John would have understood almost everything that he saw in chapter 1 by reference to other Bible books. However, he would not have understood the 7 stars or the 7 lampstands (objects that held a burning oil lamp), so Christ explained it.
The 7 lampstands meant the 7 churches in verse 11; the 7 stars meant their angels. One angel had responsibility for each of those churches, as chapters 2 and 3 show us.
Usually by Ďangelsí we mean Godís special servants, whom he sends to help his people (Hebrews 1:14). That could be the meaning here too, but other meanings are more likely. That is because we would not expect God to give a message to a man (John) for an angel.
In the original Greek language, the word for angel really means a person whom someone has sent. Usually, that personís job is to take a message. The word appears in the original Greek Bible with those meanings in Matthew 11:10 and James 2:25. The first Christians used the same word for angels because, of course, angels bring messages from God.
So, here and in chapters 2 and 3, the word could mean the people who took Johnís book to the 7 churches. It could mean the leaders of those churches.
If the word means the church leader, that is a very serious thought. God considers the church leader responsible for what happens in his church (James 3:1). By means of words, actions and prayer, the leader must constantly help the members to serve God properly. Christ sees and knows what is happening in his churches.
Next part: Christís letter to Ephesus (Revelation 2:1)
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© 2016, Keith Simons.