Muhammad, the founder of Islam claimed to have been visited by the angel Gabriel who supposedly revealed to him a verse from the Quran. According to LDS teaching the Mormon angel Moroni was once a man, who later became an angel (which, by the way, seems to contradict the Mormon teaching that all good male Mormons will become gods rather than angels), and as an angel, he allegedly revealed to Joseph Smith the golden plates that later became the Book of Mormon. Ellen G. White (a self-professed prophetess who, along with her husband James and others, founded the Seventh Day Adventist Church) claimed she was in contact with and received revelations from angels. Some New Agers believe that angels are channeled through human mediums and pass on messages from the spirit realm, and there are some today who claim to receive messages from angels and who also profess to be Christians.
This all begs the question, why? Why are people anxious to speak with angels? Why is it necessary to receive messages from angels? Why do people accept those messages as accurate or relevant? And are they really speaking to the Heavenly Host or some other spirit? The answers to these questions are found in the pages of Scripture, God's Holy Word, the Bible. Now I grant you that those who do not profess to be Christian are not likely to turn to the Bible, nor accept its teachings – especially when those Biblical teachings contradict what they already believe.
Christians, however, should turn to the Bible, especially if they have a biblical foundation for their faith – which, as Christians, they naturally would. Christians accept biblical doctrine as factual truth, and examine their beliefs, their faith in the light of biblical doctrine. Christians know that experience is always interpreted by doctrine, and doctrine is never interpreted by experience. This is one of the facets of Christianity that sets Christians apart from other religious beliefs.
That all being said, what does the Bible have to say about angels?
Angels are created beings (Genesis 2:1) and they are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14). They are intelligent, exercise their will, and show emotion (Matthew 8:29; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Peter 1:12; Luke 2:13; James 2:19; Revelation 12:17; Luke 8:28-31; 2 Timothy 2:26; Jude 6). Angels praise and worship God. They serve Him and rejoice in what He does (Psalm 103:20; Psalm 148:1-2; Isaiah 6:3; Job 38:6-7; Luke 2:13; Revelation 5:8-13; Revelation 22:9). Angels are very powerful and are often employed by God as instruments of His judgment (2 Kings 19:35; 1 Chronicles 21:15; Acts 12:23; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 7:1; Revelation 8:2).
There are two primary types of angels, the Heavenly Host, or “good” angels, and the “bad” angels – Satan and the demons (Revelation 12:7; and others). The good angels protect God's elect (Psalm 91:11; Psalm 34:7; Daniel 6:22; Hebrews 1:14; and others). They are not to be worshiped (Revelation 19:10), and there are recorded instances where they spoke to humans during biblical times, sometimes giving direction, and sometimes giving revelation (Matthew 1:20; Matthew 2:13; Acts 8:26; Revelation 1:1; and others).
Clearly, angels play a varied and important role in the interaction between God and His people. But what about today? The Bible speaks about angels during the Old and New Testament periods, and even their role at the end of time. But does the Bible say anything about angels during the here and now? Well, in a word, yes – especially in the way they are described as interacting with humans during our modern times.
Scripture says in Galatians 1:8-9, “8) But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9) As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” It is pretty obvious that there is a possibility that an angel could speak to humans even after the close of Scripture. However, as we read in this passage, whatever that angel says, it must be completely in line with what Scripture says. No deviation of any kind is allowed, and if there is any deviation between Scripture and that angels message, then that angel is cursed, and a cursed angel is not an angel from heaven but rather a demonic angel attempting to pervert the Word of God.
You might be asking at this point, since angels do have the ability to speak to us in our modern times, should we seek interaction with them? Again, we turn to the Scriptures for our answer. In Deuteronomy 18:9-14 we read, 9)“When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. 10)There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11)or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12)For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. 13)You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. 14)For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.
Note that the Scripture absolutely forbids mediums, spiritists and those who call upon the dead. In fact, the Lord considers these practices to be an abomination, and forbids His people from engaging in them. Upon first glance, when we see the terms “medium,” “spiritist” and people who “call upon the dead” we think of seances and necromancy and other occultic practices. But the fact of the matter is this – just as demons are created spirit beings, so are their counterparts, the heavenly angels. The Scripture does not make any distinction between seeking contact between demons and angels. Nor are there any examples of any of God's people attempting contact with any of the holy angels. Therefore, in light of the Scriptures, any attempted contact with a holy angel by a human is strongly condemned by God.
The Scriptures therefore teach us two important aspects of angelic interaction with humans. One, it can never be initiated by a human, and two, when it does happen it must be initiated by God and it must fall within certain parameters established by God, most notably that any such communication cannot deviate from Scripture in any way, shape, or form. If it does, it is not communication coming from a holy angel, but from a demonic fallen angel.
Given these Scriptures and how they apply to angelic interactions with humans, I personally have to wonder why anyone would think they were necessary. Scripture clearly says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that, “16) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17) that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” And Hebrews 4:12 tells us that, “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Add to these Psalm 119:160, “The entirety of Your word is truth.”
Clearly the Bible is completely sufficient for everything a Christian may require that is spiritually based. Why then would anyone think they might require additional messages from angels? Pointing to a created being such as an angel for validation of what a person is doing takes away from the sufficiency of God's Word. For example, Scripture tells us to worship God and no one or nothing else. Scripture tells us to pray unceasingly, to spread the gospel and to make disciples. That is what we, as Christians, are supposed to do. The Bible does not limit how we are to do these things other than to forbid going outside God approved examples shown in Scripture. We can become missionaries, we can go door to door, we can open a soup kitchen, and resource distribution ministry, we can open a school, etc. As long as we are accomplishing the goal our Lord set for us and we are not besmirching His Holy Name in the process or bringing the gospel into disrepute, He will support us.
To say that an angel has come to us and told us to do any of these things, and to use that angelic interaction as support for our actions, takes away from the sufficiency of Scripture, and thus the sufficiency of God. It is the equivalent of ignoring and disrespecting the creator while pointing to the created as our reason for doing something.
Additionally, if that angelic interaction with a human imparts to that person (or persons) something that is in addition to the entirely true and completely sufficient Word of God which we know as Scripture, well, Scripture addresses that as well. Deuteronomy 4:2 states, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it”(see also Deuteronomy 12:32). Proverbs 30:5-6 tells us, “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” And Revelation 22:18-19 imparts this serious and deadly warning: “18) For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19) and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
1 John 4:1 tells us, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” This is not advice, nor is it a suggestion. As Christians we are told to not believe every spirit, but test every spirit – because there are a lot of false prophets out there seeking to keep people away from the true gospel and the true Christian mission.