I Swallowed A Bug! (ATP)
Could you please discuss the doctrine that we as NT believers have the authority and responsibility to command angels to do our bidding? I see in the scriptures that angels offer assistance, look after children, and minister to the saints; but it appears that it’s under the direction of the Lord (not man).
Psalms 91:11 (NASB)
For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways.
Some may not know this but there is teaching out there that says that Christian’s should command their angels to do various things for them. In fact, I have often done this myself. (Like before going on a trip or something of that nature.) The question here is, is it founded in scripture?
One of the commonly used scriptures to back up this teaching is found in Hebrews 1:14. Speaking of angels it says, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” Though I can see how this scripture COULD be utilized I’m not so sure it is very solid for this purpose. It clearly says that they are “sent”. Now, sent could mean that God sends them after we command them but it doesn’t say that.
Another scripture, I believe that is often used is Psalms 103:20-21 which reads “Bless the LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word! Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will.” This is one scripture that I do believe one could use in this discussion. If one were using His word, which is His will, couldn’t it be considered the voice of His word? Again, though I can see how it could be used, I cannot say it definitively.
One other place I could see being an argument for this practice would be found in Genesis 1:28, “God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” This scripture gives us clear understanding of the authority that God intended for man. If an angel were here on earth, it would seem it must fall under this jurisdiction. That is of course if angels fall under the category of what living is meant to describe here.
As I write this I can think of other scriptures that could allude to man’s authority of angels but I’m not sure they could be used without some explanation, so that makes me think about something I was taught, which was that any “doctrine” that you have to really dig for, although it could be true, can’t and shouldn’t necessarily be used to teach with. God has meant His instructions for us to be simple. For example, we don’t need a scholar to tell us to walk in love.
Let me ask you a question? Is the Bible clear that Jesus is the only way to God? Is it clear that God is love and is merciful? Is it clear that we are to love one another serving Him and each other? Is it clear we are to live by faith? My point is this, there is so much doctrine that is so clear we probably shouldn’t spend a whole lot of time on things that aren’t so clear.
Let’s do one of the safest tests that we can do to see if this idea holds up. Did Jesus command angels on earth and if so did He instruct the apostles to do so? Did the apostles practice this or command others to do so? Is this a universal church teaching and why or why not? Believe it or not there is safety in commonly held beliefs although that in of itself is not a guarantee. Many people can be wrong too, but when you put all these things together you can come to a pretty safe conclusion.
Now, with that said, I don’t think this is a doctrine that is dangerous and if someone puts it to practice they are probably not a heretic. I have told people while preaching that you can command angels and I’m pretty sure I’m not a heretic. My heart was not to deceive but I can say I probably wouldn’t do so again. I also would not be ready to stand up in a service and shout the preacher down if they spoke about this either. It is inevitable we will all believe or preach something that just does not have solid footing, that in of itself does not make us bad.
We should endeavor with all our hearts to be accurate. We should also know where we are called to feed. When we do this, if something is said that maybe we don’t quite see, we can simply look past it or seek clarification later on. A minor teaching here or there that I don’t agree with, (depending of course on what it is), wouldn’t make me leave a church, sometimes you have to spit out the sticks. However, if the preacher started making a real big deal over something that can’t really be backed up, I may reconsider.
All in all, I’m not a fan of teaching doctrine that isn’t easily verifiable. In fact, recently I started going through my doctrine closet to look for things that don’t fit. You know what, I found some and at first this frustrated me. I took it before the Lord and asked what I should do and I’m going to share how He encouraged me. First, KNOW where God has placed you. When you know this, it’ll make everything else a lot easier. Second, only preach what I KNOW. For the reader if you are not a preacher, only practice what you know. Romans 14:23 says, “…whatever is not from faith is sin.” If you can’t know it, it’ll be real hard to operate according to faith.
I want to end on an important note. The job of the typical Christian is not to go around looking who they can tear down. Unfortunately our society highly promotes this type of action. The job of the Christian is to know where God wants them, know what He desires of them, and then to act accordingly. When we do this and endeavor to sow love and peace and stay away (far away) from discord then God can do things with us, even if our doctrines are a little bit off. We could be technically right but with the wrong heart and we become completely wrong. Remember the Pharisees? They were technically right!
I want to leave you with a scripture that I think might help. Jesus said in Matthew 23:24, “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” In general, let’s not choke on little things when we have so many camels to deal with in our lives! Be accurate, live for Jesus and follow Him. If you make that your aim, you’ll never be too far off!