"Seen of Angels"

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
In earlier days the angels had desired to look into the things of Christ, (1 Peter 1:1212Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. (1 Peter 1:12)). When these things themselves were manifested and accomplished, this desire was answered; for in the history, as we find it in the Evangelists, the angels are set to be eye-witnesses of that which they had long desired to look into. They are privileged to find their place and their enjoyment in the history of Christ in the mystery of godliness;' and to find it, just as of old they had found it, in the sanctuary of God. In that sanctuary all, it is true, was for the use and blessing of sinners. The altars, and the laver, and the mercy-seat, and all else, were provided for us. The action and the grace of the house of God were for sinners; but the cherubim gazed. They were set in that house to look at its deepest mysteries. And so, in the same condition shall we find them in the day of the great originals, or of the heavenly things themselves, when God was manifest in the flesh.' For then, it is equally true, all was for the service and salvation of us sinners, or that God, so manifested, might be preached unto the Gentiles,' and believed on in the world;' but still all was as surely for this end, that He might be ' seen of angels.'
Thus they took the same place in the sanctuary of old, and in the great mystery itself. They gazed—they looked—they were eye-witnesses. Anal further, the sight they took of the mystery was of the same intense and interested character as the cherubims had before expressed in the holy of holies.
And the cherubims spread out their wings on high, and covered with their wings over the mercy-seat, with their faces one to another: even to the mercy-seatward were the faces of the cherubim.' And so, in the history of Christ, the True Ark, they will be thus again seen.
The angel of the. Lord comes, in his commission and ministry from heaven, to announce to the shepherds of Bethlehem the birth of Jesus. But as soon as He had fulfilled His service, suddenly there was with Him a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.' And when the time came for another great event, and
God manifest in the flesh' was raised from the dead, soon to be received up into glory,' the angels are again present with the like intense and interested delight. At the sepulcher, as Mary Magdalene looked in, two of them were sitting, one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain;' and at the crisis of the ascension itself, they are again present, instructing the men of Galilee in the further ways of Him who had just then gone up on high.
What hanging over the mercy-seat was all this What cherubim-gaze again and again was this! This utterance of the heavenly host in the fields of Bethlehem was not part of their ministry to man, but an act of worship to God. They were not then instructing the shepherds, or even formally addressing themselves to them; but breathing out the rapture in which their own spirits were held in thoughts of the One that had been then born. And so their attitude in the sepulcher. When Mary appears, they have, it is true, a word of sympathy for her; but there they were in the sepulcher before she had come, and there they would have been though she had never come. As the cherubim in the tabernacle had hung over the ark and mercy-seat, on either side one, so now in the sepulcher the angels hang over the place where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and the other at the feet.
What ways of seeing Jesus were these! As we read, God was manifest in the flesh-seen of angels.' Well may we, beloved, covet grace to have like utterances and like attitudes over Jesus. And well may we grieve over what in our hearts is short of this, great indeed as some of us know that to be. I believe that many of us need to be attracted more than we are wont to be, by. these things. Many of us have dwelt (if I may distinguish such things by Such terms) more in the light of the knowledge of the divine dispensations, than in the warmth of such mysteries as Bethlehem, the garden, and the Mount of Olives, revealed to the enraptured angels. But in this we have been losers —losers in much of that communion which marked the path and the spirit of others in other days.
My desire has been to turn to this great sight, led that way by the condition of things around and among us. Glorious, I need not say, is the object —the same Person, God manifest in the flesh,' followed by faith from the manger to the cross, from the cross through the grave up in resurrection, and thence to the present heavens, and eternal ages beyond them.