Influenced By Angels (Part One)

Different, but the same?

Many leading scholars believe that the earliest references of angels can be found within the pre-biblical texts of the Sumerians, which later influenced the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Persians.  Because each of these cultures conquered and enslaved the ancient Israelis, it’s theorized that these Sumerian angel beliefs influenced the Hebrews (Judaism), which in turn were shared with Christianity, and both Judaism’s and Christianity’s teachings of angels later inspired the Islamic beliefs concerning angels.  This, of course, is strongly debated, with opposing sides providing plausible arguments.  Furthermore, you’d be hard pressed to find scholars from the three major religions to fully agree on who influenced who.

Not to limit the idea of angels…

Though called by different names, benevolent spirit beings quite similar to angels can also be found within other religions, mythologies, and lore.  Hinduism has avatars, Buddhism has devas and bodhisattvas, the Greeks, Romans, Norse, and Celts all had their specific terms likewise.  In addition, numerous tribal cultures from all parts of the world passed on oral traditions of spirit beings, guardian spirits and guides.  All of which have comparable functions to biblical and mythical angels as helpful spirit messengers, and protectors.  What were the cultures of antiquity and the Middle Ages trying to describe?  Were they speaking of angels in general, or something else akin to angels, or both?

Where did angels come from?

Where did they come from, how did they originate?  No one really knows for certain.  The ancient Hebrew writers suggested angels were created by God (Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 148:2,5).  In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul took these suggestions to a new level with the bold claim that “by him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities…” (Colossians 1:16-17).  Theologians believe he was speaking of angels, identifying them as created beings, and clearly stating there are certain orders of angelic classes.  I will address types and levels soon.

Even though the Bible mentions angels at least 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament, the time of their creation is never definitively specified.  It is most probable that it occurred in connection with the creation of the heavens in Genesis 1:1, leading some to theorize that God created the angels immediately after he had created the heavens and before he created the earth.  The reason for this theory is because a pre-Genesis biblical text states, “the sons of God [angels] shouted for joy” when God laid the foundations of the earth (Job 38:4-7).

Real experiences!

In modern times, many people claim to have had “real” experiences with angels, mostly of a spiritual nature, and believe that their existence is important to us as human beings.  They have been commonly perceived as spiritual messengers of a high nature, for which traditions and beliefs usually differ as to whether angels have their own free will, or are only allowed to follow their Creator’s will.

Although many believe that angels can have various appearances, depending on a people’s culture, tradition or belief, they do share one common denominator – angels generally take on the shape of human beings (minus the wings, of course).  Psychologists have suggested the reason for this is, many people believe angels were previously humans, who have since taken on angelic form to protect and guide their surviving relatives.  In other words, they believe their deceased mother, father, or loved one is now a “guardian angel” assigned to specifically watch over them.

The most popular concept…

Almost every religious discipline has developed concepts with various similarities that make the belief in angels popularly held across all cultures.  Most of these concepts revolve around a common principle of a “messenger” asked to do the work of a deity.  Without dispute, the most popular concepts of angels are widely held within the Judeo-Christian traditions.  This is strongly evidenced in biblical passages that lend proof of their existence as messengers of God.

Bottom line:

Angels have been an active part of human history for a very, very, long time… and, continue to be… in both visible and invisible ways.  Virtually every culture in every part of the planet has acknowledged their presence and formed opinions and beliefs about them.  Ancient records and modern accounts testify that they regularly appear and disappear, while providing protection and guidance for human beings.  But… why?  For what reason are they protecting us, and offering guidance and support?  Do they have a certain purpose or agenda in mind?  And… most importantly, to what extent is humanity influenced by their presence?


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Be watching for “Influenced By Angels” (Part Two).  Coming Soon!

By 2050…

Have your beliefs changed over the last…

10 years?

20 years?

50 years?

Are you more open or closed to things you don’t understand?


From L.A. Emrich’s BEYOND THE RABBIT EARS:

Hearing voices, catching glimpses of odd lights and shadows where they don’t belong, getting strange feelings and thoughts that something is going to happen and then it does, are all common experiences. At this point, who doesn’t have a real-story to tell? It makes one wonder if there isn’t something to all this “paranormal” activity? Why is it so prevalent? Could it be increasing in our day and age?

Some are extra-cautious and question if this is even a legitimate conversation, while others appear to be obsessive with the subject, and can’t stop talking about it. Still, others go for years without saying a word, only to reveal their personal encounters quietly and in confidentiality. After all, no one wants to be rejected, or thought of as gullible, emotional, or crazy.

Whatever one’s position may be, things are happening, people are searching for answers, and pop culture is…

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What does all this mean for the future?

The research shows that there are many conflicting theories about the relationship between religion and the paranormal.

A common assumption is that people outside of mainstream religion are more likely to embrace the paranormal as a substitute set of beliefs.  Others theorize the opposite, stating that religious people who are accustomed to “transcendent” values are more likely to hold paranormal beliefs.  In either case, it’s not a simple task to categorize people and their beliefs, nor do people appreciate being categorized and labeled.

Leading sociologists agree that paranormal beliefs are equally prevalent among both religious and nonreligious persons (with a few exceptions, of course).  Surprisingly, this widespread belief is not the result of popular Reality TV shows or conspiracy theories.  The belief in the paranormal primarily comes from personal, unexplainable encounters.

If you think about it, Reality TV shows get all their programming material from the real life experiences of ordinary, everyday people.  The fact of the matter is obvious, unexplained things happen all the time, everywhere, and with all types of people, whether they be religious or not, and TV programming only serves to mirror this.

After analyzing surveys and polls, researchers predict that by 2050 almost 80% of the American population will report a minimum of one paranormal belief.  In other words, pop culture’s obsession with the supernatural is not going to decrease, but only continue to increase dramatically.

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The Church of the Paranormal

DESPITE OUR REPUTATION AS A SCIENCE-MINED SUPERPOWER, AMERICA HAS ALWAYS HAD A PREDILECTION FOR THE UNSEEN!

Don’t be shy. Depending on your poll of choice, anywhere from a third to nearly half of you either believe in ghosts or are pretty sure you do. And if not ghosts, then aliens, mediums, or astrology, for which belief has either held steady or risen over the last couple of decades. More than two-thirds of Americans hold at least one paranormal—unsanctioned by religion—belief, according to the Baylor Religion Survey. That’s more than voted in the 2012 presidential election.

It’s not just belief: everywhere you look in the United States today, the supernatural is more culturally important, more acceptable, and just … more than it’s ever been before. Paranormal-themed media of all types have surged, in fiction obviously, but also in non-fiction too, where the past few years have brought us everything from The Most Terrifying Places in America to Psychic Tia to The Monster Project. Then there are the Bigfoot hunts, the ghost hunting tool reviews, the UFO spotting iPhone apps—we can’t get enough of this stuff.

This should come as no surprise. Despite our reputation as a science-minded superpower, America has always had a predilection for the unseen. It has ebbed and flowed with us for as long as this nation has existed, in the form of the 18th-century pilgrim mystics, the domesticated poltergeists that knocked on command in the 19th, and even in the academically inclined parapsychologists of the 20th. Whether you believe in these ideas or not is almost immaterial: the paranormal is an inescapable ingredient in the American identity that has shaped and been shaped by our…

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Many a minister has been approached with “ghostly” stories before service, after service, during counseling, in emails and texts, on phone calls late at night, while street-side, at the coffee house, in the hospital, after funerals, everywhere and all the time. And no matter what the Sunday sermon is about, people come to church weekly, find their seats, and sit quietly with the following often on their minds:

  • Why do I keep having the same dream over and over?
  • I’m hearing strange noises at night. Doors open that were closed and locked; lights turn on and off.
  • My son swears his recently deceased wife appeared to him and encouraged him to get on with his life.
  • There’s a new coworker who is convinced she once knew me in a past life. Even though I don’t believe in that sort of thing, I can’t shake the feeling that we did know one another at one time.
  • One night, my uncle was blinded by a bright light. There was no sound; it just appeared, forced him off the road, hovered, and then disappeared in a flash.
  • My cousin is convinced there are aliens, and they’re on the planet right now! I don’t know what to say to her.
  • I’m hooked on a new vampire novel. It’s sucked me in and I can’t wait for the next book in the series. Why do I like vampires so much?
  • My kids are crazy about fantasy movies and games with characters that have various magical superpowers. Actually, I like them too. Should I be concerned? Is this ok?

For centuries the Church has waged battle with these “spiritual” matters. More often than not, the terms “demonic” and “occultic” have been used to both…

The above excerpt is from L.A. Emrich’s BEYOND THE RABBIT EARS.  Download a FREE SAMPLE and read the rest of the story!

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