With every good book, the opening line sets the tone for the rest of the story. That line informs us as readers as to whether the story will be happy, sad, scary, or exciting. Truly memorable first lines are those that grab our interest quickly and make us yearn to know more. The Bible begins with a bang. Some might even suggest a big bang.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
No fluff or filler for this writer. Instead, he chose a straight declarative sentence. Over the last twelve weeks, we have studied about angels and other heavenly beings that God created. The moment of the angels’ creation is debated among theologians but most fall into two camps. Either angels were created prior to the creation of the heavens and the earth or they were created during God’s orchestration of the heavens.
We studied a small portion of the life of Job in Week 7. Job longed to understand why he was suffering. His friends were unable to offer the answers that he sought. Ultimately, Job is answered by God.
“Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: ‘Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?’” Job 38:1-7
This passage implies that the angels were watching during creation. Like children that squeal and shout with delight during a fireworks show, the angels shouted their appreciation of joy at God’s creative work. In Lesson 5, we read a portion from the letter Paul wrote to the church at Colosse. Paul stated that by Jesus all things were created, “the things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible” and that “all things were created by him and for him.” (Colossians 1:15-17)
Angels worship and revere God in the heavenly realm. They have a front row seat in viewing His mighty work. In Psalm 89:2, Ethan the Ezrahite states that God established His faithfulness in heaven. He continues by saying;
“The heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings? In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him.” Psalm 89:5-7
During the post-exilic period, when the Israelites returned to their homeland, Nehemiah and Ezra realized that the people had forgotten the words of God during their years away. A spiritual revival was desperately needed among the people. They assembled the people together and Ezra began to read to them from the Book of the Law of Moses on the first day of the month. On the twenty-fourth day, after a little over three weeks of hearing God’s word, the event culminated with the people confessing their sins and the Levites leading the people in a praise service to their eternal God.
“You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them.You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” Nehemiah 9:6
Many years prior, David also wrote of God’s glory and power and the angels that serve Him.
“Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds— his name is the LORD—and rejoice before him….The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary. …Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; sing praise to the Lord, to him who rides the ancient skies above, who thunders with mighty voice.” Psalm 68:4,17,32,33
The Israelites acknowledged the connectedness between God and His creations. They added their own voices to those of the angels in giving God the glory and praise due His name. The writer of the book of Hebrews also held this view of interconnectivity between inhabitants on earth and those in heaven. Written to encourage scattered Christians who fled from persecution, the author offers words to embolden and strengthen faith. These words were not only applicable to that generation but to ours as well.
“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” Hebrews 12:22-24
Lastly, John records these words from the vision that the angel showed him of God’s throne room.
“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. In a loud voice they sang:’ Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Revelation 5:11,12
I hope that you have enjoyed this summer bible series on angels. For those of you that participated in the weekly lesson plans, thank you for giving your time this summer to the dedication of study and growing deeper in faith. You deserve a pat on the back accompanied by shouts of joy from the angels. I praise God for you!
The Week 12 Lesson Plan can be found by clicking here.