Who is “another angel?”
This question introduces one of the darkest passages of
Revelation. Indeed, most commentators
treat it very briefly, because they have so little to say of which they are
sure. As to who this angel is, there
are two approaches
• We don’t know,
The latter is argued for in one of two ways:
• In the
dispensationalist theory, God is now dealing again with Israel as a
nation. Israel is now God’s
representative (again) on earth. In the
prior dispensation (the Law) Jesus appeared as “The Angel of the Lord.” Therefore, he must do so again. (This seems to argue more against dispensationalism
than anything else it might argue for).
• More powerfully,
however, the argument is made that who else could stand between the seven
angels of the presence (as the Jews would have known them from the
non-canonical book, Tobit). The
parallel is drawn between this action and that of the High Priest entering the
Holy of Holies (Leviticus 16:11-13) -- and who is our High Priest?
Incense, we have seen, represents prayer. Here we see it “mingled” with prayer. The best suggestion (again, most skip this)
is that this incense (being heavenly) represents the prayer of the Holy Spirit
(see Romans 8:26-27).
Fire -- note that it comes from the altar, wherein the
blood of the martyrs is spilled -- compares to the passage in Ezekiel 10-11
where the coals taken from between the cherubim are spread over Jerusalem, foretelling
her fall. This is a warning of things
Thunder (and all the rest) are taken somewhat literally,
meaning natural disasters (when they are commented on at all).
The Half Hour Silence may be the most mysterious of
all. Some (historicists) hold that this
is the consolidation of the church after the time of Constantine. Perhaps a better view is this: “Everything holds so that the prayers of the
saints may be heard.” (Barclay)