Hark The Herald Angels Say

by Dody Gibson

Angels! The word brings to mind a semblance of elusive creatures that live in the immediate presence of God. Although there are several descriptions given in the Bible, we cannot know their actual appearance. Isaiah describes some as having 6 wings: 2 to cover their face, 2 to cover their feet and 2 to enable them to fly. These did not rest day or night saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.” (Isa 6:1-3)

The word angel is a translation of a Hebrew term, which means ‘messenger.’ This seems to be their primary function during the time that God dealt directly with His people on earth. When making an appearance to mortals, they materialized in human form. So much so that often, they were thought to be travelers or strangers. Abraham washed their feet and fed them. (Gen 18:1-5) Other times their body or clothing was described as lightning. (Dan 10:6; Matt 28:2-3) Most of the mental picture we have of angels come from the creative minds of artists and their interpretation on canvas. Many of these are women, although the Bible calls them ‘men.’ However, in the information Jesus gave in Matt 22:30, it is inferred they are without gender.

One major point I wish to make in this study is that angels do not sing! Many hymns we use in worship include a phrase or some are titled as such. “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” is just one, for example. When I was first made aware of this fact, I went through the Bible looking at every place that I could remember where I thought angels sang: when they visited the shepherds at Jesus birth (Luke 2:13-14), Jacob's vision (Gen 28:12), the heavenly visit to Manoah and his wife (Jud 13:19), or Paul’s vision of Paradise when he heard “words” not possible for man to utter (2 Cor 12:4) and others.

Perhaps we are truly influenced by the many visual portrayals we see often of angels with halos, playing harps and singing in movies, books, TV or often on cards and displays at holiday times.

Therefore, if angels ‘say’ things but do not sing, according to the Scriptures, is it wrong for us to attribute that ability to them? What else could we add to the list without Biblical authority?

It does seem strange that as human creatures God created us with a rang of vocal tones and an ear to arrange them into pleasant phrases, adding words that provoke thought that is played over and over again in our minds as no mere spoken word can do. In all of this, perhaps we are able to praise God in a way that the heavenly angels do not. It is something to think about!

And that’s the Amazing Truth!


Millstadt, IL 62260

Dody Gibson See other articles by Dody Gibson