The Angel Craze in America: What’s Going On? – Program 5
| September 7, 2013 |
|By: Dr. John Weldon, Dave Hunt; ©1996|
|Many religious leaders have claimed to receive messages from angels. Medical professionals are receiving information from angels. But their messages sometimes conflict. How can we know what to trust?|
Angels: Their Influence on Human History
- Ankerberg: A few weeks ago we talked about Time magazine’s cover story on angels of December 27, 1993. There was a fascinating quote in the article. Time said, “If there is such a thing as a universal idea common across cultures and through the centuries, the belief in angels comes close to it.” Maybe you didn’t know these facts, but they are true. Angels have appeared in every civilization and every culture, have played a major role in almost every world religion, and almost every popular cult today. Angels are far more active in human affairs than most people would suspect. Because it has been claimed that angels have entered in to giving the information to almost all the major world religions and almost all the popular cult and religious groups today, Mortimer J. Adler, editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica, insisted that angels be included in the Syntopicon, a condensed version of the 102 great ideas in The Great Books of the Western World. Dr. John Weldon tells us why Mortimer Adler argued for the topic of angels to be included in the Syntopicon and why he believed angels had influenced human history in an unparalleled way. Listen:
- Weldon: When Mortimer Adler was working on the Syntopicon, which was the condensed version of the 102 great ideas in The Great Books of the Western World, one of the reasons that he insisted that the topic of angels be included was because of the great influence in human history. To illustrate, in the Muslim faith, Muhammad claimed that the angel Gabriel dictated the very words of the Qur’an itself. In the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion we find that the leaders claim that their very Bible translation was produced by angels who controlled the Witnesses in the production of the translation. And in many other religions, in Mormonism for example, Joseph Smith claimed that the angel Moroni led him to the gold plates that were alleged a historical record of a group of peoples from which the Book of Mormon was translated. So we see that angels have had a tremendous influence in religious history. In fact, there are no religions to my knowledge that do not believe in the existence of angels and have not had an influence in that religion to some extent.
- Ankerberg: Now, I would like us to stay focused on one interesting area Dr. Weldon just mentioned, that angels have given information to the leaders and prophets of the major world religions. Last week we saw how angels gave information to the leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses; before that, how Muhammad claimed he had received the entire Qur’an from the angel Gabriel. This week, we want to look at how an angel gave Joseph Smith information that became part of what Mormons believe. Then we will look at how some of our top medical doctors at Harvard, Yale, and other schools are receiving medical information from angels. And finally, we will talk about how angels gave information to Emanuel Swedenborg, the mystic, who founded the Church of the New Jerusalem. Could all of these world religions and cults have heard from a true angel of God if they received absolutely different and contradictory messages? Dr. John Weldon starts us off examining the angel claims in Mormonism. Listen:
- Weldon: The apostle Paul taught Christians around the world everywhere in Galatians 1:6-8: “If even an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” And he repeated the warning twice for emphasis. I think the religion of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a classic illustration of how an angel can seem to be godly and yet ultimately be proven to be a false angel or a demon.
- I’m reading from the Book of Mormon which claims to be another testament of Jesus Christ in the introduction. And it says, it’s speaking of the Mormon prophet named “Mormon,” it says that “his son, Moroni, then a glorified, resurrected being, appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith [this is September 21, 1823] and instructed him relative to the ancient record and its destined translation into the English language.” In other words, it was the angel Moroni that led Joseph Smith to the gold plates from which he proceeded to occultly translate the Book of Mormon.
- Now, in the Book of Mormon itself we find it claims that there will be angelic revelations to people. In Moroni 7:29: “Behold, I say to you, Nay, neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men, showing themselves unto them of strong faith.” Now, it’s interesting that Joseph Smith claimed of his book, and I’m quoting from the introduction of the Book of Mormon, “Concerning this record, the prophet Joseph Smith said, ‘I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth.’” And certainly, if it came from an angel of God and is a revelation of God, one would expect this.
- But when we look at the Book of Mormon, we find that it denies key biblical teachings. First, the Book of Mormon teaches that there are only two churches on the earth: the church of the devil and the one true church, which is the Mormon Church. “And he [that is, the angel] said to me, Nephi, one of the Mormon prophets, ‘Behold, there are save two churches only, the one is the church of the Lamb of God [now, that means the Mormon Church] and the other is the church of the devil.’” In other words, the Mormon Church claims that it is the only true church of God on the face of the earth.
- But when we look at what the Book of Mormon teaches in some of its theology, we find that it is anti-biblical. For example, Mormons believe that the Bible alone is not sufficient as a doctrinal standard but there needs to be new revelation. In 2 Nephi 29:6, “Thou fool that shall say, ‘A Bible, we have got a Bible and we need no more Bible.’” And in verse 10, “Wherefore because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all of my words. Neither ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.” And, of course, the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price are those additional revelations that Mormonism claims God has given. When we look at what Mormon teaches about the Trinity, Mormonism actually believes that there are three separate Gods in the Godhead. And it actually confuses the persons of the Trinity. For example, in Mosiah 15: 2-3, it’s referring to Jesus Christ. This is what it says, “Being the Father and the Son; the Father because He was conceived by the power of God and the Son because of the flesh, thus becoming the Father and the Son.” It also teaches salvation is by good works. It speaks of grace but it teaches salvation by good works.
- Ankerberg: Alright, so first of all, keep in mind that the angel Moroni came and gave Joseph Smith much of what is in the Book of Mormon that became the basic teachings of Mormonism; and second, you’ve only heard a few of the differences between Mormonism and true biblical Christianity. Next, we want to look a little more closely at what the angel called Moroni gave to Joseph Smith that are clearly contradicted by the Bible. First, Dave Hunt talks about how you can quickly realize the importance of the angel Moroni to Mormonism, and then Dr. John Weldon compares Mormonism and Christian teaching. Listen:
- Hunt: The importance of the angel Moroni in Mormonism is obvious to anyone who drives by a Mormon temple. Every Mormon temple, there he is, right on top, the most prominent figure. This is the angel that brought this false revelation, who is cursed by Paul.
- Weldon: And when we look at Mormonism as a whole, we find that it claims to be a church of Jesus Christ; it claims to believe in the Trinity; it claims to believe in salvation by grace through faith, it claims to be biblical. And yet none of this really is true. For example, Joseph Smith, before he died, was working on the inspired translation of the Bible, and one of the leading doctrinal theologians of the Mormon Church, the late Bruce McConkie in his Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Volume 2 quotes from the “inspired version” and what it does is it actually entirely misquotes key verses. For example, this is how it quotes Romans 4:5 from the inspired version, “But to him that seeketh not to be justified by the law of works but believeth on him who justifieth not the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” And in verse 16, “Therefore, ye are justified of faith and works through grace.” Now, what’s happened here in the inspired version is that in verse 5 the word “not” has been added. He who believes on Him who justifieth not the ungodly.” The Scripture actually says, “He who believes on Him who justifieth the ungodly.” That’s the only ones God can justify because we’re all sinners.
- Now, listen to McConkie’s commentary. He says, “The high point of the apostle’s presentation as clarified by the inspired version account is that man is “justified of faith and works through grace” and that God will not justify the ungodly.” This is another gospel. The gospel of the Bible says that we are saved freely by the grace of God; that it is not something that we earn by our good works. It is simply a free gift of God’s grace. Mormonism teaches that we must earn our salvation by our good works, and this commentary on Romans by Apostle Bruce McConkie is full of salvation by works.
- So we see very clearly here an example of an angel that began a religion, a religion that claims to be completely Christian and to honor Jesus Christ and yet is completely unbiblical in its teachings on God, teaching three separate Gods, and its teachings on salvation, teaching salvation is by works, not by grace.
- Ankerberg: Now, from time to time we receive questions about the Church of the New Jerusalem, founded by the eighteenth century mystic and medium Emanuel Swedenborg. Did you know that this group of folks also received their information from angels? Well, it’s true. Dr. Weldon explains why we believe these angels were in the category Paul described in 1 Timothy 4:1, where he writes: “The Spirit clearly says that in the latter times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” Why do we think Emanuel Swedenborg was deceived by demons claiming to be good angels? Dr. Weldon explains:
- Weldon: Another example today of people contacting fallen angels that we believe are demons according to the Bible can be found in the Church of the New Jerusalem founded by the eighteenth century mystic and medium Emanuel Swedenborg. In one of his letters published in his posthumous theological works he writes that, “The Lord had been preparing me for this from my childhood.” He’s talking about communicating with angels. “He manifested himself in person before me, his servant, and sent me to do this work, granting me to see the heavens and many of the wonderful things there and also the hells and to speak with angels and spirits and this continually for 27 years.”
- In one of his other books, A Compendium of Swedenborg’s Theological Writings, he says that he has spoken with angels “some thousands of times.” Now, if we look at the theological teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg, we find a consistent pattern. He says of the Christian faith, “The imputation which it teaches is absurd since Christ’s merit cannot be imputed.” And he says in A Compendium of Swedenborg’s Theological Writings, “It is believed in the church that the Lord was sent by the Father to make an atonement for the human race and that this was done by the fulfilling of the law and the passion of the cross.” And he goes on to say, “Such things can scarcely be ascribed to an upright man but rather to one who is not upright, nor to an angel of heaven but rather to a spirit of hell. It is therefore shocking to attribute them to God.” In other words, Swedenborg taught that the teachings of the Christian church were guided by a spirit of hell, even by the devil himself.
- And yet Swedenborg himself later on says that “men must be very careful not to trust the spirits that appear to them because they consistently lie.” I’m quoting. He says, “When spirits begin to speak with a man, he ought to beware that he believes nothing whatever from them, for they say almost anything. Things are fabricated by them and they lie. Let me beware, therefore, how they believe them, for this reason the state of speaking with spirits on this earth is most perilous unless one is in true faith.” Now, he, of course, believed he was in true faith, but the teachings of the spirits and angels he contacted proved that he wasn’t.
- Ankerberg: Now, maybe you have been contacted by angels or you’ve had experiences where you’ve received information from spirits. The Lord Jesus Christ has some wonderful information for you concerning having a relationship with Him and breaking the power that the spirits might have over of you. Listen very carefully as Dave Hunt and John Weldon explain how this can happen to you:
- Hunt: The good news of the gospel is, you don’t have to reform, you don’t have to somehow pull yourself up by your boot straps. What you have to acknowledge is, you can’t do it. You’re helpless. There could be someone listening to me right now, you’re helplessly deceived and entrapped by these beings. You can’t extricate yourself. Cry out to Christ. He said, “Whosoever cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out.” He promised that if you would turn to Him, He would save you. And if you will acknowledge that He died for your sins and believe that He rose from the dead and is alive right now seeking an entrance into your heart, if you will open your heart to Him and receive Him as your Savior, He will rescue you and He will give you eternal life as a free gift of His grace.
- Weldon: Bouncing off what Dave said, one of the things that indirectly convinced me that Christianity really was true as a new Christian was the fact that every time I picked up a book by a spirit entity, channeled writing or whatever, they all had a consistent theology. They all denied the nature of God and they all denied the nature of salvation. In some of the topics we’ve been discussing, what are the common themes that we find? If we look at Islam, what do we find? It denies the nature of God, the Trinity. It denies that Christ died on the cross as an atonement for sin. If we look at the writings of Swedenborg, he says that it’s impossible to impute the merit of Christ to anyone, and he is also a Unitarian denying the Trinity. If we look at the theology of Jose Silva, we find that he says that the blood of Christ can’t cleanse anyone from sin. And on down the road it goes. This consistency in the spirit world and in these false angels is really remarkable and one has to ask the question, If they are really good angels, why are they so against the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible?