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Some say that they were angelic beings who represented the churches, just as angels represent nations … How do they happen to possess the name they bear? 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. 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. 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. 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. The office of the angel of the synagogue had, in fact, no resemblance whatever to that of a prelate. 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. It is, therefore, extremely doubtful whether a minister with this title was known among the Jews in the days of the apostles. 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. This minister seems, indeed, to have now spent no small portion of his time in travelling between Rome and Macedonia. 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." [264:2], In the foreground of this picture the Son of God stands conspicuous. Revelation 1:20 _____ The number seven in the Bible is the symbolic reference to perfection. 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. Yea, they may forget, yet will not I forget thee. But what are we to make of that?! But such explanations are very far from satisfactory. THE SEVEN STARS AND THE SEVEN CANDLESTICKS. [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." It is not to be supposed that such a man was permitted in apostolic times to pine away unheeded in solitary exile. [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. Jesus holds seven stars. [269:4]. So the lampstands (or "candlesticks" in some translations) represent seven churches. In Revelation 1-3, John is told to write to the "angels" of seven churches in Asia Minor. Why are they gathered into the right hand of the Son of Man? Or the angels may be regarded as the personifications of the 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. In Scripture, “stars” and angelic beings are closely related (Job 38:7; Daniel 8:10 cf. "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven 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. He is bidden to write to the respective angels of those Churches and distribute to each his meed of … 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. 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. 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. 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 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. 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. Consequently, Had the Spirit of God in the Apocalypse bestowed upon them such a title, it never would have been laid aside. 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. What are the seven candlesticks / lampstands of Revelation? Or the angels may be regarded as the personifications of the churches. Are the “angels” of the churches in Revelation 1–3 real angels, or are they human messengers? 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. “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. In primitive times such angels were often sent to the brethren in confinement or in exile. (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 … The Seven Churches "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp-stands are the seven churches themselves." [264:3]. 6 ). The fact that the stars are in Jesus’ right hand indicates that they are important and under His authority. The stars are seen, not distributed over the seven candlesticks, but collected together in the hand of Christ. 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. The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting by Colin Hemer. 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. left their first love. Revelation 12:4). He also explains the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. [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. Towards the close of the first century the Apostle John must have been regarded with extraordinary veneration by his Christian brethren. When bearing consolation to the aged minister, each one of them could enjoy the comfort of the promise -- "Can a woman forget her sucking child that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? The star is the angel; therefore, the angel is not a symbol, because the star is the symbol, and for the … [265:1] This point, however, has never been fairly demonstrated. 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 stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the lampstands are the churches themselves (1:20). There are, too, grounds for believing that these seven religious societies, in their varied character and prospects, are emblems of the Church universal. No trace of it can be detected even in the second century. 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. 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. [267:1] It is in vain then to attempt to recognise the predecessors of our modern diocesans in the angels of the Seven Churches. But though the symbol of the stars has been thus interpreted by Christ, the interpretation itself has been the subject of considerable discussion. 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. 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. The Lord Jesus Christ is acquainted with the number of the stars. We could think of "stars" here as representing the leaders or elders of the churches. 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. Had bishops been originally called angels, they never would have parted with so complimentary a designation. It is thus apparent that, whatever the angels of the Seven Churches may have been, they certainly were not diocesan bishops. In the Believer’s Bible Commentary on pages 2354 and 2355 the following comments are made, “Various explanations of the angels have been offered. In the beginning of this book we have an account of a glorious vision presented to the beloved disciple. REVELATION 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. Philo and Josephus are equally silent upon the subject. "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. Jesus explains to John that the “stars are the angels of the seven churches” (Revelation 1:20). And the seven candlesticks are the seven ch [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. An “angel” is literally a “messenger.” 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 … An angel literally signifies a messenger, and these angels were simply the messengers of the Seven Churches. For example, Stephen charged the Israelites with worshiping the host of heaven, which included “the star of your god Remphan” (Acts 7:42-43). 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. It was, no doubt, thought that the messengers undertook a most perilous errand when they engaged to visit a distinguished Christian minister who had been driven into banishment by a jealous tyrant; but they are taught by the vision that they are under the special care of Him who is "the Prince of the kings of the earth;" for the Saviour appears holding them in His right hand as He walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. 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 . The last makes a great deal of sense. It has often been asserted that the title "The angel of the Church" is borrowed from the designation of one of the ministers of the synagogue. Angels of the Seven Churches Excerpt from the Lexham Bible Dictionary , the most advanced Bible dictionary. [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. A few days ago, a reader emailed me asking about the angels in Revelation 2-3. 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. The message of each of the seven letters is directed to the angel of the particular church that is mentioned. Revelation 1:20, NASB: "'As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven … Nevertheless, many are still confused about the meaning of the seven stars. What was Jesus’ message to the church in Laodicea in Revelation. It also stands for entireness and completion. Such are mentioned for various churches including Ephesus: 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. St. John in the Apocalypse is shown seven candlesticks and in their midst, the Son of Man holding seven stars (Revelation 1:13, 20). The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." The candlesticks represent the seven Churches of Asia; the stars, the angels of those Churches. These considerations abundantly attest the futility of the imagination that the angel of the Church was a diocesan bishop. All these questions admit of a very plain and satisfactory solution. 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. 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. [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." Origen explains that these "angels" are the guardian angels of the churches, a … What do the seven churches in Revelation stand for? Angels of the churches. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. 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. What do the seven stars represent in Revelation? He then explained to John (verse 20) that the seven stars … The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. 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. The star is the angelos; the aster is the angelos. candlesticks. 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. 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. And this is plainly declared by him that had them in his Hand, v. 20. of this Chapter. "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. 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. In keeping with Bible terminology, “stars” and “angels” are … 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." Jesus walks among seven lampstands, and has seven stars in His hand. [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. More insights from your Bible study - Get Started with Logos Bible Software for Free! Let us begin with the seven stars. 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." The right hand is a sign of strength and control. They are the angels of the seven churches (Revelation 1:20). 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. And in any case, if the text says they are angels, then they must be angels. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands." [267:2] If such a nomenclature existed in the time of the Apostle John, it must have passed away at once and for ever! These churches are located in Asia, modern Turkey, some believe they represent seven church ages, while others argue they represent seven … In it he happens to mention the angels of the seven churches: "In John, certain angels are spoken of in the Apocalypse as actually presiding over churches" ( ch. [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. [264:4] According to others, the angel of a Church betokens the collective body of ministers connected with the society. 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." "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). 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