View from the other side

 
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Hi! I’m Raphael, and I’d like to share a little bit about what Jesus’ second coming meant to us angels. I still remember the event as if it had happened yesterday. The chief angel Gabriel had called all of us angels together—all of us, that is, except the ones who’d been sent to earth to protect God’s people from the ferocious attacks of a wicked world during the few days and weeks before Jesus’ return. The reason Gabriel called together those who remained in heaven was to organise us for our descent to earth with Jesus. It’s really impossible to put into human language the excitement that pervaded the crowd, but I’ll share with you a few of the stories I heard. I’ll start with Kamiel.

“I’m so excited!” he exclaimed. “I think I am about to burst! Today’s the day we get to meet all our people! And, oh, the stories we’ll have for them . . .” His voice trailed off as he thought about all of the friends he had known over the millennia whom he would meet in person for the first time.

“You know who I’m most excited to meet?” Jibril exclaimed. “It’s ever faithful Job. I was by his side throughout his ordeal, and I can hardly wait to explain to him that it was Satan who was behind all the pain he experienced from those horrible boils. And I want to tell him how many people have been encouraged by his story as they endured their own pain.”

Ramiel broke into the conversation. “I’m really looking forward to meeting Donald as he comes up from his grave. All those nights he begged and pleaded to be cured from cancer—I felt bad when he wasn’t released from the disease that afflicted him. But what really excites me is what happened at the very end, on his deathbed, in the hours just before sunrise. The Holy Spirit wrapped him with a conviction and strength I’d never seen before. I watched the change on his face, and I heard him croak in a very weak voice, “God, at long last I give you my heart.” It was the last thing he said. And because I’d been following him intimately for 64 years, I also knew that nothing but the cancer would have brought him to that decision. I can’t wait to explain it all to him!”

“Isn’t it interesting that meeting them will be the last thing?” I said. “I mean, after all these years of following them around, protecting them, hovering close to them, assuring them of God’s love during their darkest hours, intervening at crucial points in their history—and now we get to meet our friends personally, these humans whose habits and personalities we know so well.”

“But it isn’t just that we get to meet them,” Selaphiel interjected. “It’s also that they get to meet us. Most of them have little to no idea what we’ve done for them. Take Rachel. She huddled in her cabin during the days her ship crossed that stormy sea, and she’ll be so surprised to learn that I was close beside her. And I can’t wait to explain to her that I stood beside the ship’s captain at critical moments during the storm, guiding his hand as he steered the ship!”

“Actually,” Uriel interjected, “I don’t think it’s any of us they’ll be looking for at first. Rather, it’s Him. They’ll want to see their Saviour. Can you imagine it? Seeing Him for the first time?”

By this time Gabriel was standing on the platform in front of us. “I trust we’ve all finished polishing our trumpets,” he said. “The time has come for us to join our fellow angels on earth and bring the people they’re protecting out of that horrible, evil world. This is the day!” Gabriel exclaimed. “How we’ve longed for it, waited for it, petitioned Jesus for it, and now it’s here!”

“You four,” Gabriel directed, “holders of the four winds that have now been let loose—I want one of you at each of the far corners of our assembly. It’s time for us to form into the great cloud that will transport our Leader to earth.”

Just then the Father appeared. Jesus walked up to Him and They embraced. I heard the Father say, “Farewell, Son. I’ll see You shortly, along with millions of the redeemed You’re bringing back with You!”

The trumpeters lined the fronts, sides and rear of our masses, and we singers jostled in together, pressing closer and closer to the light radiating from the centre—light that comes from the face of Jesus Himself. Joy danced in His eyes unlike anything I’d seen before! Then, at Gabriel’s signal, the trumpeters blasted their horns, and we all joined in a song of praise that the day had finally come to bring our friends home!

Christ’s glorious voice boomed throughout all of heaven, “Behold, I come quickly!” And with that we were off.

We travelled through time and space at a great speed, whizzing past galaxies, until afar off we observed that small blue sphere that held our own. The clouds rolled back like a scroll as we approached the devastating scene it contained. Our trumpeters’ blast pierced the air, and we lifted our voices in the song of all songs. And as I looked down, I saw every head looking upward, every eye focused on Jesus in our midst.

From the masses assembled, shrieks of horror rose up, but above them were victory cries that made my heart almost burst. Even from the sky we could feel the earth quaking as the dead in Christ rose from their sleep, materialising from unmarked graves, rivers and seas. And now the time had come for us to go down and meet them!

In an instant I was beside baby Caleb, who had died just six months after he was born. I scooped him up in my arms, his bright eyes shining like they never had during his few days on earth, and I carried him quickly to Heidi and Jonathan. It was the best delivery I had ever made! Their eyes were fixed on Jesus, but when they saw me with their baby, they reached out, and I placed him in Heidi’s arms. 

“Your son,” I said as I introduced myself, “and I’m his guardian angel.” Jonathan, Heidi and I hugged each other and laughed and cried and shouted as I lifted them through the air up to the cloud.

Then I left Heidi and Jonathan and their baby and sped off to greet Naomi. Sweet, dear Naomi, whom I followed around for 93 years, through war, through desert, through thousands of nights when I recorded every prayer she ever whispered for her 42 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their families. I always counted this woman among my dearest friends and, finally, I got to meet her!

“Naomi!” I cried out as I reached her side. Her arms were wrapped around Russell in an embrace that only the newly reunited can understand. Her face looked like it did on their wedding day—young and radiant. Then I introduced myself. “I’m your guardian angel.”

“Yes!” she exclaimed, “I knew it! Thank you for everything!” she stammered through tears of joy.

I laughed. “You made my job easy! Thank you for loving Him as much as I do.” 

She looked up at the cloud, and I can’t explain it, but I am certain that He was looking down straight at her. Of course He was! I have no idea how He could see every one of the redeemed all at the same time, but He could!

When my fellow angels and I had finished bringing the redeemed up to the cloud, we began our journey home. When we finally arrived in heaven with the faithful sons and daughters of the King, there occurred a scene that will be sung about for eternity. Jesus placed the crowns on the heads of the redeemed, then declared: “Well done, my good and faithful servants.” They responded by placing their crowns about His feet, an act of deepest gratitude and love.

Then came The Song—the greatest song I’ve ever heard. It was the song of those redeemed as they lifted their voices in shouts of “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!” Then after a verse, we angels joined them. We’ve sung those words many, many times, but when these redeemed humans sing it—I don’t know, it’s different. More complete. It means something far more than anything I myself have ever known or experienced.
 

"Then came The Song—the greatest song I’ve ever heard."

When the singing and the cheering died down, I suddenly remembered that there was still business to attend to. These people needed to be settled into their mansions, and the great banqueting table needed to be set up. 

I knew there would be millions of people with questions requiring answers. I’m sure that when heaven’s books are opened, there’ll be lots of questions. But none of this had to happen just yet. In fact, nobody had even mentioned it. We couldn’t even get them seated at the table for the feast, because everybody wanted just one thing—to be close to Jesus. 

So, their mansions are prepared. Their friends will be found. And the food can wait. At that moment, all anybody cares about is throwing their arms around the Saviour. I’ll just have to wait my turn. But there’ll be plenty of time for meeting and greeting. And, yes, I admit it, I’m in line too.