MP3: The Mighty Angels of Revelation 22
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
The Strangest Angels
Vic Batista: Since we began studying through the book of Revelation, we started to notice that there are categories of angels. Let’s go back to Revelation 4:6-11 and have another look at the Four Living Creatures.
Nathan Jones: These are some of the strangest looking angels found in the entire Bible. They dispel the myth that angels are a bunch of blue-eyed, curly-blond haired guys with wings who walk about in white togas. We read actual descriptions in Revelation, along with other verses in the Bible, that angels come in different sizes and shapes. Some look like animals, some look like people, some are monstrously huge, and some can even become forces of nature.
But, the strangest angels of them all sit at God’s throne and are called the Four Living Creatures. These four are covered in eyeballs, representing how God can see everything. Revelation 4:6 reads, “Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.”The strangest #angels of them all sit at God's throne and are called the Four Living Creatures. Click To Tweet
The Four Living Creatures don’t even all look quite like the other. One appears like a lion, the second like a calf, the third has a face of a man, and the fourth an eagle. Verse 7 describes their differences, “The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.”
Each possesses six wings, and even the wings are covered with eyes. Verse 8a describes, “The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within…”
The rest of verse 8 portrays these remarkable angels as singing all day and night: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come.” They give glory and honor and thanks to God. They do this every day, all day long, as they stand before the throne of God.
The Seraphim are the guardians of the throne, and actually function as its wheels! We learn from the book of Ezekiel that God’s throne is in reality a chariot. The Seraphim have charge over each of the wheels of this uncomprehendingly large chariot.
When we think of the standard angel, the Four Living Creatures rarely come to mind. They’re in a class all of their own.
Vic Batista: When we started learning about God’s mighty angels as they relate to doling out God’s wrath in judgment, the Four Living Creatures play a role in the opening of the Seven Seal Judgments.
Nathan Jones: The first set of judgments — the Seven Seal Judgments — are opened by Jesus Christ. The Lamb is the only one worthy of opening the seals on the scroll, the scroll being the title deed to the earth. When Jesus breaks open the seals, seven judgments are released upon the earth. The Four Living Creatures are there to announce exactly what these seals release. In other words, Jesus does the opening, but His power flows through the Seraphim.
For example, in Revelation 6:1 we read, “Then I saw the Lamb open up one of the seals and I heard one of the four living creatures say….” Then the same thing happens when the Second Seal is opened, and the second living creature says… It’s the same with the third and the fourth and so on. Each of the Four Living Creatures are involved in the initial group judgments Christ pours out on the earth. So, Christ utilizes the Four Living Creatures to proclaim the Seal Judgments.
The Wrath of God
Nathan Jones: When some people claim the Tribulation starts with the last seven judgments — the Seven Bowl Judgments — I have to show them that all 21 of the Revelation judgments come from God. As a reminder, the 21 judgments are divided by sevens: seven Seal Judgments, seven Trumpet Judgments, and seven Bowl Judgments.
There’s an end times view called the Pre-Wrath Rapture. It teaches that the judgments related to the wrath of God don’t happen until three-quarters of the way into the Tribulation. The Seal Judgments and some of the Trumpet Judgments are the wrath of Satan and mankind, but the remaining judgments, including all of the Bowl Judgments, are reserved as the wrath of God. But, that conclusion cannot be the case, for in Revelation 6 we see Jesus Christ Himself opening up the Seal Judgments and then the Seraphim angels proclaim what is written. It is Jesus Himself who releases all 21 judgments, so therefore the entire Tribulation — all seven years according to the prophet Daniel — is the wrath of God.
Being a Christian does mean having to endure suffering and trials at the hand of man (Jn. 16:33; Phil. 1:27; 1 Thes. 3:3; 1 Pet. 4:12-13). But, the Tribulation like the Flood is about God’s wrath (Isa. 24:22; Zeph. 3:8; 1 Thes. 5:3; 2 Thes. 2:12), and believers in Christ are promised to be exempt from God’s wrath (1 Thes. 1:10; 5:9; Rom. 5:9; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:4; Rev. 3:10). There’s a vitally important difference there between human suffering and God’s wrath.
I believe the Bible is crystal clear that Christians will be raptured before the seven-year Tribulation arrives. We will be snatched up off this earth and taken to Heaven before the Tribulation begins. Believers in Christ today will not endure any of the seven years of God’s wrath.
Vic Batista: I agree that there are a lot of supporting scriptures that promise the Church is never meant to suffer God’s wrath. It’s sad that some don’t want to acknowledge that the Bible teaches that Christians are not appointed unto wrath. Revelation 3:10 is particularly poignant, “Because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which will come upon the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth.”
Nathan Jones: That’s one of the best verses in support of a Pre-Tribulational Rapture, meaning that the Church will be taken off this earth before the Tribulation begins. I run all the time into people who believe that the Rapture will occur in the middle of the Tribulation, and even some who believe in the Pre-Wrath view which assumes God’s wrath only occurs during the last quarter. To my amazement, some even go so far as believing that the Church has to endure the entire Tribulation, only getting raptured when Jesus again returns with His army at the end of the seven years.
These views have their arguments, and some of them can at first sound pretty solid, but in truth they don’t line up with what Jesus does in Revelation 6. Jesus is the one that opens the Seal Judgments. He is the one who releases the wrath of God on the world, so the entire Tribulation has to be the wrath of God.
When we say that Christians are not meant to endure the wrath of God, there can be some confusion concerning terms here. There are Christians from the Church Age, known as the Bride of Christ, but then there are unbelievers who will be left behind due to the Rapture but who will later during the Tribulation accept Jesus. These latter Christians, which we’ll call Tribulation Saints to differentiate them with the Church, had rejected salvation and so lost their chance at participating in the Rapture. Though they accepted Christ after the Rapture, they will now have to live through the Tribulation. The Tribulation Saints are not the Church, and so are not exempt from the wrath of God, though they’re protected from a few of the judgments.#Christians are not meant to endure the wrath of #God. #Tribulation Click To Tweet
I find some of those who hold to a Post-Trib or Pre-Wrath or Mid-Trib view have invested themselves so much into their positions that when they’re countered by what the Bible says concerning a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, they stick to their guns, even if the Bible states otherwise.
Vic Batista: Yes, and that stubbornness is sad because it robs them of the hope Christ’s promise brings to not in His wrath beat up on His Bride. One of the things that I really appreciate about those Christians who diligently study God’s Word, how maybe at one time they didn’t have all that information to make a stand on a position, but then as they learned more, they might see the Scriptures are contradicting their preconceived conclusions differently and so they drop their position in favor of the more biblical position. We Christians all need to be practicing that, being open to recognizing that we don’t know it all. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to teach us and not rest on what we want the Bible to say, rather than what it actually teaches. A good Christian is humble when recognizing that we can get it wrong sometimes because we’re learning from a fallen perspective. We just have to admit when we got it wrong and move on towards conforming to the biblical teaching.
Nathan Jones: Right! When I first began teaching Revelation, I used to think that each of the successive seven judgments were just a more detailed description of the last group of seven. In other words, there were only seven judgments, but the Trumpets were just a better description of the Seal Judgments, and the Bowl Judgments provided a better description of the Trumpet Judgments. The problem is, the three sets of judgments really don’t overlap well at all. I’ve encountered other Bible teachers who continue to teach it that way.
But, the more I studied Revelation, the more I realized how different each of the three sets of judgments are, and especially how God uses different angels for each of the different sets of seven. So, a deeper study proved to me that I was incorrect in my interpretation. I had to admit that my interpretation was wrong. I needed to go back and study more.
Even though we’re now believers in Christ, because we’re fallible humans, we still can misinterpret what the Holy Spirit is attempting to teach us through the Scriptures. So, we need to get into the Bible and study harder. We should always pursue a better understanding so that our knowledge of what God has planned for our lives today and for the future and becomes more clear. We Christians become better steward of the Gospel when we align ourselves with the Bible.We #Christians become better stewards of the #Gospel when we align ourselves with the #Bible. Click To Tweet
Vic Batista: The Bible teaches us that we are to sharpen each other as iron sharpens iron. I’m always learning. Sometimes I don’t understand a biblical teaching, and when I go back to the text and cross-reference a verse with other scriptures and commentaries, I often exclaim, “Oh, I didn’t see that!”
There are a lot of Bible study tools we can utilize to sharpen our understanding of the Scriptures and to help other people in their studies. Some mistakes in interpretation that we make we can learn from and pass on the corrected view to others. As a pastor I encourage believer in Christ to take full advantage of all the wonderful Bible study resources that we have in so much abundance today.
In the eighty-ninth and final segment of our series “The Mighty Angels of Revelation,” we’ll end with Christ’s final appeal.