Angels of the Churches

In Rev. 1:20; 2:1,8,12,18; 3:1,7,14. the Seven Churches are said to have an 'angel.' These angels represent the Churches; what is said to them is said to the Churches [3:22; cf. 1:4]; things done by the Churches are said to be done by them. Various interpretations have been offered. They are said to be angels as in the rest of the book. The strongest arguments for this view are the writer's usage elsewhere, and the mention of Jezebel [2:20: 'thy wife' in some MSS], which is clearly symbolic. The difficulty is the sin ascribed to these angels, as in any case a good angel must, if this interpretation be taken, be meant; if so, the meaning must be that the angels bear the sins of the Churches as representing and guarding them. They are thought to be earthly representatives of the Churches. If this is symbolism, it would seem it is the personification of the characteristic spiritual tone and genius of each Church.