Revelation 1:20, “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
John wrote to seven churches in Asia, and there are seven angels, seven stars, and there are also seven spirits before the throne of God. The seven angels are the seven spirits before God’s throne because Jesus has made us, Revelation 1:6, “kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever”
To him be glory and dominion forever because we the saints, kings and priests will serve Christ, and in serving Christ we will give him glory and a dominion becoming the people over whom he will rule, we as becoming Christ’s government on earth executing his will bringing the dominion of Christ into existence.
Because of our role in the kingdom of Christ, Jesus is then calling out to his Church to position themselves to take the kingdom. He said through John, writing to the churches, “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write, and unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write, and to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, and unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write, and unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; and to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, and unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write.
“To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Because in time to come, both shortly for the churches in the days of John living under the sixth empire and the generation of the churches to come in the future, there was coming a period of persecution, a time of tribulation they will have to endure. And to him that overcomes, enduring the period of testing that will separate the sheep from the goats, Jesus will give a place and a seat of power in his kingdom to reign and rule with him. Revelation 3:21-22,
Therefore, John before explaining what he saw in his vision, greets the churches with the grace and peace of God. John beforehand told those attending his voice, Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”
Because what John was about to reveal was important, and upon hearing the vision and testimony of Jesus Christ shared with his people. The expectation was that the people would prepare for what God was about to do in the world.
It was important for his people to prepare, because shortly to come was the beginning of the persecution of the Church because of the proclamation of the gospel that was reaching the four corners of the empire of Rome. And it was also important because in the long term, and in the future before Christ’s return, God will deliver a final blow against the empire of Babylon to utterly destroy it and establish his eternal kingdom in its place.
Let us take note: John in writing, “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Was not writing to reveal who Jesus was, instead, John was writing down the testimony of Jesus Christ. We know this because the people to whom John was writing were those standing at the foot of the cross as Jesus hangs there and die offering his body as the living sacrifice to secure his eternal kingdom for his eternal people that is to inhabit it.
“Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God.” And this Jesus did because the will of God was to save his people from the wrath he was about to send upon the empires in rebellion against him.
The people to whom John wrote knew Jesus in person, they also saw him after his resurrection. Paul writes in light of this truth, I Corinthians 15:3-8, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”
Let us take note, Paul said Jesus appeared to all his disciples after his resurrection, and that some of them have already fallen asleep, meaning passed away into the eternal life of Christ awaiting the resurrection of the dead in Christ. But also take note of what was of first importance, the fact Jesus Christ both died and raised from the dead and is now alive forever more, that was of first importance. And like Paul, John was quick to point out this first importance as part of his greeting to the seven churches in Asia.
John wrote, “To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne.” John was making the statement that Jesus is alive, the living Christ has sent John to deliver His, that Christ’s testimony to his people and Church. This then confirms, the Jesus they know was alive, and the Jesus they saw after his resurrection had sent John, confirming the people to whom John wrote were not stranger to who Christ was. Therefore, when John wrote these words,
Revelation 1:1-2, “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.” In the minds of the people, this was not a revelation of who Jesus was, but a message from Jesus to his people regarding the times and the future.
It was then that John said these words, Revelation 1:3“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” And what John was saying to the Church was that they were to listen closely to what he was about to reveal, be informed, act, and guard yourselves against the coming hour that will bring you salvation.
Take note, by saying these things, John was preparing the Church for two things, Isaiah 9:7, to go and proclaim the kingdom of God, and secondly to prepare for the persecution that follows the proclamation of the kingdom, or gospel of Jesus Christ. Because to come was a great time of persecution, a measure of persecution they have never experienced before, and in the future, they will face even greater persecution for which Jesus said through John, Revelation 3:21-22, “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
As a result of the persecution, many will have to face death, but as a way of comforting His people, Jesus through John said, “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious.” Because Christ although having faced death and was persecuted and killed for the cause of the kingdom of His God, rose again from the grave, and so is victorious, and the promise God is making through the Spirit speaking to the seven churches, is that if they hold on to faith in Christ, in His resurrection, they too will be raised up from the dead.”
Persecution was coming, and also the end of the kingdoms of this world, and as they go about proclaiming the gospel, the people and citizens of the kingdom of Christ living in a rebellious world and empire must expect and prepare for persecution and death as they go about fulfilling Isiah 9:7 to increase the government of Christ drawing those Christ is calling to himself out from among the world that they may become his people and a kingdom to come.
John 15:19 “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. But as it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” Take note, we who were once of the world are being drawn out of the world to become a people and a kingdom for Christ. And because of this, we are reminded that as a result of us through the work given are drawing people away from the kingdom of the Antichrist, and he, that is the Antichrist will persecute and kill many among us.
But John was standing in the service of Christ, titled the Spirit, speaking to the seven churches, and serving the Lord and delivering the message of Christ, John then prepare the Church for the mission by reminding them once again that they are victorious in Christ.
John said to the seven churches in Asia, Revelation 1:4-5, “Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.”
The message and testimony of John was that Jesus is alive, and God is being gracious because he is beforehand sharing what is to come, so that we might prepare for what is coming upon the world. Take note, John was also saying to the seven churches, “We have God’s peace through Christ” And why? Because the message is from “Him who is” meaning Christ is risen, and “Who was” meaning was dead, and “Who is to come” meaning to establish his kingdom.
The peace of God John communicates, was the resurrection and the hope we have in the resurrection of Jesus who is, that was dead, and yet raised up from the dead, and now he will return to take his people unto himself. This is the peace of God we have in Christ; the grace of God is the revelation received beforehand concerning what is to come and our hope in Christ coming kingdom.
Therefore, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” And because we have this knowledge, read and educated ourselves, and because we heard this message, meaning are taking action because we understand the message, we will guard ourselves as we prepare for the coming kingdom of Christ that will put down and destroy the rebelling kingdoms of this world.
Daniel 7:21-22, “As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Highest, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.”
Although we will for a time face persecution and death, and although for the patience of Christ to save as many that will hear and surrender their lives to Christ, we will be persecuted and killed by the Antichrist. However, in the end God will stand in the midst of the candlesticks dressed for war who will at the time appointed, a time kept in his own power call and we will take the kingdom out of the hands of the Antichrist and the nations in rebellion against the kingdom of our God.
Revelation 11:14-16, “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever. “And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God.
Because on the command of Jesus Christ, they were given the right to judge the earth, executing God’s Judgement and justice in the earth being the government of Christ, and fulfilling this mission they hand the kingdom over to Christ and crown him King, and Lord of lords. This was and is the mission completed by the seven stars in the right hand of God at his command.