Before Others in Heaven

This is a subsidiary post of Various Biblical Terms That Describe the Posture of Faith.

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Although the Lord is by far the most important person in heaven as far as we or anyone else is concerned, He is not the only person in heaven.  That is, He is the most important person by far in our audience, but He is not the only person in our audience.

In other words, we humans are not on display for the Lord alone.  Our audience is vast (see especially Hebrews 12:22-24 below).

Matthew 10:30  –  “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”  –  Does God lack servants such that He has to attend to such chores Himself?  And if the angels are able to count the hairs on our heads are they not able to see the rest of us?

Matthew 14:9 (also in Mark 6:26)  –  Although God is certainly not evil, in this story of King Herod and his dinner guests we have an analogy of God and His court viewing the earth, as is described explicitly in Job 1:8 and surrounding below.

Matthew 16:23  –  “Get behind Me, Satan!”  –  Peter had just dramatically confessed the true identity of Jesus in Matthew 16:16.  Already Satan has corrupted Peter’s thinking.  This is consistent with what Jesus taught about Satan’s ways in Mark 4:15 below.

Matthew 18:2  –  “He called a child to Himself and set him before them”  –  Here is an analogy of us before the Lord and others who are in heaven.

Matthew 18:10  –  “do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”  –  Acts 12:15 below indicates that apparently we do not lose our angels when we grow older.

Matthew 18:31  –  “So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.”  –  There’s an analogy here.

Mark 4:15  –  “immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them”  –  How does Satan come immediately to take away the word from us if he’s oblivious to us?  See how quickly he got to Peter in Matthew 16:23 above.

Luke 12:7  –  Regarding “hairs on your head,” see note on Matthew 10:30 above.
Luke 12:8  –  “confess him also before the angels of God”  –  Consider in light of Job 1:8 below.
Luke 12:9  –  “denied before the angels of God”

Comparing the parallel passages of Luke 12:8-9 and Matthew 10:32-33 indicates that references to God and angels do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Luke 15:10  –  “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents”  –  How can the angels rejoice at such an event unless they are paying attention to us?

Luke 15:18 (see also Luke 15:21)  –  “I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight”  –  Viewing this statement in the context of Luke 15:7 and 10, it seems clear that “heaven” implies more than just God are watching us.  See also the note on Luke 12:8-9 above.

Luke 22:3 (same as John 13:27)  –  “And Satan entered into Judas [Isacariot]”  –  How could this be possible unless Satan had been tracking Judas?  In this regard, see 1 Peter 5:8 below.

Luke 22:31  –  “Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat”  –  Compare to Job 1:8 and surrounding below.  See also note on 1 Peter 5:8 below.

John 13:27  –  “Satan then entered into [Judas Iscariot]”  –  See Luke 22:3 above.

Acts 12:15  –  “It is his angel.”  –  Peter is not the only one who has an angel: see Matthew 18:10 above and Hebrews 1:14 below.

Acts 19:15  –  “And the evil spirit answered and said to them, ‘I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?'”  –  Some of us have more notoriety among the angels than others.  Just because someone is not famous on earth does not mean he cannot be famous in heaven.

1 Corinthians 4:9  –  “For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.”  –  2 Chronicles 16:9 implies that the crowds of heaven gather where there’s something worth watching.

1 Corinthians 11:10  –  “because of the angels”  –  We may not fully understand what Paul is saying here, but it’s clear that he’s describing angels as present and observant…and that the things we do or don’t do have an effect on them.

Ephesians 3:10  –  “so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.”  –  This statement sounds similar to 1 Peter 1:12 below.

Hebrews 1:14  –  “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?”  –  How are these beings going to render service for the sake of people of whom they are unaware?

Hebrews 4:16  –  What throne doesn’t have attendants?  And are those attendants unaware of us when we approach?

Hebrews 12:1  –  “since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us”

Hebrews 12:22, 23, 24  –  “and to myriads of angels”

1 Peter 1:12  –  “these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things into which angels long to look.”  –  This sounds similar to Ephesians 3:10 above.

1 Peter 5:8  –  “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  –  Isn’t this how Satan found Peter and “demanded permission to sift [him] like wheat” (Luke 22:31 above)?  And isn’t it how he found and ultimately “entered Judas” (Luke 22:3 above)?

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2 Samuel 12:14  –  “because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme”  –  Considering Job 1:8 and surrounding below, our wrongdoing gives Satan the opportunity to gloat before God in heaven.

2 Kings 6:16  –  “those who are with us are more than those who are with them”
2 Kings 6:17  –  “‘O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see’…the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”  –  Obviously, there’s more activity in heaven surrounding us that we are aware of.

Esther 1:11  –  “to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown in order to display her beauty to the people and the princes”  –  King Ahasuerus wanted the beauty of his queen to be displayed before his court.  This is an analogy for the Lord wanting to display the righteous beauty of His bride to the heavenly retinue.

Job 1:8  –  “The LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job?'”

Psalm 34:7  –  “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.”  –

Psalm 138:1  –  I will sing praises to You before the gods”  –  Lower-case “gods” is a reference to heavenly beings other than God – in most cases, that means angels.

Ecclesiastes 5:6  –  “Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake.”  –  The word “angel” in Hebrews means “messenger.”

Isaiah 6:3  –  After all, the Lord is the Lord “of hosts” and this implies much more than just the seraphim we read about in this passage (Isaiah 6:1-7) and the cherubim we read about in Isaiah 37:16.

Daniel 4:13  –  “an angelic watcher”

Daniel 4:17  –  “the angelic watchers”

Daniel 4:23  –  “an angelic watcher”

Daniel 12:1  –  “Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people”  –  In Jude 1:9, Michael is called an “archangel.”  In any case, he could not very well have stood guard over people of who he had no awareness of them.

Malachi 1:6  –  “if I am a father, where is My honor”  –  A father is honored not just by what the son does before him, but by what the son does before others who know the father.

 

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