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A review of Tim Chester's book 'Angels'

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A review of Tim Chester's book 'Angels'
Angels: When Heaven Meets Earth by Tim Chester

Reviewed by Ruth Clemence.

Tim Chester’s Angels: When Heaven Meets Earth is a short book full of biblical truth about the mystery of angels. Yet, it’s much more than that. It ultimately reveals how angels point to Jesus Christ who is worthy of all worship, honour and praise. As the author writes: ‘angels are just the foot soldiers; it’s Jesus who is the Commander-in-Chief’ (pg.89). Angels are not to be worshipped, but we join them in worshipping God the Father, Son and Spirit. Although this book is about angels, it fundamentally leads to a presentation of the gospel.

In five chapters the author gives an overview of the world of angels, what they are, where they are, what they do and where they lead us. It includes many examples of angels being active in our world. The first chapter includes a selection of stories where people believe they have encountered angels. But experience alone does not always mean an angelic visitation. Tim helpfully grounds the reader in the Word of God as the decisive authority on the subject.

Angels have many roles, but they are primarily ‘messengers who pass on God’s Word’. Angels also care for, provide for, protect and guide God’s people. Tim gives several examples from the Bible where this is evident, and it is comforting to know that angels still have a role in our world today. He addresses the popular view of every person having a guardian angel and considers Matthew 18:10 where the promise of angelic protection is given. In this context, it is for ‘those who have come like children and put their faith in Jesus’ (pg. 68).

Whilst angels are messengers, Jesus is the mediator between us and God. Angels spoke to various people in the past about the plans and purposes of God before the incarnation of Christ. However, now God has been revealed through Jesus, He has made His truth known plainly to us through His Word in the Bible.

We do live in a spiritual world which is very easy to forget in an age of distraction, busyness and secularism. For those sceptical about the idea of another dimension, Tim shares how ‘dark matter reminds us that the structure of the universe remains mysterious’ with ‘levels and layers we cannot comprehend’ (pg. 51). He rightfully observes that ‘just because something cannot be detected doesn’t mean it does not exist’.

This book has given me an opportunity to consider the spiritual realm in ways that I had not considered before. I found it fascinating to read of how the praise of angels to God is different from that of people. The angels are said to speak, say, shout or cry out, but not specifically to sing. When the heavenly host appeared to the shepherds to praise God at the birth of Jesus, they said ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests’ (Luke 2:13-14). In Isaiah’s vision of God, the seraphim cry out ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory’ (Isa. 6:3). God’s people are said to sing in Revelation (14:1-3; 15:3-4). Tim suggests maybe it is because angels are spiritual beings so do not have bodies, and therefore voice boxes. Regardless of what they may or may not sound like, they proclaim and praise the Lord alongside us!

The culture often dumbs down, makes light of, pokes fun at or ignores angels. At times, even Christians do not handle the spiritual realm as they ought. Many people can be led astray by unbiblical ideas on important spiritual realities. Without clear teaching from God’s Word as the supreme guide on angels, we are at risk of missing out on all of the wonder and truth about them, and at worst, being greatly deceived.

Angels will be of interest to anyone who wants to get an overview of the subject. It is a guide which is clearly written, easy to understand and highlights the presence and importance of angels throughout the Bible. There are also useful footnotes for those who want to dig a little deeper into some of the points the author makes. It makes an excellent resource to give to those without a faith, too. The inclusion of reallife stories, key points on the reality of angels and the spiritual realm, plus the presentation of the truth of the gospel is something that both seekers and believers need. Tim Chester’s book reminds us that we are part of something more magnificent than we can ever truly begin to imagine. One day we will see the angels and proclaim with them ‘holy, holy, holy’ to our Lord and Saviour in all of His glory. 

 

Tim Chester is a senior faculty member of Crosslands Training and the author of over forty books. He has a PhD in theology and PgDip in history. He is married to Helen and has two adult daughters. 

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Tim Chester
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