Even An Angel

If a prophet or even an “angel from heaven” contradicts the original gospel, run for your lifeRecently, a well-known “prophet” prophesied that soon “Angelic visitations will increase as I release My messengers with destiny messagesRevelation, understanding, and enlightenment will accelerate in My sons and daughters as My DNA will be revealed inside of them.”

I’m not sure what a “destiny message” is, but the idea of angels being dispatched to bring new “revelations” to God’s people does not exactly harmonize with certain warnings and statements from the New Testament.

Angels Photo by Gavin Allanwood on Unsplash
[Angels Photo by Gavin Allanwood on Unsplash]

I am not disputing the fact that angels exist, or that they do a great many beneficial things on behalf of Christians. What does concern me is the growing claim in some Christian circles that God is about to reveal truths never heard before by the church or anyone else. I am not talking about new scientific or historical discoveries, but the idea that the Almighty is going to reveal things about Himself and His plans beyond what has been revealed already in Jesus and preserved in the apostolic tradition.

When Paul wrote to the Galatians to confront false teachers, he marveled that you are so quickly transferred from him that called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospelthere are some that trouble you who would pervert the gospel of Christ.”

His immediate reaction was to the situation was to point the Galatians to the “gospel” they originally received from Paul and his co-workers, the truth of which was so important that if anyone, “even an angel from heaven, should preach to you any gospel other than that which we preached to you, let him be accursed (anathema)!” Just to make sure they got his point, Paul repeated it – “As we have said before, so say I now again, if anyone preaches to you any gospel other than that which you received, let him be anathema.”

Do we hear what the Apostle is saying? Anything that deviates from the original gospel is to be rejected out of hand. That it comes from a powerful “angel from heaven” makes no difference whatsoever. Paul made strong and uncompromising statements that point to the absolute authority of the received apostolic tradition.

And to be clear, by “traditions,” I am NOT talking about later church creeds, councils, or other institutional traditions, but instead, I am referring to the original teachings of Jesus and his apostles. That is the benchmark, the gold standard for measuring the validity of any teaching, prophecy, vision, dream, “download from heaven,” or angelic revelation about God, Jesus, etc. And whether the prophet, apostle, or angel can work mighty supernatural wonders is not relevant to the issue.

After warning the Thessalonians about the coming “man of lawlessness” who would deceive all those who did not have the “love of the truth,” Paul exhorted them to “stand fast and hold the traditions you were taught, whether by word or epistle from us.” That was their safety net, the anchor that would hold them in the coming storm. And in the concluding section of the same epistle, he commanded the Thessalonians “in the name of Jesus” to withdraw from every “brother that walks disorderly and not after the tradition which they received of us.

Paul used the Greek term ‘paradosis’ for “tradition,” which simply means “transmission,” that is, something that has been passed on to others. Likewise, he urged the Corinthians to become “imitators of me” and to hold fast the traditions, even as I delivered them to you.

And what were those “traditions”? There is only one collection of source documents that reveals what Jesus and the apostles taught, and that is the New Testament. All other claims and sources are later, and therefore, secondary at best, and all other sources and voices must be measured against the original. Any teaching, message, or “revelation” that deviates from the apostolic tradition, whether from a prophecy, vision, dream, or even an “angel from heaven” is to be rejected. It is “accursed!”

So, where does that leave us? We must know the apostolic “tradition” and make it our own, and that means spending time learning and loving the original source documents preserved in the New Testament. And there is no shortcut, no way of getting around this necessity.

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