There are different ways Angels appear to men:-
– by actually appearing in this realm
– by appearing in the spirit realm, and a human seeing into THAT realm
– appearing in dreams
There were times in scripture that angels appeared IN THIS physical realm – and EVERYONE could see them
Other times only certain people saw them – as their eyes were opened to see into the spirit realm
1) Angels can appear IN THIS realm to the naked eye:
A) Genesis 18:1 – angels appeared to Abraham AS MEN
:2 – …3 men… (actually – God & 2 angels as we see later in the passage)
In this passage they are actually referred to as ‘men’ a number of times although it is evident they were angels 19:1; 18:16, 22; 19:5, 10, 12, 16.
Evidently sometimes angels when they appear in this realm look like and act like men, and therefore are referred to as men
They also ATE human food: – :6-8
B) Genesis 19:1-16
These were the 2 angels that had been with Abraham in Gen 18
19:1 – ‘angels’
19:5 – looked like other men to the men of Sodom. The men of Sodom had no idea they were dealing with Angels.
C) Joshua 5:13-15
At first Joshua had no idea this was a supernatural being
He just thought it was another man
Whether this one is Joshua seeing into the spirit or this man appearing in this realm we don’t know
D) Judges 6:11-22
:22 – Gideon only realises who he talking to part way into the conversation!
E) Judges 13:1-20
Doesn’t seem at first they knew it was The Angel of The Lord
They thought he was a man / prophet
F) Acts 1:10-11
2) God can open the eyes of individuals so THEY see into the spirit realm
A) Numbers 22:22-31 Balaam and his donkey
The angel was there – the donkey could see it, Balaam couldn’t, until his eyes were opened
B) Daniel 10:1-7 (:7)
C) 2 Kings 6:13-17
The enemy did not see this angelic army
At first the servant didn’t see them – then his eyes were opened to the spirit realm
That army was there all the time – but they couldn’t see it!
It didn’t suddenly appear there when man could see it!
D) Acts 27:21-26
If this angel appeared to Paul in the natural – then others in the ship would have seen him too!
Seeing INTO the realm of the spirit is what is known as: ‘Discerning of Spirits’
This is one of the 9 ‘gifts/manifestations of the Spirit’ – 1 Corinthians 12
The Discerning of spirits gives a person insight into the spirit realm. It enables a person to SEE into the spirit realm and what is there.
It includes visions. The person can see – God, Jesus, angels, demons etc
3) Angels can appear to men in dreams
A) Genesis 28:12-15 (Jacob)
B) Matthew 1:18-25; 2:13-15 & 2:19-20
(Joseph – Jesus’ natural father)
Many times the angels appear AS men – and seem completely natural
BUT sometimes when they appear they give us a glimpse of their supernatural nature:
At times they will appear as more than just men – and reveal their heavenly features:
A) Luke 24:4-7 (SHINNING clothing)
B) Matthew 28:1-7 (:3)
Seems like this one appeared in the natural realm – all saw him
C) Daniel 10:5 – 6
This angel had the ‘general appearance’ of a man
But had supernatural splendour about his features
Angels appear in various ways- dreams, visions, in this natural realm
They can appear to one person or to all / a group
We do not necessarily know they are angels when they appear
Sometimes we will
Other times we will think we dreamed it up (Peter in Acts)
Other times we will think we saw another human being
Sometimes they are recognised as angels – Daniel 8:15-17, Mt 28:1-7
Other times, their identity’s with held – Num 22:23,31; Judges 6, Hebrews 13:2
From the Bible study notes of Owen Walton
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