Clouds Parting Revealing the Heavens

A daily devotion for July 7th


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.

Rev 1:19-20

In Chapters 2-3 we have remarkable letters to the seven churches. Many people would like to skip these letters and get on into the juicier sections of Revelation where the great upheavals of the last days are depicted. But it is a great mistake to do that. Our Lord set his church in the midst of the world and it is his instrument to control and determine human history. The church is expected to exert tremendous influence in the world's affairs. It is a mistake to pass over these letters. Here we see our Lord correcting things within the church, encouraging and teaching it how to live influentially in the day in which it is called to live.

As we come to these letters we must ask ourselves: Why are there only seven churches, and why these particular seven? The only good answer is they represent conditions that will exist throughout the whole period of church history from its beginning to its end. In other words, there are only seven types of churches that exist at any one given period of time.

Here these churches are called lampstands. They are not the light themselves, but they hold or bear the light. The light is the truth as it is in Jesus. There are many truths that are unknown to man in his natural state. No university, important as it may be, has knowledge of the truth which the church is given to tell the world. That is the moral and redemptive light which the church is called to reflect to a dark world. It is the business of the church to tell truth to the world. We are not simply to make our way through this difficult world as best we can, coming together in little holy huddles to survive until the coming of the Lord. We have an influence to exercise, and these letters to the seven churches marvelously reflect that fact.

Each letter is addressed to the angel of the church. Some have seen this is as a reference to the pastor of the church. That is not likely, since in all the churches of the New Testament you never find a single human leader. Leadership is always in the plural — elders and pastors of churches. The word angel appears many times in the book outside these seven letters, and in every case it refers to a heavenly being — what we normally think of as an angel. It suggests that each church has a heavenly being responsible for it. The angel of the church is the one responsible to help the human leaders of the church to know the mind of the Lord. In Hebrews we are told that angels are ministering spirits, sent forth to serve the heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14 KJV). It seems likely that in those invisible realms, which are very real but which we cannot see, there are angels assigned to each church to help the leaders and the congregation know what is on the heart of its Lord.

Lord, you are the light of the world, and I pray that the church today might reflect your light to a dark and weary world. Amen.

Life Application

In what ways do you see the church being the moral and redemptive light in the world today? How can we do better?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Church that Lost its Love

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