Angels - who are they?

The idea that we share this planet with heavenly beings who go unseen or unrecognised amongst us is intriguing and the inspiration for many fictional films and books.  In the Bible, angels are portrayed as real beings who have enormous power and go about doing God’s work.  Most of the time they do so without being seen but on rare occasions they have been observed by people.  Often when this happens, they are not recognized as angels and are mistaken for ordinary people.  In Hebrews we are told “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels” (Hebrews 13:2, NKJV).  This makes it plain that angels do not ordinarily have wings.

The original words translated angel in the Bible both mean “messenger” (the Hebrew word ‘malak’ and the Greek word ‘aggelos’). This gives us a clue as to what angels do - they are God’s messengers who convey information from Him to mankind, as the angel Gabriel did when he famously told Mary she was going to give birth to Jesus.

Reading more reveals that angels are far more than just the bearers of news - they also work behind the scenes to carry out God’s will on earth.  In the Psalms we read “Bless the LORD, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word. Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.” (Psalms 103:20-21)

This work extends to influencing world affairs.  In the book of Daniel, we have a fascinating glimpse into the angelic  realm when Gabriel, talking to Daniel, says “… the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.” (Daniel 10:13).  Gabriel was trying to influence the ruling powers of the Persian Empire and encountering difficulty, without Cyrus the Great or his government even being aware of it.

Another way the angels work is what they do with individual men and women, extending God’s care and guidance to those who believe in Him.  In Hebrews angels are described in this way “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14).

In these uncertain times there is immense comfort in the knowledge for believers to know that the world is in safe hands, and that these amazing and powerful beings are at our side.

THERE IS A BETTER TIME TO COME

We have all had a difficult year with various restrictions in our lives; we haven’t been able to do the things we enjoy, see those we love, go on holiday or even pop in for a cuppa! It has been even tougher for people who have lost jobs, homes and even loved ones.

Thankfully, there is light at the end of the tunnel now — many have been vaccinated and there is a roadmap out of lockdown back to near-normality. We hope that we will be able to go back to spend time with friends and family soon and do all the things we enjoyed before the pandemic. Everyone is talking about getting back to normal, but is this what you really want?
If you are looking for more than the new normal why not try looking for a better future and join God’s family? In the Bible in Psalm 72 we are told about many of the blessings to come, here are a few:
• One righteous judge to rule the whole earth
• All those in need will be saved
• There will be food for all — even grain swaying on the mountain tops
• All nations will be blessed
• God’s glory will fill the whole earth

A Perfect Planet?

Did you see the recent David Attenborough five-part TV series, “A Perfect Planet”?

Some remarkable statements were made during the course of the series:

· “Our planet is one in a billion”

· “There is only one planet in the Universe, as far as we know, that has life”

· “Life here is only possible because of a unique balance of natural forces”

It was a fascinating presentation of many factors that contribute to what David Attenborough, and other scientists, refer to as “The Goldilocks Effect”, which makes our planet unique.

It’s a reference to the children’s tale of Goldilocks who found daddy bear’s porridge ‘too hot’, mummy bear’s porridge ‘too cold’, but baby bear’s porridge ‘just right’?  David Attenborough made the point that without the light, and heat, from the sun there can be no life.

Another essential for life is water. Surface temperatures of 5000 C have been recorded on Venus - ‘too hot’! Dawn temperatures on Mars are -760 C - ‘too cold’! These are our nearest planetary neighbours. 

Planet Earth is at the optimum distance from the sun to be ‘just right’.  It has water, a breathable atmosphere and many other features that are vital to sustain life.

These are just a few examples that David Attenborough presented in the series. It should raise the question in our minds – Are all of these ‘just right’ factors a result of ‘cosmic good fortune’, or were they put in place by an intelligent creator?

If you would like to see more examples of scientifically accepted facts that make our planet ‘just right’, search for Gorseinon Christadelphians on YouTube and see the video we prepared on this subject.

Discover more about this and many other Bible topics by applying for a free correspondence course called “Exploring the Bible” 


Reflections on Spring

Spring is here and everywhere around us nature is coming back to life after a long, cold winter.  It is great to see the flowers again and the blossom on the trees, it reminds us just how resilient these things are that they can survive the winter and start all over again as if for the first time.

Conversely though, they also remind us of the fragility of life.  We know that those flowers which look so bright and fresh today will soon start to fade and wither, and in a few weeks’ time will be gone altogether. 

In fact, the Psalmist in the Bible picks up on this and uses it as a metaphor for our lives.  In Psalm 103 we read

“As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.    For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him.”                                                 
(Psalms 103:15-17, NKJV)

Just like the flowers come and go, so do we.  In the big scheme of things our lives are of no more consequence than that of the humblest daisy.  In a hundred years from now who will even remember that we were here? 

These reflections may seem rather melancholy but notice the contrast that is there in the Psalm.  The shortness of our lives is compared with the mercy of God, not on every single person but on those who fear Him.  This is best understood in the light of wider Bible teaching that not everyone is saved simply because they exist.  Without God life is short and death is final.  But for those who do respect God and find forgiveness in His Son the story could not be more different.

He will remember them if they die and will raise them back to life when Jesus returns from heaven.  From there they go on to live forever in His kingdom, not in heaven but here on the earth.  The Bible has many amazing descriptions of this age to come, particularly in the book of Isaiah.  There we read

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. . . For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy . . . The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, Nor the voice of crying. . . They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat; For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people.”       (Isaiah 65:17-22, NKJV)

Would You Like A More Certain Future?

God has promised us this, a future in His kingdom on the earth. In His word the Bible, prophecy - written hundreds or thousands of years before the event - has actually happened! This gives us confidence in the things that are yet to come.

In the book of Daniel, chapter 2, a king called Nebuchadnezzar has a dream which God interprets through his prophet. The dream is about an image with a gold head, silver chest and arms, bronze belly and thighs, iron legs and feet of iron mixed with clay. A small stone cut out without human hands strikes the image on the feet, it collapses and is ground to powder. The stone then grows to fill the whole earth. Daniel gives the interpretation from God: the image represents different world empires through the next 2000 years. The head represented Babylon which was the ruling power at the time, the chest and arms represented the Medes and Persians, the belly and thighs Greece, and the legs represented Rome.

Taking a brief look at history, you can see these empires represented by the different metals. The feet represent divided kingdoms, illustrating the different ruling powers we currently see in the world. We can see all parts of the prophecy until the stone, have happened.  It’s remarkable, since the book of Daniel was written in approximately 500BC!

The last part of the prophecy (verse 44) represents the return of Jesus, the son of God, to the earth.  All ruling powers will be replaced by Jesus, and ultimately God.  This will give us a world of complete peace, no hunger, no suffering, no pain, no sadness and no death. We can have confidence in God’s word, He always keeps his promises.  We encourage you to read the Bible to find out more.


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Faith helps

We are living through some difficult times which can cause worry and anxiety.  Faith in God can provide some help and comfort with this.

HOPE of everlasting life in a world with no tears, sadness or suffering – we can find this promise in Revelation chapter 21 verse 4.

FORGIVENESS of sins – this is an offer extended to everyone, because Christ died for our sins; evidence of this can be found in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verse 3.

GOD IS IN CONTROL – this gives us peace of mind now, reducing fear and worry.  Daniel chapter 4 verse 17 shows how God is even in control, influencing governments of this world.

HAVING A GOAL in life – trying to be more like God and His son, Jesus Christ, gives us something to aim for.  Some instructions for us to follow can be found in Galatians chapter 5 verse 22-25.

BEING PART OF GOD’S FAMILY now, where we can share friendship and fellowship with other believers is a great blessing and provides support and encouragement through sad and happy times.  God’s children have been meeting together in this way since Jesus was on the earth 2000 years ago – read about it in Acts chapter 2 verse 46.