Revelation Chapter 1 Verse 20

 

Revelation Chapter 1 Verse 20

Revelation vol 1

Revelation 1:20  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 are the seven churches.

Question: What are the seven stars?

Question: What are the seven golden lampstands?

Do you remember the passage where John saw the Son of Man standing in the middle of lampstands holding seven stars? Let’s read it again. It’s a long passage so we’ll only read the lampstands and stars part.

Revelation 1:12  I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw SEVEN GOLDEN LAMPSTANDS… (16) In his right hand he held SEVEN STARS, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

The mystery of the seven lampstand and seven stars was revealed to John who then reveals this mystery to the churches.

The Greek word for “mystery” is musterion {moos-tay’-ree-on} and means a secret (1) hidden thing, secret, mystery (1.a) generally mysteries, religious secrets, confided only to the initiated and not to ordinary mortals.

We are not ordinary mortals because it’s now revealed to us.

Contextually here and in all the New Testament, the word means a secret to be revealed to us by God. So God, the Son of Man, revealed to John Himself what John concerning the lampstands and the stars.

The seven stars are revealed as the angels of the seven churches. The seven candlesticks are revealed as the seven churches. These mysteries are no longer a secret.

Don’t miss the seven churches have angels. As we will see, each church has its own angel. Also as we will see, it’s actually to these angels John writes. John addresses a letter to each angel at each church.

Have you ever written a letter to an angel?

Question: Why would John need to write to an angel if the letter was to a church? Or, why didn’t the Son of Man simply tell the angel Himself?

The thought of the angels of the seven churches is intended to explode various thoughts into our minds from the imagery. This explosion of images is exactly what apocalyptic literature does.

In the Scriptures angels are the messengers of God. Angels have two primary purposes. The number 1 purpose is to give a message from the Lord. The second is to protect God’s people. Both fit in what we see in the Revelation, but we will focus on an angel’s job as a messenger.

Angels always bring a message from God. Even the angel of the Lord (Christophany) always brings a message. The angel brought a message to Hagar (Gen 16:7-11; 21:17). The angel spoke to Abraham (Gen 22:11-15). To Jacob the angel spoke a message (Gen 31:11). The angel brought a message to Moses (Exo 3:2). The angel brought a message to disobedient Israel (Jud 2:1). The angel brought a message to Gibeon (Jud 6:11). The angel brought a message to Samson’s mother (Jug 13:3). An angel came to Elijah and gave him instructions (1Ki 19:5, 7; 2Ki 1:3, 15). David received instruction from the angel (1Ch 21:18). Zechariah heard the instructions of the angel (Zec 1:9). Another angel came to Zechariah (Zech 2:3). An angel came to Joseph three times with instructions (Mat 1:20; 2:13; 2:19). An angel came to the women at the tomb with instructions (Mat 28:5). Zechariah was given instructions by an angel (Luk 1:11). Mary was given instruction by an angel (Luk 1:26). The shepherds were visited by an angel (Luk 2:9). An angel came to Jesus (Luk 22:43). An angel appeared to the apostles and gave them instructions (Act 5:19). Philip received instruction from an angel (Act 8:26). Cornelius was given instruction by an angel (Act 10:3). An angel gave Peter instructions (Act 12:7). An angel appeared to Paul with instructions (Act 27:23). Of course, the entire Book of Revelation was given to John by an angel (Rev 1:1). All through the Revelation angels give instructions beginning with the seven churches.

It’s easy to see angels bring messages from the Lord. No one will dispute this fact. Here is an interesting Scripture we can add to the duties of an angel.

Hebrews 1:14  Are not all angels MINISTERING SPIRITS sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

Question: According to this Scripture, what are angels?

I want to look at the word “spirits” as in “ministering spirits” seen in this verse since this is what angels are. The word has 3 meanings or uses in the Scriptures. Here’s the Greek word study. I’ll show you the way it’s used and a Scripture.

The word “spirits” is the Greek word pneuma {pnyoo’-mah}. Here’s the first way it’s used.

(1) the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit, coequal, coeternal with the Father and the Son

Here is one Scripture where pneuma is used this way.

Matthew 1:18  This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the HOLY SPIRIT (pneuma).

Here’s the second use of the word pneuma (spirits) – (2) the spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated – (2.a) the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides (2.b) the soul possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting – the life spirit within man

Here are two Scriptures where pneuma is used in this context.

Matthew 5:3  “Blessed are the poor in SPIRIT (pneuma), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 26:41  “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The SPIRIT (pneuma) is willing, but the body is weak.”

Here is the third use of the same Greek word pneuma in the Scriptures – (3.c.1) used of demons, or evil spirits, who were conceived as inhabiting the bodies of men

Here is a Scripture where pneuma is used in this context.

Acts 19:15  One day the evil SPIRIT (pneuma) answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”

Question: Since “angels” are “ministering spirits,” which of the three uses for “spirits” (pneuma) would be used to mean an angel? Would it be a) Holy Spirit of the Trinity; b) the life spirit of a man/person; c) an evil spirit?

I don’t know about you, but to me it would be “b” the life spirit of a man/person. Angels are not the Holy Spirit. Angels are not evil spirits. Angels are ministering spirits (pheuma) sent to minister to those who inherit salvation. We know they are not invisible from all the previous Scripture references.  Are angels “spooky supernatural” like we mostly think? What does the next verse mean?

Hebrews 13:2  Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have ENTERTAINED ANGELS WITHOUT KNOWING IT.

Any thoughts? The truth is most likely we’ve encountered angels. We all need to get out of a mindset that angels are only what we think “heavenly beings.” They can look just like you or even me. They can be ministering people with a ministering spirit.

Let’s look at some ways the Scriptures teach about angels. They are the warring host of heaven (Luke 2:13; 1 Chr 12:2) created by Christ (Col 1:16). Are you and I a part of the army of God? Were you created by Christ?

They worship God (Heb 1:6). They are obedient (Psa 103:20). They are mighty (Psa 103:20). They are holy (holy meaning separated for God) (Mat 25:31). They are innumerable (Luk 2:13). Do any of these traits fit you? Do you involve yourself or people you know in any of these?

They are often the medium of revelation (medium meaning messengers) (2Ki 1:15). Angels are with Christ at His coming(s) (Mat 25:31).

The Strong’s Concordance definition of the Greek word “angel” is aggelos is messenger. Tracing it to its primary root ago, it means to lead; bring; drive; go; induce.

As we will see in chapters 2 and 3, each church has its own angel assigned to it. It is actually the angel of the church at… who the Son of man will address in the letter John sends them.

The entire book of Revelation is sent to the churches (1:4, 11), but a specific section – chapters 2 and 3 – is addressed to angels (2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). Let’s read these.

Revelation 2:1  “TO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN EPHESUS WRITE: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands:

Revelation 2:8  “TO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN SMYRNA WRITE: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.

Revelation 2:12  “TO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN PERGAMUM WRITE: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.

Revelation 2:18  “TO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN THYATIRA WRITE: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

Revelation 3:1  “TO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN SARDIS WRITE: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

Revelation 3:7  “TO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN PHILADELPHIA WRITE: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

Revelation 3:14  “TO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN LAODICEA WRITE: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.

Isn’t it interesting each and every church has its own angel? Have you ever thought about this? Every church should have an angel.

As we will see, what the Son of Man says to the angel is not always complimentary and edifying. Actually, each angel is rebuked or corrected except one.

Question: Let’s make this “To the angel of the church in…” practical. If the Son of Man wanted John to write a letter to Northstar Church to whom would John write/address the letter?

I don’t know what you answered, but my answer is Pastor Marty Martin and the leadership/eldership.

We will discuss these angels further when we enter chapters 2 and 3. For now, we will say it is likely each angel represents the church leader/overseer of the church. It is the church leader who is to hear the message from the Lord to the church, and deliver the message from the Lord to the people. It is also the church leader’s responsibility to protect the people to the best of his/her responsibility.

This thought will become more and more apparent how the angel is the ministry responsible for a local congregation. The angel is expected to correct the problems at each church. Remember, the primary definition for the angel is messenger, and second responsibility is protection.

As already noted, the seven golden candlesticks are the seven churches. It is in the midst of these seven churches John saw the Son of Man. It is through his church Jesus Christ the Son of man is revealed.

What is the mystery of the seven stars and seven golden lampstands? The seven stars are the angels/leaders of the churches. The lampstands are the churches where the Son of Man is central.

Revelation Chapter 1 Verse 20

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2 Comments

  1. Yes we did miss you Thursday.It is hard to just pick out one thing that is interesting. I have never dissected a chapter into that many pieces and that many related scriptures and meanings. It will take a long time but hopefully we will have a much better understanding as we study. It is avery complicated book.

  2. I found the study about angels very interesting and the use of the word spirit. I had read before that the angels of the churches were church leaders, but no one ever explained to me about the different types of ministering spirits. This blog is ok but I miss my small group.

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