Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wanting more of Jesus' Shining Light - Revelation 1:12-16

Revelation 1:12 "Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands."

As you study the book of Revelation, the one desire that should continue to grow in your heart is wanting more of Jesus Christ.  John's experience thus far in the Book of Revelation has been a "hearing experience".  But as we will soon see, John's experience of Jesus in this Divine revelation will turn into a "seeing experience".  Like Job in Job 42:5 - “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You." John is going to see and hear Jesus in a way that he hasn't experienced since the early years of his Christian life some sixty years before.  As we will see in today's blog, the full-length vision of Jesus Christ, as well as John's response to it, will lead to the glorified Christ commissioning John to write his blessed apocalypse.  Reading these verses makes me want more of Jesus Christ.

As we begin considering Revelation 1:12-20, we ask the following question: "Why should you and I want more of Jesus Christ?" Consider the fact that Jesus Christ is...
1. Shining Light.            Revelation 1:12-16
2. Strengthening Love. Revelation 1:17-18
3. Supreme Lord.          Revelation 1:19-20

Jesus Christ is the Shining Light. Revelation 1:12-16
John says in Revelation 1:12 "I turned to see".  What did He turn to see? The text continues: "the voice which was speaking with me, and I turned around and saw seven golden lampstands."  John saw "a voice" and "the lampstands" and then in verse 13 we read: "and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like "a son of man".  Now thankfully the book of Revelation has a built in interpretive system to unfold some of its mysteries.  Revelation 1:20 explains -  "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."

Jesus Christ shine light in the midst of His church.  1:12-15
Notice then what John sees: he sees the voice of Christ speaking to Him, which elsewhere is described as God's written word. (Colossians 3:16; 1 Peter 1:23) The lampstands or the church is the the next thing John sees.  God has ordained in this age that the church, proclaiming the scriptures shows forth to the world the Lord Who is in her midst. (Matthew 5:16  

The lampstands in these verses hearkens one back to the days of the Old Testament tabernacle and temple. (compare Exodus 25:31-40)  In those worship centers no windows were present.  Once the priests entered into the interior room called "the holy place", the only source of illumination was the seven branched lampstand or "menorah", which in the Hebrew tongue means "light bearer, lamp".  The Golden Lampstand in the Old Testament was designed to illuminate the interior of the tabernacle or temple and to symbolize the Divine presence of God in the innermost room called "The Most Holy Place".   Without that Lampstand, the place of ministry in the temple would had been plunged into darkness.  Exodus 30:8 instructed the priests to tend to the lampstand every morning and evening to insure that the light was not quenched.

Jesus Christ is the light shining over His church.  1:16
It is with the lampstand imagery that God shows John that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Shining light in his church.  As you go down through the verse, Revelation 1:16 states - "In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength."  

In the vision John sees Jesus holding the "seven stars" which Revelation 1:20 reveals to be "seven angels" or "messengers", most likely the pastors of the seven churches.  No pastor can preach God's word apart from the Great Shepherd.  The sharp two-edged sword corresponds to the scriptures by which He reigns over His church. (compare Hebrews 4:12)  

The description of Christ's face is extraordinary: "and His face was like the sun shining in its strength." (Revelation 1:16)  Scripture uses the sun as a word-picture for the glory of the Lord.  In Psalm 84:11 we see God described as a "sun and a shield." In Malachi 4:2 the prophecy is given of Christ coming as the "Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings".  The glimpse of Christ's Divine Glory given to John, Peter and James on the Mount of Transfiguration is described as "His face shone like the sun". (Matthew 17:2) 

The sun is a light bearer, a middle sized star that is 93 million miles away from the earth.  Big enough to contain over 1,000 earths, our sun energy output in one second could light a major city for hundreds of thousands of years.  

Jesus Christ's glory shines light over His church.  Without Him, the church would have no guidance, no power, no message, no existence. (Philippians 3:20-21; Acts 26:13) Jesus Christ's light shining over and in His church insures that we will have an open heaven We need Jesus' shining light to shine in our midst and above us.  

more tomorrow....