Guardian angel – Do I have one?

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guardian angelIt would be nice to believe there is someone like a guardian angel watching over you protecting  against harm. But the sceptic will soon say this is just wishful thinking. Fairy godmothers are for children’s fairy tales like Cinderella and not for educated adults.

Warnings claimed to come from a guardian angel

On the other hand it is claimed there is support for the notion of guardian angels in the experiences of individuals.  There are those who claim their lives have been protected by what they say is the intervention of a dead loved one.

Warnings have been sensed that turn out to have prevented such things as house fires, industrial injuries, undiagnosed health problems, motor vehicle accidents, and harm from criminals.

Two cases involving a guardian angel?

For example Catherine was asleep at her home in New Brunswick when she heard someone call her name. It was her great grand-mother who had been dead for almost a quarter of a century. Catherine woke up and looked out of the window where she could see the barn was on fire. As this was adjoined to her home, by the time she and her sons had got out of the house that too was up in flames.

Jan’s example of a guardian angel

Another example is that of Jan who lives in Arizona. Her son had become very ill and she had him under the doctor’s care. In the middle of the night she suddenly found her husband Ronny standing at the foot of the bed.

She was told “Take Wally to a dentist or he will die”. She surmised Ronny must have communicated via telepathy for he had lost his life eight years previously in a car crash. The next day the dentist examined her son and said he had a systemic infection because some of his teeth had been injured in an accident. The boy recovered with the proper treatment.

History of the concept of guardian angel

Of course none of this proves we are being watched over from a hidden realm. Perhaps it was simply the individual’s subconscious awareness at work. But the more stories you hear the less sceptical you feel.

The belief that God sends a spirit to watch every individual was common in Ancient Greece and was alluded to by Plato in Phaedo.

And the Bible reflects the belief that angels can be guardians for people:

“He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:11)

There seems to be a bit of an angel craze going on these days and the idea of an angel might put you off; especially if you understandably reject a mythical notion of angels as androgynous beings with wings.

Swedenborg’s perspective on the concept of a guardian angel

Emanuel Swedenborg provides an alternative description of angels: they are said to have no wings but are in a human male or female form. We are told that all angels are now spirits in a heavenly realm — walking, talking, reading, writing, and holding down jobs — although they were all were once born and died in our material plane of life.

And he says one of these jobs can consist of being with a person; exercising constant vigilance to protect your spiritual welfare and leading you towards a higher happiness if you wish to follow.

Furthermore Swedenborg says they do not impose themselves on you but help you gently not going against your will and principles. According to this view they act as a representative of the heavenly state of life stirring up your feelings of kindness to others and your interest in searching for the truth as well as illuminating your insights.

In other words the claim is they are your guardian angels in so far as they protect you from what is bad and false coming from harmful spirits.

Copyright 2012 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

Posted on16th February 2012CategoriesConsciousness, Spirit awarenessTags,, , , , ,, , , , , ,, , Leave a comment

29 thoughts on “Guardian angel – Do I have one?

      • The problem I have with this is the phrase:

        “although they were all were once born and died in our material plane of life.”

        Who says that angels were “born” and or “died”? Why believe that when Christianity doesn’t teach it?

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      • Man was born so god could create a heaven from the human race, we become angels in accordence to gods will, when we live by his word, like jesus said many will claim his name but will deny him in action
        i suggest you read more into this new paradigim shift to get a better idea were we come from with this new understanding

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      • Yes, but not all the bible is divinely inspired by god theres a deeper spiritual meaning with in the literal sence of the word which jesus spoke about

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      • When the Lord speaks to us in His Word, infinite Divine truths are expressed in human terms that our simple brains can comprehend. The fact is that infinite truth can only be expressed to finite minds through analogy, comparisons,metaphors and parables. We cannot understand the infinite as it is in itself, but we can compare and contrast the infinite with finite things, seeing a reflection or image of the infinite in the allegories.

        Does that mean that we can’t trust what the Bible says? No. We can trust the Bible. We can trust the Lord’s Word to reveal deep truths that will bring us closer to the Lord and closer to one another, but we don’t see those truths by staying on the surface. If you get a can of food from the store, it will have a label saying “peaches,” or “corn.” Most likely there will be a matching picture of peaches or corn on the label. Before you eat, you will have to open the can and take out the nourishment inside. The words and pictures are true because they correspond to what is inside, but if you never open up the can, or still worse if you open the can and keep it, throwing away the food, you will never get real nourishment from it, and the labels themselves become useless.

        SCRIPTURE POINTS TO ITS OWN DEEPER MEANING
        The literal meaning of Scripture is a container for the deeper meaning within, and just like a box that says “open here,” Scripture itself points the way to the deeper meaning. Jesus told His disciples that the Old Testament was about His own life:

        “Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27)

        “He opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45)

        He compared Himself to the Manna from heaven (John 6:32), the brass serpent lifted up in the wilderness (John 3:14), Jonah and the whale (Matt 12:40), and the Temple in Jerusalem (John 2:19-22).

        Furthermore, Jesus’ own words were symbolic. He told so many parables that it says “He didn’t speak to the people without a parable” (Matthew 13:34, Mark 4:34). Even alone with His disciples He said, “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father” (John 16:25).

        Paul, too, warned us not to take everything literally: “We should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:6). “The letter kills, but the spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). Early Christians learned that many of the earthly things described in the Old Testament were a “copy and shadow of heavenly things…symbolic for the present time” (Hebrews 8:5, 9:9, Colossians 2:16, 17).

        We can see that there are many, many statements in the Bible itself that direct us to look for a deeper meaning. And on the other side, there is not a single passage anywhere in the Bible that directs us to take everything literally. There is nothing on the box that says, “Do not Open.”

        OTHER SYMBOLIC STORIES
        There are many stories that are made up in order to teach a deeper truth. The many parables in the Bible are examples. We find further familiar examples in Aesop’s fables. No one imagines that the Tortoise and Hare were literal animals that talked and raced against each other. They obviously represent types of people, or attitudes that people have. The story is not literally true, but conveys an essential truth: “Slow and steady wins the race.”

        In the parable of Adam and Eve it is not a tortoise or hare that talks but a snake. Though the story says that the snake was just a beast of the field, no one takes this literally. Anyone can see that the snake was not a literal snake but a symbol of the devil, a personification of evil itself.

        Another made up story is Pilgrim’s progress, a story about a man who happened to be named “Christian,” who has friends named “Pliable” and “Obstinate” and is on a journey from his hometown the “City of Destruction” through the “Slough of Despond” to the “Celestial City.” With names like these no one would suppose that it to be a literal story about an actual individual. It is clearly intended as a symbolic story about anyone who might happen to be a Christian.

        Again, the ancient Greek myth about the love between Cupid and Psyche was never intended to be taken literally. Cupid means “Desire.” Even today Cupid is a common symbol of love. And Psyche means “Mind,” as in psychology. Cupid or Desire loves Psyche (Mind) but remains invisible to her. Only after going through many challenges can Mind be be married to Desire, and have a daughter named Pleasure (“Voluptas”). No one thinks these were literal people. In ancient times virtually all writing about deeper things was done through symbolic stories such as these.

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      • Heaven and hell is not a place you go to,
        it’s something you become
        it’s a memtal state of mind
        you become angelic or hellish,
        your thoughts create your enviroment
        i will try and elaborate a bit more a little latter, in the mean time check out some of my other posts

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      • its your intentions that determine your action
        everything must be done from a spiritual perspective goodness is its own reward and evil is its own punishment, its not arbitary its divine law

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      • SCRIPTURE POINTS TO ITS OWN DEEPER MEANING
        The literal meaning of Scripture is a container for the deeper meaning within, and just like a box that says “open here,” Scripture itself points the way to the deeper meaning. Jesus told His disciples that the Old Testament was about His own life

        Like

      • You have yet to show me where it is. Your view of the Bible is just your own private interpretation that you can hardly back up. You cannot tell me where you got that we turn to angels. You made up your own belief.

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      • Heaven and angels – the New Church perspective
        Life after death

        At some point, your body will die but the essence of who you are lives on. Death is merely a transition of the spirit between different states of being. When the body stops working, the soul is no longer anchored to the natural world. So where does it go? The soul, that is to say, our true nature beyond our physical form, awakens in the world of spirits and continues the journey that was begun on earth. After death, we find ourselves in a place which looks very similar to earth but is far more beautiful. We are still ourselves, we’re reunited with those we love, and we complete our personal development, choosing a home in the location most appropriate within the spiritual world.

        The spiritual world
        The spiritual world is made up of three places: heaven, hell, and a transitional place between the two called ‘the world of spirits’. The New Church teaches that, besides being places, heaven and hell are essentially states of being. We construct our spiritual states according to the way we live. Leading a life of kindness and goodwill builds heaven in our hearts, whereas doing evil creates hell inside of us. The condition which predominates while we live on earth becomes the foundation for our eternal state.

        The world of spirits is where the final choices are made concerning where we will live. In this decision, the key factor is what Swedenborg calls our ‘ruling loves’. Our spiritual home is structured according to what we love most — it is also the place where we’ll be happiest. If our ruling love is self-serving and hurtful, the most appropriate place for us is in hell. If it’s a love which is selfless and good, our home will be located within an area of heaven.

        Angels
        Once in heaven, people become angels. Angels are not a superior race of beings, but rather humans who have developed into their highest selves. Much like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, the earthly state is a preparation for life as an angel in heaven. To become an angel, reject self-centered longings, do what is good, and love God.

        When Swedenborg teaches about heaven, it is inseparable from teaching about a community which revolves around useful service. True happiness is not possible unless it is in accordance with being of use to others. In heaven, each angel has a specific function which aligns itself with the whole. Like the human body, heaven is a reflection of the divine form. Once in the spiritual world, we surround ourselves with individuals who share the same priorities. We form societies around a mutual love and thus find our perfect place in heaven. Each heavenly community fulfills a task which serves the whole, much like organs in the body.

        “They who dwell in heaven are continually advancing to the springtime of life and to a spring more and more delightful and happy the more thousands of years they live; and this to eternity, with increase according to the progress and degrees of love, charity, and faith… In a word, to grow old in heaven is to grow young. Those who have lived in love to the Lord and in charity towards the neighbor become of such beautiful form in the other life.” (Heaven and Hell 414

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    • What is the Biblical Basis for Humans becoming Angels after they Die?

      Posted on April 16, 2015 by Lee — 18 Comments
      Clarence and George: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
      Clarence and George: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
      Many Christians, and many people living in predominantly Christian cultures, believe that people who die become angels.

      This belief is reflected in numerous popular novels and movies, such as the classic 1946 American movie It’s a Wonderful Life, in which a guardian angel named Clarence occasionally refers to events of his life (and death) as a human being on earth.

      And when someone has died, family members and friends of the deceased person commonly speak of him or her as being an angel in heaven now.

      What is the biblical basis for the belief that human beings become angels after they die?

      Emanuel Swedenborg on angels

      Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) taught that there are no angels pre-created as a separate race, nor did any such pre-created angels fall from heaven to become Satan and his angels. Instead, he taught that all angels and demons were once human beings who lived in the material world, and that Satan or the Devil is a collective term for hell.

      As explained in the article, “What is the Source of the Belief that the Deceased become Angels?” Swedenborg is the primary source of the modern-day belief that people become angels after death. Swedenborg himself, though, saw this idea as firmly based on the Bible’s depiction of angels.

      (For its ideas and Bible references, this article draws heavily on the piece, What the Bible Says: Where Angels Come From, which is also written from the perspective of Swedenborg’s theology.)

      The Bible says nothing about angels being created

      Genesis 1 describes the creation of “the heavens and the earth,” and everything in them. And yet, in the Creation story there is no mention of God creating angels. It seems unlikely that God would leave such an important created being out of the Creation story.

      The creation of angels is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible, either.

      The passage about “Lucifer” in Isaiah 14:12 is often cited as evidence for pre-existing angels. However, this prophecy was not interpreted as being about a fallen angel until centuries after it was written. In the original Hebrew, the word that is translated “Lucifer” in older and more traditional translations actually refers to the morning star (i.e., Venus), using it as a metaphor for the king of Babylon.

      Though there are non-Biblical texts describing angels as a separate race of beings, the Bible itself never says that they are a separate race, nor does it make any clear statements about where they come from. The idea that angels are a separate race is based more on tradition and church doctrine than on the Bible.

      And as covered in the remaining points, there are many indications in the Bible that angels are indeed humans who have gone on to heaven.

      The Bible often refers to angels as “men”

      The Bible commonly uses the word “man”—Hebrew אִישׁ (‘iysh), “man”; Greek ἀνήρ (anēr) “man” or νεανίσκος (neaniskos), “young man”—to refer to angels.

      Here are some examples:

      While I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen before in a vision, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. (Daniel 9:21)

      Here Gabriel, who is seen by Christians as an angel based on Luke 1:19, 26, is called a “man.”

      The two angels (see Genesis 19:1, 15) who visited Lot in Genesis 19:1-29 are called “men” in Genesis 18:2, 16, 22; 19:10, 12, 16, and in several other verses in Genesis 18 & 19.

      When an angel appeared to Manoah and his wife (Samson’s parents) in Judges 13, they identified him as a “man of God,” and both they and the narrator also refer to him as a “man”—although he is also clearly identified as an angel. Manoah even calls the angel “a man” when he talks to him (see Judges 13:11), and the angel does not correct him. This suggests that the angel had no problem thinking of himself as a human being like Manoah.

      In Zechariah’s vision of the horsemen in Zechariah 1:7-17, the lead horseman, who was “standing among the myrtle trees” is referred to both as a “man” and as an “angel.”

      The angel(s) at Jesus’ empty tomb is(are) referred to as an angel in Matthew 28:2-7 and as two angels in John 20:11-13, but as a man in Mark 16:5-7 and two men in Luke 24:4-8.

      In short, the Bible uses “angel” and “man” almost interchangeably when speaking about angels. If angels were a separate race, the Bible would not refer to them as men, or people. That would be like calling a horse a sheep, or a pig a donkey.

      The fact that there is no separate word for “angel” in the Bible (see below), and that angels are commonly referred to as “men,” strongly suggests that angels are humans.

      Angels look like people

      As seen in the passages quoted and referred to just above, when people on earth encounter angels, they commonly think that they are meeting a human being rather than an angel. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews even says:

      Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)

      Although angels are sometimes described in the Bible as having shining faces and clothes, this is not unique to angels. Moses’ face also shone after he had spoken with God (see Exodus 34:29-34). And in the final verse of the Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat in Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43, Jesus says:

      Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. (Matthew 13:43)

      So Jesus himself says that people who are righteous will shine in God’s kingdom—just like the angels.

      “Angel” means “messenger,” not a separate race of beings

      In both the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New Testament, the word for “angel” simply means “messenger.” It does not refer to a separate race of beings. The Hebrew word is מַלְאָךְ (mal’ak), “messenger”; the Greek word is ἄγγελος (aggelos), “messenger.”

      Although angels are sometimes described as great, holy, powerful, and so on, the same descriptions are also used for people. For example, both angels and people are called:

      “holy ones”: Daniel 4:13, 17; Daniel 8:13-14 (angels); Psalm 30:4; Psalm 16:3 (people – and many other places traditionally translated “saints”)
      “sons of God”: Job 1:6; 2:1 (angels); John 1:12; Romans 8:14; 1 John 3:1-2 (people)
      “gods”: Psalm 8:5 (the word used here is elohim, “God”), quoted as “angels” in Hebrews 2:7 (angels); Psalm 82:6-7; John 10:34-35 (people)
      In fact, human beings are also called “messengers” many times in the Bible, using the very same words, both in Hebrew and in Greek, that are used of angel messengers. For just a few examples, see Genesis 32:3; Deuteronomy 2:26; Joshua 6:17; Matthew 11:10; Luke 7:24; James 2:25.

      In short, “angels” or “messengers” in the Bible can be either human beings on earth or angelic beings in heaven. Both of them are described using the same words.

      Angels themselves reject the idea that they are superior beings

      Not once, but twice in the book of Revelation John fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who was speaking to him. Both times the angel stopped him, making himself equal to human beings under God:

      At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.” (Revelation 19:10)

      I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!” (Revelation 22:8-9)

      Jesus says that we become like angels after death

      In the incident of the question from the Sadducees about the Resurrection, recorded in the three Synoptic Gospels, Jesus says we will be “like” or “equal to” the angels. See Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:35-36. And people who are saved are described as having powers similar to those that angels might wield. See, for example, Mark 16:17,18; 11:23; Luke 10:17,19; John 14:12.

      Yes, it could be objected that just because people can be just like angels, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they can become and be angels. But if it looks like an angel, walks like an angel, and quacks like an angel . . . .

      We will become angels

      Nowhere in the Bible does it say that angels are a separately created race of beings.

      Everywhere in the Bible, angels are described as being human, as having characteristics and powers similar to those possessed by great human beings, and as engaging tasks similar to those that human beings engage in.

      Further, both angels and Jesus himself make humans—especially humans who have died and been resurrected—equal to and in every way like angels.

      The main difference between humans and angels is that humans live on earth while angels live in heaven. Other than that, it’s difficult if not impossible to find any real differences between them. And since it is commonly believed by many, if not most, Christians that we will live in heaven after death, that would leave no differences at all between angels and humans.

      Why would God create two different races of beings that look the same, speak the same, think the same, and act the same as each other?

      Based on all of this, it is very reasonable to conclude, based on the Bible’s stories about angels, that they are indeed human beings who have gone on to the spiritual world and become angels. After all, Jesus himself said to one of the thieves on the cross:

      Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)

      (Note: This post is a slightly edited version of a question and answer I recently wrote and posted on Christianity StackExchange. You can see the StackExchange version here.)

      For further reading:

      Who Are the Angels and How Do They Live?
      What Happens To Us When We Die?
      What about Spiritualism? Is it a Good Idea to Contact Spirits?
      Is There Really a Hell? What is it Like?
      What does Jesus Mean when He Says we Must be Born Again?
      Heaven and Hell, by Emanuel Swedenborg

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