Revelation 1:20
This is the mystery of the seven stars you saw in My right hand and of the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
The Seven Churches: Their Common CharacteristicsS. Conway Revelation 1:20
The Vision of the LordS. Conway Revelation 1:9-20
The Vision of the Son of ManR. Green Revelation 1:9-20
Christ the TruthCanon Knox Little.Revelation 1:13-20
Christ's Countenance Compared to the SunJames Durham.Revelation 1:13-20
Lessons from the Christ of PatmosC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 1:13-20
St. John's VisionW. Cardall, B. A.Revelation 1:13-20
The Administration of ChristJames Stark.Revelation 1:13-20
The Christ of PatmosC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 1:13-20
The Exalted SaviourJames Young.Revelation 1:13-20
The First Scene in the Great RevelationEvan Lewis, B. A.Revelation 1:13-20
The Introductory VisionG. Rogers.Revelation 1:13-20
The Offices of Christ Continued in HeavenJames Durham.Revelation 1:13-20
The Power of an Objective FaithCanon T. T. Carter.Revelation 1:13-20
The Son of Man Amid the CandlesticksJames Young.Revelation 1:13-20
The Voice of ChristW. D. Killen, D. D.Revelation 1:13-20
The White Hair of JesusT. De Witt Talmage.Revelation 1:13-20
The World's Great High PriestJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 1:13-20
A Funeral SermonD. Merrill.Revelation 1:17-20
A Living Christ Explains Christian HistoryCanon Liddon.Revelation 1:17-20
An Apocalyptic Vision of ChristA. M. Fairbairn, D. D.Revelation 1:17-20
An Easter SermonBp. Phillips Brooks.Revelation 1:17-20
Christ a Living SaviourR. W. Dale, D. D.Revelation 1:17-20
Christ Destroys the Believer's FearsG. Philip.Revelation 1:17-20
Christ the King of Death and HadesT. J. Choate.Revelation 1:17-20
Christ Wielding the Keys of Death, and of the World UnseenDean Goulburn.Revelation 1:17-20
Christ with the Keys of Death and HellC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 1:17-20
Christ's Life in HeavenHomilistRevelation 1:17-20
Christ's Sovereignty Over the Invisible WorldW. J. Chapman, M. A.Revelation 1:17-20
Christ's Words of Good CheerG. A. Chadwick, D. D.Revelation 1:17-20
Fear NotW. L. Watkinson.Revelation 1:17-20
Fear NotJ. Trapp.Revelation 1:17-20
Hades, or the UnseenG. Gilfillan, M. A.Revelation 1:17-20
Infallible Antidotes Against Unbelieving FearsT. Boston, D. D.Revelation 1:17-20
Jesus Christ and the Nineteenth CenturyW. Lloyd, D. D.Revelation 1:17-20
Jesus Living for EverE. Brown.Revelation 1:17-20
ReverenceCanon Liddon.Revelation 1:17-20
Sudden RevelationsJ. Parker, D. D.Revelation 1:17-20
The Christ of History and EternityC. A. Berry.Revelation 1:17-20
The Fear of GodG. MacDonald.Revelation 1:17-20
The Glorious Master and the Swooning DiscipleC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 1:17-20
The Kingdom and the KeysA. Raleigh, D. D.Revelation 1:17-20
The Life of Christ in HeavenAbp. Magee.Revelation 1:17-20
The Living ChristP. T. Forsyth, D. D.Revelation 1:17-20
The Living LordW. Clarkson, B. A.Revelation 1:17-20
The Living OneR. Roberts.Revelation 1:17-20
The Living One Who Became DeadA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 1:17-20
The Nature and Design of the VisionG. Rogers.Revelation 1:17-20
The Prostrate ApostleJames Young.Revelation 1:17-20
The Royal Prerogatives of the Living RedeemerJ. H. Hill.Revelation 1:17-20
The Soul's Vision of ChristJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 1:17-20
Through Death to LifeW. Brock, D. D.Revelation 1:17-20
Christ Enjoining the Record of His Revelation to Man and Explaining its MeaningD. Thomas Revelation 1:19, 20
Christ Enjoining the Record of His Revelation to Man and Explaining its MeaningD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 1:19-20
Concerning WritingJames Durham.Revelation 1:19-20
Sacred LiteratureJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 1:19-20
The Seven Golden CandlesticksJ. H. Norton.Revelation 1:19-20
The Seven Golden LampstandsA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 1:19-20
The Stars and CandlesticksJ. A. Seiss, D. D.Revelation 1:19-20
Things Common to All ChurchesJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 1:19-20

Seven times is heard the solemn charge, given at the close of each of the letters addressed to these Churches, "He that hath an ear," etc. And we would obey this word so far as we may, and, ere considering these letters one by one, would glance at their common characteristics. To the most superficial reader it is evident that in arrangement and plan they are all alike. The "angel of the Church" is addressed in each; then comes the title of the Lord, setting forth that aspect of his character which it was especially well for the Church addressed to take heed to. Then follows the Lord's solemn, "I know thy works," meaning that he had perfectly seen and so perfectly knew all they had done and suffered, all that they were or might be. Then, where, as in most cases, there was aught of good to commemorate, it is named first, before accusation of failure or faithlessness is made. Then follows the earnest warning, and finally comes the promise to all that overcome, and the exhortation to hear and heed what has been said. This is the order of thought in them all, and the aim and purpose of all are one. But, looking at these letters as a whole, the teachings that they convey may be summed up under these three heads.

I. ECCLESIASTICAL. For we may gain from these epistles some clear outlines and learn some of the fundamental principles of the primitive Churches. The picture may not be complete, the portraiture only a sketch; but what it does tell is distinct as well as important. We learn concerning the Churches:

1. Their spread and increase.

(1) We are not told why these seven are mentioned and not others. It was not

(a) because they were all, or for the most part, chief cities. Outside these there were, of course, many far more important - Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Rome, etc. And even near to these seven there were others greater than they, as Miletus, Colossae, Hierapolis, and probably others. Some that are mentioned are quite insignificant. But perhaps,

(b) being near one to the other, and all not far from Ephesus, St. John knew more of them. They all lay within the area of two ordinary English counties, and, following the order of their names, they formed a complete circle, starting from and returning to Ephesus. And

(c) yet more, because in them the character and conduct told of were conspicuous.

(2) Nor are we told why these seven only are named. Why not less or more? But the reason probably was to show, by the use of the symbolic number, seven, that what was said concerning these Churches was of world-wide and world-enduring importance. For "seven" is the sacred number, and indicates Divine selection, and so enforces the charge that those who hear what the Spirit saith should give all heed thereto.

(3) But these being mentioned, the spread of the Church of Christ is shown. For if in places so obscure as some of these were the faith of Christ was found, how much more in larger places? We know the tide has come in when we see that the little inland creeks are filled. We have no doubt then that the whole stretch of the seashore which, when the tide was out, was left uncovered, is now bright and sparkling with waves. So if to Thyatira and such places the gospel had spread, much more might we be assured that in more populous places it would also be found.

2. Their fundamental principle. That the Church should consist of true believers in Christ, whose faith worked by love and produced holiness of life. For when and wherever praise is given, - and large and blessed promises are held out - it is ever to those who are faithful followers of the Lord. On the other hand, censure and threatening, warning and expostulation, are addressed only to those who are found unfaithful, or are in peril of becoming so. It is, therefore, evident that the place of any in the Church was due to their being regarded as sincere and true believers. If it was not expected of them to be this, wherefore such terrible blame and threats pronounced against them for not being so? It is plain that purity and holiness are regarded as their proper character; that as holy they were called into and continued in the Church, and that on no other ground had they a right there. No nationality and no religious rite could make men living members of the Church; only they were so who so believed in Christ that they became renewed in heart and life. And it is so still; God help us to remember it!

3. Their form. From the mention of these several Churches it is surely evident that at the first there was no idea that the Church of Christ was to be one visible organized body coextensive with the whole world. We believe in "one holy Catholic Church," but we dispute the right of any one organization to claim so august a title. Christ's prayer, "That they all may be one," is heard, and its answer is seen in the fact of the identity in love, faith, and character of all who are really his. And it is these in their totality, visible and known only to him, found in all sections of the Church, but confined none, who make up the "holy Catholic Church." But, so far as visible form is concerned, we read not of "the Church," but of "Churches." Nor were these Churches national or provincial - one Church for a nation or province. All these seven Churches were in one province. Nor was their form presbyterian, for they were not welded together into one, but remained distinct and apart. Nor were they congregational - the Church consisting only of those worshipping in one building. For so there might have been, as there were not, many such Churches in any one of these seven cities. But their form seems to have been municipal rather than aught beside. The believers in one town or city might meet in several congregations, and probably in large cities did so; but we read of only one Church at such places; as the Church at Philippi, Corinth, Antioch, Rome, etc.; not "the Churches," but "the Church." But for the several congregations there were bishops and deacons, as many as might be needed. Hence we read of "the Church, with its bishops and deacons" (Philippians 1:1). Each congregation seems to have had its presiding officer and assistants, but such congregation, with these, did not form a separate Church; the Church consisted of all the believers in the city or town to which they belonged. And, surely, it was an "excellent way." But what matter the form in which the Church or Churches may be organized? It is the life within, the Divine life, begotten of the Spirit of God, that is the all important thing. Without that the best form is no better than the worst; and with that the worst form serves almost as well as the best.

4. Their ministry.

(1) The Churches were presided over by pastors. For by "the angel of the Church" we seem obliged to understand its chief pastor. No doubt it looks mere simple and reasonable to regard the word "angel" as meaning an angel in the ordinary sense of the word. And those who say we should so understand it refer us to the fourth chapter of this book, where we read of "the angel of the waters;" and also to the words of our Lord, who speaks of the "angels" of little children ("Their angels do always behold," etc.); and it is urged that, as we must understand these passages as telling of angels who presided over, had charge of, "the waters" (as in Revelation 4.) and of "children" (as in the Gospels), so here we must understand, by "the angel of the Church," the angel who had the charge of the Church, and was, therefore, its representative before God. And it is also urged that Michael is in Daniel represented as the guardian of Israel. And the Jews believed in such angels. "It is his angel" - so said those gathered at Mary's house when Peter, whom they thought to be in prison, knocked at the door. But in reply to all this there is one conclusive answer - How could John write a letter to an angel and send it to him? He could write and send to the Churches and their pastors; but to an angel! Hence we regard the chief pastor as meant by the angel. In Haggai and Malachi, prophets are called "messengers," or angels; and such, we believe, are meant here. But what a view of the pastoral office and its solemn responsibility we get when we thus understand this word! They are addressed as representing and responsible for the Churches over whom they preside. Well might St. Paul cry - and well may we - "Brethren, pray for us."

(2) And there seems to have been a modified episcopate; for the chief pastor had others with him (cf. Acts 20, "Elders of the Church"). Evidently there were several. But the angel seems to have been chief over the rest, as he is held responsible for the faith and practice of the Church. But this need not hurt any one's conscience. Means are not ends. We cannot follow exactly the scriptural pattern in all details. Were we to do so, it would hinder, probably, rather than help forward the end the Church seeks. And our divergences of practice should teach mutual charity and striving after oneness of heart even where there is not oneness of form.

II. DOCTRINAL. Note the sublime titles given to our Lord. They are all drawn from the vision told of in this chapter. But how plainly they teach the Divine glory that belongs to our Lord! As we read them over one by one, can we doubt, whilst we regard this book as inspired, as to who and what our Lord was? Here are titles that no creature, of however high an order of intelligence, or sanctity, or power, could dare to assume to himself or permit others to ascribe to him. There is but one conclusion, that he to whom these titles are given, and by whom they are claimed, is in truth one with the Almighty, the uncreated, the supreme God. Therefore let all the angels of God, and every creature of God, and, above all, every soul of man, worship him.

III. RELIGIOUS. For they show, concerning the Christian life:

1. Its solemnity. We are under the eye of him who says as none other can, "I know thy works." Thus he speaks to us all. Others do not, cannot, know us as he does. Who, then, will dare to disobey?

"Arm me with jealous care,
As in thy sight to live;
And oh, thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give."

2. Its nature.

(1) It is a battle. All have to wage a warfare. None are exempt. Not poor Sardis and Laodicea alone, the weakest and worst of the Churches, have this warfare to wage, but Smyrna and Philadelphia also, the strongest and best. Every one is spoken to and of as engaged in a conflict in which, if he do not overcome, he will be overcome. We cannot "sit and sing ourselves away to everlasting bliss." But a battle has to be fought, and only to those who overcome will the prize be given.

(2) This battle has tremendous issues. Which excel in intensity, the promises to the faithful or the threatenings to the unfaithful, it is hard to say. But they are thus vividly contrasted in each letter, that we may the more readily see and deeply feel that this is no holiday pastime, no child's play, to which we are all inexorably called, but a serious, stern, and awful war. True, today, our foes are spiritual rather than tangible and visible; not cruel and bloody men who hunt our lives to destroy them, but the unseen forces of hell which are within and all around us, and are the more mighty for that they are unseen. We have need to watch and we have need to pray. But there are

(3) vast encouragements; for

(a) it is assured that all may overcome. We are not mocked. Even to Laodicea this was said, thereby implying that even for them, poor fallen miserable ones that they were, victory was possible, even they might overcome. And so now; they who most of all are "tied and bound by the chain of their sins" (and some are dreadfully so), yet even they, "through the might of Christ their Lord," may conquer in the fight.

(b) And we are told how. For the titles of the Lord in these several letters show him to be an all-sufficient Saviour. However many and varied are the wants of his Church, he meets them and ministers to their needs. Are they in peril? He is their Guardian, holding them fast in his right hand. Are they beset by the powers of hell? He is their eternal, their glorified Saviour, possessed of all power. Are they troubled by fierce persecutors or by false friends? He who hath the sharp two-edged sword will avenge them. Are they wandering in heart and life, gone and yet going astray? He whose eyes are as a flame of fire sees them and will follow them, and will surely and, if needs be, sternly correct them. Are they almost worn out with toil and trial? He will uphold them, for has he not the seven Spirits of God? Does he bid them set out in arduous service, telling them that there is an open door before them? He encourages and cheers them, in that he hath the key of David, and that when he opens, no man shuts. Does he tear off the false coverings by which their true and evil state is hidden? As he does so he reminds them that he is their faithful Friend and Counsellor. Surely here, then, is the general lesson to be learnt from these varied letters of the Lord - that there can be no stress or strait in which his servants may be, whether by their own folly and fault or by the malice and might of others, but what he has grace sufficient for all, and his grace shall supply all their need. Finally

(c) observe the heart-cheering promise with which these letters all end. Imagery of the most sublime and exalted description is employed to set forth the glorious reward which now to some extent is given, but in the future far more fully shall be given to the faithful Christian. He is to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God; the second death is to have no power over him; he is to be invested with kingly authority over the nations, like to that which Christ possesses; he is to be arrayed in triumphant and beautiful vestments, with white raiment is he to be clothed, and his name is to be confessed by the glorified Redeemer before all heaven; he is to become a pillar in the temple of God, and on him is to be written the Name of God, and the name of the city of God, from which he is to go no more out; he is to sit with Christ on his throne, as Christ is set down with the Father on his throne; he is to eat of the hidden manna, and to receive the white stone on which a new name is written, a name which no man knoweth, saving he who receiveth it. How great then are the encouragements held out to us all to cheer us on in our warfare; so that, if the battle be stern and the issues tremendous, we are not left to wage it at our own charges, but are daily helped by the grace of our Lord now, and animated by the sure prospect of that prize which shall be given hereafter to all who truly strive for it. Such are some of the teachings common to all these letters. Others of a more special and particular kind they doubtless have, but these alone justify and enforce the sevenfold word, "He that hath an ear, let him hear," etc. - S.C.

Write the things which thou hast seen. &&&
These words suggest two general remarks concerning Christ.


1. Those which had been experienced.

2. Those things which were now present.

3. Those which were approaching. Now these three classes of things John had to write down. Whatever man has seen, or will see of the Divine, he is bound to record — "Write." Literature, though sadly corrupted and the source of enormous mischief, is a Divine institution. Rightly employed it is one of the grandest forces in human life. Thank God for books, our best companions, always ready with their counsel and their comfort. They are arks that have borne down to us, over the floods of centuries, the vital germs of departed ages.


1. The unknown of the knowable. What is mystery to one man is not so to another; and what is mystery to a man to-day is no mystery to-morrow.

2. The unknown of the unknowable. He whom we call God is the great mystery, the absolutely unknowable — whom no man hath seen or can see. Now in the former sense the meaning of the word "mystery" is here employed.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)


1. Which men have seen with the eye of the body.

2. Things which the authors have seen with the eye of the mind.

3. Things which the authors have seen with the eye of the soul.

II. THAT IT CONTAINS THE RECORD OF THINGS WHICH ARE HAPPENING AROUND US. "And the things which are." The Bible records the history of the past ages, of a great antiquity, and in this coincides with our expectation; but it also touches the moral, political, and historic life of men to-day. God knew the ages before they commenced their march, and has enabled men to anticipate their meaning by the gift of a holy inspiration.


(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. That men may by writingcommunicate what light God gives them for the good of the Church. It is true the Gospel was at first spread and planted by preaching, that is more properly the means of conversion. There is reason also for this, if we consider(1) The relation that is amongst all the members of the Catholic Church, whereby all are tied, to be edifying one to another, etc.(2) The end wherefore God had given men gifts, which is to profit withal: and yet(3) That a man cannot by word make his gift forthcoming in the extent that he is obliged; there is therefore a necessity of using writing for that end, it being a singular gift of God for promoting edification.

2. That none should take on them to write anything, as the Lord's mind, for the edification of the Church, without a call to it: I mean not an extraordinary call, as John had; but this I mean, that as there is an ordinary call needful to the preaching of the Gospel, so, in the general, that same consequence will hold in respect of writing for such an end. And if we look through the Scripture, we will find a call for writing as well as for preaching. And to warrant writing, we would conceive so much to be necessary as may(1) Satisfy the man himself as to his being called to such an eminent duty by God, and therefore there must be somewhat to hold out to him that it is God's mind he should undertake such a task.(2) That men walk not by their own satisfaction alone; but that there may be so much as to convince others, that God put them on that work.

3. That a man therefore may have peace as to his undertaking, we conceive there is a concurrence of several things needful to be observed: As(1) There is a necessity of a single end, to wit, God's glory, others' edification; and in part may come in, his own exoneration as to such a duty. It is not self-seeking, nor getting of a name, nor strengthening such a particular party or opinion, that will give one peace in this matter.(2) It is necessary, not only that the thing be truth; but that it may be edifying, profitable, and pertinent, at such a time: God's call to anything, doth ever time it, and tryst it well, as most subservient to the scope of edification.(3) Besides these, there are circumstances in the concurrence of providences trysting together, in reference to the person writing, to the subject written of, the time wherein and occasion whereupon, and such like: which being observed, may contribute to give some light in the thing. As(a) If the person be called publicly to edify the Church; if he be of that weight, as his testimony may prove profitable in the Church for the strengthening and confirming of others, or the like considerations; though no new thing be brought forth by him: which ground, as a moral reason, Luke gives to Theophilus of his writing the Gospel (Luke 1:1).(b) Considerations may be drawn from the subject. As

(i.)If it be a necessary point that is controversed.

(ii.)If the Scripture opened be dark and obscure; and possibly not many satisfyingly writing of it.

(iii.)If the way of handling it be such as gives any new advantage to truth, or to the opening of that Scripture.(c) The time would be considered, if such a truth be presently controverted, or such a subject necessary to be spoken unto now; if such a person's interposing may be useful, if such a duty be neglected, or if such a Scripture be not made use of, and the like.(d) Occasion also may be, from God's putting one to have thoughts of such a subject when others are otherwise taken up, some not having access to be edifying otherwise; as when occasion of study is given, and the thing by public delivery or secret communication is known to others, and called for by them to be made public: or that they would set themselves to it, God giving occasion of health, quietness, means, etc., for it: the thing getting approbation from such as are single, and intelligent, judging such a thing useful; in this the spirits of God's servants would be subject to others.

(James Durham.)

It is the realm in which they are stationed, and its characteristics as indicated in the provision made for it. Where you see stars there is darkness. And how dark is that world, that kingdom, that community, that heart, into which the light of Christianity has not effectually penetrated? With all the splendour of its genius, all the glory of its arms, all the brilliancy of its power, how savage, how like a sepulchre, full of chilly gloom and festering death! When the Gospel first arose upon the world, in what state did it find mankind? Let the apostle answer (Romans 1:22-32). And when God's messengers came to them with the light of truth and righteousness, how were they treated? Let the same apostle answer (Hebrews 11:35-38). Even the Lord of the covenant was crucified and killed, and all His apostles martyred, and the Church's first age made one continuous baptism of blood by the enthroned malignity of the unsanctified heart. Such is humanity, unreached and unredeemed by the grace of God in Christ Jesus (Luke 10:3). Those stars and candlesticks have not been useless. Some hearts, communities, and kingdoms have been attracted by the light, and have learned to appreciate its transforming beauty, and are found to a greater or less degree walking and rejoicing in it. But still the world in the main is a dark and wicked world. The light sent of God is "a light that shineth in a dark place," and will so continue "until the day dawn" for the great consummation. Till then, therefore, we must expect to suffer and to fight.

(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)

I. A CHURCH'S BUSINESS IS TO HOLD UP THE LIGHT. A church which fails in aggressive evangelistic activity has failed utterly. What is the good of a lamp-post if there is no light in it? It is only a nuisance, for people to knock their heads against in the dark. A large number of the so-called Christian organisations of this day are lampstands without a light. But then, let us remember, too, that whilst thus one must strongly assert that the function of the Church is to lift up a light which is not its own, on the other hand, whosoever partakes of that light — which he cannot lift unless he loves — is changed into its nature. "Ye are the light of the world." They are made light by contact with the Light; as a mirror laid in the sunshine will reflect the beams that fall upon it, and will cast them into some corners which, without its intervention, they would not have reached, and will be capable of being gazed on with undazzled eye by some whose optics were too weak to look upon the light itself. Now the scope of this light-bearing and witnessing for Jesus Christ which is the purpose of the Church, and of each individual in it, is not to be unduly narrowed. The Christian community is bound to bring the principles of Christ's Gospel to bear upon all forms of life, individual, social, moral, and political, and sometimes economical. That is the function of the individual members of the Church because they are Christians. There is one more word I would like to say, and that is, if it is the purpose of a Christian Church to hold forth the light, how utterly irrelevant and puerile becomes the question whether we are to send the Gospel to distant lands, and how ridiculous the attempt to pit home against foreign evangelistic enterprise necessarily becomes. "Light is light, which radiates," and you may as well expect a sunbeam to elect upon which side it shall shine, and how far it shall travel, as try to prescribe to the expansive and outward-rushing instincts of Christian beneficence, the sphere within which they are to confine themselves. Where I can shine I am bound to shine, and England has not got the language that is going to fill the world in a century or two, and the religion which will bless humanity, only in order that with her worldwide empire she may have markets for her produce, or gather as in a net the riches of the nations.

II. THIS OFFICE IS THE CONJOINT BUSINESS OF THE WHOLE CHURCH. You have sometimes seen methods of illumination by which a rough triangle of wood is dotted all over with tin sockets, and tapers stuck in them. That is not the way in which a Church is to do its evangelising work. The symbol of our text gives a better metaphor — one lampstand holding one light. Now that contains two thoughts.

1. One is the universal obligation. It is the whole Church which composes the stand for the lamp. It is the whole of any Church which is bound equally to evangelistic effort. We are all disposed to think that the Church should do a deal. What about A., B., C., the members of it? It is their business. And it only becomes the duty of the community because it is the duty of each individual within it.

2. A second thought is combined action. We must be contented often to be insignificant, to do functional work, to be one of the great crowd whose hand on the rope gives an indivisible but to Him up yonder not imperceptible pull to bring the vessel to shore. There are a myriad little spheres in the raindrops which make the rainbow, and each of them has a little rainbow in its own tiny depths, but they all fuse together into the sevenfold arch of perfect beauty that spans the sky.

III. THIS OFFICE IS DISCHARGED UNDER THE INSPECTION OF JESUS CHRIST. According to the vision of which the text is the interpretation Christ is, and according to the words of one of the letters He walks, in the midst of the seven candlesticks. The presence of the Christ is the condition of the churches discharging their functions. "He walks," says the letter already referred to, "in their midst," which is the emblem of His continual activity. In so far as we are lights, we are lights kindled, and therefore burning away. There must be a continual replenishing of the inward supply from which the power of illumination comes, as is set forth in another instance in the Old Testament in which this symbol appears — viz., in Zechariah's prophecy, where he sees the arrangements by which the oil is fed to the golden candlestick. The oil must be fed to us, in so far as we are not lampstands, but lamps. That is to say, the great High Priest of the Temple moves as His predecessors did in the ancient sanctuary, and trims the lamps, not quenching the smoking flax, but raising it to a clearer flame. That presence stimulates. It is a solemn thought that He walks in the midst. It is made more solemn when we remember how, in these letters that follow my text, there is in each case repeated, "I know thy works." That inspection of our acts is not all that He is here for, thank God! but He is here for that. Oh, if we believed it, what different people we should be, and what a different Church this would be!

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Your attention will be called to the striking symbol of the Church, as exhibited by the golden candlestick, which, like that which stood in the tabernacle, had its seven branches. We notice the fitness of this symbol of the golden candlestick.

I. IN ITS POSITION. The Church of Christ still waits without the veil, and sheds her blessed light to show to the world the Saviour.

II. THE OFFICE OF THE CHURCH. It does not sanctify, nor save, but it does hold forth the true light, and shed its brightness on a darkened world.





(J. H. Norton.)


1. That all Christian Churches should be presided over by a recognised pastor.

2. That the pastor is the head and representative of the Church to which he belongs.

3. That the pastor exercises a great moral influence upon the Church with which he is connected.


1. Christ knows the Church. This thought should solemnise our Church life, and make it reverent in its disposition of soul.

2. Christ rules the Church. His rulership is for the moral welfare and defence of the Church, and should be obediently acknowledged.

3. Christ passes judgment on the Church. He passes judgment on the works, the patience, the suffering, the discipline, the creed, and the enthusiasm of the Church, and condemns or approves accordingly.



1. That the ministerial office has the sanction of Heaven.

2. That Churches should be careful in the selection of their pastor.

3. That Churches should seek to cultivate a pure and fervent spiritual life.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

Ephesus, Laodicea, Patmos, Pergamum, Philadelphia, Sardis, Smyrna, Thyatira
Angels, Assemblies, Burning, Candlesticks, Churches, Gold, Golden, Hast, Lamps, Lampstands, Lamp-stands, Lights, Meaning, Messengers, Ministers, Mystery, Sawest, Secret, Seven, Stars, Vessels
1. The preface.
4. John's salutation to the seven churches of Asia.
7. The coming of Christ.
8. His glorious power and majesty.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Revelation 1:20

     1270   right hand of God
     1670   symbols
     4281   stars
     5373   lamp and lampstand

May 10. "I am Alive Forevermore" (Rev. I. 18).
"I am alive forevermore" (Rev. i. 18). Here is the message of the Christ of the cross and the still more glorious and precious Christ of the resurrection. It is beautiful and inspiring to note the touch of light and glory with which these simple words invest the cross. It is not said I am He that was dead and liveth, but "I am He that liveth and was dead, but am alive forevermore." Life is mentioned before the death. There are two ways of looking at the cross. One is from the death side and the other
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Glorious Master and the Swooning Disciple
If our conceptions of the Lord Jesus are very enlarged, they will only be his due. We cannot exaggerate here. He deserves higher praise than we can ever render to him. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high is be above our loftiest conceptions. Even when the angels strike their loudest notes, and chant his praises most exultingly on their highest festal days, the music falls far short of his excellence. He is higher than a seraph's most soaring thought! Rise then, my brethren, as on
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

10Th Day. Dying Grace.
"He is Faithful that Promised." "I have the keys of hell and of death."--REV. i. 18. Dying Grace. And from whom could dying grace come so welcome, as from Thee, O blessed Jesus? Not only is Thy name, "The Abolisher of Death;" but Thou didst thyself die! Thou hast sanctified the grave by Thine own presence, and divested it of all its terrors. My soul! art thou at times afraid of this, thy last enemy? If the rest of thy pilgrimage-way be peaceful and unclouded, rests there a dark and portentous
John Ross Macduff—The Faithful Promiser

Swooning and Reviving Christ's Feet.
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED AT THE CLOSE OF ONE OF THE PASTORS' COLLEGE CONFERENCES. "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold. I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."--Revelation i. 17, 18. SWOONING AND REVIVING AT CHRIST'S FEET. WE have nothing now to think of but our Lord. We come to Him that He may cause us to forget all others.
Charles Hadden Spurgeon—Till He Come

The Fear of God.
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not; I am the first and the last and the Living one.'--Rev. i. 17, 18. It is not alone the first beginnings of religion that are full of fear. So long as love is imperfect, there is room for torment. That lore only which fills the heart--and nothing but love can fill any heart--is able to cast out fear, leaving no room for its presence. What we find in the beginnings of religion, will hold in varying
George MacDonald—Unspoken Sermons

Catalogue of his Works.
There is no absolutely complete edition of Eusebius' extant works. The only one which can lay claim even to relative completeness is that of Migne: Eusebii Pamphili, Cæsareæ Palestinæ Episcopi, Opera omnia quæ extant, curis variorum, nempe: Henrici Valesii, Francisci Vigeri, Bernardi Montfauconii, Card. Angelo Maii edita; collegit et denuo recognovit J. P. Migne. Par. 1857. 6 vols. (tom. XIX.-XXIV. of Migne's Patrologia Græca). This edition omits the works which are
Eusebius Pamphilius—Church History

The First and the Last
This title is used in Rev. i. 11. It is used again in 1. 17, ii. 8, and xxii. 13, but is never found in connection with "the Church of God." On the other hand, it is a title closely associated with "the Jew and the Gentile," as the following Scriptures will testify. Is. xli. 4, 5: "Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I, Jehovah, THE FIRST AND LAST; I am He. The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid." Is. xliv. 6: "Thus saith the Lord, the
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

The Lord's Day
In Rev. i. 9 we are told that John saw and received this revelation on "the Lord's Day." Leaving the former part of this verse for the present, let us notice the latter expression, "the Lord's Day." [4] The majority of people, being accustomed from their infancy to hear the first day of the week called the Lord's Day, conclude in their own minds that that day is thus called in Rev. i. 9 because that was the name of it. But the contrary is the fact: the day is so called by us because of this verse.
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

A Great Voice
This expression links on the book of Revelation to the book of Deuteronomy, especially if we regard it in the connection with the fire, with which it is associated in each case. Ten times is the voice of God speaking "out of the midst of the fire" heard in Deuteronomy: viz., chaps. iv. 12,15,33,36; v. 4,22(19) [36] , 23(20), 24(21), 25(21), 26(23). Here, in Rev. i. 10, John hears "a great voice," and it is connected with fire, for the eyes of the speaker were "as a flame of fire" (ver. 14) and his
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

Call to China and Voyage Hence
The known facts in regard to John Talmage's boyhood and youthful days are few. Of the known facts some perhaps are too trivial, others too sacred to bear mention. The sapling grew. Of the inner and outer circles of growth there is but brief record. He spent his boyhood at a quiet country hamlet, Gateville, New Jersey. On the ridge swung the toll-gate, and a little beyond might be heard the hum and rattle of the grist-mill. His father kept the toll-gate. John was a fine horseman, and found great sport
Rev. John Gerardus Fagg—Forty Years in South China

Within the Holiest
Gerhard Ter Steegen Rev. i. 5, 6 His priest am I, before Him day and night, Within His Holy Place; And death, and life, and all things dark and bright, I spread before His Face. Rejoicing with His joy, yet ever still, For silence is my song My work to bend beneath His blessed will, All day, and all night long-- For ever holding with Him converse sweet, Yet speechless, for my gladness is complete.
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others

Moreover, to Give a Fuller Demonstration of this Point...
[2829] Rev. i. 5 [2830] 1 Cor. xv. 23 [2831] 1 Cor. xv. 42-4 [2832] animale. [2833] Phil. iii. 21
Various—Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.

The Fire of Love --Book I
Chapter I Note iii., p. 16--C. reads: for thai vnmanerly wyth warldly mone has armyd tham self.' But L. quia terrenas pecunias immoderate amauerunt'; which is probably correct, and which I have therefore followed. Note iv., p. 17--an omission in C. L., reads: Erumpit enim in ostensione operis feruor amoris.' Note v., p. 18--Another omission L. et qui ad amandum deum semper sunt auidi.' Chapter II Note vi., p. 20 The Bible references are to the Vulgate of Sixtus V and Clement VII, and where the
Richard Rolle—The Fire of Love

The Source of Power
'And the Angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, 2. And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold, a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps which are upon the top thereof: 3. And two olive-trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4. So I answered and spake to the Angel that talked with
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

A Sight of the Crowned Christ
(Revelation, Chapter i.) "Since mine eyes were fixed on Jesus, I've lost sight of all beside, So enchained my spirit's vision, Looking at the Crucified." "The Lord Christ passed my humble cot: I knew him, yet I knew him not; But as I oft had done before, I hurried through my narrow door To touch His garment's hem. "He drew me to a place apart From curious crowd and noisy mart; And as I sat there at His feet I caught the thrill of His heart-beat Beyond His garment's hem. "Rare was the bread He broke
by S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks on the Crowned Christ of Revelation

Love's Complaining
Hence our Lord's fitness to deal with the churches, which are these golden lamp-stands, for no one knows so much about the lamps as the person whose constant work it is to watch them and trim them. No one knows the churches as Jesus does, for the care of all the churches daily comes upon him, he continually walks among them, and holds their ministers as stars in his right hand. His eyes are perpetually upon the churches, so that he knows their works, their sufferings, and their sins; and those eyes
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 32: 1886

Our Lord Appears after his Ascension.
^F I. Cor. XV. 8. ^f 8 and last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also. [Since Paul reckons this among the bodily appearances of our Lord, we have included it in our work; but it borders upon those spiritual appearances which belong rather to apostolic history and may be classed with the vision of Stephen (Acts vii. 55) and John (Rev. i. 9-17), to which it was near kin. Accounts of the appearance will be found in the ninth, twenty-second and twenty-sixth chapters of Acts. For
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Living One
"I am He that liveth, and was dead" (i. 18). (...) (ho zon), THE LIVING ONE. Like the previous title, it is used as a special designation of the One whose unveiling is about to be shewn to John. Its use is peculiar to Daniel and Revelation. The two books thus linked together by it are linked as to their character and subject matter in a very special manner. It is used twice in Daniel:- Dan. iv. 34 (31 [19] ) and xii. 7; and six time in Revelation:- Rev. i. 18; iv. 9,10; v. 14; x. 6; and xv. 7. [20]
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

Lord God
In i. 8 the title "god" must be added to the word "Lord," according to all the Critical Greek Texts [14] and the R.V. In chap. xxii. 6 we have the same title. Thus at the end of the book and at the beginning we have this peculiar title, which seems to enclose all that the book contains, and stamp it all with that which the title signifies. What is signifies is clear from the place where we first find it, vix., in the second of the twelve divisions of Genesis (chap. ii. 4 - iv. 26). This division
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

Letter v. Yes, My Dear Friend, it is My Conviction that in all Ordinary Cases the Knowledge...
Yes, my dear friend, it is my conviction that in all ordinary cases the knowledge and belief of the Christian Religion should precede the study of the Hebrew Canon. Indeed, with regard to both Testaments, I consider oral and catechismal instruction as the preparative provided by Christ himself in the establishment of a visible Church. And to make the Bible, apart from the truths, doctrines, and spiritual experiences contained therein, the subject of a special article of faith, I hold an unnecessary
Samuel Taylor Coleridge—Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit etc

The Royal Priesthood
Gerhard Ter Steegen Jer. xxxiii. 18; Rev. i. 6 The race of God's anointed priests shall never pass away; Before His glorious Face they stand, and serve Him night and day. Though reason raves, and unbelief flows on, a mighty flood, There are, and shall be, till the end, the hidden priests of God. His chosen souls, their earthly dross consumed in sacred fire, To God's own heart their hearts ascend in flame of deep desire; The incense of their worship fills His Temple's holiest place; Their song with
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others

Communion Again Broken --Restoration
Cant. v. 2-vi.10. The fourth section commences with an address of the bride to the daughters of Jerusalem, in which she narrates her recent sad experience, and entreats their help in her trouble. The presence and comfort of her Bridegroom are again lost to her; not this time by relapse into worldliness, but by slothful self-indulgence. We are not told of the steps that led to her failure; of how self again found place in her heart. Perhaps spiritual pride in the achievements which grace enabled her
J. Hudson Taylor—Union and Communion

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