“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
– Luke 2:13-14
One of God’s names is “Lord of hosts.” This name of our Lord is used almost 250 times in Scripture. In Psalm 24:10, we read the wonderful words, “Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah” Now, many may overlook this great and awesome name of God because of what the English word “host” is associated with in our minds. However, “Lord of hosts” isn’t referring to God being the host of a party, or some kind of entertainer. No, in Hebrew, the word “host” is awe inducing and majestic. Lord of hosts is “Yahweh Sabaoth” meaning “Lord of the heavenly armies” or “God of the heavenly hosts.” Scripture teaches us that God is both the Creator and Lord over the heavenly angelic armies. When we think of angels, we may not think of them as being of the rank and file of God’s army, but they most definitely are.
Even when we read verses like those of our focus text above, we may not grasp that aspect and detail of the scene Luke painted in the angelic announcement of Christ’s birth to the shepherds. A vast number of the angelic armies appeared to the shepherds, with the original angel who uttered the first words to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid”, in verse 10. Fear is a common emotion that comes upon people who encounter angels in the Scriptures. It makes sense. They are different beings than us, etc., etc. However, on top of that, considering the presence that a multitude of the heavenly army of God demanded, would have very likely added to the fear factor.
God also expands our knowledge of the heavenly angelic armies as we are informed of a commander of that great host. In Revelation 12, we are told of a great battle in Heaven as Michael, the archangel, and his angels warred against Satan and his angels.
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (vv. 7-9)
What was the outcome? Satan and his angels lost the battle. Michael and his army were victorious. Whereas heaven was once a place where Satan accused God’s people (Job 1-2), the Devil and his angels were thrown down to earth (Daniel 10), where he would and does continue to accuse the brethren. See how this battle parallels Satan’s failure to destroy Christ. It paints a great picture of what happened as a result of Jesus’ person and work for us. What was the response in heaven? We hear a call to praise.
“Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” (vv. 10-12)
Christ dealt the death blow to the Devil. Never forget this! Therefore, we stand in Christ against him, believing and trusting His work for us, proclaiming the powerful testimony of His work in the Gospel. Praise the Lord of hosts and look forward to the time when we will be with the heavenly host worshiping and praising God face to face forever and ever! (1 Corinthians 13:12)