Revelation 1:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Revelation 1:20, NIV: The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Revelation 1:20, ESV: As for the mystery of the seven stars that 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, KJV: The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, 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.

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, NLT: 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 of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Revelation 1:20, CSB: The mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

What does Revelation 1:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In this verse Jesus explains the meaning of the seven stars and the seven golden lampstands. He says the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. Some students of Scripture identify these angels as heavenly beings who serve as guardians of the churches. It is argued that individual believers have guardian angels, so perhaps individual churches might also have guardian angels. But why would Jesus instruct John to send letters to heavenly beings? And how would those letters be delivered?

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." The messengers referred to here may have been pastors or church members who were responsible to handle correspondence on behalf of their respective church. 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 seven golden lampstands, Jesus states, are the seven churches. A lampstand is an appropriate symbol for a church, because a church's responsibility is to help enlighten its members regarding God's will and to shed the light of the gospel into a spiritually and morally dark world.