by Clete Hux –
Are there any true-life encounters with angels today?
There is no reason to believe that angels ceased to exist with the completion of the Bible. Indeed there are many people who report what seem to be legitimate angelic encounters.
In her book When Angels Appear, Hope McDonald records her experience with what she believes to be an encounter with and angel. She records that in 1962 she and her husband were visiting Dr. Francis and Edith Schaeffer of the L’Abri Fellowship of Switzerland. Edith had told her that when she came to Switzerland to be sure to save any Christmas money that she had so that she could take advantage of the big winter sale in all the stores in Switzerland during January.
She said that she had saved a little over $150.00, which in 1962 was quite a sum. She shopped and got exactly everything that she thought her family would need in the way of clothing. As she carried her purchases to the cashier, she was filled with happiness. She says that, as t he saleswoman began to ring up all the items, “I suddenly felt a very strong hand on my shoulder. I turned around to see who it was, but none was there. Yet there was no mistaking the solid pressure on my shoulder or the firm voice that accompanied it.”
A message was clearly communicated to me, “You won’t be needing those things.” Since the strong hand was still on my shoulder, I turned again and said, “Of course, I will need them. We live in Pittsburgh, and it is cold there. Look, I got all bigger sizes for next year.” Who was I arguing with? I didn’t know. The message came once more, clear and unmistakable. “You won’t be needing those things.” Then the hand was gone, the voice was gone, and the saleswoman was looking at me expectantly quoting the price, “That will be $146.00, please,” I could hardly believe my own ears when I heard myself say, “I’m sorry, I won’t be needing these things.” (pp. 47-48).
Hope attributed the encounter to an angel. And she stated that when she and her family returned to Pittsburgh, the head of the missions telephoned and asked that she and her family pray about going to Brazil in September and living there for the next five years to start the mission work there. She states, “Of course, we went, and of course, we did not need the stack of beautiful Swiss winter clothes in Brazil.”
Another example of what appears to be a bona fide angel from God was recorded by Sergei Kourdakov, a former KGB policeman who later defected to the U.S. He wrote in his book The Persecutor, regarding his experiences with the KGB in persecuting Christian. He was with a group of KGB officers who raided a secret Bible study some Christians were having. While the Christians were being ruffed up by them, Sergei noticed an old lady standing in the corner clutching her Bible. He walked over and drew back his fist to hit the old woman. At that moment, the elderly lady cried out, “God, forgive this young man. Show him the true Way. Open his eyes and help him. Forgive him, dear God.” Sergei was unable to bring his fist forward. He turned around and there was no one there. He said that he was so afraid that he immediately ran out of the place (pp. 225-226). A new video, Angels: True Life Encounters, produced by His Majesty’s Media, documents many similar stories from Christians. It dramatically recreates the story of Corrie Ten Boom’s answer to prayer for angels in a Nazi concentration camp, and of a campus co-ed that was saved from being raped when the would-be rapist saw two large men escorting the young woman. The co-ed never saw the protectors at her side.
There are other books that give a fair treatment of the subject of angels, such as Billy Graham’s book Angels: God’s Secret Agents and Landrum P. Lavell’s book, Angels, Angels, Angels. Another helpful book on the subject is Angels Elect and Non-Elect by Fred Dickinson, a Moody Bible Institute Professor.
Even though Frank Perretti’s novels, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness, are good reading and make one aware of angels and spiritual warfare, it is not a treatment, per se, of angelology.
First published on Watchman.org June 11, 2002