Case Studies: Angel Interventions
Millions around the world believe in angels. From every culture and geographic location and period in history, we have heard about angels. Angels are known as spiritual beings, messengers of God, or spirits of the dead transformed after passing that are historically described as God's task force, protectors, and guides for people in the earthly realm. They are often portrayed in art, literature, and other media as winged beings, filled and shrouded with light, often androgynous looking, sometimes with halos, and dressed in white, resplendent in the qualities of love, kindness, protection, joy, glory, destiny, healing, justice, protection, and celestial power.
In the Judeo-Christian traditions, there are also archangels, who appear to have special significance and proximity to God. In fact, many religions hold strong to the notion of angels, their mission-related purposes, and their roles in human life.
Tales of angel interventions have appeared throughout recorded history in religious texts, such as the Koran and the Bible (where there are hundreds of references), as well as religious and mystical texts in many of the world's religions, such as Judaism, the Bahá'í faith, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, and others. For example, in the Bible, angels intervene to share messages or bring news, provide comfort or enlightenment, and sometimes to perform tangible tasks, such as the rolling back of the stone before Jesus' tomb after he was crucified.
Angels are depicted as being the messengers of God, acting as the gobetween for humans and God. Angel interventions are known to occur in order for the recipient to transcribe their messages, producing scriptures as is seen in the Koran, the works of Rumi, and various Christian mystical texts. There have been many famous stories of angel interventions for artists and historical figures alike, guiding their acts and works, from Joan of Arc, to Handel, to William Blake. Contemporary research and literature have also documented accounts of angel interventions.
These visitations can involve visions, audible information, smells, and tactile sensations. Angels are also often reported to appear as similar to regular human beings, as stated by Daniel Benor in Personal Spirituality: Science, Spirit, and the Eternal Soul. Benor claims that angels are “described as looking like normal people who appear out of nowhere, give their assistance, and then disappear again into nowhere. They may communicate in gestures, words or telepathically.”
Angels often intervene to prevent accidents and death. In an account from firefighter Mark Kuck, retold in The Big Book of Angels, an angelic voice gave warning and instruction to the firefighter, allowing him to save his life and the life of his partner. While fighting a fire in a mobile home, Kuck was caught in a fatal flashover:
He heard a clear male voice: “Mark,” it said “you need to go.” Mark was astonished. The voice was audible, yet it couldn't be his partner — he was too far away to be heard. And an air pack distorts a voice…. Not like this voice, so distinct and close it was almost at his ear. Nor were there any openings in the trailer where someone outside could yell through. What was happening?
After Kuck and his partner retreated, the flames advanced into the room they had been in, and if they had not left at the moment they heard the voice, they would have perished. Later, as the fire waned, Mark thought more seriously about the voice. It had been a young voice, something like his own, firm but not intimidating, a voice that he instinctively knew he could trust and obey. And, yes, he had heard it once before, when he was seventeen and involved in a serious automobile accident. Wasn't it this same voice that had calmed him as he crashed, reassured him that all would be well? But how could this be?
In another account from bush pilot Terry Baldwin, retold by Daniel Benor in Personal Spirituality: Science, Spirit, and the Eternal Soul, we again find a human-sounding voice said to be an angel intervening. Baldwin was flying passengers through the bush when they were caught in a dangerous storm, and his instruments began to fail. An apparent air traffic controller led them to safety through the storm, evidently using only radar instructions, as the passengers prayed openly. However, Baldwin lost touch with the voice when the radio broke off, and another voice appeared suddenly, just as the plane touched down to safety. At this point, Baldwin said:
“Thanks tower. There's little doubt that you saved our lives today.” The controller's reply cast a stunned silence over the men in the plane.
“What are you talking about? We lost contact with you about forty miles out.”
In this case, as in many other accounts, prayers often come directly before an angel intervention.
According to Carmel Reilly in True Tales of Angel Encounters, aside from miraculous life-saving encounters, we often hear of angel interventions where angels appear as guardian angels in everyday experiences, angels appearing in dreams, angels seen during meditation or prayer, angels sharing messages or news, angels performing real physical acts, and angels as spirit guides and ghosts.
Angels and Near-Death Experiences
There are also many recounted instances of angels present in neardeath experiences as well as out-of-body experiences. As professor Craig R. Lundahl stipulates in an article entitled “Angels in Near-Death Experiences,” “Angels are personages with whom the near-death experiencer does not usually recall having previous acquaintance. Angels serve as guides, messengers, or escorts in the NDE.” Lundahl says that in one account of a neardeath experience, “a man … came close to dying as a result of being ill during a tooth extraction, and took a trip to Heaven where he saw angels.” In another account, there was a woman “who described angels holding hands to form a stairway to Heaven” before she was revived.
Children and Angels
Children often tell compelling stories in which they encounter angels. According to Carmel Reilly in True Tales of Angel Encounters, there are “a large number of reports of guardian angels helping children who were ill or lost,” as well as many other situations in which a child was in distress. In one account, Lundahl explains, during a near-death experience “a 9-year-old boy was met on the other side by a group of angels whom he described as having no wings, glowing, and seeming to love him very much.”
In Brad Steiger's The Big Book of Angels, a woman narrates a story where she was given a message by an angel: “When I was five years old an angel came to me at my preschool to let me know that my grandmother had passed away. When my mother and uncle came to pick me up from school, I walked up to my mother and told her that grandma had died. She looked at me with a perplexed expression and wanted to know who told me as she had not called the school to let them know. My reply was that God had sent one of his angels to me.” Reilly explains that many researchers theorize that children are often the recipients of angel interventions for reasons such as that they are more “vulnerable” and “less rigid” than adults, being more open to contact with the unknown and the divine.
From the mouths of babes, to the elderly and dying, and from all corners of the globe in all periods of time and in all cultures, human history is inundated with tales of angel interventions. Perhaps, given that, and the fact that most of the earthly population to this day believes in angelic spirits, we would do well to listen to these stories and to the research into these phenomena, for validation or divine inspiration.