Friday, January 25, 2013

The Mystery of the Seven Lampstands

Seven Stars and Seven Churches

   He held seven stars in his right hand. Rev 1:16.
  
  The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.1:20 


  And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, so that they might nourish her there a thousand, two hundred and sixty days. 12:6

And the dragon was enraged over the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. 12:17  

You will notice that we have now moved from chapter 12 back to where we left off in chapter 1.  Obviously, the letters to the seven churches must come after the birth of the Church which is recorded in 12:1-6.


Effective in The Hands Of Christ


   He had in his right hand seven stars.1:16.  Continuing with that thought, 1:20 says, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches.  

   To get a better sense of continuity I have repeated a few paragraphs here from a previous post.
  
  The word, angel, in 1:20 and in chapters two and three has various interpretations.  Origen and Jerome both believed that each church had its own angel and that these letters were written to the angelic beings that were responsible for their particular church. 

   To me, it seems unlikely that God would use a human to write letters to heavenly angels. 

   The current trend of thought among Bible scholars concerning this is that the word angel, which means "messenger", should be understood as being a human messenger; the preacher of a congregation.  Kenneth Wuest translates the word angels as messengers.
  


The Mother and Child are Safe


Here is one theory.


  In 12:5 we read that the woman brought forth a man-child.  Some argue that the woman is specifically the virgin mother and the man-child is Christ.  In that interpretation, it is easy to see that Satan, in the form of Herod, was ready to kill the Christ child soon after His birth. 

    And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, so that they might nourish her there a thousand, two hundred and sixty days. 12:6.  However, Satan failed to destroy the woman because the woman, Mary, with her child, and Joseph, her husband, fled into the wilderness (Egypt) and stayed there three and a half years, according to 12:6. 

   If one accepts this theory, then the statement, the child was caught up to God and his throne for safety, 12:5, would need to relate to the ascension of Christ after His resurrection.

  It seems that a more fitting interpretation of this whole scene is that the woman, the mother of the baby, represents the nation of Israel and the child, who had a Jewish mother, symbolises the Church, which had its origin in Christ.  

  There is no denying that The Church had its roots in Judaism.  We have accepted their holy scriptures as part of our Bible.  Not only was The Church expected to continue in Christ’s doctrines, which are in agreement with the Old Testament, but she is also the Body of Christ.  This was foreshadowed in the Garden of Eden when God said, the two shall be one.  In a similar manner the Bride of Christ and The Bridegroom “become one”. 

   The woman (Israel) is dispersed into the wilderness (away from Rome) for her own safety. That dispersion, of Jews and Christians, happened before 70 AD when Rome destroyed Jerusalem. The dragon was enraged with the woman (Israel), and he went to make war with the rest (notice how the one child has become a plural entity) of her offspring, (the Church), who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. 12:17. When a group of people leaves the testimony of Jesus Christ they are no longer part of Christ's body.

   The woman fled into the wilderness and was protected and cared for, for three and a half years.  Mr Uriah Smith** makes the following observation: Allowing for 360 days a year, three and a half years equals 1260 days, and, he says, in Bible prophecy one day represents one year.  According to him, the papacy was firmly established in 538 AD.  That is the point from which he starts counting the 1260 years and, of course, he ends up in the year 1798 AD, which he states, marked the end of the papal supremacy.  What he is saying is that The Church, in the wilderness, was safe from the wicked Roman Papal system. 

  However, I refute his theory.  His years are all short by five days each. Therefore, if we multiply 5 days times 1260 we end up with about eleven years. He should have ended up in approximately 1809 AD, but that date did not suit him.  It is true that the Hebrew calendar has only 360 days, but to make up for the shortfall they add a “leap month” every second or third year, as required.  Mr Smith, to maintain his theory, in his calculations did not add the "leap months", and so he ended up with the year he needed to make his point.

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** A Commentary of Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith, Seventh Day Adventist.