As soon as we leave the womb and enter the world of men we are confronted by an unknown and unfamiliar landscape full of danger and uncertainty. And, as we grow from infancy to childhood and childhood to maturity, these two things grow with us. The truth is we are never free of them – our world is an uncertain place and danger is never far away.
It is not without significance that the spiritual journey is preceded, in many belief systems, by the concept of a ‘new birth’ – none more so than in the Judaeo-Christian tradition.
The much used and abused ‘new birth’ statement of Jesus found in John’s Gospel is in fact a reference to a well known Jewish tradition during which a convert to Judaism underwent a ‘Baptism’ (immersion) in water. In Jewish literature, the baptismal water (Mikveh) was referred to as the ‘Womb of the World’. As a convert came out of the water he or she was considered as having undergone a ‘new birth’. Following this initiation the convert was referred to as – ‘A little child just born’ or ‘A child of one day’.
My interest here is not in any debate or argument over this tradition and what Christianity has made of it – but simply to note that when we embark on our spiritual journey we do so as a baby coming into the natural world along with the attendant uncertainties, dangers and pitfalls. And boy are there many of these! I have written here before about a number of them – but today I want to highlight one of the most dangerous of all. And it is dangerous because it, or should I say they, masquerade as the real deal. Such people may come to us as those we think of as being super spiritual, gifted, successful or powerful preachers. They may come in the guise of ‘Charismatic’, ‘Pentecostal’, ‘Conservative’, ‘Calvinist’ ‘Reformed’, ‘Baptist’ or as those with any other or even no denominational attachment. They may speak in ‘Tongues’, lay claim to ‘Prophetic Words’ dazzle you with their charismatic personalities and success – and may even have proof that they have great spiritual gifts such as healing, supernatural insights and foreknowledge. But it is possible – distinctly possible that such may be Dark Angels masquerading as Angels of Light. How often have good people, passionate people, people who truly want God’s best for their lives been taken in by such Angels? How often have I been taken in by them? Truth be told – more than once!
And in case we think this is something new – it’s not. It was there from the very beginning of time – and it was there at the very beginning of Christianity as we know it. Indeed the Apostle Paul found it in one of the early churches he founded only a couple of years after the event! And he had to write to them of certain men who had come in to their fellowship –
‘These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.’
2 Corinthians 11:13-14 (NLT)
As I look back on life, seeing a bit more clearly than I did in earlier years, I now realise I once had a Dark Angel sitting in my living room wearing a clerical collar accusing me of things that had no basis in fact or truth. And this Dark Angel subsequently succeeded in killing a move of God within the community in which I was living at the time. I had another, a self proclaimed ‘Apostle’, calling unannounced at my home from nowhere on one occasion with the (later revealed) intention that I and the church I was helping to lead at the time, come under his authority. I have also met others with similar intentions – Dark Angels love authority and control! I have also known some, more thinly disguised Dark Angels masquerading as ‘Christians’, come in to churches to create division and set friend against friend – and, tragically, succeed with devastating results. I now suspect Dark Angels in Light are much more common than I ever imagined. Experience and observation not any ‘conspiracy theory’ has led me to this conclusion.
So what to do and how to discern such Angels?
In has first letter the to Church at Corinth, which, as we have seen, was later invaded by these Dark Angels, the Apostle Paul had in fact given them the first golden rule for discerning those who subsequently came as darkness dressed in light –
‘If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal. And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God’s hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains, but have never learned to love, then I am nothing.’
1 Corinthians 13:1&2
When I look back on my experience of Dark Angels – this is what has been missing. And if I had been true to the voice of the Spirit within I would have recognised them for what they were. But I was taken up with their superior learning, force of personality and apparent spirituality and was blinded to the fact that they did not express love – the only thing that could identify them as truly genuine. Please, please avoid such as these. Loveless people are never godly people – for the essence of godliness is love.
To another of the churches he had founded Paul wrote this –
‘You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with the virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavour to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others.’
Colossians 3:12 (TPT)
I believe that the virtues of God Paul enumerates here, apart from being the desired goal of any who claim to be truly Christian – are also signs, the absence of which, in any leader or would be leader, should spell danger. Dark Angels find it very hard to counterfeit these – mercy, compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility, not taking offence and patience.
My best bet is that if you can find the above, all wrapped in love, in the life of any person – they are a very good indication that you are not dealing with a Dark Angel – but with a true Angel of Light.
So seek out such people, do all you can to promote such people, honour and support such people – and perhaps, just perhaps we may yet see days when the Church of Jesus Christ can rise and be the beautiful thing it was always meant to be in our world.