Question: The Bible says that angels long to understand the mystery of God’s plan of salvation. Was Gabriel’s announcement to Mary and Joseph of the Incarnation, and Jesus’ coming as earth’s Savior and future eternal king, unknown to the other angels?
Behind this question is this verse from 1 Peter:
1Pet. 1:12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
It is true that Gabriel apparently understood a great deal about Jesus’ divine nature and his role in God’s plan of salvation (Lk. 1:31-33; Matt. 1:20ff.). And it also appears that angels can learn from and exchange information with each other much as humans do:
Dan. 8:13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?”
But the “things” Peter referred to “into which angels long to look” refers to something more than the basic outline of God’s plan of salvation. There is a knowledge based upon our experience in Christ that no angel can ever enter into. We know, for example, that a select group of people in heaven will have a song of praise unique to them:
Rev. 14:3 …and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
In a similar way, the experience of true followers of Jesus is unique. It is so unique that no angel can ever identify with it, but only observe it with awe and wonder. Consider just this brief list:
· No angel’s sins are forgiven by Jesus’ shed blood (Eph. 1:7).
· No angel is ever made a new creature in Christ (2Cor. 5:17).
· No angel is the “temple” of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1Cor. 6:19).
· No angel will ever be resurrected from the dead (1Cor. 15:21).
· No angel will be made like Christ when He Returns (1Jn. 3:2)
· No angel will be among the children of God revealed in glory before all creation (Rom. 8:19).
Even though Gabriel is ranked very high among the other angels—the “rulers and authorities in heavenly places” (Eph. 3:10)—his announcement to Mary was that of a messenger. And one day, when Jesus is established on His throne over all creation with His people, the church, serving as kings and priests forever at His side, it will be the angels who will receive from us the full message of God’s wonderful grace—
Eph. 3:10 …so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.