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News

Where Was the Angel?

by Al Parr
June 1, 2014
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The book of Acts has been called the book of conversions. It records the details of the early growth of the Lord's church by the addition of souls that were saved (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:47). In the 28 chapters of Acts are accounts of 10 cases of conversion to Christ. Most are relatively brief, but two of them are given considerable space. The conversion of Cornelius and his household is given two chapters (10 & 11), and the conversion of Saul of Tarsus is recorded three times (chapters 9, 22 & 26). These were unique cases, each involving miraculous visions from Heaven, but many people take them as a pattern for conversions today, expecting the visitation of an angel, the sound of a voice, the shining of a light or some other miracle.

The Ethiopian (chapter 8) believed, confessed his faith and was baptized after “Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus." Lydia (chapter 16) was saved when she obeyed the words that were preached to her by men. The Corinthians (18:8) and the Ephesians (19:5) "hearing, believed and were bap- tized." Where was the angel in these cases?

In Jerusalem (chapter 2), Samaria (chapter 8), and in the case of the jailer in Philippi (chapter 16), as in the cases of Cornelius and Saul, miracles drew people's attention to the importance of the words, but it was the words preached and the hearers’ obedient response to those words that resulted in salvation (Acts 11:14) - in every case.

The purpose of miracles was always to confirm to the hearer that the words were, in fact, from God and authoritative (Acts 1:8). Even before the last word of the New Testament was written, the miracles were looked upon as a thing of an earlier age (Hebrews 2:4). They ended when the word was fully given (I Corinthians 13:8—9) because it is the word that saves (Romans 1:16), not an angel.