Revelation 8 introduce seven angels who will sound their trumpets in Revelation 8-9. After the seventh seal is opened, John sees these seven angels who stand before God. “Standing before” someone is an idiomatic expression for serving, so this could be translated as “served” the Lord. According to Jewish tradition the angels must be standing because they did not have knees. This is based on Ezekiel 1:7 (cherubim with straight legs).
The Seven Angels
Revelation 8:2 does not identify them. Are these the “seven archangels who occupy a very particular role in the angelic hierarchy,” as David Aune suggests? (2:509). On the other hand, Beale finds it “tempting to identify them with the seven guardian angels of the seven churches” (Beale 454). John may have intended these seven angels standing before God to be the seven spirits which were before the throne of God in Revelation 1:4 and 4:5.
Other Second Temple Period literature refer to seven archangels, Michael and Gabriel being among them. For example, in Tobit 12:15, the angel Raphael says, “I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One” (RSV). The tradition of seven archangels is present in the apocryphal book of Tobit. In Testament of Levi 8, Levi sees seven men clothed in white who prepare him to be a priest.
In 1 Enoch 20, the Greek text has seven angels: Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sariel, Gabriel, and Remeiel (missing in the Ethiopic text, see OTP 1:23–24).
- Suruʾel, one of the holy angels—for (he is) of eternity and of trembling.
- Raphael, one of the holy angels, for (he is) of the spirits of man.
- Raguel, one of the holy angels who take vengeance for the world and for the luminaries.
- Michael, one of the holy angels, for (he is) obedient in his benevolence over the people and the nations.
- Saraqaʾel, one of the holy angels who are (set) over the spirits of mankind who sin in the spirit. 7
- Gabriel, one of the holy angels who oversee the garden of Eden, and the serpents, and the cherubim.
3 Enoch 17 says “There are seven great, beautiful, wonderful, and honored princes who are in charge of the seven heavens. They are, Michael, Gabriel, Šatqiʾel, Šaḥaqiʾel, Baradiʾel, Baraqiʾel, and Sidriʾel.:
However, in Revelation 8:2 the angels are not named nor are them described as special in any way except they are given the honor of announcing the judgements by blowing on trumpets. There is another series of angels in Revelation 15-16 as the final seven bowl judgements are poured out on the earth.