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Other bible versions translate “aggelos” as “messenger” and most would agree that they referred to the pastors or leaders of the church. Since they were the ones leading the churches in spiritual growth, it was therefore fitting for them to represent the churches in receiving these letters. They would then be responsible to convey the messages to the congregations. Such an interpretation is conservative and consistent with the teaching in the bible, it would also eliminate the ill effects of translating it as angel. But on the other hand, these messengers – the church pastors and leaders, had now become the “seven stars” held in the Lord’s right hand. By this, they assumed important status and even became the glory of the Lord. Though this interpretation may prevent us from worshiping angels, we may soon find ourselves on the road to idolizing these church leaders.

Although there are positive aspects with the use of either “angel” or “messenger,” there are some drawbacks which indicate that both “angel” and “messenger” are still not the accurate translations of its meaning in original Greek text.

To be able to know the true identity of the recipient, we should go back to the Old Testament and study the significance of the earthly lampstand. It will shed light on what the heavenly lampstand symbolizes and therefore help the understanding of angels or messengers in the book of Revelation.

One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all. The buds and branches shall all be of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold. Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it. ~Ex25:35-37

Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning. ~Ex27:20

In Revelation, there were seven heavenly lampstands being mentioned. In the Old Testament, the seven earthly lampstands gave off light using olive oil; whereas in Revelation, the light came from the brilliance of the seven stars. Each lampstand gave off light from its own individual star, therefore, the brilliance of the seven lampstands came from the radiance emitted from the seven stars. The earthly lampstand gave off earthly light lit with olive oil while the heavenly lampstand gave off heavenly light radiating from a heavenly star. We need to ascertain that these seven stars were the light source of the seven lampstands and they were not two independent entities; for the Lord said “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”

Now, with the help of the Old Testament scriptures and Jesus’ own explanation, we are able to know the true identity of the recipients of the seven letters.