By Linda Josef
“But to which of the angels has He ever said: Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:13-14).
Have you ever wanted to see an angel, or call on an angel for help? Gary Oates, a pastor from Georgia, started seeing angels in the process of ministering to people, after an experience in which he was caught up into Heaven. He has written a book, Open My Eyes Lord, in which he describes how any committed believer can learn to see into the supernatural, just as he does. In a recent interview on the Messianic Vision radio program, Gary told Sid Roth what he has experienced.
Gary started his ministry with Campus Crusade. After a time, he became a church pastor in Gatlinburg, TN and later, in other places. For years, he longed to see the power of God released in the church, just as it was during the time of Jesus. Gary said that it was one of the deepest cries of his heart, but that he did not encounter this power very often. He had become so discouraged about it that for a time he even left the ministry. Then, in June of 2002, all that changed.
In June of 2002, Gary accompanied Randy Clark on a missionary trip to Brazil. The Brazil meetings were wonderful, full of praise and worship, and manifested a real sense of God’s presence. During one of the meetings, as Gary was worshipping in the midst of hundreds of others, he heard God speaking to him. The Lord said, ‘Take off your shoes. You are standing on holy ground.’
At first, Gary did not realize what was happening, and resisted. Gary said that it didn’t seem to make sense there were hundreds of others around him, and the floor was cold and dusty. He kept trying to ignore the inner sense that he should take off his shoes, but then it dawned on him that God talking to him! Gary says that when he finally realized that it was God, he felt humbled and immediately took off his shoes.
Gary believes that this simple act of obedience released the Holy Spirit in an unusual way for him, and that it opened the door to an awesome encounter with the Lord. The following paragraphs present these experiences as described by Gary in his book. I have used the first person because that is how Gary writes, but the following passage is not a direct quote from Gary. It is a condensed and summarized version, based on my reading of Gary’s book. Gary’s experiences went far beyond even the amazing events reported here, and I would encourage anyone interested to get his book.
Gary’s Experience With The Lord
‘After I took off my shoes, my eyes were opened and I was astonished by the sight of three angels worshipping God through dance! They seemed transparent I could see right through them - and they wore white flowing robes. Above the speaker’s platform was an even more amazing sight - angels singing and playing musical instruments! The indescribable beauty of all this engulfed and overwhelmed me. I raised my hands to Heaven, and as tears ran down my cheeks, I prayed, ‘Oh God, I want more of you!’
‘As I worshipped God and cried out for more of Him, I began to feel myself growing taller, until I could look down and see everyone in the tent. My spirit continued to ascend, and I could see over the whole city. I cannot fully describe the sensation, but I felt that nothing was impossible, and realized that there were no limitations in the Spirit. Then I saw Jesus coming down, holding His hands out to me. He held my hands tight and said, ‘I will not let you go.’ My left hand, where Jesus held it, began to burn and felt like it was on fire.
‘After a long while in which I experienced many things, He let go of my hands, and I began to descend back to the meeting. My spirit came back into my body with such force that I was thrown backward through the chairs. It was noisy and startled the people around me, but to me it felt like landing in a bed of feathers. I felt like I was nailed to the floor, and I could not move for about an hour. As I lay there, I basked in the beautiful, glorious presence of God. When I finally stood up, all I could do was cry and stagger around. I even had to have help walking.’
The Brazil meetings continued for several more days, and Gary continued to have intense spiritual encounters in which the Lord revealed Gary’s inner being to him. He had a profound sense of unworthiness in light of God’s holiness. He said he was gripped with the terror of judgment, a judgment that he realized that he deserved. He repented in tears and agony. As Gary describes it, when he encountered the holiness of God, and His purity, he began to understand why his previous spiritual experiences had been so limited. He said, “I began to understand that I literally had to die to myself because there was nothing good in me.”
As Gary allowed God to cleanse him, he began to discern the presence of angels. He could literally see them healing people and driving out demons. Randy Clark asked him to pray for the sick, and a long line formed. When he prayed, he saw huge warrior angels put their wings around people; every person he prayed for was healed.
In one case, Gary prayed for a man with advanced brain cancer. Gary said that he saw an angel blowing fire from his mouth like a blowtorch, onto the man’s head. He asked the man what he was experiencing, and the man said, ‘My head feels like it is burning up and on fire.’ Then the man raised his hands and shouted ‘I’m healed. I know I’m healed!’ Gary encouraged him to go back to his doctor and get a medical verification of his healing, even though the man said he did not need it. After being healed, the man and his wife received salvation. Gary believes that healing is a very powerful tool for evangelism.
Gary also said that another man came to the platform for healing and the power of God hit him, knocking him down. The man later shared this: ‘God took me into his presence and I saw two large chains holding a chest full of sins and burdens. The chains were cut, and I felt free and liberated, then angels washed me. After being washed, I was taken back into the presence of God, and given this message:
Wake up! Wake up! Many in my church are sleeping. Many go through the motions but few have entered into intimacy with me. What I desire you have above all things is an intimate relationship with me. The quicker you enter into this relationship the quicker the world will be won, and I will come and take you home.
As Gary reflects on his experiences, he says that he has continued to see angels and to witness miracles, healings, signs and wonders as part of his every day experience, but that no one should think this is meant for him, alone. God desires this level of intimacy with everyone. The average believer can move in this power. This is God’s desire for us. Gary says that what we must do is allow the Holy Spirit to move in our lives and make us clean in order to be able to see into the supernatural.
Second Corinthians 7:1 says we are to cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. We must remove not only the sin, but also the distractions in our lives. We can, all of us, be holy and consecrated, and fully used of the Lord.
In an example of how others can walk in these same gifts, Gary said that once he got a phone call from a lady who lived in the mountains of Washington State. A forest fire was running rampant and threatened her home. She prayed the prayer of impartation that he has written in the back of his book, Open My Eyes Lord, and asked God to send angels to put the fire out. Her eyes were opened to see two large angels, standing in her room with big buckets of water to pour over the fire. Later that day, a drenching rainfall came, and extinguished the fire. All the homes in her area were saved by a storm that had not previously been on the weather map!
Gary said, “I believe that my spiritual turning point occurred when I obeyed God and took off my shoes. It was a small act of obedience, but God needs to be able to trust us with small things before He will trust us with larger ones. Often we want more of him, but to go on to the next level we must do the simple things he asks of us.”
Gary believes that this is God’s time, and that Heaven is drawing closer to earth, allowing us to hunger and thirst for righteousness. He travels all over the world, teaching people about the power that flows from intimacy with God. The following paragraphs summarize what he teaches about how other believers can have this same intimacy. I have used the first person in summarizing what Gary writes, but this is not a direct quote. I encourage you to read his book and see these instructions in his own words.
What Gary Teaches About Consecration
‘I go into my room, shut the door and get prostrate on the floor. As I lie prostrate, I allow the Spirit to come. I repent of my sins and receive forgiveness, and I worship and sing in the Spirit. Then I begin to recall the special times I have had with God and specific things He has done for me. As I do that, it helps me experience more of His presence and power.
‘Then, in humility, I yield myself to Him completely. I tell Him that I do not want to live according to desires of flesh, but in realm of His Spirit. I literally give him my eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and hands so that I will see and hear as He does. I give him my heart, my mind and my feet. I work through my whole body dedicating each part to God. Then I just wait, I do not ask for anything. I just wait, and if my mind starts to wander I murmur, ‘God give me more of you.’
‘Priorities are what we do, not what we say. I do not come out of my prayer chamber until I experience the presence of God. Having more of God in your life requires a certain desperateness and determination. Sometimes, I have had to wait for hours. To experience God and to walk in His supernatural power, we must do more than just say we want it. We must get on our face before him and seek Him with all we have. This shows where our heart is that our desire is for him and him alone.
‘All we want comes only from His presence. This requires a practice of really seeking Him, and persisting until we experience His manifest presence. Even for me, this is not always easy. Sometimes I wait for a long time, but I am determined, and I will not give up. I am more in love with Him than ever. I long for his presence; I cannot get enough of Him. My number one priority is to seek his manifest presence and that only. When we experience His presence is when He opens our eyes to see into the realm of the Spirit. That is when we will begin to see visions, to see angels and have gifts flowing. It is the cumulative effect of spending time alone seeking the face of God. This changes our lives.
You can hear the radio interview with Gary by clicking here or watch his interview on "It's Supernatural!". Finally, you can also visit his website at http://www.garyoates.com/.
If you would like to share an experience of healing, please write to me at at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Linda Josef is a Christian psychologist who is working on a book about supernatural healing with Messianic Vision. The book should be available in the next few months. If you have a story of healing that you would like to share, or wish to ask questions or make comments, you can write to Linda at email@example.com.