“When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lamp stands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp stands are the seven churches.” Revelation 1:12-20 NLT
There is so much wrapped up in this scripture. There is too much here to comprehensively study in a text message. I'll do my best, in short, to identify each of the specifics and try to explain and apply them. The first thing we need to see here is Jesus. He is the One who spoke to John as he was worshiping (see Revelation 1:9-11). As John turned to see the person who spoke to him, he saw a glorified, magnificent, and awesome vision of Jesus Christ. He was wearing a long robe, perhaps an Ephod (robe of the Old Testament High Priest - see Exodus 28, 29, 39, and Leviticus 8). Jesus is our Eternal High Priest!!! A sash of gold was over His shoulders. This could, very well, signify His royal sovereignty. His head and hair were white like wool and snow. This is representative of His purity. His eyes were like flames of fire. This is representative of His holiness. His fire purifies and purges. His feet were like polished bronze. This can be interpreted as "white brass" in the original language. Jesus feet are brilliantly beautiful and holy. He alone can carry the office of the eternal High Priest. His voice was thunderous and commanding. Jesus voice stops all the noise of earth and commands men to listen. When we do not heed the call of Christ Jesus the Lord (our Lord), we do so to our own destruction. Jesus was standing in the middle of seven golden lamp stands. Jesus is the Lord of the Church. He is the center of all that the church is. He is the nucleus of the church. The nucleus of a cell is the life of the cell. Jesus is the life of the church. Without His presence and power, the church is impotent. The church must let Jesus be the center (nucleus) of all that we are or we are nothing more than a civic club. If the life of Jesus isn't within the place we call "church" then we are nothing more than a funeral home. We MUST let Jesus have His church back if we are to be the church of the Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Overseer of the over-comers.. He is the Leader of the legislators. He is the Captain of the conquerors. He is the Master of the mighty. Jesus is the Head of the Church!!! Too often, we have tried to usurp His authority and attempted to implement our own agenda in the church. God forgive us!! We need to repent of our grievous error in this regard and return to our proper place of submission to the One Pastor who leads His church - Jesus!!! Second, we see the seven lamp stands. The number seven is the number of perfection. Jesus is the perfect God!!! The church is perfect through Him! The seven churches of Asia Minor (the modern day Turkey) are listed in verse eleven of this chapter (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea). These churches were located in an area that John was familiar with. They were geographically located in the area John had been exiled from. Each of these churches, located in the cities their names represented, had their own strengths and weaknesses. Each of them were in need of Christ's correction. When you examine the location of these churches and draw a line from one to the other, in the order in which Jesus lists them, a number 7 forms. I was studying this a few years ago when I stumbled upon this. Simply google "the churches of Asia Minor" and look at the map. Connect the dots of geographic location and you'll see what I'm referring to. As I said in a previous devotional text, these churches are looked at in different ways by theologians. Some see these churches as the different kinds of churches that exist in the world. Some view these churches as dispensations of Church Ages. Certainly, there are things we can draw from in each of these churches. Thirdly, we see the seven stars. These stars are representative of the angels that are messengers to the seven churches. The angelic host is real. We must not undermine or underestimate the roles that angels play in God's ordered Kingdom. Angels are powerful beings that have designated roles to perform. They are ministering spirits that are sent to serve those who are recipients of salvation (see Hebrews 1:14). Angels are all around us and we don't even realize it. Often, they intervene in things that we never know, because they are protecting us and promoting our steps. In Matthew 4:11, angels came to minister to Jesus following His 40 days and nights of fasting. In Chapters two and three we will be looking at the churches individually. What is most important to us, right now, is where we stand as the church and how Jesus sees us. Who are we? What are we doing? What does Jesus have to say to us? Let's listen to Him as He speaks to us by His Spirit!!! AMEN!!!
Rev. Curtis Norris