Thursday, March 15, 2018

Angel visits

Angel - Judges 13:2-5
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Judges 13-15; Psalm 74

TO CHEW ON: "And the Angel of the Lord said to him, 'Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?'" Judges 13:18

An amazing thing happened to Manoah's barren wife. An angel visited her, told her she would have a son, and gave instructions for how she should live during her pregnancy as well as how to raise her soon-to-be-born little boy.

When she told Manoah, he prayed for an another angel visitation and the Angel appeared to his wife again, stuck around long enough for Manoah to meet Him, quiz Him, even offer Him food.

Did you notice my capitalizations there? That's because in this instance it seems that the Angel was none other than God Himself—a theophany—the Angel of the Lord as distinct from an angel of the Lord. Wayne Grudem, in his Systematic Theology chapter on angels says:

"Who is the Angel of the Lord? Several passages of Scripture, especially in the Old Testament, speak of the angel of the Lord in a way that suggests that he is God himself taking on a human form to appear briefly to various people in the Old Testament.

In some passages "the angel of the Lord" (not "an angel of the Lord") is spoken of as the Lord himself. [He goes on to give some examples and continues] .... These are clear instances of the angel of the Lord or the angel of God appearing as God himself, perhaps more specifically as God the Son taking on a human body for a short time in order to appear to human beings" - Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 401.

In addition, in this case the fact that the Angel says His name is "wonderful" reminds us of Isaiah 9:6 where "Wonderful" is one of the names of the coming Messiah.

Why did God choose to visit Manoah and his wife in this way? Why does God ever break through in supernatural visitations and unexplainable phenomenon? Some time ago I read a fascinating book called Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters. It is a collection of first-person and as-told-to stories of people who have experienced angelic visits.

Compiler James Stuart Bell in the Introduction gives us some reasons as to why God may choose to break through in such ways:

"The supernatural world, the world revealed to us in the Scriptures, is normally apprehended by faith and not by our senses. But at times, though they may be few and far between, for God's own mysterious reasons, we are allowed a window into that world. He may be trying to warn us about some danger, encourage our faith, or provide guidance in terms of our behaviour .... Some of these experiences may be meant to be shared to edify others ... these very personal stories ... convey how much God cares for us and how active and close He is to us—fighting our battles and revealing the eternal consequences of our choices and behaviour, even our thoughts and attitudes here on earth" - James Stuart Bell, "Introduction," Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters, Kindle Location 130 (emphasis added).

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your involvement in human existence. Thank You for these stories of angel visits—old and new—that reinforce Your reality and how much You care for us. Amen.


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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