One of the biggest sorry comedy in ecclesiastical setting of our time is the funny claim that when Jesus spoke to John in the book of Revelations saying, “Unto the angel of the church of … write,” by saying angel, he referred to the church leaders, pastors, reverends, bishops, etc. But that surely is very laughable, but as laughable as it is, it is gaining grounds.
It is more laughable when we look at our church setting of today where church leadership is just another career. Universities pour out engineers, architects, medical doctors, pilots, etc. every year. Other institutions soldiers, athletes, etc. So also seminaries pour out church leaders year after year. And if this be our understanding of Jesus’ words, the seminaries pour out in large quantities, every year, new angels. Wow.
My simple remark to this claim is this, if Jesus referred to church leaders when he spoke of the seven angels, and seeing that going through the seminary is what makes our church leaders today, I want to know which seminary did Archangel Michael go through for that is the seminary I also want to go through so that I too can become an Archangel. I don’t want to be anything short of that.
As I was about writing this article, I decided to just do some findings so as to be more conversant with the claims and counterclaims of this argument, and the first title I saw added some more colour to the sarcasm of this claim. It read, “Are the “angels” of the churches in Revelation 1-3 real angels…?” The question is if Jesus referred to real angels, or probably fake ones. So we therefore know that we have an understanding of what an angel is. When someone says he saw an angel yesterday, like Cornelius, we understand what he’s trying to say. And we know he isn’t saying he saw just another fellow with a big Bible under his arm. Whether it were him, or John, or Christ, using the word, we know that they weren’t referring to humans in any capacity at all. So, are the “angels” of the churches in Revelation 1-3 real angels? Or are they fake angels? Angels of the seminarian origin?
Let us look at what Jesus is saying here. First of all before telling John to write, he says it very plainly, “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). So he calls it a mystery and his explanation was not exhaustive. It explains to us that each of THE seven churches have an angel. He didn’t say that the angels were the church leaders and there is no reason by the ensuing verses and chapters to conclude that he by any means insinuated that he referred to them. If we must understand it, we must understand it as a mystery and not by twisting words out of their meaning.
The letters that were written don’t have the style of a letter written to one person but to a congregation. Take for example, where it says, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison…” (Revelation 2:10). Were it written to one person, he wouldn’t say, “the devil shall cast some of you.” Also it also says, “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.” (Revelation 2:13). If it were to a man and not to church, I see not why he’d say “among you.” For a confirmation of this argument, at the end of each letter to the churches, he says, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches…” He spoke to the church as a congregation and not to a single person. Each of these churches have a real angel. Not ones fabricated in the seminary. This is a mystery.
The mystery about this is really great in the fact that he said, “THE seven churches,” and we know for sure that throughout the known world then there were far more than seven churches. If by the known world we refer to knowledge of man, for sure known to God are all the corners of the the world in every age and time, but he still says, “THE seven churches.” If he introduces himself to the church at Ephesus as “he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; (Revelation 2:1), the seven candle sticks meaning the angels of THE seven churches, then we know it is an eternal name or title of his. So even today, in a world of innumerible churches, he remains, “he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; (Revelation 2:1). Why? The Bible says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8). This is a mystery.
It would be best for us to accept mysteries as mysteries and understand it as such than to give heretical interpretation in an attempt to demystify it. Loads of the elements of the faith are being thrown overboard in an attempt to demystify the mysteries of the faith. Should I tell you a secret? The people who do this are the very same people who seek to appear amidst us as “angels.”
The damnable thing about this claim is the mind from which it originates. It is neither meek, humble, or God centred. It seeks to exalt the man made class we know as the clergy. A.W. Tozer said what I agree with completely, “you know a church is about to backslide when it begins to increase the status of their preachers.” So when this claim have been accepted over time, and people now see their leaders as angels, what would that leave the church with? These angels would teach any heresy they like and what are you mere men to object. The simple title “men of God” that they have usurped makes it so hard to oppose them even if they’re in great error. They needn’t even speak. It is those ignorant ones who would oppose you saying, “What, do you know he’s a man of God?” They have also successfully usurped the title of priests and with that they have, with unchallenged ease, spoiled the church the way a conqueror spoils the vanquished. These are not enough, they’re proceeding for yet another usurpation. They want to be known as angels. If this is the sorry state that such mild usurpation has brought us to, how much greater a dire state shall this grave usurpation drive the church into.
Lastly, these people don’t know the harm they’re doing to themselves. They wish to exalt themselves to a status of angelic beings forgeting that it is because they’re not seen as one that people can excuse their faults. I’m not one of those who think that pastors should be excused for even the slightest faults. I believe the church is too linient with their leaders. A liniency that is to a shameful extent. Many a times, when pastors commit one serious blunder, people could say, “well, you know they’re not angels. When we see them on pulpit we see them as if they were perfect but they’re not.” But they’re, by seeking to usurp the title of angels, taking away the very grounds of people’s liniency. But, sadly, I believe they’d still have a smooth ride if they successfully usurp the title of angels. By the way, when they proceed with their errors, the gullible people that we sometimes have around could still say, “yeah, they made this error or that, but who are we to judge God’s angels…”
But I wish you, the reader, would understand that Jesus did not by any means refer to church leaders as angels. Also know that they who propagate these heresy are doing so without a good motive. Be warned and don’t be deceived. May God deliver our souls from deceit (Psalms 74:14) in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Thank you and God bless you for making out time to read.
Artwork for cover image design gotten from www.pixabat.com