Summary: Angels - what the bible says about them as opposed to the world. Long list of Scriptures about angels included.
An angel appeared at a faculty meeting and told the dean that in return for his unselfish service, he will be rewarded with his choice of wealth, wisdom, or beauty. Without hesitating, the dean selects wisdom.
"It is done!" the angel said, and then disappeared into a cloud of smoke.
All of the other members of the faculty stared at the dean with amazement.
Finally one of them whispered, "Now that you have infinite wisdom, Dean, say something."
The Dean looked them and said, "I should have taken the money."
We have been looking at some of the favorite Christmas hymns this Advent Season and today we are taking our start from “Angels From The Realms Of Glory”. We are going to take a closer look at who angels are and what we biblically know about angels with this hymn as our starting point. This morning we will be looking at a larger number of Scripture references today than we usually do and so for those of you who take notes on the sermons and may not be able to catch all the references, no worries, I will post the sermon in a couple of days at out church website. I will post all the scriptures where the words angel or angels occurs in the entire bible as well.
If you have your hymnals open this morning, a quick look at #174, “Angels From The Realms Of Glory”, shows that the hymn starts with the Christmas story when the angels appear to the shepherds…but you’ll notice that it very quickly moves to Jesus second coming, “descending in his temple he shall appear” and the last verse ends with all people of all time bowing in worship to Jesus Christ. Remember, we have seen over the past year that when “every knee shall bow” before Jesus Christ at the end of time – some will freely acknowledge Jesus as Lord, whereas others will be forced against their will, to bow in acknowledgment that Jesus as Lord. All the world’s population of all time will gather before Jesus Christ, who will enforce his dominion over all creation at the end of time.
See, this hymn starts with the image of an insignificant few worshiping the vulnerable infant Jesus Christ but ends with the image of the all powerful, dominating God, in the person of Jesus Christ. Christmas is about Jesus coming to save us, but least we should forget – this is God, who we are to serve, who we are to worship, who we are to obey.
This hymn “Angels From The Realms Of Glory” relates to us the angels announcing Jesus’ birth. Let’s stop there for a moment. We have heard the Christmas story so many times, it seems just an obvious part of the story that angels announce the birth of Jesus. We don’t give it a second thought that angels announce the birth of Jesus.
So, I ask you, who else has had angels announce their birth?
Angels. What in the world are they doing at the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem?
Polls and surveys tell us that a majority of people believe that angels exist….but the angels they believe in may have more to do with fiction than reality. For example, it turns out there are a large number of people in Los Angeles who believe in parking angels. These apparently are angels who help people find a parking place.
To some degree it makes sense that people would believe such a wacky thing, movies tend to show angels as some type of a genies who grant wishes or favors, like in our opening joke. Movies show angels help baseball teams obtain a winning season, or they show how angels are always trying to earn their wings and movies tend to insinuate that angels are not usually too socially aware.
Angels are very popular today, in fact there are whole stores filled with nothing but angel merchandise. One family has a store in California full of everything angel in dedication to their deceased daughter, who they believe is now an angel. They started the store hoping all the angel merchandise displayed in one central location would somehow reach out to their daughter…..belief in angels is not new, in the ancient Mediterranean world, Hebrews, Egyptians, Greeks and Phoenicians strongly believed in angels. In the ancient world there were a variety of cults that worshiped angels. Some in the early church even turned away from worship of Jesus Christ and embraced worship of angels.
The Bible is far from silent on angels. We see that angels are mentioned some 273 times in the Bible. They are prominent in both the old and the new testament. The Scriptures do not tell us every detail about angels, but we can get a good picture of who angels are.