Heavenly Communication

Discerning the Spirits

Most everyone has heard of an angel story, either from someone they know or even had one themselves, where a sudden calamity is turned around by the appearance of some stranger on the scene, only to find that stranger suddenly disappears after the calamity is averted. These stories are far too numerous to discount many of them in that it appears that divine intervention did occur and that intervention was brought about through prayer and angelic beings intervention.

I related my story in an earlier article where I heard a voice warn me to get off the road I was traveling on and onto the Interstate, whereupon following that direction my car engine died five minutes later. Thankfully, an exit was coming up right when it happened and my momentum carried me down the ramp and right in front of a gas station. I never thought about where the voice originated from for many years. When I joined the ascended master teachings I believed it could have been either my Higher Self, my guardian angel, or a divine ascended being.

It is a topic here because there are varying beliefs on angels and whether we can or should pray to them and communicate with them. I was praying the whole trip for protection that my little car would get me to my hometown on my 2,500 miles journey. I did pray to Archangel Michael and what I believed at that time were heavenly ascended master beings, including Jesus. Since angels can interact with mankind, and the Bible supports this claim, we need to understand how we can discern angels of God from other roaming spirits who may impersonate a holy angel. Does the Bible support our praying to angels and having communication with them? If so, how can we discern between angelic angels and the fallen angels or spirits that come in the disguise of an angel?

The English word "angel" comes from the Greek angelos, which means 'messenger'. In the book of Hebrews, angels are described as "ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation" (Hebrews 1:14). In the Old Testament, with two exceptions, the Hebrew word for "angel" is malak, also meaning 'messenger'. The Bible contains approximately 300 references to angels, at least 15 references are found in the words of Jesus. Beliefs in what angels are can be seen in the various religious and mystical communities throughout history. 

Zoroastrianism, one of the oldest monotheist religions (559 BC to 651 CE), came out of the Persian empires and was founded by Zarathustra (Zoroaster). It flourished until the Zoroastrians were persecuted after Arab Muslims defeated the Sasanids and the Sasnid Empire falls apart. The mighty empires of the ancient Persians and Zoroastrianism included nearly all civilized nations. Zoroastrians believe archangels, "Amesha Spentas", literally, "beneficent Immortals" are the highest created spiritual beings created by God, Ahura Mazda, (which means the lord of wisdom). Archangels are believed to preside over various elements of the material universe. Every person has a guardian angel (Arda Fravash or Faravahars "Holy Guardian Angels") which acts as a guide throughout life. While originally guarding heaven, some volunteered to descend to earth to stand by individuals throughout their lives. Ahura Mazda advises Zarathushtra to invoke them for help whenever he finds himself in danger. If not for their guardianship, animals and people could not have continued to exist, because the evil (Druj) would have destroyed them all.

Buddhism and Hinduism have devas, literally the "shining ones". Devas act in angelic ways, such as guardian angels do. They guard the living things they're assigned to care for whether it be inanimate objects such as rocks or animate lifeforms such as animals or people. They also send spiritual energies to those they guard. It is believed the energy from devas inspires and motivates the living being to discover more about the universe and become one with it in unity. Devas share the characteristic of generally being invisible to the physical human eye and can only be detected by those who have opened their "divine eye".

Judaism is replete with Biblical angel stories. Rabbinic literature expounds significantly on the nature of angels and their roles in these stories. The Midrash (Jewish commentaries on Scripture) identifies Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael as the four chief angels who surround the divine throne, each of whom has particular attributes. The Kabbala (the Jewish mystical tradition) portrays angels as forces of spiritual energy that act like magnets, causing physical changes by means of forces that are invisible to the eye. Angels are singular and unchanging in their essences and can be either good or evil (demons), with the evil ones harboring evil thoughts or committing acts of wickedness. Just as good angels can bring good into the world, evil angels also can bring evil from the spiritual to the material world by inspiring sin or causing suffering and punishment.
While Christianity embraces the concept of angels, within the various denominations of Christianity and some cults that call themselves Christians, there are different ideas on angels. Today many people in various denominations show interest or belief in guardian angels, yet there is no teaching in the Bible where we can find that God assigns every person, or every believer, a guardian angel. In one verse Jesus mentions angelic assignments for children in Matt. 18:10. Most scholars reject the idea that there is an angel assigned to every person. In a moment I will share other views on guardian angels other than the scholars.

Orthodox Christianity has angels and archangels that are workers and messengers of God. They are described in a physical way as the form of a man or being six-winged, of the nine types of spirit beings the angels are closest to man and appointed to guard and help believers. The most important of all the archangels is Michael, the other archangels are Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel, Jehudiel, Barachiel, Jeremiel. Satan is a fallen angel.

Protestant Christians believe that angels are messengers and carry out God's will. One of their most important roles is to minister the Gospel and assist the disciples. They are spiritual beings created by God yet they can take on corporeal form, if necessary, to help them do their work on earth. Protestants believe it is idolatrous and not biblical to pray to angels or any form in spirit other than God. Not all Angels are good. Satan, or Lucifer, is a rebel Angel and is a constant threat to mankind and all that is pure. Guardian angels are believed to be assigned to people either at birth or at times a soul needs assistance.

Mormonism, (LDS Church) was founded by Joseph Smith in 1830 and came about after he claimed the angel Moroni appeared to him several times. Mormons differ from orthodox Christian doctrine with their belief that there are two types of angels, spirits who have not yet incarnated and those who once had material forms but are now spirits waiting for the resurrection in heaven. Angels can also be in embodiment either because they were resurrected or have been translated and then possess immortal glorified physical bodies. They still can eat and drink and do all the things human beings do. Additionally, angels are created through sexual relations, better known as "celestial exaltation" between God and his heavenly wife in the spirit world. Mormons do not believe in guardian angels. Archangel means "Chief Angel" and Archangel Michael is believed to be the chief angel, but since angels are resurrected beings, his being in the flesh is believed to be the first man, Adam.
Catholicism teaches that angels are intermediaries between God and humans. They are also servants and messengers, and they also attend God's throne. The Catholic friar and priest St. Thomas Aquinas outlined the angelic hierarchy dividing them into three groups totaling nine choirs of angels. The groups are, the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones; The Dominions, Virtues, Powers; The Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. Angels are pure spirits and remain incorporeal forever. Thomas Aquinas believed that angels, being spiritual beings, influence mankind by illuminating one's mind with an idea. The Church teaches angels speak "within" a person, not to them, thereby maintaining their spiritual nature. Everyone has their own guardian angel who helps us by intervening in our affairs and can influence our senses and imagination, although not our wills. Archangel Michael fights evil and rescues souls. Traditionally, the devil is known as Lucifer, meaning "light-bearer," one of the seraphim, the highest choir of angels who see and adore God directly. Lucifer is also believed to be the fallen archangel, who with one-third of the angelic host, was cast out of heaven for the sin of pride, he presides over hell and is said to seek and lure mankind to sin.

What the Word of God Says
The Bible says that angels have greater power and ability than humans (2 Peter 2:11). We also learn from Job that God created angels when He created the heavens and earth. "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it. To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4, 7) 

The phrase "sons of God" is used in the Old Testament five times: Gen. 6:2, Gen. 6:4, Job 1:6, Job 2:1 and in the above reference. However, not all references to "sons of God" reference spiritual angels, but it is clear that this passage in Job does since Adam had no sons until after he sinned and this passage refers to when the foundations of the earth were being laid. The angels were together, united as sons of God before a division occurred through the fall of a certain anointed Cherub (Ezekiel 28:14). So we see that the morning stars are a group and they are also called sons of God and those who fell "fallen angels".

Daniel is the first biblical figure to refer to individual angels by name, mentioning Michael and Gabriel. Gabriel is God's primary messenger (Daniel 9:21) and Michael is the holy fighter in Daniel 10:13 and is considered the "Prince" of the heavenly hosts (Dan. 12:1). The Book of Tobit (part of the Catholic and Orthodox biblical canons) names Raphael as "one of the seven who stand before the Lord." Revelation 8:2 also refers to the seven angels who stand before the Lord. Three are named in the Bible: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. 

The following are some passages referring to communication between angels and man:

  • Just then, the Angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham, Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. Genesis 22:11

  • Angels of God met Jacob. Gen. 32:1–2. 
  • Jacob saw angels of God ascending and descending, Gen. 28:12. 
  • In that dream the Angel of God said to me, 'Jacob!' And I replied, 'Here I am.' Genesis 31:11 
  • Gideon saw an angel of the Lord face to face. Judg. 6:22
  • An angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it. (2Samuel 24:16) 
  • When Elijah fled Jezebel after his triumph on Mount Carmel, an angel brought him food, giving him strength to meet the Lord on Mount Horeb in (1Kings 19:5-8).

The Angel of the Lord

In the above examples, a few refer to "The angel of the Lord". When Scriptures uses this description of an angel it is believed by many scholars to be a christophany—a pre-incarnation appearance of Jesus Christ. In the Hebrew Scriptures "The Angel of the Lord" is referred to in 51 verses. Other verses use "an angel of the Lord," which is different from "the angel of the Lord." It seems when the definite article "the" is used, it is specifying a unique being, separate from the other angels. Another sign is that the appearances of "the angel of the Lord" cease after the incarnation of Christ. The angel of the Lord speaks as God, identifies Himself with God, and exercises the responsibilities of God. Therefore, it is clear that in at least some instances, the angel of the Lord is a theophany, an appearance of God in physical form.

The first reference of this Angel is found in Genesis 16:7-12 where it says that "the Angel of the Lord" appeared to Hagar as she was fleeing in the wilderness from the rage of Abraham's wife. The Angel told her to go back home, and then He revealed to her that she was pregnant with a son whose name would be called Ishmael.

A study of the subsequent appearances of the Angel of the Lord makes it very clear that many of these were no ordinary visitations of angels. In Judges 13 we are told that the Angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah and his wife to inform them that they would have a child named Samson. When Manoah asked the Angel for His name, He replied, "Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?" (Judges 13:18). Manoah understood immediately, for he turned to his wife and said, "We shall surely die, for we have seen God" (Judges 13:22).

On two occasions this angel accepted worship. Since we are told to worship none but God this angel was God. When He appeared to both Moses (Exodus 3:1-5) and Joshua (Joshua 5:14-15), they were told to remove their sandals for they were "standing on holy ground."

Can or Should We Communicate With Saints or Angels?
Saints are not angels. We are not to worship angels or saints, but both saints in heaven and spiritual angels can intercede on our behalf. One saint of our modern times is Padre Pio, who left this earth in 1968. I will write about him in a future article because there is so much about this saint that is so extraordinary, and so beautiful, with his love and intercession for his fellow human beings not only while in embodiment, but beyond the veil. He had visitations from Mary and Jesus from an early age and could see angels. Padre Pio could bilocate and appear at distant places to perform last rites or bring the healing power of God to some deathly ill person, who would then be cured after the visit. The marks of the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, appeared on Padre Pio's body when he was 31 and remained the rest of his life.

God endowed Padre Pio with many extraordinary spiritual gifts besides bilocation and seeing beyond the veil. He had the gift of healing, prophecy, performing miracles, discernment of spirits, the ability to abstain beyond man's natural powers from both sleep and nourishment, the ability to read hearts, the gift of tongues (the ability to speak and understand languages that he had never studied), and the gift of conversions. He was always using his gifts to help others. There are countless stories of Padre Pio's answering the prayers of many before and after his leaving embodiment. Would God allow such a pious man to have these gifts and use them if it was wrong to pray to saints?

Besides Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and even some Anglicans, early Christians are believed to have had the practice of praying to saints. Yet praying to saints is disdained within the Protestant movement, especially to the Virgin Mary. Protestants believe that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man and praying to dead people is akin to practicing necromancy. 

In Revelation 5:8, John depicts the saints in heaven offering our prayers to God under the form of "golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." In order for these saints to offer our prayers to God, the saints in heaven must be aware of our prayers, hear them and can convey them to God thereby interceding on our behalf. If the prayers were not directed to the saints they still would have heard them to intercede for us and for John to share what he saw.

Discerning Spirits
Not every voice one might hear in their mind or is of God. We are admonished to test the spirits (1John 4), but that is not always failproof. Some determined negative spirits may not go, and that can depend much on our consciousness and our own foibles. If you have seen an exorcism you can easily see that the demons do not leave the first time they are demanded to leave in the name of Jesus the Christ. They will fight to stay although it is painful for them to come in contact with the sacred name or sacred objects.

In my own experience, about 90% of the time the impostors of the Light and lower spirits will go upon making the prayer to be gone in Jesus' name, but the other 10% remain. Once determining by vibration that what is communicated does not feel right (by intuition) making another prayer will usually cast them out. Yet how do they enter our forcefield? This is not an easy explanation and will take a more in-depth response. It appears to go back to the fall of man and casting out our real self created in the image of God and losing contact with our soul which makes us vulnerable to the mental thoughts and images we may receive that claim to be of God. 

The only area I have experienced that is not tainted by these mental thoughts and false images are in the knowing. Having knowledge about something that is not conveyed in mental images or thoughts and comes through the vehicle of knowing is a gift from God. Some call this knowing intuition or a 'gut feeling' about something. Both can be true knowing but feeling something is not exactly knowing. Knowing Is. When something Is there is no and, ifs, or buts about it, it just Is. I liken Is to God giving you the knowledge of something that is outside the normal five senses.

I have already given a few examples of this knowing throughout my personal discourses in this section, like the time I knew my youngest daughter was not in her room when I got up one morning. Her door was locked but she was not in it. I found her at her boyfriend's house after she had snuck out in the middle of the night. When I married her father I knew he was whom I should marry although I did not know him or have spent any time with him to have fallen in love. In fact, I never fell in love with him and we remained married for twenty years. I felt my heart confirm this knowing that this man I was to marry.

I have known many other things about my path and life mission before it unfolded. Not that I gave them any attention or thought. I just knew this or that about my future as a matter of fact. Sometimes I heard a voice give me a message and then silence. I rarely questioned the voice as to the validity of the message or argued with the voice that the knowledge or direction was wrong. Most of the time I had the knowing and I knew it was right. Nor did I solicit receiving these messages or even ponder where they came from. I just knew they were of God.

How can we attain this 'knowing'? If you do not already have it, ask for it. Ask God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit for the gift of knowing. Those who "walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16, 25) can receive the gift of God's intervention in many areas of their life. Yet listening and obeying is not always easy when wanting to do one's own will. Therefore learning to surrender your lower will and increase your faith in divine intervention will help to walk in the Spirit. Obviously, replacing the lower ego's selfishness and selfish ambitions, needs and wants, is another prerequisite. 

While some people can see angels or have visions, it is not all that common. For those who do see outside of their two-eyed vision, it is necessary to test the spirits, again making a prayer and demanding in the name of Christ that these visitations be gone outside of God's holiness and will. Padre Pio once had a tall, handsome, refined gentlemen enter his confessional. After confessing every sin imaginable and deftly defending every sin with supreme logic and reason Padre Pio realized something was not right. He asked the man to repeat "Long live Jesus, long live Mary!" whereupon the man disappeared in a trickle of fire, leaving behind him an unbearable stench. Padre Pio explained that Satan can appear as good and pure as any angel, mortal being, animal or even a saint or the Virgin Mary.

Likewise, hearing voices can be just as misleading as seeing. Hence, so many claiming to channel voices of spirit guides, angels or masters when they are really in communication with the mental plane. Throughout the ages, it is claimed that over 2,500 Marian apparitions have been reported to the Catholic Church but only a tiny fraction have been validated. The Catholic Church has a long strict investigative process to determine if an apparition is not only a trick by the seer but also whether it is a trick by the devil upon the so-called seer. For example, the Medjugorje visitations of Mary began in 1981 and continue today. They have been extensively investigated by the Vatican commission with no official answer yet, but the shrine has at least not been prohibited to Catholics to visit in the interim. 

No one can prove or disprove those who claim communication with a guardian angel is really a guardian angel, an ordinary angel or a demon in disguise. Yet many renown saints and mystics claim they have had communication with their guardian angel and that everyone has one, and not only everyone but towns and cities. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in his Summa Theologica that each man is assigned a particular angel because the guardianship of angels is "part of the carrying out of divine providence over men." 

Padre Pio not only worked with his own guardian angel, he told others they could call on their own guardian angel to bring him a message or petition. We can also call on Archangel Michael for protection and help. Just before a traumatic experience that was about to unfold in my life Archangel Michael came to me. I was in town one day running errands just days before my trauma unfolded when Archangel Michael spoke to me. I do not remember how I knew it was him but I remember the conversation because I did not heed his advice. He asked me to pray to him for more faith. I almost laughed, saying in return, "I have plenty of faith. Why would I need to pray for more?" He did not answer. Long after intense suffering unfolded around me I remembered his words and how I never prayed for more faith. Somehow I managed to get through and I did need lots of faith that what appeared in my physical world and what unfolded in the Spirit was God's will and I needed to trust everything was in God's order.

Padre Pio says to use your angels. In a letter to a good friend of his Annita, he said:

Oh! For goodness' sake, don't forget this invisible companion, ever present, ever disposed to listen to us and even more ready to console us. Oh, wonderful intimacy! Oh, blessed companionship!  If only we could understand it! Keep him always before your mind's eye. Remember this angel's presence often, thank him, pray to him, always keep up a good relationship. Open yourself up to him and confide your suffering to him. Be always afraid of offending the purity of his gaze. Know this, and keep it well present in your mind. He is easily offended, very sensitive. Turn to him in moments of supreme anguish and you will experience his beneficent help.

Never say that you are alone in the battle against your enemies; never say that you have no one to whom you can open your heart and confide. It would be a grave injustice to this heavenly messenger.

Here is a traditional prayer we can say every day to our guardian angel:

Angel of God, my guardian dear
to whom His love commits me here.
Ever this day be at my side
to light, and guard, to rule and guide.

Whether one prays to God and Jesus directly, or to angels, saints or Mother Mary is one's choice. It is a matter of belief whether one accepts the unseen world of angels, guardian angels and saints. Personally I find that Jesus answers my prayers and brings me not only healing in my body but spiritually. Yet in the past I have prayed to angels, saints and Mother Mary. Help has come many, many times and in several ways. One of the important things to remember is to pray and listen, and give gratitude and thanks to God for what you receive and obey the promptings. Misguided direction will teach you to learn how to discern better in the future!