Observed Unawares

   As Christians we are fond of referring to ourselves as the objects of angelic care. This is no doubt true, though Hebrews 1: 14 (which is the verse most often quoted as supporting evidence) can hardly be limited to the matter of ensuring our physical safety. What is not always realised is the way in which angels observe our lives irrespective of whether it involves their service towards us.

   There are many Scriptures that suggest that angels have an intense interest in Christianity. For example, Paul writes of himself and his fellow apostles as having become “a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men” (1 Cor. 4: 9)—and from the fact that the angels are put first, it is clear that they are the more important spectators. Men see only our public face, angels see much more. Again, take 1 Peter 1: 12: “the glad tidings by [the] Holy Spirit, sent from heaven, which angels desire to look into”. Why such interest in what does not concern them directly? Because Christianity is about Christ! They delight in all that concerns Him. Hence we read that God has given “his angels charge concerning thee (Christ) … They shall bear thee up in [their] hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Ps. 91: 11, 12; comp. Matt. 4: 6). It is not without significance that birth of Christ was accompanied by “a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God” (Luke 2: 13).

   If some of us have “unawares entertained angels” (Heb. 13: 2), how many more are unaware that they are the subjects of angelic observation? We are often very concerned about what our fellow–men think, but what about the angels? For example, if a woman prays with her head uncovered, what does that fact convey to beings who know only obedience?
That she is disobedient to the divine order of headship. “Therefore” says the apostle “ought the woman to have authority on her head, on account of the angels” (1 Cor. 11: 10).

   Again, “if ye invoke as Father him who, without regard of persons, judges according to the work of each” (1 Pet. 1: 17) it ill–behoves us to “have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, [Lord] of glory, with respect of persons” (James 2: 1). Thus Paul writes to Timothy “Those that sin convict before all, that the rest also may have fear. I testify before God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, that thou keep these things
without prejudice, doing nothing by favour” (1 Tim. 5: 20, 21—my emphasis). The angels expect us to act in a way that is in accord with heaven.

   Then there is the matter of the Lord’s Supper: “For as often as ye shall eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye announce the death of the Lord, until he come” (1 Cor. 11: 26). To whom is it announced? Some would say to the lost, but the Lord’s Supper is hardly evangelical in character (it is not without significance that there were no unbelievers present at its inception). I think the Lord’s Supper is more a demonstration to angelic observers that there are men and women here who delight in Christ, have an appreciation (however limited) of what is set forth in His death, and are awaiting His coming for them. They may only be a feeble few and unnoticed by the world, but heaven and heavenly beings take account of them.

   Finally Ephesians 3. Here Paul speaks of “the administration of the mystery” (v 9). The mystery is that Jew and Gentile are joined in the one body of Christ (see v 6) and its administration is how this is to operate practically according to the Lord’s instructions. Now to angelic eyes the Assembly is a lesson–book: “in order that now to the principalities and authorities in the heavenlies might be made known through the assembly the all–various wisdom of God” (v10). Do
you care about that? Angels do not die, and if their eyes once looked down on the Assembly running on the rails of divine wisdom revealed to holy apostles and prophets, what do they see now? May this fact stimulate us to greater faithfulness!