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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Angels of Churches

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(Bishops). It does not appear that the bishops of the primitive Church were commonly spoken of under this title; nor, indeed, did it become the ordinary designation of the episcopal office. Instances, however, of this application of it occur in the early Church historians, as, e.g. in Socrates (lib. 4, c. 23), who so styles Serapion, bishop of Thomais.

By Presbyterian writers the angel of the vision has been variously interpreted: 1. Of the collective presbytery; 2. Of the presiding presbyter, which office, however, it is contended, was soon to be discontinued in the Church, because of its foreseen corruption; 3. Of the messengers sent from the several churches to St. John.

On the other hand, as St. John is believed on other grounds to have been pre-eminently the organizer of episcopacy throughout the Church, so here in this wonderful vision the holy apostle comes before us very remarkably in this special character; and in the message which he delivers, under divine direction, to each of the seven churches through its angel, many recognise a most important confirmation of the evidence on which they claim for episcopal government the precedent, sanction, and authority of the apostolic age.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Angels of Churches'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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