And I beheld, and heard the voice of many angels
Immaterial spirits, made by Christ, and worshippers of him, and ministering spirits to him and his, the holy and elect angels, who are confirmed in their state by Christ; these John beheld in a visionary way, and heard the voices and articulate sounds formed by them; and there were many of them; how many there are, or were here, cannot be said; we read of a multitude of heavenly host that appeared at the incarnation of Christ, and of more than twelve legions of angels, that Christ could have had of his Father for a word speaking, at the time of his apprehension, who would have rescued him out of the hands of his enemies; yea, that company is innumerable. The Syriac version reads, "as the voice of many waters"; these were
round about the throne;
were near to God, stood before him, behind his face, hearkened to his voice, and observed his orders: so with the Jews, the four angels, Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael, are said F12 to be (raokl bybo) , "round about his throne", the throne of God: it follows here,
and the beasts and the elders;
the sense is not, that John heard the voice of the living creatures, and of the elders, as well as, and together with, the voice of many angels; for he had heard their voice and song before, but that the angels whose voice he heard, as they were round about the throne, so they were round about the living creatures, and round about the elders: the angels are near unto, and encompass the ministers of the Gospel; they are about them, and give them intimations and discoveries of the mind and will of God, as an angel did to John, ( Revelation 1:1 ) , and another to Paul, ( Acts 27:23 Acts 27:24 ) , and sometimes direct them where to go and preach the Gospel, as in ( Acts 16:9 Acts 16:10 ) , and surround them for their safety and protection: so horses and chariots of fire, by whom angels are meant, were round about the prophet Elisha, ( 2 Kings 6:16 2 Kings 6:17 ) , and they were also round about the elders, the churches, and particular believers; angels and saints are near to one another; and angels are very friendly to the saints, and so them many good offices; they all belong to the same family, and are social worshippers of God; the angels are the guards that encamp round about them that fear the Lord, and often protect them from enemies and dangers; and it may be observed, that the saints are nearer the Lamb and the throne than the angels be; according to this account, there was a throne, and one that sat on it, who is the living God; nearest to the throne stood the Lamb; next to the Lamb stood the four living creatures, the ministers of the Gospel; next to them the elders, or churches, and members thereof; and in the outermost ring, and as encompassing all, stood the ministering angels, they being servants; whereas the saints are the heirs of salvation, and the bride, the Lamb's wife, and therefore nearer him:
and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and
thousands of thousands;
that is, an innumerable company of them; a like number is mentioned in ( Daniel 7:10 ) to which this seems to refer; see ( Psalms 68:17 ) . The Jews speak of nine hundred and six thousand millions of ministering angels, that stand constantly before the Lord F13.
F12 Bemidbar Rabba sect. 2. fol. 179. 1.
F13 Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 69. 1.