Beliefnet
Q: When an alleged heavenly being appears, how can you tell whether it is good or evil?

A:
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God" (1 John 4:1).

While this familiar New Testament passage is easily quoted, it's more difficult to put into practice when you have encountered what appears to be an angelic being of light. It would be so much easier to identify fallen angels if they appeared as grotesque monsters. But as we are warned in 2 Corinthians 11:14, "Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."

Scriptures of different spiritual paths advise that faith, purity, adherence to revealed truth, and the performance of good deeds are the best way to ensure fellowship with spiritual beings of the highest levels. At the same time, we know that the greatest and most devout saints were not immune from contact with alleged heavenly beings who sought to lead them astray.

Our physical earth plane world is closer to the realm of the lower, more chaotic, spiritual frequencies than it is to the dimension of the most harmonious, so efforts to communicate with heavenly or enlightened beings will always contain more of the lower vibratory realm than of the higher, and thus we attract more astral masqueraders who seek to deceive us to achieve their own selfish goals.

A "test," that is, an evaluation, of alleged heavenly beings might contain these elements for serious consideration:
  • Did the being tell you that it has appeared because you are a chosen person from a special group of evolved humans?
  • Does the being encourage you to pray to it or to worship it?
  • Does it promise to reward you with material wealth in exchange for your devotion?
  • Does it issue short-term prophecies that all come true?
  • Does it perform apparent miracles for your benefit?
  • Does it issue revelations that upon closer scrutiny are filled with half-truths, lies, and bigotry?

    Various scriptures advise us that angels are not to be worshipped, and that true heavenly beings will discourage humans who attempt to bow down to them.

    The fallen angels delight in corrupting humans. They encourage us to express greed and the acquisition of material, rather than spiritual, treasures. A litany of alleged revelations are designed to rival our genuine faith in God, and a belief in miracles for their own sake may also lead us astray.

    As a general spiritual law, these negative entities cannot achieve power over humans unless they are invited into a person's private space--or unless they are attracted to a human aura by that person's negativity or vulnerability.

    A general guideline is never to enter meditation or prayer with the thought of aggrandizing one's ego or acquiring material gain. Selfish motivation may put you at risk of becoming easily affected by those spirit beings who rebelled against the Light and became ensnared in their own selfish lust for power.

  • According to tradition, at the beginning of the world angels who rebelled against God "fell" and became demons, or "fallen angels." Can angels today "fall" by going against the will of God?

    Time and time again the scriptures of various faiths advise that the angels are not omnipresent, omnipotent, or omniscient--and neither are they immune to falling into temptation or error. "Even in his servants he puts no trust, and his angels he charges with error" (Job 4:18).

    Perhaps the greatest area of angelic weakness lies in their unique relationship to humans, earthly creations to whom the Creator gave free will. In the biblical and qur'anic traditions, we find references to the jealousy that afflicts certain angels regarding the attention God displays toward his human creations.

    In the Qur'an (17:61-64), Iblis (Satan), the leader of the rebellious angels, refuses to bow to a creature that God has created of clay, and he threatens to make existence miserable for human beings.

    Because of the fallen angels' animosity toward those heavenly beings faithful to the Creator, and toward those who seek higher truth, we should not only engage in spiritual warfare with those of flesh and blood who serve the dark side, but also "against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12).

    How can we tell the difference between our conscience and the voices of our angels?

    The American philosopher Francis Bowen (1811-90) stated it very well when he said, "Conscience is God's vice regent on Earth, and within the limited jurisdiction given to it, it partakes of His infinite wisdom and speaks in His tone of absolute command. [Conscience] is a revelation of the being of a God, a divine voice in the human soul, making known...the Author of the law of holiness and truth."

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