This may be a big revelation to many folks, but the Bible isn’t explicit in saying that the angels ever sing. Some would say, “Whoa! That’s a biggie…I mean, don’t you remember the shepherds and the angels that night when the angels sang the Hallelujah Chorus and announced the Savior’s birth?” Actually…no, I don’t remember that. A close reading of that account will show that the angels “said” their praises and hallelujahs. Luke 2:13-14 “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest…’ “
So, if angels don’t sing, what are they doing when the Bible recounts their praise and worship? What is going on in passages such as Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4 where we see angelic creatures saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts…?” That sounds like a praise and worship service to us. And when we think “praise and worship”, we think singing, and a lot of it. But let’s take a brief look and see if there is anything we can learn from the angel’s declarations.
First, there is one passage that could possibly allude to angels singing. It is in Job 38:7. At creation the morning stars “sang for joy.” This is another study in itself, but suffice it to say, this could be referring to literal stars. Other places in Scripture tell us the inanimate creation sings praises (Psalm 65:12; 19:1). Modern science has recorded constant “singing,” if you will, of the stars and nebulae today. This particular word is only used one time in the Bible and it could easily be translated “shouted or cried out for joy.” So we can rule that out as proof that angels sing.
Then, of all the times in the Bible (116) that the normal word for “sing” is used, it always refers to God’s people or the inanimate creation singing praises to God. That is very interesting. So where does that leave the angels and their great worship services?
It seems that the only creatures that can sing praises as we know singing to be are the creation itself and the people of God. The Bible says that the universe has had a curse on it since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden and it will be restored and made new one day, and redeemed. And we are told that humans are redeemed and given new life when the gospel of Christ is believed. But the holy angels of God have had no such fall and, therefore, no need to be redeemed. The only recorded voices singing praise to The Creator are the ones that are and that will be redeemed.
The Apostle Peter shows us this in I Peter 1:12. He says that the angels are curious to look into the subject of redemption. The angels of God are perfect and holy. They have not experienced sin and being separated from God. So they do not have a song of redemption to sing. They have seen God’s plan unfolding through the ages, but they still do not know experientially how it all works, and they “desire to look into these things.”
Now, of course, the holy angels are in a totally different realm and category than us, and the Bible tells us they are magnificent and powerful. When they speak, it is certainly grander than a human voice. And I believe their voices please God daily as they are around His throne. But their song comes from knowing His reality in Heaven and seeing with their eyes His majesty daily.
So during this wonderful Christmas Season, let’s see the angels as the messengers they are said to be in the Scriptures. We can’t read the account of Jesus’ birth and see these creatures as cutesy little cupid types. No, they came to announce what God was doing and they were in glorious light and the shepherds were afraid. But they “said” their declarations because of their perspective and duty.
It was a most wonderful and glorious proclamation, and the Christmas carols we sing and Christmas pageants we attend will all declare the “singing” of the angels, and that’s a good thing. But we must remember, only those who have experienced this gift of God for themselves can truly sing God’s praises properly.