Today: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Angels: a whole host of them!    (4/27/2008 )

“Therefore with angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven…” is recited as part of a communion service in many churches.

Unfortunately, as with many things that we repeat over and over, we may find ourselves ‘switching off' and disregarding the meaning of these amazing words.

These words, and others from the Bible, lead us to understand not only that there are angels, but there are archangels, too. This means that there is a heavenly hierarchy, much as there are bishops and archbishops on earth. God is a God of order, of organisation: it seems that, just as there are natural laws on earth, there are systems and structures in heaven, too.

But wait! In addition to angels and archangels, there may be other beings besides. Who are ‘all the company of heaven'? This could mean cherubim and seraphim (these angelic creatures are mentioned in the Bible); it could mean people who have already gone to heaven; or it could mean other types of creature entirely, whose appearance and function we can only begin to guess at.

Well, God is immensely creative! He loves to create: the universe, our planet, humanity, and the rich biodiversity of all the plants and animals that live alongside us. There's no reason to believe God didn't populate heaven just as creatively. And who know what roles and tasks these creatures might fulfil? One day, we may find out!

God is also very personable: relationship is so important to him. As the God of love, he just loves to love. He loves to be with his creation. That's why the Bible often makes reference or allusion to those who have gone before us and are now with God (look at Matthew [NT] chapter 17, verses 1-3)—a precious part of that heavenly host, and who knows what else that host will contain?

We do know that there are many heavenly beings—a ‘company'. In the Bible, we hear about the ‘host' of heaven. In Luke [NT], when the angel announces Jesus' birth to the shepherds, we read: “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.'

And in the book of Revelation [NT], John has a vision: "Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders." Again, a hint that heaven contains more than angels—creatures and elders, too. And in such numbers—imagine what heaven might look like!

But perhaps the most amazing word in those communion-service lines is ‘with'. When we sing in church, when we pray, when we come together as the body of Christ now to celebrate God and all he has done for us, we are doing it with the angels and archangels—and all the company of heaven.

We are privileged enough to join in with all of heaven, and all of the earth, in an endless, timeless act of worship. Imagine being joined with heaven in this way! We can't hear or see the angels—but they can probably hear and see us.

Just imagine!

Pray: Lord God - your mysteries will be revealed to the 'saints' - the believers - one day. I want to be one of those who encounter you in heaven, to whom all the secrets of heaven are releaveled. I want to be with you there, forever. Help me to hear your voice, and to obey. Amen.

Think about: Why do you think God is a God of order?

Challenge: A practical one this week! From what you have learned of angels, take a pencil and a piece of paper and draw what you think an angel might look like. Very few of us really know, so what you imagine could be close to the truth. Let yourself be creative - but imagine how much more creative is The Creator...

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