A swift stream of fire issued forth from before Him: thousands of thousands ministered to Him, and ten thousand times a hundred thousand stood before Him: the judgment sat and the books were opened. also Psalm 96:7 ; Psalm 1 ; Isaiah 6 , etc.) This function of the angelic host is expressed by the word "assistance" ( Job 1:6 ; 2:1 ), and our Lord refers to it as their perpetual occupation ( Matthew ).
More than once we are told of seven angels whose special function it is thus to "stand before God's throne" ( Tobit ; Revelation 8:2-5 ).
The Massoretic text, the Septuagint, and the Vulgate all agree in thus describing the communications made by the angel to the prophet.
It is a pity that the "Revised Version" should, in apparent defiance of the above-named texts, obscure this trait by persistently giving the rendering: "the angel that talked with me: instead of "within me" (cf. Such appearances of angels generally last only so long as the delivery of their message requires, but frequently their mission is prolonged, and they are represented as the constituted guardians of the nations at some particular crisis, e.g. Similarly it is the common view of the Fathers that by "the prince of the Kingdom of the Persians" (Dan., x, 13; x, 21) we are to understand the angel to whom was entrusted the spiritual care of that kingdom, and we may perhaps see in the "man of Macedonia" who appeared to St.
John the Baptist and the Incarnation of the Redeemer, while tradition ascribes to him both the message to the shepherds ( Luke 2:9 ), and the most glorious mission of all, that of strengthening the King of Angels in His Agony ( Luke ).
The spiritual nature of the angels is manifested very clearly in the account which Zacharias gives of the revelations bestowed upon him by the ministry of an angel.
It was an angel who found Agar in the wilderness ( Genesis 16 ); angels drew Lot out of Sodom; an angel announces to Gideon that he is to save his people; an angel foretells the birth of Samson ( Judges 13 ), and the angel Gabriel instructs Daniel ( Daniel ), though he is not called an angel in either of these passages, but "the man Gabriel" ().
The same heavenly spirit announced the birth of St.
The same thought may be intended by "the angel of His presence" ( Isaiah 63:9 ) an expression which also occurs in the pseudo-epigraphical "Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs".
But these glimpses of life beyond the veil are only occasional.
Paul at Troas, the guardian angel of that country ( Acts 16:9 ).