They are of particular rank and distinction, for not all angels are of the same dignity and office. Paul enumerates “dominions, principalities, and powers” [Col. 1:16] among the celestial orders. Daniel speaks of some chief princes [Dan. 10:13+], Paul and Jude refer to archangels [1Th. 4:16; Jude 1:9]. Angelic beings are not, therefore, of one and the same grade. The sons of God, in general, come before him only at appointed times (Job 1:6) but the Saviour speaks of some angels who “do always behold the face of the Father which is in heaven” (Mat. 18:10).3Some believe these angels are the seven spirits before God’s throne (Rev. 1:4+; 3:1+; 4:5+; 5:6+).4 But there is strong evidence for understanding the Seven Spirits as the various manifestations of the Holy Spirit rather than angels. See commentary on Revelation 1:4.who stand before God
These seven angelic trumpeters are elect and loyal servants of God with a position commensurate with their trust. They stand, permanently, in the presence of God Almighty; these are special angels, they are of Heaven’s elite (Rev. 8:2+)! In eastern courts the most favored courtiers had the right to enter the king’s presence at all times; these angels are angels of the presence; their high rank is thus confirmed.5to them were given seven trumpets
In contradistinction to the last three trumpets, the first four afflict natural objects, i.e., earth, trees, grass, rivers, and the like. The fifth and sixth have men as their special objects, and unlike the first four which are connected and interdependent, are separate and independent. In contrast to these two, the first four have only an indirect effect on mankind. Besides these differences, the voice of the eagle in Rev. 8:13+ separates the trumpets into two groups (Alford, Swete, Beckwith, Sweet).7
1 “In 1 Enoch 20:2-8, reference is made to seven angels who stand before God and are named Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Saraqael, Gabriel (cf. Luke 1:19) and Remiel.”—Alan F. Johnson, Revelation: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), Rev. 8:2. Not all translations of 1 Enoch 20 list seven angels, some list six: “These are the names of the holy angels who watch: Suruel, . . . Raphael, . . . Raguel, . . . Michael, . . . Saraqael, . . . Gabriel.”—James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha - Vol. 1 (New York, NY: Doubleday, 1983), 1 Enoch 20:1-7. Raphael is also mentioned in Tobit: “I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One.”—The Apocrypha: King James Version (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1995), Tobit 12:15.
2 Albrecht Durer (1471 - 1528). Image courtesy of the Connecticut College Wetmore Print Collection.
3 J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), Rev. 8:2.
4 E. W. Bullinger, Commentary On Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1984, 1935), Rev. 8:2.
5 Monty S. Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1987), Rev. 8:2.
6 William R. Newell, Revelation: Chapter by Chapter (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1994,c1935), 125.
7 Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 8-22 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1995), Rev. 8:4.