Angels of the Seven Churches

The synagogue in Capernaum, where Jesus expressed his anger. (This is a 4th-century successor to the synagogue of Jesus' day.)

ANGELS OF THE SEVEN CHURCHES. The seven stars in John’s vision (Rev 1-3) were interpreted to him by the spiritual guest to mean seven angels. They were seen in the right hand of Jesus in the midst of the seven golden lampstands, or churches. The seven letters to the seven churches were addressed directly to the seven angels respectively. Consequently, the critical appraisal, censure and praise, as well as admonition, so identified the angels with the churches that the two were inseparable. Obviously they were spiritual guardians or superintendents, intimately related to the lives of the churches, directing their attitudes and acts, and to be held responsible for them. They were not bishops of presbyteries, but angels.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

It is evident from the contexts of the various Biblical passages in which the word "angel" appears, that the word does not always represent the same idea. In such passages as Da 12:1 and Ac 12:15 it would seem that the angel was generally regarded as a superhuman being whose duty it was to guard a nation or an individual, not unlike the jenei of the Arabs. However, in Mal 2:7, 3:1 (Hebrew) the word is clearly used to represent men. In the New Testament also, there are passages, such as Jas 2:25 (Greek), in which the word seems to be applied to men. The seven angels of the seven churches (Re 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. Or the angels may be regarded as the personifications of the churches.