The Angels of Revelation (continued)

In Revelation, the term aggelos means messenger, of course, but with a special emphasis on messenger as covenant administrator. This is immediately obvious from the fact that the angels are constantly acting to enforce the covenant one way or another: sealing people, bringing judgment, calling for repentance, etc. They are not mere message-bringers, but are invested with certain responsibilities as well. Priestly angels guard God’s holiness, prophetic angels explain what is going on, and kingly angels act to implement God’s decrees.

We find both human angels and spirit angels in Revelation. The human angels are Jesus and the pastors of the seven churches, while the spirit angels are the rest. It is noteworthy that the pastors of the New Covenant churches are termed angels, because they replace the angelic watchers and overseers of the Old Creation. Revelation 1-3 reveal the new angels of the New Covenant, who are human angels. Revelation 4-22 show us spirit angels judging the world they were put in charge of, the world of the Old Creation, under the direction of the Human Angel, Jesus Christ.

Spirit angels administered and therefore judged the Old Creation. Since the New Creation is greater, the fact that human beings administer it and will judge it means that human angels are now higher than spirit angels. We shall judge them (1 Corinthians 6:3).

What I want to do for the remainder of this essay is list the angels in Revelation, for word occurs 67 times and clearly is important for the structure of the book as a whole.

1. The Angelic Signifier, 1:1. A prophetic angel who communicates Christ’s message to John. One of the seven bowl angels. See also 17:1, 7; 21:9; 22:8, 16.

2. Human angelic pastors, 1:20 + seven times in ch. 2 & 3.

3. The heavenly host, 3:5, belonging to the Father.

(4. The 24 elders, ch. 4-5. No man has entered heaven, so these are the spirit-angel archetypes of the 24 chief priests of the Temple.)

(5. The 4 living creatures, ch. 4-5. Cherubim)

6. The First Strong Angel, 5:2. A priestly guardian.

7. The heavenly host, 5:11.

8. The four Corner Angels, 7:1 & 2. Kingly angels of the four cherubim.

9. The First Other Angel, 7:2. Jesus Christ, the priestly sealer.

10. The heavenly host, 7:11.

11. The Seven Trumpet Angels, 8:2, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13; 9:1, 13, 14; 10:7; 11:15. Prophetic angels who begin the judgment of the Old Creation after Pentecost.

12. The Second Other Angel, 8:3, 4, 5. Jesus Christ, the prophetic sender of pentecostal fire.

13. The Angel of the Abyss, 9:11. Satan.

14. The four Euphrates Angels, 9:14, 15. Kingly angels of the four cherubim, leaders of the Pentecostal Church in her invasion of the land.

15. The Second Strong Angel, 10:1, 5, 8, 9, 10. Jesus Christ.

16. The heavenly host and the demonic host, 12:7 (2x), 9.

17. The Second Other Angel, 14:6. Jesus Christ, the prophetic herald of the gospel.

18. Two herald angels, 14:8, 9.

19. The heavenly host, 14:10.

20. A calling angel, 14:15.

21. A reaping angel, 14:17, 19.

22. The Second Other Angel, 14:18. Jesus Christ, the prophetic sender of pentecostal fire.

23. The Seven Libation-bowl Angels, 15:1, 6, 7, 8; 16:1. Kingly angels of the cherubim, bringing destruction on Babylon.

24. The Water Angel, 16:5. Probably the third libation-bowl angel.

25. The Prophetic Libation-bowl Angel, 17:1, 7; 21:9. Explains to John the meaning of the events.

26. The Third Other Angel, 18:1. Jesus Christ, the kingly destroyer of Babylon.

27. The Third Strong Angel, 18:21. A kingly administrator.

28. The Solar Angel, 19:17. Possibly the fourth libation-bowl angel.

29. The Key Angel, 20:1. Jesus Christ, the binder of Satan.

30. Twelve Angels of the Gates, 21:12. The twelve tribes of Israel.

31. Angel measurements, 21:17. Human measurements are now the same. The distinction between sanctuary and land shekels and cubits is now abolished. Men are now angels.

32. The Prophetic Angel, 22:6, 8, 16.

Let us now condense and correlate this list.

A. Angels who are Jesus Christ: (13 times)

1. The First Other Angel, 7:2.

2. The Second Other Angel, 8:3, 4, 5; 14:6, 18.

3. The Second Strong Angel, 10:1, 5, 8, 9, 10.

4. The Third Other Angel, 18:1.

5. The Key Angel, 20:1.

B. Human Angels: (9 times)

1. The pastors of the seven churches, 1:20 + 7 times in ch. 2 & 3.

2. The twelve tribes of Israel, 21:12.

C. Fallen Angels: (3 times)

1. Satan, 9:11.

2. The Satanic host, 12:7, 9.

D. Spirit Angels: (41 times)

1. The heavenly host, 3:5; 5:11; 7:11; 12:7; 14:10; 21:17.

2. The seven trumpet angels, 8:2, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13; 9:1, 13, 14; 10:7; 11:15.

3. The seven libation-bowl angels, 15:1, 6, 7, 8; 16:1.

4. The four corner angels, 7:1 & 2.

5. The four Euphrates angels, 9:14, 15.

6. Eight special angels:

a. The first strong angel, 5:2.

b. Two herald angels, 14:8, 9.

c. A calling angel, 14:15.

d. A reaping angel, 14:17, 19.

e. The prophetic libation-bowl angel, 1:1, 17:1, 7; 21:9; 22:6, 8, 16.

f. The water libation-bowl angel, 16:5

g. The solar libation-bowl angel, 19:17.

h. The third strong angel, 18:21.

Special notices:

A. 14 references to Strong and Other angels (A.1-4; D.6.a.& h.)

B. 14 references to libation-bowl angels, of which 7 are to the prophetic angel (D.3, 6.e-g.)

C. 14 references to special angels, including the special Libation-bowl angels but not including the two strong angels (D.6.b-g.)

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