While astronomers have identified the stars in the sky as planets and suns in distant solar systems, the Bible often uses stars to symbolize angelic beings.
This is most evident in the book of Revelation, where John writes about his vision of “seven stars.”
This is the secret meaning of the seven stars you saw in my right hand, and of the seven gold lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.Revelation 1:20
Technically speaking, the word “angel” simply means “messenger,” and some scholars believe the “seven stars” are meant to represent the seven bishops of the seven churches.
While this is an accepted interpretation of the passage, the New Catholic Encyclopedia explains that, “The stars are said to symbolize the ‘angels’ of the churches; this is in keeping with the close relationship between stars and angels in ancient Semitic thought.“
For example, there is an interesting verse in the book of Job that recounts the creation of the world.
Where were you when I founded the earth?Job 38:4, 6-7
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Into what were its pedestals sunk,
and who laid its cornerstone,
While the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Theologian Fr. Pascal P. Parente notes in his book, The Angels that, “These ‘sons of God,’ living witnesses of the creation of the material universe, were our Angels, the morning stars of creation.“
The book of Revelation again returns to this idea of stars representing angels in the famous “battle” in Heaven.
[The dragon’s] tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth.Revelation 12:4
Many theologians interpret this to mean the angelic beings that followed Satan in the rebellion against God.
While modern science has proved that the stars are not angels, their presence in the Bible, and even in the sky, can remind us of the surrounding presence of angels in our everyday lives.