Practising the Attitudes of Heavenly Society

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By John Thiel

Psalm 103:20 Bless the LORD, ye angels, that excel in strength, that do commandments, hearkening unto the voice of word. 21 Bless ye the LORD, all [ye] his hosts; [ye] ministers of his, that do his pleasure.

To be in the Holy City living in the society of heaven is for us to consider so that we might know what to prepare for it.  We are to be preparing to be in that society and the attitudes that society has. We had established in our last study that the foremost principle in preparation is to embrace the attitude that the society of heaven has towards sinners.

God’s Attitude to Sinners

1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.

What sort of an attitude exists in heaven? Beings that are prepared to lay down their life for whom? For sinners. He loved us while we were yet sinners and that is the kind of attitude and mentality that we should have here on earth in preparation to be there. Observe the Attitudes of the angels towards those who have compassion to their fellow man.

Angels are watching with intense interest to see how man is dealing with his fellow men. When they see one manifest Christlike sympathy for the erring, they press to his side and bring to his remembrance words to speak that will be as the bread of life to the soul. {COL 148.4}

The angels are watching with intense interest and they press close to these people. Do you want the angels pressing close to you?

When heavenly intelligences see those who claim to be the sons and daughters of God putting forth Christlike efforts to help the erring, manifesting a tender, sympathetic spirit for the repentant and the fallen, angels press close to them, and bring to their remembrance the very words that will soothe and uplift the soul. {RH, June 30, 1896 par. 1}

What will they do? Bring to your remembrances words that sooth the soul.

Holy angels are on the track of every one of us. We are not to despise the least of God’s little ones, not to exact homage from any one toward ourselves. The angels are all ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. Shall we be privileged to co-operate with heavenly intelligences? Will God accept us as light bearers to the world? {RH, June 30, 1896 par. 1}

Angels have a very sensitive nature. Behold the manner of this kind of nature that heaven is made up of so hopefully as we look at this in detail, ponder it so it may rub off on us. This is my prayer that we may look till it rubs off on us.

The Society of Heaven

By the power of His love, through obedience, fallen man, a worm of the dust, is to be transformed, fitted to be a member of the heavenly family, a companion through eternal ages of God and Christ and the holy angels. {UL 61.7}

A companion in eternal ages, companions with this society, the society of God the Father and Christ the holy angels. It doesn’t mention the Holy Spirit but he is already a companion with us now. He comes and dwells close to us and if we will, let him in. We are worms, every one of us and we to be transformed into the companionship of the celestial land. There is only one way we can ever come so close.

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.

We are to be changed by beholding His glory. By beholding this family we can then be changed from this earthly wormliness to celestial joy. Examine closely what it’s like to be there. God so loved that He gave. God so loved that He gave His son and Jesus gave Himself while we were yet sinners. He, the Majesty of heaven, Who could wipe us out with a single revelation of his glory, Who can destroy just like that. When you walk in the garden and you see a snail, what do you do? God could do that with us. When I see the pests I don’t like I squash them, and God could do that with us pests too but He made us in His image originally.  Here we are sinners and what did He do? He came down and became a worm.

Psalms 22:6 But I [am] a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

After all that, after this mentality of giving Himself to us, having done all that we read, His attitude hasn’t changed. He has seen how people crucified Christ. What is His attitude to this sin loving world? The apostle refers to the destruction in the flood and another is coming.

2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of unGodly men.

God can squelch as the blood is coming to the horses bridle in Armageddon but no;

2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

It’s been over 2000 years ago that he gave his life. He could have destroyed many times already but why is he delaying? These sinners that are in need of being corrected he is patiently long suffering with. How long suffering are you with each other? How long suffering and patient are you with the mistakes of each other? God is waiting that as many as will come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of unGodly men. 8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and Godliness,

Having displayed to us Godliness in His longsuffering, what should we be like?  This is the society head that we are looking at. To save us in our tardy responses, responding to Him so tardily and so slowly, He is waiting for that.  We gaze and contemplate upon this glory.

God will test the character on every point. He has a Father’s heart, and He bears long with His children. In His dealings with the children of Israel He pleaded with them in mercy and love. Patiently He set their sins before them, and in forbearance waited for them to see and acknowledge their wrongs. {UL 298.2}

We are turned to the children of Israel in the above reading. How long was He patient with them? What a gory picture of a people who were so stiff necked. He knew they were wrong and patiently He showed them their sins.

When they repented and confessed their sins, He forgave them; and though the offense was oft repeated, there were no taunting words spoken, no resentment expressed. {UL 298.2}

We are looking at a society that is headed by this mentality. When someone repents, He forgives them.  Can you see what sort of a God we have? What are you like? What are we like? You can forgive a person but when they hurt you again and again and they say sorry but do it again and you forgive them but they do it again. How patient are you? God is patient. To forgive even though it is repeated again and again the same sin, there were no taunting words. Is that what you do when things keep on going wrong? Can you see? Let us look at the glory and let it rub off. Besides this person that God is, the Holy Spirit comes into our life and what does He do in trying to help us?

John 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

Can we even bear what I am sharing with you here? It is time we to bear it as it is not long before the Lord comes. Jesus says I have many things to tell you but you can’t wear them now so I’m going to send you another Comforter.

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show [it] unto you.

Can you pick up the mentality of this society? He the Holy Spirit, God Himself, the Third Person will not speak of Himself. He will represent you to another- Jesus – and He will guide you patiently through all the things you find so hard to bear. We want to have companionship in eternity with these wonderful Beings.

Another Dimension of this Society

Revelation 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed an hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

The angels, these mighty angels, hold the winds of destruction which we know are powerful. The winds and the waves are roaring, if you get caught up in it you will die. The cyclones, tornadoes. These angels are so powerful that if a tsunami is to come they can say no, no let it stop, not yet. Powerful creatures. They are demonstrating some fantastic compassion. The other angels say hold it as we have to still work to prepare a people to stand protected. They have to prepare a people to seal them in their forehead. They are at work to seal the servants of our God in their foreheads. What they are saying? We are serving our God and we are doing what God is telling us to do.

Examine the Angels, What Are They Like?

What are these angels like and what is their task?

Psalms 103:20 Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.

These angels that excel in strength and power, what are they dong with their great power? They are excising the power as they are instructed to do. They do his commandments, they listen to his voice. They are mighty powerful angels that excel in strength that they can control the earth’s element. They are so strong they could strike a city with the touch of a sword and the whole city would crumble.

Luke 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

The shepherds were watching their flocks and the angels came down and the shepherds were trembled.

The Power and Glory of the Angels

The angel was destroying and as he was he was listening to God.

1 Chronicles 21:15 And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.

As he was destroying hundreds and thousands of people;

1 Chronicles 21:16 And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders [of Israel, who were] clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces.

We hear so many stories of how angels are so gentle, so lovely and they are indeed but here we are looking at the fact that the angels are no weaklings. If the angel appeared here and showed his destructive force, we would all be dead. They are no weaklings.

A single angel destroyed all the first-born of the Egyptians and filled the land with mourning. When David offended against God by numbering the people, one angel caused that terrible destruction by which his sin was punished. The same destructive power exercised by holy angels when God commands, will be exercised by evil angels when He permits. There are forces now ready, and only waiting the divine permission, to spread desolation everywhere. {GC 614.2}

The good angels, to destroy when God command; and the evil angels to destroy when God permits. Embrace that power, that overwhelming destructive capability and at the same time.

2 Peter 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous [are they], selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.

Puny little man is so ready to sprout forth and attack dignities but angels who have more power, what do they do? Are you cogitating? If you had great power, great position, if you had the power to do what the angels did, right here and now and someone withstood you to your face, someone started attacking you, wanting to punch you up, what would you do with your power? We have positions in the church, and if you were in leadership and wrongs were being done against you, what did the angels do with their power? They could have gone to God and said look at what they did? But what did they do? They bring no railing accusation against them before the Lord.  Behold the character of the angels. Look at them more closely, these mighty angels that would not even pick on you if you did something against them.

Matthew 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

The angels that look after Gods little ones, what are they doing in heaven? They are just gazing upon God. They are absolutely transfixed in looking and gazing upon God’s face. Have you ever seen someone totally in love with someone else they can’t stop looking at them? That is what the angels are like. The angels are not embarrassed to gaze and stare upon the one they love.  Can you pick up the mentality? The society of heaven. You can hear their action as they admire God.

Isaiah 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the LORD of hosts: the whole earth [is] full of his glory.

What are they doing? They are exonerating God to each other. Look at God, repeating holy, holy, holy. Is it empty repetition? No. Every time they see another aspect of God’s glory they say holy again. They gaze upon His face, they love Him, they expound to each other His glory. The angels love to bow before God. They love to be near him. They regard communion with God as their highest joy. Are we picking up on the mentality of the society of heaven?

True Obedience Motivated by Love

The angels can’t help but to keep their eyes locked on the Father in heaven.

The will of God is expressed in the precepts of His holy law, and the principles of this law are the principles of heaven. The angels of heaven attain unto no higher knowledge than to know the will of God, and to do His will is the highest service that can engage their powers. {MB 109.1}

Not only are they gazing in admiration of God but the most important thing in their life is to know His will.

But in heaven, service is not rendered in the spirit of legality. When Satan rebelled against the law of Jehovah, the thought that there was a law came to the angels almost as an awakening to something unthought of. In their ministry the angels are not as servants, but as sons. There is perfect unity between them and their Creator. Obedience is to them no drudgery. Love for God makes their service a joy. So in every soul wherein Christ, the hope of glory, dwells, His words are re-echoed, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Psalm 40:8. {MB 109.2}

How many people have said to me do I really have to dress and eat like that? Do I really have to come out of the world and not do this and that? Do I have to love my brother and my sister? Do I have to? The angels don’t even think like that. They demonstrate a perfectly love motivated appearance.

Psalm 24:7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who [is] this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift [them] up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He [is] the King of glory. Selah.

Do you know what this is? When Jesus was picked up by the angels to go back to heaven, they were crying to the gate keepers and as they cried out, the gate keepers knew who this was but said what? Who is this King of glory? They wanted it repeated again and again. Can you see here that the angels are childlike and yet powerful? Have you ever seen a picture of an elephant rampaging towards a person and comes up with one foot up and touches the person with his trunk? This is only a small imagery of these angels that are tender and loving and compassionate as a tender new born child. The gates that were to be open and the gate keepers were to come in, what are gate keepers for?

There is perfect order and harmony in the Holy City. All the angels that are commissioned to visit the earth hold a golden card, which they present to the angels at the gates of the city as they pass in and out. {EW 39.2}

Can’t they come in and out as they please? There is perfect order among the angels. They are doing everything in order even with golden cards so they can go in and out the gates. They are so keen to do the bidding of their God in precise obedience to God they exercise perfect submission to one another.

The Submission of the Angels Towards one Another

Jesus was attacked by the Jews.

The disciples were afraid of their own lives, and fled one this way, and the other that, and Jesus was left alone. O what triumph of Satan then! And what sadness and sorrow with the angels of God! Many companies of holy angels, with each a tall commanding angel at their head, were sent to witness the scene. They were to record every act, every insult and cruelty imposed upon the Son of God, and to register every pang of anguish which Jesus should suffer; for the very men should see it all again in living characters.  {1SG 48.2}

What were the angels doing there? They had video cameras of a different nature than we have as they were recording detail of every direction so it would be played back again one day. They had a commanding angel over them all.

There stood Jesus, meek and humble before the infuriated multitude, while they offered him the meanest abuse. They spit in his face–that face which they will one day desire to be hid from, {1SG 51.1}

As they were taking record of this there was commotion among the angels, they were getting agitated.

There was commotion among the angels. They would have rescued him instantly; but their commanding angel restrained them. {1SG 51.1}

Do you like being restrained by another servant? I will only be restrained by God some people say but a commanding angel restrained them.  There is another restraining at the end in the time of trouble;

Soon after they had commenced their earnest cry, the angels, in sympathy would have gone to their deliverance. But a tall, commanding angel suffered them not. Said he, The will of God is not yet fulfilled. They must drink of the cup. They must be baptized with the baptism. {1SG 187.1}

Here is the key. Why would they be submissive to one another? Because they all love God and anyone who was telling them to do something was doing what God told them. Here is a perfect society where everyone can trust each other as they love God. When God sends a commanding angel they do as they are told even though they would like to go into protect as their childlike nature can’t bear what they are seeing but they are commanded to let it go.

No unpleasant words are spoken in heaven. There no unkind thoughts are cherished. There envy, evil surmising, hatred, and strife find no place. Perfect harmony pervades the heavenly courts. {UL 163.3}

What is their mission as they are doing this work?  We have just seen what they are like, the power, the overwhelming strength, yet the sympathy, childlike mentality of praising God unashamedly.

Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

No wonder the angel that said to the four angels that were holding the winds said until WE have sealed them in their foreheads. That is their mission and mandate. Have a look at it. Keep on looking it might rub off and help us in our relationships with one another. ]

The work of these heavenly beings is to prepare the inhabitants of this world to become children of God, pure, holy, undefiled. {7BC 923.2}

What is their work? The very work we are commanded to do. They are there to seal and prepare us. As I’m preparing to meet my God the angels are commissioned to do this work.

But men, though professing to be followers of Christ, do not place themselves in a position where they can understand this ministry, and thus the work of the heavenly messengers is made hard. The angels, who do always  behold the face of the Father in heaven, would prefer to remain close by the side of God, in the pure and holy atmosphere of heaven; but a work must be done in bringing this heavenly atmosphere to the souls who are tempted and tried, that Satan may not disqualify them for the place the Lord would have them fill in the heavenly courts. {7BC 923.2}

We give the angels a hard time. The angels are dealing with us; let it sink it when we are giving them a hard time.

The angels of glory find their joy in giving,–giving love and tireless watchcare to souls that are fallen and unholy. Heavenly beings woo the hearts of men; they bring to this dark world light from the courts above; by gentle and patient ministry they move upon the human spirit, to bring the lost into a fellowship with Christ which is even closer than they themselves can know. {DA 21.1}

They are not jealous? We worms, we sinners, that can hardly bear each other, they bear with us and keep on trying to work with us to bring us into an intimacy with God that they themselves don’t even know.

The angels of God are communicating with and guarding His people, and are pressing back the powers of darkness that they shall not have any control over those who shall be heirs of salvation. Are we working in harmony with the angels? This is the line of communication the Lord has established with the children of men. {HP 98.6}

They are bringing us into a communion that we can never know. The angels are so powerful yet so gentle, what should our deliberation be as we gaze upon this amazing society with their attitude? What should be ours if we are going to be there? Exactly the same. When we are like that, then God will take us and the angels will protect us. We now have little time left to embrace this kind of mentality to open our hearts and spirits to the angelic celestial harmonies. If we are going to dwell and enjoy that harmony there;

Those who expect to sing in an entertainment spend time in practicing, to familiarize themselves with the music and the words. That we may learn how to serve the Lord in heaven, we must enter His service now, becoming acquainted with Him and learning to be faithful servants. . . . {UL 292.3}

We are to practise for the confined demonstration of living in that society. We are to practise to be acquainted like someone who acquaint themself with the melody of a song. We are to familiarise ourselves in exactly that way with the society of heaven.

The Angels are Our Fellowservants

If they are our fellowservants unity with us;

Let none suppose that they can live a life of selfishness, and then, having served their own interests, enter into the joy of their Lord. In the joy of unselfish love they could not participate. They would not be fitted for the heavenly courts. They could not appreciate the pure atmosphere of love that pervades heaven. The voices of the angels and the music of their harps would not satisfy them. To their minds the science of heaven would be as an enigma. {COL 364.2}

If we haven’t changed here, do you know what is written? You would criticise even the angels. If we are prepared to criticise each other here, we would even be prepared to criticise the angels. We would even find fault in heaven if we haven’t learnt not to find fault here. Finding fault is a very dangerous thing. You would even find fault with someone who isn’t doing it right as it doesn’t meet your expectations.

The Communication of the Heavenly Universe

As you acquaint yourself with this kind of attitude, acquaint yourself by practise as you read God’s word that you may be able to be acquainted and experience that kind of thing in heaven.

With the word of God in his hands, every human being, wherever his lot in life may be cast, may have such companionship as he shall choose. In its pages he may hold converse with the noblest and best of the human race, and may listen to the voice of the Eternal as He speaks with men. As he studies and meditates upon the themes into which “the angels desire to look” (1 Peter 1:12), he may have their companionship. He may follow the steps of the heavenly Teacher, and listen to His words as when He taught on mountain and plain and sea. He may dwell in this world in the atmosphere of heaven, imparting to earth’s sorrowing and tempted ones thoughts of hope and longings for holiness; himself coming closer and still closer into fellowship with the Unseen; like him of old who walked with God, drawing nearer and nearer the threshold of the eternal world, until the portals shall open, and he shall enter there. He will find himself no stranger. The voices that will greet him are the voices of the holy ones, who, unseen, were on earth his companions–voices that here he learned to distinguish and to love. He who through the word of God has lived in fellowship with heaven, will find himself at home in heaven’s companionship. {Ed 127.1}

God grant us a deliberate activity that we will engage in to make this statement a reality to us.

Amen.

Posted on February 24, 2010, in Angels and Heaven, Divine Service Sermons, Forgiveness and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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