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Revelation 1:12-20:“Christ In The Midst Of His Churches”

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THE TEXT:

The Vision Of Christ, the Candlesticks, and the Stars…

 

 

 

 

Rev 1:12-20 KJV

(12)  And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
(13)  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
(14)  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
(15)  And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
(16)  And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
(17)  And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
(18)  I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
(19)  Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
(20)  The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

 

 

 THE INTRODUCTION:

 John’s Vision of Christ and His Churches…

  1. The Vision Of Christ (v 12-16)
  2. John’s Reaction To The Vision (v 17a)
  3. Christ Comforting Words (v 17b-18)
  4. The Vision Explained (v 19-20)

 

 

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

Revelation 1: – 

 (12)  And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

John now turns his attention to the voice that sounded like a trumpet.  As he turned, he saw seven lampstands made of gold.

In verse 20, we are told these candlesticks symbolize the seven local churches…

  1. Gold is a symbol of great value and a symbol of the divine. The Lord’s local assemblies are valuable possessions of God. They are divine instruments of service.  Their existence and continuance are through God’s grace and intervention.
  2. Seven is the number of completion, perfection and fullness. Each local church is to strive for perfection and will reach their goal in eternity (Eph 5:27).  The characteristics of these churches, when taken together, represent a complete representation of the churches that exist on earth.  Every church on earth can be likened to one or a combination of these local assemblies.
  3. Candlesticks (Lampstands) uphold and send forth light into the world around us. The first and greatest responsibility is to fulfill the Great Commission (upholding and sending forth the gospel message and all doctrinal truth into the sin darkened world).   How do they do this? They are put into service by Christ (as a lamp being lit) and then continue in the power of the Holy Spirit (as the oil that is burned in the lamp)

These symbols teach us that local assemblies are God’s institutions in which He intervenes and enjoys fellowship with His people.  They were established to hold forth the light of His Word into the sin darkened world.  They are to strive for perfection which will be finally achieved at their entrance into eternity.

 

(13)  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man,

John sees Christ standing among the seven candlesticks.  Christ is described as “One like unto the Son of Man”.  This is an OT description of Christ found in Daniel 7:13.

We know that Christ is called “the Son of Man” in reference to His human nature (John 8:28), but why would He be said to be “like unto the Son of Man”?  Christ, as God Himself, was sinless… He was not a fallen sinful man, in that sense, He was only “like a man” (Romans 8:3).

This title helps us to see Christ’s deity, sinlessness and humanity.

 

clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

In this vision, Christ is symbolized as wearing a garment down to His feet and a golden girdle around His loins. This comes from Daniel 10:5.

  1. The garment that extends down to His feet – robes symbolize righteousness and priestly garments. Christ is the perfectly righteous One.  He is our Priest, the One who stands between sinful man and a Holy God making peace.
  2. Gold is a symbol of great value and a symbol of the divine. – Christ is the priest accepted and sanctioned by God
  3. The girdle is a symbol of the Priesthood and strength – Christ is the strong priest who was successful in doing the work necessary to bring fallen mankind into communion with a Holy God.

These symbols help us to see Christ as our great divine Priest, who stands in the presence of His churches, intervening on their behalf and bringing about communion and fellowship with Almighty God.

 

(14)  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

Christ’s appearance continues to be described…

  1. Snow white hair – The color snow white is a picture of purity, perfection, completion. White hair is symbolic of old age and the wisdom that comes from it.  Christ is not only sinless, but also He possesses all knowledge and wisdom that are perfect and complete.  They are error free.
  2. Eyes as a flame of fire – Eyes are symbolic of perception, knowledge. Fire is a symbol of judgment, revealing, and purity.  Christ’s perception is perfect.  He can see clearly the true nature of all things.  He can see where no man can see (our hearts, minds, unknowable truths etc etc).

These symbols reveal to us Christ as the possessor and source of all perfect and complete knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

 

(15)  And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; John now describes the vision’s representation of Christ’s feet …

1. The feet are representative of Christ’s walk of life (His works that He has and will perform)

2. Fine brass burned in a furnace is a picture of perfect judgment bringing about perfection. Christ, as supreme judge tramples down His enemies taking perfect vengeance against them.

In this vision, we can see that Christ’s works are always just, fair and lawful. We can also see a glimpse of His coming judgment against lost mankind which will result in the renovation (purification) of this world in preparation for eternity.

 

and his voice as the sound of many waters.

and His voice…

1. the voice is representative of His revealed Word

2. sound of many waters (very loud that drowns out all other sounds) pictures demanding attention and possessing great authority

Here, we have the authority, power and importance of Christ’s Word being symbolized.

 

(16)  And he had in his right hand seven stars: 

Christ’s hand held seven stars.  In verse 20, we find the stars are the “angels” or “messengers” of the churches. These refer to the pastors of the churches.

  1. seven stars – put forth a much smaller light than the sun. This is the role of the pastor to share whatever truths they are given from the Lord.  Any one pastor only knows a small amount of the entire set of truths of God.  It is his responsibility to shine as a light in the midst of the assembly declaring these truths to the members.  There are seven pastors which represents one for each of the seven assemblies.

2. right hand – this is the powerful hand, the one with which work is done.  Pastors are one of the most important tools that the Lord uses within the assembly to feed, protect and lead His assemblies.

The Pastors of Christ’s assemblies lead, feed and protect the assembly by proclaiming God’s Word in their midst.

 

and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: 

The sword coming out of Christ’s mouth…

  1. out of His mouth – is indicating His word is being spoken of
  2. two-edged sharp sword – is describing the power of the Word (Hebs 4:12)… it can both take life or give life (much like a weapon or a scalpel) This sword is said to be used by the Holy Spirit to do God’s bidding in the lives of the hearers (Eph 6:17)

As the Word is proclaimed, God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, applies His Word to the lives of the hearers.

 

and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Christ’s face shown like the sun…

  1. countenance (face) – pictures for us the person of Christ. We recognize people by looking at their face, likewise we can recognize Christ by seeing His face.
  2. sun shining brightly – bright light pictures His greatness (glory), holiness, and truth

This teaches us that, when we see the true Christ, we are looking at God Himself in all His glory, the sinless One, the Truth.

 

 

(17)  And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. 

John’s response to this glorious vision of Christ is fearful reverence, humility and awe.  As he falls at His feet we can see a reverent and humble response.  To fall “as dead” seems to imply a time of silence and non-movement which helps us see a humble and awe-filled response.

He is shocked, speechless, and guilt-ridden as He recognizes the greatness of His Lord and his own sinful, unworthy, condition.

 

And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; 

Christ’s hand of comfort, acceptance and power comes upon John.  Christ continues to comfort John by telling him that there is nothing to fear.

Christ is not only the Sovereign, Glorious God and King over all, but He is also the compassionate Lord who cares and reassures His servants.

 

I am the first and the last:  (18)  I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Christ now begins to describe Himself.  This is meant to remind John of His Lordship.  Christ begins this threefold description of Himself:

  1. I am the first and the last – He is the beginning and the ending of all things including all events in history.
  1. I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen;  – He is the One that was alive, died on the cross for sinners, was resurrected and is now living and will live throughout eternity.
  1. and have the keys of hell and of death.

He is the one that is in control of the afterlife.  He is in control of the condition and location of the spirit and physical body of those who have died.   He will, someday, resurrect both lost and saved, He will preside over their final judgment and consign them to their eternal destiny.

In all of these descriptions, we see Jesus as the living absolute Sovereign over all mankind throughout history and the eternity that is to come.

 

(19)  Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

Jesus has already personally given John the commission to write down the visions that make up the Book of the Revelation (v 11- “what thou seest, write in a book”).  Christ now, more fully explains to John the content of the visions that he is receiving…

  1. the things which thou hast seen –  Some of the visions describe events that HAVE ALREADY TAKEN PLACE before the Revelation was penned.   They are events, that John had perceived through personal experience, the verbal accounts of others, or through the historical records that existed in John’s day.

This includes events throughout history between creation of the world to just prior to the writing of Revelation (approx. 92 AD).

 2. The things which are –  Some of these visions describe events that were CURRENTLY TAKING PLACE, as John penned the Book of Revelation.

This includes events that took place approx. in 92-95 AD.  This is the approx. time period in which Revelation was written by John.    

3. the things which shall be hereafter –  Some of the visions describe events that WILL TAKE PLACE IN THE FUTURE (after the penning of Revelation is completed.)

In other words, these events include events that have taken place in history from approx. 96 AD into eternity future.

In the book of Revelation we will see many events in the history of mankind being recorded in the form of visionary symbols.  These include events that span all time and reach into eternity future.

 

(20)  The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

Christ now helps John to more fully understand the vision he has just seen (v 10-16).  The seven stars that were seen in the right hand of Christ were representative of the “angels” (messengers) of the seven churches.   Also, the seven golden candlesticks represent seven local assemblies of the Lord, with Christ standing in their midst communing with them.

Please note: by using the term “mystery” the Lord is simply saying that the interpretation of the candlesticks and stars is not understood by all men, but only those who are taught these things.  To the lost and the untaught saved, it is a mystery, but not to all mankind.

 

CHRIST REVEALED:

In this vision, we see Christ presented as God Himself, interceding on behalf His people as their Great High Priest.  As such, He is standing in the midst of His people and His local assemblies on earth enjoying communion and fellowship with them.

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

May we all recognize Jesus, the True God over all, who has so graciously worked to grant us communion and fellowship with Him.  He did this by taking upon Himself the office of Great High Priest, sacrificing Himself on the cross for our sins, arising the third day in victory and constantly intervening on behalf of those for whom He died.

Also, may we all see the importance of local church membership to our enjoyment of a full, close relationship with the Lord.  Through this vision we can see that the Lord meets with His local assemblies in a very special way as they worship and honor Him.  This truth is also seen in Matthew 18:20… For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to see Jesus in the pages of the book of Revelation.

 

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8 Comments

  1. Citizen Tom says:

    Thank you for the explanation. Some of the symbolism in Revelation is bit difficult to grasp.

    • Rob Barkman says:

      It is very difficult for all of us. Over the years, I taught through Revelation several times and each time it becomes more clear that Revelation is upon symbolism based on the Old Testament scriptures. I have found it helps me a lot when I keep that in mind and use the OT to interpret the symbols .

      Lord bless you Tom. Thanks for the reblog and thanks for your ministry on the blog. It is much needed in today’s time as the decline of America continues.

  2. Citizen Tom says:

    Reblogged this on Citizen Tom and commented:
    Bible exposition is not a lost art. There are still pastors who see it as their special task. And because there are such teachers of the Word, if we have little understanding of the Bible, we have very little excuse. Consider, for example, how Rob Barkman explains this passage.

  3. SLIMJIM says:

    Good study! I appreciate your discussion about the resurrection of believers and nonbelievers

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