Meditation Mondays: Revelation 1:12-16: Seven Lampstands, Seven Stars, and the Son of Man
Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. (Revelation 1:12-16 NKJV)
Here John sees a representation of the Lord Jesus Christ. And there are a few interpretive challenges that Revelation itself clears up for us. The first issue is that of the seven golden lampstands. These lampstands are the seven churches John addressed the letter to (1:20). These lampstands do not produce their own light, but they receive their light from the glory of God. They are a testimony to the light of the gospel. In verse 15 we also have seven stars in the right hand of the Lord. These seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. Now, I do not want you to think of angels as celestial beings with the Lord. These angels are not the seraphim or cherubim. These angels are the pastors of these seven local churches. Think about it for a moment. John is writing to seven churches about things which must soon take place and he has addressed the letter to the pastors so that they may read the letter to their respective congregations. That is what we see going on here. And our text says that the Lord holds these pastors in his hands. How comforting and reassuring this must have been to these persecuted congregations.
So, the lampstands are the churches and the angels are the pastors of those churches. Both reflect the glory of God and both are sustained by the Lord alone. Next, we get some symbolic descriptors of the Lord. We see the Lord clothed with a long robe with a golden sash around his chest. This attire is priestly. This attire is majestic. Our Savior is royalty and He is ruling and reigning. Second, the hairs of his head were white like wool or snow. Our Lord is the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9-10). He is wise. He is all knowing. His white hair is a crown of glory. Third, we see that His eyes were like a flame of fire. The Lord sees us. He truly sees us. He knows our thoughts. He knows our motives. He is all seeing and all knowing. Fire penetrates anything it touches, so does the sight of the Lord. All is laid bare before Him (Hebrews 4:13).
Fourth, Jesus' feet are like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace. Think about power here. Jesus' feet are fixed firmly. He is the conqueror of all things. He will not be moved or shaken. Fifth, his voice roared like many waters. We have heard this description of the Lord in Ezekiel 43:2. All of creation will hear His voice. Those close and those far off bend a knee and confess 'Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty'. Sixth, his mouth had a sharp two-edged sword. Where else do we hear this expression? Hebrews 4:12. The word of God is living and active. Jesus is the Word and He speaks the Word and it is penetrating- like a double edge sword. Finally, his face shone like the sun. How glorious, holy, and separate is our God? His majesty is too much for mortal eyes to behold. We need new eyes and thankfully, one day we will have them.
Today, I simply want you to be in awe of the majesty of the Lord. He is glorious, yet He is present with His church. He is present with His pastors. He is holy, yet we can approach Him because He is making us new. He is making all things new.