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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 8 - Verse 2

Verse 2. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God. Professor Stuart supposes that by these angels are meant the "presence-angels" which he understands to be referred to, in Re 1:4, by the "seven spirits which are before the throne." If, however, the interpretation of that passage above proposed, that it refers to the Holy Spirit, with reference to his multiplied agency and operations, be correct, then we must seek for another application of the phrase here. The only difficulty in applying it arises from the use of the article—"the seven angels"—touv—as if they were angels already referred to; and as there has been no previous mention of "seven angels," unless it be in the phrase "the seven spirits which are before the throne," in Re 1:4, it is argued that this must have been such a reference. But this interpretation is not absolutely necessary. John might use this language either because the angels had been spoken of before; or because it would be sufficiently understood, from the common use of language, who would be referred to—as we now might speak of "the seven members of the cabinet of the United States?" or "the thirty-one governors of the states of the Union," though they had not been particularly mentioned; or he might speak of them as just then disclosed to his view, and because his meaning would be sufficiently definite by the circumstances which were to follow—their agency in blowing the trumpets. It would be entirely in accordance with the usage of the article for one to say that he saw an army, and the commander-in-chief, and the four staff-officers, and the five bands of music, and the six companies of sappers and miners, etc. It is not absolutely necessary, therefore, to suppose that these angels had been before referred to. There is, indeed, in the use of the phrase "which stood before God," the idea that they are to be regarded as permanently standing there, or that that is their proper place—as if they were angels who were particularly designated to this high service, Compare Lu 1:19: "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God." If this idea is involved in the phrase, then there is a sufficient reason why the article is used, though they had not before been mentioned.

And to them were given seven trumpets. One to each. By whom the trumpets were given is not said. It may be supposed to have been done by Him who sat on the throne. Trumpets were used then, as now, for various purposes; to summon an assembly; to muster the hosts of battle; to inspirit and animate troops in conflict. Here they are given to announce a series of important events producing great changes in the world—as if God summoned and led on his hosts to accomplish his designs.

{a} "stood" Lu 1:19

{b} "trumpets" 2 Ch 29:25-28

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