Using the OT to interpret Revelation helps us see some extraordinary truths about your church and my church. First, your church, if it is a true branch of the visible church, is protected and ministered to by the angels. That really should not surprise you, but it is something we often forget. The author of Hebrews calls angels “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14).
Note: This article is part of a series.
16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength…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.” (Revelation 1:16, 20, NKJ)
The book of Revelation has profound things to say about the church as it exists in individual congregations in the world as we await the return of Christ. As we have discussed in a previous article, the visions of the Revelation begin with a picture of the glorified Christ, walking in the midst of seven lampstands. Verse 20 tells us that the seven lampstands are the seven churches directly addressed in the letter. They represent all the churches of Christ throughout the entire time between His resurrection and Second Coming. The lampstand imagery reminds us that the church is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and that we are responsible to hold forth the light of the gospel to the world. The fact that Jesus walks in our midst makes all the difference to us as we face a hostile world and our own failures.
In this article we will look at another feature of this opening vision – namely that Jesus is pictured as holding seven stars in His right hand. We are told in verse 20 that the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. While it is not immediately obvious what this means, it seems significant given the fact that the subsequent addresses to the seven churches in chapters 2-3 are all directed to the “the angel of the church of…” (2:1, 2:8, 2:12, 2:18, 3:1, 3:7, 3:14). Who are these angels of the churches? Reformed commentators disagree. Some argue that, since the word translated “angel” can mean “messenger,” that perhaps the messengers in view are the pastors of the churches.