The Seven Spirits of God: Holy Spirit, Angels, or Both? (Part 1)

The Seven Spirits of God: Holy Spirit, Angels, or Both? (Part 1)

The enigmatic “seven spirits of God” mentioned in Revelation 1:4, 3:1, 4:5, and 5:6 have long been a mystery to theologians. Are they angels? The Holy Spirit? Could they even be both? We aren’t told explicitly, but a careful and objective investigation into the full canon of scripture can guide us toward a solid conclusion.

This two-part study will seek to avoid any preconceived ideas about the seven spirits as we evaluate the scriptural evidence on its own merit. In part one, we’ll begin by summarizing the competing scholarly arguments for the identity of the seven spirits of God. Then we’ll dig into the chain of custody given for the book of Revelation and discover valuable yet rarely considered evidence pointing toward a surprising conclusion.

What the Scholars Say

There is no scholarly consensus on the identity of the seven spirits of God.  Nevertheless, Bible scholars generally land in one of two main camps: they identify the seven spirits as angels, or as the Holy Spirit. The table below briefly summarizes the best arguments for each position:

Seven Spirits = Angels Seven Spirits = Holy Spirit
1. The fact that they are called “spirits” implies they are created spiritual beings. Angels & demons are both called “spirits” in scripture (Heb. 1:14, Rev. 16:14), and the Dead Sea Scrolls also use “angels” and “spirits” as parallel terms (4Q405 23 I, 8-10).
 
2. The fact that they are “before the throne of God” (Rev. 4:6) implies they are in service to God and have special access to him. Similar statements appear in the NT and LXX, suggesting that a select group of angels is in view:
    • Luke 1:19 — I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God. . .1
    • Tobit 13:15 (LXX) — 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. 
3. The seven spirits (Rev. 1:4, 3:1, 4:5, 5:6) and the seven angels (8:2) are both said to be before God’s throne and thus appear to be the same group.2
 
4. Some scholars think Rev. 3:1 implies that the seven spirits are the seven angelic stars.3 It all depends on how one interprets the Greek word kai, which most commonly means “and” but occasionally means “even” or “indeed” :
    • Rev. 3:1 — And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and (Grk=kai) the seven stars. . .’
 
5. Just as the seven “spirits” are torches of “fire” in Rev. 4:5, so angels are both “spirits” and “fire” in Ps. 104:4 [103:4 LXX]:
    • Psalm 104:4 — [God] makes his angels spirits [LXX=pneuma] and his servants flames of fire.
1. When pneuma is used “as part of an apparent formula with God and Christ” as seen in Rev. 1:4, it characteristically refers to the Holy Spirit.4
 
2. The Rev. 1:4 greeting of grace and peace is fitting for the Holy Spirit, which is called “the spirit of grace” in Heb. 10:29 and which produces the fruit of “peace” in Gal. 5:22. A similar formulaic greeting of grace and peace appears in 1 Peter:
    • Rev. 1:4 — John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness. . .
    • 1 Pe. 1:1-2 — Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles. . . according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
3. In Rev. 4:5 and 5:6, the seven spirits are identified as seven “torches of fire” and seven “eyes.” Most scholars think John draws this imagery from Zech. 4, where it is directly connected to the Holy Spirit.5
 
4. There is a possible parallel between the seven spirits mentioned in Rev 5:5-6 and the seven attributes of the Holy Spirit listed in Is. 11:1-3 LXX:
    • Isaiah 11:1-3 LXX – And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse and a blossom shall come up from his root: and the Spirit of God shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom (1) and understanding (2), the spirit of counsel (3) and strength (4), the spirit of knowledge (5) and godliness (6) shall fill him; the spirit of the fear of God (7).

Investigating the Chain of Custody 

Both sets of arguments are compelling. But are they mutually exclusive? The chain of custody gives us some insight into this question. John opens Revelation by explaining the precise chain of custody for the visions contained in the book:

God Jesus Angel John “Servants” = the Seven Churches (1:1-2)

This list contains a total of five entities. The message originates with God and is channeled through Jesus, an angel, and John before it is finally made known to God’s “servants,” which clearly refers to the seven churches. Strikingly, just a few verses later we encounter another list of five entities in John’s greeting to the churches:

{God, Jesus, the Seven Spirits} John The Seven Churches (1:4-5)

Four of the five entities in each list (God, Jesus, John and the seven churches) are unquestionably the same. This suggests that the angel and the seven spirits are somehow related. Yet it also leaves us wondering where the Holy Spirit figures into the picture. What can we learn from John’s initial revelatory encounter that might tell us more?

John is met by a dramatic figure who tells him to write down his visions and send them to the seven churches. This figure has a voice like a trumpet (Rev. 1:10), the instrument blown by angels in Rev. 8-9. He also wears a golden sash (Rev. 1:13), the garb worn by angels in Rev. 15. Moreover, many of his features are identical to those of the angel who visited the prophet Daniel. The golden sash, eyes like fire, feet like burnished bronze, and roaring voice in Rev. 1:13-15 are all directly parallel to Dan. 10:5-6.6

The eyes “like a flame of fire” (Rev. 1:14) are especially noteworthy. This imagery is drawn from Dan. 10:6, where Daniel saw an angel with “eyes” (LXX=ophthalmos) like “flaming torches” (LXX= lampas pur). The seven spirits of God are likewise described as “eyes” (ophthalmos) in Rev. 5:6 and “torches of fire” (lampas pur) in Rev. 4:5. 

However, the figure who appears to John speaks the words of Jesus in the first person. Many interpreters therefore think this is not an angel but instead a direct appearance by the glorified Christ. The problem with this assumption is the chain of custody. The same figure tells John, “I will show you what must take place after this” (Rev. 4:1), recalling the custodial statement in Rev. 1:1:

  • Rev. 1:1 — The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John

Indeed, why would John report that Jesus communicated with him through an angel, but then go on to describe an encounter with Jesus himself, rather than the angel that Jesus sent? And why attribute to Jesus the physical characteristics we’d expect to see in the angel we were just told about?

The chain of custody and the angelic features confirm that this figure is indeed an angel. He speaks the words of Jesus in real time, placing John in the presence of Jesus right there on the island of Patmos. This sort of  representation by an intermediary figure was common in the ancient world, as John Walton and Craig Keener observe:

In the ancient world direct communication between important parties was a rarity. Diplomatic and political exchange normally required the use of an intermediary, whose function was similar to that of ambassadors today. The messenger who served as the intermediary was a fully vested representative of the party he represented. He spoke for that party and with the authority of that party. He was accorded the same treatment as that party would enjoy were he there in person. While this was standard protocol, there was no confusion about the person’s identity. This explains how the angel in [Genesis 16] can comfortably use the first person to convey what God will do.7

The fact that an angel speaks on behalf of Jesus in such a way effectively illustrates the authority given to Jesus over heaven’s angels, who can now be sent to earth as his representatives while he remains seated at God’s right hand.

In Rev. 2-3, this angel – speaking the words of Jesus – goes on to give John a set of instructions for the seven churches. Each letter opens by telling us that the words originate from Jesus, yet each letter closes by revealing that “the Spirit” actually says these words: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

The Holy Spirit is thus speaking on behalf of Jesus and channeling the message through John to the churches. This means the Spirit occupies the same slot in the chain of custody as the angel. We may therefore modify our diagram as follows:

God Jesus Angel (1:1) / Holy Spirit (2:7, etc) John The Seven Churches

Before we draw any conclusions about what this might mean, we will examine the chain of custody as given in the closing chapters of Revelation. 

The Chain of Custody in Rev. 21-22

At the end of the book, John records his exchange with a revelatory angel who repeats the chain of custody stated in Rev. 1:1. Here it is spread across two verses, with the angel presumably speaking the words of Jesus on his behalf in the latter verse:

  • Rev. 22:6 — And [the angel] said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
  • Rev. 22:16 — “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. . .”

In 22:6, we are told that God sent the angel to John. But in 22:16, Jesus says that he sent the angel. Some interpreters think this implies that Jesus is God. But they neglect the fact that God and Jesus occupy distinct slots in the Rev. 1:1 chain of custody. God, as the original source of the revelation, is the primary sender of the angel. Jesus, having received right-hand authority from God, is the secondary sender of the angel. The end result is that Rev. 22:6-16 repeats the original chain of custody:

God (22:6) Jesus (22:16) Angel (22:6, 16) John (22:16) The Seven Churches (22:16)

What can we learn about this angel who addresses John at the close of the book? The previous chapter gives us an important clue:

  • Rev. 21:9 — Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me. . .

Tracing the activity of this angel in the Rev. 22 chain of custody, we find that he is a member of a group of seven particular angels. We are not told, however, whether it is the same angel as the one John encountered at the beginning of the book. It’s true that Jesus sent “his angel” in Rev. 1:1 and similarly says he sent “my angel” in Rev. 22:16. But Grant Osbourne notes that “angel” may be a collective singular term representing a group of angels who interacted with John.8

What we know for sure is that the angel in Rev. 1:13 and the seven plague angels in Rev. 15:6 all wear golden sashes across their chests – and they are the only angels in Revelation who do. Perhaps the angel in 1:13 is the captain of the seven plague angels, or perhaps he is simply one of the seven. But it seems clear that he and the seven plague angels are associated with each other in a distinct way. 

Indeed, these golden-sashed angels are the only ones who specifically tell John “I will show you” (4:1, 17:1, 21:9), conforming to the custodial formula of Rev. 1:1. Therefore, whether the “angel” mentioned in the chain of custody is a single angel or a group of angels, it almost certainly refers to one or more of these particular angels who poured out God’s wrath.    

The OT Background of the Seven Plague Angels

The seven plague angels first appear to John as a sign in heaven in 15:1. They are implicitly located in the throne room, which is described as “a sea of glass mingled with fire” in 15:2. Upon exiting the heavenly temple that encloses the throne room, they are given seven bowls of God’s wrath.

Grant Osbourne notes that the plagues poured out by these angels “are linked closely with the Egyptian plagues of the exodus.”9 He also points out that these angels emerge from the “tent of testimony” (15:5), which “links the heavenly temple with the tabernacle or ‘tent’ in the wilderness.” 10

In other words, Revelation’s seven plague angels are linked with the entire exodus story, from Israel’s flight out of Egypt to her wilderness wanderings. This gives us an OT background that can be mined for additional clues about their identity.

The Destroyer

In the last horrific plague upon Egypt, we are told of a “destroyer” who would liberate Israel by passing through Egypt to kill all the first-born:

  • Exodus 12:23 — For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you .

Notably, the destroyer is distinguished from YHWH and functions as an agent who acts on his behalf. The apostle Paul later tells us that this mysterious figure continued with Israel into the wilderness:

  • 1 Cor. 10:1-10 (NASB) — . . .[our fathers were all] baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. . .[Let us not] try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

Numbers 14 records one instance of the grumbling described by Paul. When the Israelites threaten to stone Joshua and Caleb, we are told that “the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people” (Num. 14:10). Then God threatens to “strike” (Heb=nakah) them with pestilence. The same word appears in Ex. 12:12, where God said he would “strike” (nakah) the first-born of Egypt by means of the destroyer.

A similar incident occurs in Num. 16:41-48. The people grumble against Moses, and in response, the presence of the LORD appears in the tent of meeting. Then a plague strikes the people and we are told that “wrath has gone out from the LORD” (vs. 46).

These incidents reveal that the same destroyer who liberated Israel from Egypt and traveled into the wilderness also evidently came out of the tent of meeting to execute God’s wrath – the same tent that served as the earthly copy of the heavenly temple mentioned in Rev. 15-16.11

Yet there is more to the story. The Psalmist gives us another key insight into the destroyer:

  • Psalm 78:49-51 — [God] let loose on [the Egyptians] his burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels. He made a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death, but gave their lives over to the plague. He struck down every firstborn in Egypt, the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of Ham.

Here we find the activity of the destroyer associated with a group of angels. Geoffrey Grogan writes that “Egypt. . .felt the force of God’s anger, executed by ‘a band of destroying angels’ (v. 49), suggesting that the ‘destroyer’ of Exod 12:23 was an angel and that all the plagues were executed through angels.” 12 Hebrew scholars Keil and Deiltzsch similarly point out that the Psalmist evidently understood the “destroyer” as a collective singular term that envisions a company of angels.13

These angels simultaneously accomplished destruction for Egypt and salvation for Israel. But later in the wilderness, they also unleashed destruction upon Israel’s rebels. The prophet Isaiah summarized it this way:

  • Isaiah 63:9-10 — In all [Israel’s] affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.

Does Isaiah set this angel in parallel to the Holy Spirit? It would seem so, for the angel is said to function as God’s presence, which is precisely the role of the Holy Spirit (cp. Ps. 51:11, 139:7).14 Though we are only told here of a single angel, he may be a chief angel whose mention implicitly includes the group of angels he oversees (cp. Jos. 5:14).

Alternatively, since the definite article (“the”) in the phrase “the angel of his presence” is the translator’s choice and does not appear in the original Hebrew, it may be that this actually refers to “an angel of his presence.”15  

Indeed, Jewish tradition refers to multiple “angels of the presence.” The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs – a work that scholars believe influenced several New Testament authors16 – provides one example in which these angels are said to minister in the same heavenly temple that is mentioned in Rev. 15-16:

  • Testament of Levi (sec. III) — . . .In the heaven next to [the holy of holies] are the angels of the presence of the Lord, who minister and make propitiation to the Lord for all the ignorances of the righteous; and they offer to the Lord a reasonable sweet-smelling savour, and a bloodless offering. . .17

Synthesizing all of this data, it appears that a select company of angels associated with YHWH’s presence liberated Israel from Egypt and guided her to Canaan. One or more of these angels executed YHWH’s wrath when necessary, and in this role were occasionally called “the destroyer.”

The Eyes of YHWH

Moses alluded to the activity of these exodus angels in a speech given shortly before Israel entered Canaan. He warned the people to heed what God did to Egypt and to Israel’s rebels in the wilderness (Deut. 11:2-5). Then he told them that the “eyes of the LORD” were upon the land of Canaan (vs. 12).

Many other Biblical authors confirm that the “eyes of the LORD” were involved in the exodus. The Psalmist recalls the Red Sea crossing this way:

  • Psalm 66:6 — He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in him, who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations— let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah

In Habakkuk’s prayer, the judgments upon Israel’s enemies during the exodus are associated with YHWH “looking” upon the nations: 

  • Hab. 3:5-6 — Before him went pestilence, and plague followed at his heels. He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations. . .

Ezekiel is even more specific in his reference to God’s “eyes” during Israel’s wilderness wanderings:

  • Eze. 20:17 — Nevertheless, my eye spared them, and I did not destroy them or make a full end of them in the wilderness.

Here God specifically associates his “eye” with the activity of the destroyer, which in turn identifies his “eye” with the band of angels we’ve been investigating.

In Ezekiel’s own day, God tells the prophet that his “eye” will destroy rebellious Jerusalem. This “eye” is then associated with a group of figures widely recognized by interpreters as angels:

  • Eze. 7:9 — And my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the LORD, who strikes (Heb=nakah).
  • Eze. 9:4-5 – . . .And the LORD said to [the man clothed in linen], “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.”. . .And to the [six] others he said in my hearing, “Pass through the city after him, and strike (Heb=nakah). Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity.

God says that his eye will not spare or have pity (Eze. 7:9), but he accomplishes this by sending out six angels whose eyes will not spare or have pity (Eze. 9:4-5). In other words, these angels function as God’s eyes. They “strike” (nakah) on God’s behalf, just as the destroyer did in Egypt (Ex. 12:12) and in the wilderness (Num. 14:12).

Furthermore, each of the six angels has an “instrument of destruction” (9:1). Daniel Block writes that the Hebrew word rendered “destruction” in this verse invites comparison with Exodus 12, where “the noun mashit is used of the destruction that Yahweh inflicted on Egypt (v. 13), and the participle hammashit of the Destroyer himself.”18

However, there is also a seventh figure present who is dressed in linen and has a writing kit instead of a weapon. He is not identified, but Jewish tradition holds that it was the angel Gabriel.19 This figure is ordered to mark all of the repentant for protection before the six destroyers do their job.

God’s “eye” is thus explicitly associated with the six destroying angels and implicitly associated with the seventh angel, who functions as his “eye” by seeking out those who are to be marked for salvation. 2 Chronicles 16:9 attests to this latter function of God’s “eyes”:

  • 2 Chron. 16:9 — For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. . .

Ezekiel is therefore the first prophet to hint at the idea that YHWH has seven eyes. He also connects the activity of YHWH’s eyes with the exodus destroyer, and indicates that these “eyes” are angels.

Zechariah later confirms that there are indeed seven eyes of YHWH (4:2-10). In part two of this series we’ll look more closely at his account. For now, we will return to the seven plague angels of Rev. 15-16 and draw some conclusions based on what we’ve found.

The Seven Eyes, the Seven Plague Angels, and the Holy Spirit

Our investigation has revealed that the Exodus plagues were in all likelihood carried out by a group of seven angels who functioned as the “eyes of YHWH” across Israel’s history. John’s vision in Rev. 15-16 is carefully constructed to recall these particular angels. Furthermore, the seven plague angels of Rev. 15-16 are placed in the heavenly temple, which is precisely where the seven eyes are located in Rev. 5:6.

We may therefore conclude with reasonable confidence that the seven plague angels of Rev. 15-16 are the seven eyes of YHWH depicted in the Old Testament. In Rev. 5:6, these eyes are identified as the seven spirits of God. Consequently, the seven spirits of God are angels, and one or more of them was sent to John to deliver the contents of Revelation. We can now modify the chain of custody given in Revelation 21-22 as follows:

God Jesus Angel (one or more of the seven spirits)  John The Seven Churches

This harmonizes nicely with the Rev. 1:4 greeting that is sent by God, Jesus, and the seven spirits. But it turns out that the angel(s) who interact with John at the close of the book also carry him away “in the Spirit,” as Grant Osbourne observes:

Twice John is ἀπήνεγκεν…ἐν πνεύματι (carried away…in the Spirit; 17:3; 21:10), and twice he is “in the Spirit” (1:10; 4:2). The first is the means, the second the result, and all refer to the visionary experience by which God has revealed these things to John (building on the empowering by the Spirit of Yahweh in Ezek. 2:2; 3:12; 8:3; 11:1; 37:1; 43:5).20

  • Rev. 17:1 — Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters. . .And he carried me away (Grk=apophero) in the Spirit into a wilderness. . .
  • Rev. 21:9-10 — Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away (Grk=apophero) in the Spirit to a great, high mountain. . .

This recalls Peter’s remark about how prophecy is conveyed to man:

  • 2 Peter 1:21 — For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along (Grk=phero) by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is thus equally involved in delivering these prophecies to John for the churches, occupying the same slot as the revelatory angel. Consequently, we arrive at a final chain of custody as revealed in Revelation 21-22 that looks like this:

God Jesus Angel (one or more of the seven spirits) / Holy Spirit John The Seven Churches

Our investigation has therefore found that the chain of custody given at the beginning and end of the book Revelation is consistent, with the latter providing additional identifying information. This chain of custody raises some important questions.

If the angel(s) who delivered the contents of Revelation are not the Holy Spirit, why do they share the same slot in the chain of custody with the Holy Spirit? Could it be that Revelation treats “the Spirit” as a collective singular term for these seven angelic spirits? Is it coincidence that the seven spirits are sent out in connection with the same right-hand authority that sent the Holy Spirit (Rev. 5:6-7, cp. Acts 2:33)?

Moreover, these golden-sashed angels function no differently from the Holy Spirit in the Johannine corpus: both are sent by the Father in the name of Jesus (Rev. 1:1, cp. Jn. 14:16, 16:7); both show God’s servants what is to come (Rev. 1:1, cp. Jn. 16:13); both speak truth to believers (Rev. 19:9, cp. Jn. 16:13); both glorify Jesus (Rev. 19:10, cp. Jn. 16:14); and both execute God’s judgment for sin (Rev. 16:5-6, cp. Jn. 16:8).

Conclusion

By investigating the chain of custody, we have found that the seven spirits of God are angels, and that one or more of them delivered the contents of Revelation to John. But these seven angels also share their slot in the chain of custody with the Holy Spirit.

The angel who speaks the words of Jesus in Rev. 2-3 tells us that the Spirit speaks the words of Jesus, and the angel who carries John away in Rev. 17-21 does so in the Spirit. This strongly implies a synonymous relationship between the Holy Spirit and these seven angelic spirits. It also gives us reason to think that the scholarly arguments we reviewed earlier may not be mutually exclusive but rather equally true.

Moreover, the seven angelic spirits of God are by definition both holy and spirit. It is not surprising, then, that Revelation’s chain of custody treats the Holy Spirit as synonymous with this council of priestly angels who keep watch over God’s people.

But what about Zechariah 4 and Isaiah 11:1-2, the two passages identified by scholars as the primary Old Testament background for the seven spirits of God? In the second part of our series, we will dive into these passages and discover more evidence in support of this intriguing portrait painted by Revelation’s chain of custody.

  1.   All scripture quotations taken from the ESV translation unless otherwise noted.
  2.   Craig Koester, Revelation (The Anchor Yale Bible), p. 216.
  3.   E.g. Michael Heiser, see  https://nakedbiblepodcast.com/podcast/naked-bible-354-revelation-14-6/
  4.   G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation (The New International Greek Testament Commentary), p. 189.
  5. E.g. Beale, p. 355.
  6.   The angel in Dan. 10 seems most likely to be Gabriel – cp. Dan 8:15, 9:21. The hair that is white like wool is taken from the description of the Ancient of Days in Dan. 7:9, but it should be noted that angels are also described with white hair in Jewish tradition (Apocalypse of Abraham vs. 8. See http://web.archive.org/web/20110721203147/http://www.oxleigh.freeserve.co.uk/pt01c.htm)
  7.   Craig Keener and John Walton, NRSV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, ebook.
  8.   Grant Osbourne, Revelation (ECNT), under “Jesus Sends Revelation to Churches (22:16a).”
  9.   Osbourne, under “Seven Angels Emerge from Heavenly Temple, 15:5-8.”
  10.   Ibid.
  11.   The Septuagint adds further confirmation that the activity of the destroyer began in Egypt and continued into the wilderness. The book of Wisdom reports that in Egypt, Israel simultaneously experienced “the salvation of the righteous and the destruction of the enemies” through this figure (18:7). But later we are told that “the tasting of death touched the righteous also, and there was a destruction of the multitude in the wilderness” (18:20). The destroyer is mentioned by name in 18:22 and 18:25.
  12.   Geoffrey Grogan, Psalms (Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary),  p. 141.
  13.   See https://biblehub.com/commentaries/kad/psalms/78.htm. A more literal translation of Ps. 78:49 is given by the ASV: “He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, a band of angels of evil.” Scholars note that these are not fallen angels, but rather holy angels who bring calamity at the behest of God. A minority view suggests that these “angels” (also legitimately rendered “messengers”) refer to Moses and Aaron, who announced the plagues to Pharaoh. But this is very unlikely, since the context includes the death of the firstborn (vs. 51), and the Exodus account clearly implies that this plague was inflicted by an angelic being. Further, the word “destroy” (Heb=sahat) appears in Ps. 78:45, which describes the plague of the frogs. The same word appears in Ex. 12:23 in reference to “the destroyer” of the firstborn. This confirms that the Psalmist understood the activity of the destroyer to span all ten plagues and to involve multiple angels. The destruction simply began small and increased in magnitude until it culminated with the death of the firstborn.
  14.   Old Testament scholar John Levison argues that “the author shifts imperceptibly from the angel of God’s presence to the holy spirit, suggesting that the angel and the spirit are one and the same.” See https://www.duq.edu/assets/Documents/spiritans/Holy%20Spirit%20Resources/Lectures/2017%20Levison%20lecture.pdf
  15.   See https://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/OTpdf/isa63.pdf
  16.   See https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/t/testaments-of-the-twelve-patriarchs.html.
  17.   See http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/patriarchs.html. Jubliees 2:2 is another example. See http://wesley.nnu.edu/sermons-essays-books/noncanonical-literature/noncanonical-literature-ot-pseudepigrapha/the-book-of-jubilees/
  18.   Ezekiel 1-24 (NICOT), Daniel Block, p. 304.
  19.   This is stated in the Babylonian Talmud (b. Sabb. 55a). See https://www.sefaria.org/Shabbat.55a?lang=bi.
  20.   Osbourne, under “The Great Prostitute and the Scarlet Beast (17:1-18)”