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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 (breast) with a golden girdle. His Head and his Hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His Eyes were as a flame of fire; and His Feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His Voice as the sound of many waters. 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. 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 (Hades, the Underworld), and of DEATH (the Grave). Write the things which thou hast SEEN, and the things which ARE, and the things which shall be HEREAFTER (after these); the Mystery of the 'Seven Stars' which thou sawest in my right hand, and the 'Seven Golden Candlesticks.' The 'Seven Stars' are the ANGELS (Messengers) of the 'Seven Churches': and the 'Seven Candlesticks' which thou sawest are the SEVEN CHURCHES."
The Apostle John addresses the Churches as their brother and companion in TRIBULATION. This does not mean "The Great Tribulation," for that is not for the Church but for Israel, and is still future. When John wrote the Book of Revelation in A. D. 95-96 the Christians were undergoing a persecution under the Roman Emperor Domitian, and as a result of this persecution John had been banished to the Isle of Patmos, a small, rocky island in the Aegean Sea 30 miles off the west coast of Asia Minor, and opposite the city of Ephesus. John was pastor of the Church at Ephesus at the time of his banishment, and it was to that Church that the first Message to the Seven Churches was addressed. John was banished for "the Word of God, and his testimony to Jesus Christ."
He tells us that he was "in the Spirit on the LORD'S DAY." There has been much confusion as to what is meant here by the "Lord's Day." Some hold that the "First Day of the Week" or the Christian Sabbath is meant, others that John meant the "Day of the Lord."
Both the Old and the New Testament speak of the "Day of the Lord." Isa. 2:12, Joel 1:15, 2:1, 3:14, Ezek. 13:5, Malachi 4:5, Acts 2:20, 2. Cor. 1:14, 1. Thess. 5:2, 2. Pet. 3:10. The term applies
to the "Day of the Lord's Return" and includes both the Tribulation and the Millennium. See the Chart on the Prophetic Days of Scripture. The Christian Sabbath was never called the "LORD'S DAY" until after the Book of Revelation was written and got its name from that source. It is always called in the Gospels and Epistles the "First Day of the Week."
It is hardly likely that John could have been caught up as Paul was into the Third Heaven and seen and heard all that he describes in the Book of Revelation on one Sabbath Day, and as the Book from chapter 5 is a description of the things that are to come to pass in the "DAY OF THE LORD," what better understanding of the "LORD'S DAY" can we have than that John was projected by the Holy Spirit across the centuries into the "DAY OF THE LORD" and had visualized to him the things that shall come to pass in that day. This is the rational solution of the question. See the Chart, John's Patmos Vision.
When John thus found himself in the "Day of the Lord" he heard behind him a great voice, as of a trumpet, which said--"I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last," and the repetition of the statement in verses 17 and 18, with the added words--"I am He that Liveth, and WAS DEAD; and behold, I am ALIVE FOR EVERMORE, AMEN; and have the keys of Hell (Hades, the Underworld), and of Death (the Grave)," identifies the speaker as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. John had his back turned to the speaker, and when he turned around he saw one like unto the
SON OF MAN
standing in the midst of "Seven Candlesticks." "LAMPSTANDS" is a better translation and is so given in the margin of our Bibles. A candlestick requires a light such as a candle, which is self-consuming, while a "Lampstand" is for the support of a lamp whose wick instead of burning away is fed from the oil within. In the Scriptures oil is emblematic of the Holy Spirit, and as Jesus Himself interprets the "Lampstands" as meaning the Seven Churches to whom He was about to send messages, we see that Jesus looks upon the churches as not the LIGHT, but simply the "LIGHT HOLDER." From the fact that Jesus speaks of "Stars" and "Lampstands" it is clear that we are living in the NIGHT of this Dispensation, for "stars" and "lampstands" belong to the night.
THE VISION OF THE GLORIFIED SON OF MAN.
The Vision that John saw was that of the GLORIFIED "SON OF MAN." When Jesus ascended He took up with Him His HUMANITY, and we now have in the Glory the MAN Christ Jesus. 1. Tim. 2:5. When Jesus was on the earth He was, as the "Son of Man," a PROPHET, now as the "Son of Man" in Glory He is a Priest, and when He comes again it will be as the "Son of Man" to reign as KING.
While Jesus is now a High Priest in heaven, John did not see Him engaged in any High Priestly work. While He was clothed in a High Priestly robe, there was no mitre upon His head, nor
Click to enlarge
The Prophetic Days of Scripture
[paragraph continues] Kingly Crown. The description of Him is more that of a JUDGE. This is confirmatory evidence that John was transported into the "Day of the Lord," and that his vision of Christ is as Christ shall appear after His High Priestly work is finished and before He assumes His Kingly Office. This is seen in that He was girded about the breasts, and not around the waist. The High Priest was girded around the waist, signifying service, but a girdle or sash over the shoulder and around the breasts is an insignia of the Magisterial Office. This is still further revealed when we study the
SEVENFOLD GLORY OF HIS PERSON.
His "Head" and "Hair" were "WHITE LIKE WOOL," as "WHITE AS SNOW." Here there is a correspondence to the "Snow White Wig" worn by English judges. This description of Christ reminds us of Daniel's vision of the "ANCIENT OF DAYS," "whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the PURE WOOL." Dan. 7:9. Daniel refers three times to the "Ancient Of Days." In Chap. 7:13, he distinguishes between the "Son of Man" and the "Ancient of Days," but in verses 9 and 22 he associates the "Ancient of Days" with a "Throne of Judgment," and as God the Father has committed all judgment to the Son (John 5:22), and the Father and the Son are one, the title "Ancient Of Days" is used interchangeably. And as the title "Ancient of Days" is applied to the "Son of Man" (Christ) at the time He assumes the Judgeship (Dan. 7:9-10), which is not until after the Rapture of the Church, we have here additional corroborative proof that John's Vision belongs to the "Day of the Lord." The "White Hair" of the Son of Man refers to His ANTIQUITY, to His patriarchal dignity, not that His hair was made white by age, for the Eternal never grows old, but it bespeaks wisdom and experience, and the venerableness of His character.
'"His Eyes were a FLAME OF FIRE." Those eyes that had often been dimmed with human tears, and that wept at the grave of Lazarus, are here pictured as burning with an "OMNISCIENT FLAME." How often when on the earth those eyes read the inner-most thoughts of men, and even soldiers quailed before His soul penetrating gaze, so when He sits as the Judge of men all things will be NAKED and OPEN before Him.
"His Feet like unto fine BRASS, as if they BURNED IN A FURNACE." In that day those feet that trod the Via Dolorosa of suffering will be like unto INCANDESCENT BRASS, that shall tread and crush Antichrist and Satan when He comes to "Tread the WINE-PRESS of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." Rev. 19:15.
"His Voice as the SOUND OF MANY WATERS." There is nothing more melodious or musical than the babbling brook, or more
thunderous than the rush of the cataract over the falls, and there is nothing more fearful to the criminal than the words of the Judge as he passes sentence; but how terrifying will be the sentence when with a strong voice the Son of Man shall say in the Judgment Day, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels." Matt. 25:41.
"In His Right Hand SEVEN STARS."
We are told in verse 20, that the "Seven Stars" stand for the "ANGELS" of the "Seven Churches." These "Angels" are not angelic beings but the Messengers or Ministers of the churches. What a beautiful and solemn lesson is taught here. It is that the ministers of Christ derive their power and office from Him, and that He holds them in His hand. If they are false to Him, no one can deliver them from His power, and if they are true and loyal, no one can touch or molest, or do them harm.
"Out of His Mouth went a SHARP TWO-EDGED SWORD." While the "Sword of the Spirit" is the "Word of God" (Eph. 6:17), and the "Word of God" is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any TWO-EDGED SWORD, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow (the body), (Heb. 4:12), that is not the sword meant here.
The "Sword of the Spirit" is the Holy Spirit's SWORD, and He alone wields it. The sword meant here is the Sword of the Son of Man (Christ), and it is the "SWORD OF JUSTICE," for the Son of Man, out of whose mouth this sword comes, is the "White Horse Rider" of Rev. 19:11-15, "out of whose mouth goeth a SHARP SWORD, that with it He should smite the nations." And that sword, like the "Sword of the Spirit" will be TWO-EDGED also, for the protection of His people, and the destruction of His enemies. This is still further proof that John's vision of Christ was as He shall appear in the "DAY OF THE LORD."
"His Countenance was as the SUN SHINETH IN HIS STRENGTH." This recalls to our memory His appearance on the Mount of Transfiguration when "His Face did shine AS THE SUN," Matt. 17:2. And we read of the New Jerusalem that the inhabitants thereof have no need of the SUN, for the LAMB is the Light thereof. Rev. 21:23. And when we recall that the Prophet Malachi tells us that when Jesus comes back He will be the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (Malachi 4:2), we see that John's vision of the Son of Man was as He shall appear at the Second Stage of His Return, the "Revelation." Thus we have in John's "Seven-Fold" description of the person of the "Glorified Son of Man" circumstantial or indirect evidence that John saw his vision of the Son of Man, not on a Sabbath Day (or the "Lord's Day" as we now call it), but was projected by the Holy Spirit forward into the "Day of the Lord" and saw Him as He will appear then as the Judge, and the coming "SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS."