A gathering of angels
December 24, 2007
Fred Hutchison, RenewAmerica analyst

    "...these things the angels desire to look into." 1 Peter 1:12

The heavenly heralds sounded their trumpets in all the precincts of heaven. The News echoed through the corridors of the shining city. A great company of angels gathered in the field of gold. The Ancient of Days had a special message for all the angels. The angels were very enthusiastic.

The angel Gabriel flew up to a battlement of the palace, and cried, "Hear ye, oh heavenly beings!" The chattering crowd became instantly still for they were all eager to hear the message.

Gabriel said, "The Ancient of Days has decreed that His only begotten Son is going to make an extended visit to the planet earth. During that time, he will assume the identity and nature of a mortal man of earth. Some of you will be chosen for special tasks connected with this great event. We will be announcing special meetings in which you can ask questions."

A great gasp went up from the crowd. "Earth!" one groaned. "It is the most miserable pest hole of the universe. It is inhabited by fallen angels and wicked men. The infamous traitor Lucifer has made it his inter-galactic headquarters. The wretched people who dwell in this infernal swamp are sworn enemies of heaven. Is the Holy One going to leave heaven's glory to enter earth's dismal gloom? Woe be upon heaven!" And many angels wept.

"Are there no people on earth who serve the Holy One?" asked a junior angel.

A senior angel answered, "There is one small nation of Israel composed of a race called the Jews. The Holy One made some unusual promises to the father of this race and later sent prophets to the people. But for the most part, they are a disobedient, stubborn, and quarrelsome people. They killed or persecuted most of the prophets. However, the words of the prophets were recorded on sacred scrolls. A few Jews still read the sacred scrolls, so there is a remnant in Israel who still have reverence for the Holy One. The faithful Jews have used the sacred scrolls to win a small number of converts from other nations.

A prophet will be sent to the Jews who will appear just prior to the Holy One. Under inspiration, he will call them a "generation of vipers." That generation will read the sacred scrolls more than most, yet they are so proud and hard in their hearts that they are like whitewashed tombs: outwardly beautiful but inwardly corrupt. There will be an upsurge of demonic activity in the land at this time. The political rulers of this generation are idol-worshiping foreigners, who are very powerful and extremely cruel.

"Oh heavenly grief, it could hardly be worse! What a disaster for heaven!" cried several angels. Many angels tore their shining garments and pulled out their silvery hair and made loud lamentations.

Then an assistant archangel reproved them. "Wait! Angels are limited in their understanding. We have never adequately understood the special interest that the Holy One has taken in these abominable wretches of the shadow lands of earth. The Holy One has infinite wisdom. Surely He has a plan to bring something good out of this disaster. We have an opportunity to ask questions. Wait until the meetings. I am sure we will all feel better after our questions are answered.

The first meeting

The first meeting of the western pearly gate district of angels began in solemn silence. All were eager to ask their questions, but none dared to go first. Then the most junior angel in the district blurted out, "What will happen to the Holy One when he mingles with these evil men of earth."

Gabriel was silent for a long while. Then he slowly said, "He will be falsely accused of crimes by the Jews, condemned in a mock trial, and publicly reviled by the people. He will be humiliated and tortured by the idol-worshiping rulers. During the time of His torture, all the wickedness of mankind will be dumped upon Him. Then the Ancient of Days will abandon Him, and the full weight of the divine wrath will be poured upon Him. Forsaken by most of his followers, surrounded by jeering enemies, his mortal human body will perish in grief, shame, and pain...."

All the angels threw themselves on the golden pavement, writhed in agony, and cried out, "Oh woe is heaven, woe is heaven." Heaven had never seen such a commotion as this since the revolt and fall of Lucifer.

Finally, the angelic sergeants at arms were able to restore order. The din faded and the angels lapsed into a shocked silence. Then Gabriel said,

"I want you to understand that, yes, it will be terrible, but it will also wonderful. After the Holy One dies as a man, He will triumph over the powers of death and hell, rise from the dead, comfort His followers, and ascend to heaven. Then He will send the Paraclete to earth who will perform a divine work on earth in the Holy One's Name. This work shall never be stopped until the end of that era of earth history. At the end of human history all things shall be gathered unto him to His honor and glory.

The fruits of his work of death and resurrection will endure for all eternity and never cease to give praise and glory to the Holy One for ever and ever. The Holy One will wear his resurrection human earth body always. When He assumes this finite form, the angels, who are also finite, and the redeemed beings from earth will be able to talk to Him face to face in a direct and personal way. The intimacy of heaven will be increased, and we will all be blessed.

"The assistant arch angel said, "I told you that the Holy One knew what He was doing!"

Some of the angels gave thanks. Others pondered these things quietly, because they had many questions to ask in the upcoming meetings.

The second meeting

One angel, known as a deep thinker, asked Gabriel, "Why does the Ancient of Days and the Holy One care about these vile earth men? What is so special about them."

Gabriel told them that the Ancient of Days created the first man in his own image and likeness. Even the Cherubim and Seraphim who radiate the divine glory from their proximity to the throne do not have this image and likeness. Only one who is born with this image is eligible to be a son of God.

The angel said, "But there is only one Son of God, the Holy One, the Only Begotten."

Gabriel answered, "There will be many more sons of God through adoption."

"How can these vile earth people be accepted as sons of God? Would that not bring corruption into the holy city?" asked another angel. "How can such nasty, dirty beings bear the image and likeness of God?"

"Good question. The image is not apparent to angels. The image is marred, obscured, and buried under layers of evil, earth-grubbing lowliness, a strange sort of deluded pride, and the frenetic madness of earth-life. But the Ancient of Days somehow sees His image in them and desires them to become his children. As for their wickedness, the Holy One will deal with this problem when he gets to earth. Fear not: He will not be let any in through the gates of pearl until they have been redeemed, cleansed, transformed, transfigured, and made fit for heavenly life."

Gabriel paused to let these words sink in. "Man has a hidden spiritual nature which was designed for life in heaven. Heaven is the natural home of the human spirit. But because of sin, the spirit being of man is estranged and alienated from God. This separation is spiritual death. But it is a living death. Exiled from their true home and their true God, the human spirit suffers exile from God. Therefore, the restless and miserable men range over the face of the earth looking for substitute gods and substitute heavens. Some seek substitutes in false idealism, false religion, or earthly love. Others seek substitutes in earthly achievements and material possessions. Some seek power, control, and security. Others seek fame, reputation, and false images of their selves. Still others try to find heaven in food, physical pleasures, and shadowy amusements. And there are others who preoccupy themselves with clothes, toys, games, and trinkets."

One angel was deeply moved and said, "You mean to say a creature designed for the knowledge of God and the bliss of heaven is trying to satisfy heavenly desires with earth rubbish? Do you realize how wretched they must be?

Gabriel said, "Some of them have abandoned hope of satisfying these desires and are trying to deaden the pain with drugs, mindless obsessions, and perpetual busyness.

Some of the angels started to weep. "Oh, the poor earth creatures," they cried.

Gabriel said, "If you have compassion for them, how much more does their Father in heaven who made them for Himself and misses them?

The third meeting

A compassionate angel asked, "Why can't an angel go to earth and do this task instead of sending the Holy One? We can put an angel into an earth body to do the job. Let us spare the Holy One, the jewel of heaven. You know that the Holy One is the Beloved of the Father. His heart will be rent by the sacrifice of His Son."

Yes, this is true, said Gabriel. But only the Holy One can do this job. The offering for human sin must be of greater value and have greater weight than all the human sins that have been or will be committed. Countless sins committed by hundreds of millions of people. The sacrifice of a mere angel, however noble and holy, would be as a droplet in an ocean compared to the vast accumulated mass of human sins. The sacrifice for sins must be infinite in value and infinite in holiness.

This describes the Holy One, cried one of the angels. He must be the sacrifice for sin. He must be the prophesied Lamb of God!

Yes, He is the Lamb of God and all heaven will worship Him in that name. The Lamb of God must be capable of bearing the burden of all the sin of earth and individually suffering for each person. This involves receiving the wrath of God for each person. The Holy One can do this because He is infinite. No angel can do this, because angels are limited.

Furthermore, angels are of a different order of creation than men. No angel can be fully man even if he assumes a human body. Only the sacrifice of a man has relevance to the redemption of men. However, the Holy One can become fully a man, because of the likeness of human nature and the divine nature.

There is another reason why the Holy One must go. Earth men are deeply suspicious and have difficulty receiving love. If only an angel is sent, they will refuse to believe that God cares for them and wants them as sons. But if He sends His beloved, only begotten son, it will break the heart of some of them.

If the Father sends his beloved One, everyone will be overwhelmed by his love and will trust Him! exclaimed one of the angels.

Unfortunately, many will still refuse to believe, said Gabriel.

How can they doubt His love if He sends his Son? asked one of the angels.

I don't know. It will be called the "mystery of iniquity." I am told the human heart is very hard. As a matter of fact, many will hate the Holy One because His presence in their midst will be a light in their darkness exposing their wickedness. Some who are exposed will fear the coming judgment and will hate him all the more.

If they respond to God's gift of love with hatred, what could be more wicked than that?

The Holy One will sit on a throne in a great judgment hall and will judge each of them after they are resurrected. They will have to look in the eye of Him who died for them — who they nevertheless hated and rejected.

Ah, what a dreadful spectacle that will be, murmured one of the angels.

The fourth meeting

One of the angels was nursing a question since the second meeting, but only now felt liberty to ask it.

How can the Holy One who made the material and spiritual heavens live in the tiny body of a man? How can He who is omniscient think through a slow and narrow human mind? How can He who is omnipotent function through a frail mortal body?

I do not know, said Gabriel.

The crowd of angels gasped. They had never before seen an archangel stumped by a question. This is a great mystery that will be unknown to angel and human mind until the creation is dissolved. However, I do know that He will have a human mind, a human will, a human identity, and a human personality, and yet will not cease to be divine, Gabriel added.

If he has these human features, does that mean He will be wicked?

No, He will be the very first entirely righteous man. However, he will be tempted to sin. That is part of the purpose: to give an example of perfect manhood, demonstrate the nature of God, and be the spotless lamb of God.

What if he fails when He is tempted?

He will not fail. The purpose of the test is to prove that He cannot fail. Therefore, men will be able to rely on Him.

He will not fail as omnipotent God?

Yes, but he will also not fail as weak man who depends on God.

Will He have a double identity, one person who is God and another who is a man?

No, there will be only one person but two natures: the divine nature and the human nature.

Oh, He will be a hybrid being which mixes the divine and the human.

No, He will be fully God and fully man.

Sometimes one and sometimes the other?

No. Always both. The two natures are never separated, but are never to be confused.

Will He use His divine powers on earth, or function in the power of the Holy Spirit like a prophet?

He will always operate as the second person of the Trinity doing what the Father is doing. Also, he will always operate as a man being led and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

He will be emptied of His privileges as God, but not his divine nature and potency.

As a man, will He forget He is divine?

As man, his limited mind will be absorbed in the appropriate task of the moment and may sometimes be directed away from awareness of His deity. Yet as God, He can never forget, and being omniscient will never fail to know about something.

A junior angel said, "I don't understand a lot of this."

Neither do I, answered Gabriel.

The fifth meeting

Gabriel announced: This will be the last meeting prior to the assignments you will be given for the Great Event. The birth of the Holy One as a man will be the greatest event in the history of humanity. The great divide between heaven and earth and between God and man will be bridged.

Special heralds will be sent to earth to announce the news. An announcement will be made to the father of a special prophet who will prepare the way for the Holy One. The human mother who will bear the Holy One will need preparation, and a special announcement will be given to her. There will be special demonstrations of angels in various places. We are preparing signs in the heavens and a special star. The fulfillment of prophesy will be reported to kings; signs and portents will be given to the learned; and spectacles of praise will be given to the humble.

One angel asked, why all the ceremonies? Why not an inconspicuous birth? If we give too much attention to His birth as a human baby, the earth beings will not appreciate his divinity and heavenly splendor.

Actually, the first few generations after His birth will have greater difficulty believing in His humanity than in his deity. Those who do not believe in his humanity will be unable to profit from his work on earth. For this reason, His birth will be commemorated as the most important festival of His followers. Artists will never tire of depicting His mother holding the baby that is the Holy One incarnate. We in heaven must help them by drawing attention to the event.

Another angel said, "I assume then that He will be born in a royal palace so that everyone gets the message."

Gabriel said, He will be of royal blood, and in a future age of the earth era will sit on a royal throne in Jerusalem and will rule all human nations. However, He will be born in poverty. The majority of those who believe in Him will be humble people. He will inaugurate a new era on earth in which His blessings on those who love him will be primarily imparted to the inner spiritual being. If we allow a fuss to be made over Him in king's courts, the inner spiritual message will be lost.

The Great Event means more to the Ancient of Days than you can imagine. It is His special gift of love to an entire world. He invites every angel in heaven and on earth to join the Great Celebration!

The gathered angels were overcome with joy, and made such loud songs and shouts of praise that the sound reverberated down the streets of gold and all the business of heaven came to a halt. They sang songs in honor of the Holy One and played their coronets and harps of gold for a longer duration than had been known since the creation of heaven.

© Fred Hutchison

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They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. —Isaiah 40:31