The standard secular time-travel story doesn’t include a major factor we as believers cannot ignore-
The spirit realm.
Any number of books have hit the shelves on the subject of angels, and one of my favorites is the book by that title, Angels, by Billy Graham. He weaves enormous insights on these beings and their interactions with mankind.
The Bible says powerful angelic spirits are all around us. If one accepts the full lore of The Book of Enoch, at least seventy of the original Fallen were re-purposed by God for his own ends. Those Fallen who participated in the genetic corruption of Genesis 6 are bound in darkness in everlasting chains (Jude 1:6).
One of these is mentioned in (Daniel 10:13) where Daniel prayed and the angel was resisted by the Prince of Persia – the angelic overseer of the land of Persia – for twenty-one days.
The angel claims he had to fetch “one of the chief princes” – Michael, to make his way clear. Michael is the only angelic in Scripture given the title “arch-angel”. Here we see there are other “chief princes” like Michael, but Michael has special mention as the archangel, the top dog.
So apparently this angel “ranks” enough to fetch Michael, or Daniel was important enough to warrant Michael’s intervention, or other issues were in play.
The takeaway here, is that angels are not ethereal and wispy. They have physicality and clearly can be impeded from their missions.
From Scripture, we can conclude angelics are “highly energetic beings”. If we apply the basics of physics and energy, we can derive more. Angels co-exist in the same created reality as we do – with the heavens and earth, and are subject to the same constraints of space, matter, and time, but on a different plane, as though they have their own realm.
Case in point, (Matthew 18:10) Jesus said of “little ones” that their angels behold the Father continually. If the angel is charged with watching over the child, how is this possible if its face is continually toward the father? (Ezekiel 10:14) says the guardian angels have four faces. Clearly one of these is toward the father and any of the other three is toward the child (and I suspect, the other two are on the lookout for danger). How does the angel maintain a presence with the child while facing the Father in heaven? Clearly they have the inherent ability to fold space between the earthly realm and heavenly realm. This is the most obvious conclusion.
As noted in other essays, if the heavenly creatures (and God himself) have the ability to fold space and time, this means space, time, matter, and energy, and the laws which interact with them, are all part of the creation already. God put the laws in place, just like laws of physics, chemistry, or aerodynamics, to affect the reality without suspending or changing laws. God’s laws do not change, they “stand forever” and “will not pass away”.
Why is this important? Some say God, in order to affect a miracle, must set-aside, break, or ignore the physical laws of his creation. Clearly if God’s laws stand forever, we look another direction, that God has more laws in place we don’t know about, and those laws enable his miracles. He knew what miracles he wanted to perform before he laid the first foundation stone of the Creation, so of course these laws are ready to go.
In Scripture, the angels often appear to humans as energetic beings – in “glorified” form. They can just as easily reduce to human form, or something in between as necessity dictates. In all this we realize they are bound to the same second-per-second time frame we are – when they are on earth. And are bound to “heavenly time” when not on earth.
How do these realms relate? Paul claimed one was “caught up” to the “third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2) where God lives. We have a first, second, and third heaven. The first heaven, mentioned in Genesis 1, is the heaven where the birds fly. This heaven (sky) is where Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11). Since the starry heavens are part of the creation, we can surmise these are the “second” heaven. The third heaven is where God lives.
Some have suggested the “realm” of angels is this second heaven. The Bible does not say so. It does say however, that God placed water, from the original creation, above the highest heaven (Psalm 148:4) (Jeremiah 10:13, 51:16). This means our creation is “bounded” with a hard shell of water, who-knows-how-many light-years thick. Our creation is “contained” not an open-ended “space” with undefined edges. This also means it has a center of gravity.
This prospect is scary to cosmologists, because according to the Big Bang, the universe is not supposed to have edges, nor a center.
But secular scientists also see the issue clearly:
George Ellis: “I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations. You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. …we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.” Gibbs, W.W., Profile: George F.R. Ellis; Thinking Globally, Acting Universally, Scientific American, 273(4):28-29, 1995
Hubble wanted the earth to be in a nondescript location, so nobody could say we were special. But he chose this conclusion, because it fit his theory:
“Such a condition would imply that we occupy a unique position in the universe… But the unwelcome supposition of a favoured location must be avoided at all costs… Such a favored position, of course, is intolerable; moreover, it represents a discrepancy with the theory, because the theory postulates homogeneity” Hubble E. “The Observational Approach to Cosmology”, The Clarendon Press, Oxford pp 50-59, 1937
We could dive into a lot of other quotes about cosmology, but the heavens “declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). Anywhere we look in the heavens, we find God’s signature . This so confounds the present-day cosmologists, they spin themselves into a web of concocted theories, none of which have been validated by observation. I’ll cover some of those in another essay.
Back to angels.
We’re told we entertain angels unawares (Heb 13:2). The Apostle Paul was accompanied by an angel onboard a ship destroyed in a storm (Acts 27:23). Peter was released from prison by an angel (Acts 12:7). Zacharias was visited by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:19) and the angels get into the mix of proclaiming the “everlasting gospel” in Revelation (Rev 14:6,7). Jesus Christ was announced to humanity through angels, separately to Zacharias, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the wise men from the East.
The angels can impose on the physical world because they have physicality, but can move between the physical and the heavenly with ease. In (Job 1:6) the angels come before the Lord, and Satan is among them. The Lord asks him where he’s been, and Satan says “from going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it” (Job 1:7).
How fast can they move between these realms? Certainly faster than we can imagine, but as we see in Daniel, not always with a clear path.
Satan (and the others) are clearly bound to a forward-only time frame. They are not timeless the way God is. God can see every point in time at the same time. It’s clear Satan cannot – in Job, Satan makes a bet with God, wagering on an outcome. Only a time-bound being would do this.
Today’s finite host of angels, and unclean spirits, are the same ones as in David’s day, or Paul’s day, or the ones cast-out by Christ, or seen by John in the Revelation. Michal the Archangel is still the top dog now, as in Daniel’s day, as in Abraham’s day, etc.
For telling a tale, we cannot ignore the storyworld of the angelic realm, but we don’t have the same visibility as our physical realm.
Frank Peretti thrilled us all with This Present Darkness, but as I took a few steps back, I realized he took some license with describing the angelic world. I don’t doubt the angels interact and speak to each other with independent thoughts just as we do, but I can’t reconcile some of the other notions in his narrative. For example, according to Peretti, when an angel is weakened, only the prayer of the faithful will give him strength. This looked too much like Peter Pan, Tinkerbell near death, and the audience must “clap your hands” to save her. Nothing says angels are “prayer-powered”, but this notion almost became doctrine in many churches.
Believers today walk around a schoolhouse for example, praying for the demonic spirits to be banished. What they are missing, is that angels and demons both inhabit (or must exit) based on authority and jurisdiction. The schools are public, so the unsaved and saved both have access to it, and it is under the jurisdiction of the United States – which itself is under the jurisdiction of Satan (Matt 4:8). A believer cannot banish a spirit from a place where it has rightful jurisdiction.
My suggestion – pray for the right things. Don’t pray for the unchangeable.
I find mixed reactions from the following: In Scripture, angels never appear in female form. There’s a reason for this, in that there is no marriage in heaven, so no need for male and female kinds through which to multiply. The angels are a finite host, each separately created, and do not procreate. This also tells us their DNA, if they have DNA, is markedly different from ours. We are a separate kind from the angels.
Like Peretti, many novels using angels interchange male and female angels as though female angels exist. After all, in every Christmas pageant, every Easter program, aren’t the angels played by women? Our church took a policy to replace all that with male angels and it changed the tenor of the entire presentation. Not because the church leaders were misogynists, but because God does not create male and female angels – the angels do not procreate. This was the purpose for male and female within a kind – procreation. It’s more Biblically accurate, and if telling a Bible-centric story, one must be faithful to the story first.
Taking that a step further, if angels don’t appear as female, what about the bad angels, or the demonic spirits? If they present as female, this would be expected, since demonic spirits are deceiver always. I have a number of scenes were female spirits appear as villains. This is not to say females are evil – but this is to say – the human mind is easily deceived, and if a female angel were to come to you, it should raise red flags more than anything else.
A man told me he went to a “prayer rally” at a local convention center. This is where the attendees gather in small groups and pray for things on a prescribed list, then come together to pray in larger groups, etc. He told me that their small group had less than fifteen people in it, sitting in chairs so tightly pulled together they touched each others’ knees. The main leader asked everyone to bow and pray, and afterward when they looked up, a chair on each side of their circle was empty. He recalled these were two elderly women, and there’s no way they could have exited the circle without pushing their chairs back. It would have been too obvious. That they vanished, and they were women, and they vanished on the boundary of invoking prayer, are clear warnings – if they were spirits, they were demonic.
A man tells me when his father-in-law was in a car accident, he was already dead when help finally arrived, but a young man had run up to the car to assist. A female nurse appeared alongside him and said the man in the car would “be okay”. So the young man waited for the emergency services and told them about the nurse, but she was nowhere to be found. The man told this story as if the nurse was an angel. But since angels don’t appear as female (anywhere in Scripture) perhaps we can look deeper. His father-in-law was not a believer, and did not survive the accident. So the female nurse told two lies in one. He would be “okay” – a lie because he died. And he would not go to heaven, another lie because his afterlife was “not okay”.
What if the young man had an opportunity, in that moment, to deliver the gospel to a dying man, but a demonic spirit waved-him-off with “he’ll be okay”?
A friend told me he attended a church where the worship was going great – until a man walked forward on the aisle, turned to the congregation and touched the man nearest him. The man fell flat. He moved to the other side of the aisle and did it again, same result. He made his way down the aisle toward my friend, each touch sending the person into slumber. And the man reached to touch my friend, who confessed he thought he was about to be struck with “holy power”. But when the man touched him, nothing happened. After an awkward moment, the man leaned to him and said, “You’re supposed to fall down”.
The Bible warns us about spirits (2 Corinthians 11:4,13-14) (1 John 4:1), that they counterfeit the things of God and we are not to blindly accept them. But “test the spirits” to see if they are of God. A spirit from God will not contradict God’s words, or God’s laws in his creation.
Satan told Jesus to cast himself from the pinnacle of the temple. If a spirit tells you to do this, ignoring the clear effects of gravity that will kill you on impact, it’s best to flee this spirit.
An atheist asked me, “What if God came to you and told you to go to a schoolyard and kill children?”
My answer to this was simple – I would test the spirit to see if it was of God. I showed him the Scripture from 1 John 4:1 – and said God will not contradict his word.
He said – What if God tells you these are infidels and they all must die? People say they hear the voice of God –
I said, look – God doesn’t speak to people now the way he did then. He would choose a prophet, work miracles through the prophet, and speak through him. God says that revelation is closed, so no new words from God. That means – if a spirit purports to be God, or speak for God, I should turn from it. The very fact he’s speaking to me at all is a violation of God’s own words.
Many years ago I received an “internet story” (chain-email) about a kid who was trapped under a garage door and “shiny birds” came to help him. One comforted him while another fetched his mother. They visited him again in the hospital and said their message was to “tell people about the birds”. Keep in mind, when angels deliver messages like this, they are from God.
How does this fit with God’s words we already have? These are purportedly angels speaking for God. If this is true, we can surmise one fact: “Go ye therefore and teach all nations” has been postponed indefinitely because God wants us to “tell people about the birds”.
Can we see how childlike and ridiculous this is?
Test the spirits.
Some years ago a man wrote a story about visiting heaven in a near-death experience – when he was a child (Heaven is Real). He described heaven in a way that is anathema to God’s description. Today as an adult, he ministers to children in hospitals and tells them his version of heaven, not God’s version. His version of heaven, he sees Jesus at the throne, and his mother Mary is standing next to him.
Can we test this one statement?
When Jesus was on the Cross, he handed-off the care of his mother to his disciple John (John 19:26-27) to live in John’s home, so John was intimately familiar with Mary.
Yet, when John was caught up to heaven in the Revelation, he makes no mention of her whatsoever. It seems incongruous that the woman who lived with him for many years, if standing by the throne, would be ignored by the man Christ called her son, and she his mother.
Some years ago a man wrote a book about the “Blood Moons” (Full lunar eclipses, because the lower-wave (red) light bends around the Earth and makes the Moon appear “as blood”) . He claimed these were clear messages to the nation of Israel. Just one problem – these moons only appeared as Blood Moons in North America! If they were messages to Israel, maybe God knew telecommunications would let them see it over the internet?
A pastor said he passed by a fortune-tellers storefront (You know the ones, with a name like“Madam Zora” on the marquee). He said there was a car for sale out front. If she can tell the future, she already knows who will buy the car, so why not just call him to come pick it up?
On the same note, Dionne Warwick’s Psychic Network went bankrupt, and not one of their world-class fortune tellers saw it coming.
Test the spirits, test the claims.
A man told me in his youth group that one of the leaders would pass among the teenagers, touch them and they would fall flat “slain in the spirit”. He claimed there’s no way the teenagers were faking it. I asked him if he would follow-up with any of those same teenagers – the ones he knew fell flat, who were no longer with the church, and ask them if they were faking it.
In the meantime, I said – let’s say what was happening was “for real” – a spirit was overtaking them and causing it. Since there is no precedent or description for this in Scripture, our only conclusion – if this is for real – is that demonic spirits are behind it.
He fell silent to this claim. You see, I wasn’t disagreeing that it may have been spiritual – I was questioning the source – “testing the spirits, to see if they be of God”.
He never got back with me about whether his chums were faking it, and he was close enough to me that if he had such evidence, he would have presented it just to prove me wrong.
As an author telling a story – some significant questions arise in all this-
In secular time-travel, a person goes back in time say, a hundred years, interacts and comes back to their home-time. All the people they interacted with are dead. The angels however, are the same ones back then as now.
What if a person goes back in time, and meets or interacts with an angel? The traveler visits another time frame (the angel is there, too). Perhaps he comes back the future (the angel is there, too). Wouldn’t the angel remember the person over the course of history?
And if the person were to first encounter the angel today, wouldn’t going backward in time “erase” the angel’s memory of the traveler?
When this time traveler is born, long before he becomes a time traveler, and grows up, when would this angel, who had met the time traveler in the past, be comfortable with approaching the traveler for some hard questions?
Moreover, would the angel wait-it-out to see if the traveler becomes the person he seeks? And if the angel were to confront the traveler before he becomes a traveler, wouldn’t this be a little awkward, if not creepy?
So I did just that, put good and evil spirits into the mix, with the good ones assisting mankind as guardians, and the bad ones taunting the heroes.
Jesus said of unclean spirits they would “walk in dry places” (Matt 12:43). Several recent scholars have pointed to the fact that Nephilim (the giants of Gen 6) have no human soul nor are they fully human. Their spirits are “unclean”, and wander like the “unclean” lepers of first century. Their spirit can’t find rest (in heaven or hell) .
Demons are these unclean spirits. Distinct from the Fallen angelics. They look to inhabit the bodies of others because they once had a body (the Nephilim) and do not have a place of rest otherwise. They walk in dry places – as a throwback to the event that disembodied them – the Great Flood. Does this mean they have a phobia of water? Some experts say yes, so I added this nuance to some scenes.
In the storyline, Mia has an unseen enemy in the Nephilim queen Acheela, who appears in the first book as an artifact in a burial chamber. Apparently someone is trying to kill Mia, and Acheela’s spirit is part of the assassination plot. Acheela shows up later, too. She’s too good a villain not to give her more airtime. She doesn’t get much in Dawn’s Early Light since her husband, the Nephilim Ben Echel-on is the bad guy.
The point being, if angelic spirits are involved with us, they are privy to our time travel as well. This has to be weaved into the storyline so that there’s no continuity disconnect. They can’t know more than they are supposed to know. For example, Porter is a guardian assigned to Marcus Journey in modern time, but when Marcus goes back in time, he finds Porter assigned to Methuselah, and meets him on board the Ark thinking he’s a human come back to retrieve him. Porter keeps reappearing, giving Marcus the inkling that Porter is immortal.
When the demons confront the travelers in modern times, they’ve encountered the traveler before, but the traveler hasn’t- yet. Which is one of the paradoxes of time travel, that at some future point in our lives we may travel back in time to affect someone, and that someone catches up with us at a time before we ever traveled, so we have no context at all what they’re talking about.
My children have fueled the angelic portion of the adventures, and have fertile imaginations, indeed. It’s been a lot of fun knocking these ideas around with them as they grow in faith. The storylines originated as bedtime stories, then we would talk about them around the dinner table or just in the car when killing time. I’ve had the opportunity to kill a lot of time in a car, and in an airplane seat.
Yeah, killing time. Time is killed in a car when it’s not used for anything. It’s redeemed when we use our creativity, go places, and think of new things, and use those for God’s glory.
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.
When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.
When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
2 Corinthians 11:4
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
1 John 4:1
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Corinthians 11:13-14
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.