These are not your Grandma’s Chubby Cherubs: Killer Angels and Messengers from on High


Image by kh2rac

Angels. You know, those cubby-little winged babies floating about giggling and clad in nothing but a diaper. Don’t these little cherubs get cold? And who in the world changes their diapers anyway? This precious-moments image of what we glibly call angels seems to dominate most people’s minds—especially during the holiday season. Christmas is filled with porcelain angels clad in flowing gowns sitting atop decorated trees mechanically moving their arms or the little figurines with folded hands praying over Jesus in the countless nativity scenes bought and displayed in homes and front yards across America.

These are not quite the angelic appearances witnessed by those who have been visited.

The term “angel” comes from the Greek, aggelos, which literally means a messenger or person carrying a message and representing the one who sent them. What the names are of these beings is somewhat elusive. The Old Testament calls them Cherubim and Seraphim—but what the difference is between these species is unclear. Some have suggested that the Seraphim are a sort of super-angel. Even fewer names have been given of these angels, though no doubt they all have names of their own. From the scripture we know of Gabriel, Michael, and the now fallen Lucifer.

Some angels are described as beautiful and human-looking while others have a bestial appearance with multiple faces—like that of eagles and lions. There seems no consistent image—all but the fact that when encountered utter fear and terror strikes. Over and over again, a great panic seizes the one visited and without fail the angel declares “Do not fear.”

These messengers are not the Touched by an Angel, long-blond hair and flowing white dress wearing do-gooders. They were meant to be feared and respected. Often wielding a sword and killing the unrighteous, angels were the doom of the ungodly. In fact, while

a gross misrepresentation of the supremacy of God, the film Legion creates an interesting image of angels. It depicts a force of angelic hosts which set out to destroy the earth and evil humanity. By knife or by gun, an epic battle ensues between the forces of good and evil—only those cast as the villains are in fact the angels of God. It is certainly a worthwhile film, at the very least for the cultural theology of judgement and angels. The film does one very good thing—it breaks the intellectual mold of harp-playing, peaceful, cloud-floating baby-cherubs.

Angels, as a matter of course, are not what we think they are. We like to cast them as quant and peace-loving helpers, they are usually nothing of the sort.  And while many stories float around of their terrible authority and power, they also go unbeknownst to either you or I. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews warns the Christian to always be devoted to what is good and to welcome all with brotherly love on the off-chance that one of these visitors is actually an angel.

“Let brotherly love continue. Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:1-2

For myself, I have encountered “people” whom defied understanding—knowing things about me, my heart, or carrying a word from God that seemed beyond coincidental.

One in particular changed my life forever.

Though being raised in the church with knowledge of the scripture, I rejected all of these things when I was a teenager. For a time I wandered, intellectually dabbling in atheism, agnosticism and other religions. I was very much one filled with doubt. Eventually I came to the conclusion that a god must exist due to the existence of physical and moral laws, not to mention the physical universe itself.

I just wasn’t sure if Christ was actually that god.

To my parents chagrin, I use to sit for hours in the hot shower meditating on this and many other “truths.”

It was one of these nights when it hit me. God could only be known by humans if He revealed himself to them.

I was busy searching for God. But would God show himself to me?

Shortly there after, God met me while working the drive-thru window at my part-time high-school job in the summer of 2000. I was busy working—since In-N-Out Burger was always a busy place—when I said a brief prayer. Nothing fancy or structured. It was a simple thought.

“Christ, if you are real and truly God reveal yourself to me because I can’t figure it out on my own.”

In that same brief moment I watched the next car roll forward, the order was ready and in hand—a cheese burger with grilled onions and a medium coke.

The thirty-something man leaned his head out the window and with a grin took his food and said,

“Jon. Jesus is real. And He loves you more than you will ever know.”

It came like a thunder-clap.

I said nothing. I was in shock as I watched the car roll away as quickly as it had come.

My world had suddenly turned on it’s ear. And there in that burger stand I gave my life to Christ. And I have not turned back since.

Was this an angel or some well-meaning Christian guided by the Holy Spirit? I have no idea. All I know is that this “messenger” delivered a word straight from God which said, “I am here.”

Have you or anyone you know ever experienced such an event or had a strange encounter?

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  • Jonathan, that is an astonishing story, I'm glad that you wrote it down for us to read. It is stories like that where I know that He is there and that He wants a relationship with us. Thank you for sharing that with us and a some of your past to explain how phenomenal that all really is!

  • Kayla

    I really enjoyed this post Jon :) Although I've never encountered something like this, there have been times when God has answered my prayer and wiped away my doubts. Whether it was scripture, or coming across another message, its wonderful to see God work in our lives. Good post!

  • Jonathandkeck

    Thanks Kayla. It's so true. All we have to do is open our eyes to all that He does around us and we will know that our God is here among us.

  • beccafallon

    Hi Jon! A few years ago, my husband was studying the end times in depth. He started doubting this, thinking there are so many interpretations on it that maybe he was wasting his time. After praying about it for awhile (and continuing to study), he went to work one day and another believer randomly asked him, "Are you still studying end times? That's so great you're devoting so much time to it and it's really important." Mike is always seeking a real, physical, audible experience with God, but I think this was the closest so far!

  • Jonathandkeck

    Awesome. What a great goal to meet Christ in a physcial and audible way!

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