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A Great Company of the Heavenly Host

Thinking a lot about the shepherds the field and the great multitude of the heavenly host.  In wonder about the magnitude and awe, so I thought I would share some thoughts that are on my mind.

Two angels took out Sodom and Gomorrah.

In Revelation 20, 1 angel put Lucifer in the abyss.

In Numbers 22, Baalam saw an angel and fell down immediately.

Matthew 1:20, Matthew 28:5, Luke 1:13, Luke 1:30 all speak of angel sightings and afraid.

One angel causes tremendous fear, but in Luke 2:9 one angel appeared and they “were terrified”.
Suddenly “a great company of the heavenly host” appears.  If one would terrified what would this emptying out of Heaven do to you?

Luke 2:8-14 
 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

How much is “a great company”.  Don’t know, but here some ideas.
In the garden Peter tried to take Malchus out.  Jesus scolded him:

Matthew 26:53 (NASB)
         Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than
         twelve legions of angels?

If the angels were there at His birth, in force.  If they were ready at any moment to defend Him.  If one angel is powerful enough to take the one, who was a liar from the beginning, by the scruff of the neck and lock him into the abyss, then wouldn’t the army of God be an awesome sight to behold at the cross?

Interesting to me that in the garden the Father comforted the Son.

Jesus could summon more than 12 legions of angels.  Were they ready on that Passover Friday.  I say yes:

Armed to the teeth.  Swords razor sharp.  Absolutely unity, tension, eagerness, brokenness, anger and singular devotion.

Their King is ridiculed, beaten, mocked, scourged, stripped naked, tortured, humiliated and crucified.

The King of Kings was dying and heaven raged at the suffering of the Holy One and mourned the blackness of the sin burden He was made to carry.

God is angry.  Very angry.  The skies are black.  The sun is eclipsed. God turns His face away.  Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani.  Heaven is in distress and all of heaven is focused on Christ.

One word from Christ.  A nod.  A whisper.  He could have tapped out at any moment. Had Christ muttered a word, the angels would have been unleashed and everything that draws breath would have been destroyed in a moment.

God would have brought His Son home and God would put us all in the sea of forgetfulness and remembered us no more.

Interesting at the cross, Jesus declares, “Father, forgive them…”.  Why?  Was this to fulfill prophecy?  Was this simply a son’s dialogue with the Father?  Or was it the Son encouraging His Father?  The Father was heartbroken, enraged as all the fullness of sin was firmly poured in wrath on His son.  Was the Son encouraging Father to hold?

God’s anger was in full furry.  Angels are armed to the teeth.  Metaphorically, hearts beat fast.  Tension is thick.

Even after all of the torture, ridicule and crucifixion, Jesus is ridiculed, despised and spit on.  This is not trivial for us and it certainly was not for Father.

I really don’t know how tense things were in Heaven.  I know there was judgment and separation.  I know Love never went so far.  I do know the world could have been destroyed in a flash and the workers were completely ready to go to work had it been necessary.

I don’t know God’s thoughts.  No one does, but I have a glimpse of the enormity and I am in awe.

If we could simply see, even briefly, the unseen, we would be in awe.
Ephesians 6:12 
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Can you fathom the enormity of the birth in a stable by Very God of Very God?  God Himself came in flesh.  Heaven came not to kill, but to save.  To live among us.

Phillip Yancey - Disappointment with God

Dorothy Sayers has said that God underwent three great humiliations in his efforts to rescue the human race. The first was the Incarnation, when he took on the confines of a physical body. The second was the Cross, when he suffered the ignominy of public execution. The third humiliation, Sayers suggested, is the church. In an awesome act of self-denial, God entrusted his reputation to ordinary people. 
Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Books, 1988), 147.

Post A Comment


  1. God entrusts His reputation to His Holy Spirit. It is already written what will happen and it shall come to pass. The Lord is fully aware of what the church will do but He always has a remnant. Satan can only hinder but everything is written into God's plan.

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