Thursday, August 6, 2015

Seven Golden Lampstands - Part 9



Yesterday we looked at the rapture of the church in correlation to the reference in Revelation Chapter 1 and the reason for John's exile on the island of Patmos. Remember that the word "Revelation" means the unveiling, the knowing, the revealing. Today we will take a look at Jesus as He is now in heaven in all His glory and power. Picking back up where we left off yesterday in the Book of Revelation, let's look at Chapter 1:12-20.

"I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone 'like a son of man,' dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches." (NIV). 

Remember as we look at this portion of scripture it has been some 50 years since John had seen Jesus face to face. John knew Jesus in a personal way. It was John, who laid his head on the chest of Jesus, he refers to himself in the Bible as "the one who Jesus loves." Meaning he had a very close and personal relationship with Jesus. He was the only apostle that stood at the foot of the cross while Jesus died and was the one Jesus instructed to care for His mother.  Now however, John sees Jesus in a completely different way.

He sees Jesus revealed in all of His glory and grandeur. Remember the last time we see John, we see him in the Spirit on the Lord's Day and it's a great place to be, in the Spirit of the Lord. John was being transported into the spirit realm, and he sees Jesus Christ, no longer the humble Galilean who preached on the shores of the sea, but the enthroned Son of God in power and worshiped by all in heaven. This is just one of many visits John will take into the spiritual realm. For when the Bible says "in the Spirit" he is announcing he was taken to a place of the time or eternity where all is now before God and he sees the events that are taking place in the earthly realm. It's like John takes a journey in a time capsule so to speak. He is transported from one place to another where time has no limits. He sees things that in his time, have never been seen before, except through visions given by God through His prophets.

John says he is "In the Spirit" in Revelation 1:10 and he also says it in Revelation 4:2 ~ "At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it." 

In Revelation 17:3 ~ "Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered in blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns."

In Revelation 21:10 ~ "And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of the heaven from God."

As you remember yesterday John heard behind him a loud voice like a trumpet, which we have learned is not a talking trumpet, but the voice of God announcing His intentions to John. Interestingly in the Bible, trumpets were primarily but not exclusively used as an announcement, to call people to worship, to war or for celebration. Isn't it interesting that according to the Bible, God will call His people home to heaven with a blast of a trumpet at the moment of the rapture?

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ~ "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we are are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly no precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the cloud to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore, encourage each other with these words." (NIV). 

Notice that God appears in the atmosphere, not to earth and there will be a sound of a trumpet blast and the Bible says that those who have died in Christ will be resurrected first and then those of us that are alive, shall be caught up to meet them in the air, and we will be gathered together with a trumpet blast to be with the Lord and we shall always be with the Lord.

Now John is hearing the voice of a trumpet, which is the voice and calling of the Lord Jesus Christ and we see what John sees, the appearance of Jesus Christ, in all of His glory and power, we will never see Him quite the same ever again. When we get a glimpse of who the real Jesus Christ is, it won't matter what people say about you or do to you. It doesn't matter what kind of slander they create or what kind of story they might tell, because when Jesus Christ is enthroned in your life, you can stand firm in the things of this world, because you know where your strength is found.

Hebrews 13:6 ~ "So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (NIV). 

When you see Jesus enthroned in all His glory and power, it is hard to imagine bowing down to any other person in this world no matter how great they were or think they are today. John was given the greatest revelation to all mankind. So who is Jesus Christ today? There are four key points.

1. He is the Jesus - who is with us (verses 12-13).

"I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone 'like a son of man,' dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. ~ Revelation 1:12-13 (NIV). 

He is always with us in the light. "I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands," so what John sees at this point is the voice of one speaking is the one in the midst of these seven golden lampstands. The seven golden lampstands are no doubt examples of light. There are two interpretations of what the seven golden lampstands represent according to scholars. The first is that as Jesus is standing, there are seven individual lampstands surrounding Him, and He is standing in the middle of them. Yet in the Old Testament in both the Tabernacle and in the Temple in Jerusalem, there is a menorah. It has a single root and rising up from that root are seven branches total. It is the same seven lampstand menorah, is also forever illuminated in heaven. The ones created on earth, were in exact detail of the one that is in heaven forever. You can either see this a seven individual lampstands with Jesus standing in the middle representing the seven churches or it is understood that it is the seven lampstand menorah which represents the single root of Jesus with the seven lampstands branching off of it, representing the completeness of God, the completeness of the churches with Jesus walking in the midst of them.

It is a symbol of God's dwelling, because He dwells in this glorious light, the menorah or these lampstands were a symbol of light, and they are a picture of the church illuminating against the dark background of a sinful world. It is the very same reason whenever you go to buy a diamond in a jewelry store that it is placed against a dark black or blue background to intensify or project the aspects of the diamonds ability to illuminate light, so it is with the church. The darker the days get, the more evil and cynical, barbaric and lawless the world gets, and the more the church or a people hang on to Jesus, the more it will shine. That is the point. Our homes, our lives, our churches and communities will not compromise. It will stand for righteousness and holiness and if God brings back a revival it will be a return to the holiness in the lives of Christians! Where the world no longer has a grip like it has on so many people today.

1 John 1:5-7 ~ "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son purifies us from all sin." 

John 8:12 ~ "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life." (NIV).

Which means we can not be living in sin, a rebellious life against God, Christian or not, by the way, and living a life asking God to bless and hear our prayers. The Bible says, he will not listen to our prayers and he will not lead and guide us because we are walking in sin. Walking after self, walking after our own agenda.

So the seven lampstands represent the seven local churches of Asia Minor, but because there are seven of them, the also represent the Christian church in totality of the New Testament age.

Matthew 5:14-16 ~ "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (NIV). 

We as a church, have a responsibility to be that light that Jesus is talking about here. You can take any light or flame and move it away and eventually it will burn out. It is out of fellowship with the light and it will be reduced to just an ember. When we get distant from Christ or distant from fellowship, and thus the reason it is imperative that you attend church that teaches the Word of God for fellowship, and strength for one reason alone, because God has told you in the Bible to do it.

Why? For this one reason, that together, we may burn brighter, it is through fellowship that we can see the power and glory of God at work, in our personal lives, in our churches and communities. We need to spend more time fellowshipping with one another. Stop saying the church is too big and you don't know anyone. Put on your goggles, go the edge and simply dive in. Find out who is there. Why do you think churches are growing and getting bigger, for your comfort? No to affect the world more!! Larger church, larger resources, larger vision.

Tomorrow we will continue our study into the remainder of the verses in this section. Thanks for stopping by today and if you are blessed by this study, please share it with others. It is amazing to see how God will use this to change lives simply by sharing it on your social media pages.

1 comment:

David C Brown said...

Very interesting. Is the Lord shown here in a judicial way in view of the failure He has to see in most of the churches? It is not His normal way of appearing.