“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
“And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Rev. 1:16).
The description of Jesus Christ continues in the same vein. Here we learn three more things about Him—that Jesus holds seven stars in His right hand, and that a sharp two-edged sword comes out of His mouth, and that His face was shining like the sun in its full strength.
The messengers of the churches, their angels, are described under the figure of stars in the Lord’s right hand. The image is one of the Lord’s presence with those churches—the lampstands are the churches and the stars are therefore their pastors (v. 20). If the “angels” were heavenly emissaries, this would be an odd way to describe them. The entire scenario portrays the Lord’s identification with the churches, and in case, with their pastors. The pastors are stars, and this is said to be a “mystery.” It sure is.
This ties in with the next description. The word angel simply means “messenger.” It is used (of course) of heavenly messengers, but it is also a word that describes human messengers. For example, John the Baptist is said to be an angel (Mark 1:2), and these angels are also men assigned to the churches. But as messengers, they do not have the authority to come up with their own messages. They do not speak on their own authority. They are heralds, men commissioned to announce what someone else has told them to say.
And this is how they are pictured here. Jesus is the one speaking. When Christ speaks to the churches, the double-edge sword comes out of His mouth, and His ministers are held in His right hand as He preaches. This is what gospel authority means. Jesus speaks the Word while He holds the men speaking it. A few verses later, the pastor at Pergamos is told that this is where his authority lies—“to the angel of the church in Pergamos write: These things saith he which hat the sharp sword with two edges” (Rev. 2:12).
Later in Revelation the two-edged sword (representing preaching) is associated with the rod of iron which Christ will use to rule the nations (Rev. 19:15). This rod of iron is prophesied in Psalm 2:9 and the Lord wields it through His servants (Rev. 2:26-27), but the Lord Himself is the one who holds it (Rev. 12:5).
The Bridal City is described later as having no need for a sun because her Bridegroom is that sun (Rev. 21:23; 22:5). That reality as later described is foreshadowed here.