We do wonder … how much did the angels comprehend? All? Part? They have no first-hand understanding or experience of guilt or redemption or despair. How could they rejoice so tremendously without any reference point to sin or fear?
As angels are ministering spirits sent to those who are receiving salvation (Hebrews 1:14), and as they have watch care of little ones, and they see the face of God continually, it would seem that they have looked upon enough despair, enough Godlessness, enough depression and oppression that they were fully exultant in the nativity of their Lord in human flesh, sent to save, heal, and deliver.
Today’s Scripture passage (Isaiah 11) speaks of a new and different epoch, a time when . . .
The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. (vs. 8) . . . for the Lord was born to give authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. (Luke 10:19)
They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (vs 9) . . . and Gabriel specified to Mary, “ and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:33)
The prophet Isaiah foretold … In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious. (Isaiah 11:1-10) . . .
. . . and Jesus spoke of those dwellings . . . “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” A place for you, a place for me, in Chrsit Jesus. (John 14:2)
And gloriously, those warring, ministering angels were there when Zechariah prophesied: . . . Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
The LORD has taken away the judgments against you, he has cast out your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall fear evil no more.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Do not fear, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak.
The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
( Zephaniah 3:14-17 )
Did the God of glory “dance over us with joy” away from the eyes of His heavenly host? They have seen and known His love for us from the beginning, and as they glory in Him, they rejoiced to see the day of our Lord’s birth. Whatever one chooses to make of that Bethlehem night, the angels were riotously glad.
The Angels’ Song
Bouguerau, public domain, 100 years from the death of the artist