Angels sing in the Bible
Just a short one. The traditional Christmas-card image of angels holding hymn-books and all singing something which requires their mouths to be thoroughly round (must be O come all ye faithful) – have you noticed that no one sings like that? – doesn’t usually shake anyone’s Biblical grasp too much. Indeed the great penultimate verse of the aforementioned carol rings out “Sing, choirs of angels,” confirming the traditional view that on the whole if a bunch of angels are around, they’re expected to sing.
But, did you know, it is very hard to find any place in the Scripture, anywhere, where angels are actually reported to SING? You go to the places you expect it to say that they ‘sang’ and in fact it just says ‘said’. Isaiah 6: And one said to the other, “Holy holy holy” etc. Even in Luke and the famous Christmas passage, the gathering of angels is reported to have SAID its message, not sung.
Well, when I heard this I was indignant! What, no angels singing in the Bible?
And then, I read Revelation 5:8-10. This is where the four living creatures and the 24 elders sing a new song which says “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals, for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and that will reign upon the earth.” Wonderful song.
But the fact that you have to observe is that some of the singers were the four living creatures. Now you might argue, that these are not necessarily ‘angels’ per se. But if you combine the understanding of chapters 4 and 5 with similar Old Testament revelations, we would find from both Isaiah 6 and Ezekiel 1, that these must be almost without a shadow of a doubt the ‘cherubim’ of those passages, who are unarguably angelic beings. They sing the same songs. They have the same faces. Could it be, from Scripture, that angels do – in fact – sing?
What I’m after is the experience to match up with the Biblical understanding. I have heard stories of times of corporate worship so heavenly that many people have heard angels to join in, even within our context in Ichthus in London, on occasion. Oh that we would partake of a heavenly rejoicing, and hear the angels join in as we do so!