The role of ancient and modern angels

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In Tuesday’s devotional, Donald W. Parry, associate professor of Hebrew Bible and Dead Sea Scrolls, discussed the influence angels have today and how they have shaped the Church in the past.

In modern times, the idea of heavenly messengers or angels is often ridiculed and considered unpractical, even among the LDS Church. According to Parry’s talk, angels played a major role in the restoration of the gospel and should be spoken of with more assurance.

“Our dispensation has been a period of extraordinary angelic activity,” said Parry. “Joseph Smith received dozens of communications from angels. Additional Church authorities and others, too, have been recipients of angelic communications.”

[media-credit name=”Whitnie Soelberg” align=”alignright” width=”199″]Professor Donald W. Parry speaks at devotional Tuesday morning.[/media-credit]
Professor Donald W. Parry speaks at devotional Tuesday morning.
Parry then goes on to explain the many “hosts” of angels that the Lord uses to aid mortals in their daily lives and strengthen His Church today.

“Not only are angels agents of power but they serve as protective and reassuring forces for the righteous …,” said Parry

Some examples Parry used to illustrate the power of angels included Daniel and the lions’ den as the angel shut the lions’ mouth against Daniel and modern prophets who are constantly blessed by unseen helpers.

Parry recounted an experience where President Harold B. Lee was blessed with the healing hands of angels on a plane flight and the testimony he gained from that experience.

“I know that there are powers divine that reach out when all other help is not available. . . . Yes, I know that there are such powers,” President Lee said.

Just like the Prophet Elisha had chariots of fire surrounding and protecting him against his enemy, Parry assures us that we too can access that protective power.

Elder Jeffry R. Holland provides us with such assurance, “In the gospel of Jesus Christ we have help from both sides of the veil. When disappointment and discouragement strike, and they will, we need to remember that if our eyes could be opened, we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see, riding at great speed to come to our protection.”

In conclusion, Parry points out that many will not have the opportunity to receive visions of angels in their life, but messages from divine beings are seen in everyday life and people in every situation can feel their presence.

“Most of us will never be protected by an angel in a lions’ den, nor will the majority of us be privileged to see horses and chariots of fire,” Parry said. “But we should bear in mind that angelic communications are not reserved for those who lived during the ancient periods of the Old Testament or Book of Mormon, nor are such communications reserved only for prophets, apostles, or notable women, such as Hagar or Mary, the mother of Jesus.”

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