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Revelation Bible Study #03 7 Stars 7 Lampstands part 1

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Revelation #3

7 Stars and 7 Lampstands - part 1

Rev 1:20 - 3

V 19 WRITE - what you have seen, what is now, and what will be

The things you have seen - chapter 1

The things which are - ch 2 and 3 the dispensation of the church that John was a part of as are WE

Things which will take place (hereafter / after these things) - More later but in chapter 4:1 come up here  the church is never mentioned again on earth. 

V 20 - The mystery of the 7 stars in my right hand and the 7 lampstands is this: 7 stars are the angels / messengers of the 7 churches and 7 lampstands are the 7 churches

7= sacred symbolic - Criswell calls it sacred Arithmetic

7= completeness / fullness "7 Spirits" = the Holy Spirit who is ONE yet the fullness of 7 represent him and the fullness of God's Spirit

7 churches = All / fullness / completeness of the church - he speaks here to ALL the Church

Actual Churches ?  YES  But these things relate to US as well

Church = 2 words ek (out of) kaleo (to call out from) ek kaleo or ecclesia is a group of people called out from among

The church is a called out group by the grace of God, selected, Saved, Separated, Sanctified

Almost always used to describe a local group

These 7 are historically / actual and thus have a pastor, deacons, lay people, servants, etc

7 Real Cities

Ephesus - Western Asia Minor - commercial city - large manmade harbor 3 miles up river from the coast - East / West trade went through Ephesus.  Worshipped the goddess Diana. Timothy was pastor of the church there, later John was pastor there for 30+ years - Was a city of 250,000 - Housed the great Temple of Diana a Wonder of the Ancient World.  (425 ft long / 220 wide / 60 high - 127 marble pillars)  Today Ephesus is a desolate place -


          30 miles north on a bay in the Aegean Sea - beautiful wide streets - one of the largest cities of Asian Turkey today

many temples to different God's down the wide and beautiful "Golden Street" Today called Izmir - destroyed in WWI but rebuilt and beautiful still


          50 miles north 15 miles inland was at one time the World Capital.  Noted for 1) Its Library - 200K books.  The word Parchment is from the word Pergamos - Ptolemy had become angry with them and removed the trade of paper to them so they began to bring on animal skins / parchment.  Also 2) the Temple of Aesculapius - the god of healing, housed the greatest medical school in the world at that time to study the sciences of healing.  A city of pagan worship - many gods worshipped.  Today just a desolate place


30 miles south - not much history known - mercantile commerce - manufactured purple, copper, silver - trade guilds for each - a "union town" - today is in ruin and decay


          30 miles south hand an impassable location along a mountain with a river running like a mote around it - Gold in the area made it wealthy-  Money was invented with the 1st gold / silver coins minted there - Today in ruins


          43 miles southest 100 miles inland from Ephesus.  Mercantile town.  So wealthy … when earthquake destroyed in 60 AD they refused Rome's financial assistance and rebuilt themselves - Today in ruins

Back to the 7 Stars -

7 Stars = 7 Angels of the church.

Well the Angel part here can't be symbolic or then BOTH words would be symbolic and that wouldn't make sense

So the Angels must be real messengers

Messenger = "one entrusted with a communication"

An angel can be heavenly, spiritual, or human

Haggai 1:13 - Haggai, the Lord's messenger (malak - mal-awk) gave the message of the Lord to the people

Malak - (mal-awk) translates into Greek as aggelos (ang-e-los) - ANGEL

Angel = God's anointed messenger to deliver God's Word

Malachi 2:7 - …priest's lips should keep knowledge … for he is the messenger (aggelos / malak)  of the Lord of hosts

Where are  stars and lamps? In the Dark

We the Pastor and the Church shine in a dark world

Why THESE 7 churches and not Rome, Corinth, Jerusalem

-7  God was using them and their personalities to show us something that the church developing and in history would need to see

-8  These letters are LIKE parables to teach us

-9  Each ends "has an ear … hear" that's US

-10 There is a mystery … more to dig into than just a letter to churches

-11 These Messages are in a prophesy book so it's not JUST for one church but for all of us

7 Promises in these letters

-12 First - in the Garden the Tree of Life was forfeited - in Christ we regain the right to the Tree of Life

-13 Second - we are afflicted with a curse of sin and death to our souls - but now we need not fear death or the 2nd death in Christ

-14 Third - in the Exodus they ate manna and their names were worn on the breastplate of the priest, close to his heart.  Now we are feed the Manna of Life by Christ the bread of life and our names are inscribed on his heart

-15 Fourth - O T victories over enemies - now we are promised victory over the nations

-16 Fifth - the book of life and walking in life and victory yet to come

-17 Sixth citizens of the New Jerusalem and the New Temple - not made with human hands

-18 Seventh - trust him and overcome and sit with the Lord and rule in glory

7 Churches can be seen as periods in Church History and all 7 can be seen in every age of the church and all 7 can be seen in every CHURCH in the members

Ephesus - Waning Love - Church up to 100 AD

Smyrna - Martyrdom - the Roman persecution - Historians mark 10 Persecutions of the Church - "after 10 days" - Church from 100 - 313 AD

Pergamum - Identity with the World - live where Satan has his throne - Seated where Satan rules - Constantine 313 - 500 AD -

Thyratira - dressed in purple - like the harlot - Wicked Church sold out to the World - enticing and adorned with the worlds adornment - AD 500 - 1500

Sardis - men stand to preach - Church during the Reformation - 1500-1700 -

Philadelphia - Open Door - Missionary era - 1700 to present

Laodicea - wealth affluence, self sufficiency - silver and gold - no power, Christ on the outside - Liberal Church of Today the Content Church of Today


The Church at Ephesus - You Don't Bring Me Flowers Anymore?

Weirsbe calls this the "Backsliding Church"

Remember that JOHN had been the Pastor of this church from 69 AD to before his imprisonment but now with him gone everything had changed.  It doesn't take long, no matter how good the teaching for us to abandon truth for

  A. Jesus Speaks on the Authority of - v1 - Him who holds the 7 stars in his right hand and walks among the 7 golden lampstands

Why is that significant?

- He holds in his hand - for protection, for direction, for control, and for reprimand if necessary - the Stars / Pastors -

- walks among the lampstands - among - that shows him to be the High Priest who has the job of maintaining the lampstands in the Temple - He makes sure that they are filled with oil so they do not go out.  He maintains them and he also replaces them

- both Pastor and Church - are at his mercy, in need of his guidance, in need of his care, and subject to his reprimand and removal if necessary

  B. Acknowledgment  - I know your deeds

    1. hard work

    2. perseverance - endured hardships, remain fresh

    3. no toleration for wicked men, false teachers

    4. hate the practices of the Nicolaitans - followers of Nicolas or his ways - Irenaeus writes that Nicolas, one of the 1st deacons was a false believer who later became apostate.  Because he was a deacon, he was able to lead the church astray into immorality and wickedness.  His followers, Nicolaitans, were immoral and brought it to the church.  Clement says they "abandoned themselves to pleasure like goats (with) self-indulgence"  They replaced grace with liberty

  C. Accusation -  I hold this against you - "have" - echo (ekh-o) hold in hand - "against" katá (ka-ah) - down from according to; toward i.e. he is holding in his hand this charge against them

    1. you don't bring me flowers anymore

    2. we don't sit beside each other in the Car anymore - "I haven't moved"

    3. you have FORSAKEN - your first love

Jer 2:2 - Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: 'I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through th desert, through a land not sown'

2 Cor 11:2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy.  I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him

      a. forsaken - left - aphiemi (af-ee-ay-mee) - to send away, to depart, of a husband divorcing a wife, (like he sent HER away but it wasn't her choice) to disregard, to let go, to let up, to go away from one, to desert wrongfully, to leave one by not taking him as a companion

also means an activity implying complete cessation - you don't relate to me at all any longer - you are being faithful and religious but you no longer actively pursue a LOVE RELATIONSHIP with me


      b. FIRST - protos (pro-tos) - first in time or place - first in rank - first in influence / honor

      c. LOVE

  D. Aspiration / Expectation -

    1. Remember - (call to mind, be mindful of) remember what things WERE like and where you WERE "height" in your relationship with me - you were respected, looked up to, floating on cloud nine in our relationship

    2. Repent - STOP - You can't repent without stopping- Turn Around - you can't keep going where you are going and Follow Christ

    3. Return to Action - Do what you did First

      a. this is not brain surgery - DO - fashion, act rightly, make something,)

      b. fall in love again

      c. spend time

      d. listen

      e. pray - speak to

      f. sit with - meditation

      g. learn

      h. adore, hold hands, lift up hands (not lifting up hands to another)

  E. Alternative  - if you do not repent …

    1. I will come to you - come = erchomai (er-khom-ahee) to come to appear in public, i.e. don't make me come over there - don't make me bring this thing into public

    2. remove your lampstand from it's place - that's what the Priest does in the temple.  He works in the midst of the lamps and if there's a bad one, he removes it

  F. Addendum

    1. have ears?  HEAR (listen and act) this isn't JUST for the Ephesians

    2. It doesn't have to be this way - Isaiah 1:12-20

    3. to him to "overcomes" - he who gets past this receives the promise of eating the Tree of Life - does that mean they have to or have the ability to earn their salvation?  NO - for John "overcomes" seems to be a reference to a "Christian" but in this sense it's saying one who repents and gets past this will eat from the Tree of Life in Paradise - It is not a cause and affect it is a statement of fact - that is Paul says we are MORE than conquerors - he says that Christ always leads us in triumphant Victory - So Jesus is saying - you have gone through a set back - cut it out - you are my bride - and my true bride, my true children WILL overcome - those who do not were not mine in the first place - and so if you do …

    4. you will have the RIGHT - privilege - pleasure of eating from the tree of life which is in paradise - He was saying - why seek after love elsewhere, pleasure elsewhere, when you can seek it with me.  Paradise literally means Pleasure Park or Park of Pleasure

Jesus says … overcome, return, and sit with me under the tree of life, the tree won by a love relationship with the one who holds the stars in his hands and walks among the lampstands.


The Church of Smyrna: Suffering for A Little While

Wiersbe calls the Suffering Church

  A. Authority - him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again

    1. first and last - I am in control and began and will finish all things

    2. died and rose again - I know what it is to leave wealth and come into poverty - I know I have been there and have been completely victorious

  B. Acknowledgment

    1. I know your afflictions and poverty

*** a. know - oikeios (oy-ki-os) belonging to a house or family, intimate, kindred, related by blood

this is NOT just a knowledge or even just an experiential knowledge this was a FAMILY knowledge

Jesus was saying you and I are BOTH of the family, household of suffering, we are brothers in this house

      b. affliction - tribulation thlipsis (thlip-sis) pressing, pressing together, squeezed

      c. poverty - beggers by trade, destitute of riches and abundance

Yet they LIVED in the wealthiest of places and they were walking down wealthy streets every day but had to do without

    2. Some of you will be put in prison, it is a test (Job was tested to be prove Satan wrong)

    3. persecution for 10 days



  C. Accusation

     Against the "false Jews" - they worship have a synagogue to Satan



  D. Aspiration / Expectation

    1. you are RICH - abounding, wealthy, abundantly supplied in eternal possessions

    2. Do not Fear THEM - they say they are my people (Jews) but they are not

    3. Be Faithful - even to death

    4. Crowned with Life - this life is not a crown but a worn out suit, just a piece of pottery - we will exchange the corruptible and put in incorruptible


  E. Alternative

    1. giving up

    2. discouragement

    3. defeat

    4. denouncing Christ



  F. Addendum

    1. ears?  HEAR listen act

    2. Overcomes - comes out on the other side - I know you will because you are by nature overcomers

    3. Not be hurt by the 2nd Death - AJ  - and Stitches "they are going to hurt you … then the 2nd time it won't hurt but will make you better"

    4. we need not hear this life and the death that follows even though it may hurt, but the 2nd death we have NO FEAR, NO PAIN, No HURT

In the midst of the hurt and pain of the world I need to approach it in reality - The False Doctrine of Christian Science will tell you that you aren't REALLY hurting it's just a state of mind

NO Jesus says it's real and there are tragedies in life and we need to face them and see them as they are TRAGEDIES 

But be not afraid, or discouraged because they are NOT the end

They are NOT the final judgment

Hurricane Katrina is NOT the end of the story for those who have been evacuated

Hurricane Katrina was NOT the end for those who knew Jesus it was just a passage way into life that is REALLY Life.

So we can call it what it is, a Tough Situation, a Jagged Rock, A Tribulation as long as we don't call it the end … because even if it ends our life it is just the Doorway into the Coronation Room where we will receive the Crown of Life!

Smyrna was full of Temples to gods these Temples were built on an acropolis which look very dramatic with jagged edges and was called "the Crown of Smyrna" But Jesus told those people who walked under the acropolis every day under the squeeze between a pagan world and a False Faith don't be afraid, because even know the Trumpets are sounding the fanfare of Coronation and the doors are opening, banners unfurling, the Crown of Life is yours … Follow me I am the First and the Last I died but Rose again to Victory


3340 The Builder Of Coliseum

Years ago, a Roman empenr said to a Greek architect: "Build me a Coliseum, and when it is done, I will crown you, and I will make your name famous through all the world." The work was done. The emperor said: "Now, we will crown that architect. We will have a grand celebration."

The Coliseum was crowded with a great host. The emperor was there and the Greek architect, who was to be crowned for putting up this building. And they brought out some Christians, who were ready to die for the truth and from the doors underneath were let out the hungry lions.

The emperor arose amid the shouting assemblage and said: "The Coliseum is done, and we have Christians at the mouth of these lions, and we have come here to honour the architect who has constructed this wonderful building. The time has come for me to honour him, and we further celebrate his triumph by the slaying of these Christians." Whereupon, the Greek architect sprang to his feet and shouted: "I also am a Christian."

And they flung him to the wild beasts, and his body, bleeding and dead, was trumpled into the dust of the amphitheatre.


Can I tell you that when that Architect fell to the dust of that Coliseum in Rome, he breathed his last in martyrdom only to awaken on the Golden Paved halls of Heaven and you can be sure he was give his promised Crown by the Lord Almighty who said, "welcome to the Family of Affliction, here is your Crown"

Wednesday Night Bible study Fall 2005-Spring 2006

The following resources were used among others in preparation


Revelation Four Views: A Parallel Commentary – Steve Gregg

W.A. Criswell Expository Sermons on Revelation

Dr. J.A. Seiss Expositions on Revelations

MacArthur Bible Studies: Revelation – John MacArthur

Dr. David Jeremiah Expositions on Revelation

The Pulpit Commentary: Revelation

Wiersbe: The Bible Exposition Commentary

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