Seven Avenging Angels
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59. Seven Avenging Angels
Revelation 15.5-8

"After this, I looked, and I saw in heaven the temple — that is, the covenant law tabernacle — and it was open. Out of the temple came seven angels with seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. One of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with God's wrath, who lives forever and ever. And the temple filled with smoke from God's glory and power, and no one could enter it until the completion of the seven angels' seven plagues." (Revelation 15.5-8)✞

Tabernacle

Covenant TentThe "Old Testament Tabernacle" is called the "Tent of Witness," the "Tent of Testimony," or the "Tabernacle of the Covenant Law." The testimony tabernacle is "the divine presence's portable earthly dwelling place" during the wilderness wanderings. The word "tabernacle" means a "residence" or "a dwelling place." Numbers 9.15-16 describe it, "On the day the tabernacle, the Tent of the Covenant Law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning, the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. That was how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire." John of Patmos views it, not in terms of the Jerusalem temple before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, but the ancient wilderness tabernacle called the "Tent of the Covenant."✞

Avenging Angels

Covenant ArkFrom within this heavenly tabernacle, the seven avenging angels or the seven angels with the seven plagues come. In the tabernacle's Holy Place lies the "Ark of the Covenant," containing the ten commandment tablets, Aaron's rod, and manna preserved from the wilderness wanderings. The ark is the Jewish people's holy of holies. These seven angels come out from the Law of God's resting place, showing that no person or nation can with impunity defy the Law of God, for it is so holy.

White Linen Robes

White Robed AngelThe "seven avenging angels" are all clothed in white linen robes described as "clean shining linen" and wearing golden sashes around their chests, similar to the Son of Man's attire. Linen is a textile made from flax plant fibers. Its manufacture is very labor-intensive, but its cloth is cool in hot weather and greatly valued. The word "linen" gives us "line" from the use of a flax thread to determine a straight line or "plumb line." The seven avenging angels are given wrath-filled bowls by one of the four living creatures.

Purity

Archaeologists discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls and ancient linen cloth in Qumran Cave 1 near the Red Sea. The glowing white color of the angels' holy garments symbolizes purity and innocence, like a bride's white dress. The angel's dress is also a priestly dress like the High Priest in the Temple in Jerusalem. The fine linen and the gold-embroidered sash around the chest are similar to the High Priest and other high-ranking officials, princes, and kings. Descended from Aaron's line, the High Priest was the Jewish Faith's chief religious official from the Exile in Babylon around BC 411 to the Jerusalem Temple's destruction in 70 AD. He was "God's representative among the people." These seven heavenly avenging angels wear these robes as the Lord God Almighty's ambassadors.

Royal Dress

Priestly RobesThe angel's robes are also royal regalia. They come with the royalty of the King of Kings upon them. The young man (probably an angel or archangel) at Christ's empty tomb is similarly clothed in a "white robe" according to Mark 16.5 "As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed." The heavenly angel inhabitants come from God's presence and fulfill God's decrees upon the earth. It is no surprise that they glow, having been in Almighty God's presence.

Golden Bowls

Four Living CreaturesIt is one of the "four living creatures" who hand the angels "the seven golden bowls filled with God's wrath." When the four living creatures first emerge in Revelation 4.6-8, we see that the first is like a lion, the second an ox, the third a man, and the fourth an eagle. They symbolize all that is strongest, bravest, wisest, and swiftest in creation. They are the ultimate throne room bodyguards with eyes everywhere!

Wrath Bowls

Image of AngelsAppropriately, one of the four living creatures hands the wrath bowls to "the seven white-robed avenging angels." Dr. William Barclay (1907-1978), the Biblical scholar in "The Revelation of John," writes, "The wrath bowls are to bring natural disasters to the world and may symbolize that all nature is handing itself over to God to serve his purposes."

"Seven Avenging Angels"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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