2 Corinthians 11:7-15
Angels of Light
It sounds like a good label, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to be an angel—and one of light, no less? Actually it’s a horrible designation and cursed be the person who legitimately finds himself within this category, for by this expression, Paul denotes Satan, himself, the very prince of demons. An angel of light is someone who practices deceit, deceiving and being deceived, disguising himself as a good and noble person, an upright and godly Christian, when in reality his pretense makes even the devil to blush.
Who is Paul referring to? The super-apostles, of course—the ones who had rushed to this fledgling church called out of the world by God to bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and espoused to Him by his apostle, Paul. These had come in and told the Corinthians … well, we’re not entirely sure, but the church certainly had enough problems as enumerated in 1 Corinthians to suggest that they had all but cast this church completely down. And they despised Paul and taught the church to do the same.
Well, one thing they detested Paul for, these super-apostles that is, is that Paul would not accept remuneration for his apostolic services, you know, preaching and teaching and all that. The super-apostles (I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that Paul used that term facetiously) worked for payment. In other words, Paul was making them look bad. So they tried to make Paul look bad by referring to him as some ignorant, blue-collar, tent-making, Tom, Dick, or Harry working down the street. They had convinced the Corinthians that if he were a real apostle, he’d take their money … like they did. But Paul would have none of it. As far as he was concerned, it was this difference between him and these imposters that told the tale and separated the true apostle from the counterfeit. But Paul won’t leave it there. It’s not that they are just counterfeit, insincere, disingenuous, deceitful, dishonest, hypocritical, devious, phony, false, and a host of other applicable adjectives; no, they were “angels of light,” Satan in disguise. Wow! One would hope that such a description would have made someone’s heart skip a beat, or stop altogether, be it one of the deluded Corinthians or even better one of the “super-apostles.”
We have all been angels of light at some time or other in our lives—a tempter to someone else, a hypocrite playing the game, Satan in disguise. Let us be certain to check our own hearts for our own sakes, but also to help protect the church we attend from those who preach a counterfeit gospel.