As Pentecostals, we place high value on spiritual gifts and the activity of angels. There is no need to discuss the value of them. However, what is often overlooked is some of the other gifts and one of those is hospitality. There is also a biblical mandate in scripture that this ministry could release the activity of angels.
While this discussion is one that comes up among friends in ministry often, it is not one that I would speak about or write about normally. The reason for this many people seem to get carried about with the activity of angelic host very quickly. The worship of angels or even the overemphasis of them is a very dangerous place to be.
However, I was on Facebook and someone send me an article about hospitality and it made me think about discussing the connection between the ministry of hospitality and angelic activity. I don’t really know much about the blog but it did make me stop and think about that passage in Hebrews 13-1-3.
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
Let’s break down what was being said here by the Apostle Paul to the Jews. (Hebrews and James are the only letters written to Jews)
The word used for hospitality is philoneksía. In the easiest to understand context, it means to make strangers into friends. You could also translate this to be friend of strangers. Either way, it was clear that Paul was calling the believers in probably Jerusalem (no one knows for sure) to outward focused or evangelistic in mind.
The other issue is the discussion of angels. The greek word used here is angelous and it almost always is translated as angels. However, there is a few cases that it means messenger. God can give us messages from angelic activity or what seems to be a person but is really angels in human form.
Years ago, I was in Brazil on a mission trip when the Holy Spirit broke loose through the ministry of Gary Oates. You can read his story in his book, Open My Eyes, Lord. He became very aware of angelic activity in the room as we minister. It was a profound week for many of us. The thing that was amazing to me was that Gary was/is not a Pentecostal. He was a Vineyard pastor that leaned away from Pentecostalism at the time.
This was the first experience that I had with seeing angels. I did not have a problem with it. I believed in speaking in tongues, healing the sick and casting out devils. I had seen people come out of wheelchairs and seen drug addicts saved in the Brownsville Revival. I had the doctrine for the practice but it was not until that week in Brazil that the experience had happened.
Fast forward a few years, I was part of a team that was responsible for hosting people in Memphis that was on the run from Katrina. They were be put in huge church gyms and we were ministering to their needs. The role I had was to minister to the people in prayer whenever people had needs. Secretly, the churches wanted to release prophecy over the people but not every church believes God speaks so it was called “prayer ministry.”
As I prayed for people, I started to see angels regularly over the people. It was not just once or twice. It is several times a day. What amazed me was how often this awareness was happening in those days.
The only logical way to understand what was happening was the connection between serving the needs of the people as they came up from New Orleans with the supernatural awareness that God was ministering to them. I have never seen encounters the activity like that before or since. (I do know of stories like this happening in the recovery of the Joplin tornado)
People might ask why this did not happen again when I was in Haiti in 2010 or in the Philippines in 2013. The answer is that I do not know. God is not bound to our systemic recipes for supernatural encounters. Hospitality can attract the angels but it does not mean that angels will show up every time there is a need for hospitality. For whatever reason, most activity that I have seen has been while in the United States. I do not understand it but it is something I have noticed.
The more common activity is when you meet someone that can’t be explained and they give you a prophetic message that is completely life changing. I have had a few of these happen. The most recent was just a few weeks ago. It is not every day that is happens but it can happen several times a year to some people.
I was in Corpus Christi, TX when an older man walked up to me and told me a very detailed piece of information about a childhood friend who died in 2000 then gave me a prophetic word about coming slander against the ministry. There was no way for even people close to them to know the details he gave me, not to mention a stranger. Only person who knew about it was myself.
He turned and walked around the corner and when I went after him, he was gone. No door in the hallways, not windows or anything. He had just disappeared. I was left to understand that I had just been in the presence of an angelic messenger.
As far as the slander, that evening in the tent revival; a pastor attacked the meetings and told me that he would “expose” me for giving words of knowledge to people. For the rest of the meetings in Corpus Christi, I was hounded by a few pastors for what they believed to be “reckless ministry.”
The importance of concern for people
In the passage found in Hebrews 13, there is something that we can not afford to miss that God is showing us. Before and after the mention of the entertainment of angels is a call to love each other and a reminder to visit those who have are suffering for the cause of Christ. The supernatural is always tied to encountering people who are weak and broken. It is the hurting that Jesus came to take the yoke of bondage from. All spiritual activity of the Holy Spirit is aimed at these people.
The purpose of everything, prophetic or not, is to make us closer to Jesus and to be more like the Lord of the Harvest. As we engage others in hospitality, we are doing the works of Christ.