WHAT DOES JOHN 5:4 MEAN-"AN ANGEL TROUBLING THE WATER"? HOW CAN GOD WORK IN THIS MANNER?
Let us read the passage:
Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. (John 5:2-4)
A very interesting incident indeed-An angel "moving" and "troubling" the water for the healing of various diseases!
Think for a moment-Will God work this way? Only the first one to step into the water would be healed. Was it fair? Look at the plight of the man who complained to Jesus:
Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. (John 5:7)
This poor cripple has been waiting for his opportunity for the past thirty eight years! Was it an angel of the lord doing this strange act at "a certain season"?
It says "an angel" and not "an angel of the lord". We know from the Bible that there are two kinds of angels-holy angels and evil angels (See Revelation 12:7-9). The Bible warns us of the devil appearing as an angel of light, or an angel of God. Paul wrote:
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14)
When the Bible talks about a prophet, it could mean either a true prophet or a false one. Sometimes the Bible makes mention of it, like Jesus said:
Beware of false prophets. (Matthew 7:15)
Sometimes there is no mention whether it is a true or a false prophet. Only the local context and broader context of the entire
Scripture makes it clear.
The true prophet, Jeremiah, was condemned to die by the "prophets".
Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die. (Jeremiah 26:8)
Obviously it cannot be that those "prophets" who condemned
Jeremiah were God's prophets. For God's prophets will all agree and will have the same mind and unity.
Again, we have a confrontation between Jeremiah the prophet, and Hananiah the prophet.
Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.
The LORD did not send Hananiah. Obviously, Hananiah was not a true prophet, though the Bible records of him as "Hananiah the prophet".
Paul wrote to the Corinthian church about the millennium judgment.
Know ye not that we shall judge angels. (1 Corinthians 6:3)
Because Paul just mentioned "angels" and did not specify whether is the good or the bad angels, does it make us believe that he was referring to the "holy angels"? No! We realize from the other parts of Scriptures that it is the fallen angels that we are going to judge, whom God has reserved for judgment and condemnation. Jude sheds light on this same subject:
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (Jude 1:6)
When the Bible mentions "angels" or "prophets", we need not conclude that they are always God's angels or prophets.
Do you think God would send His angel to conduct this lucky dip in the pool of water? Only the strong ones stood a chance here.
The survival of the strongest! But God is love; He cares for all. This angel could not be from God. An evil angel was fooling the people with miracles.
It is the same today too. Many people attribute the healing that comes from the devil, to God. Jesus Himself warned us of this deception of the devil:
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Behold, I have told you before. (Matthew 24:24, 25)
John the Revelator adds:
For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles. (Revelation 16:14)
The people thought it was an angel from God and therefore they went there to receive the healing. But the Bible doesn't say it was an angel of God, it just mentions-"an angel"