During John’s Revelation, we are introduced to an angel. The final sentence of verse 1 of Chapter one says, “He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.” It’s interesting because an angel is also said to have been the mediator of the books of Moses. In Acts 7:38, we read that when Steven speaks about Moses, he says, “This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us.” Then in verse 53 of the same chapter of Acts, Steven accuses the Jewish leaders of the murder of Jesus even though Moses prophesied about the coming of a prophet who would be greater than himself. He includes the comment that the Jews who received the law through Moses “received the law as delivered by angels” and yet did not keep it. Then the writer of Hebrews also speaks of “the word spoken by angels” regarding the coming of the Son of God. The angel who speaks to John and gives him this fantastic Revelation is never identified. The Old Testament angels are not identified either. The only thing we know of John’s angel is that he was one of the seven angels to pour out the bowls of God’s wrath on the earth, which is recorded in the later chapters of John’s Revelations. We never learn which one of the seven this angel is. This angel remains a mystery for us, and we don’t hear much about him until the last chapter. In Revelation 22:6, John says, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

The big question regarding this issue is “mediation.” Some will argue that God gave the Law directly to Moses without a mediator. Several places in the Old Testament either say that or imply it. In Deuteronomy 33, they argue that God came “accompanied” by his saints to bring the Law to Moses. Yet the Hebrew phrase “Holy Ones” might mean angels as well as saints. It’s interesting also to notice that the Septuagint, the Greek Translation of the Old Testament, actually used the word “angels” in the text of Deuteronomy 33. Putting all the passages regarding mediation together in the Bible, there appear to be several levels of mediation. First, the angels mediated between God and Moses. Then Moses mediated between the angels and the Israelites. Although there seems to be clear evidence of God’s mediation through angels at times, we must not forget that salvation is not one of the things they can mediate. Paul tells Timothy, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” We don’t need to believe in angels to be saved. We need to believe only in Jesus, who has mediated God’s love and offered salvation to us all through his death and resurrection. Yet, we cannot miss the fact that God might mediate the truth of Christ’s actions on our behalf through mediators. He even uses preachers and other Christians today to bring us the truth of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, angels may still be at work somehow today.

I like how Michaels finishes his commentary on this passage. He writes, “Angels are not a familiar part of our world today, even among devout Christians. When I was in college, a friend from high school then studying for the Russian Orthodox priesthood asked me if I believed in angels. Being a new Christian, I said I did, not because I had given the matter much thought but because I felt this was the proper answer. My friend was surprised at my reply, telling me that he had never before met a Protestant who believed in angels. The fact is, however, that we cannot make much sense of the book of Revelation without believing in angels, or if we cannot quite bring ourselves to believe, we must at least make a conscious effort to suspend our disbelief in order to participate fully in the story.”[1]

[1] Michaels, J. Ramsey. 1997. Revelation. Vol. 20. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.