Revelation 1:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Revelation 1:16, NIV: "In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance."

Revelation 1:16, ESV: "In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength."

Revelation 1:16, KJV: "And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."

Revelation 1:16, NASB: "In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength."

Revelation 1:16, NLT: "He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance."

Revelation 1:16, CSB: "He had seven stars in his right hand; a sharp double-edged sword came from his mouth, and his face was shining like the sun at full strength."

What does Revelation 1:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse tells us John saw Jesus holding seven stars in His right hand, and verse 20 explains that the stars are the angels of the seven churches to which John was commanded to write. The stars or angels may be the chief elders of the seven churches, actual angelic beings, or whoever received and sent messages on behalf of the churches.

It is helpful to realize that the Greek word translated "angels" may also be translated "messengers." Even the Hebrew word for an angel, mal'ak, essentially means "a messenger." This is why it's possible that the reference here is to pastors or church members responsible for correspondence on behalf of their respective congregation, as well as "actual" angels.

What is especially noteworthy is the fact that Jesus holds the "angels" in His right hand. Although their work is challenging, the omnipotent Head of the church protects His servants. The fact that Jesus is holding the stars in His right hand may suggest that they belong to Him and are protected by Him. In His gospel, John quotes Jesus as affirming that no one is able to snatch His sheep—all believers—out of His hand (John 10:28).

John saw a sharp two-edged sword proceed from Jesus' mouth (Revelation 1:16). The two-edged sword refers to the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). The Romans used a two-edged sword to kill their enemies by stabbing. Jesus' Word condemns the wicked and assigns them to the second death (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:14).

John also saw Jesus' face. It shone like the sun at its brightest moment. John had witnessed a similar sight of this divine glory when Jesus was transfigured at the top of a high mountain (Matthew 17:1–2).