Ed Rocha. Angels—God’s Supernatural Agents: Biblical Insights and True Stories of Angelic Encounters. Minneapolis: Chosen, 2017. See here to purchase the book.
The “About the Author” section on Amazon states:”Ed Rocha has a
theology degree from International Bible Institute of London and is
currently pursuing his M.A. in theology. His healing ministry takes him
all over the world to speak and teach. Ed and his wife, Dani, have a
daughter and split their time between the U.S. and Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil, where they are planting a church with the Global Awakening
The book is entitled Angels—God’s Supernatural Agents: Biblical Insights and True Stories of Angelic Encounters.
That is essentially what the book is: a collection of anecdotes about
encounters with angels, combined with appeals to Scripture to answer
questions about angels.
The anecdotes include experiences of the author and people he knows.
They include angels finding people’s lost items and retrieving them,
healing people, fixing people’s cars, replacing people’s mercury
fillings with gold fillings, leaving feathers and golden dust in
churches, and healing a person of addiction in response to someone
else’s prayer. Perhaps realizing that some of this sounds rather
carnivalesque, Rocha attempts to explain why angels would do such
things. Rocha refers to Hebrews 1:14, which calls angels ministering
spirits to those who will inherit salvation. In light of that, he
wonders, why wouldn’t angels help Christians find their missing items?
Rocha also believes that angels do such things as signs to people, as
Jesus did miracles to demonstrate to people who he was. And benevolence
is also a factor, for Rocha: Why wouldn’t angels replace people’s toxic
fillings with sturdy golden fillings? (I read that part of the book
the day before I got a filling, by the way!)
On whether or not I find Rocha’s stories to be believable, I don’t
know. If there are angels, maybe they do things like that. Of course,
there are problem-of-evil questions: Why don’t angels do these things
all of the time? Why do Christians endure tragedies or even die from
them, if angels intervene to help people? And can I truly expect God to
send angels to turn my fillings into gold? Rocha does not really
engage such questions. The closest he gets is when he talks about a
charismatic pastor who has a deformed face, and a renowned preacher in
the Azusa Street revival who was blind in one of his eyes. God was
physically healing people around these preachers, but not them, and they
actually viewed that as an asset to their ministry. Rocha also
explores the question of how people can come to have angelic encounters:
for Rocha, it is not a matter of being moral, for God used imperfect
people in the Bible. Rather, it is a matter of having a thirst for
God. Rocha raises considerations that may be relevant to
problem-of-evil questions, but he does not directly engage such
I should add that Rocha links to a video in which an angel swoops down from heaven in a mall and picks something up: see https://vimeo.com/147844409.
Is that real, or special effects? Draw your own conclusions there! I
guess that, if I have a policy, it is to ask God for what I want, and
the ball is in God’s court: If God wants to send me an angel, fine, but,
if not, then God must have a reason.
As far as Rocha’s biblical interpretation is concerned, it was good,
overall. Rocha addresses such questions as when God created angels,
whether angels have wings, and what angels do. Rocha’s methodology is
not historical-critical, so he does not interpret the Bible in light of
ancient Near Eastern stories about gods’ retinues. His overall approach
is to ask a question and to cite biblical passages that are relevant to
that question. Occasionally, he does more. In addressing the question
of when God created angels, for example, Rocha’s methodology is rather
rabbinic, as he brings together different biblical passages and draws
his conclusions. That may be controversial to historical critics of the
Bible, particularly those who believe that the Bible contains different
creation stories and thus would be reluctant, say, to interpret Genesis
1 in light of Job 38:7. Still, Rocha does cite relevant biblical
passages in addressing questions about angels, showing that he cares
about what the Bible says, not just religious experience.
Rocha’s sensitivity to nuances in Scripture is evident in his
interesting observation that Jesus himself could not summon angels, for
Jesus in Matthew 26:53 says that he could ask the Father to send
angels. While one may think that a book such as this wrongly focuses on
angels more that God, my conclusion after reading it is different:
Rocha focuses on God, and he depicts angels as beings who are God’s
Rocha says that God sits on a literal throne, in a literal heaven,
and that may be controversial. To his credit, though, Rocha
demonstrates awareness as to why such a proposition may be
controversial, and he says that God, in sitting on a throne, condescends
to our level of understanding. There were areas, like here, in which
Rocha was willing to get into unconventional territory, but there were
also areas in which I wished that he would wrestle with difficult
issues. For example, on the basis of Matthew 22:30, he states that
angels are “asexual.” What about the sons of God who have sex with the
daughters of men in Genesis 6? Rocha does not address that.
In terms of areas of disagreement, Rocha discusses angelic
hierarchies, drawing from the fifth century Pseudo-Dionysius the
Areopagite and St. Thomas Aquinas, who based their angelic hierarchies
on Ephesians 1:21 and Colossians 1:16. In the second sphere are
dominions or lordships and powers or authorities, and in the third
sphere are principalities or rulers. My quibble is not so much with
what Rocha says, as it is with what he does not say. There are places
in the New Testament in which the principalities and powers are depicted
negatively (Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 2:15; perhaps I Corinthians
2:7-8). Are these angels? Renegade angels? Are there different kinds
of principalities and rulers—-good and evil? The book would have been
better had Rocha explored such questions.
Rocha is a compelling storyteller, and his tone is conversational and
winsome. I especially liked his discussions of the charismatic pastor
he knows: Rocha respects this pastor, yet disagrees with him, in areas.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher
through Cross Focused Reviews and Netgalley. My review is honest!
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