Reflections on Revelation #26

Day 26

“As for 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 are the seven churches.” Rev 1:20 NASB

The Book of Revelation is full of angels. Most of them are clearly not human beings. In Jewish tradition, angels guide the activities of earthly rulers (Dan 10:13, 20-21, for example) and are sometimes held responsible for the earthly ruler’s behaviour. Perhaps these seven angels watched over the leaders of the churches. It is nice to know that the church, feeble and defective though it may be, has the same kind of watch care from God’s angels that every one of us has.

In Rev 1:12-20 we have a fantastic description of “one like a son of man” (Jesus) standing in the middle of seven golden lampstands. In verse 20 we learn that the seven lampstands represent seven churches in Asia Minor. So the key idea in this part of chapter 1 is that Jesus is in close relationship with His churches.

What adds spice to this observation is the fact that the second part of each letter (the description of Jesus) in the two chapters that follow includes characteristics of Jesus that have been mentioned in chapter 1. For example, in the letter to Ephesus (Rev 2:1) Jesus is described as the one who holds the seven stars in His hand (Rev 1:20) and walks among the seven golden lampstands (Rev 1:12-13). In the letter to Smyrna (Rev 2:8) He is the First and the Last, the One who died and came to life (Rev 1:17-18). In the letter to Pergamum (2:12) he approaches with a sharp, two-edged sword (Rev 1:16). So it goes throughout.

In other words, Jesus presents Himself differently to each of the seven churches. No church has the full picture of Jesus. He respects the unique needs and characteristics of each church. He is able to adapt to the needs and circumstances of each church.

These descriptions of Jesus have some incredible implications for everyday, Christian life. For one thing, Jesus knows all about each church (Rev 2:2, 9, 13, etc.), even before they are aware of His presence. He knows everything there is to know about me, even before I tell Him! That means there is no need to hide anything from Jesus. He already knows! The truth about me is safe with Him.

Since He already knows, he can approach each one of us in just the way we need Him most. Jesus respects our uniqueness, He is aware of our different personalities and needs, He graciously approaches each of us in the way that will do us the most good.

There is one further implication. If no church and no Christian has the complete picture of Jesus, then we all have every reason to be humble. We are all learners. And we can all teach each other. While I may know a lot more about Jesus than someone I meet, that person may have just the perspective on Jesus that I need that day! The smartest position for a Christian to take is to be a learner in every situation.

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