revelation 1:20 meaning

1:20 Write first the mystery - The mysterious meaning of the seven stars - St. John knew better than we do, in how many respects these stars were a proper emblem of those angels: how nearly they resembled each other, and how far they differed in magnitude, brightness, aa& other circumstances. What does it mean that Jesus is the alpha and the omega? Let us listen to the voice of Christ, and receive the tokens of his love, for what can he withhold from those for whose sins he has died? The number seven is a number used to signify perfection. By angels he means God’s messengers and ambassadors to the seven churches, called angels, both in respect of their office, being the ambassadors of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:20, and of that holiness which they should show forth in their doctrine and life. The expression in Revelation 1:16 is, that they were "in (ἐν en) his right hand"; but the language used here is not decisive as to the position of the stars. Here it may be observed, that the ministers of the Gospel are not only compared to "stars", for which see Gill on Revelation 1:16; but likewise to "angels", which signifies "messengers", as ministers are sent forth by Christ with the message of the Gospel to publish to the sons of men; and as the angels are Christ's ministering spirits, so are the preachers of the Gospel the ministers of Christ, that wait upon him and serve him in the ministry of the word, and in the administration of ordinances; and there is some agreement between them in holiness, knowledge, zeal, diligence, and watchfulness, in their work; as also they may be so called for the honour and esteem in which they are, both with Christ and his churches; and who like the angels rejoice at the conversion of sinners, and the enlargement of the interest of Christ: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches; represent the seven churches, of Asia, and in them all the churches of Christ, in successive ages, to the end of time; the reasons why these are signified by "candlesticks"; see Gill on Revelation 1:12; and that they are prophetic of the churches of Christ in the several periods of time, until he comes again, will appear from the following considerations: the whole book is called a prophecy, and a revelation of things that were shortly to come to pass, and it would be very strange, and very unsuitable to its title, should the three first chapters contain nothing prophetic in them; the characters of the divine Person under which these seven churches are saluted, as he which is, and was, and is to come, the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, show that the things written to them belong to the Gospel church state, from the beginning to the end of it, for what other reason can be given for such a peculiar use of them? Revelation 1:1-20 1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. of The word "angel" properly means a messenger, and is thus applied to celestial beings as messengers sent forth from God to convey or to do his will. His eyes as a flame of fire, may represent his knowledge of the secrets of all hearts, and of the most distant events. This is a picture of Christ watching over and guiding His Church, and ministering as High Priest in the heavenly Sanctuary. But in Revelation 1:20, they are explicitly distinguished from the golden candlesticks, the churches. Then, if a human angel be meant (as the Old Testament analogy favors, Hag 1:13, "the Lord's Messenger in the Lord's message"; Mal 2:7; 3:1), the bishop, or superintendent pastor, must be the angel. For whereas there were many presbyters in each of the larger churches (as for example, Ephesus, Smyrna, &c.), there was but one angel, whom, moreover, the Chief Shepherd and Bishop of souls holds responsible for the spiritual state of the Church under him. That is what happens if you read the entire Bible and fail to read the book of Revelation. Revelation 1:20 New Living Translation (NLT) 20 This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels[ a] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. What does it mean to have left your first love (Revelation 2:4)? By the church of Smyrna, the state of all Christian churches till the year 300. It is urged that, if an individual may have a guardian angel, so may a Church. He was clothed with a robe down to the feet, perhaps representing his righteousness and priesthood, as Mediator. What are the keys of death (Revelation 1:18)? the very grand and illustrious appearance of Christ, antecedent to these epistles, when compared with the appearance of God, previous to the opening of the sealed book, and the seven seals of it, may induce one to conclude, that as the latter introduces the book prophecy in this revelation, so the former introduces the church prophecy; nor does it seem that such a magnificent appearance is necessary to the bare sending of some letters of advice to some particular churches: moreover, as there are some things in these epistles too common to all the churches and ministers to be restrained to some particular ones, such as Christ's affording his presence among them, signified by his walking amidst the candlesticks, and his care of, and respect unto the ministers of the Gospel, expressed by holding seven stars in his right hand; for can it be thought that Christ only granted his presence to the seven churches in Asia? "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven!". (b) The word is used of the ministry collectively; the whole board of officers, including both presbyters and deacons, who represented and were responsible for the moral condition of the churches. (b) There is no evidence that there were any such groups of churches then as constitute an episcopal diocese. Copyright © 2020, Bible Study Tools. or that the pastors of those churches were the only ones Christ holds in his right hand? By the church of Pergamos, all the Christian churches till antichrist got up into the saddle, and the Albigenses and Waldenses were so persecuted. Compare Revelation 2:1, Revelation 2:8,Revelation 2:12, Revelation 2:18; see also similar language in regard to the church in Corinth, 1 Corinthians 1:2; in Antioch, Acts 13:1; at Laodicea, Colossians 4:16; and at Ephesus, Acts 20:28.continued...Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary20. 3. By the church of Thyatira, the state of the churches from that time till our Reformation. May we then obey his word, and give up ourselves wholly to him who directs all things aright.Barnes' Notes on the BibleThe mystery of the seven stars - On the word "mystery," see notes on Ephesians 1:9. The mystery of the seven stars, and the seven golden candlesticks: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches; And the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches; τὸ μυστήριον τῶν ἑπτὰ ἀστέρων, Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers. The seven stars are - That is, they represent, or they denote - in accordance with a common usage in the Scriptures. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw--that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Mystery signifies the hidden truth, veiled under this symbol, and now revealed; its correlative is revelation. The clothing Jesus is wearing here is the attire of a high priest. (c) The use of the word "church" in the singular, as applied to Ephesus, Smyrna, etc., rather implies that there was but a single church in each of those cities. the very grand and illustrious appearance of Christ, antecedent to these epistles, when compared with the appearance of God, previous to the opening of the sealed book, and the seven seals of it, may induce one to conclude, that as the latter introduces the book prophecy in this revelation, so the former introduces the church prophecy; nor does it seem that such a magnificent appearance is necessary to the bare sending of some letters of advice to some particular churches: moreover, as there are some things in these epistles too common to all the churches and ministers to be restrained to some particular ones, such as Christ's affording his presence among them, signified by his walking amidst the candlesticks, and his care of, and respect unto the ministers of the Gospel, expressed by holding seven stars in his right hand; for can it be thought that Christ only granted his presence to the seven churches in Asia? Depending in construction upon the verb write, and in apposition with the things which thou sawest. the very grand and illustrious appearance of Christ, antecedent to these epistles, when compared with the appearance of God, previous to the opening of the sealed book, and the seven seals of it, may induce one to conclude, that as the latter introduces the book prophecy in this revelation, so the former introduces the church prophecy; nor does it seem that such a magnificent appearance is necessary to the bare sending of some letters of advice to some particular churches: moreover, as there are some things in these epistles too common to all the churches and ministers to be restrained to some particular ones, such as Christ's affording his presence among them, signified by his walking amidst the candlesticks, and his care of, and respect unto the ministers of the Gospel, expressed by holding seven stars in his right hand; for can it be thought that Christ only granted his presence to the seven churches in Asia? KING JAMES VERSION (KJV) TRANSLATION, MEANING, CONTEXT. It is the first day of the week, Sunday, which John calls the Lord’s day and John is seeing a vision. The meaning here, as applied to the seven stars, is, that they were symbols, and that their meaning as symbols, without a suitable explanation, would remain hidden or unknown. (4-8) Declares when, where, and how, the revelation was made to him. This being the common meaning of the word, it may be employed to denote anyone who is a messenger, and hence, with propriety, anyone who is employed to communicate the will of another; to transact his business, or, more remotely, to act in his place - to be a representative. They may have been held in some way by the hand, or represented as scattered on the open hand,The seven golden candlesticks - The truth which these emblematic representations are designed to convey.The seven stars are - That is, they represent, or they denote - in accordance with a common usage in the Scriptures. Lack of scriptural evidence for the personification of congregations of believers. ... Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – seemingly alone – recognize the meaning behind paying homage to Nebuchadnezzar’s statue and are thrown into the fiery furnace. Wesley's Notes for Revelation 1:20. This is urged on the ground that the word is constantly used in Revelation of a heavenly being; by reference to the angels of the little ones (Matthew 18:10), and to Peter's angel (Acts 12:15). Second, the angels, represented symbolically in Revelation 1:20 as seven stars in the hands of the glorified Christ, are distinct from the seven lampstands which represent the churches. REVELATION 1:20. Even then, our study will be more “high altitude” than super-detailed. The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The rulers ard teachers of the congregation. These were mere clerks or readers; so that their position does not answer to that of the angels presiding over the churches. And the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches; the seven churches mentioned Revelation 1:11: or else, seven being the number of perfection, all the churches, which are fitly represented by candlesticks, in the same sense as they are called pillars of truth in Paul’s Epistle to Timothy, because they have not the light they show from themselves, only hold it forth from Christ. It was for the churches, but was committed to the "angel" as representing the church, and to be communicated to the church under his care. and besides, this concluding sentence shows, that what is contained in each epistle is something intricate, abstruse, and parabolical, it being only used when some such thing is delivered; see Matthew 11:15. (3) it cannot be proved that the reference is to a prelatical bishop presiding over a group or circle of churches, called a diocese; for: (a) There is nothing in the word "angel," as used in this connection, which would be especially applicable to such a personage - it being as applicable to a pastor of a single church, as to a bishop of many churches. The following are the principal interpretations: 1. He is with his churches always, to the end of the world, filling them with light, and life, and love. (c) The use of the word "church" in the singular, as applied to Ephesus, Smyrna, etc., rather implies that there was but a single church in each of those cities. Certain it is, aggelov signifieth no more than is common to all ministers, viz. Which thou sawest in my right hand - Greek, "upon my right hand" - ἐπὶ τῆς δεξιᾶς μου epi tēs dexias mou: giving some support to the opinion that the stars, as they were seen, appeared to be placed on his hand - that is, on the palm of his hand as he stretched it out. John hears a loud … The mentioning the same number of churches and ministers, as of the seals, speaks this part of the Revelation as comprehensive, with respect to time, as the other. These are compared by Daniel (Daniel 12:3) to stars. And the apostle saw as though of the Lord Jesus Christ appeared in the midst of the golden candlesticks. James R. Davis. Godhead indicates divinity or nature, and a modern translation will translate it that way, usually as "nature"—the nature of God.The word itself in the Greek means "that which is divine," and divine in English means "relating to God," or in this context, His nature.. Mystery signifies the hidden truth, veiled under this symbol, and now revealed; its correlative is revelation. Article Images Copyright © 2020 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. 1 (4) John, addressing the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before his throne, (5) and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. angels—not as Alford, from Origen [Homily 13 on Luke, and Homily 20 on Numbers], the guardian angels of the churches, just as individuals have their guardian angels. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it … 191-199, London edition). And his Divine nature; the First and the Last. There is one observation more to be made, and which runs through all the epistles, and that is, that the names of the several churches, and the titles which Christ assumes in writing to each, as well as the subject matter of the epistles, have respect to the several distinct periods of the church; all which will more clearly appear in the following notes upon them, (w) Contra Haeres. l. 2. New International Version. The term angel, designating an office, is, in accordance with the enigmatic symbolism of this book, transferred from the heavenly to the earthly superior ministers of Jehovah; reminding them that, like the heavenly angels above, they below should fulfil God's mission zealously, promptly and efficiently. They may have been held in some way by the hand, or represented as scattered on the open hand. There is, besides, no trace of the transfer of that office to the Christian Church. Symbols of pre-eminence and authority. (14) That is, the thing which was mystical signified by the particulars of the vision before going. His calling ministers angels, speaks this a prophecy, for that is a prophetical style. To get what Revelation 1:20 means based on its source text, scroll down or follow these links for the original scriptural meaning , biblical context and relative popularity. 3. When disclosed, it may be as clear, and as capable of comprehension, as any other truth. California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. For how could heavenly angels be charged with the delinquencies laid here to the charge of these angels? Revelation 1:1-20. 2. The term angel, designating an office, is, in accordance with the enigmatic symbolism of this book, transferred from the heavenly to the earthly superior ministers of Jehovah; reminding them that, like the heavenly angels above, they below should fulfil God's mission zealously, promptly and efficiently. Words of instruction; telling who thus appeared. That by the church of Ephesus, was represented the purest state of all the Christian churches, which determined thirty years before this book was written. But why should the seer be instructed to write to heavenly messengers, with exhortations to repentance and fidelity, and describing them as "rich," "poor," "lukewarm," etc. This vest was girt with a golden girdle, which may denote how precious are his love and affection for his people. It is evidently implied that the meaning of these symbols would be beyond the ordinary powers of the human mind to arrive at with certainty, and hence John was directed to explain the symbol. (14) That is, the thing which was mystical signified by the particulars of the vision before going. He doth not call them the seven churches of Asia, but seven churches. And Daniel must either obey the king’s edict regarding prayer or be thrown into the lion’s den. See also Haggai 1:13. The officials known as angels or messengers of the synagogue, transferred to the Christian Church. See Malachi 2:7, where the priest is called the messenger (angel) of the Lord; and Malachi 3:1, where the same word is used of the prophet. So you hang in limbo as to how the book ends. See Dr. More, Mr. Mede, Cocceius, and Forbes, as learned and diligent inquirers into the sense of this book as any have been, who give many reasons for this: 1. (2) it cannot be shown to mean, as Lord (in loco) supposes, messengers that the churches had sent to John, and that these letters were given to them to be returned by them to the churches; for:(a) there is no evidence that any such messenger had been sent to John;(b) there is no probability that while he was a banished exile in Patmos such a thing would be permitted;(c) the message was not sent by them, it was sent to them "Unto the angel of the church in Ephesus write," etc. Romans 1:18-20. The seven golden candlesticks - The truth which these emblematic representations are designed to convey. The Lord Jesus spake words of comfort; Fear not. But it is the opinion of very learned writers upon this book, that our Lord, by these seven churches, signifies all the churches of Christ to the end of the world; and by what he saith to them, designs to show what shall be the state of the churches in all ages, and what their duty is. (l) By angels he means the ministers of the Church. What is said of Christ’s walking in the midst of the golden candlesticks, having the stars in his right hand, &c., agreeth to him with reference to all churches, not to these seven only. The word means, properly, "what is hidden, obscure, unknown" - until it is disclosed by one having the ability to do it, or by the course of events. The angels, accordingly, if we are to understand by them single individuals, must be considered as forming the transition from the presbyters of the apostolic age to the Bishops of the second century" ("History of the Apostolic Church"). The first thing every reader should take note of is, this is a revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants. Revelation 1:20. that is, the seven stars which John saw in Christ's right hand, represent the angels, or pastors of the seven churches of Asia, and in them all the pastors and ministers of the churches in all the periods of time until Christ's second coming. so there are others too particular to certain periods to belong to those churches, as that Smyrna should have a crown of life, Pergamos hidden manna and a white stone, Thyatira the morning star, and Philadelphia be delivered from a temptation that would reach all the world, and is not yet come; for which no reason can be given in the literal sense of these epistles; and it is strange that only seven churches should be sent to, and these only in Asia; why not to the churches in Africa and Europe? If … It is the final and most powerful warning given to the world. By the advocates of Episcopacy, it has been argued that the use of this term proves that there was a presiding bishop over a circle or group of churches in Ephesus, in Smyrna, etc., since it is said that it cannot be supposed that there was but a single church in a city so large as Ephesus, or in the other cities mentioned. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches; that is, they signify the angels of the seven churches. Christ speaks to the churches both in the singular and plural. What does it mean that Jesus will come in the clouds (Revelation 1:7)? ­ The revelation - singular, not plural "revelations." They are golden candlesticks; they should be precious and pure; not only the ministers, but the members of the churches; their light should so shine before men, as to engage others to give glory to God. His voice as the sound of many waters, may represent the power of his word, to remove or to destroy. The sword represented his justice, and his word, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, Heb 4:12. (2) it cannot be shown to mean, as Lord (in loco) supposes, messengers that the churches had sent to John, and that these letters were given to them to be returned by them to the churches; for: (a) there is no evidence that any such messenger had been sent to John; (b) there is no probability that while he was a banished exile in Patmos such a thing would be permitted; (c) the message was not sent by them, it was sent to them "Unto the angel of the church in Ephesus write," etc. This raises the question of the existence of episcopacy towards the close of the first century. Haeres. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary1:12-20 The churches receive their light from Christ and the gospel, and hold it forth to others. (Revelation 2:4; Revelation 3:1, Revelation 3:16)? The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand The sense is, that John was to write the mystery of these stars, or the mystical sense of them: and the seven golden candlesticks; the mystery, or mysterious sense of them also; for the words are in a continued connection with ( Revelation 1:19 ) , and have respect to the following interpretation of them, and to the epistles in the following chapter, which are mystical, and prophetical of the state of the churches in all succeeding ages: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches; that is, the seven stars which John saw in Christ's right hand, represent the angels, or pastors of the seven churches of Asia, and in them all the pastors and ministers of the churches in all the periods of time until Christ's second coming. Revelation 1:20 This is the mystery of the seven stars you saw in My right hand and of the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and … or that the pastors of those churches were the only ones Christ holds in his right hand? Matthew Poole's Commentary The mystery of the seven stars, and the seven golden candlesticks: see Revelation 1:12,16. and these churches also, all but Ephesus, very obscure ones; why not to the churches at Antioch, Corinth, Rome, &c. and it is stranger still, if, as Epiphanius says (w), there was no church at Thyatira till after the writing of these letters: nothing can account for all this but their being prophetic, there being something in the number, names, situation, and case of these churches, which were emblematical of the state of the church in successive periods of time; to which may be added, that the epiphonema at the close of every epistle, "he that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches", shows that each epistle to every church is not designed for that church only, but for churches; and for what churches but for those who are represented in that period of time, since they must be unsuitable to one another? and besides, this concluding sentence shows, that what is contained in each epistle is something intricate, abstruse, and parabolical, it being only used when some such thing is delivered; see ( Matthew 11:15 ) ( Matthew 13:9 Matthew 13:43 ) . We'll send you an email with steps on how to reset your password. and besides, this concluding sentence shows, that what is contained in each epistle is something intricate, abstruse, and parabolical, it being only used when some such thing is delivered; see Matthew 11:15. Seeing Jesus (Revelation 1:12-20) John tells his audience that he is on Patmos, suffering for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. The apostle was overpowered with the greatness of the lustre and glory in which Christ appeared. This does not refer to them as a collective or associated body, for the addresses are made to them as individuals - an epistle being directed to "the angel" of each particular church, Revelation 2:1, Revelation 2:12, etc. Salem Media Group. Revelation 1:20, NASB: "'As for 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 are the seven churches." Revelation 1:20 . Before actually beginning the exposition of the message to Ephesus, it would be helpful to consider a few of the distinctive and common features that can be observed in each of the messages to the churches of Asia Minor as we find them in Revelation 2and 3. Whether the term angel denoteth any particular superior minister or bishop in those churches, or is to be taken collectively for all the ministers in those churches, I shall not dispute. 6. Who are the Nicolaitans mentioned in Revelation 2:6, 14-15? It is not probable that these epistles would have been ushered in with such a vision, if they had been merely historical and didactic, not prophetical also. Compare Isaiah 14:12. The general and obvious truths which they would serve to convey would be that the ministers of the churches, and the churches themselves, were designed to be lights in the world, and should burn clearly and steadily. 1. "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven!" The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. To interpret the term of angels by nature, seems not agreeable to what we shall hereafter meet with said to some of them; Christ would never have ordered John to have charged them with a loss of their first love, or to admonish them to be faithful unto death, or to repent. It was for the churches, but was committed to the "angel" as representing the church, and to be communicated to the church under his care. (9-11) His vision, in which he saw Christ appear. The evident meaning, however, is, that what was recorded should be directed to them, not as pertaining to them exclusively as individuals, but as presiding over or representing the churches, for what is recorded pertains to the churches, and was evidently designed to be laid before them. (b) There is no evidence that there were any such groups of churches then as constitute an episcopal diocese. The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest. The angels are a personification of the churches themselves: the Church being spoken of as if concentrated in its angel or messenger. and these churches also, all but Ephesus, very obscure ones; why not to the churches at Antioch, Corinth, Rome, &c. and it is stranger still, if, as Epiphanius says (w), there was no church at Thyatira till after the writing of these letters: nothing can account for all this but their being prophetic, there being something in the number, names, situation, and case of these churches, which were emblematical of the state of the church in successive periods of time; to which may be added, that the epiphonema at the close of every epistle, "he that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches", shows that each epistle to every church is not designed for that church only, but for churches; and for what churches but for those who are represented in that period of time, since they must be unsuitable to one another? KJ21. There has been much diversity of opinion in regard to the meaning of the word "angels" here. (l) By angels he means the ministers of the Church. In order to ascertain the meaning of the word as used in this place, and in reference to these churches, it may be remarked:(1) That it cannot mean literally an angel, as referring to a heavenly being, for no one can suppose that such a being presided over these churches. The angels of the seven churches - Greek, "Angels of the seven churches:" the article being missing. (a) The angels are Bishops; the word ἄγγελος sometimes occurring in that sense (as in Jerome and Socrates). Angels proper Heavenly guardians of the churches. (12-20) Commentary on Revelation 1:1-3 (Read Revelation 1:1-3) This book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ; the whole Bible is so; for all revelation comes through Christ, and all relates to … There is one observation more to be made, and which runs through all the epistles, and that is, that the names of the several churches, and the titles which Christ assumes in writing to each, as well as the subject matter of the epistles, have respect to the several distinct periods of the church; all which will more clearly appear in the following notes upon them. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

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