Deathisdefeated

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Are Angels real spiritual beings in our New Testament and can they still manifest to humans today?

I have been reading some of the posts about whether or not Satan was a real spiritual being or rather just the manifestation of evil in the hearts of man (or possibly the Jewish pharisees, those against God, the adversary, etc. if I understood the alternatives to his being real correctly?), and in doing so there was some discussion about angels as well.  I felt the need to start a new thread devoted to angels to keep it separate from a satan thread.

First, I am not sure why if Satan is considered unlikely to be a separate entity, Angels would also have to be not a true entity?  If Angels aren't real then who came to Mary and Joseph and the Shepherds?  As well as other events, such as the tomb on resurrection morning?  

It is a two part question, because regardless of answers to the first question, I am very interested for a specific reason, as to what people who understand Preterism much better than I, think about the likelihood of the manifestation of Angels to people now in this present New Covenant Age?   

I am learning a lot here and am very open to viewpoints on this, but have a very hard time believing that Angels are not real.  One thing I will point out is how Christ was said to have been made a little lower than the Angels and also how we are told we will be like the angels (not given in marriage etc.) in heaven. 

I am sorry I do not know scripture verses to quote exactly like others here seem to… I know the basics but have to go searching for most of them… are there links here that might help me find them?  I notice that people post scripture and when you mouse over it the scripture shows up without having to leave the page but I don't know how to do that.  

I am learning so much here and thank you all for your time in helping me understand what is a very different way of understanding scripture from what I have ever been taught, but one I am finding very enlightening, and it is removing so many old seeming contradictions!  

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Hi again Joy.  You make some very good points, and there are a lot of tough passages that talk about Angels.  I myself have never experienced any type of "visitation", however my mother says she has..  It came to her as a light, and she totally believes it was from God, maybe an Angel.  I'm still skeptical, but I don't deny someone's experience.  I'm mainly trying to make sense of the scriptures based on my current understanding.  

Some of these topics are tough to jump right into, as a new believer in fulfilled (or covenant) eschatology.  I would keep learning what you can and try not to worry too much about some of these other things, it's a lot to digest all at once.  This site goes back 6 or 7 years and has a lot of great threads and blogs that hopefully can answer a lot of questions, or at least get you started in the right direction.  To me, the most important thing is getting a grasp on the nature and timing of redemption, and it sounds like you are well on your way.  

As far as Angels, I believe they are mainly God's messengers.  God uses real people to bring His message.  The bible sometimes describes them as angelic beings from other realm.  I don't doubt that this is possible, but I think mainly the bible is using symbolic and metaphorical language to describe something we would normally see in the common world.  With that said, I don't have a lot of answers on some of the tougher passages that you mentioned, like the "heavenly host" in Luke 2.  There are others here who might have answers and hopefully they will chime in.  

As far as scripture references in your posts, just type them out like you normally would and the site will turn them into links..  Example:  John 3:16

Blessings.

Thank you for your quick reply Brian.  I do appreciate it.  All of this is pretty earth-shattering to someone new to full preterism!  I actually would never even try to look into it after I first became a partial preterist… because I, like so many other partial preterists, thought I knew what FP thought and so I thought it was heretical.  I simply didn't think it worth my time to check it out.  However, the more I studied the Olivet Discourse and Revelation, the slippery the slope became and I decided to go find a good full preterist site and see what I could learn.  I have been amazed at how wrong I was, to say the least!  I think God led me to just the right site, because there are certainly a lot of very well studied people on this site who understand scripture so well.  It hasn't taken me long to see there is a lot of good stuff behind the FP paradigm, and it is not heretical to me any longer.  I still have lots to learn and not sure how far I will go with it, but am thinking at the very least that all prophecy is fulfilled. 

For now, I see the viewpoint of Satan as either he was a real being (now gone), or he is a spirit of adversary that may be in the heart of all men, naturally (but that would mean he is still around in this age and not gone since man still has a spirit of adversary), so maybe he is the Jewish Pharisees, etc.  And maybe it doesn't really matter which is correct.  However, I have a hard time understanding Angels that way since I can't see who could have manifested to Mary or Joseph etc., other than an angel.  

As you may have guessed there is another reason for my being unable to accept that angels are not real.  It is a supernatural story I will save for another time, but I have no doubt that an angel manifested to my best friend 7 years before her death… as everything the angel told her would happen, came true just as he said it would. Like I said, a story for another time, but it was her death that set me on this course of searching the bible for truth and no longer depending on what the man in the pulpit told me.  I look forward to more study with all of you!

 John 14:27  Just trying it out with my favorite bible verse!  Looking forward to learning what more it may mean than I have ever understood before!  Thanks again!

I guess I did something wrong… my John 14:27 didn't turn into a link? So I tried underlining it to see if that worked. Nope.

The site gives you 15 minutes to edit your posts, then they will turn into links.  It's a link now, mouse over and you will see..  Blessings!

That is beautiful Joy!  I have always wanted Angel visitation to be true!  It's never happened to me personally, but there is this thing inside me that "wants" it to be true.  Call it "evidence" that God exists, whatever..  :)

For now, I believe that Satan was that "adversary in the heart of men" that manifested itself over the course of the OT.  Again, the ancient Eastern mind was very different than the way we think today. They talked of these things as if they were common thinking in their time, but it sounds very foreign to us today. 

Continue on your path, the full preterist hermeutic will lead to some real challenging paradigms, your mind will be in flux, but I believe it is the correct paradigm.  Hang in there and continue to contemplate, and of course let the scriptures be your ultimate source for truth and understanding.  

Blessings.

You are so right about what the angel's visit to my friend did for my faith....it has been like the absolute proof to my soul that Christ is Lord! Sadly, when my friend (a new Christian at the time with some difficulties in her life) first told me of the visit, I tried to tell her it must have been a dream. The angel told her he was sent by Jesus and had prophesied to her about her death before her daughter's 16th birthday (her daughter was 8 at the time) The angel showed my friend a vision of herself in a hospital room, kept alive by machines, with her daughter, a young beautiful teenager with long hair, sitting at her side. He instructed her of things to do to prepare her child for the day she would die. My friend had been very emotional prior to the angels visit, crying out in anguish to Jesus for direction in her life. I am actually the one who led my friend to know The Lord (she was brought up Muslim) and yet when she told me this I thought she had just cried herself to sleep and it had been a dream. She insisted it was not but said he also gave her perfect peace and she accepted His will. I had a daughter the same age and could not fathom how angry I would feel to know I had to leave her so young and I just couldn't accept Jesus would put that burden on her (though he gave her the peace of John 14:27). In time we never spoke of it again though we remained very close friends and I even forgot all about it (which I also think was divinely hidden from my mind). So when she had a brain aneurysm 7 years later when her daughter was 15 (she had been driven all those years invested in her daughter's life) and she now lay on life support in a hospital with a large glass window and her daughter with very long hair often sat at her side, alone during that week, it was exactly as she had described the scene to me that the angel showed her. However, it was still hidden from my mind and so I prayed for healing and tried to claim it by faith...also hoping her healing would convert a mutual friend of ours who is agnostic. I prayed so hard, never remembering the angel visit during the week she was on machines, (thus my belief it had indeed been hidden from my mind by God). I was devastated when she passed and angry, yes even at God. Two days later I went to church, still angry and grumbling in my spirit to God as to why! The praise singing began and I was moved and knew I needed to praise God despite my anger and loss, so I did. Within moments of praising Him the floodgates opened and the memories of that conversation from 7 years before about the angel's visit washed through me like a flood....overwhelming me and forcing me to my seat, breathless. I sat with my head in my hands, weeping quietly and praying for more recall throughout the rest of the service...My family just thinking I was grieving for Nadia. I was, but I was also grieving for myself...for my failures as a believer and as her friend because I had not believed. I was no longer mad at God but very angry at myself! I wrote a poem for her memorial that I shared and I was the only one who spoke there who really emphasized her Christian faith. The poem had double meanings hidden within it but I knew it wasn't something to openly share completely that day. I have since shared it with her daughter and husband (and he recalled her telling him about it as well but he too had brushed it off as emotionalism). I then dove into the bible in a way I had never done in my Christian lifetime (saved at age 10) beginning with a study on angels and then finding myself desiring so badly for Christ to return and take us all where I knew Nadia was! I began to study Revelation (in my indoctrinated dispensational premillennial mode of thinking). It didn't take me long to see something was wrong with what I had been taught...one reading through the book actually and I knew stuff didn't fit, but I worked hard for two years trying to make it fit until finally, I allowed myself to seriously look at the one possibility I had been refusing to consider, amillennialism, and once I accepted that I was on the path to partial Preterism, and now I am here! And, as different as it is from what I used to believe, I am glad to be here because it is truth and that is all I want...God's truth not man's.

Anyway I really didn't mean to go into all of that now but it just seemed the right time afterall. I do thank you Brian, and blessings to you as well!

Joy, that is quite a story..  Thank you for sharing.  

Your path to full preterist is not unlike mine.  I started studying the bible on my own, and found so many passages that didn't "fit" with what I was taught.  I knew there was a lot more going on in the scriptures than what I was hearing..  Unfortunately today, church is more of a business and pastors make way too much money, so the message has to be "tight" and easy.   And sadly, most people like sheep just follow what they are taught and don't dig deeper.  But I've always been a searcher and would not accept their blanket answers.  So here I am now, with my main fellowship on the internet!  I do thank God for the internet!  :)

I do too because without the internet I don't know if I would have ever had the courage to see the full truth and go against what so many learned theologians were saying but then when you realize many smart men and woman have so many differences of opinion even in orthodoxy you wonder if they can all be that smart afterall. it is just sad we have to be a virtual church of sorts....I wish we could have local church bodies who accepted this belief as orthodox even if they disagreed somewhat. Maybe one day, do you think?

I would love that, but I'm not holding my breathe.  ;)

Joy, since you first started this blog, can I ask you to share what your conclusion is today about the existence of angels?

I am also a fairly new to Full Preterism and most of my activity as a FP has been on Facebook.  I have asked those there, who do not believe in demons, to explain the encounter where Jesus healed a man from Gadara, possessed by demons. This is known as "the exorcism of the Gerasene demoniac" and is found in Mark 5. I am not impressed by the fact that apart from one person nobody has offered an explanation to the traditional interpretation.

Consider: Jesus cast out the demons from the demoniac and, at the request of the demons themselves, they went into the pigs. The view that these demons are not real, creates a problem for me when I read this account, to wit: 

1. Jesus never once denied the existence of Satan or fallen angels or demons.
2. He addressed the demons directly and asked for their name
3. He cast them out of the demoniac into the pigs.
4. The request for Him to do so did not come from the man but from the demons. 


If they were not real demons then Jesus is guilty of:  

1. colluding with a delusion which is based on a lie
2. practicing deception by pretending to do something that did not actually happen. It was, in other words, a complete charade.
3. Jesus pretended to talk to demons (He did not talk directly to the man). If the demons were purely the figment of the demoniac;s unstable mind, then what Jesus did, did not serve to break that delusion but served to actually reinforce it.
4. Jesus will have known that He was about to wreck the livelihood of poor pig farmers 

I hope you can understand my dilemma Joy. I cannot believe these conclusions would be true of the Son of God. 

PS. I should add that despite what I have written above, I am not fully persuaded that Satan is/was a real being. A fallen angel was not the serpent in the Garden. The serpent (as he came to be called?) was an intelligent and attractive creature, likened to a beast of the field - but that's another issue. :). 

I look forward to your response and the response of others.
  

Brian, I may not be the best person to answer the question about angels and biblical proofs of such, since there is nothing that will likely convince me that they are not real supernatural beings that God created and uses in our world even today, because of the real life experience I shared above. That said, I really moved on to other areas of study and have not given much time to trying to prove from scripture that angels exist. I will say that I can not imagine how the angels at the tomb or the angels that visited Mary and Joseph could be anything other than what the bible seems to say they are. No one has yet given me any answers for how those angels could simply be human messengers or even simple visions planted in their minds, either awake or asleep.

I think the bible is full of times where humans were given glimpses into the spiritual realm and I fully believe that heaven is all around us, we just can't normally see it. Some glimpses are indeed vision, such as most of Revelation, given for its powerful symbolic truths, but sometimes it may be real spiritual events and angels are among them.

As for Satan and demons, I tend to think that there is something more to those evil spirits than just the adversity in the heart of man, but I also think they are no more and have been forever put into the lake of fire never to affect us today in the New Covenant, not even the lost are affected by demons, but we all still contend with a fleshly heart in this realm that needs constant attention, but thankfully no condemnation. I do think the Pharisees were likely considered to be demonic by Christ and in a sense were the fulfillment of the body of evil from the body of Adam, but just not sure if it is only symbolic or both symbolic and literal as far as demons being inside those Pharisees. I agree with you that the demons that possessed people then were not just illnesses like epilepsy, or otherwise why would we still have epilepsy in people today, etc.

My thoughts are not from much deep study of the bible or the cultural understanding of the time or the Greek or Hebrew etc, however, so do take it with a grain of salt and hopefully others who have studied in depth this issue will chime in.

I thank you so much for replying Joy and explaining where you are at. I can identify with a lot of what you say because I am in the same boat when it comes to biblical interpretive expertise.

I just want to say that I have read the Bible countless times and felt I had a pretty good understanding of what it teaches on any subject overall but in recent years as I have been introduced to a FP approach I have had to discard some established views. 

I do think this is an important subject that you have raised but confess at present I am uncertain what to believe and am keeping an open mind. 


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