Thunker’s Weblog


Revelation 21-22 (Part 5)

Robert Wheadon-126x150

The fifth lecture is by Eric D. Huntsman, professor of ancient scripture at BYU.  The lecture is entitled, “The Unveiling of Christ…and of Angels.”

The focus of this paper is how angels are prominent figures in the Book of Revelation, as well as in other LDS scripture.

If one gives it a little contemplation, angels play a prominent role in LDS theology.  Beginning with the angel, Moroni, the beginnings of the LDS church and the translation of the Book of Mormon rely heavily on God’s use of angels and heavenly messengers.

LDS belief in angels is certainly not unique.  The Catholic Encyclopedia states: “The angels of the Bible generally appear in the role of God’s messengers to mankind. They are His instruments by whom He communicates His will to men…”(http://www.catholic.org/encyclopedia/view.php?id=774).

The Jewish Encyclopedia describes angels as “Angels (from αγγελōς = messenger, Greek equivalent of the Hebrew ) are according to the usual conception superhuman beings dwelling in heaven, who, on occasion, reveal to man God’s will and execute His commands.” (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/1521-angelology).

The role of celestial messenger seems to be one of the chief roles of angels.  This role of messenger is in agreement with LDS theology of delegation.  We have examples of Heavenly Father, through, delegation, sending angels to guide, warn, instruct and do battle in various scriptural accounts, (see Gen. 16: 7-11, Exo 3:2, Judges 13:3-6, 2 Samuel 24:16, etc.).

This concept is manifest in Revelation as John is shown a series of visions, beginning with the appearance of the resurrected Savior.  In Revelation 1:

“17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; am the first and the last:

18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”

Following the Savior’s appearance to John, the vision is populated by angels, all fulfilling tasks they have been assigned by God.  In Revelation 8-9, we have angels numerically completing apocalyptic measures against the earth.  For example, Revelation 8:7 reads:

“The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.”

Six additional angels are described fulfilling celestially-ordained tasks.  Angels are replete throughout John’s vision, all performing delegated tasks or guiding John through his vision.  Towards the end of John’s experience, an angelic guide has just finished showing John the temple at the New Jerusalem.  John is so overcome by his experience that he falls down at the feet of his guide to worship him.  John is forbidden to worship the angel, as God is only worthy of worship.  We learn from this angelic guide in Revelation 22: 8-11:

“8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.

Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

 It’s interesting to note that the angel guiding John is a fellow prophet, like John, who apparently lived prior to John’s mortal existence and is not an angelic minister.  It is also worth noting that the angel, being delegated, speaks for an in behalf of Jesus Christ, as illustrated in verse 13-14.

In the Book of Mormon, we have similar angelic appearances.  As noted in my earlier posts, the prophet Nephi had an angelic guide throughout his apocalyptic visionary experience.  In 1 Nephi 11:14, Nephi writes:

“14 And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?”

Angels have played and continue to play a vital role in God’s communication with humanity on earth.  As guides and messengers, God delegates his authority to angels to speak in His behalf and act in His behalf for the benefit of us.  Throughout all of holy writ, angels are evident.  From the angelic presence in the Garden of Eden, throughout the Testaments of the Bible, the angelic visits to Book of Mormon prophets, and the role angels have played and continue to play in our day, it is clear that Heavenly Father continues to use heavenly messengers to help His children.

 

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1 Comment so far
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I am married to one, but you know that. Thanks

Comment by Dad




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