BIBLICAL Horizons, No. 71
Copyright 1995, Biblical Horizons
To complete our previous articles on the angels in Revelation, let us take up the angelic hierarchy as the book of Revelation presents it.
The supreme Angel is the Angel of Yahweh, the Archangel Michael (Jude 9 + Zechariah 3:2), the second Person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ. He appears fourteen 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. Michael, 12:7.
5. The Third Other Angel, 18:1.
6. The Key Angel, 20:1.
The four cherubim are also angelic beings. They are called "four living creatures" in Revelation, and appear twenty times:
1. Mentioned as four living creatures, 4:6, 8, 9; 5:6, 8, 11, 14; 6:6; 7:11; 14:3; 19:4.
2. Mentioned separately, 4:7 (4x); 6:1, 3, 5,7; 15:7.
The archangels or 24 elders are chiefs among the angels. They are mentioned twelve times: 4:4, 10; 5:5, 6, 8, 11, 14; 7:11, 13; 11:16; 14:3; 19:4. These archangels are heavenly priests. One of them explains matters to John (5:5; 7:13). He is probably to be associated with the Archangel Gabriel, who explains matters to Daniel (Daniel 8:16; 9:21) and to Zacharias and Mary (Luke 1:19, 26). And he is probably the Prophetic Bowl Angel.
The 24 archangels appear specifically in Revelation as follows:
1. The two strong angels of
a. 5:2, a priestly guardian.
b. 18:21 a kingly administrator.
2. The four corner angels of 7:1 & 2 (nature angels: wind); and 9:14 & 15 (kingly administrators).
4. The seven trumpet angels.
5. The seven libation-bowl angels, including:
a. The prophetic angel.
b. The water angel of 16:5 (nature angel).
c. The solar angel of 19:17 (nature angel).
6. The two herald angels of 14:8 & 9.
7. The calling angel of 14:15.
8. The reaping angel of 14:17 & 19.
Finally, there is the heavenly host of angels.
With the coming of the New Covenant, all these angels are replaced by men in the Church. Angels no longer rule the world; the Church does. The flaming sword given to the cherubim in the beginning is now given back to the Church as the keys of the kingdom, proof of which comes with the tongues of fire distributed on Pentecost. The angels have judged the Old Creation, and now the New Creation is under human authority.
1. The Son of Man replaces the Angel of Yahweh.
2. The 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles replace the 24 elders (21:12, 14, 19-21).
- A. The 7 pastors replace the 7 trumpet angels (proclaimers) and the 7 bowl angels (sacraments).
- B. The Spiritual gifts in the Church (which are human beings, for the Spirit gives men, not abstractions) replace the functions of the other 24 angels.
3. The Church replaces the heavenly host.
4. The keys of the Kingdom pass from the cherubim to the Church.