Picture by Jacqueline Devine
The early writings of the ancients established that they fully understood what they wrote about spiritual matters. The great depths of spiritual understanding of those ancients who preceded us is amazing. Many spoke and wrote in several languages. Many had exquisite knowledge of the spiritual world. We have only built upon their knowledge. Most of us only understand a small portion of the knowledge understood by those from our past.
We now enter a new period regarding testimony, the Bible, the inspired word of God! Broadly speaking, we may divide the Bible into four classes: historical, liturgical, theological and prophetic. Historical Angelophany are those assertions in the Bible that spirits did a specific work or bore a message. Liturgical refers to the angelic presence in divine worship such as the Psalms. The theological refers to those passages of the Bible where the heavenly spirits are mentioned as a part of the supernatural world. The prophetic describes Angels as doing great things in the mysterious future.
Without question, the Bible is considered the ultimate in spiritual writings for all Christian religions. Yet many various religious denominations interpret specific areas of the Bible differently. In fact, many are opposed to each other based on contrary beliefs. So it is no surprise that there are varying interpretations of what the Bible says about Angels.
Although every word could be challenged as to meaning, intent and contemporary jargon, matters of doctrine and faith have already been challenged by individual religions. One area which Christians share is a basic belief in Angels.
For those who may still question the Bible as a source of inspired writings about Angels, the following paragraphs are included;
The Church has always regarded the Bible as her treasure and has always taken the most practical means to make it understood by her people. During the period of the Roman Empire, the people were mostly illiterate. They heard the Bible read aloud at the services. It was read aloud by one specially ordained for the purpose, a lecturer or reader. The copies used for this purpose were naturally rare and jealously guarded. Most of the early copies were on papyrus rolls. When parchment came into use, the Emperor Constantine had fifty copies of the entire Bible made.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, illiteracy grew. Early writers continued to copy the Bible. The Church found that direct reading of it was less useful for the faithful. Other methods were used to impart knowledge of the Bible to her children. These were pictures, statues, mosaics, mystery plays and sermons.
After the invention of printing, the Church did everything to make the Bible known and loved. 'Translations were multiplied, cheap editions were issued, urging the people to read the Bible, as the subject of private prayer and meditation.
The Bible is regarded by Christians to be the inspired word of God. The Church does not allow the Divine Story to be explained away in unbelief. The Church does not teach that all the narratives in the Sacred Books are to be taken literally. Sometimes, it was intended by the writer to be metaphorical or allegorical. The Bible is God's letter to us, inspired but not dictated by Him. Written by many authors in different times and places, telling us the good news of our salvation.
In the New Testament Jesus Christ Himself says that David "was moved by the Holy Spirit to say, the Lord said to my Master." (MK 12:36) "Did you never read what God Himself said?" (MAT 22:31 32) "You pour over the Scriptures, thinking to find eternal life in them and indeed, it is of these I speak as bearing witness to me." (JN 5:39) "The words of Scripture have binding force." (JN 10:35) "Everything in the Scripture has been divinely inspired." (2 TIM 3:16)
Scriptures frequently claim to be divine in their origin. In both the Old and New Testaments there are passages which are described as coming from God. For example: "and the Lord said to Moses: Write this for a memorial in a book." (EX 17:14) "And the Lord said to Moses: Write thee these words by which I have made a covenant both with thee and with Israel." (EX 34:27)
At least 150 times the expression, "The Scripture says," or its equivalent occurs. This attributes to the Scriptures Divine authority.
These texts from Scripture are exceedingly clear. However, they cannot possibly be our sole proof that the Bible is the inspired word of God.
Consider that the Bible is infinitely superior to all other sacred books. The most searching criticism has proved it to be always historically accurate, and that it is supernatural in character. These facts are not the only criteria for determining the inspiration of the sacred books.
To prove conclusively that the Bible is inspired, you must first consider the Gospels as historical books only, abstracting from the fact of their inspiration. These historical documents tell us of a certain historical person who said He was God. He justified that claim by works which no mere man could do. He said that he would establish an infallible Church that would last to the end of time.
We prove Christ's life and works from historical documents. We prove His divinity from His life and works.
The Gospels are authentic and can be proved from evidence from various Christian and non-Christian sources. Outside the text of the documents themselves, this evidence is strongly supported by evidence of the actual text.From the second century there exists an unbroken line of Christian writers who state explicitly that there are four Gospels. Those written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. it is possible to put together the greater part of the Gospels merely from quotations found in the early Christian writers from the first century. The Latin version and the Syrian version dating from the second century have Gospels identical in form with what we read today.
Even non-Christian writers of the second century, heretics, believed the Gospels to be authentic. They tried to change the text to fit with their own false teachings. They still accepted the apostolic origin of the Gospels.
The Jews observe observe silence regarding the life of Christ and cannot discredit the Gospels. Moreover, the Jewish historian, Josephus, mentions Christ and confirms the Gospel account.
At least four pagan writers of the first two centuries (Pliny, Tacitus, Suetonius and Celsus about 62 A.D.) give evidence in favor of the authenticity of the Gospels.
Copies of the originals are still in existence and date back to the fourth and fifth centuries.
"Many have been at pains to set forth the history of what time has brought to fulfillment among us, following the traditions of those first eyewitnesses who gave themselves up to the service of the world " (LUK 1: 1 -14)
Today, we can read several Christian versions of the Bible. Some versions actually have several books deleted. Some have been simplified to make the reading and understanding easier. All, even those deleting documents, convey the message of God's love for us. All contain the message for our salvation through Jesus Christ and describe Angels and their purpose.