“I saw seven golden lampstands”, v12, these are precious and give stability & strength to the light itself. Each church is a lampstand, not the light itself. Jesus said He is the light of the world, Jn. 8:12. Paul tells us that the church is the pillar & ground of the truth, 1st Tim. 3:15. It is an honor to be called a golden lampstand, remember in the Temple the Jews had a “menorah”, destroyed in 70AD.
“Like the Son of Man”, v13, This is Daniel’s prophecy seen in all it’s glorious detail by John’s eyes. The God-man Jesus shown as a human but with phenomenal attributes amongst His Church, the 7 lampstands. The vision is a flashback from Daniel’s days, prophesying that the Kingdom would come and immediately destroy all other earthly kingdoms, establishing an eternal spiritual Kingdom, Dan. 7:13-14. John the Immersionist proclaimed the Kingdom was coming in his day, Mark 1:14-15, and now John the Apostle was seeing the glorious fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy in the context of what Jesus finished and his cousin John started. Jesus is Ruler of kings of the earth, in all his power as the Son of Man. This had strength for Christians, being asked to call Caesar Lord, but now Jesus was Lord. The Jews had no aspirations to rule the world, they just wanted to rule their own land, but since the Romans forced Christians to call Ceasar, Lord, instead of Jesus, the Romans ended up losing their world domination. While the Romans were persecuting Christians, they were being given the assurance of victory, which many of them never saw until they became martyrs. John is in the tribulation when he receives the revelation, v9, so there is no reason for us to doubt that God will not give us strength to endure tribulations for the sake of living like Christ and spreading the gospel. Php. 4:4-7, 2nd Cor. 4:16-18.
“a golden sash”, v13, this is clearly a priestly attire, reflecting his holiness and compassion which a priest should reflect, Exodus 28:8. Also, “hairs of his head were white…eyes were like a flame of fire”, v14, But this is not stressing tenderness. This priest is our High Priest and he lavishes mercy upon us but compassion is not the sole reason he is showing himself to John. Consider His “feet as burnished brass”, v15, The destructive power of the Cherubim comes from 1st Chronicles 28:18, having the same type feet. Christ is ready to destroy our enemies, and as the war wages on, He will one day submit everything to the Father one day, 1st Cor. 15:24-26. “His Voice” is surely what John turned to see in v10, it is also what we will hear pealing as a trumpet, upon His return to Judge the world, 1st Thess. 4:16.
“He held seven stars”, v16, which are the angels of the seven churches, v20. These angels are not figurative, they are real, the word simply means “messenger”. Both Abraham & Lot received people as messengers, and then later was blessed to learn that the messengers were actually angels from Heaven. A similar incident happened with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, where Jesus hid his identity, and then later blessed them by revealing his Heavenly identity. The Hebrew writer confirms that this can happen to Christians, and is one reason why we should all be careful to be hospitable to strangers, Hebrews 13:2. We are not promised to have an immediate revelation of the stranger’s heavenly identity, but we are going to meet “his angels” on the Day of Judgment. Jesus taught us that our charity on earth is rewarded in Heaven, and that our good deeds to strangers are actually done to Himself, Mat. 25:34-40. The seven stars Jesus holds, are his angels for the church as a whole, whose face is before the Father to this day, Mat. 18:10. Christians first receiving this knowledge of the seven stars would hold it as a true source of strength, looking for a way to entertain the stranger in the church as they evangelized, serving Jesus, knowing God would be fully aware of it and rewarding them.
“The Keys of death & hades”, v18, Even if the worst happens and we become martyrs, we win in Jesus, because He has the keys! Our suffering is not locked away in death, but freed into life and strength for evermore.
Do we have Christ reigning in our heart? In order to face trials & tribulations as a Christian, we must have a strength within us, larger than our self, because temptation is larger than our own strength. The human spirit is strong, but Christ’s Spirit is greater, 1st John 4:4.