Imagine What It Was Like for the Angels

by Pete Edwards, Bethel Christian Writers

In the Beginning . . . 

We read how God put in motion His plans for our world and every intricate detail of the entire universe. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1 NKJV).

We learn that the Holy Spirit of God was with God the Father sharing in the creation process. “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2).

We know that Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son was also there at the beginning. The Gospel of John states: “In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him, nothing was made” (John 1:1-3). 

From that point, the Genesis account goes through each of the days of creation detailing the forming of all things. Then, arriving on day 6, God created man in His own image. God then observed it was not good that man should be alone, and He created woman. Gen. 2:21-25 details the beautiful story of the first man and the first woman.

On the seventh day, God rested. 

Enter the serpent who deceived God’s special creation, this first man and the first woman on earth. Then God drove Adam and Eve from the garden because of their sin. This sin now separated them from God. “So, he drove out the man; and placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen. 3: 24).

Imagine what it was like for the angels to be in heaven and in the presence of God, observing the creation of the world. In the Book of Job God asked, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation . . . and all the angels shouted for joy?”(Job 38: 4a, 7b NIV). 

There are many references to angels interacting with mankind throughout the Old and New Testaments. Reading from the book of Isaiah, we know that Angels are powerful. “Then the angel of the Lord went out and killed in the camp of the Assyrians 185,000, and when the people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead” (Isa. 37:36-38 NKJV). 

There are also many accounts where angels were sent to give good news. The angel Gabriel counseled Mary to not be afraid and instructed her to name her baby, “Jesus” (Luke 1:30-31). Gabriel also counseled Joesph to not put away Mary because she is with child by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:19-21). Later, an angel announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds (Luke 2: 9-14). God specifically sends His angels as messengers to fulfill His will and directives here on earth.

Can you imagine the closeness and love the angels have for Jesus? From the beginning, they participated in God’s rescue plan for fallen mankind as it played out over many centuries. They watched as mankind continually sinned and fell short of the glory of God. 

Then it happened! Jesus stepped down from His heavenly throne, humbled Himself, and became the Messiah, the God-man. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as the begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Did the angels know how it would all play out? Maybe they observed His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane where He prayed a second time “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39 CEB).

Then suddenly, the angel’s attention is drawn to the soldiers arriving at the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter draws his sword and cuts the high priest’s ear off!! Jesus said to Peter “Put back your sword in its place. For all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think that I cannot call on my father and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? (Matt. 26:52-53 NIV).

I can envision more than 72,000 angels jumping to their feet, grabbing their swords, taking a stance like runners at the starting blocks looking at God the Father . . . waiting for His command. “A command where they would sweep this whole planet into oblivion, and rescue the precious Son of God.”1 But Jesus never called for them. Instead, Jesus said, “But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matt. 26:54). 

Then came the flogging, the crown of thorns, the long walk down the Via Delarosa—the way of suffering that led to the cross. I can only imagine there were tears in heaven when Jesus was crucified on that cross—when He died and was buried in the tomb.

Three days later an angel of the Lord appeared to the women at the tomb who were there to anoint Jesus’ body according to burial custom. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, He is risen, just as He said” (Matt. 28:5-6). I am sure the angels in heaven felt a joy that filled the earth, and all of heaven. 

God’s Son was victorious over sin and death. He was alive—again! That awful crushing separation was now healed. This time they would be with Him forever. 

And Christ’s followers, those of us who believe that Jesus walked down that road of suffering and shed His blood on the cross to atone for our sins, will pass from this life safe in the arms of our Savior. We will also be with Him forever. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thes. 4:16-17 NKJV). 

Imagine the Joy of the angels as they unite with us, the redeemed of the Lord, singing and lifting our praise to the Lamb of God who has conquered sin and death. Jesus alone is worthy of all honor, all glory, and all praise. Our song will fill all of heaven with praise and joy unending. 

1 This sentence was copied from a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association video commentary.