there’s another angel in heaven”. In Western culture, there seems to be a firmly rooted belief that when somebody dies – especially young people – they become angels. It features in Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as well as in innumerable jokes and cartoons. But although I can see where it’s coming from – it’s clearly an expression of comfort and hope – it’s not actually biblical.

The Bible consistently distinguishes between angels, who are pure spiritual beings, and humans who are a hybrid of flesh and spirit. We might think that for that reason, angels would come higher in the hierarchy of created beings, but not so! According to the Bible, angels are our servants (Heb 1:14), and are not offered redemption; we are created in God’s image, and Jesus became a human and died on the cross to make it possible for sinful humans to become children of God. We clearly rank higher on God’s agenda than the angels… which is why becoming an angel on death would actually be a downgrade, not a promotion!

What the Bible actually promises is immensely better: resurrection into eternal life in a renewed universe. Jesus took on human flesh and never took it off again; he returned to heaven as a human being, flesh and blood as well as spirit. And that is what we’re promised as well. Yes, at death we will experience temporary disembodiment – but that’s part of the curse, not progress, and one reason death is so terrible.

God’s victory over death involves resurrection: replacing our old bodies with new ones, which will live forever in a new universe – not just disembodied spirits but true human beings in “a new heaven and a new earth”, where there is no more sin, sickness or sorrow, and where God is completely and tangibly present at all times. The Bible describes it like this: “God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.” However interesting it might be to be an angel, God’s promise to his people goes way beyond that!

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From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

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