In both the Old and New Testaments, the words translated “angel” literally mean “messenger”. Many times God sent individual angels to deliver His message to selected persons on earth: to Hagar (Genesis 16:7-12), Abraham (Genesis 22:11-18), Moses (Exodus 3:2), Gideon (Judges 6:11-12), Zechariah (Luke 1:11-20), Mary (Luke 1:26-38), and many more.
On the other hand, visions of heaven speak of multitudes of angels. These multitudes appear in the visions of the prophets Micaiah (1 Kings 22:19) and Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-4) and in John’s visions recorded in Revelation (5:8-14; 7:11-12). These angels are shown serving God through obedience and praise.
But I know of only once when God sent a message to earth, not through an individual angel alone, but through a multitude of angels. This multitude was sent to announce an event that would be the turning point of all history. At that moment they would bring the praise and glory of heaven down to earth.
It was night. The place was the sky over an open field outside a small village on the eastern end of the Mediterranean. Only a handful of shepherds saw and heard this one-time appearance:
Suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:13-14, NASB)
The event they announced had been whispered since the beginning of human history. This event was a Gift, prophesied for centuries by God’s seers. They had spoken in common images of a Child, a Shepherd, a Servant, a Warrior, and a King who would somehow be beyond all titles, all descriptions, and all imaginings. This Gift was a coming, a personal arrival, and on that ordinary, extraordinary night, the arrival was now:
Transcendent God had taken flesh and blood.
Holy God was, now and forever, wholly human.
Heaven itself had come to earth. The One who had sat on the throne was now an infant lying in a feeding trough. But for just a few moments that night, He brought His throne-room choir with Him.
Listen and sing:
Hymn: A Song Was Born at Christmas
Printed Music & Lyrics