To the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things said he that holds the seven stars in his right hand…
When I was a child I read a book of Eastern Tales. It was the reading of the same book that stimulated Dr. Adam Clarke to study Eastern literature. One of the tales was to this effect: In a certain place, among bleak and gloomy mountains, was a steep and narrow pass, at the summit of which a spring sent forth streams of living waters. By the margin of the spring, nourished by its immortal rills, stood a tree which bore golden fruit, and as the breezes blew upon the trees it gave forth enchanting music. Whosoever might force his way up the difficult ascent should have these delights as his reward; but if he halted in his way, or attempted to turn back, he died upon the spot. Thousands made the trial, but none succeeded. At last an adventurous youth determined to win the prize, or perish in the effort. He asked one stationed at the foot what was the real difficulty, and how it could be overcome. He was assured there was no danger whatsoever, but that as he went along he would be assailed by hosts of voices assuming every kind of tone. All he had to do was boldly to go forward, and not regard them. Resolving not to heed the voices, he nerved himself for the endeavour. The moment he entered the valley the sounds began. It was as if the very rocks had tongues. Some groaned and entreated and warned, some mocked and jeered. As he stumbled on knee-deep among the reedy shanks and shapeless skulls of those who had perished in the attempt, a voice, seemingly at his very ear, implored him to take warning, and pause. Sometimes he was on the point of halting, but he pressed his fingers to his ears and hurried on. As he neared the top a chorus well-nigh stunned him; but he pressed his fingers the closer to his ears, and thus gained the summit. Then every voice that had assailed him broke forth in loudest plaudits.
(F. J. Sharr.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;