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the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches

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. The seven stars in John’s vision (Rev 1-3) were interpreted to him by the spiritual guest to mean seven angels. 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 thus apparent that, whatever the angels of the Seven Churches may have been, they certainly were not diocesan bishops. 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.” And the seven candlesticks are the seven ch And the seven candlesticks are the seven churches” (1:17-20). The meaning ascribed to the seven stars of Rev 1:20 and recipients of the seven messages in Rev 2–3 . The Lord explicitly identifies the lampstands as the seven churches in 1:20. In Revelation chapters 2-3, John is instructed to write seven letters to seven specific 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. The message of each of the seven letters is directed to the angel of the particular church that is mentioned. 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." The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. [267:1] It is in vain then to attempt to recognise the predecessors of our modern diocesans in the angels of the Seven Churches. 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 Bible frequently uses stars as a symbol of divine beings. 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. He is bidden to write to the respective angels of those Churches and distribute to each his meed of … What are the seven candlesticks / lampstands of Revelation? And in any case, if the text says they are angels, then they must be angels. Had the Spirit of God in the Apocalypse bestowed upon them such a title, it never would have been laid aside. 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. Each letter is entrusted to the “angel” of the intended church. candlesticks. 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." It is not to be supposed that such a man was permitted in apostolic times to pine away unheeded in solitary exile. Jesus explains to John that the “stars are the angels of the seven churches” (Revelation 1:20). For example, Stephen charged the Israelites with worshiping the host of heaven, which included “the star of your god Remphan” (Acts 7:42-43). [269:4]. 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." 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. There are, too, grounds for believing that these seven religious societies, in their varied character and prospects, are emblems of the Church universal. stars. 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. [264:2], In the foreground of this picture the Son of God stands conspicuous. 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. [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. But such explanations are very far from satisfactory. 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. "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches." 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. So the lampstands (or "candlesticks" in some translations) represent seven churches. In keeping with Bible terminology, “stars” and “angels” are … What, then, can these angels be? These considerations abundantly attest the futility of the imagination that the angel of the Church was a diocesan bishop. A few days ago, a reader emailed me asking about the angels in Revelation 2-3. Jesus walks among seven lampstands, and has seven stars in His hand. The angels or messengers of the seven churches are symbolized as seven. In the beginning of this book we have an account of a glorious vision presented to the beloved disciple. 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 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. "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). Are the “angels” of the churches in Revelation 1–3 real angels, or are they human messengers? 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. 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. Yea, they may forget, yet will not I forget thee. [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 right hand is a sign of strength and control. An angel literally signifies a messenger, and these angels were simply the messengers of the Seven Churches. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. He himself is the expositor of two of the most remarkable of the symbols. 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.

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