Seeing Angels

Day 3 of 3 • This day’s reading


Three Biblical Ways Our Angels Appear 

Although, in reality, there are unlimited means through which angels can make themselves known to you, we see them appearing to people predominantly in one of three ways within the pages of the Bible. 

1. Angels Appear in Physical Form

When this happens, it is often not recognized as an angel encounter at the time—unless, of course, you learn to discern the signs of their presence. Abraham met three angels who appeared to be human visitors. (See Genesis 18:1–15.) Lot showed hospitality to two angels who appeared to be mere strangers. (See Genesis 19:1–3.) 

When you meet angels in this way, you will generally not recognize them as angels at first, but they have been sent by God on a special mission. In my own life, I can testify about “ordinary angels” showing up at different times to do ordinary things. It seems to me that angels often appear cloaked as humans when they need to work with you in a practical way or accomplish a clear objective. 

For this reason, I believe God allows angels to come most times as strangers in our midst, to serve His purposes, without giving any room for interruption. Normally, it’s not until after angels have left our company that we even realize we’ve been in the presence of an angel.

2. Angels Appear in Visions

Often, we speak about dreams and visions in the same breath, but there is a distinct difference between the two. Visions are unlike dreams in that they take place when an individual is awake, and the only person who can see the angel is the one having the vision. Ezekiel had several encounters with cherubim in this way (see Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10), and John had fifty-two angelic encounters that are recorded in the book of Revelation. 

Many times in our meetings, I will be aware of angels in the room through what I call an "open-eye vision." Some people receive visions in their spirit, which are much more like impressions, or “knowings,” that something is occurring in the atmosphere. Either of these methods is legitimate. 

3. Angels Appear in Dreams

Joseph, the husband of Mary, had several dreams in which an angel came to give him both an instruction (see Matthew 1:20–21) and a warning (see Matthew 2:13). The first visitation came so that Joseph could fully understand what his role would be if he took Mary as his wife. The second visitation was to make sure he understood that he needed to take his new family and flee to Egypt in order to protect Jesus’s life. 

Jacob had a dream in which he saw angels ascending and descending on a heavenly ladder. (See Genesis 28:12.) When he awoke, he recognized that the dream had been a valid God-encounter, so much so that he dedicated the stone that he had used as a pillow and proclaimed that location as “the gate of heaven” (Genesis 28:17). 

Whether an angel appears in person through a vision or in a dream doesn’t make the experience any more or any less supernatural. The angel Gabriel suddenly appearing to Mary in a visible way (see Luke 1:26–38) was no more miraculous than Joseph’s nighttime dream, in which he saw an angel (see Matthew 1:20–21). The method God chooses is always valid and we must learn to appreciate the various ways in which angels can make their introductions to us. 


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