THE SEVEN STARS
In the last blog, we studied the meanings associated with Jesus' RIGHT HAND. When we look closer, we notice Jesus holding something in His RIGHT HAND of blessing, authority, power and strength. What are they?
Revelation 1:16...“And He had in His right hand SEVEN STARS: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shines in his strength.”
SEVEN STARS? What does that symbol represent? In this instance, the MEANING of the SEVEN STARS is found in the very same chapter of Revelation.
Revelation 1:20--“The mystery of the SEVEN STARS which thou saw in My RIGHT HAND, and the seven candlesticks (lampstands). The SEVEN STARS are the ANGELS of the SEVEN CHURCHES…”
Some commentators explain that the SEVEN STARS are “angels of God” which are sent to “minister to” and “protect” the seven Churches. But when we examine the Greek word for ANGEL and DEFINE IT according to the meaning of the original language, the idea that these STARS are “angels of God” is NOT the ONLY possible interpretation.
Remember (from a previous note) how the English “angel” is the Greek word “angelos” which simply means MESSENGER? These messengers could be “angels of God,” but the word is PRIMARILY a Greek MILITARY TERM which refers to soldiers who were sent from one line of battle to another--to deliver important military dispatches. Angels CAN be totally HUMAN MESSENGERS, and not supernatural at all.
Our brief review helps us define the SEVEN STARS, the ANGELS of the SEVEN CHURCHES, who are in Jesus' RIGHT HAND. These ANGELS are MESSENGERS in each of the SEVEN CHURCHES. Taken in the CONTEXT that they RECEIVE the SEVEN LETTERS to the CHURCHES (See verse 11), these ANGELS are LEADERS within each CHURCH--they are the PASTORS or ELDERS of those SEVEN CHURCHES.
Certainly, an angel of God COULD GIVE the LETTERS to the SEVEN CHURCHES, but since PASTORS are anointed by the Holy Spirit to LEAD, GUIDE and TEACH the Church, Jesus WOULDN't NEED to send a HEAVENLY ANGEL! He could simply ask John to take the letters to each of THE PASTORS within those Churches (who are the appointed MESSENGERS, the ANGELS within those Churches).
Why are Church LEADERS called STARS?
It’s interesting to note, in our modern thinking, FAMOUS people or CELEBRITIES, are called STARS. We see MOVIE stars, TELEVISION stars, SPORTS stars, POLITICAL stars. It’s quite easy for us to understand--STARS are PEOPLE.
Let’s consider some BIBLICAL applications: FIRST, let’s look at a NEGATIVE application for STARS:
Jude 13--“Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame, WANDERING STARS, to whom is reserved the BLACKNESS of DARKNESS forever.”
I would call this type of a STAR a BLACK HOLE. Black holes are STARS that have collapsed upon themselves. Their gravitational force is SO STRONG that NO AMOUNT OF LIGHT CAN ESCAPE. And they DRAW other material into their vortex.
Such is the picture given to us by Jude!
He warns about UNGODLY people who will creep into Churches for the PURPOSE of turning people AWAY from Jesus Christ. These are FALSE TEACHERS and FALSE PROPHETS, who bring shame to a Church congregation, who besmirch and corrupt the GOSPEL of Jesus.
Jude uses powerful language to describe these ENEMIES: filthy dreamers, spots on your feasts of charity, clouds without water, raging waves of the sea, WANDERING STARS--reserved for the BLACKNESS of DARKNESS forever, murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts with mouths speaking great swelling words, mockers, sensual, THOSE NOT HAVING THE SPIRIT.
Jude warned the Church to WATCH OUT for those who destroy faith, TO BE ON GUARD for those who would tear a Church apart. (Read the whole letter by Jude--it’s quite a warning.)
Unfortunately, during the LONG AGE of the Church, FALSE TEACHERS and FALSE PROPHETS have indeed brought SLANDER and SHAME upon the CHURCH’S REPUTATION. We can name a few of these--whether they’re institutions or individuals: Gnostics, Cathars, Marosia--the harlot, of early Church history. And who could forget Jim Jones or David Koresh?
Another BIBLICAL application--I SAVED the BEST for last: RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE AS STARS:
Daniel 12:3--“And they that be WISE shall SHINE as the brightness of the firmament; they that TURN MANY TO RIGHTEOUSNESS as the STARS forever and ever.”
People who lead others to FAITH in Jesus Christ will SHINE as STARS forever. These people who lead others to Jesus can be PASTORS in Churches. BUT even ordinary believers, those of us who do NOT hold positions of Church leadership, can lead people to Jesus. We can become STARS! And as STARS, we will SHINE forever in God’s eternal kingdom!
Jesus holds these STARS, the PASTORS of the SEVEN CHURCHES in His RIGHT HAND. This PORTRAYS a possession by Jesus--CHURCH LEADERS are in His hand, they’re OWNED by Jesus in the aspect that they’re HIS SERVANTS who listen to Him--they do what He LEADS and DIRECTS them to do.
Held in Jesus' RIGHT HAND, these faithful CHURCH LEADERS receive HIS PROTECTION. They operate under the AUTHORITY of Jesus. They receive the STRENGTH of Jesus to perform their tasks. They have Jesus' BLESSINGS bestowed upon them. ALL these CONCEPTS are included in their being held in the RIGHT HAND of their Lord.
With CHURCH LEADERSHIP in the RIGHT HAND of Jesus, we understand HOW the Church is ORDAINED to exist UNDER JESUS' SOVEREIGN CONTROL. In fact, other scripture explains how Jesus is THE HEAD of His Church. The body will OBEY what the Head tells it to do. Jesus reigns as the SUPREME AUTHORITY of His Church--the PASTORS, and other leaders, operate under DELEGATED AUTHORITY from THE HEAD.
This is the IDEAL relationship between Jesus and His Church.
In Revelation 2 and 3, see that the relationship DID NOT remain ideal. In the SEVEN CHURCH LETTERS, we’ll study how ERROR and DECEPTION polluted some portions of the Church (remember Jude’s warnings?).
Jesus WILL VISIT each Church, PRAISE what they do well, EXPOSE their shortcomings and errors, and CALL them to repentance--a return to PURE FAITH. Those who repent (or who HAVE NOT FALLEN PREY to error) are THE OVERCOMERS. A final thought---- The Churches (lampstands) are CALLED to give light to the world, the LIGHT of Jesus. LEADERS in the Churches, the ANGELS, the MESSENGERS, are to project LIGHT like STARS. And NOT only Church leaders are STARS (as we see in Daniel 12:3), ANYONE who TURNS OTHERS to FAITH in Jesus, will SHINE like the STARS forever!
Are you a STAR?