The Book of Revelation with commentary by Dr. Henry M. Morris and paintings by Ramona Lowe
The paintings are a work in progress and the finished pieces are highlighted in red on Page 2

Page 15

Angels of the Churches

Revelation 1:19.   Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.

     The conclusion of these wonderful revelations is: “Therefore, write!”  The threefold division here has been noted by almost every commentator on Revelation: (1) “the things thou hast seen” (perhaps including not only the immediate vision but all the great events of the Apostolic Age in which John himself had been a leading participant); (2) “the things which are” (specifically the existing situation in the church of John’s day, representing the needs of all churches throughout the Church Age); (3) “the things which shall be hereafter,” clearly identified by use of the same phrase in Revelation 4:1 to be those events described from Revelation 4 onward – the Ages of Judgment and the Kingdom and the New Earth.  The last phrase is, literally, “the things which shall be after these things,” that is, after the things described in Revelation 2-3.  Since at least three of these church exhortations include specific references to the second coming of Christ (Revelation 2:25; 3:3, 11), there is strong indication that the third division relates to events taking place after the initial phases, at least, of the second coming.  

Revelation 1:20.   The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks.  The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

     This verse points up the fact that, when symbols are used in the Book of Revelation, they are explained internally, not subject to imaginative suggestions by allegorizing expositors.  The great lampstands symbolize light-bearing churches, and the stars represent the angels of the churches.

     But who are these angels?  By far the greater number of modern expositors say they represent the pastors of the churches.  The Greek word is aggelos and apparently has the basic meaning of “messenger.”  However, the word is used 188 times in the New Testament, practically always (with at most a half-dozen exceptions) to denote real angels rather than human messengers.  It would seem that the context must clearly demand it if any messengers other than true angels are meant.

     If “angel” means “pastor” here, it is used with this meaning here and nowhere else.  If the Lord Jesus meant the pastors of the churches, why did He not say “pastors?”  Or why did He not say “elders,” a term which is used in the New Testament as essentially synonymous with “pastors,” and which is later used twelve times in Revelation.

     Instead, He spoke of the angels of the churches, and this term is used sixty-seven other times in Revelation, in none of which could the meaning possibly be that of “pastors.”  The principle of natural, literal interpretation seems to require us to understand here that true churches of the Lord have individual angels assigned for their guidance and watch-care.

     This fact is hardly surprising in view of the innumerable company of angels (Hebrews 12:22) and their assigned function as ministering spirits to those who are heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14).  Individual believers have angels assigned to them (Matthew 18:10; Acts 12:15).  Angels are present in the assemblies during their services (1 Corin-thians 11:10) and are intensely interested in their progress (1 Corinthians 4:9; Ephesians 3:10; 1 Timothy 3:16; 5:21; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 1:12).

     Admittedly, the concept of an angel of God assigned to each church and , in some degree, responsible for the effectiveness of its ministry is one which is largely unrecognized among  Christians.  Nevertheless this seems to be the teaching of the Lord’s words here.  The symbolism is also appropriate to angels.  Stars are frequently identified with angels in Scripture, especially here in Revelation 9:1, 11; 12:3-9).

     Thus the letters to the churches were indeed addressed to the churches and to their members and ministers, but they were somehow to be transmitted through their angels.  Pastors, elders, deacons, teachers – all may change from time to time as the membership changes.  But the individual church itself goes on, sometimes continuing over many generations, and its angel continues with it.  Though its members may not be able to see him or communicate with him, he is there, and the very knowledge of his protecting and ministering presence should be a source of encouragement and purification in all its activities.

Website Builder