What’s Behind the Sudden Craze over Angels
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2004|
|Angels have become very popular in today’s culture. Are these the “good” angels we find mentioned in the Bible? Or are they “bad” angels—demons—bent on deceiving humans? Read some of the messages these angels are giving, then decide for yourself.|
What’s Behind the Sudden Craze over Angels?
In its December 27, 1993 issue, Time magazine commented, “If there is such a thing as a universal idea, common across cultures and through the centuries, the belief in angels comes close to it” (p. 58). Polls indicate that almost three out of four adult Americans, including teenagers, believe in angels. At one point, five of the ten books on Publishers Weekly best-seller list dealt with the subject of angels and six prime time TV specials have captivated millions.
But what is most noteworthy about the modern, popular angels is their dissimilarity when compared with the biblical angels. The popular angels of today deny Christ’s teachings, are related to the modern channeling movement and the world of the occult, seek to possess people, are very concerned about the environment in a pantheistic/nature worship sense, engage in distorting the Scriptures in their revelations, appear in near-death experiences, and perhaps not surprisingly, are very concerned with self-esteem/self-love teachings, the practice of divination and the “faith”/positive confession movement.
For example, consider one popular angel book in which the author tells us, “The angels are extremely practical in showing us our false beliefs.” Yet, the angel’s teachings proceed to distort what Scripture teaches. Concerning the greatest commandment (Matt. 22:37), the angel tells us, “Start with the first and greatest commandment, which is to love the Lord Self with every particle of feeling you have….” Or consider the following personal meditation provided by the angels, “All that God is, I AM…I AM divine purity…I AM perfect love…I AM the peace that goes beyond understanding…I AM omnipotent…I AM perfect judgment… the I AM THAT I AM…for I AM the joy of the world.”
In our article next month, we will examine and document why we believe that millions of Americans are currently being deceived by this modern fascination with angels.
What Are the Dangers to the Church?
Recent polls indicate that almost three out of four adult Americans, including teenagers, believe in angels. That’s a whopping two hundred million people! In late 1993 Time magazine noted that five of the ten books on the religious best-seller list for Publishers Weekly were about angels, and currently there are some 200 books either in print or being rushed to print on the subject. At least half a dozen one to two hour national prime-time specials on angels have also captivated millions of people.
In one sense, this is really nothing new; the spiritism that has been making its way into the American mainstream for the past 25 years has simply been repackaged in a more benevolent light. Put another way, the recent angel craze is simply occultism with a divine twist marketed under new management, so to speak.
How do we know that the popular angels are not who they claim to be? Because their activities and teachings reveal their true identity. Not only do these angels function in the manner similar or identical to occult spirit guides, they are contacted through traditional occult methods.
Thus, the teachings of the angels given in popular angel literature are no different than the teachings found in modern channeled literature. For example, “You and God are one” and “all religions…worship the same God.”
Again, this is nothing new. It is the fallen angels which the Bible identifies as demons or evil spirits that have been behind the majority of false religious beliefs of humankind. For example, “angels” were predominant in either the origin or sustenance of most major world religions, such as Islam (the “Angel Gabriel” who gave the revelations in the Qur’an), Hinduism and Buddhism. “Angels” are influential in cults as well. In Mormonism it was the “Angel Moroni” who led Joseph Smith to the alleged gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was occultly translated. In the Jehovah’s Witnesses and their biased New World Translation of the Bible, “angels” have also played a key role as we documented in The Facts on Jehovah’s Witnesses. Other cults and religions sporting angelic influence include Emmanuel Swedenborg’s The Church of the New Jerusalem, Rudolph Steiner’s Anthroposophy, Silva Mind Control, the Self-Realization Fellowship, and the Unity School of Christianity. These are only a few of the religions and cults in which angels have played either a dominant or important role.
What is perhaps most disconcerting is the manner in which the “popular” angels have influenced some Christians. Books such as the Reverend Edward W. Oldring’s I Work With Angels and I Walk and Talk With Angels; minister G. D. Gilmore’s Angels, Angels, Everywhere, and Rev. Roland Buck’s Angels on Assignment are only three of many whose teachings prove that the angels spoken of are not the godly angels. Despite their semblance of Christianity, these books either deny biblical teachings or actually teach occultism in various forms. Indeed, most popular angel books support the world of the occult.
In Angel Wisdom we find the encouragement to use mantras and mandalas; shamanistic vision quests and contacting one’s power animal (a spirit guide who appears in the form of an animal); manipulation of chakras, psychic healing, etc. In Angelic Messenger Cards, we find divination and people guided to accept contacting the dead. In Creating With the Angels we find dreamwork: “Dream time is spirit time and offers a great opportunity to play with the angels…. Allow the angels to help you interpret your dreams.” In The Angels Within Us, we find angels taking people deep into altered states of consciousness in order to establish contact with them. The angels also support New Age Medicine and occult holistic health practices.
But what is even more troubling is the connection existing between the popular angels and the Christian “faith” or “positive confession” movements.
Angels and “Positive Confession”
In spite of their spiritistic nature, many of the modern angel books use terminology directed toward Christians. One particularly potent occult text encourages the reader to “endow each angel with the Will of God, the Love of Christ, and the Action of the Holy Spirit.” Although discerning Christians can easily see through such ruses, there is one area in particular that uninstructed Christians may be vulnerable. Both the modern “Faith” and “New Age” movements share particular teachings concerning angels. Therefore, Christians who are instructed in the former area may also be vulnerable to the more pervasive deceptions in the latter.
As we documented in The Facts on the Faith Movement and The Facts on False Teachings in the Church, the modern faith/positive confession teachers almost universally claim that they have received their unique teachings by direct divine revelation, including through the mediation of angels. In those book, we have proven that these teachings are not biblical and hence could not have come from God or the good angels.So where did they come from?
Perhaps it is significant that many spirit guides today have entire series of positive confession tapes which are sold by their mediums. (The tapes by “DaBen” and “Orin” include such titles as, “Creating Money: The Spiritual Law of Prosperity and Abundance” and “Awakening Your Prosperity Self.”)
But the popular angels also actively support and endorse positive confession teachings. As Terry Lynn Taylor remarks, “Angels are the missing link in the chain of…self-help, self-development, and self-reliance programs…. Angels are heaven-sent agents who are always available to help you create heaven in your life.”
The entire purpose of the book, Creating With the Angels: An Angel-Guided Journey into Creativity, is to use angels to create success in every area of life. As one angel says, “Abundance is a state of mind that leads to physical manifestation of physical resources. But, more important, abundance is a state of spirit that initially awakens the mind to its creative possibilities. You are being led toward abundant thinking, feeling, loving, and participating in life so that you will be in a position to encourage wholism in every form, wherever you find it.”
In fact, the angels speak in exactly the same terms and cite exactly the same scriptures as the modern Christian prosperity teachers. For example, in the occult text, The Angels Within Us, we read, “The Bible also says, ‘By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned’ (Matt. 12:37); ‘Death and life are in the power of the tongue’ (Prov. 18:21); And ‘Thou shall also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee’ (Job 22:28). Charles Fillmore, cofounder of Unity, wrote, ‘the spoken word carries vibrations through the universal ether…. And Ernest Holmes, founder of the Church of Religious Science, has written, ‘The word gives form to the unformed….’”
Now consider other teachings from this same occult book that reflect basic “Christian” prosperity beliefs: “…we should meditate for an understanding of what produced the original condition of lack in our minds, speak the word for a healing of that mental-emotional condition, and then work consciously with the Angel of Abundance to reveal a divinely prosperous life.” Or, “Abundance is the true nature of God… And when you identify this Spirit of God within as your abundance, your consciousness becomes the principle of prosperity. The energy flows into manifestation through you, forever reproducing the vibration of your consciousness in the world of form.” Or, “When you contemplate the God Self I Am as infinite supply…you are deepening your awareness of the truth of your Reality.”
Consider the following advice by the angel: “I have promised you unlimited prosperity…. I am the Lord your healer, I heal all your diseases, restore health to you, and heal your wounds. This is not to come. It is. In truth, you are healed now; you are whole.” Thus, the author tells his readers, “Make contact with the angel and ask how you are limiting your own success. Let him show you any false beliefs that may be blocking the flow from his perspective.”
Now consider similar teachings from other contemporary books on angels: “True abundance is the ability to see the abundance that is already ours.” “I harness the power that enables me to realize all of my desires and objectives…. I have the power to know what is best.” “If we believe that we can have something…our higher selves—the parts of our psyches that are in communication with the angels—will begin to create it for us.” “I create my own miracles.”
All this is proof positive that the modern Christian prosperity movement has aligned itself with the very same teachings given by the spirit world. Now, if we know that these kinds of teachings derive not from the good angels but from the fallen angels or demons, and if we know that the faith teachers claim to receive unbiblical teachings by supernatural inspiration, the conclusion would seem self-evident.
What all this means is that the “Faith” teachers who instruct millions of Christians may unwittingly be influencing them to also accept the teachings of demons masquerading as angels.
Consider the following and listen to the words of the “Faith” teachers themselves before you make a decision.
Kenneth Copeland teaches, “…when you use the Word in the name of Jesus [that is, in positive confession] they [angels] are obligated to follow your command.” Gloria Copeland suggests there may be at least 40,000 angels assigned to each believer, thus, “there is no shortage of angel power;” and, “how long do you think it would take them to make you wealthy?” Unfortunately, “for the most part, the heirs of the promise have not been using the angel power available to them.” Thus, “Your words put the angels to work on your behalf to bring to pass whatever you say…the words of your mouth bind them or loose them to work for you.”
Charles Capps says God supernaturally revealed the same truths to him. In Angels he says, “You need the supernatural beings of God working for you here on earth.” In Releasing the Ability of God, he states, “The Spirit of God spoke this into my spirit just as plainly as if I heard it with my ears…. He said: ‘The Word says the angels are ministering spirits. These ministering spirits stand beside you daily and listen to the words that you speak…. but you are the one who tells them what to do.” Thus, “Angels will work for you. They will become involved in every area of your life—your home, your business, everything—but only to the extent that you allow them to operate.”
Prosperity teacher Kenneth Hagin claims that in 1958 “the Lord Jesus suddenly appeared” before him, with an angel standing three feet behind Him. In I Believe in Visions, he reveals, “He [Jesus] said, ‘This is your angel.’ ‘My angel?’ I asked. ‘Yes, your angel, and if you will respond to him, he will appear to you as I will at times; and he will give you guidance and direction concerning the things of life,…”
Jerry Savelle says that when we apply the principles of the Faith Movement, “…the angels come on the scene to see that what you say comes to pass.”
John Osteen teaches, “When you become a covenant-person, God assigns angels to watch you and your family….”
Robert Tilton says, “When you talk positively about your dream, you not only release its substance, but you release the angels to work for you, causing your dream to come to pass.”
Benny Hinn also accepts the supposed ministry of the “faith” angels.
But by teaching Christians that angels are indeed anxiously standing by to do one’s personal bidding, prosperity leaders are conditioning Christians to have a particular expectation about angels that is not biblical. To teach that angels will give personal “guidance and direction,” that they “will become involved in every area of your life” and generate “financial prosperity” is exactly what channelers with spirit guides claim for the spirits they contact. In essence, Christians who think that the primary purpose of the angels is to service them with prosperity may be more open to establishing contact with the prosperity “angels” of the New Age movement.
Consider that in 1987 charismatic and “prosperity” evangelist Kenneth Copeland gave a prophecy “from Jesus Christ” in which “Jesus” promised that new and dramatic angel manifestations were going to increase in the church and that many “will have visitations from the spirit realm.” Concerning angels, “Jesus” allegedly told Copeland:
- A very outstanding time is on the way. A time is coming when there will be a manifestation of angels more than usual, more than what there has been in the past. Many of you are going to witness for yourselves the angel that has been put in charge and in command of your ministry and your life. Many of you are going to have visitations from the spirit realm. Many of you will have divinely appointed visions and dreams. …Oh, there’s no time nor distance in the spirit realm. You’ll be connected together at times like you’ve never witnessed before. Suddenly, you’ll be standing in that [spiritual] country, and suddenly you’ll deliver a message and then suddenly you’ll be brought back in your kitchen again. Oh, I have some outstanding things, sayeth the Lord.
But incredibly, this “Jesus” who promised the increased manifestation of angels went on to deny His own deity: “Don’t be disturbed when people accuse you of thinking you are God…. They crucified me for claiming that I was God. But I didn’t claim I was God; I just claimed I walked with Him and that He was in me. Hallelujah. That’s what you are doing.”
If Christians listen to such a “Jesus” and contact the “angels” he promises to send them, perhaps they should not be surprised at the outcome (See Ezekiel 13:1–9).
In The Facts on Angels, we document a great deal more about the modern angel phenomenon, including what the Bible teaches about the good angels, and how the modern “popular” angels seek to distort the Bible. We also discuss why they are interested in supporting the environmental movement, how they appear in near-death experiences and are related to Unidentified Flying Objects, their moral and ethical views and their relationship to practices of divination and self-love/self-esteem/positive thinking teachings. We further show how and why the popular angels seek to possess people just like the demons of old.
For now, it should be evident that the modern angel phenomenon is not what it claims to be. No one anywhere, least of all Christians, should become involved with the popular angels, whether by channeling, seeking to develop “angel consciousness,” or to contact angels as personal friends and guidance counselors. To do so is to place one’s soul at risk.
- John Randolph, The Angels Within Us: A Spiritual Guide to the Twenty-Two Angels that Govern Our Lives (New York, NY: Fawcett-Columbine, 1993), p.62.
- Ibid., p. 63.
- Ibid., p. 276.
- Meredith L. Young-Sowers, Angelic Messenger Cards: A Divination System for Spiritual Discovery (Walpole, NH: Stillpoint, 1993) 58; Terry Lynn Taylor and Mary Beth Crain, Angel Wisdom: 365 Meditations and Insights from the Heavens (NY: Harper Collins, 1994), April 13.
- See John Ankerberg, John Weldon, The Facts on Angels (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1995).
- Taylor and Crain, June 18th, 28th; July 8th, 22nd; October 20th.
- Meredith L. Young-Sowers, p. 31.
- Terry Lynn Taylor, Creating with the Angels: An Angel-Guided Journey Into Creativity (Tiburon, CA: H. J. Kramer, 1993), pp. 39, 41.
- Price, The Angels Within Us, p. 16.
- “Angels II: Beyond the Light,” NBC, October 30, 1994, 7 P.M., Host: Stefanie Powers.
- Price, The Angels Within Us, p. 31.
- Available from the Ankerberg Theological Research Institute or your Christian bookstore.
- Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer, Opening to Channel: How to Connect with Your Guide (Tiburon, CA: H. J. Kramer, Inc. 1987), pp. 231-232.
- Terry Lynn Taylor, Messengers of Light: The Angel’s Guide to Spiritual Growth (Tiburon, CA: H. J. Kramer, 1990), xvi.
- Taylor, Creating With the Angels, vii-xi.
- Young-Sowers, Angelic Messenger Cards, p. 214.
- Price, 268.
- Ibid., p. 58.
- Ibid., pp. 56-57.
- Ibid., pp. 88, 96.
- Ibid., pp. 263-264.
- Ibid., p. 286.
- Taylor and Crain, Angel Wisdom, February 8.
- Ibid., January 11, 21.
- Ibid., May 22.
- Ibid., September 14.
- Kenneth Copeland, The Laws of Prosperity (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1974), p. 104.
- Gloria Copeland, God’s Will is Prosperity (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1978), pp. 84-85.
- Ibid., p. 86.
- Ibid., p. 65.
- Ibid., p. 88.
- Charles Capps, Angels (England, AZ: Charles Capps Publishers, 1984), p. 80.
- Charles Capps, Releasing the Ability of God (England, AZ: Charles Capps Publishers, 1978), pp. 100-101, 105.
- Capps, Angels, p. 173.
- Kenneth Hagin, I Believe in Visions (Tulsa, OK: Kenneth Hagin Ministries), p. 93.
- Jerry Savelle, Energizing Your Faith (Fort Worth, TX: Jerry Savelle Ministries, 1983), p. 45.
- John Osteen, Unraveling the Mystery of the Blood Covenant (Houston, TX: John Osteen Ministries, 1987), p. 45.
- Robert Tilton, Climb Your Ladder of Success (Dallas, TX: Robert Tilton Ministries, 1988), p. 54.
- In The Christian Sentinel, Vol. 1, No. 1., p. 13. The word “spirit” was capitalized in this quotation. However, since this was a claimed supernatural prophecy to Copeland, the use of capitals was an editorial assumption.
- Kenneth Copeland, “Take Time to Pray,” Believer’s Voice of Victory, Vol. 15, No. 2, February 1987, p. 9.