1. Religion & Spirituality

Do Angels Sing?

Angels Singing

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angels singing

Angels singing in a 1753 painting in Saint Michael parish church in Untergriesbach, Germany

Photo © Wolfgang Sauber

Lilting soprano voices reaching high notes with a crystal clear timbre. Booming bass voices singing low notes that resonate deep in your soul. Choirs of many voices in all ranges harmonizing together, starting off softly and gradually getting louder in a thrilling crescendo of sound. You might hear this in a classical music concert performed by talented human singers. But could you ever hear it during a spiritual experience? Could sounds like these be angels singing?

Complex beats in an uptempo song pulsate in wild rhythms as singers express their joy so movingly that you find yourself singing along with them. It could be a song you hear on the radio. Or, could it be angels singing?

Many people wonder: “Do angels sing?”

The answer most major religions give is a resounding “Yes!”

Praising God

Jewish tradition says that angels constantly sing songs of praise to God. The angels sing in shifts so that angelic songs of praise go to God at all times of each day and night. The Midrash, the classic collection of Jewish teachings on the Torah, mentions that when >Moses spent time studying with God over a 40-day period, Moses could tell what time of day it was by when the angels changed singing shifts.

In 1 Nephi 1:8 of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Lehi sees a vision of heaven with “God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God.”

According to Islamic tradition, an angel named Israfel praises God by singing in 1,000 different languages. Writer Edgar Allan Poe wrote a poem called "Israfel," which declares that none of the other angels praising God in heaven "sing so wildly well as the angel Israfel."

The Bible describes living creatures and elders that could be angels singing “a new song” of praise to God in Revelation 5:9. A few verses later, in Revelation 5:11-12, the apostle John records: “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels ... In a loud voice they were saying: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’” Although the Bible uses the word "saying" rather than "singing" to describe how the angels praised God, many Christians believe that the verse implies singing.

Celebrating Something Good

The Bible says in Job 38:7 that the angels sang to celebrate the creation of Earth. Many biblical scholars say that the reference to “morning stars” in this verse means angels that emanate brilliant light, and the Hebrew poetry style in which the verse is written has the second line restate the meaning of the first line: “while the morning stars sang together/and all the angels shouted for joy.”

Manu, author of Hindu laws, said that angels sing to celebrate every instance where people treat women with respect: "Where women are respected, there the gods reside, the heavens open up and angels sing paeans of praise."

Many famous Christmas carols, such as "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," have been written about the Bible’s account of a multitude of angels appearing in the sky over Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Luke chapter 2 reports that a single angel first appeared to announce Christ’s birth, and then says in verses 13 and 14: “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.'"

Comforting People When They’re Dying

Many people who are preparing to pass away have reported hearing the sound of angels singing, which comforts them during the dying process. In his celebrated play Hamlet, William Shakespeare wrote these lines for the character Horatio to say immediately after Hamlet dies: “Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all say that angels help believers make the transition from the earthly to the heavenly dimension, and singing might be one of the ways that angels help dying believers pass into eternity with a sense of peace.

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