Do angels actually sing?
We are all familiar with the traditional Christmas hymns that tell us of the songs of angels at Christ’s birth.
Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plain…
Glories stream from heaven afar. Heavenly hosts sing, “Alleluia!”
Sing, choirs of angels; sing in exultation…
Alleluia! O how the angels sang!
…The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.
But does the Bible support the idea that angels sing? In all of their proclamations to man, angels speak, but the Bible does not mention them singing.
For example, when God rebukes Job, he states that the morning stars sang, but the angels shouted while the earth was being created.
On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone–while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
-Job 38:6-7 (NIV)
Another example is in the birth of Jesus. Here, the angels appeared in large numbers and said praises to God.
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
-Luke 2:13,14 (NIV)
So do angels sing? We can’t be sure. Just because the Bible doesn’t mention it doesn’t mean they don’t. We frequently give unseen things the attributes of things we can see. It helps us to associate with them.
There is one passage in Revelation that may allude to angels singing, but it does not specifically indicate that they are angels.
And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
-Revelation 5:8,9 (NIV)
In this case they are heavenly beings, but we don’t know if they were angels.
Does it matter if we incorrectly say that angels sing? Would God frown on it? Maybe not, but I wonder if the angels sometimes laugh at our attempt to understand heavenly things.