Ten Thousand Angels

I love old hymns. Sometimes, titles come directly from scripture, but I’ve always been confused by the title “Ten Thousand Angels.”

This might not be considered old or a hymn. But it’s a song I’ve sung at church for as long as I can recall. And when I was a child, the title confused me.

“Why is it called that?” I wondered

“The Bible says he could have called ten thousand angels,” came the answer from any adult I asked.

Except…does it?

Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

Matthew 26:53 KJV

A quick bit of research tells me that Roman legions contained anywhere from 1,000 to 6,500 men. In which case, twelve legions would be something like 12,000 to 78,000. Not 10,000.

My thought is that the writer of this song took artistic license. As a fiction author, I understand a bit about that.

As I was searching the Internet, I found that the song I’m thinking of and planning to sing the Sunday before Easter might was recorded by one of my dad’s favorite country singers, Loretta Lynn.

All that to say, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is important to the Christian faith. After the movie “The Passion” came out, a woman I worked with who wasn’t a believer became so distraught over what Jesus suffered.

“I don’t understand why he had to die that way,” she said.

I don’t understand either.

I told her, “Because that was God’s plan.”

“Seems like a cruel plan. Why would someone believe in a God who would do something like that?”

Because it shows how much God loved us. He refused to withhold the only path to redemption. Only his son could be a perfect sacrifice to pay the debt of sin which Adam incurred. Death. Death of an innocent.

I wouldn’t volunteer one of my sons to die for a wicked sinner. My heart loves my sons more than nearly anyone in the world.

God loves us more than this mother loves her children.

Jesus loves us, too. No one had to force him to be the sacrifice. He willingly stepped from Heaven into humanity. Even though he knew every second of torture he would face, it didn’t stop him.

“He could have called ten thousand angels,
To destroy the world, and set him free.
He could have called then thousand angels,
But he died alone — for you and me.”

  • Ray Overhalt, 1959

Thank you Jesus for loving me more than I have ever loved anyone. You’ve proved it.
Help me never forget how much you suffered so I can have eternal life.

Do you know “Ten Thousand Angels”? You can see all the words here.

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