One passage in the Bible makes an unmistakeable reference to angels as “stars”. Here it is:
Revelation 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.
Meanwhile, other passages (see below) seem to be fairly clear references to angels called “heavenly host”, “host of heaven”, etc. Once it is acknowledged that in this present imagery, angels are spoken of in such ways, the question becomes just how many passages that speak of such things are really speaking of angels. While I do not believe that every mention of stars or the host is a mention of angels, it is quite likely that some of them that are traditionally taken as being about literal stars have been misunderstood. As in this cartoon about Revelation 6:3, it may well be obvious in some passages that literal stars are not in view.
This article aims to examine some of the “stars” passages that I believe may be references to angels. For now, however, I’ll simply be listing some of those passages, for later commentary. The reader who is more familiar with the New Testament than with the Old may wish to skip down the list below and begin with the New Testament passages. There, the word “stars” is used more
Angels as “Stars” and “Hosts”?
Note: This work is incomplete and will be finished soon.
Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.
Numbers 24:17 I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near:
a star shall come out of Jacob,
and a scepter shall rise out of Israel;
it shall crush the forehead of Moab
and break down all the sons of Sheth. (This is almost certainly not a literal reference to a star.)
Deuteronomy 4:19 And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage. (You have seen the literal sun and moon and stars many times. But how many times have you felt driven to worship them? Probably close to zero, right? This, along with other things mentioned herein, makes me believe that these passages are about beings, and not just the literal heavenly bodies mentioned.
On a separate note, are “the sun, the moon, and the stars” referred to altogether as “all the host of heaven”? It may well be. If this is the case, there is a physical facet to the sun and moon, but also somehow, a spiritual facet—perhaps as if an angel of some sort were in charge of each. If this is correct, it could explain the failures of the sun and moon as foretold elsewhere. See Isaiah 13:10 and other passages.)
Deuteronomy 17:2 “If there is found among you, within any of your gates which the Lord your God gives you, a man or a woman who has been wicked in the sight of the Lord your God, in transgressing His covenant, 3 who has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, either the sun or moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded, 4 and it is told you, and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination has been committed in Israel, (Note that the sun and moon may have been referred to as angels here, too.)
Judges 5:20 From heaven the stars fought, from their courses they fought against Sisera. (If this is literal language about actual stars, I would love to witness such a battle! Read the context of Judges 5, where you will find mention of angels, gods, and stars. You will even find a mention of battle that started over the choosing of “new gods” [vs. 8].)
1 Kings 22:19 Then Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. 20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ 22 The Lord said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the Lord said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’ 23 Therefore look! The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.”
2 Kings 17:6 So they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, made for themselves a molded image and two calves, made a wooden image and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.
2 Kings 21:3 For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; he raised up altars for Baal, and made a wooden image, as Ahab king of Israel had done; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them.
2 Kings 21:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. 3 For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; he raised up altars for Baal, and made a wooden image,[a] as Ahab king of Israel had done; and he worshiped all the host of heaven[b] and served them. 4 He also built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.” 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. 6 Also he made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.
2 Kings 23:4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, the priests of the second order, and the doorkeepers, to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the articles that were made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. 5 Then he removed the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense on the high places in the cities of Judah and in the places all around Jerusalem, and those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, to the moon, to the constellations, and to all the host of heaven. (Note how often Baal is included in these lists. In no place is Baal referred to as a heavenly body. This may indicate that the sun, moon, constellations, and host of heaven are not being referred to as such here, either.)
2 Chronicles 33:3 For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he raised up altars for the Baals, and made wooden images; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4 He also built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem shall My name be forever.” 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord.
Nehemiah 9:6 You alone are the Lord; You have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You.
Job 38:6 On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
7 when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (If these “morning stars” are angels, we can easily see this phrase alongside the one that follows regarding “sons of God” [another term for angels] shouting for joy. If it is not about angels, however, just how were literal stars said to have sung together?)
Psalm 8:3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beingsand crowned him with glory and honor. (This passage loses something if “stars” is taken literally, but if it is a reference to angels, it makes perfect sense, for man was said to have been made “a little lower” than the “heavenly beings”, and not than the “heavenly bodies”. The psalmist, therefore, had living beings in view, and not merely the actual moon and stars. )
Psalm 147:4 He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Psalm 148:Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!
3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars! (Does the psalmist really believe that the literal sun, moon, and stars could praise God as could the angels? Or is he rather referring to the stars, sun, and moon as angelic beings?)
Isaiah 34:4 All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; All their host shall fall down As the leaf falls from the vine, And as fruit falling from a fig tree. (A literal reading of this passage is part of the reason than many quickly assume that the destruction of the universe was in view when it was written. I believe this is a prophecy about the reorganization of things—a new order of things being instituted—part of the “new heavens and new earth” that was to come, and not a narrative about the annihilation of the heavens [or of the earth]. Compare this to the prophecy in Hebrews 2:5, wherein we see that in the age that was then yet to come, but has come since, the world was no longer to be subject to angels. This present passage foretells that change in the order of things.)
Jeremiah 8:2 They shall spread them before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and which they have served and after which they have walked, which they have sought and which they have worshiped. They shall not be gathered nor buried; they shall be like refuse on the face of the earth.
Jeremiah 19:13 And the houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah shall be defiled like the place of Tophet, because of all the houses on whose roofs they have burned incense to all the host of heaven, and poured out drink offerings to other gods.”’” (Note that this passage seems to imply that “all the host of heaven” were “gods”, since there were also “OTHER gods”.)
Jeremiah 33:22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.’”
Daniel 8:9 And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. 10 And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. 11 He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. (Revelation 6:13 mentions stars “falling to the earth”. I think they are both referencing the same event.)
Zephaniah 1:4“I will stretch out My hand against Judah,
And against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
I will cut off every trace of Baal from this place,
The names of the idolatrous priests[a] with the pagan priests—
5 Those who worship the host of heaven on the housetops;
Those who worship and swear oaths by the Lord,
But who also swear by Milcom;[b]
6 Those who have turned back from following the Lord,
And have not sought the Lord, nor inquired of Him.”
Luke 2:6 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Acts 7:42 Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets:‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Here the “spiritual hosts…in the heavenly places are explicitly referred to as powers, principalities, and rulers.)