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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Do Angels Sing?

A few days ago I was at choir rehearsal, practicing for the Christmas production coming up in a few weeks, and someone told me that there is nowhere in the Bible that it says that angels sing, despite Christmas carols misrepresenting this passage (which, you will notice, says the angels were praising God and saying, not singing). I immediately thought of a passage I recently read in Revelation which I knew had an awful lot of praising in it, but as it turns out, in my ESV it only mentions singing one time, although they do a lot of "saying" in that passage.

So who is singing? Well, it's "the 24 elders" who sit around God's throne, and four "living creatures." Apparently there are folks who believe the 24 elders are angels, but I don't really buy that... if they were angels, how could there be "elders"? I've never heard anything that would lead me to believe that any angels are older than any others. On the other hand, what about those creatures? The description of them in Revelation resembles descriptions in Isaiah (who specifies that he is describing seraphim, a kind of angel) and Ezekiel (who also calls them "living creatures"), but neither of those prophets exactly describes the creatures as John describes them in Revelation, so I'm not sure we can consider them seraphim, or even angels at all. It could be argued that they actually are just some very unusual creatures that live in Heaven!

So that's no good, so I asked the almighty Google for answers. Here are some scriptures that people use as proof that angels sing:

Job 38:4-7 - assuming the "sons of God" are angels, which I think is iffy given this.

Jeremiah 51:48 - assuming that angels are either in the heavens or on Earth, which seems like a fairly good bet to me.

Isaiah 49:13 also mentions "the heavens" singing.

I would consider all of these good college tries at it, but I can't see any of them as being conclusive. So are angels melodious, or tone-deaf? The Bible doesn't seem to care enough to clear it up for us. I guess we'll just have to wait and see! And while we're waiting, there are plenty of places where it encourages us to sing our praises to God!


B. Knox said...

I haven't read your blog - I just came here as a result of searching angels singing. As far as "sons of God," earlier in Job, Satan is included in the "sons of God" who appear before God (Job 1:5). Obviously, this is different than the "only begotten" son. IMO, this gives credence to the interpretation of "sons of God" as angels. Also, Lucifer is referred to as "son of the morning" in Isaiah, so together, I infer that the morning stars and sons of God in Job 38 are angels.

TulsaMJ said...

I assume by "I haven't read your blog" you do not mean "I haven't even bothered to read this entry in your blog but I'm going to comment on it anyway!" As to the Job 38 thing... you may have a point there, but whether the "sons of God" mentioned are angels or not, they're still not singing (they are "shouting for joy," aren't they?) Now, that verse would seem to exhibit some poetic paralellism, so in that case the "morning stars" and the "sons of God" are the same thing, and the sons of God are indeed singing.

Anonymous said...

In Job 38:7, Jer 51:48, and Is 49:13 the word translated as "sang" is Strong's Hebrew 7442, which means "to overcome, to SHOUT for joy, to cry out". It doesn't mean "sing" as we think of the word. Every scripture that talks about angels singing uses this word that means "shout, proclaim, cry out".

Singing songs in Bible is only done by humans. Shocking, isn't it? I was stunned when I researched it. Reference

Xanthorpe said...

Greetings Michael - I happened across this blog quite by accident as I was searching around Google asking the question, "Do angels sing?"

A week or so ago, David Jeremiah wrapped up his study on angels and he has drawn the same conclusion as VGress, based on the syntax of original Scriptural texts.

Frankly, this is one of those questions that may only be interesting to Small Group teachers like me. It is controversial enough to stimulate spirited discussion in our gatherings yet in no way challenges anyone's understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Having said all that, I've 'followed' your blog and will drop in from time to time to see how your walk with the Lord is progressing.

God Bless,


Anonymous said...

Where does it say angels do not sing?

TulsaMJ said...

The question is not whether the Bible says that angels DO NOT sing... the question is whether the Bible ever actually says they DO sing. But you're right, "Anonymous" who will likely never come back and see this: it doesn't ever say they "do not" sing.

Anonymous said...

I believe Angles have sang, they will sing, but they do not sing. I think That angles sang at the creation of the earth, they will sing when Christ reigns on earth, but they have not sang since the fall of man. I know of two verses that mention the heavens singing. One at creation and the other after judgment.

The Metal Minister said...

Good points, I just got done commenting in one of my blogs about angels not singing and this morning came across Job 38:7. I google searched and found your post. It is nice to find support on a controversial topic! The Hebrew word translated sing is not really sing. Thanks for tackling this subject.

Anonymous said...

What does the song "say?" - the word saying does not necessarily mean they did not sing, it is merely recording what was "said" in song or voice or in multiple voices. But whether sung or said "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!"