Angels do not originate any plans; they carry out God’s. They do not marry, nor do they procreate. The Apostle Paul says, “In him (Christ) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities…” (Col. 1:16). God’s creation includes a realm on earth where visible beings exist and a heavenly sphere invisible to us. Angels appear to have ranks, just as armies do. The book of Daniel tells us that the archangel Michael (“Who is like God?”) serves as the prince of Israel, overseeing its affairs and standing in defiance of powers arrayed against it.

Satan, formerly Lucifer, apparently chief-of-staff in Yahweh’s army, imitated God’s pattern of government when he was thrown out of heaven. There exists a great ongoing cosmic conflict, not star wars, but angel wars, not World War III but a titanic struggle of far greater magnitude and with much more at stake—the armies of heaven and hell in constant battle over the lives of people on earth, the planet visited by a Babe. St. Paul tells us mortals that “we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Destinies of nations are not settled ultimately in legislative assemblies or on thrones or in an oval office but in heavenly places.

Heaven was never more excited than with the birth of God’s Son. Now they wait for the next big day, the return and the marriage of that Son, the desire of the ages, the Beloved. They are not given the full picture. They love probing the depths of the Gospel to find further clues of God outrageous love for humans (I Pe. 1:12). They will never call God Father as the redeemed are privileged to. Jesus did not become an angel. He was born into the race of humans to rescue us from the clutches of an angel once close to God. The Child came, according to John, “to destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8).

Gabriel (“God is my strength”) appeared to Mary in Nazareth to announce how God was going to use her to activate this plan. The visit proved more pleasant than the one five months before in Judea with a doubting priest. An unnamed angel appeared to Joseph in a dream to give him the go-ahead with his betrothed. The star that led the wise men to the Child could very well have been an angel ((Jude 13, Rev 1:16, Rev. 9:1, 12:4). When they left, “an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream” to save Jesus from the slaughter of infants by Herod. When he died, an angel guided the family back to Israel. And yet another dream (and perhaps an angel) warned Joseph not to live in Judea. How remarkable are these servants of God, who figure often in stories surrounding births, and especially in the birth of the ages. How reverently they carry out the will of the Most High God. 9-1-1 prayers are often answered by angels.

The mysterious invisible realm is no less real than the visible realm. Ceaseless activity of good and evil surrounds us and is only apprehended through eyes of faith. We focus on what they focus on, the God of glory and the Lamb! May we join them this beautiful Advent season in giving praise to the Child of Bethlehem, the Savior of the world, and may we, like these ministering spirits, serve as dutifully and as accurately as they. And maybe you, like the servant of Elisha, will sometime have your eyes opened to see one of them!


“I only know the names of two angels. Hark and Harold.” Gregory, 5
“Angels talk all the way while they’re flying you up to heaven. The basic message is where you went wrong before you got dead.” Daniel, 9
“Everybody’s got it all wrong. Angels don’t wear halos anymore. I forget why but scientists are working on it. Olive, 9

“Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive.” Superman? No, angels!

They show up at Christmas in our songs and Sunday School plays. Our first encounter–the annual Sunday School Christmas pageant. Our vocabulary is sprinkled with angel talk: angel food cake, angel’s hair, angel’s dust, angel fish, the City of the Angels, the California Angels. 275 Bible references suggest their importance. We need to brush up on our angelology!

These superhuman beings, glorious and terrible, share God’s joy when sinners repent and wipe out a third of the earth’s population near the end of time. They join with the archangel Michael in warring with the dragon and his angels.

Not bound by time or space as earthbound creatures, one moment before the throne, the next moment announcing the birth of God’s Son, traveling faster than the speed of light. Are they omnipresent? No, but they can get from here to there quicker than we can. Are they all-knowing? No, but they know many things we don’t. They are the army of God. Scripture says that when the announcement to the shepherds was finished, “a great company of the heavenly host appeared” in a chorus of praise (Luke 2:13). The word “host” means “army.” The “Lord of hosts” is the Lord of the heavenly army.

If heaven includes an innumerable company, any one of which could clean up the United States in seconds, you begin to appreciate the awesome power of these amazing creatures—hardly the Christmas pageant variety. One can also understand that when an angel appeared to Zechariah, “he was startled and was gripped with fear” (Luke 1:12). We have emasculated these glorious creatures, genderless but not powerless.

These immortal beings serve God and help in the administration of His universe.They figure prominently in the Old Testament, often as instruments of judgment. They destroyed Sodom and rescued Lot. An angel led Israel through the wilderness and gave them the law. One angel smote the Assyrian army of 185,000 soldiers. An angel saved Daniel from the lions. God allowed Elisha to see a mighty, invisible host of fighters. Angels paid visits to Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, David, Elijah, Zechariah, Joseph, Mary and Peter.

Angels appeared to Jesus at important points. He spoke often about them, indicating that little children have guardian angels (maybe adults, too), that angels cannot die, that they will separate the righteous from the wicked on the final day.

They play a prominent role in the last book. They dictated the letter to John. An angel is used in answering the prayers of the saints. An angel will bind Satan near the end of history. These servants of God will return with Jesus in flaming fire. Hell will be populated to a large extend by the devil and his fallen angels, as heaven is inhabited by an innumerable host of angels. (Part 2 in three days).



We never heard the phrase a decade ago. It is a recent social phenomenon—and a fun one. Great idea to catch a crowd off guard at a big mall with a powerful rendition of the “Halleluiah Chorus.” People light up to the eye-catching adventure.


Flash mobs began really taking off in mid-2007. Last year they gained international notoriety during the Christmas season and now are thrilling crowds on a weekly basis.


Flash Mob America is a full-service flash mob production company with the sole purpose of creating joy through surprise. Their website announces, “We are The Flash Mob Experts.”


Negative. God’s the expert. He outdid everyone to honor His Son. Whether He emptied out heaven or not, we do not know. We do know that a multitude of the heavenly host (translate host “army”) showed up in the Bethlehem skies. One angel appearing at the Mall of America would get everyone’s attention. God likely sent thousands or more. Birth announcements are catching the flare of creativity like flash mobs have. God takes first in that category as well.


The joy of flash mobs is the surprise element. “Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying…” “Okay, we’re listening. You have our attention.” When one angel showed up, “they were filled with fear.” What would a sky full of them do?


Check out the top ten flash mobs on youtube. Then read about the greatest flash mob ever to announce a birth in Luke 2. It had the largest group of participants ever to join in a flash mob—and the least number of spectators. That is God for you.


The shepherds said, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” Wouldn’t you after those heavenly fireworks? The spectacular nature of the announcement stood in stark contrast to the actual scene of the birth. Unless they had been told about the sign, they would have missed it. That for this? There’s a disconnect somewhere. Yet the angel prepared them for the change in venue. They took it all in as humble shepherds could do, then left “and made known the saying which had been told them concerning the child.”


Flash mobs often bring praise to God where folks don’t expect it and where some would object if it came any other way. Hard to interrupt the Air Force band and say, “I object.” Notice that the first angel made the announcement about the baby. The flash mob showed up to do what they did best, to worship God: “…there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest…”


This flash mob not only changed their night—it changed their life. May it change ours as well. Whether God is captivating us with the dramatic or disguising His presence in the mundane, like out back of an overcrowded motel, we can do our part to both worship the Lord like the angels, then spread the news like the shepherds. He has come, He is here, and He is King! Blessed 2016!