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The Heresy Of Worshipping Angels


What is heresy?

A heresy is a teaching, doctrine or a practice that departs and differs from the revealed truth.

It is a belief in conflicting disagreement with established beliefs of Christianity.
 
Heresies are errors that arise from within believers of the Christian faith.

Like a contagious and deadly disease, it eventually spreads to other Christians and people.
 
Generally speaking, a disagreement among Christians does not constitute a heresy.

But a departure from the written truth of God is!
 
Denominations of Christianity may disagree over some minor issues.

But they agree on the main fundamentals such as the nature of God, the Person of Jesus Christ – His work, His death, His resurrection, and His Second Coming, the Holy Spirit, the Bible as the infallible Word of God, and how we receive salvation by faith - believing in Christ alone.
 
In this article, I would like to address the heresy of worshipping angels.

It has resurfaced again in many Christian churches and ministries today.
 
One of the best ways to discuss this heresy is to revisit the Colossian believers in the times of Paul the Apostle.
 
The Colossians have embraced some serious false teachings that troubled and disturbed Paul so badly that he had to write an epistle to warn the believers about them.
 
They Had Devalued The Supremacy Of Christ
 
Most of the teachings found in the Epistle to the Colossians are also mentioned in the other letters of Paul.

But no other epistle or passage has such a powerful and detailed emphasis on the Supremacy of Christ as in Colossians 1:15-20:

He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.

For by Him all things were created
that are in heaven and that are on earth,
visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or principalities or powers.

All things were created
through Him and for Him.

And He is before all things,
and in Him all things consist.

And He is the head of the body, the church,
who is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
that in all things
He may have the preeminence.
 
For it pleased the Father
that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
and by Him to reconcile
all things to Himself, by Him,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
having made peace through the blood of His cross.

Paul wrote with great emphasis that Christ is God, and He is supreme over all things.

There is no need to worship other creatures or created beings!
 
The apostle gave clear warnings against deception creeping into the churches.

The Colossians had begun well in Christ, but as the years went by, some of them had drifted away from the truth.
 
Paul encouraged the faithful believers to stay firmly grounded in Christ, and to be holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.

Colossians 1:21-23
 
And you, who once were alienated
and enemies in your mind by wicked works,
yet now He has reconciled
in the body of His flesh through death,
to present you holy, and blameless,
and above reproach in His sight—
if indeed you continue in the faith,
grounded and steadfast,
and are not moved away
from the hope of the gospel which you heard,
which was preached
to every creature under heaven,
of which I, Paul, became a minister. 

Paul expressed his hope and prayer that the Colossians might have the full riches in knowing and understanding the mystery of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Colossians 2:2-3
 
...that their hearts may be encouraged,
being knit together in love,
and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding,
to the knowledge of the mystery of God,
both of the Father and of Christ,
in whom are hidden
all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Paul exhorted them not to move away to some strange teachings or gospels than the one he had taught them.

Many of them had been deceived with persuasive words, and wandered away from the truth revealed in the Word of God.

Colossians 2:4-10
 
Now this I say lest anyone
should deceive you with persuasive words.

For though I am absent in the flesh,
yet I am with you in spirit,
rejoicing to see your good order
and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
 
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord,
so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him
and established in the faith,
as you have been taught,
abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Beware lest anyone cheat you
through philosophy and empty deceit,
according to the tradition of men,
according to the basic principles of the world,
and not according to Christ.

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
and you are complete in Him,
who is the head of all principality and power.

What were some of the false teachings that had taken over the hearts and minds of the Colossian believers?
 
Basically, there are 3 main categories of false teachings that the Colossian churches fell into:

  1. Legalism
  2. Mysticism
  3. Asceticism

 Legalism

Colossian 2:16-17
 
So let no one judge you in food or in drink,
or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,
which are a shadow of things to come,
but the substance is of Christ.

Legalism is the belief that God’s acceptance and salvation is earned conditionally through doing some religious actions and activities.
 
The false teachers apparently were telling the Colossians that faith in Christ was not enough.

They must observe all the Jewish rules and regulations, the traditions and strict observances of sabbaths and festivals, kosher standards and customs, and even physical circumcision. Very legalistic.

They were set free by God, but yet became imprisoned or bound again by the ways and traditions of men.
 
The heresy teaches salvation by either “Christ plus good works” or “Christ plus church activities” or “Christ plus holy sacraments” or “Christ plus this or that”.
 
Mysticism

Colossians 2:18-19
 
Let no one cheat you of your reward,
taking delight in false humility
and worship of angels,
intruding into those things
which he has not seen,
vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
and not holding fast to the Head,
from whom all the body,
nourished and knit together
by joints and ligaments,
grows with the increase
that is from God.

The false teachers claim to have divine visions and visitations of angels and heavenly beings as the basis of their authority and anointing.

They go into great details describing what they have "seen" and "experienced" even when they had no such encounters.
 
Mysticism is also in other world religions such as Taoism, Buddhism and Hinduism.

Some very religious mystics or hermits live in seclusion away from human societies and communities.

They spend months and years sitting under some trees or living in some caves - meditating and praying with a strong urge and desire to gain greater spiritual heights and enlightenments.

It is basically an attempt to gain access to experience and encounter spiritual beings through occultic means and methods.
 
Today, many Christians are impressed by others’ claims of mystical experiences or inside knowledge or prophetic insights or angelic visitations.
 
Paul warned us, “Don’t be impressed or deceived.”
 
The truth about God and Jesus Christ has been clearly and publicly proclaimed and written in the Word of God!
 
Many Christians do not read their Bibles, but they are very easily distracted and fascinated by these angelic fables and tales.
 
There are no secret truths made available only to some elite groups or ministers.
 
Such false claims are mostly made by those who are very arrogant and puffed up with spiritual pride.

God does not have favorites. He gave His Son and His Holy Spirit to every person who believes.

Romans 2:11
For God does not show favoritism.

Thus, we must not allow and let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels to mislead us into some weird and unexplained journeys of mysticism.
 
Asceticism

Colossians 2:20-23
 
Therefore, if you died with Christ
from the basic principles of the world,
why, as though living in the world,
do you subject yourselves to regulations—
“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”
which all concern things which perish with the using—
according to the commandments and doctrines of men?

These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom
in self-imposed religion,
false humility, and neglect of the body,
but are of no value
against the indulgence of the flesh.

Asceticism is a common practice in many world religions.
 
It is a severe self-discipline in doing some external activities in a self-effort to become super spiritual or supernatural.

Two of the common practices include extreme fasting and praying.
 
Because most of us lack this ability to fast and pray, we become very impressed and obsessed by those who are able to do these things!
 
But Paul punctured this illusion and misconception.
 
Such regulations indeed have an outward appearance of divine wisdom and a pretense of holiness.

But if we look beyond their self-imposed religions, their false humility and their harsh treatments of their own bodies, we will find that they are not able to conquer their own evil and fleshy desires.
 
Many of them do not love God and others! They do not have natural desires!

They just love themselves – desiring to reach a higher level of spiritual superiority by strict adherences of self-denial and self-imposed discipline!

They do not seek God. They seek spiritual or ecstatic experiences and encounters. The sole desire is to please and satisfy themselves - not God!

Paul exposed these practices for what they were.

They were just futile attempts in attaining true spirituality from the outside-in.
 
This outside-in spirituality is a big deception.

It doesn’t work because it cannot change the sinful, deceitful and wicked heart deep within.  

Jeremiah 17:9-10
The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?

I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.

Only through the inside-out work of the Holy Spirit or the Christ living in us does true spiritual growth and transformation actually take place.

We are transformed from the inside out!

Yes, when we have the light of Jesus burning inside, we will then shine for others to see on the outside!

Yes, loving God and loving our neighbours!
 
Thus we must not be deceived by all these false teachers of legalism, mysticism and asceticism!
 
One of the recent deceptions in the churches is known as the Merkabah Mysticism.

This is an ancient movement, very similar to what was happening in the Colossian churches!
 
“Merkabah” is the Hebrew word for God’s throne.
 
Merkabah mysticism is a practice where people try to obtain some kinds of spiritual visions of God on His throne that were seen by the prophets Isaiah (Isaiah 6), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1) and the apostle John (Revelation).
 
Many Christians begin to add to those visions written in the Holy Scriptures by blending in their experiences and accounts of mystical heavenly spheres and angels.

Their supernatural stories and testimonies are great temptations for itching ears and curious hearts.
 
The Merkabah mystics believe that they have to prepare themselves for heavenly ascensions by extreme fastings and other ascetic duties for many days or months.

One interesting duration is the sacred period of 40 days and 40 nights.
 
Their hazardous spiritual journeys are filled with lots of spiritual warfare and angelic activities or interventions.

There are many levels of spiritual darkness and principalities they have to fight before reaching the throne room of God.

And they will also meet and encounter the various hierarchies of angels!

Along the way, they get to know some angels by their names.

Some even have angels to attend to them personally.

They also have obtained the appropriate passwords to get through certain gates and passages!

They claim to have all the divine passwords, knowledge and wisdom downloaded personally to them by God!

They claim that they are the “anointed” and “chosen” people of God!
 
Eventually they will make their way to the highest sphere or level.

There they will see God sitting on His throne – in all His fullness and glory, and also the holy angels flying here and there, saying this and that.

Many claim to receive special mandates from God, and are given supernatural power and authority to execute this prophecy or that divine plan!

Some have detailed revelations that have more visions and encounters than the whole Book of Revelation!
 
Some even claim to have transported from earth to heaven, and then from heaven back to earth a few times daily. Much more superior and powerful than Philip who did only once in Acts 8.
 
Today, we are living in a world of very religious and legalistic people, mystics, ascetics and fanatics.

They are downloading eagerly from here and there, and listening attentively and enthusiastically from this "prophet" or that "apostle".
 
Every day, we hear something new about some latest discoveries about spiritual truths and angelic movements.
 
Instead of worshipping God, many Christians have strayed away to worship angels.
 
Even John the beloved disciple of Jesus almost fell into this error in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible!

Revelation 22:8-9
 
Now I, John, saw and heard these things.
 
And when I heard and saw,
I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel
who showed me these things.
 
Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that.

For I am your fellow servant,
and of your brethren the prophets,
and of those who keep the words of this book.
 
Worship God.”

John the Apostle under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote the Book of Revelation. He saw all the angelic visions and encountered all the heavenly spheres. He also saw God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit!

If John was vulnerable, we too can commit the same error of falling down before an angel and worshipping him. But God forbids! We are to worship God and God alone!
 
Herein is a cautionary note if we continue to worship angels.

If any angel desires us to worship him, he is definitely a fallen angel! 

2 Corinthians 11:13-15
 
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers,
transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.

And no wonder!

For Satan himself transforms himself
into an angel of light.

Therefore it is no great thing
if his ministers also transform themselves
into ministers of righteousness,
whose end will be according to their works.

Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. He will deceive many more Christians.

His secret mission and agenda is to steal and kill and destroy.

2 Corinthians 11:3-4
But I fear, lest somehow,
as the serpent deceived Eve
by his craftiness,
so your minds may be corrupted
from the simplicity that is in Christ.

For if he who comes preaches another Jesus
whom we have not preached,
or if you receive a different spirit
which you have not received,
or a different gospel
which you have not accepted—
you may well put up with it!

Just like the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, many Christians are deceived into receiving a different gospel.

Matthew 4:8-10
Again, the devil took Him up on
an exceedingly high mountain,
and showed Him
all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

And he said to Him,
“All these things I will give You
if You will fall down and worship me.”  

Then Jesus said to him,
“Away with you, Satan!
For it is written,
‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and Him only you shall serve.’”

Jesus was tempted thrice in the wilderness by the devil.

In this temptation, the fallen angel wanted Jesus to worship him.

But Jesus did not! Worship God and serve only Him!

If the angel of light wanted to tempt Jesus, he too wants to tempt the Bride of Christ!

If the Church is not careful, she will be deceived like Eve in the Garden of Eden.

If the Bride of Christ is not watchful, she will fall down and worship the angel of light!

Many Christians have already done so - being deceived and now worshipping the fallen angel.

They believe that Christ alone is not good enough.

They need more.

They need angelic visitations, and desire celestial exposures and experiences.

Therefore, know God! He is more than enough!

And also worship God and God alone!
 
 

Written on 10 September 2012