He also explains the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. Thus, in the immediate neighbourhood of Laodicea were the Churches of Colosse and Hierapolis; [271:3] and in the vicinity of Ephesus, perhaps the Churches of Tralles and Magnesia. About forty years before, the Word of God "grew mightily and prevailed" [266:4] in that great metropolis; and, among its inhabitants, Paul had persuaded "much people" [266:5] to become disciples of Christ. The office of the angel of the synagogue had, in fact, no resemblance whatever to that of a prelate. In keeping with Bible terminology, “stars” and “angels” are … The angel could not be in two places at the same time; and, as it was his duty to offer up the prayers of the assembled worshippers, it was impossible for him to minister to two congregations. Thus, John the Baptist, who was commissioned to announce the approach of the Messiah, is styled God's angel, [269:3] or messenger, and the spies, sent to view the land of Canaan, are distinguished by the same designation. [269:5] All accounts concur in representing him as most amiable and warm-hearted; and as he had now far outlived the ordinary term of human existence, the snows of age must have imparted additional interest to a personage otherwise exceedingly attractive. Jesus appeared to John as “one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. They were seen in the right hand of Jesus in the midst of the seven golden lampstands, or churches. His dress corresponds to that of the Jewish high priest, and the whole description of His person has obviously a reference, either to His own divine perfections, or to His offices as the Saviour of sinners. This is the sort of detail that most of us, I imagine, do not give a lot of time to. It may, however, be fairly questioned whether the number of disciples in every one of these places was then so limited as such an inference would suggest. If then the angel of the Church discharged the same functions as the angel of the synagogue, it would follow that, towards the termination of the first century, there was only one Christian congregation in each of the seven cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. In Revelation chapters 2-3, John is instructed to write seven letters to seven specific churches. "As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches" (Revelation 1:20). "The seven stars," says He, "are the angels of the Seven Churches, and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest, are the Seven Churches." How do they happen to possess the name they bear? An “angel” is literally a “messenger.” Had the Spirit of God in the Apocalypse bestowed upon them such a title, it never would have been laid aside. The church at Ephesus was strong in the areas of: hard work patience discerning false teaches. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. The Scriptures nowhere teach that each Christian community is under the care of its own angelic guardian; neither is it to be supposed that an angel represents the ministry of a Church, for one symbol would not be interpreted by another symbol of dubious signification. Our Lord, "in the days of His flesh," had permitted him to lean upon His bosom; and he has been described by the pen of inspiration as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." What do the seven churches in Revelation stand for? The angels of the Seven Churches were neither moderators, nor diocesans, nor precentors, but messengers sent on an errand of love to an apostle in tribulation. The last makes a great deal of sense. The seven angels of the seven churches (Revelation 1:20) received seven letters, figurative letters, and therefore it would seem that the seven angels are also figurative and may refer to the seven bishops who presided over the seven churches of Asia. And the seven candlesticks are the seven churches” (1:17-20). It was, therefore, by no means extraordinary that seven messengers from seven neighbouring Churches, to all of which he was well known, are found together in Patmos on a visit to the venerable confessor. Related Topics: Age , Church , End Times , Mystery , Prophecy , Great Doctrines 1955 - 1956 , 1956 , Revelation In the New Testament we have repeated references to the office-bearers of the synagogue; we are told of the rulers [265:2] or elders, the reader, [265:3] and the minister [265:4] or deacon; but the angel is never mentioned. No trace of it can be detected even in the second century. [264:1] A vision so extraordinary as that which he describes, must have left upon his mind a permanent and most vivid impression. An angel literally signifies a messenger, and these angels were simply the messengers of the Seven Churches. When, about a century after this period, we begin to discover distinct traces of a hierarchy, an extreme anxiety is discernible to find for it something like a footing in the days of the apostles; but, strange to say, the earliest prelates of whom we read are not known by the name of angels. Even granting, what is so very problematical, that there were in the synagogues in the first century individuals distinguished by the designation of angels, it is still exceedingly doubtful whether the angels of the Seven Churches borrowed their names from these functionaries. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters -- and he had in his rigid hand seven stars, and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength." [270:1] We may thus perceive, too, why the letters are addressed to the angels, for in this case they were the official organs of communication between the apostle and the religious societies which they had been deputed to represent. The Lord Jesus Christ is acquainted with the number of the stars. The small island which was the place of his banishment was not far from the Asiatic metropolis, and the other six cities named in the Apocalypse were all in the same district as Ephesus. In Revelation 1-3, John is told to write to the "angels" of seven churches in Asia Minor. This explanation satisfies all the conditions required by the laws of interpretation. John had long resided at Ephesus; and now that he was banished to the Isle of Patmos "for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ," it would appear that the Christian communities among which he had ministered so many years, sent trusty deputies to visit him, to assure him of their sympathy, and to tender to him their friendly offices. Whilst it reveals a concern for the welfare of John quite in keeping with the benevolent spirit of apostolic times, it is also simple and sufficient. Angels of the Seven Churches Excerpt from the Lexham Bible Dictionary , the most advanced Bible dictionary. He then explained to John (verse 20) that the seven stars … In verse 20 Jesus explains, “The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.” They are the angels of the seven churches (Revelation 1:20). There is much in Revelation that is difficult to understand, and worrying about the recipients of these letters seems the least of our problems. The preceding statements demonstrate the folly of attempting to construct a system of ecclesiastical polity from such a highly-figurative portion of Scripture as the Apocalypse. Or the angels may be regarded as the personifications of the churches. These considerations abundantly attest the futility of the imagination that the angel of the Church was a diocesan bishop. Some say that they were angelic beings who represented the churches, just as angels represent nations … Jesus walks among seven lampstands, and has seven stars in His hand. In primitive times such angels were often sent to the brethren in confinement or in exile. They are represented by seven golden lampstands, and the seven angels – or messengers – of the churches, represented by seven stars in the right hand of Jesus. What, then, can these angels be? the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches revelation one in Jewish Gematria equals: 9468: t 100 h 8 e 5 0 s 90 e 5 v 700 e 5 n 40 0 s 90 t 100 a 1 r 80 s 90 0 a 1 r 80 e 5 0 t 100 h 8 e 5 0 a 1 n What do the seven stars represent in Revelation? "The seven stars," says He, "are the angels of the Seven Churches, and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest, are the Seven Churches." [268:1] Here, Epaphroditus is presented to us as the angel of the Church of Philippi. More insights from your Bible study - Get Started with Logos Bible Software for Free! [272:1] In the vision, the "countenance" of the Saviour is said to have been "as the sun shineth in his strength;" [272:2] and the prayer of the Church catholic is -- "God be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us, that that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations." [267:2] If such a nomenclature existed in the time of the Apostle John, it must have passed away at once and for ever! According to some they were literally angelic beings who had the special charge of the Seven Churches. REVELATION 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. Consequently, Jesus explains to John that the “stars are the angels of the seven churches” (Revelation 1:20). The seven churches are symbolized as seven. left their first love. It is thus apparent that, whatever the angels of the Seven Churches may have been, they certainly were not diocesan bishops. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands." I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you." The seven churches are the primary focus of the first three chapters of Revelation. In the angel of the Church some have believed they have discovered the moderator of a presbytery; others, the bishop of a diocese; and others, the minister of an Irvingite congregation. It also deserves notice that, in other parts of the New Testament as well as in the Apocalypse, an individual sent on a special errand is repeatedly called an angel. So the lampstands (or "candlesticks" in some translations) represent seven churches. This question warrants being included in this series, so let’s take a look. Origen explains that these "angels" are the guardian angels of the churches, a … He was the last survivor of a band of men who had laid the foundations of the New Testament Church; and he was himself one of the most honoured members of the little fraternity, for he had enjoyed peculiarly intimate fellowship with his Divine Master. [265:1] This point, however, has never been fairly demonstrated. He himself is the expositor of two of the most remarkable of the symbols. [270:2] When the apostle was honoured with the vision, he was directed to write out an account of what he saw, and to "send it unto the Seven Churches which are in Asia;" [270:3] and this interpretation explains how he transmitted the communication; for, as Christ is said to have "sent and signified" His Revelation "by his angel unto his servant John," [271:1] so John, in his turn, conveyed it by the seven angels to the Seven Churches. The seven angels of the seven churches (Revelation 1:20) received seven letters, figurative letters, and therefore it would seem that the seven angels are also figurative and may refer to the seven bishops who presided over the seven churches of Asia. What are the seven blessings of Revelation? The angel was not the chief ruler of the synagogue; he occupied a subordinate position; and was amenable to the authority of the bench of elders. [269:1] In like manner, the individuals selected to convey, to the poor saints in Jerusalem, the contributions of the Gentile converts in Greece and Asia Minor, are called "the messengers of the Churches." [272:3]. We could think of "stars" here as representing the leaders or elders of the churches. From the above prophetic verses, we can read that there are “seven stars” or seven angels that represent God’s seven spirits sent forth by God to bring forth the light unto seven Gentile churches. As we saw earlier, Revelation 1:20 says the “stars” of the seven churches (verse 16) are “angels.” Such is not the language of human messengers of God. But it was the duty of the angel of the synagogue to offer up the prayers of the assembly; [266:1] and as, in all the synagogues, there was worship at the same hour, [266:2] he could, of course, be the minister of only one congregation. Jesus holds seven stars. [267:1] It is in vain then to attempt to recognise the predecessors of our modern diocesans in the angels of the Seven Churches. In a book that is rich with symbols, these explanations are useful. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. [264:2], In the foreground of this picture the Son of God stands conspicuous. Much difficulty has been experienced in identifying the angels of the Seven Churches; and there have been various conjectures as to the station which they occupied, and the duties which they performed. Each letter is entrusted to the “angel” of the intended church. The angels or messengers of the seven churches are symbolized as seven. In prophetic language a star usually signifies a ruler, and it is probable that the angels sent to Patmos were selected from among the elders, or rulers, of the Churches with which they were respectively connected; for, it is well known that, at an early period, elders, or presbyters, were frequently appointed to act as messengers or commissioners. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. In Scripture, “stars” and angelic beings are closely related (Job 38:7; Daniel 8:10 cf. “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in My right hand” [Revelation 1:20]: the seven stars are the angeloi, translated here “angels” of the seven churches. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." In the beginning of this book we have an account of a glorious vision presented to the beloved disciple. In the Believer’s Bible Commentary on pages 2354 and 2355 the following comments are made, “Various explanations of the angels have been offered. There are, too, grounds for believing that these seven religious societies, in their varied character and prospects, are emblems of the Church universal. A few days ago, a reader emailed me asking about the angels in Revelation 2-3. Hence Paul observes -- "I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and companion in labour and fellow-soldier, but your messenger and he that ministered to my wants." Had bishops been originally called angels, they never would have parted with so complimentary a designation. THE SEVEN STARS AND THE SEVEN CANDLESTICKS. He is bidden to write to the respective angels of those Churches and distribute to each his meed of … [271:2], It has often been thought singular that only seven Churches of the Proconsular Asia are here addressed, as it is well known that, at this period, there were several other Christian societies in the same province. candlesticks. It seems clear that the angel of the Church is a single individual, and that he must have been a personage well known to the body with which he was connected at the time when the Apocalypse was written. The star is the angel; therefore, the angel is not a symbol, because the star is the symbol, and for the … In His hand, Jesus holds seven stars (Revelation 1:13, 16). For ancient readers and hearers, “seven stars” would evoke a number of associations – the seven planets, the seven stars of Ursa Major, and the seven stars that make up the Pleiades. Chapters 2-3 of the Revelation have specific messages for each of the seven angels of the seven churches. The fact that the stars are in Jesus’ right hand indicates that they are important and under His authority. The right hand is a sign of strength and control. And in any case, if the text says they are angels, then they must be angels. The Lord explicitly identifies the lampstands as the seven churches in 1:20. It is not to be supposed that such a man was permitted in apostolic times to pine away unheeded in solitary exile. The Spirit identifies the seven stars as the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands as the seven churches. The meaning ascribed to the seven stars of Rev 1:20 and recipients of the seven messages in Rev 2–3 . The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. And his head and his hairs were white, as white wool, and as … [264:4] According to others, the angel of a Church betokens the collective body of ministers connected with the society. Origen on the Angels of the Seven Churches Today, several years after I wrote this page, I ran across a book by Origen (c. 185-254) called On Prayer . Angels of the churches. What was Jesusâ message to the church in Laodicea in Revelation. 6 ). The seven letters to the seven churches were addressed directly to the seven angels respectively. The rank of the ancient Jewish functionary seems to have been similar to that of a precentor in some of our Protestant churches; and when set forms of prayer were introduced among the Israelites, it was his duty to read them aloud in the congregation. But the basis on which all such theories are founded is a mere blunder as to the significance of an ecclesiastical title. The stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the lampstands are the churches themselves (1:20). The Son of Man does not confine His care to the Seven Churches of Asia, for He who appears walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks is the same who said of old to the nation of Israel -- "I will set up my tabernacle among you, and my soul shall not abhor you, and I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people." The stars of the seven churches are not symbols of angels as in angelic beings but angels as in the other common use of the word - messengers. And this is plainly declared by him that had them in his Hand, v. 20. of this Chapter. All these questions admit of a very plain and satisfactory solution. This minister seems, indeed, to have now spent no small portion of his time in travelling between Rome and Macedonia. Or the angels may be regarded as the personifications of the churches. The star is the angelos; the aster is the angelos. Yea, they may forget, yet will not I forget thee. Revelation 12:4). Revelation 2:1 King James Version (KJV) 1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden … The mystery of the seven stars, which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The Bible frequently uses stars as a symbol of divine beings. [269:4]. He later explains that “the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches” (1:20). But the seven angels mentioned by John may have been the only ecclesiastical messengers in Patmos at the time of the vision; and they may have been the organs of communication with a greater number of Churches than those which they directly represented. Philo and Josephus are equally silent upon the subject. If so, the angel of the Church must have occupied the same position as the angel of the synagogue, for the adoption of the same title indicated the possession of the same office. [264:3] But though the symbol of the stars has been thus interpreted by Christ, the interpretation itself has been the subject of considerable discussion. The Subject of our first Inquiry is, The Mystery of the Seven Stars: What we are to understand thereby. Are the âangelsâ of the churches in Revelation 1–3 real angels, or are they human messengers? "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches." (Revelation 1:20) “20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.” (Zechariah 3:9) “9 For behold, the stone That I have laid before Joshua: Upon the stone are seven … These churches are located in Asia, modern Turkey, some believe they represent seven church ages, while others argue they represent seven … The Seven Churches "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp-stands are the seven churches themselves." It also stands for entireness and completion. Though the angels seem to be in someway related to the Churches, the relation is such that they may be separated without inconvenience. It is obvious that the instructions contained in the epistles were designed, not merely for the angels individually, but for the communities of which they were members; and hence the exhortation with which each of them concludes -- "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches." Here the ministers of righteousness are symbolized by the seven stars, which the First and the Last has under his special care and protection. The place where these angels are to be found in the apocalyptic scene also suggests the fallacy of the interpretation that they are the chief pastors of the Seven Churches. When Jesus spoke of the seven stars as seven angels, our first question is, “Was He speaking of heavenly angels that preside over churches, or human messengers that preside over churches?” The Greek word angelos that is used here is defined by Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words as “a … The Seven Stars are the Angels of the Seven Churches; and the Seven Candlesticks are the Seven Churches, i. e. of Asia, which are In later times there was, no doubt, in the synagogue an individual known by the name of the legate, or the angel; but there is no decisive evidence that an official with such a designation existed in the first century. Seven was regarded by the Jews as the symbol of perfection; and it is somewhat remarkable that, on another occasion noticed in the New Testament, [271:4] we find exactly seven messengers deputed by the Churches of Greece and Asia Minor to convey their contributions to the indigent disciples in Jerusalem. The seven stars in John’s vision (Rev 1-3) were interpreted to him by the spiritual guest to mean seven angels. "I saw," says he, "seven golden candlesticks, and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of Man clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. The stars are seen, not distributed over the seven candlesticks, but collected together in the hand of Christ. He was instructed to write down what he saw, and to send it to the Seven Churches in Asia, "unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea." [264:3]. Let us begin with the seven stars. The instructions addressed to the disciples in these seven cities of Asia were designed for the benefit of "THE CHURCHES" of all countries as well as of all succeeding generations; and the whole imagery indicates that the vision is to be thus interpreted. But what are we to make of that?! Why are they gathered into the right hand of the Son of Man? In Laodicea, and perhaps in one or two of the other cities, [266:3] there may have been only a single congregation; but it is scarcely probable that all the brethren in Ephesus still met together in one assembly. But if the angel of the Church derived his title from the angel of the synagogue, and if the position of these two functionaries was the same, we are shut up to the conclusion that there was now only one congregation in the capital of the Proconsular Asia. Nevertheless, many are still confused about the meaning of the seven stars. [269:2] The practice of sending messengers to visit and comfort the saints in poverty, in confinement, or in exile, may be traced for centuries in the history of the Church. And the seven candlesticks are the seven ch The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting by Colin Hemer.