By Ray Jewell
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
“Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. – Revelation 1:17-20
The description of Jesus in the verses leading up to this text before us, is, to be completely honest, quite frightening. The double-edged sword coming out of His mouth is enough to send chills up and down my spine. Throw in eyes flashing like fire, a face shining like the sun, and all the other elements of the description, it sort of shatters many people’s thought of Jesus, meek and mild. Or Jesus is my friend or my homey.
He is the King of the Universe and He is prepared for battle. And John’s reaction is the only appropriate one when you are in the presence of Almighty God. “I fell at His feet as though dead.” Fear, awe, reverence, that’s the right response. Not,” hey, Jesus, let’s sit down and have a cup of coffee.” John’s reaction to the vision of the Glorified Christ is reminiscent of the scene in C. S. Lewis’ classic children’s tale, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Three of the four Pevensie children are about to meet Aslan (the Christ figure in the story) for the first time.
“But as for Aslan himself, the Beavers and the children didn’t know what to do or say when they saw him. People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time. If the children had ever thought so, they were cured of it now. For when they tried to look at Aslan’s face they just caught a glimpse of the golden mane and the great, royal, solemn, overwhelming eyes; and then they found they couldn’t look at him and went all trembly.”
Check out the link – http://www.samizdat.qc.ca/arts/lit/PDFs/LionWitchWardrobe_CSL.pdf
But in the midst of showing proper respect and homage; awe and fear to the conquering Christ, Jesus says “Do not be afraid.” There is no need to be afraid of this Christ if one is on His side. The vision continues with more descriptive realities of who this Christ is: the first and the last (the Eternal Creator), the One that is alive (the Resurrected Lord), the One who holds the Keys of death and Hades (the righteous Judge).
This is the One who has a job for John to do. “Write this down. Here is what the vision you saw means. This is My message to My followers in these particular places.” The idea here is that this part of the message, at least, comes with a clear interpretation from the Vision Giver Himself. The seven stars are seven messengers. Maybe a reference to guardian angels for each church, but certainly a reference to the main leader of the individual church, the one who would do the public speaking in the gathered assembly. And the seven lampstands symbolizes the seven churches themselves. So far the imagery is being explained for us. This revelation, once again, is one that the believers of that time would get. It is not a mystery for them.
I wonder what my response would be if the Conquering Christ would appear to me that way. I’s sure I would fall down like a dead man too. I suppose all of us would. But Jesus doesn’t want us to cower in fear before Him. He has given me a job to do on this earth, within the context of the lampstand (the church) that I serve with to bring to fruition the mission He wants to see accomplished. My fear is not so much directed towards this awesome God, my fear is that I won’t measure up. But, even more so, my fear is that the church, the lampstand, my lampstand, will be found lacking. I think my particular body of believers are in good hands, but my greatest fear is that the American Church is headed down a very wrong path. Some of that is due to ignorance. Some is due to the allowance of Biblical Illiteracy. Some is due to false prophets and teachers who skew the word of God for personal gain.
Lord, I fall at Your feet in awe of Your mighty power. Cleanse my heart. And Lord, I pray for the fellowship of believers I disciple with day in and day out. But, most important, I pray for a breaking of the heart of the American Church that has skewed Your message for whatever reason. Bring us to our knees in repentance. Restore us to Your Word, Your truth, Your righteousness. Bring a refining fire into our souls that we will be a Christ-filled people, showing love to our enemies, not hate; caring for the poor, not belittling them; speaking the truth in love, not browbeating those who don’t believe. In Your holy name, Amen.
Until next time,
TO THE GLORY OF GOD!