Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)
Angels: Many religions around the world hold a belief in their existence. For centuries mankind has been fascinated by stories of their exploits. Books have been written about them, sculptures and drawings have portrayed them in various ways; some as humble and meek, others as warriors decked with weapons. According to the Holy Scriptures angels have existed from ancient times and on occasion, in various ways, they have appeared to man.
The Greek word Paul uses for angels in 1 Timothy 3:16 means messenger or to bring tidings. For this reason some scholars believe that Paul is not speaking here of celestial beings but of human evangelists or pastors who herald the gospel message. However, many scholars do agree that Paul is speaking of heavenly, spiritual beings. This belief concurs with the fact that these types of angels did not merely physically see Jesus but clearly discerned his identity and played a significant role in his life and ministry.
One of the most famous angels we know by the name of Gabriel. It was Gabriel who appeared to Zechariah the father of John the Baptist. Gabriel proclaimed to Zechariah that John would go before the Christ and “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:8-23). In the sixth month of the pregnancy of Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth, God sent Gabriel to Nazareth. In Nazareth Gabriel appeared to a virgin named Mary to proclaim, not only the birth of Jesus but to give her his name and declare his mission (Luke 1:31-33 ESV)
On the night of Jesus’ birth an angel appeared to shepherds keeping watch over their flocks and heraldedthe birth of“a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11 ESV). When he had finished speaking a multitude of heavenly host appeared with him praising God.
Furthermore, we find that angels were assigned to watch over and minister to Jesus. Shortly after his birth King Herod sought to kill Jesus, but it was an angel that warned Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15). Once Herod was dead an angel appeared again to Joseph with another warning and Jesus’ family eventually settled in Nazareth (Matthew 2:19-23).
At the outset of Jesus’ ministry the Spirit drove him into the wilderness where Satan tempted him. When Satan had left him angels appeared and ministered to him (Matthew 4:11). And as Jesus agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane, an angel appeared from heaven to strengthen him (Luke 22:43).
Following his crucifixion it was an angel, whose appearance was like lightning and his clothing as white as snow, who rolled away the stone that covered the tomb where Jesus was buried (Matthew 28:1-3). And it was angels who were the first to declare his resurrection (John 20:11-12). Angels were also present at Jesus’ ascension and will accompany him at his second coming (Acts 1:6-11, Matthew 25:31). Even now around the throne of God myriads of myriads, thousands of thousands of angels declare with loud voices the praises of the Lamb who was slain (Revelation 5:11-12).
The angels still see Jesus for who he is and worship him. Do you worship Jesus for who he is?
Scriptures for meditation:
1 Peter 1:12