Numbers 22:23, 28 – Answering Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati

if donkey could see the angels of God, why cannot the bishops see the angels now?


Those sentences which are colored in orange are from Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati book Satyarth Prakash (The Light of Truth) and those which are colored in black are Jerry Thomas’s response.


"And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way and his sword drawn in his hand; and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou has smitten me these three times?" (22:23, 28.)

C. In olden times even an ass could see the angels of God, but now-a-days, even bishop, clergymen and other men – good or bad – cannot see God or His messengers. Do God and His messengers exist now-a-days? If they do, what has become of them that they are not visible?

Are they sleeping a very heavy sleep or are they ill, or have they gone away to some other world or busied themselves with some thing else, or are they now offended with the Christians or have died? One does not know what has happened to them, but one can very well infer that they do not exist now nor are visible, never existed before nor were ever visible. The author (or authors) of the Bible has spun all these yarns.


Answer: One must begin by noting that this is the only event recorded in the entire Holy Bible where a donkey (or animals) saw the Angel of the LORD or other angels. In other words, this is SINGULAR event.

If Maharishi’s question had to be valid, he should have produced enough data to conclude that “In olden times even an ass could see the angels of God” apart from a single instance. It is foolish to make a conclusion based on one event and expect the singular event to be a regular event.

However, the evidence from the Holy Bible clearly points towards the fact that it is within the power of angels and the Angel of the LORD to be visible or invisible to the human beings.

Let us begin with the very same passage that Maharishi quoted and see how the Holy Bible describes it.

Numbers 22:27-31 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam's anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff.  Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?"  And Balaam said to the donkey, "Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!"  So the donkey said to Balaam, "[Am] I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since [I became] yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?" And he said, "No."  Then the LORD OPENED Balaam's EYES, and he SAW the Angel of the LORD standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face. 

Now, let us read another incident where again the Prophet Elisha prayed to God to open the eyes of his servant to see the angels.

2 Kings 6:15-17 And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?"  So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who [are] with us [are] more than those who [are] with them."  And Elisha prayed, and said, "LORD, I pray, OPEN HIS EYES THAT HE MAY SEE." Then the LORD OPENED THE EYES OF THE YOUNG MAN, and he saw. And behold, the mountain [was] full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man's voice restrained the madness of the prophet.

Yet another passage in the Holy Bible teaches that it is possible for us not to recognize the spiritual being and we may see the Angel of the LORD only if our eyes were opened.

Luke 24:13-31 “Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened.  So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But THEIR EYES WERE RESTRAINED, SO THAT THEY DID NOT KNOW HIM. And He said to them, "What kind of conversation [is] this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?" Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, "Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?"  And He said to them, "What things?" So they said to Him, "The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him.  But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.  Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us.  When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive.  And certain of those [who were] with us went to the tomb and found [it] just as the women had said; but Him they did not see."  Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!  Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?"  And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, "Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." And He went in to stay with them. Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke [it], and gave it to them.  THEN THEIR EYES WERE OPENED AND THEY KNEW HIM; and He vanished from their sight.”

Further, the Holy Bible makes it very clear in the old times; human beings have not recognized angels many times.

Hebrews 13: 2- “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels”. 

Thus we see that even in the past, when the angels were present, human beings did not see them or recognize them until God allowed the human beings to see them.

In the light of these Biblical data, we can see th

at Maharishi’s question “In olden times even an ass could see the angels of God, but now-a-days, even bishop, clergymen and other men – good or bad – cannot see God or His messengers. Do God and His messengers exist now-a-days? If the do, what has become of them that they are not visible?” is totally unfounded.

Maharishi has based his question on a SINGLE event without any additional support from the Holy Bible.

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