Symbolic prophecy is where symbols are use to illustrate truth. Symbols or figures of speech are either explained in the context of what is written or they are understood through what has already been revealed in other parts of the Bible such as here with the seven stars.In John’s vision, Yeshua is holding in His right hand the seven stars (Revelation 2:1; 3:1), identified in verse 20 as the angels of the seven churches, which symbolize the pastors. Holding them in His right hand
speaks of His control over them. The Greek word used here is the common New Testament word for angels, leading some interpreters reasonably to conclude that angels are in view in this passage. But the New Testament nowhere teaches that angels are involved in the leadership of the church. Angels do not sin and thus have no need to repent, as the messengers, along with the congregations they represent, are exhorted to do (Revelation 2:4-5,14,20;3:1-3,15,17,19).
The word suggests instead “messengers,” as in Luke 7:24;9:52; and James 2:25. In these verses the Greek word used is the same word used for messenger in Revelation 1:16. Since Jesus is said to hold them in His right hand, they likely refer to the leading elders and pastors from each of the seven churches.
We come now to a section of prophecy that is highly symbolic, the two edged sword that comes from the mouth of Yeshua. Remember our rules that figures of speech are either explained in the context or are found elsewhere in the Bible. Does this figure of speech appear anywhere else?
The answer is clearly yes Revelation 2:12,16;19:15,21;2 Thessalonians 2:8;Isaiah 11:4;John 18:5-6;Hebrews 4:12-13, here we see that the Word of God is compared to a two edged sword. The Word of God having power is further seen throughout Scripture consider these verses Hebrews 11:3; Genesis 1 and the spoken Word of God in creation. So we see that the rules for interpreting Revelation holds quite nicely here. The sharp two-edged sword was used primarily to defend the church against external threats as in Revelation 19:15,21. But here it speaks of judgment against enemies from within the church as in Revelation 2:12,16; Acts 20:30; 2 Timothy 3:16.
In this verse we also have another symbol which is identified with the words “like”. The Lord’s face shining like the sun was the way John described the vision of the glorified Lord. The vision was not too dissimilar to the scene on the Mount of Transfiguration Matthew 17:2. Paul also saw something similar to this on the road to Damascus Acts 9:1-5.