messengers in the Bible

Hebrew: מֲלְאָךְ —transliteration: mal'ak -meaning: a messenger. This Hebrew word occurs 213 times in Scripture.

Greek: ἄγγελος —transliteration: angelos -meaning: a messenger or an angel. This Greek word appears 176 times in the New Testament and usually refers to heavenly angels. The context determines whether a human or heavenly messenger meant.

Different biblical meanings:

  1. a heavenly angel

  2. a messenger who runs on foot

  3. the bearer of dispatches (Job 1:14; 1 Samuel 11:7; 2 Chronicles 36:22)

  4. “…the seven stars are the angels [messengers] of the seven churches…” (Rev. 1:20 NASB excerpt)

    Here the word almost certainly refers to key church leaders (perhaps pastors or elders).

    The word [angelos] literally means “messenger.” Although it can mean angel—and does throughout the book [of Revelation]—it cannot refer to [heavenly] angels here because angels are never leaders in the church. Most likely, these messengers are the seven key elders representing each of those churches.” —Dr. John F. MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible

Article Version: March 4, 2021

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