Entertained Angels Unawares?'
-by Tony Warren
Hebrews 13:1-2There are two things that we should understand when searching for the truth of this verse. Number one, the word angel here is the Greek word [aggelos], meaning messenger, and is the "exact" same word translated messenger throughout scripture. Example:
That word translated Messengers is the "exact same" word translated angels. It's talking about people, not angelic beings.
Number two, the word translated "entertain strangers" is the Greek word [philoxenox], meaning to be friendly to those who you don't know. It's taken from the root words [philos] meaning friend, and [xenos] which here means someone with whom you are not acquainted. This is the only place where this is translated "entertain strangers", it's normal translation is hospitality. This verse is saying always be hospitable or "friendly to those who you do not know" because thereby some have entertained (or hosted) messengers. All believers are God's Messengers [aggelos] (translated angels), and some have been a guest of another believer who was unaware that they were the Chosen of God. But the Hospitality which Christians show is to all men, that the Love of God shows in their good conduct. In fact, that Greek word [xenos] in certain contexts can mean any of three things. It can mean a stranger (alien), or by implication a guest (being a stranger in your household), or by extension a host (entertaining or be a host to a stranger to your household).
We can use the understanding of this word as a goad for us, that in all we do, we show forth the love or charity which Christ has shown to us. For we may not know which of these roles we may be in at any time. Whether a guest, or a host, or a stranger ourselves, in any role we find ourselves we should be neighborly and charitable. This is what is so often hard for some Christians to do. It's not coincidental that when we read of what is required of Christians, this virtue is given a lofty platform.
That's the exact same word [philox'enos] translated "entertain strangers" in Hebrews 13. Friendly to strangers. We are as christians to be hospitable. Anyone seeking Leadership in the Church as a Bishop, God demands that he must be a "lover of Hospitality" (-Titus 1:8, 1st Timothy 3:2). He must be friendly to strangers, gracious to those who he is not familiar with. He must have the love or charity of Christ, to entertain strangers.
I believe that the idea that these messengers in Hebrews chapter 13 are angels come down from heaven is unbiblical. For once the Holy Canon was completed, there are no more revelations through Angels of God come to earth, or through miracles, dream, visions, tongues, etc. An angel speaking to you or anyone else would be a revelation from God. No matter what he uttered, or how little he uttered, it would be a divine revelation from God. That's why they're called angels (Messengers) of God. There are no more divine revelations by Angels. The message of God comes from the scriptures "alone" today, via the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Sola scriptura! We are witnesses (messengers) testifying of that completed Word. We can expect no revelation by Angel visitation, miracle or vision, until our Lord return on the clouds of Glory with the voice of the Archangel.
The meaning of this verse is that there are the Chosen of God (messengers) who we don't know, and who may not even know themselves as yet that they are Chosen. But we are to be friendly to all strangers, as some have entertained these messengers of God (the Elect) unawares. The same principle as Jesus put forth in Luke 30:36 when saying be neighborly. We are to be neighborly and show forth the Grace of God in Love to our fellow man. Both to the brethren and to the stranger.
1st Peter 4:8-10
The Christian is to be hospitable, and love his fellow man showing forth the gift as he has received it. Good stewards (caretakers) of the Grace that God has laid upon us, by reflecting that Grace onto others.
True hospitality requires generosity! It is the giving of ourselves in a way which few want to give, and it requires true love of your fellow man. It requires the Love of God which is the greatest of all Commandments. And the second commandment is like unto it, love your neighbor as yourself.
What's the greatest good we can desire for the stranger? ..that He come to know Christ as we know Him! There is no higher good we can hope for. This is hospitality, this is the Love of God shown in doing it unto the least of these. And now and then, one of these strangers is one chosen of God, an elect messenger (not angel) who we have entertained unawares. You may never know who's life you effect, until that great day of the Lord. So always be prepared to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you. With meekness and fear we show forth that christian hospitality in brotherly Love. Bring it to mind and never forget Christian Charity is hospitality to strangers!
Copyright 1999 Tony Warren
Created 12/3/99 / Last Modified 12/15/99
The Mountain Retreat / email@example.com