With awe we beheld the work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the creation of the boundless reaches of the universe. Power beyond all power called into being the whirling galaxies. When God rested in His work, praise broke forth from every sector of heaven's broad expanse. Our joy knew no bounds. God paused over a spot in space and spoke into existence a tiny planet called earth. So insignificant was its size that I thought it of little importance in the immensity of God's creation.
Then in the midst of order and tranquility came the hiss of rebellion.
An angel cornered me and said, "Lucifer has found what he calls a better way! He wants to establish a new domain. He's chosen you for an important post in the new order. But you need to swear allegiance to Lucifer. You will no longer deliver messages; instead you will devise them."
The angel was right. I had lived under God's complete control, but this had never caused me concern before that moment's subtle temptation. But my joy came from fellowship with God and obedience to His will. I could not ask to be other than what He formed me to be.
Some of my friends disagreed, and an insurrection swept our ranks. I fled to God for protection when Lucifer, his face distorted, attacked with his cohorts. For the first time ever, I felt the flush of fear.
But perfect love casts out all fear, and I soon knew that God would triumph. No created force could usurp the place of its Creator. The rebellion must fail!
With a final burst of willful pride Lucifer stormed the heights. But such heights he never found again. He was cast downward in judgment, along with his legions.
Heaven grew quiet and stood cleansed.
Confirmation of Angels
We angels who remained were ready to serve throughout a universe infested with the fallen angels. God judicially hardened the fallen angels in perpetual evil. Lucifer, disgraced, became Satan, the accuser, whose every activity carries deceit.
Earth and Adam
With heaven cleansed, the Spirit of God hovered over the earth's surface, and He spoke it into being-a brilliant shining globe that teemed with life.
In rapt attention we watched God's unique creation unfold. A man. A woman.
"They are almost what we are," Michael said. What joy to see the sweet communion between these two and God in the paradise of Eden.
Then Satan slithered into the Garden, beguiling the man and the woman, and they sinned. God's friends were fallen.
"Where will they fall when they are cast down from the earth?" I asked Michael.
No one spoke. God was pronouncing judgment on the man and woman, but a judgment that was softer than what the fallen angels had received. They were not hurled from the planet. Instead God expelled them from the Garden.
"I have made you and the woman enemies," God said to Satan. "The child of the woman will be the enemy of your kind. The child of the woman will crush your head and you will bruise his heel." We looked forward to this mortal combat, but wondered why God had not crushed Satan at the time of the rebellion. Michael stood by me as we beheld the birth of earth's first son. Eve called the child Cain.
Michael laughed at the infant and cried, "How could anything so insignificant hope to defeat the power of the great dragon?"
When Abel, the second son, was born, Michael proclaimed, "I do not understand the plan of God. If all of earth were covered with these children, they would be no match for Satan and his legions."
Then Cain killed Abel. Yet when Seth was born he-and his immediate descendants-worshiped God.
We saw the mingling of the lines of Seth and Cain. Demonic consorts sought a super race. Earth was flooded with evil until in the flood of waters God's grace was exhausted and only Noah and his family lived.
Abraham and Israel
In the new generations God called a people to be faithful to Him through Abraham. And Michael was appointed as the protector for the new nation.
We saw the giving of the Law and the Law broken by the new family of God's people. We marveled at the beginning of animal sacrifices for the forgiveness of human sins.
We beheld the rise of Israel's kings and their demise. And we heard the promise of a perpetual King, the Messiah, who would come through King David's royal line. Michael fought against Satan's efforts to destroy the line and abort God's promise.
Israel, adulterous and rebellious, was captured by surrounding nations.
In Babylon God sent me twice to deliver messages to Daniel, a man of prophecy and prayer. First, I went to him during the reign of the evil Babylonian king, Belshazzar. Then in the first year of Darius, the king of the Medo-Persians, God heard Daniel's prayer and sent me to arrive before the prayer ended with the prophecy of the seventy "weeks" of years about the future of Israel.
As the prophecy unfolded more than four hundred earth years later, I was sent to announce to the aged priest, Zechariah, the miracle birth of his son, John, who would serve as the Messiah's forerunner. Heaven stirred in anticipation.
Six months later God sent me to Nazareth to a humble virgin.
"Greetings, Mary, you have found favor with God! The Lord is with you."
Startled, she jumped away from me.
"You have nothing to fear," I said, "because the favor of God has found you. God has a wonderful surprise for you. You will conceive and give birth to a son. You will name Him Jesus, and He will be proclaimed the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His ancestor, David, and He will rule over the house of Jacob forever. His kingdom will have no end."
"How can this be possible, for I am a virgin?"
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Your child will be holy and will be called the Son of God. Your cousin, Elizabeth, is pregnant with a son in her old age. People called her barren, but she is now in her sixth month. For with God nothing is impossible."
"Yes, I am the willing bondslave of the Lord," she said. "Let everything happen to me just as you have said."
I returned to God's presence. A hush passed over heaven as the holy Son-in perfect obedience to the Father's will-stepped aside from His royal position and power. Much as the Spirit had hovered in creative power over the world, so now He hovered over the young virgin. Divine majesty was confined as an embryo within the virgin's womb. The Creator became one with His creation.
God dispatched us to earth to announce the Messiah's humble birth. We sang in praise and adoration, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests!"
Ministry of Christ
In humility the young child lived in submission to Mary and Joseph. Jesus toiled in common labor in Joseph's carpenter shop. At Jesus' baptism God the Father confirmed Jesus' messiahship by sending the Holy Spirit on Him in full measure. After Jesus, our Lord, had proven His character by defeating Satan on the Mount of Temptation, some of us were allowed to minister to His physical exhaustion.
It was then I realized Jesus was the one spoken of when the man and the woman were expelled from the Garden. He was the seed of the woman who would deal Satan a mortal wound. He had defeated Satan in heaven; now He would defeat him on earth. You understand that we angels love to look into such things.
Christ's Death and Resurrection
Yet none of us could comprehend why so many of earth's people treated Jesus as they did. They arrested, falsely accused, and crucified Him. He died and was buried. We had been prepared to sing anthems at His coronation as King of kings, but instead gloom settled over us.
The demons laughed and taunted us with vile suggestions. "The tide has turned! We have launched a counteroffensive! Watch now for our new assault on the throne!"
Then we beheld the glorious resurrection of the slain Son of God. One of our angels rolled the stone from the tomb and cried in triumph, "He is not here! He is risen just as He said He would!"
Heaven erupted in praise. Satan, the prince of death, had received the mortal wound.
Christ's Return to Heaven
We awaited the return of the Son to His seat at the right hand of God the Father and were amazed at the new splendor the Father showered on the Son at His return.
"When I think of Satan and his pride," Michael said, "and remember the humility of Jesus, my heart almost bursts with love."
"I saw the Savior go forth from heaven knowing what He must face on earth," I said. "He desired only the joy of doing the Father's will. He became one of them so that He might serve and save them. Now I understand the importance of the animal sacrifices. Every animal the people sacrificed pointed to Jesus, the Lamb of God who died for the sins of the people. He became the final sacrifice. No more animals had to die. What a wonderful plan!"
Michael and I, along with all of heaven, rejoice now when sinners believe that Jesus died for them and rose from the dead for their salvation. We often remind ourselves, and we remind you, that joy in its deepest sense comes only from the worship of God and obedient service to His will. So has it been from the beginning. So will it ever be.
If you could see as we see the agony of despair on the faces of Satan and his legions, you would never seek for joy in sin again. You would find true joy in fellowship with God and obedience to His will.