Why Would Angels Care About Us?
When am i going to use this? At some point every teacher gets asked this question. Usually the teacher is asked this question when the student is in high school. And it’s usually when the student actually has to put some effort and energy into learning a subject. And the student wants to know if it’s worth the effort and energy. The student wants to know why we should care about the topic at all. Teachers get so used to these sorts of questions that before the objections and questions start they tell the students, “You’re going to need to know this someday.” The questions students ask might be a little annoying. But they are important questions. The question, “why should I care” is an important one. But tonight we redirect that question. We don’t ask why we should care. Instead we ask, why should the angels care about us? And in these words from the end of the bible we find answers. But before we tackle that question we need to get our feet on the ground and understand the context behind these words. In Revelation 4 we read: “1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.” (Revelation 4:1–3 NIV)
Notice what is going on here in these words. John is under the power of the Holy Spirit and is taken to heaven. And the first sight he sees is someone sitting on a throne. And it is not difficult for us to figure out who this is on the throne. The rest of the book and the rest of these words make it clear. The one on the throne is our king and savior, Jesus. But he sees more. We read: “4 Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. ” (Revelation 4:4–6 NIV)
After John sees Jesus on his throne he sees 24 elders. Throughout the bible 12 is a number connected the church. There are 12 tribes of Israel. There are 12 apostles. These elders then are a picture of the leaders of the entire assembled church in heaven. And there’s yet a third group that John sees: “6 Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings.” (Revelation 4:6–8 NIV)
Next, John sees a vision of four living creatures. There are many similarities between these creatures and the Cherubim in the Old Testament. If you want to go in a different direction, I suppose that’s fine. But there is a strong parallel between these creatures here and the Cherubim in the Old Testament. These living creatures then are a picture of all the angels in heaven worshipping our Triune God.
That then is the background information—the vital context we need to understand before we walk through these words. What happens next is two songs. There’s the song the angels sing. And then there’s the song that we sing. And so we start with the song the angels sing: “Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”” (Revelation 4:8 NIV)
Continually and eternally the angels sing this song to the Triune God. Notice the three groups of three. This is a clear emphasis of the Trinity. But notice the last triplet. You’ll remember that this part of the song isn’t new. We have heard this song before. It’s the same song as the Cherubim sang in Isaiah 6. But it’s just a little different. And that’s worth speaking about. In Isaiah the angels praise the “Lord of Hosts.” Well, what is a “host?” In our day, the “host” is the man or woman who leads you to your seat at the restaurant. But that’s not the meaning here. A host is an army. And the army here is in heaven. In Isaiah the angels praise him because he is the Lord of heavenly armies. Here, in Revelation, John uses the word, “All-powerful.” After all, if our Triune God has the power to order around and command the angel armies in heaven, then he is all-mighty and all-powerful.
And here is the point where you might be asking yourself like that student in the high school class, “why should we care?” Why should we care that Jesus has and uses his almighty power to command his powerful angels? Well, look what is says in the next verse: “9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever.” (Revelation 4:9–10 NIV)
The angels sing to and worship Jesus who lives forever. If we ask that question, “why should angels care about us,” look at what the answer is here in these words: Jesus lives. And he lives forever. These words are a powerful reminder that Jesus rose from the dead. And he rose from the dead to take away all of our sins. Why would angels care for us? They care for us because Jesus cares for us. And he cared for us enough both to die for us and to live for us. Because you are worth that much to Jesus, you are worth that much to the angels who willingly and perfectly serve him.
So if we ask that question, why should angels care about us, the answer is: jesus lives for us. We find that answer in the song that these angels sing. But there is another answer in the song we will sing: “10 They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”” (Revelation 4:10–11 NIV)
Look at what we will sing in our song. We sing that Jesus is worthy to be worshipped. And the words that follow are weird, aren’t they? I would have expected us to say and sing that Jesus is worthy to be worshipped because he took away our sin. But that’s not what we will emphasize in our song in heaven. Instead, we sing, “You created the universe. And by your will they exist.” We don’t emphasize redemption. Instead, we emphasize creation.
There is this need imbedded in our God and in his creation to make everything right—to make the universe as it was before the fall into sin. Our Triune God yearns for this. We yearn for this. And it should not surprise us that the angels in heaven yearn for this too. If we ask the question, why should angels care about us, the first answer is that Jesus lives for us. But the other answer is that creation is not complete without us. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that heaven and those in heaven could not exist without us. They definitely could. I’m just simply saying what these words emphasize, that heaven is complete with our perfect God, perfect angels and perfect humans.
And so, as we put all of this together, what is our reaction to all of this? First, these words make us ashamed of our sin, don’t they? The angels see the sins that no one else does. The sins you hide from your friends and family members, the angels see. That is a shocking and embarrassing fact. It moves us to repent of our sins and return to our Savior who lives to wash away our hidden sins in his blood.
And so we should be ashamed of our sin. But my dear friends in Christ, do not be ashamed that the angels care about you and care for you. You have no need to be ashamed because Jesus lives for you. He rose from the dead, proving that your sins are forgiven. And creation is not complete without you. The angels yearn and long for you to take your place in heaven singing along with them as it should have been if Adam and Eve had not sinned. Amen.