I believe I am following the logic of your explanation on if the angels to the churches are heavenly or earthly, your final point being that they are members of the heavenly host acting as some sort of surrogate. What I do not understand is why John is writing to them. The typical role of angels in the NT seems to be as delivering messages from God to humans on earth. Why are these angels of the seven churches not delivering these messages themselves, since that seems to be their most common description in the NT? Would that not make John a messenger to the messengers? How are these letters to be delivered to the angels? And since the text makes clear the message is intended for the churches, how are thee letters to the angels to reach the target audience of the churches? It makes more sense, to me that these angels are humans that can pass the message on that John had delivered to them. They may not have been leaders at all, but simply acting as couriers delivering a letter, much as Phoebe delivered a letter to Rome from Paul, yet had no obvious connection with the Romans. I am not a scholar, so I am asking you to critique my thought process. Is this a reasonable explanation?
- I've not been a part of this discussion, so I might be entering it without understanding what Mike said previously, but Frank . . . I've always understood that when the Greek word has several meanings, you choose the one that makes the most sense in the context. Since John is to deliver a message to the angeloi of the seven churches, one choice other than "angels" is "messengers." And these could specifically be the prophets of the seven churches since in Lk. 7.26-27 calls the prophet a messenger of Yahweh. In the context could not the messengers be those elders/brothers who share the word with the congregations? [e.g NT prophets or pastor-teachers?] It makes no sense in the context to believe that John expected "angels" to preach to the churches when the Five-Fold offices--human messengers--had already been given that assignment. Is there any other place where angels address local congregations in Scripture, history, or current practice? If not, are there prophets--across both testaments and in both Israel and the church--who had this calling?
- Good question.