Angels: Physical Manifestations and Interactions During Visions
The Abilities of Fallen Angels as Described in the Bible
Chapter 2 – Physical Manifestations, and Physical Interactions During Visions
Physical Interactions with Angels
Besides Dreams and Visions, the Bible teaches that angels can also interact with people physically, in ways that leave physical effects afterwards.
Acts 12:5-12, 18-19
Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said,
Now I know of a surety, that the LORD hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying. …. Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter. And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea toCaesarea, and there abode.
In this case an angel is sent to free Peter from Herod’s prison. At first Peter thinks he is experiencing a vision, but soon realizes these events have truly taken place. Peter had visions before, and his confusion proves the point that visions are real to the bodily senses – as real as objective reality - which is why Peter was not sure if what was happening was a vision or not.
But the events were physically real and did take place in objective reality.
The angel materialized in a physical way and caused lasting physical changes in objective reality. Other people, such as the guards, Herod, and Peter’s friends, were all affected by these lasting physical changes to objective reality, in the angel rescuing Peter from prison.
Not only that, but the angel was able to defy physics in objective reality, or seem to have supernatural powers, by doing things such as causing a light to shine, chains to fall off, likely opening what was a locked gate, and moving a very heavy door with apparently supernatural strength, as well as appearing and disappearing seemingly out of nowhere.
Another example of angels appearing physically and leaving physical effects is Gen 19:
Gen 19:1-7, 10-13, 24-28
And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly….But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door. And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it…Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: And he looked towardSodom andGomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.
Some observations: All of the men of the city could see the angels, not just Lot. The angels caused all the men who were harassing Lot to become blind. The angels likely turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt. The angels also destroyed the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Abraham was able to observe the smoke from the city’s destruction from far away. Today some people (see arkdiscovery.com) say they have found the destroyed city, and no doubt some evidence of this angelic event remains to this day, somewhere.
In the case of Sodom and Gomorrah the angels were seen by men and interacted with them. These angels appeared looking as human men. However, angels can also interact with objective reality without being seen, and remaining invisible, as is seen in Job.
Job 1:12-19 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
In this case God effectively removed a “hedge of protection” around Job and allowed everything but Job’s life to be put “into Satan’s hands” (Job 1:12). Satan then inspired people to kill Job’s servants, caused a fire from heaven to come down and kill his sheep and servants, and caused a great wind to demolish a house on top of Job’s children, killing them all. Though Satan was invisible in all of these events, nevertheless the events Satan caused occurred in objective reality, and there were multiple witnesses to the physical effects of what had occurred.
Another lasting effect angels can cause is physical illness or injury, is seen in Acts and in Job:
Acts 12:21-23 And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and died.
In this case in Acts the angel was invisible, at least his public appearance to the crowd is not recorded, and the angel caused a physical ailment resulting in death to the body of a person.
Job 2:6-7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
In Job, the angel Satan was invisible, but in objective reality he caused real and visible injury/disease to Job’s body, and Job was ill for some time, until God set things right.
In the case of fallen angels, such as the fallen cherubim Satan, we also know that they can appear looking like holy angels (who look like men).
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 2 Cor 11:13
Holy angels are of the messenger-type of angel, who look like men, though sometimes glowing with light. Satan who is a cherubim (with 4 faces, 3 of animals, and 4 wings) can transform himself to appear as looking like a Holy messenger-type angel, like a man and glowing with light. And of course fallen messenger-type angels, who already look like men, can do this all the more easily.
Observations on Physical Interactions with angels:
1. There can be multiple witnesses of angels who appear looking like men
2. There can be multiple witnesses to lasting physical effects caused by angels, including illnesses, injury, and death
3. There can be supernatural occurrences that seem to defy physics, in objective reality
4. Generally reality follows normal physical laws, except for the actions of the angels
5. Physical effects can also be caused by angels that, though present, remain invisible
6. Fallen angels can appear looking like holy angels, who look like men, sometimes glowing
So far we have covered that the Bible teaches that angels can interact with people by the methods of Visions, Dreams, and can interact with people physically either while appearing as men, or while remaining invisible. The Bible also teaches that there can be limited physical interactions during a Vision that seem to combine or merge with the Vision experience itself. These limited physical interactions can leave physical effects that remain after the Vision is over.
Visions Caused by Angels Can Include Limited Physical Interactions Which Can Leave Physical Aftereffects
Let’s look at an example from the book of Revelation. The entire book of Revelation contains a very long and detailed Vision given to John by a Holy angel, even though some of the terminology seems a little different at first glance,
Rev 17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
Rev 21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
In these examples John says that “he carried me away in the spirit”. The “he” that is referenced here is an angel of the Lord, a messenger of Jesus Christ, and this is established in Rev 22:8-9,
“And I John saw these things, and heard [them]. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See [thou do it] not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.”
From these passages, we know that all the things John experienced in the Vision were caused by a Holy angel. An angel can “carry someone away in the spirit”, but this term is synonymous with someone having a Vision caused by an angel. We can know the term is synonymous because John also makes clear that all of this was a Vision:
And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses [were] as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. Rev 9:17
Altogether, the entire imagery John recorded in the book of Revelation was caused by an angel of the Lord showing John these things in a Vision. Also, the same phrases are used in Eze 11:24, “Afterwards the spirit took me up, and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me.”
And so if one is “in the spirit”, then the Bible indicates that one is having a Vision.
What John experienced was real to all the bodily senses, even including taste, and internal feeling in his stomach, as John perceived he was experiencing all this bodily. John ate a scroll which was part of the vision, tasted it, and it was “bitter to his stomach”.
And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. Rev 10:10
In this Vision caused by a Holy angel, John was writing down what he saw and heard throughout his entire experience on a piece of paper.
Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send [it] unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea…Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. Rev 10:4
John did not write down the Vision experience after it had ended, but while it was ongoing. What is astounding is that this paper remained with him after the experience had ended. Whether John was given the paper to write on and the writing instrument during the Vision, or if John carried these things into the experience and out of the experience later, is unknown. But in either case, John took the paper out of the Vision with him, which he had written on during the Vision, and so a greater level of lasting physical effects is shown here than in most Visions.
This example establishes that the Bible teaches an angel can cause a person to have a Vision which leaves minor physical effects or traces, like the scroll John recorded the Vision on, or even bodily effects, even internal bodily effects like his stomach becoming bitter. The Bible also teaches that angels can have physical interactions with people that can include causing people bodily injuries or illness. As Visions can include limited physical interactions with angels that leave physical aftereffects, it makes sense that Visions could possibly include physical aftereffects of injuries or illness as well.