ESV - 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
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...That actually happens. Humankind on a daily basis is an open book, a virtual morality play for all of creation in the latter days as sin plays out its string. It started with the original war in Heaven, and moved on to the Garden of Eden. Free will must have its chance. Once mankind is past all of this, anything that is tainted is over with. While sin plays out its role, the angels are amazed at what those who love God go through. When a new soul comes to Jesus, the angels cheer. When a human being responds kindly to an incognito angel, there is also great joy in Heaven. Think of how happy Jesus was when the Samaritan woman came to the well... As the Darby Bible Translation of John 4:7 tells us, "A woman comes out of Samaria to draw water. Jesus says to her, Give me to drink..." As a result of that encounter, many Samaritans were saved. "Many of the Samaritans from that village committed themselves to him because of the woman's witness: "He knew all about the things I did. He knows me inside and out!" They asked him to stay on, so Jesus stayed two days. A lot more people entrusted their lives to him when they heard what he had to say. They said to the woman, "We're no longer taking this on your say-so. We've heard it for ourselves and know it for sure. He's the Savior of the world!" (John 4:39-42) MSG Mysterious are His ways! Jesus--and His angels--use many encounters to reinforce His love for us. If, perchance, you ever have a chance to entertain an angel, you will be markedly blessed!
This seems like something very "spiritual" but I will put it in very practical terms. In responding to marriage in the resurrection Jesus first chastised them for not knowing scripture or the power of God and said (in reference to this question) that these people will be like angels. The way I interpret that is when we come in contact with or talk about people we best be careful because they may be something completely different than what we see and hear with our eyes and ears. What I mean be that is we "must" love like Father loves (Ten Commandments all about love) so when we gossip, fight, argue, quarrel, have malice, are racist, look down on the homeless or poor, are selfish, conceited, backbite, are jealous, create tumults, have outbursts of anger or wrath, etc. We have mistreated angels. We did not recognize what these people may be in the age to come i.e. the new heaven and the new earth and therefore may be subject to judgment (Mat. 7:13-29, 13:24-30, 36-42, 25:31-46). There is a judgment coming even for those we say they follow Jesus Christ (and maybe more so) concerning how we treated other people (II Cor. 5:10-11). Thus in the scripture referenced when it speaks of "hospitality of strangers" I believe it is speaking about people we come in contact with and we know not God's future plans for that person. That is why Paul warned us not to judge before it's time because we can not know the Lord's final judgment of that person (I Cor 4:1-5).
The key to understanding that passage is the word "hospitality." Who showed "hospitality" to angels and did not know it? Abraham in Genesis 18. The Hebrew in Gen. 18:2 says that three "men" showed up to Abraham. It is only later that we learn they are angels. This is key because it would be easy to show hospitality if you knew in advance they were angels. Who wouldn't? But Abraham shows the height of hospitality and provides the water to wash their feet (Gen. 18:4). The Jewish sages taught that due to Abrahams's hospitality God provided the miracle of Sarah getting pregnant. The hospitality of Abraham is then contrasted to Genesis 19 when the angels went into Sodom. Well, let's just say they were not as hospitable and God reigned his judgment down upon them (Ezek. 16:49-50). In the ancient Near East - as well as today - hospitality was key. There is a popular tale told in Ovid's Metamorphasis, chapter 8 which conveys the same idea. It is the story of Baucis and Philemon when the gods Zeus and Hermes came into their village and did not receive hospitality. See the page below: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baucis_and_Philemon This same story is alluded to when Paul and Barnabas arrive in Lystra - they heal a man - and the crowd begins referring to them as "Zeus and Hermes." (Acts 14: 8-18). There is a tree that grows near Lystra called a Linden tree that is also associated with that myth. Baucis and Philemon were said to have grown old together and when they died in each others arms they formed a Linden tree. The picture of the Linden tree below looks like two people together. Here is a picture of tel Lystra (the mound) with the Linden trees in front of the mound: https://photos.app.goo.gl/CDCBYKkYoqnffU4B8 Here is a picture of a Linden tree: https://photos.app.goo.gl/jevK4KdY68shjNPJ8
Do not neglect hospitality, because through it some have entertained angels without knowing it. 1 1 This is a vague allusion to people described in scripture... and may include Abraham and Sarah (Gen 18:2-15 as Scott Broberg Fig Tree Ministries, has already said), Lot (Gen 19:1-14), Gideon (Judg 6:11-18), Manoah (Judg 13:3-22), etc. The word "angel(s)" may refer to superhuman beings (see Gen. 18:1-8) as Scott Broberg Fig Tree Ministries, has already said (see above). Or the word "angel" may refer to a human being who is a messenger from God (see Jm 2:25 for an example of such entertaining.) "Unawares" of course means "unconscious."
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