by Shawn Brasseaux
In the Old Testament economy, the nation Israel was accustomed to seeing theophanies (God the Son, Jesus Christ, in human form) and angelic beings. If angels appeared to people in the Bible, should we be looking for them to appear to us as well? Today, religious people claim to have been visited by angels or the virgin Mary, and religious people claim that God spoke to them in an audible voice. The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 4:1 that his Jewish believers needed to “test the spirits, whether they are of God.” Likewise, we need to analyze these “supernatural” claims from the biblical—and most importantly, dispensational—perspective. Just because someone claims to be of God does not necessarily make it so.
From about 1600 B.C. until about 68 A.D., God’s Word was recorded by human penmen as the Holy Spirit guided them (in some cases, God actually spoke to these men in an audible voice). We read in 2 Peter 1:20,21 KJV: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
There was no complete Bible until about A.D. 70, so before then, God needed several ways to convey His words to man. Thus, the Lord would either send an angel or He would personally appear to men to give them His instructions. Also, there were gifted men who had various supernatural (God-given) abilities in the early church (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11). But, these spiritual gifts vanished when the Bible was completed.
Notice 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 KJV:
“8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
The “that which is perfect is come” is the completed revelation from God; when the complete Bible came in the first century A. D., “then that which [was] in part [was] done away” (that is, the supernatural gifts ceased when the completed Word of God, the Bible, came). Today, we have no need for angels or visions and God has no reason to speak to us today in an audible voice. We have God’s revealed and written Word preserved in the King James Bible. God has nothing more to say to us than that which is already found in the Bible, His written record. Everything that God has to say to us is already pre-recorded in those 66 books. All you need to know from God is His written Word.
We read in 2 Timothy 3:15-17 KJV:
“15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
The Bible is the final authority, not religious doctrines or preachers’ opinions; the Bible alone is the inspired Word of God (not creeds, commentaries, catechisms, or “Christian” books.)
So, it begs the question: what are these people seeing when they claim to have angelic appearances or “supernatural encounters?” It could be hallucinations. Perhaps they are seeing “angels of light” as spoken of in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, when Satan’s ministers disguise themselves as “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (cf. Acts 20:28-30; Galatians 1:6-9).
Do not be deceived because the devil will prey on those not firmly grounded in the Scriptures rightly divided. Get into the Bible, and guard yourself against these types of false teachings such as supernatural beings appearing to us. Colossians 2:18,19 KJV: “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath NOT seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.”