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+ Genesis

Genesis 48:16

15
Then he blessed them with these words: "May the God in whose ways my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has been my shepherd from my birth to this day,
16
The Angel who has delivered me from all harm, bless these boys That in them my name be recalled, and the names of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, And they may become teeming multitudes upon the earth!"
17
When Joseph saw that his father had laid his right hand on Ephraim's head, this seemed wrong to him; so he took hold of his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's,

+ Exodus

Exodus 3:2

1
1 Meanwhile Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. Leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
2
2 There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush. As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed.
3
So Moses decided, "I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned."

1. [1] The mountain of God: probably given this designation because of the divine apparitions which took place there, such as on this occasion and when the Israelites were there after the departure from Egypt.

2. [2] An angel of the LORD: the visual form under which God appeared and spoke to men is referred to indifferently in some Old Testament texts either as God's angel or as God himself. Cf Genesis 16:7,13; Exodus 14:19,24,25; Numbers 22:22-35; Jdgs 6,11-18.

Exodus 14:19

18
The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I receive glory through Pharaoh and his chariots and charioteers."
19
The angel of God, who had been leading Israel's camp, now moved and went around behind them. The column of cloud also, leaving the front, took up its place behind them,
20
2 so that it came between the camp of the Egyptians and that of Israel. But the cloud now became dark, and thus the night passed without the rival camps coming any closer together all night long.

2. [20] The cloud now became dark: the light which it ordinarily cast at night would now have been a help to the Egyptians; its present obscurity serves as a shield for the Israelites. However, the reading of the original text here is not quite certain.

Exodus 23:20-23

19
3 The choicest first fruits of your soil you shall bring to the house of the LORD, your God. "You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk.
20
"See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared.
21
4 Be attentive to him and heed his voice. Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your sin. My authority resides in him.
22
If you heed his voice and carry out all I tell you, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes.
23
"My angel will go before you and bring you to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites; and I will wipe them out.
24
5 Therefore, you shall not bow down in worship before their gods, nor shall you make anything like them; rather, you must demolish them and smash their sacred pillars.

3. [19] Boil a kid in its mother's milk: this was part of a Canaanite ritual; hence it is forbidden here as a pagan ceremony.

4. [21] My authority resides in him: literally, "My name is within him."

5. [24] Make anything like them: some render, "act according to their conduct." Sacred pillars: objects of religious veneration at Canaanite sanctuaries.

Exodus 32:34

33
The LORD answered, "Him only who has sinned against me will I strike out of my book.
34
Now, go and lead the people whither I have told you. My angel will go before you. When it is time for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin."
35
Thus the LORD smote the people for having had Aaron make the calf for them.

Exodus 33:2

1
The LORD told Moses, "You and the people whom you have brought up from the land of Egypt, are to go up from here to the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob I would give to their descendants.
2
Driving out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, I will send an angel before you
3
to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I myself will not go up in your company, because you are a stiff-necked people; otherwise I might exterminate you on the way."

+ Numbers

Numbers 20:16

15
how our fathers went down to Egypt, where we stayed a long time, how the Egyptians maltreated us and our fathers,
16
and how, when we cried to the LORD, he heard our cry and sent an angel who led us out of Egypt. Now here we are at the town of Kadesh at the edge of your territory.
17
5 Kindly let us pass through your country. We will not cross any fields or vineyards, nor drink any well water, but we will go straight along the royal road without turning to the right or to the left, until we have passed through your territory."

5. [17] The royal road: an important highway, running north and south along the plateau east of the Dead Sea. In ancient times it was much used by caravans and armies; later it was improved by the Romans, and large stretches of it are still clearly recognizable.

Numbers 22:22-27, 31-35

21
So the next morning when Balaam arose, he saddled his ass, and went off with the princes of Moab.
22
3 But now the anger of God flared up at him for going, and the angel of the LORD stationed himself on the road to hinder him as he was riding along on his ass, accompanied by two of his servants.
23
When the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing on the road with sword drawn, she turned off the road and went into the field, and Balaam had to beat her to bring her back on the road.
24
Then the angel of the LORD took his stand in a narrow lane between vineyards with a stone wall on each side.
25
When the ass saw the angel of the LORD there, she shrank against the wall; and since she squeezed Balaam's leg against it, he beat her again.
26
The angel of the LORD then went ahead, and stopped next in a passage so narrow that there was no room to move either to the right or to the left.
27
When the ass saw the angel of the LORD there, she cowered under Balaam. So, in anger, he again beat the ass with his stick.
28
But now the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she asked Balaam, "What have I done to you that you should beat me these three times?"

3. [22] The anger of God flared up: not merely because Balaam was going to Balak, for he had God's permission for the journey (Numbers 22:20), but perhaps because he was tempted by avarice to curse Israel against God's command. "They have followed the way of Balaam, son of Bosor, who loved the wages of wrongdoing" (2 Peter 2:15); "and have rushed on thoughtlessly into the error of Balaam for the sake of gain" (Judges 1:11). Cf Numbers 22:32 and compare Exodus 4:18-26.

30
But the ass said to Balaam, "Am I not your own beast, and have you not always ridden upon me until now? Have I been in the habit of treating you this way before?" "No," replied Balaam.
31
Then the LORD removed the veil from Balaam's eyes, so that he too saw the angel of the LORD standing on the road with sword drawn; and he fell on his knees and bowed to the ground.
32
But the angel of the LORD said to him, "Why have you beaten your ass these three times? It is I who have come armed to hinder you because this rash journey of yours is directly opposed to me.
33
When the ass saw me, she turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away from me, I would have killed you; her I would have spared."
34
Then Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, "I have sinned. Yet I did not know that you stood against me to oppose my journey. Since it has displeased you, I will go back home."
35
But the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, "Go with the men; but you may say only what I tell you." So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak.
36
When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the boundary city Ir-Moab on the Arnon at the end of the Moabite territory.

+ Judges

Judges 2:1-4

1
An angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bochim and said, "It was I who brought you up from Egypt and led you into the land which I promised on oath to your fathers. I said that I would never break my covenant with you,
2
but that you were not to make a pact with the inhabitants of this land, and you were to pull down their altars. Yet you have not obeyed me. What did you mean by this?
3
For now I tell you, I will not clear them out of your way; they shall oppose you and their gods shall become a snare for you."
4
When the angel of the LORD had made these threats to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud;
5
1 and so that place came to be called Bochim. They offered sacrifice there to the LORD.

1. [5] Bochim: the Hebrew word for "weepers."

Judges 6:11-12, 20-22

10
And I said to you: I, the LORD, am your God; you shall not venerate the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are dwelling. But you did not obey me."
11
Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite. While his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press to save it from the Midianites,
12
the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, "The LORD is with you, O champion!"
13
"My Lord," Gideon said to him, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are his wondrous deeds of which our fathers told us when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' For now the LORD has abandoned us and has delivered us into the power of Midian."
19
So Gideon went off and prepared a kid and an ephah of flour in the form of unleavened cakes. Putting the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out to him under the terebinth and presented them.
20
The angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and unleavened cakes and lay them on this rock; then pour out the broth." When he had done so,
21
the angel of the LORD stretched out the tip of the staff he held, and touched the meat and unleavened cakes. Thereupon a fire came up from the rock which consumed the meat and unleavened cakes, and the angel of the LORD disappeared from sight.
22
Gideon, now aware that it had been the angel of the LORD, said, "Alas, Lord GOD, that I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!"
23
The LORD answered him, "Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die."

Judges 13:3-9, 13-21

2
There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren and had borne no children.
3
An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, "Though you are barren and have had no children, yet you will conceive and bear a son.
4
Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink and to eat nothing unclean.
5
1 As for the son you will conceive and bear, no razor shall touch his head, for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb. It is he who will begin the deliverance of Israel from the power of the Philistines."
6
The woman went and told her husband, "A man of God came to me; he had the appearance of an angel of God, terrible indeed. I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name.
7
But he said to me, 'You will be with child and will bear a son. So take neither wine nor strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shall be consecrated to God from the womb, until the day of his death.'"
8
Manoah then prayed to the LORD. "O LORD, I beseech you," he said, "may the man of God whom you sent, return to us to teach us what to do for the boy who will be born."
9
God heard the prayer of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field. Since her husband Manoah was not with her,
10
the woman ran in haste and told her husband. "The man who came to me the other day has appeared to me," she said to him;

1. [5] Consecrated: in Hebrew, nazir. Samson therefore was for life to be under the nazirite vow, which obliged him to abstain from drinking wine or having his hair cut; cf Numbers 6:2-8.

12
Then Manoah asked, "Now, when that which you say comes true, what are we expected to do for the boy?"
13
The angel of the LORD answered Manoah, "Your wife is to abstain from all the things of which I spoke to her.
14
She must not eat anything that comes from the vine, nor take wine or strong drink, nor eat anything unclean. Let her observe all that I have commanded her."
15
Then Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, "Can we persuade you to stay, while we prepare a kid for you?"
16
But the angel of the LORD answered Manoah, "Although you press me, I will not partake of your food. But if you will, you may offer a holocaust to the LORD."Not knowing that it was the angel of the LORD,
17
Manoah said to him, "What is your name, that we may honor you when your words come true?"
18
2 The angel of the LORD answered him, "Why do you ask my name, which is mysterious?"
19
Then Manoah took the kid with a cereal offering and offered it on the rock to the LORD, whose works are mysteries. While Manoah and his wife were looking on,
20
as the flame rose to the sky from the altar, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell prostrate to the ground;
21
but the angel of the LORD was seen no more by Manoah and his wife. Then Manoah, realizing that it was the angel of the LORD,
22
said to his wife, "We will certainly die, for we have seen God."

2. [18] Mysterious: incomprehensible, above human understanding. Hence, the angel speaks in the name of the Lord himself, to whom Manoah at once offers a sacrifice.

+ 1 Samuel

1 Samuel 29:10

9
"You know," Achish answered David, "that you are acceptable to me. But the Philistine chiefs have determined you are not to go up with us to battle.
10
So the first thing tomorrow, you and your lord's servants who came with you, go to the place I picked out for you. Do not decide to take umbrage at this; you are as acceptable to me as an angel of God. But make an early morning start, as soon as it grows light, and be on your way."
11
So David and his men left early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. The Philistines, however, went on up to Jezreel.

+ 2 Samuel

2 Samuel 14:17-20

16
For the king must surely consent to free his servant from the grasp of one who would seek to destroy me and my son as well from God's inheritance.'"
17
3 And the woman concluded: "Let the word of my lord the king provide a resting place; indeed, my lord the king is like an angel of God, evaluating good and bad. The LORD your God be with you."
18
The king answered the woman, "Now do not conceal from me anything I may ask you!" The woman said, "Let my lord the king speak."
19
So the king asked, "Is Joab involved with you in all this?" And the woman answered: "As you live, my lord the king, it is just as your majesty has said, and not otherwise. It was your servant Joab who instructed me and told your servant all these things she was to say.
20
Your servant Joab did this to come at the issue in a roundabout way. But my lord is as wise as an angel of God, so that he knows all things on earth."
21
Then the king said to Joab: "I hereby grant this request. Go, therefore, and bring back young Absalom."

3. [17] A resting place: cf Psalm 95:11; Hebrews 3:7-4,11. The reference here is to a return home for Absalom to Israel.

2 Samuel 19:28

27
He replied: "My lord the king, my servant betrayed me. For your servant, who is lame, said to him, 'Saddle the ass for me, that I may ride on it and go with the king.'
28
But he slandered your servant before my lord the king. But my lord the king is like an angel of God. Do what you judge best.
29
For though my father's entire house deserved only death from my lord the king, yet you placed your servant among the guests at your table. What right do I still have to make further appeal to the king?"

2 Samuel 24:16-17

15
Thus David chose the pestilence. Now it was the time of the wheat harvest when the plague broke out among the people. (The LORD then sent a pestilence over Israel from morning until the time appointed, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beer-sheba died.)
16
But when the angel stretched forth his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD regretted the calamity and said to the angel causing the destruction among the people, "Enough now! Stay your hand." The angel of the LORD was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
17
3 When David saw the angel who was striking the people, he said to the LORD: "It is I who have sinned; it is I, the shepherd, who have done wrong. But these are sheep; what have they done? Punish me and my kindred."
18
On the same day Gad went to David and said to him, "Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite."

3. [17] Before this verse a Qumran manuscript (4Q Sam[a]) gives the fuller text of 1 Chron 21:16 an alternative to the words When David saw the angel who was striking the people.

+ 1 Kings

1 Kings 13:18

17
"for I was told by the word of the LORD neither to eat bread nor drink water here, and not to go back the way I came."
18
But he said to him, "I, too, am a prophet like you, and an angel told me in the word of the LORD to bring you back with me to my house and to have you eat bread and drink water." He was lying to him, however.
19
So he went back with him, and ate bread and drank water in his house.

1 Kings 19:5-7

4
and went a day's journey into the desert, until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death: "This is enough, O LORD! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers."
5
He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat.
6
He looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again,
7
but the angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched him, and ordered, "Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!"
8
He got up, ate and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.

+ 2 Kings

2 Kings 1:3, 15

2
1 Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his roof terrace at Samaria and had been injured. So he sent out messengers with the instructions: "Go and inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this injury."
3
Meanwhile, the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite: "Go, intercept the messengers of Samaria's king, and ask them, 'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron?'
4
For this, the LORD says: 'You shall not leave the bed upon which you lie; instead, you shall die.'" And with that, Elijah departed.

1. [2] Baalzebub: in this form, "Baal of flies." The name in the Hebrew text is a derisive alteration of Baalzebul, "Prince Baal." The best New Testament evidence supports the latter form in Matthew 10:25;Luke 11:15. Later associations with Aramaic beeldebaba, "enemy," gave the ancient name its connotation of "devil."

14
Already fire has come down from heaven, consuming two captains with their companies of fifty men. But now, let my life mean something to you!"
15
Then the angel of the LORD said to Elijah, "Go down with him; you need not be afraid of him."
16
So Elijah left and went down with him and stated to the king: "Thus says the LORD: 'Because you sent messengers to inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, you shall not leave the bed upon which you lie; instead you shall die.'"

2 Kings 19:35

34
I will shield and save this city for my own sake, and for the sake of my servant David.'"
35
That night the angel of the LORD went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. Early the next morning, there they were, all the corpses of the dead.
36
So Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, broke camp, and went back home to Nineveh.

+ 1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 21:12-18, 27-30

11
Accordingly, Gad went to David and said to him; "Thus says the LORD: Decide now--
12
will it be three years of famine; or three months of fleeing your enemies, with the sword of your foes ever at your back; or three days of the LORD'S own sword, a pestilence in the land, with the LORD'S destroying angel in every part of Israel? Therefore choose: What answer am I to give him who sent me?"
13
Then David said to Gad: "I am in dire straits. But I prefer to fall into the hand of the LORD, whose mercy is very great, than into the hands of men."
14
Therefore the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel died.
15
God also sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem; but as he was on the point of destroying it, the LORD saw and decided against the calamity, and said to the destroying angel, "Enough now! Stay your hand!"The angel of the LORD was then standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
16
When David raised his eyes, he saw the angel of the LORD standing between earth and heaven, with a naked sword in his hand stretched out against Jerusalem. David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, prostrated themselves face to the ground,
17
and David prayed to God: "Was it not I who ordered the census of the people? I am the one who sinned, I did this wicked thing. But these sheep, what have they done? O LORD, my God, strike me and my father's family, but do not afflict your people with this plague!"
18
Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to tell David to go up and erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
19
David went up at Gad's command, given in the name of the LORD.
26
David then built an altar there to the LORD, and offered up holocausts and peace offerings. When he called upon the LORD, he answered him by sending down fire from heaven upon the altar of holocausts.
27
Then the LORD gave orders to the angel to return his sword to its sheath.
28
Once David saw that the LORD had heard him on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he continued to offer sacrifices there.
29
The Dwelling of the LORD, which Moses had built in the desert, and the altar of holocausts were at that time on the high place at Gibeon.
30
But David could not go there to worship God, for he was fearful of the sword of the angel of the LORD.

+ 2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 32:21

20
But because of this, King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, son of Amos, prayed and called out to heaven.
21
Then the LORD sent an angel, who destroyed every valiant warrior, leader and commander in the camp of the Assyrian king, so that he had to return shamefaced to his own country. And when he entered the temple of his god, some of his own offspring struck him down there with the sword.
22
Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, as from every other power; he gave them rest on every side.

+ Tobit

Tobit 5:4, 17, 22

3
1 Tobit answered his son Tobiah: "We exchanged signatures on a document written in duplicate; I divided it into two parts, and each of us kept one; his copy I put with the money. Think of it, twenty years have already passed since I deposited that money! So now, my son, find yourself a trustworthy man who will make the journey with you. We will, of course, give him a salary when you return; but get back that money from Gabael."
4
2 Tobiah went to look for someone acquainted with the roads who would travel with him to Media. As soon as he went out, he found the angel Raphael standing before him, though he did not know that this was an angel of God.
5
Tobiah said to him, "Who are you, young man?" He replied "I am an Israelite, one of your kinsmen. I have come here to work." Tobiah said, "Do you know the way to Media?"

1. [3] Document: in Greek cheirographon. In the Middle Ages, notably in England, a deed and its duplicate were written on one piece of parchment, with the Latin word chirographum inscribed across the top of the sheet or between the two copies of the text. The document was then cut in two in either a straight or a wavy line, the parts being given to the persons concerned. Perhaps this procedure derived from the present verse of Tobit. Duplicate documents, usually one open and the other sealed, are well known from the ancient Near East.

2. [4] He did not know: the theme of an angel in disguise occurs frequently in folklore as well as in the Old Testament (Genesis 18; cf Hebrews 13:2).

16
I will even add a bonus to your wages!" Raphael replied: "I will go with him; have no fear. In good health we shall leave you, and in good health we shall return to you, for the way is safe."
17
Tobit said, "God bless you, brother." Then he called his son and said to him: "My son, prepare whatever you need for the journey, and set out with your kinsman. May God in heaven protect you on the way and bring you back to me safe and sound; and may his angel accompany you for safety, my son." Before setting out on his journey, Tobiah kissed his father and mother. Tobit said to him, "Have a safe journey."
18
But his mother began to weep. She said to Tobit: "Why have you decided to send my child away? Is he not the staff to which we cling, ever there with us in all that we do?
21
Tobit reassured her: "Have no such thought. Our son will leave in good health and come back to us in good health. Your own eyes will see the day when he returns to you safe and sound.
22
7 So, no such thought; do not worry about them, my love. For a good angel will go with him, his journey will be successful, and he will return unharmed."

7. [22] My love: literally, "sister," a term of endearment applied to one's wife; cf Tobit 7:11,15;8:4,21;10:6,13; Song 4:9,10,12;5:1,2. A good angel: a reference to the guardian angel, though Tobit does not know, of course, that Raphael himself, disguised as Azariah, is the good angel in this case.

Tobit 6:2-7

1
Then she stopped weeping.
2
When the boy left home, accompanied by the angel, the dog followed Tobiah out of the house and went with them. The travelers walked till nightfall, and made camp beside the Tigris River.
3
Now when the boy went down to wash his feet in the river, a large fish suddenly leaped out of the water and tried to swallow his foot. He shouted in alarm.
4
But the angel said to him, "Take hold of the fish and don't let it get away!" The boy seized the fish and hauled it up on the shore.
5
1 The angel then told him: "Cut the fish open and take out its gall, heart, and liver, and keep them with you; but throw away the entrails. Its gall, heart, and liver make useful medicines."
6
After the lad had cut the fish open, he put aside the gall, heart, and liver. Then he broiled and ate part of the fish; the rest he salted and kept for the journey.
7
Afterward they traveled on together till they were near Media. The boy asked the angel this question: "Brother Azariah, what medicinal value is there in the fish's heart, liver, and gall?"
8
He answered: "As regards the fish's heart and liver, if you burn them so that the smoke surrounds a man or a woman who is afflicted by a demon or evil spirit, the affliction will leave him completely, and no demons will ever return to him again.

1. [5] Its gall . . . medicines: belief in the healing power of these organs was common among even the physicians of antiquity.

Tobit 12:22

21
When Raphael ascended they rose to their feet and could no longer see him.
22
They kept thanking God and singing his praises; and they continued to acknowledge these marvelous deeds which he had done when the angel of God appeared to them.

+ 1 Maccabees

1 Maccabees 7:41

40
7 But Judas camped in Adasa with three thousand men. Here Judas uttered this prayer:
41
"When they who were sent by the king blasphemed, your angel went out and killed a hundred and eighty-five thousand of them.
42
In the same way, crush this army before us today, and let the rest know that Nicanor spoke wickedly against your sanctuary; judge him according to his wickedness."

7. [40] Adasa: a village southeast of Caphar-salama.

+ 2 Maccabees

2 Maccabees 11:6

5
So he invaded Judea, and when he reached Beth-zur, a fortified place about twenty miles from Jerusalem, launched a strong attack against it.
6
When Maccabeus and his men learned that Lysias was besieging the strongholds, they and all the people begged the Lord with lamentations and tears to send a good angel to save Israel.
7
Maccabeus himself was the first to take up arms, and he exhorted the others to join him in risking their lives to help their kinsmen. Then they resolutely set out together.

2 Maccabees 15:22-23

21
Maccabeus, contemplating the hosts before him, their elaborate equipment, and the fierceness of their elephants, stretched out his hands toward heaven and called upon the LORD who works miracles; for he knew that it is not through arms but through the LORD'S decision that victory is won by those who deserve it.
22
He prayed to him thus: "You, O LORD, sent your angel in the days of King Hezekiah of Judea, and he slew a hundred and eighty-five thousand men of Sennacherib's army.
23
Sovereign of the heavens, send a good angel now to spread fear and dread before us.
24
By the might of your arm may those be struck down who have blasphemously come against your holy people!" With this he ended his prayer.

+ Job

Job 33:23

22
His soul draws near to the pit, his life to the place of the dead.
23
1 If then there be for him an angel, one out of a thousand, a mediator, To show him what is right for him and bring the man back to justice,
24
He will take pity on him and say, "Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found him a ransom."

1. [23] Angel: one of the thousands who stand between God and man as intermediaries, reminding man of his duties and giving God an account of their fulfillment.

+ Psalms

Psalms 34:8

7
In my misfortune I called, the LORD heard and saved me from all distress.
8
The angel of the LORD, who encamps with them, delivers all who fear God.
9
Learn to savor how good the LORD is; happy are those who take refuge in him.

Psalms 35:5-6

4
Let those who seek my life be put to shame and disgrace. Let those who plot evil against me be turned back and confounded.
5
Make them like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the LORD driving them on.
6
Make their way slippery and dark, with the angel of the LORD pursuing them.
7
Without cause they set their snare for me; without cause they dug a pit for me.

+ Isaiah

Isaiah 37:36

35
I will shield and save this city for my own sake, and for the sake of my servant David.
36
5 The angel of the LORD went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. Early the next morning, there they were, all the corpses of the dead.
37
So Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, broke camp and went back home to Nineveh.

5. [36] The destruction of Sennacherib's army is also recorded by Herodotus, a Greek historian of the fifth century B.C. It was probably due to the bubonic plague, but the sacred author attributes it to its ultimate cause, God through his angel.

Isaiah 63:9

8
He said: They are indeed my people, children who are not disloyal; So he became their savior
9
in their every affliction. It was not a messenger or an angel, but he himself who saved them. Because of his love and pity he redeemed them himself, Lifting them and carrying them all the days of old.
10
But they rebelled, and grieved his holy spirit; So he turned on them like an enemy, and fought against them.

+ Baruch

Baruch 6:6

5
when you see the crowd before them and behind worshiping them. Rather, say in your hearts, "You, O LORD, are to be worshiped!";
6
for my angel is with you, and he is the custodian of your lives.
7
Their tongues are smoothed by woodworkers; they are covered with gold and silver-but they are a fraud, and cannot speak.

+ Daniel

Daniel 3:49, 95

48
and spread out, burning the Chaldeans nearby.
49
But the angel of the Lord went down into the furnace with Azariah and his companions, drove the fiery flames out of the furnace,
50
and made the inside of the furnace as though a dew-laden breeze were blowing through it. The fire in no way touched them or caused them pain or harm.
94
When the satraps, prefects, governors, and nobles of the king came together, they saw that the fire had had no power over the bodies of these men; not a hair of their heads had been singed, nor were their garments altered; there was not even a smell of fire about them.
95
Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants that trusted in him; they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
96
Therefore I decree for nations and peoples of every language that whoever blasphemes the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be cut to pieces and his house destroyed. For there is no other God who can rescue like this."

Daniel 6:23

22
Daniel answered the king: "O king, live forever!
23
My God has sent his angel and closed the lions' mouths so that they have not hurt me. For I have been found innocent before him; neither to you have I done any harm, O king!"
24
This gave the king great joy. At his order Daniel was removed from the den, unhurt because he trusted in his God.

Daniel 13:55, 59

54
Now, then, if you were a witness, tell me under what tree you saw them together."
55
2"Under a mastic tree," he answered. "Your fine lie has cost you your head," said Daniel; "for the angel of God shall receive the sentence from him and split you in two."
56
Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought. "Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah," Daniel said to him, "beauty has seduced you, lust has subverted your conscience.

2. [55] 13, 55-59: The contrast between the mastic tree, which is small, and the majestic oak emphasizes the contradiction between the statements of the two elders. In the Greek text there is a play on words between the names of these two trees and the mortal punishment decreed by Daniel for the elders.

58
Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together."
59
"Under an oak," he said. "Your fine lie has cost you also your head," said Daniel; "for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two so as to make an end of you both."
60
The whole assembly cried aloud, blessing God who saves those that hope in him.

Daniel 14:34-39

33
In Judea there was a prophet, Habakkuk; he mixed some bread in a bowl with the stew he had boiled, and was going to bring it to the reapers in the field,
34
when an angel of the Lord told him, "Take the lunch you have to Daniel in the lions' den at Babylon."
35
But Habakkuk answered, "Babylon, sir, I have never seen, and I do not know the den!"
36
The angel of the Lord seized him by the crown of his head and carried him by the hair; with the speed of the wind, he set him down in Babylon above the den.
37
"Daniel, Daniel," cried Habakkuk, "take the lunch God has sent you."
38
"You have remembered me, O God," said Daniel; "you have not forsaken those who love you."
39
While Daniel began to eat, the angel of the Lord at once brought Habakkuk back to his own place.
40
On the seventh day the king came to mourn for Daniel. As he came to the den and looked in, there was Daniel, sitting there!

+ Hosea

Hosea 12:5

4
In the womb he supplanted his brother, and as a man he contended with God;
5
He contended with the angel and triumphed, entreating him with tears. At Bethel he met God and there he spoke with him:
6
The LORD, the God of hosts, the LORD is his name!

+ Zechariah

Zechariah 1:9-14

8
3 I had a vision during the night. There appeared the driver of a red horse, standing among myrtle trees in a shady place, and behind him were red, sorrel, and white horses.
9
Then I asked, "What are these, my lord?"; and the angel who spoke with me answered me, "I will show you what these are."
10
The man who was standing among the myrtle trees spoke up and said, "These are they whom the LORD has sent to patrol the earth."
11
And they answered the angel of the LORD who was standing among the myrtle trees and said, "We have patrolled the earth; see, the whole earth is tranquil and at rest!"
12
4 Then the angel of the Lord spoke out and said, "O LORD of hosts, how long will you be without mercy for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah that have felt your anger these seventy years?"
13
To the angel who spoke with me, the LORD replied with comforting words.
14
And the angel who spoke with me said to me, Proclaim: Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am deeply moved for the sake of Jerusalem and Zion,
15
5 and I am exceedingly angry with the complacent nations; whereas I was but a little angry, they added to the harm.

3. [8-11] The driver of a red horse: apparently distinct from the man, or angel of the LORD . . . standing among the myrtle trees, who spoke with the prophet. The four horsemen are sent by God to the four corners of the earth (Zechariah 2:10), to see if the whole earth is at peace.

4. [12] These seventy years: see note on Jeremiah 25:1-14.

5. [15] The complacent nations: the neighbors of Judah; especially Edom, which enjoyed their present prosperity and security at Judah's expense.

Zechariah 2:2, 7

1
1 I raised my eyes and looked; there were four horns.
2
Then I asked the angel who spoke with me what these were. He answered me, "These are the horns that scattered Judah and Israeland Jerusalem."
3
Then the LORD showed me four blacksmiths. And I asked, "What are these coming to do?"

1. [1-4] Four horns: symbolic of the hostile forces which, from the four corners of the earth, invaded and devastated the land of Judah. Four blacksmiths: the powers used by God to destroy these enemies of his people.

6
"Where are you going?" I asked. "To measure Jerusalem," he answered; "to see how great is its width and how great its length."
7
Then the angel who spoke with me advanced, and another angel came out to meet him,
8
2 and said to him, "Run, tell this to that young man: People will live in Jerusalem as though in open country, because of the multitude of men and beasts in her midst.

2. [8] That young man: the angel or man with a measuring line of Zechariah 2:5.

Zechariah 3:1-6

1
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, while Satan stood at his right hand to accuse him.
2
And the angel of the LORD said to Satan, "May the LORD rebuke you, Satan; may the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this man a brand snatched from the fire?"
3
1 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clad in filthy garments.
4
He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy garments, and clothe him in festal garments."
5
He also said, "Put a clean miter on his head." And they put a clean miter on his head and clothed him with the garments. Then the angel of the LORD, standing, said, "See, I have taken away your guilt."
6
The angel of the LORD then gave Joshua this assurance:
7
"Thus says the LORD of hosts: If you walk in my ways and heed my charge, you shall judge my house and keep my courts, and I will give you access among these standing here.

1. [3] Filthy garments: symbolic of mourning for the dead, or of national catastrophe, and implying acknowledgment of guilt (Zechariah 3:5).

Zechariah 4:4-5, 1

4
Then I said to the angel who spoke with me, "What are these things, my lord?"
5
And the angel who spoke with me replied, "Do you not know what these things are?" "No, my lord," I answered.
6
Then he said to me, "This is the LORD'S message to Zerubbabel: Not by an army, nor by might, but by my spirit, says the LORD of hosts.
10
For even they who were scornful on that day of small beginnings shall rejoice to see the select stone in the hands of Zerubbabel. These seven facets are the eyes of the LORD that range over the whole earth.
1
Then the angel who spoke with me returned and awakened me, like a man awakened from his sleep.
2
"What do you see?" he asked me. "I see a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl at the top," I replied; "on it are seven lamps with their tubes,

Zechariah 5:5, 10

4
I will send it forth, says the LORD of hosts, and it shall come into the house of the thief, or into the house of him who perjures himself with my name; it shall lodge within his house, consuming it, timber and stones."
5
2 Then the angel who spoke with me came forward and said to me, "Raise your eyes and see what this is that comes forth."
6
"What is it?" I asked. And he answered, "This is a bushel container coming. This is their guilt in all the land."

2. [5-11] The woman sealed in the bushel container is a figure of the general corruption of the people of Judah. She is removed from the Holy Land and transported to Shinar, that is, Babylonia, where a dwelling is being prepared for her; this is a symbol of the reign of Wickedness in pagan lands, contrasted with the reign of holiness in the Lord's dwelling on Mount Zion.

9
Then I raised my eyes and saw two women coming forth with a wind ruffling their wings, for they had wings like the wings of a stork. As they lifted up the bushel into the air,
10
I said to the angel who spoke with me, "Where are they taking the bushel?"
11
He replied, "To build a temple for it in the land of Shinar; when the temple is ready, they will deposit it there in its place."

Zechariah 6:4-5

3
the third chariot white horses, and the fourth chariot spotted horses--all of them strong horses.
4
I asked the angel who spoke with me, "What are these, my lord?"
5
The angel said to me in reply, "These are the four winds of the heavens, which are coming forth after being reviewed by the LORD of all the earth."
6
The chariot with the black horses was turning toward the land of the north, the red and the white horses went after them, and the spotted ones went toward the land of the south.

Zechariah 12:8

7
The LORD shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not be exalted over Judah.
8
On that day, the LORD will shield the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the weakling among them shall be like David on that day, and the house of David godlike, like an angel of the LORD before them.
9
On that day I will seek the destruction of all nations that come against Jerusalem.

+ Matthew

Matthew 1:20, 24

19
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,8 yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.
20
Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord9 appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.
21
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,10 because he will save his people from their sins."

8. [19] A righteous man: as a devout observer of the Mosaic law, Joseph wished to break his union with someone whom he suspected of gross violation of the law. It is commonly said that the law required him to do so, but the texts usually given in support of that view, e.g., Deut 22:20-21 do not clearly pertain to Joseph's situation. Unwilling to expose her to shame: the penalty for proved adultery was death by stoning; cf Deut 22:21-23.

9. [20] The angel of the Lord: in the Old Testament a common designation of God in communication with a human being. In a dream: see Matthew 2:13,19,22. These dreams may be meant to recall the dreams of Joseph, son of Jacob the patriarch (Genesis 37:5-11:19). A closer parallel is the dream of Amram, father of Moses, related by Josephus (Antiquities 2,9,3; 212, 215-16).

10. [21] Jesus: in first-century Judaism the Hebrew name Joshua (Greek Iesous) meaning "Yahweh helps" was interpreted as "Yahweh saves."

23
11"Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us."
24
When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.
25
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,12 and he named him Jesus.

11. [23] God is with us: God's promise of deliverance to Judah in Isaiah's time is seen by Matthew as fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, in whom God is with his people. The name Emmanuel is alluded to at the end of the gospel where the risen Jesus assures his disciples of his continued presence,". . . I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).

12. [25] Until she bore a son: the evangelist is concerned to emphasize that Joseph was not responsible for the conception of Jesus. The Greek word translated "until" does not imply normal marital conduct after Jesus' birth, nor does it exclude it.

Matthew 2:13, 19

12
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.
13
6 When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,7 and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him."
14
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.

6. [13-23] Biblical and nonbiblical traditions about Moses are here applied to the child Jesus, though the dominant Old Testament type is not Moses but Israel (Matthew 2:15).

7. [13] Flee to Egypt: Egypt was a traditional place of refuge for those fleeing from danger in Palestine (see 1 Kings 11:40; Jeremiah 26:21), but the main reason why the child is to be taken to Egypt is that he may relive the Exodus experience of Israel.

18
9"A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more."
19
When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt
20
and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead."10

9. [18] Jeremiah 31:15 portrays Rachel, wife of the patriarch Jacob, weeping for her children taken into exile at the time of the Assyrian invasion of the northern kingdom (722-21 B.C.). Bethlehem was traditionally identified with Ephrath, the place near which Rachel was buried (see Genesis 35:19;48:7), and the mourning of Rachel is here applied to her lost children of a later age. Ramah: about six miles north of Jerusalem. The lamentation of Rachel is so great as to be heard at a far distance.

10. [20] For those who sought the child's life are dead: Moses, who had fled from Egypt because the Pharaoh sought to kill him (see Exodus 2:15), was told to return there, "for all the men who sought your life are dead" (Exodus 4:19).

Matthew 28:2-5

1
1 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning,2 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
2
3 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.
3
His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow.
4
The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men.
5
Then the angel said to the women in reply, "Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.
6
4 He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

1. [1-20] Except for Matthew 28:1-8 based on Mark 16:1-8, the material of this final chapter is peculiar to Matthew. Even where he follows Mark, Matthew has altered his source so greatly that a very different impression is given from that of the Marcan account. The two points that are common to the resurrection testimony of all the gospels are that the tomb of Jesus had been found empty and that the risen Jesus had appeared to certain persons, or, in the original form of Mark, that such an appearance was promised as soon to take place (see Mark 16:7). On this central and all-important basis, Matthew has constructed an account that interprets the resurrection as the turning of the ages (Matthew 28:2-4), shows the Jewish opposition to Jesus as continuing to the present in the claim that the resurrection is a deception perpetrated by the disciples who stole his body from the tomb (Matthew 28:11-15), and marks a new stage in the mission of the disciples once limited to Israel (Matthew 10:5-6); now they are to make disciples of all nations. In this work they will be strengthened by the presence of the exalted Son of Man, who will be with them until the kingdom comes in fullness at the end of the age (Matthew 28:16-20).

2. [1] After the sabbath . . . dawning: since the sabbath ended at sunset, this could mean in the early evening, for dawning can refer to the appearance of the evening star; cf Luke 23:54. However, it is probable that Matthew means the morning dawn of the day after the sabbath, as in the similar though slightly different text of Mark, "when the sun had risen" (Mark 16:2). Mary Magdalene and the other Mary: see the notes on Matthew 27:55-56; 57-61. To see the tomb: cf Mark 16:1-2 where the purpose of the women's visit is to anoint Jesus' body.

3. [2-4] Peculiar to Matthew. A great earthquake: see the note on Matthew 27:51-53. Descended from heaven: this trait is peculiar to Matthew, although his interpretation of the "young man" of his Marcan source (Mark 16:5) as an angel is probably true to Mark's intention; cf Luke 24:23 where the "two men" of Matthew 24:4 are said to be "angels." Rolled back the stone . . . upon it: not to allow the risen Jesus to leave the tomb but to make evident that the tomb is empty (see Matthew 24:6). Unlike the apocryphal Gospel of Peter (9, 35--11, 44), the New Testament does not describe the resurrection of Jesus, nor is there anyone who sees it. His appearance was like lightning . . . snow: see the note on Matthew 17:2.

4. [6-7] Cf Mark 16:6-7. Just as he said: a Matthean addition referring to Jesus' predictions of his resurrection, e.g., Matthew 16:21;17:23;20:19. Tell his disciples: like the angel of the Lord of the infancy narrative, the angel interprets a fact and gives a commandment about what is to be done; cf Matthew 1:20-21. Matthew omits Mark's "and Peter" (Mark 16:7); considering his interest in Peter, this omission is curious. Perhaps the reason is that the Marcan text may allude to a first appearance of Jesus to Peter alone (cf 1 Cor 15:5; Luke 24:34) which Matthew has already incorporated into his account of Peter's confession at Caesarea Philippi; see the note on Matthew 16:16. He is going . . . Galilee: like Mark 16:7, a reference to Jesus' prediction at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:32;Mark 14:28). Matthew changes Mark's "as he told you" to a declaration of the angel.

+ Luke

Luke 1:11-13, 18-19, 26, 30, 34-38

10
Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering,
11
the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense.
12
Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.
13
But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid,5 Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.
14
And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,

5. [13] Do not be afraid: a stereotyped Old Testament phrase spoken to reassure the recipient of a heavenly vision (Genesis 15:1; Joshua 1:9; Daniel 10:12,19 and elsewhere in Luke 1:30;2:10). You shall name him John: the name means "Yahweh has shown favor," an indication of John's role in salvation history.

17
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah7 to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord."
18
Then Zechariah said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years."
19
And the angel said to him in reply, "I am Gabriel,8 who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.
20
But now you will be speechless and unable to talk9 until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time."

7. [17] He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah: John is to be the messenger sent before Yahweh, as described in Malachi 3:1-2. He is cast, moreover, in the role of the Old Testament fiery reformer, the prophet Elijah, who according to Malachi 3:23 (4 :5) is sent before "the great and terrible day of the Lord comes."

8. [19] I am Gabriel: "the angel of the Lord" is identified as Gabriel, the angel who in Daniel 9:20-25 announces the seventy weeks of years and the coming of an anointed one, a prince. By alluding to Old Testament themes in Luke 1:17,19 such as the coming of the day of the Lord and the dawning of the messianic era, Luke is presenting his interpretation of the significance of the births of John and Jesus.

9. [20] You will be speechless and unable to talk: Zechariah's becoming mute is the sign given in response to his question in v 18. When Mary asks a similar question in Luke 1:34, unlike Zechariah who was punished for his doubt, she, in spite of her doubt, is praised and reassured(Luke 1:35-37).

25
"So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others."
26
10 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
27
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.

10. [26-38] The announcement to Mary of the birth of Jesus is parallel to the announcement to Zechariah of the birth of John. In both the angel Gabriel appears to the parent who is troubled by the vision (Luke 1:11-12,26-29) and then told by the angel not to fear (Luke 1:13,30). After the announcement is made (Luke 1:14-17,31-33) the parent objects (Luke 1:18,34) and a sign is given to confirm the announcement (Luke 1:20,36). The particular focus of the announcement of the birth of Jesus is on his identity as Son of David (Luke 1:32-33) and Son of God (Luke 1:32,35).

29
But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
30
Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
33
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
34
But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?"12
35
And the angel said to her in reply, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
36
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived13 a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
37
for nothing will be impossible for God."
38
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.
39
During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,

12. [34] Mary's questioning response is a denial of sexual relations and is used by Luke to lead to the angel's declaration about the Spirit's role in the conception of this child (Luke 1:35). According to Luke, the virginal conception of Jesus takes place through the holy Spirit, the power of God, and therefore Jesus has a unique relationship to Yahweh: he is Son of God.

13. [36-37] The sign given to Mary in confirmation of the angel's announcement to her is the pregnancy of her aged relative Elizabeth. If a woman past the childbearing age could become pregnant, why, the angel implies, should there be doubt about Mary's pregnancy, for nothing will be impossible for God.

Luke 2:9-13, 21

8
4 Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.
9
The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.
10
The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11
5 For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.
12
And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."
13
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
14
6"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

4. [8-20] The announcement of Jesus' birth to the shepherds is in keeping with Luke's theme that the lowly are singled out as the recipients of God's favors and blessings (see also Luke 1:48,52).

5. [11] The basic message of the infancy narrative is contained in the angel's announcement: this child is savior, Messiah, and Lord. Luke is the only synoptic gospel writer to use the title savior for Jesus (Luke 2:11; Acts 5:31;13:23; see also Luke 1:69;19:9; Acts 4:12). As savior, Jesus is looked upon by Luke as the one who rescues humanity from sin and delivers humanity from the condition of alienation from God. The title christos, "Christ," is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew masiah, "Messiah," "anointed one." Among certain groups in first-century Palestinian Judaism, the title was applied to an expected royal leader from the line of David who would restore the kingdom to Israel (see Acts 1:6). The political overtones of the title are played down in Luke and instead the Messiah of the Lord (Luke 2:26) or the Lord's anointed is the one who now brings salvation to all humanity, Jew and Gentile (Luke 2:29-32). Lord is the most frequently used title for Jesus in Luke and Acts. In the New Testament it is also applied to Yahweh, as it is in the Old Testament. When used of Jesus it points to his transcendence and dominion over humanity.

6. [14] On earth peace to those on whom his favor rests: the peace that results from the Christ event is for those whom God has favored with his grace. This reading is found in the oldest representatives of the Western and Alexandrian text traditions and is the preferred one; the Byzantine text tradition, on the other hand, reads: "on earth peace, good will toward men." The peace of which Luke's gospel speaks (Luke 2:14;7:50;8:48;10:5-6;19:38,42;24:36) is more than the absence of war of the pax Augusta; it also includes the security and well-being characteristic of peace in the Old Testament.

20
Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.
21
When eight days were completed for his circumcision,7 he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22
8 When the days were completed for their purification9 according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord,

7. [21] Just as John before him had been incorporated into the people of Israel through his circumcision, so too this child (see the note on Luke 1:57-66).

8. [22-40] The presentation of Jesus in the temple depicts the parents of Jesus as devout Jews, faithful observers of the law of the Lord (Luke 2:23-24,39), i.e., the law of Moses. In this respect, they are described in a fashion similar to the parents of John (Luke 1:6) and Simeon (Luke 2:25) and Anna (Luke 2:36-37).

9. [2] Their purification: syntactically, their must refer to Mary and Joseph, even though the Mosaic law never mentions the purification of the husband. Recognizing the problem, some Western scribes have altered the text to read "his purification," understanding the presentation of Jesus in the temple as a form of purification; the Vulgate version has a Latin form that could be either "his" or "her." According to the Mosaic law (Lev 12:2-8), the woman who gives birth to a boy is unable for forty days to touch anything sacred or to enter the temple area by reason of her legal impurity. At the end of this period she is required to offer a year-old lamb as a burnt offering and a turtledove or young pigeon as an expiation of sin. The woman who could not afford a lamb offered instead two turtledoves or two young pigeons, as Mary does here. They took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord: as the firstborn son (Luke 2:7) Jesus was consecrated to the Lord as the law required (Exodus 13:2,12), but there was no requirement that this be done at the temple. The concept of a presentation at the temple is probably derived from 1 Sam 1:24-28, where Hannah offers the child Samuel for sanctuary services. The law further stipulated (Numbers 3:47-48) that the firstborn son should be redeemed by the parents through their payment of five shekels to a member of a priestly family. About this legal requirement Luke is silent.

Luke 22:43

42
saying, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done."
43
14(And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him.
44
He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground.)

14. [43-44] These verses, though very ancient, were probably not part of the original text of Luke. They are absent from the oldest papyrus manuscripts of Luke and from manuscripts of wide geographical distribution.

+ John

John 12:29

28
Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it and will glorify it again."
29
The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; but others said, "An angel has spoken to him."
30
Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.

+ Acts

Acts 5:19

18
laid hands upon the apostles and put them in the public jail.
19
But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, led them out, and said,
20
"Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life."

Acts 6:15

14
For we have heard him claim that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us."
15
All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Acts 7:30, 35-38

29
Moses fled when he heard this and settled as an alien in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
30
"Forty years later, an angel appeared to him in the desert near Mount Sinai in the flame of a burning bush.
31
When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look at it, the voice of the Lord came,
34
I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Come now, I will send you to Egypt.'
35
This Moses, whom they had rejected with the words, 'Who appointed you ruler and judge?' God sent as (both) ruler and deliverer, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush.
36
This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the desert for forty years.
37
It was this Moses who said to the Israelites, 'God will raise up for you, from among your own kinsfolk, a prophet like me.'
38
It was he who, in the assembly in the desert, was with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai and with our ancestors, and he received living utterances to hand on to us.
39
"Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him; instead, they pushed him aside and in their hearts turned back to Egypt,

Acts 8:26

25
So when they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem and preached the good news to many Samaritan villages.
26
7 Then the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, "Get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route."
27
So he got up and set out. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace,8 that is, the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury, who had come to Jerusalem to worship,

7. [26-40] In the account of the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch, Luke adduces additional evidence to show that the spread of Christianity outside the confines of Judaism itself was in accord with the plan of God. He does not make clear whether the Ethiopian was originally a convert to Judaism or, as is more probable, a "God-fearer" (Acts 10:1), i.e., one who accepted Jewish monotheism and ethic and attended the synagogue but did not consider himself bound by other regulations such as circumcision and observance of the dietary laws. The story of his conversion to Christianity is given a strong supernatural cast by the introduction of an angel (Acts 8:26), instruction from the holy Spirit (Acts 8:29), and the strange removal of Philip from the scene (39).

8. [27] The Candace: Candace is not a proper name here but the title of a Nubian queen.

Acts 10:3, 7, 22

2
devout and God-fearing along with his whole household, who used to give alms generously3 to the Jewish people and pray to God constantly.
3
One afternoon about three o'clock,4 he saw plainly in a vision an angel of God come in to him and say to him, "Cornelius."
4
He looked intently at him and, seized with fear, said, "What is it, sir?" He said to him, "Your prayers and almsgiving have ascended as a memorial offering before God.

3. [2] Used to give alms generously: like Tabitha (Acts 9:36), Cornelius exemplifies the proper attitude toward wealth (see the note on Acts 9:36).

4. [3] About three o'clock: literally, "about the ninth hour." See the note on Acts 3:1.

6
He is staying with another Simon, a tanner, who has a house by the sea."
7
When the angel who spoke to him had left, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier5 from his staff,
8
explained everything to them, and sent them to Joppa.

5. [7] A devout soldier: by using this adjective, Luke probably intends to classify him as a "God-fearer" (see the note on Acts 8:26-40).

21
Then Peter went down to the men and said, "I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your being here?"
22
They answered, "Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, respected by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to summon you to his house and to hear what you have to say."
23
So he invited them in and showed them hospitality. The next day he got up and went with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went with him.

Acts 11:13

12
The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating. These six brothers3 also went with me, and we entered the man's house.
13
He related to us how he had seen (the) angel standing in his house, saying, 'Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter,
14
who will speak words to you by which you and all your household will be saved.'

3. [12] These six brothers: companions from the Christian community of Joppa (see Acts 10:23).

Acts 12:7-11, 15, 23

6
On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter, secured by double chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison.
7
Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying, "Get up quickly." The chains fell from his wrists.
8
The angel said to him, "Put on your belt and your sandals." He did so. Then he said to him, "Put on your cloak and follow me."
9
So he followed him out, not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real; he thought he was seeing a vision.
10
They passed the first guard, then the second, and came to the iron gate leading out to the city, which opened for them by itself. They emerged and made their way down an alley, and suddenly the angel left him.
11
Then Peter recovered his senses and said, "Now I know for certain that (the) Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting."
12
When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who is called Mark, where there were many people gathered in prayer.
14
She was so overjoyed when she recognized Peter's voice that, instead of opening the gate, she ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the gate.
15
They told her, "You are out of your mind," but she insisted that it was so. But they kept saying, "It is his angel."
16
But Peter continued to knock, and when they opened it, they saw him and were astounded.
22
The assembled crowd cried out, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man."
23
At once the angel of the Lord struck him down because he did not ascribe the honor to God, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.
24
But the word of God continued to spread and grow.

Acts 23:9

8
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection or angels or spirits, while the Pharisees acknowledge all three.
9
A great uproar occurred, and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party stood up and sharply argued, "We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?"
10
The dispute was so serious that the commander, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, ordered his troops to go down and rescue him from their midst and take him into the compound.

Acts 27:23

22
I urge you now to keep up your courage; not one of you will be lost, only the ship.
23
For last night an angel of the God to whom (I) belong and whom I serve stood by me
24
and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You are destined to stand before Caesar; and behold, for your sake, God has granted safety to all who are sailing with you.'

+ 2 Corinthians

2 Corinthians 11:14

13
10 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, who masquerade as apostles of Christ.
14
And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light.
15
So it is not strange that his ministers also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

10. [13-15] Paul picks up again the imagery of 2 Cor 11:3 and applies it to the opponents: they are false apostles of Christ, really serving another master. Deceitful . . . masquerade: deception and simulation, like cunning (2 Cor 11:3), are marks of the satanic. Angel of light: recalls the contrast between light and darkness, Christ and Beliar at 2 Cor 6:14-15. Ministers of righteousness: recalls the earlier contrast between the ministry of condemnation and that of righteousness (2 Cor 3:9). Their end: the section closes with another allusion to the judgment, when all participants in the final conflict will be revealed or unmasked and dealt with as they deserve.

2 Corinthians 12:7

6
Although if I should wish to boast, I would not be foolish, for I would be telling the truth. But I refrain, so that no one may think more of me than what he sees in me or hears from me
7
because of the abundance of the revelations. Therefore, that I might not become too elated,3 a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
8
Three times4 I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,

3. [7] That I might not become too elated: God assures that there is a negative component to his experience, so that he cannot lose proper perspective; cf 2 Cor 1:9;cor 4:7-11. A thorn in the flesh: variously interpreted as a sickness or physical disability, a temptation, or a handicap connected with his apostolic activity. But since Hebrew "thorn in the flesh," like English "thorn in my side," refers to persons (cf Numbers 33:55; Ezekiel 28:24), Paul may be referring to some especially persistent and obnoxious opponent. The language of 2 Cor 12:7-8 permits this interpretation. If this is correct, the frequent appearance of singular pronouns in depicting the opposition may not be merely a stylistic variation; the singular may be provoked and accompanied by the image of one individual in whom criticism of Paul's preaching, way of life, and apostolic consciousness is concentrated, and who embodies all the qualities Paul attributes to the group. An angel of Satan: a personal messenger from Satan; cf the satanic language already applied to the opponents in 2 Cor 11:3,13-15,20.

4. [8] Three times: his prayer was insistent, like that of Jesus in Gethsemane, a sign of how intolerable he felt the thorn to be.

+ Galatians

Galatians 1:8

7
(not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed!7
9
As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed!

7. [8] Accursed: in Greek, anathema; cf Romans 9:3; 1 Cor 12:3;cor 16:22.

Galatians 4:14

13
you know that it was because of a physical illness11 that I originally preached the gospel to you,
14
and you did not show disdain or contempt because of the trial caused you by my physical condition, but rather you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus.
15
Where now is that blessedness of yours?12 Indeed, I can testify to you that, if it had been possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.

11. [13] Physical illness: because its nature is not described, some assume an eye disease (Gal 4:15); others, epilepsy; some relate it to 2 Cor 12:7-9. Originally: this may also be translated "formerly" or "on the first (of two) visit(s)"; cf Acts 16:6;18:23.

12. [15] That blessedness of yours: possibly a reference to the Galatians' initial happy reception of Paul (Gal 4:14) and of his gospel (Gal 1:6;3:1-4) and their felicitation at such blessedness, but the phrase could also refer ironically to earlier praise by Paul of the Galatians, no longer possible when they turn from the gospel to the claims of the opponents (Gal 4:17-18;1:7). If the word is a more literal reference to a beatitude, Gal 3:26-28 may be in view.

+ Revelation

Revelation 1:1

1
1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show his servants what must happen soon. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
2
who gives witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ by reporting what he saw.

1. [1-3] This prologue describes the source, contents, and audience of the book and forms an inclusion with the epilogue (Rev 22:6-21), with its similar themes and expressions.

Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18

1
12"To the angel of the church3 in Ephesus, write this: " 'The one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks in the midst of the seven gold lampstands says this:
2
"I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate the wicked; you have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and discovered that they are impostors.4

1. [Revelation 2:1-3:22] Each of the seven letters follows the same pattern: address; description of the exalted Christ; blame and/or praise for the church addressed; threat and/or admonition; final exhortation and promise to all Christians.

2. [1-7] The letter to Ephesus praises the members of the church there for their works and virtues, including discerning false teachers (Rev 2:2-3), but admonishes them to repent and return to their former devotion (Rev 2:4-5). It concludes with a reference to the Nicolaitans (see the note on Rev 2:6) and a promise that the victor will have access to eternal life (Rev 2:7).

3. [1] Ephesus: this great ancient city had a population of ca. 250,000; it was the capital of the Roman province of Asia and the commercial, cultural, and religious center of Asia. The other six churches were located in the same province, situated roughly in a circle; they were selected for geographical reasons rather than for the size of their Christian communities. Walks in the midst of the seven gold lampstands: this signifies that Christ is always present in the church; see the note on Rev 1:4.

4. [2] Who call themselves . . . impostors: this refers to unauthorized and perverse missionaries; cf Acts 20:29-30.

7
" '"Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the victor6 I will give the right to eat from the tree of life that is in the garden of God."'
8
7"To the angel of the church in Smyrna,8 write this: " 'The first and the last, who once died but came to life, says this:
9
"I know your tribulation and poverty, but you are rich.9 I know the slander of those who claim to be Jews and are not, but rather are members of the assembly of Satan.

6. [7] Victor: referring to any Christian individual who holds fast to the faith and does God's will in the face of persecution. The tree of life that is in the garden of God: this is a reference to the tree in the primeval paradise (Genesis 2:9); cf Rev 22:2,14,19. The decree excluding humanity from the tree of life has been revoked by Christ.

7. [8-11] The letter to Smyrna encourages the Christians in this important commercial center by telling them that although they are impoverished, they are nevertheless rich, and calls those Jews who are slandering them members of the assembly of Satan (Rev 2:9). There is no admonition; rather, the Christians are told that they will suffer much, even death, but the time of tribulation will be short compared to their eternal reward (Rev 2:10), and they will thus escape final damnation (Rev 2:11).

8. [8] Smyrna: modern Izmir, ca. thirty miles north of Ephesus, and the chief city of Lydia, with a temple to the goddess Roma. It was renowned for its loyalty to Rome, and it also had a large Jewish community very hostile toward Christians.

9. [9-10] The church in Smyrna was materially poor but spiritually rich. Accusations made by Jewish brethren there occasioned the persecution of Christians; cf Acts 14:2,19;17:5,13.

11
" '"Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The victor shall not be harmed by the second death."'10
12
11"To the angel of the church in Pergamum,12 write this: " 'The one with the sharp two-edged sword says this:
13
"I know that you live where Satan's throne13 is, and yet you hold fast to my name and have not denied your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was martyred among you, where Satan lives.

10. [11] The second death: this refers to the eternal death, when sinners will receive their final punishment; cf Rev 20:6,14-15;21:8.

11. [12-17] The letter to Pergamum praises the members of the church for persevering in their faith in Christ even in the midst of a pagan setting and in face of persecution and martyrdom (Rev 2:13). But it admonishes them about members who advocate an unprincipled morality (Rev 2:14; cf 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11) and others who follow the teaching of the Nicolaitans (Rev 2:15; see the note there). It urges them to repent (Rev 2:16) and promises them the hidden manna and Christ's amulet (Rev 2:17).

12. [12] Pergamum: modern Bergama, ca. forty-five miles northeast of Smyrna, a center for various kinds of pagan worship. It also had an outstanding library (the word parchment is derived from its name).

13. [13] Satan's throne: the reference is to emperor worship and other pagan practices that flourished in Pergamum, perhaps specifically to the white marble altar erected and dedicated to Zeus by Eumenes II (197-160 B.C.).

17
" '"Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the victor I shall give some of the hidden manna;15 I shall also give a white amulet upon which is inscribed a new name, which no one knows except the one who receives it."'
18
16"To the angel of the church in Thyatira,17 write this: " 'The Son of God, whose eyes are like a fiery flame and whose feet are like polished brass, says this:
19
"I know your works, your love, faith, service, and endurance, and that your last works are greater than the first.

15. [17] The hidden manna: this is the food of life; cf Psalm 78:24-25. White amulet: literally, "white stone," on which was written a magical name, whose power could be tapped by one who knew the secret name. It is used here as a symbol of victory and joy; cf Rev 3:4-5. New name: this is a reference to the Christian's rebirth in Christ; cf Rev 3:12;19:12; Isaiah 62:2;65:15.

16. [18-29] The letter to Thyatira praises the progress in virtue of this small Christian community (Rev 2:19) but admonishes them for tolerating a false prophet who leads them astray (Rev 2:20). Her fate is sealed, but there is hope of repentance for her followers (Rev 2:21-22). Otherwise, they too shall die (Rev 2:23). They are warned against Satanic power or knowledge (Rev 2:24-25). Those who remain faithful will share in the messianic reign, having authority over nations (Rev 2:26-27), and will in fact possess Christ himself (Rev 2:8).

17. [18] Thyatira: modern Akhisar, ca. forty miles southeast of Pergamum, a frontier town famous for its workers' guilds (cf Acts 16:14), membership in which may have involved festal meals in pagan temples.

Revelation 3:1, 7, 14

1
1"To the angel of the church in Sardis,2 write this: " 'The one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says this: "I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
2
Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.

1. [1-6] The letter to Sardis does not praise the community but admonishes its members to watchfulness, mutual support, and repentance (Rev 3:2-3). The few who have remained pure and faithful will share Christ's victory and will be inscribed in the book of life (Rev 3:4-5).

2. [1] Sardis: this city, located ca. thirty miles southeast of Thyatira, was once the capital of Lydia, known for its wealth at the time of Croesus (6th century B.C.). Its citadel, reputed to be unassailable, was captured by surprise, first by Cyrus and later by Antiochus. The church is therefore warned to be on guard.

6
" '"Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'
7
4"To the angel of the church in Philadelphia,5 write this: " 'The holy one, the true, who holds the key of David, who opens and no one shall close, who closes and no one shall open, says this:
8
" '"I know your works (behold, I have left an open door6 before you, which no one can close). You have limited strength, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

4. [7-13] The letter to Philadelphia praises the Christians there for remaining faithful even with their limited strength (Rev 3:8). Members of the assembly of Satan are again singled out (Rev 3:9; see Rev 2:9). There is no admonition; rather, the letter promises that they will be kept safe at the great trial (Rev 3:10-11) and that the victors will become pillars of the heavenly temple, upon which three names will be inscribed: God, Jerusalem, and Christ (Rev 3:12).

5. [7] Philadelphia: modern Alasehir, ca. thirty miles southeast of Sardis, founded by Attalus II Philadelphus of Pergamum to be an "open door" (Rev 3:8) for Greek culture; it was destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 17. Rebuilt by money from the Emperor Tiberius, the city was renamed Neo-Caesarea; this may explain the allusions to "name" in Rev 3:12. Key of David: to the heavenly city of David (cf Isaiah 22:22), "the new Jerusalem" (Rev 3:12), over which Christ has supreme authority.

6. [8] An open door: opportunities for sharing and proclaiming the faith; cf Acts 14:27; 1 Cor 16:9; 2 Cor 2:12.

13
" '"Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'
14
9"To the angel of the church in Laodicea,10 write this: " 'The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the source of God's creation, says this:
15
"I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot.11 I wish you were either cold or hot.

9. [14-22] The letter to Laodicea reprimands the community for being lukewarm (Rev 3:15-16), but no particular faults are singled out. Their material prosperity is contrasted with their spiritual poverty, the violet tunics that were the source of their wealth with the white robe of baptism, and their famous eye ointment with true spiritual perception (Rev 3:17-18). But Christ's chastisement is inspired by love and a desire to be allowed to share the messianic banquet with his followers in the heavenly kingdom (Rev 3:9-21).

10. [14] Laodicea: ca. forty miles southeast of Philadelphia and ca. eighty miles east of Ephesus, a wealthy industrial and commercial center, with a renowned medical school. It exported fine woolen garments and was famous for its eye salves. It was so wealthy that it was proudly rebuilt without outside aid after the devastating earthquake of A.D. 60/61. The Amen: this is a divine title (cf Hebrew text of Isaiah 65:16) applied to Christ; cf 2 Cor 1:20. Source of God's creation: literally, "the beginning of God's creation," a concept found also in John 1:3; Col 1:16-17, Hebrews 1:2; cf Proverb 8:22-31; Wisdom 9:1-2.

11. [15-16] Halfhearted commitment to the faith is nauseating to Christ; cf Romans 12:11.

Revelation 5:2

1
1 I saw a scroll2 in the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. It had writing on both sides and was sealed with seven seals.
2
Then I saw a mighty angel who proclaimed in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?"
3
But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to examine it.

1. [1-14] The seer now describes a papyrus roll in God's right hand (Rev 5:1) with seven seals indicating the importance of the message. A mighty angel asks who is worthy to open the scroll, i.e., who can accomplish God's salvific plan (Rev 5:2). There is despair at first when no one in creation can do it (Rev 5:3-4). But the seer is comforted by an elder who tells him that Christ, called the lion of the tribe of Judah, has won the right to open it (Rev 5:5). Christ then appears as a Lamb, coming to receive the scroll from God (Rev 5:6-7), for which he is acclaimed as at a coronation (Rev 5:8-10). This is followed by a doxology of the angels (Rev 5:11-12) and then finally by the heavenly church united with all of creation (Rev 5:13-14).

2. [1] A scroll: a papyrus roll possibly containing a list of afflictions for sinners (cf Ezekiel 2:9-10) or God's plan for the world. Sealed with seven seals: it is totally hidden from all but God. Only the Lamb (Rev 5:7-9) has the right to carry out the divine plan.

Revelation 7:2

1
1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth,2 holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on land or sea or against any tree.
2
Then I saw another angel come up from the East,3 holding the seal of the living God. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were given power to damage the land and the sea,
3
"Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."

1. [1-17] An interlude of two visions precedes the breaking of the seventh seal, just as two more will separate the sixth and seventh trumpets (Rev 10). In the first vision (Rev 7:1-8), the elect receive the seal of the living God as protection against the coming cataclysm; cf Rev 14:1; Ezekiel 9:4-6; 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13;4:30. The second vision (Rev 7:9-17) portrays the faithful Christians before God's throne to encourage those on earth to persevere to the end, even to death.

2. [1] The four corners of the earth: the earth is seen as a table or rectangular surface.

3. [2] East: literally, "rising of the sun." The east was considered the source of light and the place of paradise (Genesis 2:8). Seal: whatever was marked by the impression of one's signet ring belonged to that person and was under his protection.

Revelation 8:3-12

2
And I saw that the seven angels who stood before God were given seven trumpets.
3
Another angel came and stood at the altar,3 holding a gold censer. He was given a great quantity of incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the holy ones, on the gold altar that was before the throne.
4
The smoke of the incense along with the prayers of the holy ones went up before God from the hand of the angel.
5
Then the angel took the censer, filled it with burning coals from the altar, and hurled it down to the earth. There were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
6
The seven angels who were holding the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.
7
When the first one blew his trumpet, there came hail and fire mixed with blood, which was hurled down to the earth. A third of the land was burned up, along with a third of the trees and all green grass.4
8
5 When the second angel blew his trumpet, something like a large burning mountain was hurled into the sea. A third of the sea turned to blood,
9
a third of the creatures living in the sea6 died, and a third of the ships were wrecked.
10
When the third angel blew his trumpet, a large star burning like a torch fell from the sky. It fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.
11
The star was called "Wormwood,"7 and a third of all the water turned to wormwood. Many people died from this water, because it was made bitter.
12
When the fourth angel blew his trumpet, a third of the sun, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them became dark. The day lost its light for a third of the time, as did the night.
13
Then I looked again and heard an eagle flying high overhead cry out in a loud voice, "Woe! Woe! Woe8 to the inhabitants of the earth from the rest of the trumpet blasts that the three angels are about to blow!"

3. [3] Altar: there seems to be only one altar in the heavenly temple, corresponding to the altar of holocausts in Rev 6:9, and here to the altar of incense in Jerusalem; cf also Rev 9:13;11:1;14:18;16:7.

4. [7] This woe resembles the seventh plague of Egypt (Exodus 9:23-24); cf Joel 2:30.

5. [8-11] The background of these two woes is the first plague of Egypt (Exodus 7:20-21).

6. [9] Creatures living in the sea: literally, "creatures in the sea that had souls."

7. [11] Wormwood: an extremely bitter and malignant plant symbolizing the punishment God inflicts on the ungodly; cf Jeremiah 9:12-14;23:15.

8. [13] Woe! Woe! Woe: each of the three woes pronounced by the angel represents a separate disaster; cf Rev 9:12;11:14. The final woe, released by the seventh trumpet blast, includes the plagues of Rev 16.

Revelation 9:1, 11-14

1
1 Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star2 that had fallen from the sky to the earth. It was given the key for the passage to the abyss.
2
It opened the passage to the abyss, and smoke came up out of the passage like smoke from a huge furnace. The sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the passage.

1. [1-12] The fifth trumpet heralds a woe containing elements from the eighth and ninth plagues of Egypt (Exodus 10:12-15,21-23) but specifically reminiscent of the invasion of locusts in Joel 1:4-2:10.

2. [1] A star: late Judaism represented fallen powers as stars (Isaiah 14:12-15; Luke 10:18; Jude 1:13), but a comparison with Rev 1:20 and Rev 20:1 suggests that here it means an angel. The passage to the abyss: referring to Sheol, the netherworld, where Satan and the fallen angels are kept for a thousand years, to be cast afterwards into the pool of fire; cf Rev 20:7-10. The abyss was conceived of as a vast subterranean cavern full of fire. Its only link with the earth was a kind of passage or mine shaft, which was kept locked.

10
They had tails like scorpions, with stingers; with their tails they had power to harm people for five months.
11
They had as their king the angel of the abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon6 and in Greek Apollyon.
12
The first woe has passed, but there are two more to come.
13
7 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the [four]8 horns of the gold altar before God,
14
telling the sixth angel who held the trumpet, "Release the four angels9 who are bound at the banks of the great river Euphrates."
15
So the four angels were released, who were prepared for this hour, day, month, and year to kill a third of the human race.

6. [11] Abaddon: Hebrew (more precisely, Aramaic) for destruction or ruin. Apollyon: Greek for the "Destroyer."

7. [13-21] The sixth trumpet heralds a woe representing another diabolical attack symbolized by an invasion by the Parthians living east of the Euphrates; see the note on Rev 6:2. At the appointed time (Rev 9:15), the frightful horses act as God's agents of judgment. The imaginative details are not to be taken literally; see Introduction and the note on Rev 6:12-14.

8. [13] [Four]: many Greek manuscripts and versions omit the word. The horns were situated at the four corners of the altar (Exodus 27:2;30:2-3); see the note on Rev 8:3.

9. [14-15] The four angels: they are symbolic of the destructive activity that will be extended throughout the universe.

Revelation 10:1, 5-10

1
12 Then I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven wrapped in a cloud, with a halo around his head; his face was like the sun and his feet were like pillars of fire.
2
In his hand he held a small scroll that had been opened. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land,3

1. [Revelation 10:1-11:14] An interlude in two scenes (Rev 10:1-11 and Rev 11:1-14) precedes the sounding of the seventh trumpet; cf Rev 7:1-17. The first vision describes an angel astride sea and land like a colossus, with a small scroll open, the contents of which indicate that the end is imminent (Rev 10). The second vision is of the measuring of the temple and of two witnesses, whose martyrdom means that the kingdom of God is about to be inaugurated.

2. [1] The seven thunders: God's voice announcing judgment and doom; cf Psalm 29:3-9, where thunder, as the voice of Yahweh, is praised seven times.

3. [2] He placed . . . on the land: this symbolizes the universality of the angel's message, as does the figure of the small scroll open to be read.

4
When the seven thunders had spoken, I was about to write it down; but I heard a voice from heaven say, "Seal up what the seven thunders have spoken, but do not write it down."
5
Then the angel I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven
6
and swore by the one who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and earth and sea4 and all that is in them, "There shall be no more delay.
7
At the time when you hear the seventh angel blow his trumpet, the mysterious plan of God5 shall be fulfilled, as he promised to his servants the prophets."
8
Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, "Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land."
9
So I went up to the angel and told him to give me the small scroll. He said to me, "Take and swallow it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will taste as sweet6 as honey."
10
I took the small scroll from the angel's hand and swallowed it. In my mouth it was like sweet honey, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.
11
Then someone said to me, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings."7

4. [6] Heaven and earth and sea: the three parts of the universe. No more delay: cf Daniel 12:7; Hebrews 2:3.

5. [7] The mysterious plan of God: literally, "the mystery of God," the end of the present age when the forces of evil will be put down (Rev 17:1-19:4,11-21;20:7-10; cf 2 Thes 2:6-12; Romans 16:25-26), and the establishment of the reign of God when all creation will be made new (Rev 21:1-22:5).

6. [9-10] The small scroll was sweet because it predicted the final victory of God's people; it was sour because it also announced their sufferings. Cf Ezekiel 3:1-3.

7. [11] This further prophecy is contained in chs 12-22.

Revelation 11:15

14
The second woe has passed, but the third is coming soon.
15
10 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet. There were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world now belongs to our Lord and to his Anointed, and he will reign forever and ever."
16
The twenty-four elders who sat on their thrones before God prostrated themselves and worshiped God

10. [15-19] The seventh trumpet proclaims the coming of God's reign after the victory over diabolical powers; see the note on Rev 10:7.

Revelation 14:6-9, 15-19

5
On their lips no deceit4 has been found; they are unblemished.
6
5 Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, with everlasting good news6 to announce to those who dwell on earth, to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.
7
He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, for his time has come to sit in judgment. Worship him who made heaven and earth and sea and springs of water."
8
A second angel followed, saying: "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, that made all the nations drink the wine of her licentious passion."7
9
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice, "Anyone who worships the beast or its image, or accepts its mark on forehead or hand,
10
will also drink the wine of God's fury,8 poured full strength into the cup of his wrath, and will be tormented in burning sulfur before the holy angels and before the Lamb.

4. [5] No deceit: because they did not deny Christ or do homage to the beast. Lying is characteristic of the opponents of Christ (John 8:44), but the Suffering Servant spoke no falsehood (Isaiah 53:9; 1 Peter 2:22). Unblemished: a cultic term taken from the vocabulary of sacrificial ritual.

5. [6-13] Three angels proclaim imminent judgment on the pagan world, calling all peoples to worship God the creator. Babylon (Rome) will fall, and its supporters will be tormented forever.

6. [6] Everlasting good news: that God's eternal reign is about to begin; see the note on Rev 10:7.

7. [8] This verse anticipates the lengthy dirge over Babylon (Rome) in Rev 18:1-19:4. The oracle of Isaiah 21:9 to Babylon is applied here.

8. [10-11] The wine of God's fury: image taken from Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:15-16;49:12;51:7; Ezekiel 23:31-34. Eternal punishment in the fiery pool of burning sulfur (or "fire and brimstone"; cf Genesis 19:24) is also reserved for the Devil, the beast, and the false prophet (Rev 19:20;20:10;21:8).

14
11 Then I looked and there was a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud one who looked like a son of man, with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.
15
Another angel came out of the temple, crying out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud, "Use your sickle and reap the harvest, for the time to reap has come, because the earth's harvest is fully ripe."
16
So the one who was sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.
17
Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven who also had a sharp sickle.
18
Then another angel (came) from the altar,12(who) was in charge of the fire, and cried out in a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, "Use your sharp sickle and cut the clusters from the earth's vines, for its grapes are ripe."
19
So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and cut the earth's vintage. He threw it into the great wine press of God's fury.
20
The wine press was trodden outside the city and blood poured out of the wine press to the height of a horse's bridle for two hundred miles.13

11. [14-20] The reaping of the harvest symbolizes the gathering of the elect in the final judgment, while the reaping and treading of the grapes symbolizes the doom of the ungodly (cf Joel 3:12-13; Isaiah 63:1-6) that will come in Rev 19:11-21.

12. [18] Altar: there was only one altar in the heavenly temple; see the notes above on Rev 6:9;8:3;11:1.

13. [20] Two hundred miles: literally sixteen hundred stades. The stadion, a Greek unit of measurement, was about 607 feet in length, approximately the length of a furlong.

Revelation 16:2-12, 17

1
1 I heard a loud voice speaking from the temple to the seven angels, "Go and pour out the seven bowls of God's fury upon the earth."
2
The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth. Festering and ugly sores broke out on those who had the mark of the beast or worshiped its image.2
3
3 The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea. The sea turned to blood like that from a corpse; every creature living in the sea died.
4
The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water. These also turned to blood.
5
Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: "You are just, O Holy One, who are and who were, in passing this sentence.
6
For they have shed the blood of the holy ones and the prophets, and you (have) given them blood to drink; it is what they deserve."
7
Then I heard the altar cry out, "Yes, Lord God almighty, your judgments are true and just."
8
The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun. It was given the power to burn people with fire.
9
People were burned by the scorching heat and blasphemed the name of God who had power over these plagues, but they did not repent or give him glory.
10
The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast.4 Its kingdom was plunged into darkness, and people bit their tongues in pain
11
and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their works.
12
The sixth angel emptied his bowl on the great river Euphrates. Its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the East.5
13
I saw three unclean spirits like frogs6 come from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet.

1. [1-21] These seven bowls, like the seven seals (Rev 6:1-17;8:1) and the seven trumpets (Rev 8:2-9:21;11:15-19), bring on a succession of disasters modeled in part on the plagues of Egypt (Exodus 7-12). See the note on Rev 6:12-14.

2. [2] Like the sixth Egyptian plague (Exodus 9:8-11).

3. [3-4] Like the first Egyptian plague (Exodus 7:20-21). The same woe followed the blowing of the second trumpet (Rev 8:8-9).

4. [10] The throne of the beast: symbol of the forces of evil. Darkness: like the ninth Egyptian plague (Exodus 10:21-23); cf Rev 9:2.

5. [12] The kings of the East: Parthians; see the notes on Rev 6:2 and Rev 17:12-13. East: literally, "rising of the sun," as in Rev 7:2.

6. [13] Frogs: possibly an allusion to the second Egyptian plague (Exodus 7:25-8:11). The false prophet: identified with the two-horned second beast (Rev 13:11-18 and the note there).

16
They then assembled the kings in the place that is named Armageddon8 in Hebrew.
17
The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. A loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, "It is done."
18
Then there were lightning flashes, rumblings, and peals of thunder, and a great earthquake. It was such a violent earthquake that there has never been one like it since the human race began on earth.

8. [16] Armageddon: in Hebrew, this means "Mountain of Megiddo." Since Megiddo was the scene of many decisive battles in antiquity (Judges 5:19-20; 2 Kings 9:27;Chron 35:20-24), the town became the symbol of the final disastrous rout of the forces of evil.

Revelation 17:7

6
5 I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the holy ones and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus.6 When I saw her I was greatly amazed.
7
The angel said to me, "Why are you amazed? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, the beast with the seven heads and the ten horns.
8
7 The beast that you saw existed once but now exists no longer. It will come up from the abyss and is headed for destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world shall be amazed when they see the beast, because it existed once but exists no longer, and yet it will come again.

5. [6] Reference to the great wealth and idolatrous cults of Rome.

6. [6b-18] An interpretation of the vision is here given.

7. [8] Allusion to the belief that the dead Nero would return to power (Rev 17:11); see the note on Rev 13:3.

Revelation 18:1, 21

1
1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth became illumined by his splendor.
2
2 He cried out in a mighty voice: "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great. She has become a haunt for demons. She is a cage for every unclean spirit, a cage for every unclean bird, (a cage for every unclean) and disgusting (beast).

1. [Revelation 18:1-19:4] A stirring dirge over the fall of Babylon-Rome. The perspective is prophetic, as if the fall of Rome had already taken place. The imagery here, as elsewhere in this book, is not to be taken literally. The vindictiveness of some of the language, borrowed from the scathing Old Testament prophecies against Babylon, Tyre, and Nineveh (Isaiah 23; 24; 27; Jer 50-51; Ezekial 26-27), is meant to portray symbolically the inexorable demands of God's holiness and justice; cf Introduction. The section concludes with a joyous canticle on the future glory of heaven.

2. [2] Many Greek manuscripts and versions omit a cage for every unclean . . . beast.

20
Rejoice over her, heaven, you holy ones, apostles, and prophets. For God has judged your case against her."
21
A mighty angel picked up a stone like a huge millstone and threw it into the sea and said: "With such force will Babylon the great city be thrown down, and will never be found again.
22
No melodies of harpists and musicians, flutists and trumpeters, will ever be heard in you again. No craftsmen in any trade will ever be found in you again. No sound of the millstone will ever be heard in you again.

Revelation 19:9, 17

8
She was allowed to wear a bright, clean linen garment." (The linen represents the righteous deeds of the holy ones.)4
9
Then the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed5 are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These words are true; they come from God."
10
I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Don't! I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brothers who bear witness to Jesus. Worship God. Witness to Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."6

4. [8] See the note on Rev 14:12.

5. [9] Blessed: see the note on Rev 1:3.

6. [10] The spirit of prophecy: as the prophets were inspired to proclaim God's word, so the Christian is called to give witness to the Word of God (Rev 19:13) made flesh; cf Rev 1:2;6:9;12:17.

16
He has a name written on his cloak and on his thigh, "King of kings and Lord of lords."
17
11 Then I saw an angel standing on the sun. He cried out (in) a loud voice to all the birds flying high overhead, "Come here. Gather for God's great feast,
18
to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of military officers, and the flesh of warriors, the flesh of horses and of their riders, and the flesh of all, free and slave, small and great."

11. [17-21] The certainty of Christ's victory is proclaimed by an angel, followed by a reference to the mustering of enemy forces and a fearsome description of their annihilation. The gruesome imagery is borrowed from Ezekiel 39:4,17-20.

Revelation 20:1

1
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss2 and a heavy chain.
2
He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan,3 and tied it up for a thousand years

1. [1-6] Like the other numerical values in this book, the thousand years are not to be taken literally; they symbolize the long period of time between the chaining up of Satan (a symbol for Christ's resurrection-victory over death and the forces of evil) and the end of the world. During this time God's people share in the glorious reign of God that is present to them by virtue of their baptismal victory over death and sin; cf Romans 6:1-8; John 5:24-25;16:33; 1 John 3:14; Eph 2:1.

2. [1] Abyss: see the note on Rev 9:1.

3. [2] Dragon . . . serpent . . . Satan: see the notes on Rev 12:3,9,10,15.

Revelation 21:17

16
The city was square, its length the same as (also) its width. He measured the city with the rod and found it fifteen hundred miles13 in length and width and height.
17
He also measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits14 according to the standard unit of measurement the angel used.
18
15 The wall was constructed of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass.

13. [16] Fifteen hundred miles: literally, twelve thousand stades, about 12,000 furlongs (see the note on Rev 14:20); the number is symbolic: twelve (the apostles as leaders of the new Israel) multiplied by 1,000 (the immensity of Christians); cf Introduction. In length and width and height: literally, "its length and width and height are the same."

14. [17] One hundred and forty-four cubits: the cubit was about eighteen inches in length. Standard unit of measurement the angel used: literally, "by a human measure, i.e., an angel's."

15. [18-21] The gold and precious gems symbolize the beauty and excellence of the church; cf Exodus 28:15-21; Tobit 13:16-17; Isaiah 54:11-12.

Revelation 22:1, 6-8, 16

1
Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water,1 sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
2
down the middle of its street. On either side of the river grew the tree of life2 that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month; the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations.

1. [1,17] Life-giving water: see the note on Rev 7:17.

2. [2] The tree of life: cf Rev 22:14; see the note on Rev 2:7. Fruit . . . medicine: cf Ezekiel 47:12.

5
Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever and ever.
6
4 And he said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true, and the Lord, the God of prophetic spirits, sent his angel to show his servants what must happen soon."
7
5"Behold, I am coming soon."6 Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic message of this book.
8
It is I, John, who heard and saw these things, and when I heard and saw them I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me.
9
But he said to me, "Don't! I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brothers the prophets and of those who keep the message of this book. Worship God."

4. [6-21] The book ends with an epilogue consisting of a series of warnings and exhortations and forming an inclusion with the prologue by resuming its themes and expressions; see the note on Rev 1:1-3.

5. [7,14] Blessed: see the note on Rev 1:3.

6. [7,12,20] I am coming soon: Christ is the speaker; see the note on Rev 1:3.

15
Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the unchaste, the murderers, the idol-worshipers, and all who love and practice deceit.
16
"I, Jesus, sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the root and offspring of David,10 the bright morning star."
17
The Spirit and the bride11 say, "Come." Let the hearer say, "Come." Let the one who thirsts come forward, and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water.

10. [16] The root . . . of David: see the note on Rev 5:5. Morning star: see the note on Rev 2:26-28.

11. [17] Bride: the church; see the note on Rev 21:2.


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