Tuesday, October 26, 2010

When we See Christ, What Will He Look Like to Us?

Rev. 1:7-16 NLT 
7 Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him—  even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world  will mourn for him.  Yes! Amen! '
  8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” 
  9 I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. 10 It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. 11 It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
  12 When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. 13 And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. 14 His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.

The Lord Jesus Christ came, humbling himself as a human and accepted the lowliest place among men to live his 33-year sacrificial life. He who owned all that exists left it and accepted abject poverty, powerlessness, and became subject to human authorities. However, John shows us the Risen and Ascended Christ in His grandeur. No longer the simple carpenter from Nazareth, but once again the King of the Universe He had created, Jesus stands before his friend John the beloved and gives a message for His beloved church of believers.

The image before John has lead to endless interpretation but its meaning can be made plainly simple in God's Holy Spirit. After all, it was HE who wanted this message communicated to us. Thus, it could not have been a riddle hard to crack. But it would require a cipher-- the Holy Spirit living within the individual to make its meaning plain and apply it to daily living. The message tells of God--Christ, the King of all. It speaks of lampstands. Jesus commanded us to be lamps lighting the way of others toward Him. So the surrounding lampstands-- seven of them-- are the perfection of the complete Church of Jesus Christ-- lacking none. The seven-fold spirit of God mentioned in earlier verses are reflected in the seven-fold lampstands of the Church. We know they are the church because in later verses the messenger cautions one of the churches that failure to respond would result in losing their 'lampstand,' or their membership in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The King's white hair represents pure wisdom and divine nature, the wool likeness was reminiscent of him being the sacrificial lamb slain for the sins of mankind. His brilliant eyes illustrate judgment of evil and the gold sash marks his role as high priest going before The Father to ask for the forgiveness of believing mankind from sin.

The command to write and to send to the seven churches of Asia minor also represents sending it to the church throughout the Church Age. Each church was real but illustrated a state of the church in one or more of its localities throughout the coming centuries. The words of encouragement and warning were intended to teach, correct, lift up, and clarify that in the Body of Christ there can be no compromise with evil for Christ has conquered evil.
Your servant in Christ's Love

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