Book Excerpt: Revelation: The Way It Happened

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.In a loud voice they sang:

 

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength

and honor and glory and praise!”

 

This echoes Daniel 7:10: Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. But don’t look for wings and halos among this multitude. Revelation, like Daniel, often portrays believers as angels, and in this verse these “angels” are merely people.

Angels in Revelation can represent many things. When John writes to the elders of the churches in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, he calls them angels, but he refers to people. John, at least twice, presents Jesus as an angel (verses 10:1 and 14:14). In verse 21:12, twelve “angels” stand guard over the gates of the New Jerusalem; in Isaiah 62:6, these watchmen on the walls are prophets, not angels. Interestingly, Revelation is also the earliest Jewish or Christian literature in which angels fly.

With this flexible definition of Revelation’s “angels” in mind, we see now that the throne-room scene in chapters 4 and 5 of Revelation has been leading us to this moment at the end of time, when all of creation joins in praise, like scanning the last page of the book first. In the next verse, even the creatures on earth join in the praise. Remember this moment, because we will return to it time and again throughout the book of Revelation.

–Revelation: The Way It Happened, 2010, by Lee Harmon

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