By Reverend Mark Hunnemann
I chose this title carefully because I could have entitled it: ”Why we should not communicate with angels”. However, I want to leave open the possibility that holy angels occasionally do initiate communication with humans today. All biblical theologians agree that overt angelic activity accelerates at crucial junctures in the flow of redemptive history (e.g. Announcement of Christ’s birth)As we’ll see, the word “initiate” is key in this discussion. Furthermore, it would seem that disguised interaction with humans is a rather frequent angelic tactic (Hebrews 13:2), as well as their general call to be ministering spirits to us. (see Hebrews 1:14) So, please don’t think I am in any way minimizing the reality and frequency of their more covert role as our helpers/protectors, and occasional overt appearances. But, there is a big difference between that and OUR initiating contact with angels.
Every day I receive emails which advertize a book, services, ect. for how to communicate with an angel, or our guardian angel. I must confess that this is hot stuff. I mean, who would not be amazed and wowed by a visitation by an angel…especially if they had personal guidance for us? Pretty sensational, and we’re drawn toward that. I get it. But is this practice good, biblical and safe? No, on all three.
There is an explosion of books, and magazine articles dealing with this subject. In addition, in paranormal circles, some folks are attempting to reach angels. I know one man who will not try to reach the dead, but insists that he has been very successful in initiating communication with angels via traditional EVP methods. And he claims it’s biblical (more of that in a moment).
Moreover, in some churches there have been prophetic utterances that claim to be from an angel or a deceased preacher….or even Isaiah! For the sake of time, we’ll focus on the claims for angelic utterances. The point is that popular culture, including the church, is getting inundated and fascinated with the angelic. And so, it is only appropriate that we ask: is it proper/biblical to initiate communication with angels? It’s sort of like an angelic form of EVP’s, which is precisely what one man I know claims is the voice he hears is. I have no idea how many EVP’s are coming out these days that claim angelic authority, but my guess is that its growing in number. Satan is an opportunist. But whether the sought after angelic reply is audible or inaudible makes no difference—it is attempted communication with angels, and a possible reply.
So, the need is there for some clear guidance on this matter—one that takes into consideration all the salient data regarding angels. I may not answer some of the questions you may have regarding angels, but my focus is narrow: should we initiate communication with angels?
There are about 300 explicit references to angels in the bible…according to my concordance. Let us return to the man who claims that he not only gets EVP’s from angels, but that the bible warrants it. He cited verses like the angel talking to Mary, and the angels announcing the resurrection. But my point to him, which he seemed to have missed, was this: there is not a single case in the gospels or Acts where the Apostles (or even Jesus, as acting in His role as being the ideal Man) INITIATED communication with angel/s.
Nobody disputes that at crucial junctures of redemptive history angelic communication increased with God’s people. However, my point is simple—if Jesus and the apostles NEVER initiated communication with angels, then surely that is instructive. Authoritatively instructive because truth is communicated via Jesus’ actions, as well as His words—or lack of them in this case. Just because there is no explicit command not to initiate communication with angels, does not mean the bible is silent on the matter. Surely the life and practice of Jesus and His apostles is as authoritative in its instruction as explicit teaching. This is especially true when we see that the gospels and the book of Acts have numerous accounts of angelic visitation, but none were instigated by a person. It was always God Almighty sending His holy angels to do His bidding on behalf of His Bride. Always and everywhere in the bible, angels are the initiators in angelic/human encounters.
I could stop there and that should be sufficient to show that we have no business contacting angels. But let me add this. Why does God detest our using horoscopes? Because He created the planets and stars for us to enjoy, and to distinguish between night and day/seasons, etc. To look to the stars and planets, which are part of God’s creation, for advice, instead of looking to the Creator for guidance and wisdom (re: relationships, love, decisions, job, and so on) is idolatrous and grieves God.
The same with angels—they are creatures and should not be sought out to give us wisdom, protection, and guidance. Why look to an angel when we can talk to our Heavenly Father? Again, it is idolatrous. Or to put it another way, we have the Bible and the Holy Spirit within us to guide and direct us in the paths of righteousness. Is not talking to angels a slight on the Holy Spirit? The classic text in Proverbs 3:5-6 needs to soak into our hearts and minds, and realize that God is jealous that we not only not look to our own insights, but also not the insights of other finite, fallible creatures, like angels.
Let me ask a simple question: WHY do you even want to talk to angels? For guidance…or insight…protection..or an angels perspective on the spirit realm…or being honest, just because it’s cool and fun? Doing an ‘end-run’ around God to attain these goals is unacceptable, even idolatrous. Do you see the prophets, apostles or Jesus communicating with angels for this purpose? NO! Then it is forbidden to us as well.
Switching gears, attempted communication with angels may open you to demonic oppression, just as trying to converse with the dead will do the same. Demons excel at mimicry…including mimicking angels (2 Corinthians 11:14). Unlawful communication with spirits is forbidden, and exposes you to demonic oppression. If you do receive a reply, then I’m fairly confident it is NOT an angel. It may appear or sound like a holy angel, but its not. Having opened the door to the demonic, then you are communicating with the demonic. The reason why I keep saying that virtually all paranormal activity is demonic activity is because holy angels do not play EVP games, cause phantom footsteps, cause keys to disappear, etc. They are our servants and delight in the supremacy of God’s glory.
Since this man (or anyone) is actually speaking to demon/s when he thinks he’s conversing with an angel, then there will be consequences. Though sincere, he is sincerely wrong…and traffic with demons will burn all those involved, and sadly there is often collateral damage as well. The children will start getting influenced.
Those who attempt to speak to human spirits or angels tend to become addicted to this endeavor. This is well documented, and the recent case of Steve Huff is a high profile case of a phenomenon that is very widespread…and ruining individuals and families.
It is safe to say that angels don’t want us talking with them because they are loathe to draw attention to themselves. In every way possible, they will seek that all the glory goes to God.
The man who actively seeks angelic EVP’s says that this angel actually talks about the gospel and evangelizing the lost. Could and would a demon do that, he asks? The answer is: absolutely yes! Satan, and his angels, went to the best Seminary in the universe (heaven) and were taught by God Himself. Hence, though demons may inspire a message that is entirely true, the identity of the messenger (the alleged angel) is a LIE. Let that sink in….the message is true, but the messenger is a LIE.
For example, by giving an evangelical and sound answer, the alleged angel ensnares the undiscerning and advances the kingdom of darkness by spreading the lie that one can communicate with angels. It’s the same MO he uses with communicating with allegedly deceased humans. Demons, either by appearing as angels or deceased humans, can persuade the non-discerning simply by quoting the bible accurately. If he can make strategic advances in his kingdom, Satan will preach truth all day, but there is always a catch. And eventually, some imbalance will begin to appear in the teaching.
Some folks think that if they attend a church where the bible is preached, and the Holy Spirit is moving powerfully, then they are safe from demonic counterfeit or attack. Not so. Genuine spiritual revival—whether localized or large-scale revival—gets Satan’s attention and becomes his target to sow seeds of counterfeit revival. This was studied by Jonathan Edwards during the great revivals he and John Wesley was very instrumental in. One example of such a counterfeit sign might be angels of light visiting a vibrant church and persuading people via a ‘prophetic utterance’ to focus so hard on ministry busyness, that they lose their fervor for prayer. The ‘angel’ wants them to get so busy, they lose their first love and become prayer-less in their busyness, and spiritually powerless. Busyness is not the same as bearing Holy Spirit fruit—starting with the fruit of the Spirit.
When you read the book of Colossians, we can see that there was the same fascination with angels then, as there is today in the West. It is simply another reflection of the ascendancy of the occult worldview which is taking over our culture, and is despoiling many Christians’ views of the proper role of angels.
Hebrews 1:14 is the classic text of the angels job description.
In addition, we remember 2 Cor. 11:14 of the Angel of Light
Over-familiarity with angels is something that has been brought to my attention as well. With few exceptions, when humans had an encounter with a holy angel, they were terrified, and were tempted to bow down to them, which was abhorrent to the angels. However, it is instructive that the casualness that seems to accompany some of these alleged angel discussions, is in itself a red-flag.
Let me add the very common practice of reciting the prayer to Michael, the archangel. I know more than one person who seems to claim a special ministry partnership with Michael. That is a distinct issue, but let me strongly caution anyone who thinks that they are attended by Michael on a regular basis. He can only be at one place at a time, and frankly, why do WE think that he overlooks billions of other people just to be our ministry companion? He is the protector of God’s people in both Testaments.
If you’re explicitly relying on angelic help and communication in deliverance ministry, Beware! You may end up needing deliverance yourself. Sometimes folks use ‘angelic’ help to heal people. In the NT we don’t see apostles consciously working alongside angels in ministry. Of course angels were present, but the apostles didn’t saddle up to them as partners…tapping into their powers. They relied on the Holy Spirit.
Here is the prayer said by countless investigators, as well as folks in general, seeking protection.
“Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.”
In essence, we need to treat this petition to the archangel just like we did above regarding angelic communication in general. As is readily apparent, this ‘prayer’ is TAKING THE INITIATIVE TO CONTACT AN ARCH-ANGEL, MICHAEL.
Do we have any instances in the gospels or Acts in which the Lord Jesus or the apostles called on Michael to aid them in spiritual warfare? Is there any teaching in the epistles regarding how/why we should pray to Michael for assistance? A thousand times, NO! We’ve already noted that the church NEVER initiated communication with any angels. So, why do we think that WE should pray to an angel, when the early church did not? Do we know something Jesus didn’t? God forbid!
In addition, Ephesians 6 is the most comprehensive teaching on spiritual warfare in the bible. What does it say? Be strong IN THE LORD, and put on His full armor. No mention of praying to Michael. In Colossians, we are warned against anything that smacks of angel worship, and PRAYING to a creature like Michael is a form of worship…in this case, idolatry. You don’t commit idolatry, even sincerely, without consequences.
Michael is a mighty warrior and worthy of respect, but he is not a saint. Gloriously, all genuine Christians are saints!
Don’t get me wrong: angels in general, and Michael in particular, are actively involved in spiritual warfare (Daniel 10:13). However, the Lord Jesus is the General of the Heavenly Hosts…not Michael. And for reasons already stated, we must not pray to him. God in His sovereign wisdom will dispatch His angels according to His will.
Why do we even want to pray to Michael, when he is but a finite creature, whom we shall judge and rule over for all eternity? He is more in awe of us then we are of him, and is part of the heavenly spectators of us as God’s image bearers, and those in union with Christ, and he standing on tippy toe to see how God’s kingdom is advancing through US today!
On the other hand, I do get it. If I was on a case, it would be comforting to know that Michael himself was there. However, it is infinitely more comforting to know that I have the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit…and by virtue of my union with Christ, I have HIS authority over demons.
So, why do so many people pray to him? First, it has become common to do so in the paranormal community. But we take our clues from God’s Word, and not any practice that has become commonplace. Many wrong things/beliefs have been practiced by large segments of society, but our conscience is bound only by the bible. If you are a Christian, your primary identity is not a paranormal investigator, but part of the Body of Christ…and our allegiance is to Him, and not to a group. Following the crowd is not the way of a believer.
Another reason I’ve seen is that somebody we deeply admire prays this prayer. But once again, God’s Word is our guide, and not fallible humans, no matter how godly and ‘successful’.
For Roman Catholics, this is an ‘official prayer’, sanctioned by the church. For them, there are 2 strands of equal authority: the Word of God, and tradition…especially tradition sanctioned by papal ex cathedra decree or by ecumenical counsels. (eg Trent) But I see no evidence that this prayer has been officially sanctioned as ‘infallible tradition.
I say this gently but firmly, we must stop this praying to Michael; He is NOT a saint because he has not been saved by Christ and brought into union with Him. WE are the saints, and we should stop this practice of praying to an angel.
I cannot speak with absolute certainty regarding the consequences of praying this prayer, because I am not God. And many powerful things have been accomplished in and through folks who pray this prayer, but it is spite of this prayer and not because of it. It is tragic to consider, but if praying to angels opens doors to the demonic, then this prayer to Michael for protection may actually do the opposite. It may cause us to come under even more severe attack. It is supremely ironic, that a prayer meant to seek protection, may give the devil an opportunity (topos). I’m sure God is merciful and often works through us despite our severe shortcomings, but that is no reason to continue a practice that is manifestly odious to God’s Word. The phrase “better safe than sorry” comes to mind if you have any doubt at this point. The stakes for all involved are way too high, just to continue praying to an archangel because it’s so common. Do we really think that Michael, who is supremely zealous for God’s glory, would be happy with us worshipping him via prayer? I think not.
I’ve already strayed, so let me re-state my basic premise: from Genesis to Revelation (especially the NT), when there is angelic encounters, they are NEVER initiated by man. GOD initiates the encounters with his holy and heavenly messengers. God said it, That settles it. I believe it. Amen.
PS. If this offends you, then please list biblical texts to support your case…thank you.
Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.