1:12-15 JESUS AMONG THE LAMPSTANDS
“Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden lampstands, 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 sash. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were as a flame of fire. And His feet were like fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice was as the sound of many waters” (Revelation 1:12-15).
Jesus, the majestic Son of Man, is portrayed “in the midst of the seven golden lampstands” (Revelation 1:12),<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> which symbolize “the seven churches” (Revelation 1:20). He is dressed in “a garment down to the feet” (Greek potheres) which is the same Greek word<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> used for the garments worn by the high priest as he ministered in the ancient Hebrew sanctuary (Exodus 28:31-35, 39:22-26). This amazing picture shows the depth of Jesus' love—“in the midst" indictes the most intimate relationship. Jesus is by nature "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners... higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26), and yet He is pictured as being High Priest in the very midst of the polluted church. Some of the largest Christian denominations teach that the church, being the body of Christ, is perfect and cannot err.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> But the Book of Revelation does not depict the Church as perfect, but to the contrary, as highly defective and defiled. This is the church that has lost her first love (Revelation 2:4), holds false doctrines (Revelation 2:14,15), tolerates Jezebel and her immorality (Revelation 2:20), is spiritually dead (Revelation 3:1) and disgustingly self-satisfied (Revelation 3:16,17).
But despite her pollution, Jesus is willing to leave the holy atmosphere of heaven and minister “in the midst” of her! In His earthly incarnation Jesus never separateed Himself from sinful humanity, and He still doesent. We can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). It is never necessary to “clean up our act” before we come to Jesus; in fact, only He can make us clean.
When we come to Jesus He transforms us into the “lampstand” that we were intended to be. “The seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches” (Revelation 1:20). A lampstand has no other function than to hold a lamp. Jesus is the lamp, the “light of the world” (John 9:5), but the world can only see Jesus if we, His church, lift Him up and reveals Him. This is why Satan attacks the Church so ruthlessly, as we will see in the messages to the seven churches.
Continue to next section: 1: 16-20 JESUS, OUR AWESOME HIGH PRIEST
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> Again the inseparability of the Father and the Son is shown by the fact that “the Son of Man” (Jesus) announces that He is “the first and the ast” (verse 11). But in the Old Testament the title “the first and the last” is clearly applied to God— “I am the first and I am the last; besides Me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6).
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> Although the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, the Septuagint is a version of the Old Testament which was compiled by Greek scholars in Alexandria more than a hundred years before Christ. Despite its inaccuracies, it allows some comparison of New Testament words (such as in Revelation) with their Old Testament equivalents.
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> For example, the Orthodox Church teaches, “Christ and the Holy Spirit cannot err, and since the church is Christ’s body, since it is a continued Pentecost, it is therefore infallible…In the words of Dositheus: ‘We believe the Catholic Church to be taught by the Holy Spirit… and therefore we both believe and profess as true and undoubtedly certain, that it is impossible for the Catholic Church to err, or to be at all deceived, or ever to choose falsehood instead of truth”. Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church, (New York, NY, Penguin Books 1997) pg. 248. Also the Roman Catholic Church teaches, “As the Divinely appointed teacher of revealed truth, the church is infallible… in matters of both faith and morals” George Joyce, "The Church" The Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/0374a.htm accessed June 26, 2014.