Biblically Accurate Angels of the Heart


In the digital world of memes, biblically accurate angels have gained popularity. Not for baby faces or halos but for wheels and eyes – Old Testament style. Biblically accurate angels’ rise in popularity is an excellent example of Christian iconography.

And now, let’s set a few things straight about angels…

Did you know??
– Angels appearing on Earth in the New Testament are never described as having wings?
– The earliest depictions of what we would recognize as angels are actually depictions of djin (or Genies, Roman-Near East protector spirits)? The truth is, we typically employ visual forms from the past. Early Christians didn’t typically have visual forms from their past they could substitute in, except from classical Roman and Greek stories and statues. So, they used their holy imaginations, leavened with the Old Testament, the culture surrounding them, and the Apostle’s letters, instead.

Try and re-imagine this classic scene from Luke, picturing how angels are actually described as from the Old Testament. With wheels and eyes and fire. – It’s no wonder nearly every time one appears, they have to tell people to ‘Be not afraid’!

Verse Luke 2:8-15
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

We tend to mimic visual forms from the past. So, it’s no wonder when Biblical things are no longer metaphor or poetic that we react the way we do. Don’t get comfortable. You never know who or what might show up on a Tuesday afternoon!

Verse Luke 2:16-20
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Reflect for a moment after reading those passages…
Where does your mind go when you imagine these descriptions?
What feelings have these descriptions often summoned for you?

Your challenge:
Re-imagine special holy times throughout the year. Re-examine our stories, traditions, all of it.
For Mary and Joseph, the shepherds – everyone at that time – our modern idea of Christmas or Easter didn’t exist. None of the rituals or songs – none of it had been formed yet. Instead, they had something better. Something brand-new. – Real life.

And it was very good (if a bit terrifying).

This year, take all of the light, joy, and wonder you experience and share and treasure them all up in your heart. Embrace new ways of expressing what Now means through your own Holy Imagination. Look for the light and workings of Heaven and treasure them. But all the same, remember to Be Not Afraid when you run into the Holy. Try things like, de-winging your angels, or making Biblically accurate angels with extra wings and eyes.
Explore your own cultural roots and find ways to honor them.
Make a point to be extra present. Look for the light, the Helpers, and the hand of Heaven working around you. And treasure all these things in your heart.

– Ryan

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Ryan was born in Portland, Oregon on February 24th, 1988. He's the (upper) middle child out of four (three sisters – how he survived is a secret). Ryan’s been devouring books ever since he learned to read. To this day, he loves the smell of rain, the rumble of storms, and the scent of pine forests. His favorite stories growing up were old tales with Robin Hood and King Arthur - along with a ginormous rambling list of other myths, legends, and fantasy works. Since he began publishing his fantasy works in 2016, Ryan has also become an active member of the St Louis Writers Guild, founded the Hannibal Writers Guild, and helps market, edit, and consult for other aspiring authors and podcasters. Ryan is also the co-host of the podcast What's Up ABQ, co-founder of the Barelas Podcasters Guild, a former pastor, and is a childhood cancer survivor. He is repped by Patty Carothers of Metamorphosis Literary Agency. Ryan lives with his wife, one dog, and two cats in an old Victorian home near the Mississippi River in Hannibal, Missouri.

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