In Luke we read of the angels announcing Christ’s birth. In verse 14 we find their exaltation of God for His wondrous work. This verse is translated many different ways, so we will be looking at the original Greek to understand fully their message.
In heaven, glory to God
The first and main part of the angels’ message is that God should be glorified. They add the phrase “in the highest place” or “in heaven” meaning that what God has done has literally caused heaven to overflow with praise for God. The angels in the sky are part of this overflow of praise for God for what He has done in sending Jesus.
On earth, peace
What God has done will bring peace on earth. In a world filled with sin, war, and oppression all of heaven now rejoices that God has sent the Prince of Peace Who will bring about a reign of peace over the whole earth. All of heaven has longed to see the world made right, and now God has sent Jesus to bring about peace on earth.
On men of good-will, peace
The next phrase is very tricky to translate and has been translated in various ways. This is in part because the meaning is hard to convey in English. Essentially the angels are saying that this peace is only for men of good will. It could also be translated as “peace on men whom God favors.” The angels are in fact declaring the whole of the Gospel. God’s peace only rests upon those who have made terms with Him through His Son Jesus Christ (men of good will, or men whom God favors.) This peace will be brought about by Jesus and those who come to Him in faith and good-will have peace.
On men of ill-will, judgment
Not all men respond like the shepherds and magi. Many men respond like Herod. They will not have this King rule over them. To these men of ill-will Jesus brings a sword. He will return to destroy all His enemies and usher in a perfect, world-wide peace.
God will be glorified by bringing peace on earth through Jesus
God will be glorified through His Son Jesus, and He will bring peace on earth in two ways. One, He will save those who come to Him in faith. This was the point of His first coming. Two, He will destroy those who oppose Him. This is the point of His Second Coming. God will rectify man’s wrongs. That is why He has sent Jesus. For this we must join all of heaven in giving God praise.
Will you turn to Jesus Christ and receive His offer of peace?