Saturday, December 18, 2010

Song of the Angels? Part 3

The Bible teaches that angels are greater than human beings in their created substance and being. "What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that Thou visitest him? Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels" (Psalm 8:4-5). The faithful angels furthermore never sinned against God, having chosen to remain true to Him, and to their created purpose during the angelic rebellion fomented by Lucifer. Thus, they can be viewed as possessing greater moral being and integrity than humanity.

Nevertheless, the angels who serve God are declared by Scripture to also serve redeemed human beings. "But to which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (Hebrews 1:13-14). Greater in substance, and greater in character than humanity, the angels nevertheless humble themselves to minister unto their lessers. Does this remind you of Anyone?

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:5-8).

Angels sublimely bear and reflect the character of their Lord. Unseen, unheard, and unheralded, they joyfully serve us as the direct expression of their service to God. They have no desire for attention because Christ's "no reputation" and "form of a servant" shine forth in their hearts and from their being to glorify Him. Hundreds of millions and perhaps myriads more of these spiritual beings exist with little notice by humanity of their vital role in God's purposes and our lives (Revelation 5:11). This is just as they would have it, and we do well to remember and appreciate these servants who are humbly and invisibly involved in our lives.

We also avoid overemphasis and unbiblical notions about the angels. This series of essays began with the truth that angels are never directly mentioned as singers in Scripture (although the passage we mentioned in Job 38 may well allude to the angelic host singing at the time of the creation of the universe). Certainly they may sing, but the Bible does not speak to the issue. This is actually a minor point in terms of doctrine and truth, but other notions often perpetuated about the angelic host bear far greater ramifications. The question, therefore, is do our beliefs about angels and their involvement in human affairs faithfully reflect the teaching of the Bible? Our Lord and our Lord's angelic host would have us to be sure that they do. Great affection and appreciation for these "ministering spirits" will result, and greater thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for the sublime gift of Michael, Gabriel, and the vast company of angels who so beautifully bear the character of the Lord Jesus.

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

(Hebrews 13:2)

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