Q. Please comment as to who the “angel” is in Revelation 2:1.

A. Revelation 2 and 3 include messages the Lord gave to the seven churches of Asia in existence when the apostle John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote the last book of the Bible. At the beginning of each message, we find the word “angel” (2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). Who is referred to in these messages? Bible scholars have differed over this question, due to the word for “angel” (aggelos). This word can refer to heavenly messengers, and it usually does; or it can refer to human messengers. In fact, “messenger” is the basic meaning of the word. Strong’s Concordance notes that it can mean “messenger” or, by implication, “pastor.”

Bible teachers who believe these references to angels apply to heavenly messengers point out that the word “angel” is used at least 65 times in the book of Revelation. They argue for the idea that the word, therefore, always refers to heavenly messengers.

Those who take the opposite view believe that the context of “angel” in these verses means that the word refers to human messengers in those churches. In other words, nothing in Scripture teaches that there is such a thing as “local church guardian heavenly angels.” This view holds that each of those churches had a human who would share with his congregation the message Christ had for them. They would have had contact with John and would have returned to their respective churches with God’s message. Some believe that these messengers were the pastors of the local churches. Others believe that the messengers could even have been other delegated representatives of the congregation.

Aggelos” in Matthew 11:10 refers to a human messenger (John the Baptist). This use, plus the context of Revelation 2:1, would seem to give the second view the edge.

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send your Bible questions to nolson@garbc.org, or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.