Angels adore holiness or sulk in the shadow of revolts ruin (Isaiah 14:12-14). Purity of worship is the angel’s salvation (Revelations 5:11). Impurity in worship their damnation (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6). Created before the lapse of time; repentance, forgiveness, and love’s redemption remain the mystery of infinite wonder to their immortal mind. While mortality escapes them, the Gospel bewilders them.
Angels are mighty ones. They possess powers above us, restrained only by God (Romans 8:38; 1 Peter 3:22). Their appearance can paralyze us in fear (Luke 1:12, 2:9). Yet, the heavenly ones shun worship from us, for this exclusively belongs to God, the Most High (Revelations 19:10). While redemption solely belongs to humanity, the angels of God delight in humanity, and so, “there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).
We often see human life as a spectacle to the angels and no doubt this is true. But, have you ever meditated on how God astonishes the angels through humanity? As humans, so angels are created beings for worship. There are similarities with humans: angels sing, shout, think, act, show emotion, play instruments, yet they manifest supernatural distinctions: ascend and descend, immortal, a few special ones have wings (six wings to be exact), shine as stars, and are clearly not of this physical world. The little knowledge and understanding we have about them yield the vast intrigue we have for them. While the Scriptures speak of them often, the purpose is to make much more of the Lord of hosts to whom they direct their worship.
Angels of God are ministers, protectors, guardians, messengers, but above all they are worshipers.
There seems to be three distinct calls of worship for the angels where God astonishes them by manifesting His majesty in unimaginable ways. God unveils attributes and names of Himself that even the angelic minds could never have voiced. In essence, God captivates their already captivated wonder. What distinguishes these three calls to worship is that the Word (Jesus Christ- John 1) briefly goes silent.
A Call of Worship to shout for Joy.
Days of creation mark the astonishing of angels (Job 38:1-7). Heaven burst into a rapturous applause of jubilant songs of joy. Wisdom spoke and the void became space and time and earth (day 1). Air layered into atmospheres (day 2). Surface pressed into land while colors sprouted into vegetation (day 3). Light energized into brilliant twinkling star stuff (day 4). Motion liquefied, and life swam and soared (day 5). Structure shifted as creatures supported by skeletal and exoskeletal forms ran the grounds (day 6). The Word with the breath of power in artistic innovation transferred the universe from the mind of God into a tangible wonder (Proverbs 8:22-31).
For six days straight the Godhead spoke, then on the sixth day He paused, conferred, and the Word briefly went silent. Nothing would create the Song of Songs like the silence, as the design of the Trinitarian reflection took shape. The Son created and fashioned, the Father motivated by love, the Spirit exhaled life into being; humanity was created (day 6). There, before God and the angels, arose man and woman with an identity sacred and an inheritance to reign. Humanity’s purpose, to worship through the dominion over the earth, as a reflection of the dominion of the Sovereignty of God over the heavens and earth (Deuteronomy 10:12). Here, the Godhead flashed before the astonished angels another dimension of His glory now made visible, not only as the Ancient of Days, but as God is love (Exodus 34:6; 1 John 4:8).
We cannot imagine the angelic hype of the Incarnation. When the Son of God united as the Son of Man. Born to save; born to die. The invisible God took face, equating Himself with the created and fashioned form of His image-bearer. The dark, sacred Bethlehem night when the King of Kings left His throne to be swaddled as a subject to become the propitiatory substitution. Here the angelic army could not help but herald a thunderous hymn
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people He favors.”
A Call of Worship to witness Forgiveness.
Days of redemption mark the astonishing of angels (Matthew 26:52-54; John 10:17-18). The greatest rescue, where the angel army had to standby and observe. Can you imagine the host’s heavenly horror as the only Son of God, the Holy One suffered the pain, while agonizing through the forsaking of God the Father, as He took on the sins of the world! This a day the angels could not minister, could not come as an army to save while the Lord of hosts became the Lamb, the guilt offering (Isaiah 53). After screaming “It is finished!”, Jesus the Word briefly went silent, as He, the Prince of Peace went to war against the dominion of death and by His resurrection conquered the grave (Isaiah 9:2-7; John 1:1-18; 19:30; Matthew 28:5-6; Romans 1:4; 6:1-11).
The promise of God was fulfilled and the severed union of God and His people by faith restored. This is the living hope (1 Peter 1:3-5). The hosts of heavenly angelic faces glowed with the expression of awe inspired bewilderment. The apostle Peter profiled this angelic silhouette when he wrote how “angels long to catch a glimpse of these things” (1 Peter 1:12). The Word that bore witness of God’s love, to rescue His image-bearer, was for the “joy that lay before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). The Redeemer’s will held the angels back from rushing in to minister to Him so He could dwell with His people for all eternity.
A Call of Worship to feel Lament.
Days of judgment will mark the astonishing of angels (Revelations 8:1). When the Lamb who is “worthy to take the scroll and open its seals,” opens the seventh seal, who, as the Word silences all of heaven, pauses in grief (Revelations 5:8-14). This celestial moment of silence will signal the end of days and summon the eternal reign of Christ (Revelations 11:15-18). “The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The shouts of joy that reverberated during Earth’s creation will be replaced with the seven trumpet sounds that blow the destruction of days and mark the end of the Earth’s age.
Then the angelic hosts in amplified voice will sing together (Revelations 11:15-18),
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom
of our Lord and of his Christ,
and he will reign forever and ever.
And be joined with heavenly beings in prostrate worship to say,
We give you thanks, Lord God, the Almighty,
who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.
The nations were angry,
but your wrath has come.
The time has come
for the dead to be judged
and to give the reward
to your servants the prophets,
to the saints, and to those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and the time has come to destroy
those who destroy the earth.