ANGELS: Their Nature and Ministry by J. H Waggoner

The enemy of God and the human family has left no means untried by which he could pervert the truth, and draw away men from a knowledge of the true God and of His law. It seems to be his invariable plan to lead men first to forget or disbelieve what God has taught them concerning any truth, and then, as a substitute, to instill into their minds some error which, in its main features, closely resembles the truth, but which is, nevertheless, opposed to it.

Thus when he had led men to forget God, Satan turned their minds to worship the sun and the host of heaven. When they had forgotten the word of God, given through His prophets, he introduced in its stead the pagan oracles and priests. So it is with the truth in regard to the ministration of angels. They are the divinely commissioned messengers sent to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. But this glorious Bible truth has been so far lost from sight that many, even of those who call themselves Christians, have no clear ideas concerning it, and little practical faith in it. Yet the need of some ministering spirit, some heavenly visitant from the world of light, to instruct us in the things of God, is widely felt.

Satan sees that this necessity must be met. A substitute must be invented. What shall it be? To answer this we have only to look at the history of those nations who have forgotten God. Ps. 9:17. From the Egyptian priests to the modern spirit mediums, we find them teaching that the spirits of the dead return to minister to their friends in this world. But while the Bible often speaks of the visits of holy angels to our world, to minister to the children of God, it is entirely silent concerning the return of the spirits of the dead for that purpose. Go to the heathen who know nothing about God and His word, and we find them extolling the souls of their dead friends as gods, demi-gods, and protecting spirits. Come down to the last generation, even in so-called Christian lands, and we find an extensive unbelief in the existence of either good or bad angels, or but vague and indefinite ideas of their character and office.

Thus far Satan has well succeeded. A vacuum has been formed, which, as both reason and revelation teach, must be filled. As a substitute, he has introduced the supposed souls of the dead, as ministering spirits from the other world. To uphold his counterfeit work he cunningly uses all the arguments, both from the Scriptures and from nature, which prove that there are, or ought to be, messengers to communicate between this and the other world. If he can convince men that they are spirits that communicate, he has gained his point, inasmuch as the people in general have no definite faith in the existence of either good or evil angels, except as they learn it from this source.
We cannot admit that the spirits of dead men ever come back to communicate with the living. And we affirm, upon the authority of the Holy Bible, that they know nothing concerning their friends here or of what is done in this world. Thus Job says:
“Thou destroyest the hope of man. Thou prevailest forever against him, and he passeth [i. e., dies]; thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away. His sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low,
but he perceiveth it not of them.” Chap. 14:1-21.

This testimony shows that after a man dies he has no knowledge of what befalls his friends here. It plainly contradicts the idea that our dead friends become our guardian angels, watching over us, sympathizing with us in our sorrows, and rejoicing with us in our prosperity. It plainly declares that after a man is dead he knows nothing of what befalls his children in this world. Here is another testimony still more decisive; “For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything. . . . Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.” Eccl. 9:5, 6.

This text declares positively that the dead know nothing concerning things in this life. They have no part in anything that takes place under the sun. So says the word of the Lord, and so we believe. Indeed, it would be the source of the keenest anguish to a mother, after death, to see her children left destitute, abused, and led into crime and to degradation, as orphan children frequently are. How much of a heaven would this be to her? What good could result from consciousness in heaven under such circumstances? But there is neither reason nor revelation to support such a theory. Spiritualism is one of the greatest schemes that Satan ever devised for the deception and destruction of the human family. It is based upon the supposition that all the spirits who communicate are the spirits of the dead. We propose, therefore, to enter into a Bible investigation of this subject.

-Angels; their nature and ministry