Sunday, October 21, 2012

An Innumerable Company of Angels

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-24, NKJV).

Instead of a mountain that may not be touched, a burden of performance that cannot be met, an assembly of terrified sinners surrounded by blackness and darkness and tempest, and an earthly city which served as the palest shadow of its heavenly counterpart (even in its halcyon days under David and Solomon), the New Covenant brings us to a very different destination to be in fellowship with our God.

Through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we come to a mountain filled with glory, majesty, light and life, a city not of this Creation, and, instead of a congregation of unrighteous sinners, an innumerable company of angels.

The Bible says many things about angels. They were created before mankind. They are powerful and immortal. Those who retained their first estate are holy, worshipful and serve the living God with fidelity and fervency. A third of them rebelled, led by the archangel Lucifer, and are forever condemned with no chance of redemption. 

They can appear as beings of light or as human beings. They are messengers and harbingers, warriors and nursemaids, and they look upon human redemption as a marvelous mystery, astounded by the mercy and grace of God our being saved entails.

While not of this world they can be in this world, and have intervened in human history on many occasions. Angels are glorious in power and can instill in mere mortals an urge to worship which must be denied. Neither are they to be prayed to or in any way mistaken for Divine. 

One day, born again Christians will judge them.

Modern skeptics view angels with a kind of condescending dismissal, relegating them to fairy tales or wishful thinking. In their arrogant intellectual superiority, these unbelievers discount any belief in these spiritual beings as symptomatic of mental weakness or faulty character or ignorant superstition. They do the same with Satan.

That is of no matter, for a thing's reality is utterly independent of any opinion any fallen human being may hold.

In the verse above, among other things, this innumerable company of angels serves as a heavenly welcoming throng, celebrating the entrance of even the lowliest saved sinner. 

I picture these magnificent beings as embodying all the characteristics we attribute to noble heroes of old - self-sacrificing, courageous, willfully subservient to their God and King, filled with immeasurable joy on our behalf.

So then, as Christians, not only will we be citizens of the most unimaginable Kingdom, residing in an unimaginably glorious city, but we will also be in joyous company with beings beyond our current ability to fully comprehend. And they will look upon us as treasures.

And that is just the start. There is much more.