(Rev. 2:1) Was this an angel or the pastor of the church?

CLAIM: John explains that Jesus was speaking “to the angel of the church…” (Rev. 2:1). The Greek word for angel is aggelos, which literally means “messenger.” Some commentators have argued that Jesus was actually speaking to the pastor or “messenger” of the church. Is this the case?

RESPONSE: This interpretation is certainly possible. The word aggelos is sometimes used of human messengers in the Bible (Mt. 11:10; Mk. 1:2; Lk. 7:24, 27; 9:52). Moreover, extra-biblical Greek typically uses this word to refer to human messengers—not angels.[1]

However, the book of Revelation typically uses the term to refer to spiritual angels—not human messengers. Angels are mentioned in every chapter of Revelation except chapters 4 and 13. Therefore, a more likely reading is that there are specific angels assigned to each church on Earth—just as there are angels guarding individual people (Mt. 18:10). In fact, the NT pictures angels as being witnesses of the events happening on Earth—specifically with the church (1 Cor. 4:9; 11:10; 1 Pet. 1:12).

[1] This is the view that Walvoord takes. Walvoord, John. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. JFW Publishing Trust. Chicago, IL. 1966. 53.