April 8, 2016
The Song of Angels
By Skip Heitzig
The first words out of an angel's mouth are usually, "Don't panic!" Right? "Don't be afraid!" They have to say that because that's the general reaction of human beings. Seeing an angelic messenger is not something that makes you say, "Hey, what's up?" You don't see one every day.
Thirty-four books of the Bible speak about angels: seventeen in the Old Testament and seventeen in the New Testament. In short, angels are spiritual beings, heavenly emissaries for special projects—that is, the two-thirds left after the fall of Satan. They guard and glorify the presence of God in heaven, but they also do God's bidding on the earth. Now, I want to you notice something that I think Scripture reveals about angels. I can't prove this, but I believe it's accurate.
Take a look at one of the most well-known passages in the Bible about angels—the announcing of Jesus' birth found in Luke 2: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and"—what does it say?—"saying: 'Glory to God in the highest'" (vv. 13-14, emphasis mine). Usually when we read this, we imagine a tune set to "Glory to God in the highest!" and the angels singing it. But nothing in this text says these angels were singing a note.
Let me take this a step further. We have no record of angels singing in Scripture except for two places: the first is at the beginning of creation before the fall, and the second is in the book of Revelation when Jesus takes the scroll and removes the curse.
The first is found in a cryptic passage that seems to refer to angels singing: Job 38. If you're familiar with the book of Job, you know that much of it is Job questioning God. But in chapter 38, it was God's turn to speak. And He basically rebuked Job and said, "Who do you think you are? Let Me ask you a few questions." And then He said, "Who laid [the earth's] cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (vv. 6-7). Though cryptic, that seems to indicate that when God created the world, the angels sang and rejoiced.
Then the record is silent until you get to Revelation 5, when the Lamb, Jesus Christ, took the scroll from the Father. And it says, "The four living creatures"—four angelic beings—"and the twenty-four elders"—human leaders—"fell down before the Lamb…. And they sang a new song, saying: 'You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation'" (vv. 8-9). Then it says the choirs of heaven, all of the angels, joined with those other angels that started the song.
So we have angels singing before the curse and after the curse is removed. It's as if angels have been silenced while a curse remains on the earth, and they will sing again one day. In fact, I would say, they can't wait to sing again. First Peter 1:12 says that the things of salvation that we enjoy are "things which angels desire to look into."
I wonder if they just scratch their little angelic heads, going, "Man, the grace of God is marvelous toward these people on the earth. How He loves them!" If that is indeed the case, it must frustrate them to no end when it's time to worship and we don't sing, when our response is to just stand there frowning with our arms folded. I think angels would want to slap us upside the head. "We sang in the past, and we can't wait to do it again; you can do it because you're the only ones who have been redeemed. So sing like it! Let it out."
It convicts me when I consider that the angels did sing, but won't again until the curse is removed. I encourage you to dwell on the grace and redemption of God—and let that be a catalyst for cultivating a deeper worship life.
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