In our study of Revelation chapter two, we look at God's letters to the early church and discuss their relevance to the church of today. We will see that the words that Jesus had for these churches is also for our groups of believers (churches) of today as well as for each of us individually.
"'To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands:'" NIV version
Jesus begins the letters to the early church with the one to the local body of believers at Ephesus.
John is told to address the letter to the "angel of the church in Ephesus". When we see this we automatically think of the angels as described throughout the Bible but it is talking about people instead of the angels in heaven. The word "angellos" means "messenger" and was used to describe human as well as heavenly message deliverers. Throughout the Bible, when we see angels relating to people, we do not see them delivering letters. Instead, they normally use visions and words directly from God as in the case of Mary, the shepherds, etc.
Then, the verse describes God to the messenger. As we saw at the end of chapter one, the seven stars represent the angels of the seven churches and the seven golden lampstands represent the local bodies of believers. It is also good to notice that the messengers are held in the "right hand" of God. This is significant in that the right hand of the master was reserved for the one that had the power and authority to act in the master's place. This verse is letting them know that God is among the churches and that he is in control. It would be well for the church of today to remember this as well.
"'I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.'" NIV version
In this verse, Jesus describes to John what God sees as he walks among the believers in Ephesus. This church is known as the apostolic church because they held on to the teachings of the apostles John and Paul. Even as they had false apostles coming in and trying to pull them away from the grace of God, they are remaining faithful and taking care of their people.