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THE SEVEN CANDLESTICKS

By Nevin Bass




“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.” Rev 1:20

The Book of Revelation is a base seven book. It is based on the number seven. People often say that seven is the number of perfection. Actually it is the number of completion. As such the number seven is associated with God, for in Him we find the completion of everything. God created heaven, earth, and all that is in them in six days. On the sixth day he created man. Six is man’s number. On the seven day God rested. The work of God is not complete in our life until we learn to rest in it. So seven is the number of completion. Should we be surprised to find that the final book of the Bible is riddled throughout with the number seven?

Revelation is the book of completion. In it every mystery is solved, every loose end secured, and every question worth asking answered. Thus the final word of the final verse of the final chapter in this final book is the word signifying that all that can be said has been said - “Amen.” The Book of Revelation contains the final end of the struggle between good and evil that has scared history, the human race, and even the face of this fair planet called Earth. As the saying goes, I have read the final pages of the Good Book and I know what the outcome will be. The Lord Jesus will emerge victorious and those with Him will prove to be tried, chosen, and faithful. When you choose to throw in with the Lord’s people you have chosen to be on the winning side.

John saw the seven-fold glory of the resurrected, glorified Jesus.

His Head - “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow;” Rev 1:14
His Eyes - “…his eyes were as a flame of fire…” Rev 1:14
His Feet - “And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace;” Rev 1:15
His Voice - “…his voice as the sound of many waters.” Rev 1:15
His Right Hand - “And he had in his right hand seven stars:” Rev 1:16
His Mouth - “…and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword:” Rev 1:16
His Countenance - “…and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.” Rev 1:16
Is it any wonder that when John witnessed this seven-fold glory, that he fell at Jesus’ feet as if dead (Rev 1:17)? This was not some drug-induced hallucination; it was a vision from God. The Lord Jesus pulled back the shroud that separates our world from the throne room of heaven and allowed John to see the other side.

This prophecy and the vision that accompanied it was given to the apostle John. John was the last living apostle, and had been exiled to a penal colony on the Isle of Patmos, by the Emperor Domition in 96 A.D. John was the pastor of the church of Ephesus at the time of his imprisonment. But He refused to allow unforgiveness and bitterness to rob him of his victory. He got in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. He prayed till he broke through in the Spirit and God began to speak to him.

Child of God, your greatest message will come from your greatest struggle. Your greatest witness will come through your hour of temptation and persecution. Your greatest blessing will grow from the hour of your greatest weakness. Don’t allow bitterness and unforgiveness to stop up the wells of blessing in your life. Find a place alone with God and get in the Spirit through prayer.

There are some things that this vision tells us about the Lord Jesus Christ. He walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks. He holds the messenger close. He has the key to every lock. He reveals His mysteries to His people.

He Walks In the Midst of the Candlesticks

“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 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.” Rev 1:12-13

These golden candlesticks can also be called lamp stands, inasmuch as they are not candles at all, but are oil lamps that burn oil through use of a saturated wick. Notice the two symbols used to represent the seven churches and the seven messengers or angels - lamp stands and stars. Both are used in hours of darkness or in the evening hours. We are living in the twilight hours of all time.

Where would you expect to find the glorified, resurrected Savior? He is in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. If you are looking for Jesus, you will find Him in the midst of His people.

The seven churches of Asia were -

Local churches of that day.

Prophetic representatives of the seven church ages.

Typical representatives of seven church personalities or church types.

As such, the seven messages to these churches are to be considered -

Locally, as messages to seven churches that existed in the days of John.

Prophetically, as messages to believers in the seven distinct periods of church history.

Collectively, as tests to determine the spiritual condition of our particular Christian assembly.

Personally, as tests of our own individual spiritual condition.

Jesus Christ is present in the midst of each of the applications of these seven messages. This is true because in every age, in every location, in every local assembly, and in every believer’s heart, He is present to administer the truth of these words to each assembly and each individual. This is also true because as God, He is present to minister to those who will tune their ears to the message He speaks to man’s heart.

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;” Rev 2:7
In the messages to these seven churches, Jesus speaks not as One detached from their situation Who has been given a report. He speaks as One present, One Who is intimately acquainted with their situation and struggles. He says, “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience…” (Rev 2:2). “I know thy works, and tribulation and poverty…” (Rev 2:9). On and on. To each of the seven churches, He demonstrates keen awareness of their situation. How is this? Because He is there! He walks in their midst.

He Holds the Messenger Close

“And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.” Rev 1:16

What would you expect to find in Jesus’ right hand? A sword? No that is in His mouth. Perhaps a scepter? No. Scepters are symbols of royalty, but this royal personage needs no symbol to demonstrate His royalty. None who see Him can question His right to reign. What is in Jesus’ right hand is the messengers of the seven churches. The seven stars are the seven “angels” of the seven churches (Rev1:20). The word translated “angels” in Rev 1:20 can be used to denote “messengers.” I believe these messengers are not angelic, but mortals who are called to deliver messages from God to the churches. I believe they are the pastors of these local assemblies. You will notice that each of the messages to the churches of Asia in chapters 2 and 3 is addressed to the messengers of those churches. When God has a message for a church, 99 times out of 100 it will come special delivery with the pastor’s name on the envelope.

The right hand is a position of power and authority. Those that the Lord will use will be held close to Him first. He will grasp His messengers in His right hand and hold them tight.

Understand that the minister derives his power and authority from none other than Jesus Christ. The call to become a minister of the gospel comes from Jesus, not from man. Notice also that if the messenger is not faithful in the execution of his call, no one can deliver him from the hand that holds him. Also, if he is faithful, no one can touch him, for he is safe in God’s own right hand.

He Has the Key to Every Lock

“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: 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.” Rev 1:17-18

Jesus has the key to every lock, complete knowledge of every unknown. We have often heard the cliché, “death, hell, and the grave.” In fact the Bible never uses these three words together. The word “hell” in this verse is translated from the Greek word “Hades.” Some Bible center references simply note that Hades is “the unknown region.” You and I might not understand a lot about the unknown region, but Jesus has the key to every door and knowledge of every unknown thing.

What can be more mysterious to man than death and the “unknown region” where the soul and spirits of departed ones abide? We can observe the cold dead body, yet we cannot experience death and live to tell about it. Can you imagine the questions that those like Lazarus who returned from the unknown region were asked? “What was it like over there? Did you have any feeling or sensation? Did you hear anything in the unknown region that you can share with us?” On and on the questions go. I doubt that Lazarus or anyone who has been raised from the dead really has the answers to the questions that plague us. That is because they do not have the keys!

The story is told about a Sunday school teacher who asked her students if they knew what they had to do to go to Heaven. One little princess raised her hand and told the teacher that you had to die. How true. Another small child wrote a letter to Jesus and said he wanted to go to be with Him … only not yet. He wanted to get his driver’s license first. Everybody wants to go to Heaven but no one wants to die. Why is this? Because death and Hades are unknown regions to us.

But there is One Who experienced Death and the unknown region beyond. He did come back and He does tell us what is on the other side. He is qualified to do so because He is the Creator God. As a man He came to earth and died on a cross. They laid Him in the grave, but the grave could not hold Him. Three days later He arose from the grave and He is alive even now. He has the keys to death and hell. And furthermore …

He Reveals Mysteries

“Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;” Rev 1:19

He reveals those things to you and me. Not only does He reveal the mystery of the golden candlesticks and the seven stars, but also He reveals things which shall be hereafter.

What is the unknown region in your own life that you would like to understand? I am writing about the One who holds the key to every lock. He knows what is behind every door and every hidden place. If there is something you are hiding from Him, it is not hidden very well. He is the One Who searches the reins and the hearts of men (Rev 2:23).

Child of God, your greatest message will come from your greatest struggle. Your greatest witness will come through your hour of temptation and persecution. Your greatest blessing will grow from the hour of your greatest weakness.

There are some things that this vision tells us about the Lord Jesus Christ. He walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks. He holds the messenger close. He has the key to every lock. He reveals His mysteries to His people.

Are you willing to surrender all areas of your life to Him? He holds the key anyway, and He knows what is found there. Would you like Him to help you discover the mysteries of your own life? He speaks as One Who has already been there. He walks in the midst of the candlesticks and in the byways of your life. 

 

 

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