Does the Bible permit self-abasement and worship of angels?
Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind (Colossians 2:18, Revised Standard Version)
Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud (Colossians 2:18, New Living Translation)
Worship of angels?
God’s angels do not desire worship as they know that they are servants of God and nothing greater. There are 2 instances in the Book of Revelation that the angels themselves asked not be worshiped.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:9-10)
And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place. And behold, I am coming soon.” Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book. I John am he who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” (Revelation 22:6-9)
What about self-abasement or self-denial?
Self-denial doesn’t earn you the grace of God. If the grace of God could be earned by works of men then it would not be grace at all. There is no work, not one work that can get you salvation. You receive salvation as a free gift from God through Jesus Christ.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)
“Do not say in your heart when the LORD your God has driven them out before you, ‘Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,’ but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is dispossessing them before you. “It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deuteronomy 9:4-5)
Going by Colossians 2:8 are we supposed to cease to listen to visions and prophecies completely?
Not at all. We are not to quench the Spirit. God still gives visions to his people. However not all visions come from God. Satan too gives false visions. Deceitful people receive visions by demons or even their own thoughts and falsely label it as divine. Colossians 2:8 speaks against those who by claiming to have visions then insist that people follow their ideas on things that totally contradict the Bible’s teachings.
“Therefore,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. Yes,.. I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The Lord declares.’ Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,.. They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:30-32)
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22)
God bless you for taking the time to read this.