The Angelic Ranks
Originally presented at the 1991 Jumonville Conference
Stephen E. Rodabaugh, Trinity Grace Fellowship
I. Motivation and Preliminary Comments.
A. Comment on Terminology. The word "angel" is a transliteration of the Greek AGGELOS, meaning roughly "sent messenger". It is clear that many angelic ranks described below are not comprised of "sent messengers". Throughout this outline we use "angel" in the broadened sense of "supernatural created being"; occassionally, we use "angel" in its original, strict sense, and these instances are so noted.
B. Necessity of the Topic of Angelic Ranks.
1. Regeneration compels us to seek to understand Scripture in accordance with the normative hermeneutic (Deut. 29:29, II Tim. 2:15).
2. The Body of Christ has the Hope/Certainty of ruling the universe under Christ by ruling and administrating the highest angelic ranks. It will therefore seek to understand the angelic ranks/ministry to the fullest extent Scripture permits.
a. Hope of the Body includes ruling over all angels: see (especially the Greek texts of) I Cor. 6:3 8:5-6, Gal. 1:8-9 4:8-11, Eph. 1:18,20-1 2:6,19-22 3:10, Phil. 3:20-1, Col. 1:12 2:8-10,14-8 3:1-2, I Thess. 4:14,16.
b. A ruler is obligated to understand what and whom he is ruling, for how can one rule wisely in ignorance (Prov. 1:1-7)?
c. Regeneration compels true members of the Body to seek to understand its Hope, and such understanding is part of the assurance of salvation (Rom. 8:24-5 16:25, II Cor. 3:18 4:4-5, Eph. 1:17-8 2:16 3:10 4:1-16, Phil. 1:9, Col. 1:27 2:2, I Thess. 4:13-5:11, I Tim. 3:9, II Tim. 2:17-8, Tit. 1:1-3). A companion principle obtains in Israel's dispensation (Dan. 7:16,19 8:16-7,19 9:22-3 10:14,21 11:2 12:3, Heb. 6:18-9).
3. The Body, through the angels, administers Israel's kingdom but this kingdom is patterned after the angelic realm, especially with regard to ceremonial religion, for the earthly is patterned after the heavenly (Ex. 25:40, Heb. 8:5 9:23)
II. The Heavenly CHERUBIM.
A. Some preliminary comments.
1. The Hebrew word KeRUB is of rather uncertain origin; see [Gesenius-Tregelles (GT) 413-4] and [Brown-Driver-Briggs (BDB) 500-501]. However, as noted in these authorities and also in [Companion Bible (CB) Appendix 41], the consonant group KRB is almost universal, occuring in many different languages of different language groups: Assyrian KaRaBu/KiRuBu, Persian GiRiFten/GRiFFen/GRiFFin, Greek GRuePs, German GReiFen, English GRiP/GRasP, and similar forms in Arabic, Aramaic, etc. In all cases, the meaning appears to be "ONE WHO GRIPS, HOLDS FIRM, GUARDS".
2. Keeping these facts in mind, as well as its usage in the Hebrew Scriptures, a CHERUB, in the context of heavenly beings, is a THRONE-GRIPPER, i.e. a THRONE-GUARDIAN, THRONE-COVERER, the Throne being that on which the Word of God sits in the Third Heaven. Collectively, the heavenly CHERUBIM comprise the guardians of the Throne in Heaven, or in rabbinical terms, the innermost folds of Jehovah's personal covering, the innermost portion of His angelic Tallith with which He is pleased to wrap His Throne in Heaven, the innermost Shekhinah.
3. Appropriately reflective of the Triune God which they enwrap, this inner Tallith is tri-partite, i.e. the (heavenly) Cherubim comprise THREE ranks; so that we should understand the "Cherubim" as a general class of heavenly beings and NOT some specific rank. In other words, the Hebrew words "Cherub" and "Cherubim" are generic terms, needing sharpening from the context. These claims will be borne out by the evidence presented below. While these claims appear to be (hopefully) a real advance over what is usually taught, there is a bit of a partial hint along these lines in [BDB, loc cit].
4. As a follow-up to 3. above, note that the statues of the KeRUBIM in the holiest place of the Tabernacle do NOT appear to imitate precisely to those ranks of angels which are or should be designated KeRUBIM: these statues are KeRUBIM simply in the sense that they are gripping and guarding the Mercy Seat (the ceremonial throne). This implicitly confirms our understanding of KeRUB as a generic term meaning a gripper/guardian. Also see C(2) below and the passages cited there. Another follow-up to 3.: KeRUBIM's first occurrence is of the guardians of the Tree of Life in Eden (Gen. 3:24), which are simply angels assigned the role of guarding, and are not the beings described in Ezek. 1,10,28:14, thus confirming our view of KeRUB as a generic term.
5. The three ranks of heavenly Cherubim, or Throne-Grippers/Coverers, are, in descending order of administrative position: SERAPHIM (dragons/serpants), ZOA (living ones/creatures), and OPHANIM/GALGALIM (wheels). We now to examine each of these ranks.
B. The Three Ranks of (Heavenly) Cherubim.
a. The Hebrew word SARAPH, plural SERAPHIM, denotes a FIERY SERPENT/DRAGON (from a root meaning "to burn"). In the context of angelic beings, it is used synonymously in the Hebrew Scriptures with the word NACHASH, denoting GLORIOUS/SHINING SERPENT/DRAGON (from an assumed root meaning "to be bright"). The proofs of this claim (pointed out to me by REW) can be found more-or-less in [CB Appendix 19]: saraph is used of flying winged serpents in Is. 6:1-7, and so may nachash is its usage; Moses used the two words interchangably in Num. 21:8 (saraph) and Num. 21:9 (nachash), both describing the same serpent of brass; and Satan is a Nachash in Gen. 3:1, and a comparison of Is. 6:1-7 (the Seraphim hover over the Throne) with Ezek. 28:14,16 (he covers the Throne) establishes that Satan is an angelic Saraph. Much more on Satan below. Incidentically, the phrase "beasts of the field" in Gen. 3:1 is literally "living creatures of the field": it is a consequence of the descriptions of the various ranks of Cherubim that the basic kinds of land creatures were modeled after these angelic ranks; the Seraphim are the models for the reptilian and amphibian orders, especially including the great dinosaurs; and man was modeled after the Son Himself as the Logos or Ancient of Days; and so with biology, as with ceremonial religion, the earthly is patterned after the heavenly (Ex. 25:40, Heb. 8:5 9:23). We also note: Satan appeared not in the Garden as a snake, but in his full Saraphic glory; see [CB Appendix 19] for full discussion.
b. Basic details about the Seraphim from Is. 6:1-7:
Location: ABOVE/OVER the Throne, a canopy over the Head of the Son. This indicates that the Seraphim have the highest position of all cherubic and angelic ranks. Also see C.2.
Description: Each Saraph has ONE FACE and SIX WINGS with the appearance of FIERY DRAGONS/SERPENTS. They have mobility (see also c. below). The number of Seraphim is unspecified.
Work: Guard/overwatch the purity of doctrine for Israel and her Gentiles, act as priests in this regard. They lead in the praise of God and sing "Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts; His glory is the fulness of the whole earth."
Speech: Speak to men.
c. Justification for viewing the Seraphim as a rank of Cherubim.
i. Satan is a Nachash (Gen. 3:1) who hovers over the Throne (Ezek. 28:14,16), and so is a Saraph (see a. above), and yet is called a Cherub (Ezek. 28:14,16). Indeed, Satan is above all appointed as the covering Cherub, for the Hebrew calls him "THE ANOINTED CHERUB (KERUB) WHO COVERS", indicating Satan is the CHIEF SARAPH, chief over those charged with guarding/gripping the truth (see "Work" above): this should humble us and cause us to fear. Also note how the context of Ezek. 28:14,16 connects Satan with both "brilliance" (v. 17, cf nachash) and "fire" (vv. 14,16, c saraph), as does also II Cor. 11:14 ("angel of light" = "glorious angel"). Note that "mountain" in Ezek. 28:14,16 is really a mistranslation: literally, Satan was set in/on the holy height of God, i.e. he was set to hover over the Throne in Heaven. Also, Satan is mobile (Ezek. 28:14), as are the Seraphim; see also Is. 14:13-4. Finally, note Satan was wiser than any living creature of the field, and presumably, than any of their heavenly models (= various cherubic ranks); i.e. Satan was the wisest of all created beings, and such wisdom could only be in keeping with his position as the Chief Saraph in charge of overseeing the keeping of revealed truth.
ii. The Seraphim, in their covering the Throne overhead and guarding the truth, fit perfectly the notion of GRiPPers or KeRuBim.
a. The Greek word ZOON, plural ZOA, means LIVING ONE; it is the root of our words "zoo", "zoology", etc. The name emphasizes that the Zoa, together with the Seraphim and the Ophanim, are models in some way of the basic orders of land creatures (see 1.a. above).
b. Concerning the basic details about the Zoa, we have from Rev. 4:1-9 5:1- 6:1, etc:
Location: AROUND and AT THE VERY SIDES of the Throne, a covering immediately around the Son; the Greek indicates that the Zoa form the actual sides of the Throne: see [Vincent] on Rev. 4:6; and note the hendiadys of 5:6 -- "midst of the Throne and of the Zoa" = "midst of the truly Zoa-Throne. This seems confirmed by Daniel 7:9 (the Heavenly Throne is made of fire, which fire is associated with the Seraphim and Ophanim (1. above and 3. below), and so then with the Zoa). If we view the Ophanim (3. below) as forming the base of the Throne, then the question of whether the Throne itself is created or uncreated is settled -- it is created (besides which, how can a Throne outside God's essence be uncreated?). This also indicates the Zoa rank below the Seraphim and so occupy the middle rank of Cherubim and the second-highest angelic rank overall. Also see C(2) below.
Description: There are four Zoa. Each Zoon has ONE FACE and SIX WINGS.
One Zoon has the face like a LION, a model for "predators". One Zoon has the face like a CALF, a model for "herd" animals. One Zoon has the face of an ANTHROPOID, a model for primates. One Zoon has the face of a flying EAGLE, a model for flying creatures.
Note there is no N. T. Greek word for ape or primate, and the Hebrew Scriptures only have a word for (tailed) monkeys which is incorrectly translated in its two occurrences as apes. When first seen, gorillas were referred to as men. The Zoa are not stated to have any mobility apart from the Throne: this is to expected if the Zoa are the very sides of the Throne. Each Zoon is FULL OF EYES ALL OVER AND WITHIN: this is consistent with the "immobility" since they cannot turn.
Work: Overwatch the prophetic events regarding Israel's future kingdom and the revelation of such prophecy. They lead in the praise of God, and sing "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord the God, the Almighty, the was-ing One, the is-ing One, and the coming One."
Speech: Speak to men.
c. Justification for viewing the Zoa as a rank of the Cherubim.
i. Zoa is the term used in the LXX to translate the Hebrew word "living creature" used in Ezekiel 1,10 to describe the Ophanim, and if the latter be termed Cherubim, as Ezekiel does, then it seems appropriate to so term the former. Indeed, if the LXX and John use the same term, why are not the Zoa and the Ophanim the same rank of angelic beings? This is because their respective descriptions cannot be possibly be reconciled (see 3. below). John, knowing the LXX, used the same term to emphasize both the association of these two ranks together as Cherubim and their being a pattern of life on earth.
ii. The Zoa fit perfectly the definition of THRONE-GRIPPER for KeRUB: if a creature is literally part of the Throne, then he is unavoidably a gripper and guardian of the Throne and hence a KeRUB!! This may be a stronger argument than i..
iii. When comparing the descriptions of the Seraphim (1. above) and the Ophanim (3. below) with that of the Zoa, it is clear that the Zoa are INTERMEDIATE BETWEEN THE OTHER TWO RANKS in many, many characteristics. Hence all should be termed Cherubim or none; but the Scriptures term the Seraphim (indirectly) Cherubim and term the Ophanim (directly) Cherubim. So striking is the intermediacy of the Zoa between the Seraphim and the Ophanim, that some liberal would probably make a case for the Zoa being the missing link in the ancient panorama of angelic or Cherubic evolution!
To sum up, although Cherubim is a Hebrew term, and the Zoa are described only in the N. T., the application of the term Cherubim to the Zoa is unavoidable. A further note: the apostle John describes an angelic rank nowhere described in the O.T., but part of a coherent class of ranks (Cherubim) discussed in the O. T.; and hence John's Apocalypse is a continuation of the Hebrew Scriptures (as is every jod and tittle of the Apocalypse book) and not part of the Mystery concerning the Body of Christ!
a. The Hebrew word OPHAN, plural OPHANIM, means WHEEL/SPHERE. It is synonymous, in the context of angelic ranks, with the Hebrew word GALGAL, plural GALGALIM, which means WHEEL. Both terms are used by Ezekiel of this rank of Cherubim in his famous passages (Ezek. 1,10), the latter seldom (the only occurrences in the context of angelic ranks are Ps. 77:18(19), Ezek. 10:2,6,13, Dan. 7:9). The reasons for calling these creatures WHEELS or OPHANIM (vis-avis other terms Ezekiel uses in their description) are: the text emphasizes the eyes of each of these creatures which are in his wheel (Ezek. 1:18 cf 10:), the spirit of each of these creatures is in his wheel (Ezek. 1:20-1), and the Heavenly Court addresses each of them as GALGAL/WHEEL (Ezek. 10:13); and thus, the creature's being, life, and sense of self is in his wheel; so he is a wheel whose "faces" are simply appendages like his arms, legs, and wings.
b. Concerning the basic details about the Ophanim, we have from Ezek. 1 10 (both of the entire chapters), Daniel 7:9, and Ps 77:18(19):
Location: UNDER THE THRONE IN HEAVEN (Ezek. 1:26) and UNDER GOD HIMSELF (Ezek. 10:20, Dan. 7:9). Thus the Ophanim constitute the very seat, base, and foundation of the Throne in Heaven, and the Throne in its entirety is made up of the Zoa and Ophanim, with the Seraphim hovering above; see C(2) below. It follows that the Ophanim are ranked below the Zoa, comprising the bottom rank of the Cherubim, and so are the third-highest rank of angelic beings.
Description: There are FOUR Ophanim, and each is essentially a WHEEL/SPHERE, full of concentric circles/spheres and full of eyes on the rim. Each Ophan is the COLOR OF BERYL (Ezek. 1:16) for the wheels are of BURNING FIRE (Ezek. 10:2,6-7, Dan. 7:9). Attached to each Ophan is a creaturely body which has:
FOUR FACES, one each of LION, CALF, ANTHROPOID (Hebrew has only a word apparently meaning "tailed monkey" (see [Unger, Animal Kingdom])), and EAGLE; FOUR WINGS with hands underneath; EYES all over.
The Ophanim, like the Zoa, have NO MOBILITY APART FROM THE THRONE (agrreing with their being part of the Throne) this seems to be why eyes are all over (since they "cannot turn their wheel or heads").
Work: Help make up the Throne and support it; overwatch the revelation of Scriptures to Israel's kingdom; possess the faculties of the prophets of Israel's kingdom (see Ezek. 1:20-1 2:2 in this order, in context; cf I John 4:1-3 and see Greek text; note demonic possession is the counterpart to demonic possession), and hand out scrolls (Ezek. 2:9-10, cf 10:1-8). Recall Israel's Scriptures came through angels (and hence Ezekiel and John are of Israel---see also Rev. 1:1 and Matt. 19:28), and Body Scriptures came apart from angels (I Cor. 6:3, II Cor. 12:1-4; Gal. 1:11-2, Eph. 1:20-1 2:6 3:10, Tit. 1:2-3, etc, cf principle of Heb. 7:7; and so Ezekiel and John are NOT of the Body of Christ).
Speech: No speech (these wheels apparently do not talk). Rather, this rank of angels communicate by handing fire and scrolls to the Archangels (Ezek. 10:1-8 cf Ezek. 2:9-10). However, the noise of their wings sounds like the Voice of God.
C. Some Final Comments.
1. Just a reminder. The characteristics of the three ranks of Cherubim emphasizes their connection with the EARTH (cf [CB] on the various passages cited above on these ranks) and their oversight of Israel and her Gentiles: reptiles, amphibians, birds, flying creatures, lions and predators, cattle and her animals, primates, wheels, etc.
2. The Cherubim in the Tabernacle deserve another mention (see A4. above). Even though they do not imitate precisely any Cherubic rank in Heaven, and so demonstrate the generic character of the word KeRUB, these two statues do "summarize" simultaneously all three heavenly ranks; and the way in which they summarize validates by another line of evidence many things stated above for each heavenly rank. The relevant passages are Ex. 25:18-22 26:1,31 36:8,36 37:7-9; cf the principle that the earthly is patterned after the heavenly (Ex. 25:40, Heb. 8:5 9:23).
a. The statues are literally one piece of gold with the Mercy Seat: this confirms that the Throne is in fact "made" out the Zoa and Ophanim.
b. The faces of the statues are over and looking down at the Mercy Seat, and their wings cover the Mercy Seat as a canopy: this confirms that the Seraphim cover the Throne as a canopy.
3. The Cherubim define (the boundary of) the Heavenly HOLY OF HOLIES according to which pattern the earthly was built (see passages cited in 2. above).
A. ARCHANGEL is a transliteration of the Greek term ARCHAGGELOS meaning CHIEF/OF-THE-FIRST-RANK (ARCHI) SENT MESSENGER (AGGELOS). So this rank comprises the foremost or highest ranking group of angelic beings who are sent messengers (or angels in the strict sense of the word). It is used only twice in the Greek N. T. (I Thess. 4:16, Jude 19) and not at all in LXX. However, the Greek ARCHON (CHIEF/PRINCE) is used in LXX (Dan. 10:13,20-1 12:1) in the context of holy angelic beings who are sent by God as messengers and/or warriors against demonic princes, which means these holy angels are Archangels in the sense of the N. T. term. Only Michael is named in Scripture as an Archangel; the LXX canon naming Michael, and implicitly Gabriel, as Princes (and hence Archangels) and the LXX Apochrypha naming Raphael implicitly as an Archangel (Tobith 12:15). Below is it Biblically shown that there are SEVEN ARCHANGELS, and this rank of angelic beings is next after the lowest rank of Cherubim (the Ophanim). It is of some interest to note that ancient Jewish tradition (Tobith 12:15) reckons there to be seven archangels standing before God.
B. Claims about the Archangels.
Proposition: There are SEVEN ARCHANGELS who stand before the Throne.
1. Michael is specifically called Archangel (Jude 9).
2. Gabriel (Dan. 9:21-12:4) is a peer with Michael: Michael aids Gabriel (Dan. 10:13), Gabriel aids Michael (Dan. 11:1), and their understanding of prophecy is equal (Dan. 10:21).
3. Gabriel's rank is characterized by the fact that he stands before the Throne (Luke 1:19).
4. There are a total of seven angels/spirits who stand before the Throne (Rev. 8:2,6 1:4 3:1 4:5 5:6 10:3-4 15:1,6-8 16:1 17:1 21:9) and are sent forth on various missions.
All are now verified.
Corollary: The Seven Archangels comprise the highest rank of angelic beings below the lowest rank of the Cherubim (Ophanim), and so are the fourth-highest rank of angelic beings.
Proof: The Archangels stand before the Cherubic Throne, and so are below it. There is in Scripture no rank of beings between the Throne and the Archangels (see the ranks discussed later in this outline), and so the Archangels are the next rank. Also note that the Archangels seem to conduct their ministry under the ministry of, and get their revelations from, the Ophanim (Ezek. 10:1-8 cf Ezek. 2:9-10) so apply the principle of Heb. 7:7.
Corollary: No Archangel is in a position to challenge a Saraph. Hence Michael DARED not accuse Satan in the dispute over Moses' body (Jude 9).
Corollary: Satan is going to be sufficiently demoted so that Michael can challenge him during the Tribulation (Rev. 12:7-9).
C. Basic Details about the Archangels (from the passages used in A, B above (plus others)):
Location: STAND BEFORE THE THRONE, waiting to be sent. Note when Gabriel appears to Zacharias, he stands right before the veil separating the Mercy Seat, the ceremonial throne (Luke 1:11,19), for the earthly is patterned after the heavenly (Ex. 25:40, Heb. 8:5 9:23).
Description: There are SEVEN ARCHANGELS, who in appearance are man-like (Dan. 9:21 10:16). Two of the Biblical names are Michael and Gabriel. Rabbinical tradition claims to know all seven names, but these which may not be valid. The Seven Archangels are also known as the Seven Spirits, the Seven Thunders, and the Seven Angels (Rev. 8:2,6 1:4 3:1 4:5 5:6 10:3-4 15:1,6-8 16:1 17:1 21:9), the latter cf Ps. 29:3.
Work: Several tasks.
1. Oversee and participate in the communication from God to saints of Israel's kingdom; Gabriel is mentioned prominently in this respect.
2. Oversee and participate in the protection and welfare of the saints of Israel's kingdom; Michael is mentioned prominently in this respect.
3. The Seven Archangels are paired off with the Seven Synagogues of Israel's future Tribulation: each Archangel oversees and charasmatically empowers the Sheliach Tsibbur (a rabbinical functionary known in Greek as the Angel of the Assembly) of his assigned synagogue (Rev. 1:16,20 2:1 3:1 4:5 8:2,6). Since the Seven Synagogues represent, collectively, future ethnic Elect Israel about to enter the earthly kingdom, all Seven Archangels send their greetings to future Israel (Rev. 1:4).
Speech: As a man.
A. The plural, compound Chaldee word 'IRIN-QADESHIN means WATCHERS/HOLY-[ONES] or HOLY WATCHERS. Strictly speaking, these two words never occur together in the Hebrew (Chaldee) Scriptures. But as we shall see, it is Biblically proper to do so.
The word 'IR, plural 'IRIN, meaning WATCHER, comes from a root often meaning "coursing together, city, fortified place or city, tower of the city watchman or watchtower, etc" and occurs only in Dan. 4:13(10),17(14),23(20), twice in the singular, once in the plural. And the adjective QADESH, plural QADESHIN, occurs only in Dan.4:8(5),13(10),17(14),18(15),23(20) 5:11 7:18,21,22(twice),25(27). So the pertinent passages for considering this compound name are Dan. 4:13(10),17(14),23(20).
Proposition: It is Biblically proper to use the compound name 'IRIN-QADESHIN of this angelic rank.
First Proof: The phrase in Dan. 4:13(10),23(20), "a Watcher and a Holy [One] came down / coming down" would clearly been understood as a hendiadys by the original audience (since the two words are connected by the waw-consecutive, they are of the same case and number, and the verbs are singular implying that one thing is in view): the original audience would interpret the second noun as a superlative adjective of the first noun (see [EWB, Figures of Speech ...], i.e. the TRULY HOLY WATCHER.
Second Proof: The construction in Dan. 4:17(14) is a parallelism:
"The matter by the decree of the Watchers"
"The command by the word of the Holy [Ones]"
Hence: matter = command, decree = word, and Watchers = Holy [Ones], so the Watchers are holy, i.e. are Holy Watchers.
B. Claims about the 'Irin-Qadeshin.
Proposition: The 'Irin-Qadeshin constitute the Great Sanhedrin of Heaven, the Judges of the Jews and Gentiles of Israel's kingdom, the 24 Elders who sit on 24 thrones around the Throne.
Proof: The Chaldee name, Watchers, implies that this rank of angels is charged with watching, assessing, judging, and evaluation of the Jews and Gentiles of Israel's kingdom, activities of a court; the association of this name ('Irin) with watchtowers, which in turn were associated with the gates, judges, and court of a city, further strengthen this notion. Further, Dan. 4:17(14) presents these angels as collectively giving forth decrees and commands as a court. Now Dan. 7:9-10 12:1-2 describes the Heavenly Great Sanhedrin: they sit on thrones in the vicinity of the Throne of the Ancient of Days ("thrones" is plural in 7:9) and are apparently in charge of the books ("the court was seated, and the books were open" in 7:10). Then, John in Rev. 4:4,10 describes this court as consisting of 24 Elders sitting on 24 thrones encircling the Throne: when a Jew in John's time hears an angelic rank described as "Elders", what else could he possibly think but that these are the Great Sanhedrin described in Daniel? Finally, John in Rev. 20:4,12-3 describes these Elders as sittings on thrones, exersizing judgment over both Jews and Gentiles of Israel's kingdom, and in so doing, having charge over the books, which description returns us full circle to Dan. 7:9-10 12:1-2.
Remark: Even when participating in the revelation of truth to Israel, the 'Irin-Qadeshin seem to do so by correction or by way of questions which evaluate what the prophet knows: Rev. 5:4-5 7:13-7.
Proposition: The 'Irin-Qadeshin encircle the Throne and Seven Archangels; hence they are the next rank below the Seven Archangels, and so constitute the fifth angelic rank.
Proof: Using III above, the seven spirits of Rev. 4:5 are the Seven Archangels. But the language of Rev. 4:4-5 clearly has the Seven Archangels within the circle of the 24 thrones of the Watchers/Elders.
Another Proof of the First Proposition: From the second proposition we have that the Elders comprise the "wall" or perimeter of this Heavenly area around the presence of God; i.e. they delimit the HOLY PLACE of the Heavenly Temple. But this is in perfect harmony with the association of the fortifications of a city and city wall with 'Irin-Qadeshin. Hence the Elders are the 'Irin-Qadeshin. It is also in keeping with the principle that the earthly is patterned after the heavenly (Ex. 25:40, Heb. 8:5 9:23).
Remark: The 24 Elders of Rev. 4:4,10 cannot be glorified members of the Body of Christ.
First Proof: The Elders are 'Irin-Qadeshin, a rank of angels. The Body of Christ is over angels, hence distinct from angels.
Second Proof: The Elders sit on 24 thrones; ipse facto they are not jointly seated on one throne with Christ---but the Body of Christ is (Eph. 2:6).
C. Basic details about the 'Irin-Qadeshin (from the passages used in A, B (plus others)):
Location: The 24 'Irin-Qadeshin sit on 24 thrones encircling the Throne, the three ranks of Cherubim and the Seven Archangels. They delimit the HOLY PLACE of the Temple in Heaven.
Description: These have the appearance of men, clothed in white raiment, wearing crowns of gold, the white robes denoting status as members of the Heavenly PRIESTHOOD, and the crowns denoting their status as rulers in the Heavenly Sanhedrin.
Work: Comprise the Great Sanhedrin of Heaven which assesses those of Israel's earthly kingdom (Luke 12:8-9, Rev. 3:5), and which publicly affirms and "approves" the decrees of God concerning the earthly kingdom. These 24 Elders are the pattern/motivation for the 24 courses of Israel's priesthood (I Chron. 24:1-19; and the 24 courses of Israel's Temple Choir (I Chron. 25) and these courses were all so organized by inspiration (I Chron. 28:11-3,19). These also reveal truth by means of correction and evaluation (Rev. 5:4-5 7:13-7).
Speech: Like men.
VI. ANGEL-PRIESTS. There are angels, possibly other than the Seraphim, which function as priests at the Heavenly Altar and act as mediators in prayer between God and the Jews and Gentiles of Israel's ethnic kingdom. But not much seems to be explicitly known about them: see Rev. 8:3-5 14:18, Gen. 19:17-22. It is possible that the Genesis reference is to two angels in the strict sense (Archangels?, perhaps michael and Gabriel?), since all angels by administrative position are mediators between God and Israel; and is it possible in the Revelation reference that the angel referred to is an angel in the broad sense, broad enough to include the Seraphim, which are portrayed in Is. 6:1-7 as ministering at the Heavenly Altar, or to include the 'Irin-Qadeshin which are in white as priests anyway?
VII. ANGELIC HOSTS. I Kings 22:19, II Kings 6:13-18, II Chron. 18:18, Job. 1:6 2:1, Ps. 68:17 104:4, Is. 6:1, Dan. 7:10, Zech. 1:7-11, Matt. 18:10, Heb. 1:7,14-2:2, I John 4:1-3, Rev. 5:11, plus many more.
Location: Constitute the CONGREGATION of the Temple of Heaven, filling the general court of the Temple outside the 'Irin-Qadeshin, thereby giving a pattern for the COURTYARD of the Tabernacle, for the earthly is patterned after the heavenly (Ex. 25:40, Heb. 8:5 9:23).
Description: Apparently in the form of men, but at times in the form of chariouts, horses, etc. There are 10,000 times 10,000 of them, i.e. 100 million; but such language may intend the notion that man cannot count the heavenly host. Their infrastructure is not detailed for us (so far as I can tell), but they are under the supervision of the Seven Archangels, and some of the infrastructure may be inferred from the infrastructure of the natural order and of nations and regions (since these are under the host---see "Work" below). These angels constitute the body of the Cloud of Glory (see angel/cloud studies, e.g. in [DS7]), the Shekhinah (see studies on the Shekhinah Glory), and Jehovah's train that fills the heavenly Temple (Is. 6:1).
Work: Guardians of the created order and controllers of the natural
processes (Greek text of Gal. 4:8-9, Col. 2:8,20) and as such are the "authorities"
or the "gods" of the earth (see the discussion in [DS7] of Ps.
8:5 82:1,6 86:8 95:3 96:4 97:7,9 135:5 136:2 138:1, Dan. 10:13,21 11:36
12:1, John 10:34-6, I Cor. 8:5-6). Overseers of human government, especially
ethnic Israel in her kingdom (Dan. 10:13,21 12:1). Constitute the armies
of heaven (Jud. 5:20, II Kings 6:13-19, Rev. 12:7-8, etc). Immediate agents
of Israel's charismatic gifts, and so revelation of Israel's Law, outpourers
of the gift of tongues, bestowers of healing, etc (I John 4:1-3; also II
Chron. 5:12-4 (cf I Chron. 25:1-5), Acts 7:53, Gal. 3:19, Heb. 2:2, Rev.