Sunday, July 7, 2013

I Got Soul

  We have long labeled animals as being soul-less creatures in the Christian community. But why? It is often said that animals do not have souls but that is ironic since the word soul in the Old Testament is nephesh” which means a breathing creature. I think we can all agree that animals are breathing creatures, so they must have a soul. The question then becomes, do they have a spirit? Well, spirit in the Old Testament is ruwach” which translates to breath. We already agreed that animals breath, so they must have a breath. But there is more.

  The Bible teaches us more about animals then one might think at first. For starters it tells us that the serpent spoke to Eve (Genesis 3:1). Not only did it speak, it also deceived her (Genesis 3:13, 1 Timothy 2:14). Now you might be saying, “Yeah, but that was Satan.” That may be true, but for the sake of this study lets just leave it at this point; the book of Genesis never says that the serpent was used or that it was Satan? It specifically states that the serpent was more subtle (crafty) then all the other beast of the field (Genesis 3:1). The verse uses the word “hayah” which could be translated became. If this is the case the verse could be read, “and the serpent became more crafty then the other beast of the field.” If so, then we can take two lessons from this (the second of which has nothing to do with this study). 1) Animals have the ability to learn (which I think is pretty obvious just by watching your cat or dog) and if this is the proper translation it would also mean that 2) Adam and Eve (or woman as she was still called at the time) must have spent many years in the Garden of Eden before the fall.

  But there's another story that gives us even more insight into animals and this one has no Satan tie-ins. Numbers 22:5 tells us the story of Balaam. This story is very interesting on many levels but one of the more interesting aspects is what occurs with Balaam's mule. The Bible tells us in Numbers 22:23 that God sent an Angel to smite Balaam. What follows has been overlooked by many Christians and scholars. The mule sees the Angel and turns off the road to save Balaam's life, it doesn't do this once, it does it on three separate occasions. Now your probably saying, “What do you mean 'overlooked?' I've heard this story before.” I'm sure you have, but have you noticed the following? 1) The mule sees the Angel while Balaam couldn't. Animals seem to be more keen to the spirit realm then we are. 2) The animal observed the situation and made a decision (Haven't noticed that before have you?). This tells us animals can observe, think and make decisions. 3) By coming between Balaam and the Angel (Ultimately Balaam's demise), the mule intercedes for Balaam. Animals can intercede for us. But don't take my word for it, read Numbers 22:33 where the Angel of the LORD tells Balaam that the mule saved his life. 4) Balaam gets scolded for whipping his mule (Numbers 22:32). Animals are not to be mistreated. And last but not least (and how could I talk about this story without mentioning this part) 5) The mule asks Balaam three questions (Numbers 22:28-30). Animals have curiosities and could even hold conversations if God allowed. For the second time in the Bible an animal talks to a human. Yes, I am aware that it's possible that the conversation happened spiritually and therefore in a vision, but it doesn't say that the LORD opened Balaam's ears, it says that God opened the mules mouth. I think anybody near by (possibly Balaam's two servants. Numbers 22:22) heard the mule talking.

  Another verse that talks about animals is Matthew 6:26 (and a perfect fit being that the other verses were Old Testament). Here we see that God feeds the birds. Though Jesus puts us in higher regard, it is still important to note that, it is God, that takes care of and feeds the animals.

  With all that said, do animals go to Heaven? Though the Bible mentions that there are animals in the Kingdom (Isaiah 65:25 Appears to be referring to Heaven or at least the place of Eternity, Revelation 19:14), I am not aware of any verse that mentions the animals of earth dying and going to Heaven. So I guess some things are just a matter of wait and see. We cannot say they will go to Heaven, but we also shouldn't say they won't either since the Bible makes no mention of it.

  I hope you have enjoyed this study and that you can give God's creation a little more credit then what we often give them, you never know if they have interceded for you. God Bless you.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tendrán Alas Los Ángeles?

  Siempre nos imaginamos ángeles como seres alados. La mayoría podría encontrar difícil de creer que la Biblia nunca menciona que los ángeles tienen alas. Así que si la Biblia no lo menciona, entonces ¿de dónde viene esta creencia?

  Muchas personas creen que la Biblia menciona que los ángeles tienen alas porque han cometido el error de pensar que los Serafines y los Querubines son ángeles. Esta información no es correcta. La Biblia hace una clara distinción entre los ángeles, Serafines, Querubines y hasta los cuatro seres vivientes del Apocalipsis 4:08 (que pueden ser Serafines también debido a que la descripción de Juan es muy similar a la que describe Isaías 6:2-3) . El problema es que muchos han tomado ángel para significar "ser espiritual", por lo tanto, todo lo que ellos perciben como Seres del Cielo debe ser un ángel. Pero de hecho, la palabra ángel en hebreo es "mal'ak", que significa "mensajero", no ser espiritual, de hecho, la palabra mal'ak se usa en el Antiguo Testamento para referirse a mensajeros humanos también. Así que la palabra no es exclusiva a los seres espirituales que hemos llegado a asociar con alas.

  Ahora quiero dejar claro que no estoy diciendo que los ángeles no tienen alas. No he visto a uno (hasta donde yo sé) para decir si tienen o no. Lo que estoy diciendo, y tratando de dejar claro, es que las Escrituras no nos dicen que tienen. ¿Es posible que la enseñanza que los ángeles de Dios tienen alas es un intento de corromper la Palabra de Dios? ¿O es que nuestra imaginación se va mas allá. Muchas personas han afirmado haber visto ángeles. En sus descripciones tienden a mencionar que tienen alas. No voy a cometer el error de decir si el testimonio de otro/a es cierto o no, ese no es mi trabajo, pero tengo el derecho de no creer todo lo que he oído.

  Hay muchas ocasiones en la Biblia donde alguien está hablando con un ángel sin siquiera darse cuenta. Hay posibles explicaciones para esto. Una explicación podría ser que los ángeles se han disfrazado para que la persona no sepa que estaban hablando con un ángel. Otra explicación podría ser que se ven idénticos a los humanos, y hasta que no hagan algo milagroso, como ascender a los Cielos, pasaría desapercibida. Hay una tercera posibilidad. Es posible que en algunos casos, que no era un ángel, sino un mensajero humano y que los traductores de la Biblia se equivocaron. Esto puede parecer controversia para algunos, pero ha sucedido antes. Me explico.

  La Biblia menciona que Satanás tiene ángeles (Apocalipsis 12:9). Lo que ha llevado a muchos a creer que estos son ángeles caídos del cielo que trabajan para él. Pero si traducimos el versículo correctamente, habría leído: "Satanás ... y sus mensajeros." Cuando se lee de esta manera no nos da entender que se refiere a ángeles del cielo. Pero estoy fuera de pista. Para más información sobre este tema recomiendo que vuelvas por aquí en las semanas siguientes que voy a publicar un artículo completo sobre ángeles.

  Así que para concluir, podríamos no saber exactamente como parecen los ángeles se parecen hasta que vemos uno personalmente. Pero no podemos decir que la Biblia dice que tienen alas, porque no es así.  La paz sea con vosotros.

(*Nota Importante: En Griego (lenguaje del Nuevo Testamento) la palabra para ángel es "aggelos" que también significa "mensajero".)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Do Angels Have Wings

  We always imagine Angels as winged beings. So most might find it hard to believe that the Bible never mentions Angels having wings. So if the Bible does not mention it, then where does this belief come from?

Most people believe that the Bible mentions that Angels have wings because they have made the mistake of thinking that Seraphims and Cherubims are Angels. This information is incorrect. The Bible makes a clear distinction between Angels, Seraphim, Cherubim and even the four living creatures of the book of Revelation 4:8 (which may be Seraphims also since John's description of them is very similar to what Isaiah 6:2-3 describes). The problem is that many have taken Angel to mean “spiritual being”, therefore, everything that they perceive to be in Heaven must be a Angel. But in fact the word angel in Hebrew is “mal'ak” which means “messenger”, not spiritual being. As a matter of fact the word mal'ak is used in the Old Testament referring to human messengers also. So the word is not exclusive to the spiritual beings we've come to associate with wings.

Now I want to make it clear that I am not saying that Angels do not have wings. I have not seen one (as far as I know) so I can say if they do or if they don't. What I'm saying, and trying to make clear, is that the Scriptures do not tell us they do. Is it possible that the teaching that angels of God have wings is an attempt to corrupt the Word of God? Or did our imaginations get away from us. Many people have claimed to have seen Angels. In their descriptions of these being they tend to mention that they have wings. I will not make the mistake of saying if a persons account is true or not, that is not my job, but I do have the right to not believe everything I hear.

There are many occasions in the Bible where someone is talking to an Angel without even realizing it. There are possible explanations to this. One explanation could be that the Angels have disguised themselves so that the person would not know they were talking to an Angel. Another explanation could be that they look identical to humans and until they do something miraculous, like ascending into the Heavens, would go unnoticed. There is a third possibility. It is possible in some cases that it was not an Angel but an actual human messenger and that the Bible translators got it wrong. This might seem controversial to some, but it has happened before. Let me explain.

The Bible mentions that Satan has Angels (Revelation 12:9). Which has lead many to believe that these are Fallen Angels from Heaven working for him. But if we were to translate that verse correctly it would have read, “Satan...and his messengers.” When you read it that way you do not get the notion that it is referring to Angels from Heaven. But I'm getting off track. For more on this topic check back in here in the following weeks were I will be posting a whole article on Angels.

So to wrap up, we might not know exactly what Angels look like until we actually see one personally. But we cannot say that the Bible says they have wings, because it does not. Peace be with you.

(Important Note: The Greek (New Testament language) word for Angel is "aggelos" which also means "messenger".)