Angels Among Us {Book Review – Lifted By Angels by Joel J. Miller}

What are your thoughts on angels?

What are angels’ main purposes? Are angels approachable? Does each person have an “assigned” guardian angel?

In his newest book, Lifted By Angels: The Presence and Power ofOur Heavenly Guides and Guardians, author Joel J. Miller offers numerous sources of research and thoughts on these questions and more. The very title of this book explains a portion of angels’ roles—guiding and helping us heavenward.

I chose this book for two main reasons: I have studied very little about the enthralling topic of angels, and I enjoy this author’s blog.

Some may feels angels as distant creatures. On page 4, the author sets the tone for the purpose of this book: “Their [referring to angels] very inaccessibility fuels our interest and wonder, which unfortunately comes at the expense of their seeming foreign and apart. They are anything but.”

The author practices orthodox Christianity, which I confess I know less about than my own beliefs. In this well-researched book, his orthodox experience offers writing deeply rooted in history, which is intriguing to read. The author presents angels as ancient Christians viewed and knew them. He compares theologians’ ideas to Scripture and presents differences and possible conclusions. Such differences do “not mean we are incapable of knowing more of [the angels’] story, only that we must organize the limited and speculative nature of our knowledge” (p. 8).

So what do angels do? “…their primary task is to reflect the knowledge and glory of God…” (p. 19) and to “enjoy His benefits and share in His goodness” (p. 7).

Why study angels? The author discusses in the end of the first chapter some theologians’ (and even apostles’) hesitations in approaching the subject for fear that such study might “[divert] attention from Christ” (p. 24). The author has this to say about the need for angelic study:

“But if contemplating our fellowship with angels could increase our understanding of Christ, his mission, and the believers’ role in it, then further comment seems not only warranted, but perhaps even necessary. Indeed, why else would Paul and these early Christians talk of angels at all? But they do, and these savvy practitioners point the way for us today.” (pp. 24-25)

Reading about the fall of some angels (to become the devil and his followers) reminded me yet again how important grace is—and how amazing of a gift we have in the mere opportunity to receive grace. In a discussion on demons in contrast to angels, we realize together as we read “demons desire out demise, but the angels take wing in our defense” (p. 63).

In a few places, I wanted the author to give an answer to questions that might arise as I read. As an example, on page 40, the author tells readers (with supporting research) that “fallen angels are no longer in heaven, but prowl this atmosphere of ours.” Why are these fallen angels sent to our atmosphere, knowing the damage they would impart? On page 106, an interesting discussion on both the Holy Spirit directing our thoughts and angels “implanting godly thoughts” sparked more questions: How does one tell if the Holy Spirit or an angel is directing thoughts? (Or, does that answer particularly matter?) Even if I want more answers, as the author is careful to explain early in the book, our purpose is to glorify God, and angels’ purpose to lift us back to Him.

One of my favorite revelations emerged on page 78, where Christ’s appearance on earth meant reinforcement for the angels’ long-suffering work. “Imagine then the angelic excitement, joy, and even relief when the Savior finally arrived.” No wonder such a chorus of jubilantly singing angels appeared at Christ’s birth!

This book reads like a well-written, book-length research paper full of varied sources from ancient Christian thinkers and Scripture. If you’re looking for an orthodox look at angels with reason and a bit of mysticism included, consider perusing Lifted By Angels. Even if you may not agree with all of the conclusions or perspectives included, this book will encourage further thought and study on a worthy subject.

What have you found that Scripture says about angels? I’d love to read some of your favorite verses in the comments.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”