5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
Revelation 13:8 talks about the book of life containing the names of the faithful that existed before the foundation of the earth. This is an eternal book containing God’s decree of election – but also look at its title and content. There is something strange here. It is not just called the “book of life.” It is the “book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” What’s so strange about this?
Imagine the angels before the foundation of the world looking at that book and asking each other “What is a lamb? What does it mean to be slain? What is this book about?” It must have seemed so mysterious to them. And in some ways it still is.
“It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.”
1 Peter 1:12
Angels long too look into the gospel because they have no participatory access to the redemption story. Yes, they serve it, but it is not FOR them. It is for men only. And why should it be? Are fallen men worthier than the holy angels? No, of course not!
It is all grace!
Grace, grace, grace!
“For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?
This verse is, of course, referring to God’s only ‘natural’ Son, Jesus Christ. But God also speaks these words of sonship and fatherhood to his adopted sons. (John 1:12, Rom 8:15, Matt 6:9).
Unspeakable, unfathomable, amazing grace that turns wretches into sons! Oh Lord, give us grace never to become jaded towards or bored with these marvelous things into which angels long to look!