Angel of Light?
The biggest concern some Christians have regarding angelic interaction is that they fear satan will come as an angel of light and they will accidentally start worshiping him. As we have already discovered, there is no record in Scripture of any believer actually doing that, so biblically speaking, that fear is not justified. It is also significant that the clearest instruction we have on not worshiping angels was delivered by an angel himself!
That it is a huge revelation in itself, and now we want to examine the passage about the “angel of light,” since that has also been greatly misunderstood. When Paul mentioned satan masquerading as an angel of light, was he somehow trying to subtly warn the Corinthian Christians about the “perilous dangers” of engaging the angelic realm? What do those verses in Second Corinthians actually say?
Let’s take a look at them in context:
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
We can start by understanding what Paul is not saying. He is not discussing worship. The focus of his conversation is not satan. Paul is writing about false apostles who pretend to be good but they are not. That is what this passage is about.
Then, almost off-handedly, he mentions satan. You could paraphrase the verse this way:
False apostles pretending to be apostles of Christ? No wonder; even satan tries to make himself out to be an angel of light. It’s not a surprise his followers do the same! But no matter, they will all be exposed.
We recognize immediately that, more than anything, this is simply a discussion about deceptive people in the Corinthian church. Just because there are false apostles or false prophets, does that mean we reject all apostles and prophets? Surely not, since Paul was an apostle himself. So too, just because there are fallen angels doesn’t mean we systematically reject all angels.
Of course, we want to glean any secrets Paul may be revealing about our enemy in this passage, but have we potentially misinterpreted his words? Obviously, unbelievers who don’t have the Spirit of Christ in them can and will be deceived by satan. They are already deceived by him. Their hearts have been blinded and they live in spiritual darkness. Paul says that before we were saved we were darkness (Eph. 5:8). This is how satan can disguise himself and appear as an angel of light to unbelievers.
But that has nothing to do with you.
As Christians, we are no longer in the darkness (1 Thess. 5:4). We are children of light and children of the day; we do not belong to the night or to the darkness (1 Thess. 5:5). We walk in the light as He is in the light (1 Jn. 1:7). Jesus, the Light of the World, is alive in us and now we are light in the Lord (Eph. 5:8)!
Our eyes have been opened: Truth is a Person and He lives in us (Jn. 14:6). His Spirit of Truth enlightens us and His discernment guides us into all truth (Jn .16:13). First John 2:20 tells us that we have His anointing to know truth and the passage goes on to say,
“I have written these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. And as for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But just as His true and genuine anointing teaches you about all things, so remain in Him as you have been taught”. (1 John 2:26-27 BSB)
Hallelujah! We can be confident that Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom Himself, will give us supernatural perception and discernment.
What Does Jesus Think?
Jesus, when asked about prayer, said:
“What man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)
If we go into our quiet times with the Lord asking for an angelic encounter, is He going to give us a demonic counterfeit? Do we believe He’s a good Dad who can keep us out of trouble and protected? Do we think His power to keep us is greater than the enemy’s power to reach us?
If we believe God is going to keep us safe and sound for all eternity in the spiritual realm of Heaven, then we can probably also trust Him enough to keep us safe and sound in the spiritual realm now while we interact with angels for a few minutes.
Faith is the currency of Heaven (Heb. 11:6). It is what we can give to a God who has everything: our faith, our trust, our strong belief in His strong love. If we are in fear, we are questioning either His goodness or His sovereignty.
We purpose to know and believe the love God has for us, because that is what casts out the fear (1 Jn. 4:16-18). Father has gotten us this far, how could we worry that He’s going to let us down now? He doesn’t know how to fail, and we cannot trust Him too much. Indeed, Jesus told us that the work of God is to believe (Jn. 6:29).
In summary, we understand that we no longer need to walk in fear of deception, since it is God Himself Who is teaching us and leading us. We can be confident that any “light” the enemy may attempt to mask himself with is a weak disguise that pales in comparison to the Shekinah glory of God that dwells within us and radiates through us.
Jesus told us that we are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14). Light is not afraid of the darkness. Light simply shines, and darkness flees. So arise and shine (Isa. 60:1). Shine brightly. Shine brilliantly. Shine on!