The Angels of Revelation

Angels are the mediators of the Old Creation, as Eugenio Corsini has rightly pointed out in his commentary, The Apocalypse. For this reason, argues Corsini, the book of Revelation must have to do with the final end of the Old Creation order, which he associates with the work of Jesus on the earth. Thus, for him, the symbols in the book have to do with the same events as the gospels. We must, however, modify his proposal to this extent: The events in Revelation are still future to John, and they therefore have to do with the end of the Old Creation in the events leading to ad 70.

It must be admitted, of course, that the Greek word aggelos simply means “messenger,” and is used for human messengers in the New Testament, just as the Hebrew equivalent term, malak, is used both for spirit angels and human messengers. For instance, the following are human “angels”:

Matthew 11:10, the Forerunner

Matthew 24:31, evangelists sent forth into all the world (?)

Luke 7:24, the Forerunner’s disciples

Luke 9:52, Jesus’ disciples

1 Corinthians 11:10, pastors and overseers

Galatians 4:14, Paul

James 2:25, the spies

2 Peter 2:4 & Jude 6, the Sethites

Revelation 2-3, pastors in the churches

Revelation 10:1, Jesus

If all the “angels” in Revelation were human beings, then Corsini would not have an argument, but it is clear that many are indeed spirit angels, and thus his argument has weight.

(to be concluded)

James Jordan is scholar-in-residence at Theopolis. This article originally appeared at Biblical Horizons