[Note: The following is an excerpt from Nathan Jones’ newest book, The Mighty Angels of Revelation.]
One of the grandest spectacles along the parade of events marching towards Christ’s birth was when Heaven’s choir broke out in song way above the heads of the lowly country shepherds. The Gospel of Luke tells of this glorious event in the Christmas story (Luke 2:8-14):
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them… And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
As impressive as that worship service sung by the heavenly choir must have been, the Apostle John described an even more spectacular display of angelic vocals in Revelation 5. John had been taken up to Heaven and had just seen the resurrected Jesus — the Worthy Lamb. He watched as Jesus took the seven-sealed scroll out of the right hand of His Father who sat on the throne. Upon taking this scroll, which was the title deed to the earth, all Heaven erupted into praise!
I’d imagine John, as a visitor to the biggest worship service there has ever been, must have torn his eyes away from the Lamb for just a few moments to scan across the celestial crowd. The sheer number of worshiping angels must have boggled the Elder’s mind. Later, when John had returned to his Patmos cave to finish writing down all that he saw while visiting Heaven, he recorded how many angels had been involved in worshiping Jesus. He wrote, “And the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” (Rev. 5:11).
That verse begs the question: Just how many angels were up there in Heaven participating in that glorious worship service? And, larger in scope, just how many angels are there altogether?
Well, that’s tough to calculate. With 108 references to angels in the Old Testament and 176 references to them in the New Testament, not one of those verses provides us with an exact angelic count. The reader is left pecking through the various Bible verses like a puzzler picking through a pile of puzzle pieces in the search for the ones that, when connected, form a particular corner of the puzzle. Some of these “puzzle pieces” are:
- Describing an encounter with God, Moses said, “The LORD came from Sinai…And He came from the midst of ten thousand holy ones…” (Deuteronomy 33:2).
- When Daniel was given a vision of God’s heavenly throne, he proclaimed that he saw: “thousands upon thousands…attending to Him” (Daniel 7:10).
- When Peter tried to defend Jesus at His arrest, Jesus told him He needed no defense because His Father could supply Him “with more than twelve legions of angels” (Matthew 26:53).
- The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews referred to the heavenly Jerusalem as a place where there are “myriads of angels.” (Hebrews 12:22).
With so vague a numbering system, it’s no wonder that one of Job’s friends exclaimed, “Is there any number to His troops?” (Job 25:3). There are so many angels that, when God answered Job out of a whirlwind, He compared the angels to the countless morning stars all singing together (Job 38:7). How many stars are there in the universe? Space.com estimates that our own single Milky Way galaxy could contain some 200 billion stars or more, and there are 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe spanning a mind-blowing 48 billion light-year’s radius, for a total of 1 septillion stars!1
Theologians, such as Ron Rhodes, report more conservative figures based on the Scriptures.2 Bearing in mind that angels do not procreate and never die, that means there remains a fixed number. The Jewish Kabbalists have estimated 301,655,722. With such a massive number of angels, Thomas Aquinas concluded that there are clearly more angels than there are human beings.
I think we can conclude that there’s not a single person, other than God, who knows exactly how many angels there are. The angels themselves may have lost count, like a child attempting to number the stars in the night sky.
And so, the vague biblical counting of angels is meant to convey a great but indefinite figure. I suppose it is one that will stagger the human imagination one day when we learn their true numbers. One thing we know for sure, as one commentator has observed: “[Angels] meet us at the beginning of the Bible, at its close and almost everywhere in between.”3
Encounter 72 of God’s mighty angels from the book of Revelation! Come and travel along with a man called the Elder and his angelic guide as the end times are revealed throughout the book of Revelation in stunning detail. Along the way, meet 72 of God’s mighty angels as they proclaim God’s messages of warning and hope to a lost world. Together let us encounter… The Mighty Angels of Revelation! (New book by Nathan E. Jones.)
“I consider this book to be the premier work on the subject of angels to this point in literary history.” – Terry James, Rapture Ready
1) Elizabeth Howell, “How Many Stars Are In The Universe?,” Space.com, (May 17, 2017), www.space.com/26078-how-many-stars-are-there html.
2) Ron Rhodes, What Does the Bible Say About . . .? (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1997), pages 234-235.
3) Herbert Lockyer, All the Doctrines of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1964), page 128.
15 CommentsLeave a Comment
I have been, and continue to be, a loyal “follower” of this ministry. But, in fact, no where in the Bible are we told that angels sing. In Luke 2, Dr. Luke tells us the “multitude of heavenly hosts” (not a choir) praised God by “SAYING (emphasis added): Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
In Job 38:7, we read, “when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Stars can be equated with angels, but the Hebrew word translated “sang” doesn’t always denote music. It can also be translated as “joyfully shouted,” “resoundingly cried,” or “rejoiced.”
My comments are not meant to diminish angelic praise in any way, their praise must have been beyond anything our human minds could fathom. Even so, I think we need to be careful in declaring Biblical “facts” that are not substantiated by Scripture.
Pope Francis recently told an audience (wrongly so) that the young Jesus had to ask Mary for forgiveness for staying behind at the Temple (without letting them know). This is blasphemous, but at least he went on to say, “the Bible does not say this, but I believe it to be true.” When we “put words in God’s mouth,” we should be careful to add the caveat that we are stating our opinions, and not quoting scripture.
Thanks for the forum…
Jim, see Revelation 14:2-3 where angels are playing harps and singing.
AND I HEARD THE SOUND OF HARPISTS PLAYING THEIR HARPS. THEY SANG AS IT WERE A NEW SONG BEFORE THE THRONE… (REVELATION 14:2-3)
Nathan, It will be wonderful to see the Messiah take over his kingdom and rule.
We do know that Satan was only able to entice 1/3 of the angels with him when he fell, so the number of God’s angels to fallen angels is 2 to 1. When Satan attacks, God can send two angels to every one of Satan’s.
Also, the term angel in both Testaments refers to a messenger and in places like the letters to the churches in Revelation may refer to the pastor of the churches ratjer than supernatural beings.
Dear Nathan, My name is Pastor Jerry, And many years ago My grand Daughter ask me the same ? How many Angels Pap Paw? I studied and studied and studied Etc. After several days I came up with the answer. Are you ready ? MORE THAN ONE. Ha- Ha. Pastor Jerry
I already did.
You guys do a great job. Keep up the good work. Shane from Alabama
Thank you for the great resource! Just wanted to remind you about a presenter you featured on TV several times (Doug Greenwold). His print materials have been eye-opening, especially the Luke 2 “context” surrounding the nativity stories. “…a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying…” In Greek, “host” is stratia, a decidedly military term for army. The Hebrew in current use – Tzva – is army – as in IDF, Army for the Defense of Israel .(Tzva Haganah Yisra’EL). The LORD has many great names in scripture: (usually mis-pronounced!) Adonai Tzva’ot is His title as Commander of the Armies (pl) of the LORD!! (Seen in PERSON in Joshua!) It was a compelling realization that the massive warrior presence in the shepherds’ field was on active-duty for the drama unfolding that night. How amazing to see the overwhelming Divine protection on full alert in the midst of so much of the human drama that seemed vulnerable and fragile! (Flash back to the fiery host surrounding Elisha and his young servant!) The enemy of God had been relentless in opposing the divine plans since Gen 3 through Luke 2. That Plan was not to be derailed at this seminal event! Overwhelming too, to look ahead to the Passover 33 years later and understand the full sacrifice of Yeshua when He refused the vast military assist available to Him as He hung, dying on a Roman execution stake.He chose to “finish” what His Father was pleased to have Him complete!! WONDER-ful! MARVEL-ous!
I wanted to imagine the angels’ soldier chorus…found a YouTube video: World’s largest ever male choir sing Gwahodda (I Hear Thy Welcome Voice)- 10,000 voices!! Check it out!
Shalom and Brachot!
It has been a very long time since I have written to you. Truly you must be a very busy man. ‘)
Your words against our ‘pets’ and an after life ….understandably flies in my face ‘lika’ bigga piece’a pie’ ‘) I give you your references to be found the Bible, but I am of the opinion that you took generous liberties with your comments. Agreed, we will know once we are in Glory. And I say that multitudes of multitudes of humankind that say they are Saved, are in for a ‘soul breaking’ surprise.
Years past, my wife was give a 9month of age female Yellow Lab. But soon thereafter the Lab became mine – so my wife spoke. We were living on a working stock ranch in the Central Hills of Texas, and I was employed by the Ranch as a general hand. Life has been difficult for me after my returning from Vietnam. The war wasn’t the culprit, but the lies of America and how she discarded us, and the unfair welcome by the general populace. I have suffered severe PTSD for over 50 years now.
I had a chord injury, and a general trauma to my head and body from a severe helicopter crash. I was the pilot. The VA said that an MRI showed my brain to be shaped like a kidney bean – that the non stop flow of adrenaline had caused the right center section of my brain to shrink down. I was paralyzed for almost a year, but became ambulatory by means of a ‘circle of prayer’. A sweet story that took place in the old Brooke General Hospital barracks in San Antonio .
Back to the dog. I named her “Gracie” in that she most ungracefully just threw her lags out from under her to lay on the floor. Unladylike ‘) She soon became my shadow with the ranch life. I must admit that we bonded one to the other, and I learned to truly Love her from my heart. I had her for 13 years and mercifully stepped up to her trusting of me and put her down before she was suffering in misery. I still tear for her this moment, that Love is eternal. No one can tell me, that our LORD did not notice that bond and degree of Love between us….. and that He did not here my prayers and wished to see her again in Glory. That animal is waiting for my soul.
I hadn’t had her for very long, I was sitting in our swing in the yard beside the house, a lovely view to my eyes in the distance. Gracie was laying in the grass away from me, lost to herself chewing up pecans. I had grow too tied of Life after many years of enduring PTSD and my hatred of America…. I had chosen the Time, and I was sitting in the swing with a .45 caliber automatic pistol in my right hand – laying in my lap. At the moment I was ready to depart this carnal existence, Gracie stood up and walked straight to me. She pushed herself in between my knees, turned around with her back to me and sat down. She looked high and back over her left shoulder, making straight eye contact with me. “I heard her tell me that she loved me, and would be a faithful friend to me all of her days” – I think it was the Holy Spirit speaking for her. What a wonderful Life we shared…. “thank you Gracie”
You should not be so stern, so final with your words Nathan, in that you do not have a clue as to God’s Will about the animals He made and was pleased with. Especially the ones that humankind has taken into their homes and heart as a family member – which differentiates them from the bugs and such you use to bolster your piece.
There are uncountable galaxies just within our home turf. If creation is soulless, perhaps they will be given life else where when all is made new. I would hope so, God waste nothing. As the Love of Christ gave His mortal Life for humankind’s souls …. I would have not hesitated to give my Love and life for Gracie to have saved her from harm. That makes her different form all of the howling dogs in your Heaven. Bye the way, what would make a dog in Heaven howl?
You were too loose with your words, and at the very least – offended me.
John, certainly no offense intended. I just taught straight from the Bible, no liberties taken.
My dearest friend I have read your comment and I agree with you for my friend you have found the treasure so many are looking for but only a handful will find in this generation. Thank you so much your honorable work and the sacrifices you made for this country was not in vain. Hold on my dear friend we are almost home. Our Father knows those who are his and love and thank him and most of all those who are on fire for him. Thank you
AWESOME-and our wonderful God has it allllll, in control. Thank YOU LORD!
My dearest John Adams. My heart breaks to hear words. Please know there are so many of us Americans who love you . We are so blessed to have men like you who stood in the gap for the true Americans who cannot even express our love and gratitude.Please dont feel that way about all of us Americans who are so proud of men and women who have given so much for our freedom. I am so sorry for those who have offended you. GOD KNOWS.And God told us in his word He has so many things for us in eternity So your precious Gracie will no doubt spend eternity with you if you are a true believer in Jesus Christ. I am older now. I lived in the days America was beautiful. People believed in God, our country, and our families. I will see you in eternity and hold your precious dog Gracie. She is Special just like you are. I send my love and prayers to you. Please take care of yourself and know you are lived. God has all your tears in a bottle and He will wipe them all away. Shalom and love to you. Carol Ann
I wonder just how many good and how many bad angels roam the earth, the actual numbers.
Hebrews 12:22. But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city, of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the editor of a new covenanted to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
It will be something to see the heavenly Jerusalem.
Revelation 5:11. And I beheld, and I heard the voices of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and elders: and the numbers of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands and thousands. Rejoicing will be a wonderful thing to see and participate in. Angels, Believers-Saints, those who were martyred for Christ.