I Have a Question - Part 2

Scripture: Hebrews 1:14, Psalm 8:5, Hebrews 13:2
This talk covers some questions sent in by listeners to the broadcast. The first question is, "Why do you say that all alcoholic beverages are wrong?" Another question is, "Do you think angels ever appear to human beings today?"
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Today our broadcast is devoted to questions which have been raised by those listening to the Amazing Facts program. Our first question concerns the use of alcoholic beverages.

Why do you say that all alcoholic beverages are wrong? Some doctors prescribe liquor or wine as a daily tonic.

Now let's get something clear right at this point, friends. What the doctor says has nothing to do with the right or wrong of this issue. And any doctor who has prescribed it to very many people has undoubtedly been responsible for making alcoholics out of some. The facts are that a certain number of those who begin drinking will keep on drinking in larger amounts until they are alcoholics. And by the way, that number has been growing year by year at a tremendous rate. One out of every 20 adults in the United States is an alcoholic, believe it or not. The current estimate places the number at 10 million with 450,000 new alcoholics being created every passing year.

Now friends, I am told this is a disease. If it is a disease, it is evidently highly contagious and is mushrooming to alarming epidemic proportions. And the one thing that would wipe out the epidemic is never suggested by those in authority. There is one answer to the problem of alcoholism. The man who has never taken his first drink is never turned into an alcoholic. Here is the only absolute immunization from what they call a terrible disease. Yet this vaccine of total abstinence is ridiculed by the very ones who stand helpless before the tide of national drunkenness. Friends, our 10 million alcoholics should be a graphic exhibit "A" to prove that you can't tease and tamper with the devil's brew without deadly danger. Every man or woman who has ever taken their first drink of alcohol poison has opened the door of invitation to Satan to come in and capture his will.

Listen to this report on the result of alcohol use taken from the international Listen journal. "Every time a person takes a few drinks of an alcoholic beverage, even a few beers or cocktails at a social function, he permanently damages his brain, and probably his heart and liver also.

"This is the startling conclusion of an important new medical discovery made by a team of scientists headed by Dr. Melvin H. Knisely, Professor of Anatomy at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

"For years it has been known that alcoholics suffer serious brain damage, but most doctors have dismissed this as simply one of the end effects after years of hard drinking, along with liver damage, kidney malfunction, and heart disease often seen in alcoholics at autopsy.

"Dr. Knisely has now demonstrated that this brain damage is not merely an end effect, but occurs progressively from the first cells destroyed by the very first drink a person takes, and that the damage accumulates relentlessly with every drink he takes thereafter at any time or place.

"For the first time, Dr. Knisely's research indicates how the damage occurs and how the ingestion of an alcoholic beverage triggers the mechanism that causes the damage.

"From this standpoint it could be one of the most significant medical discoveries of this generation and one which urgently needs to be communicated to the public because of the present-day widespread tolerant acceptance of social drinking in our society.

"Dr. Knisely's discovery is that the circulating red blood cells become agglutinated when alcohol is imbibed, and that this seriously interferes with blood circulation through the small arteries, capillaries, and veins. ‘Agglutination' means that the red blood cells become sticky and adhere together in wads until the blood becomes, literally, a ‘sludge', which is the medical term used. Oxygen can come to nerve cells only by way of the blood.

"As sludge resists passage of the blood through the capillaries, anoxia (absence of oxygen) occurs in nearby tissues. Computer analysis shows that anoxic volumes of nervous tissue develop even when the blood is moving. Ultimately, as the level of alcohol increases, many small vessels become plugged, and blood flow through them stops entirely. No more oxygen can be brought to the plugged area.

"Neurons, the tiny ‘thinking' cells of the brain, require a high oxygen supply continuously, and thus are particularly susceptible to anoxia. Deprived of oxygen, they stop their normal functioning. If complete oxygen deprivation lasts for three minutes or more, they are seriously damaged. If it persists for fifteen to twenty minutes, the damage is permanent, the nerve cell, or ‘neuron', dies.

"Brain cells, as medical men have long known, do not multiply and are irreplaceable. Thus, successive damage done to the brain accumulates throughout life. Many people who live long enough show the effects of brain cell loss in the well-recognized symptoms of advanced age, loss of the power to reason clearly.

"Every time a person takes a few drinks he hastens this process, damaging his brain by cutting off oxygen supply to enormous numbers of small areas of brain tissue, thereby killing large numbers of brain cells prematurely."

Next we have a question relating to angels and their ministry. Do you think angels ever appear to human beings today?

Friends, this touches on a question which has been often misunderstood and distorted. First of all let us understand who the angels are. According to Hebrews 1:14 they are "ministering spirits, sent for to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation".

These beautiful, powerful creatures belong to a different order than the human family. Although they were created by God and belong to the family of God, they will always remain distinct from any human being. The popular idea that good people who die turn into angels is without any foundation of truth at all. In fact, the Bible clearly teaches that angels were in existence before the death of a single member of the human race.

Genesis tells us about angels who were dispatched to guard the gate of the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve were driven out. Angels do not depend for their existence upon the death of anybody at all. Even godly mothers do not become members of the angel order when they die. According to Psalms 8:5, man was created a little lower than the angels. These beautiful creatures have powers, of course, that we do not possess. For example, they can travel with the speed of light, and although invisible to our natural sight, they are constantly intervening and ministering to our lives here. The Bible has some thrilling stories of how they have often been responsible for saving people from danger and death, Jesus indicated that every individual has a guardian angel with him. Friends, won't it be a wonderful thing someday to talk with that angel in heaven? The one who has been assigned to protect you in this evil world.

But now let us get back to the question in hand, Do they ever appear to human beings today? We know that they did in Bible days. There are numerous accounts of it in both the Old and New Testament. But are they seen now? Friends, even though they are usually invisible to our natural eyes, on special occasions they have been seen by men, believe it or not. Before I tell you a thrilling story of such an encounter, let me read this text in Hebrews 13:2: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Surely this text intimates that these heavenly visitors have appeared in human form from time to time. Their celestial glory must be veiled for many reasons. Sinful eyes would be blinded by the brightness surrounding an angel of God. Again,we would be tempted to worship such a being if we were permitted to look upon the unveiled glory. John the Revelator fell down to worship at the feet of an angel in Revelation 19:10 and had to be rebuked for his action. The angel said, "See thou do it not ... worship God."

Now for the story of a modern miracle, a story which has been verified by several who were personally acquainted with the people involved. Mrs. Dubay, of Anchorage, Alaska, was a dedicated Christian who lived alone in a small cottage that was heated by a wood-burning cook stove. At the time of this experience, she was sick in bed, so badly crippled that she could scarcely walk. She had depended on friends to bring in a fresh supply of wood for each day, but on this particular morning no friends came to help her. She realized that unless someone brought wood soon the fire would go out and she would freeze to death. The temperature was 30° below zero that February day. She began praying earnestly for help. Finally, as no one appeared, the last of her wood was burned, the fire went out and the room grew cold. Then she prayed a different prayer. A prayer of complete resignation, telling the Lord if it was His will, she was willing to freeze to death. Just then, the door to her cottage opened and a tall young man walked in to the room carrying an armful of wood. He carefully placed the wood in the wood bin and began to remake the fire. He also filled the kettle with water and placed it on the stove to heat. Then he went outside and soon returned with another armload of wood. While performing this service he kept his face turned to one side so that Mrs. Dubay could not see him. She wanted to ask him whether he was an angel, but was reluctant to do that. Finally she asked the question inaudibly, and then the young man turned toward her, smiled and nodded his head. "His face was so noble that I knew he was not from this world," said Mrs. Dubay, He turned, opened the door and left me without saying a word.

Was this man really an angel? I'll let Mrs. Dubay give you her conclusion. She says, "For a time I sat there like one turned to stone. Finally, I thought, if he is an angel sent from God there will not be any footprints in the snow outside the door. So I forced myself to hobble to the door, open it and looked out on the unruffled snow in my yard. There were no footprints in the snow. Then I forced myself to lean against the side of the door casing and looked around to my right to see whether the snow had been disturbed where my wood was piled directly underneath my front window. No, the snow had not been disturbed in the slightest bit, over or around my little pile of wood. The snow was perfectly smooth and rounded over just as it always is after a snow storm. As I closed the door to my little cabin, I knew that God did love me, and that in my extremity He sent one of His holy angels to my assistance."

Friends, these stories could be multiplied many times over by others who have had similar encounters with angels in human form. There is no question or doubt, but that God sometimes sends His angels to minister to us in the form of fellow human beings.

May God help us to heed the counsel of Hebrews and be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for in so doing we may actually be receiving those who stand by the very throne of God.

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