The Revelation Given to John by Jesus Through the Angel
The first letter was to the church at Ephesus, the capital of the Roman province that contained the southwestern part of Asia Minor. Ephesus was the center of Paul’s missionary work. It was the greatest harbor in Asia – like New York City is to the coast. Ephesus was the center of the worship of Diana, whose enormous temple housed the gross many breasted squat figure whose many priestess were prostitutes. Ephesus also had many temples to the deified emperors, Claudius and Nero. Witchcraft was rampant. It was inundated with crime and immorality.[i] The decadent environment of Ephesus might be expected to discourage faithful Christianity, but Ephesus Christians were an example of how dramatically the power of God changes a living death into a victorious life of faith and love. Timothy was the church of Ephesus’ first Bishop.[ii] Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos[iii]went to Ephesus to labor. Christians became so numerous the temples were almost deserted. By the end of the first century, the church was dying. Ephesus is no longer a city.
The letter to Ephesus portrays Mashiach[iv]with the Church held firmly in his hand[v]where we are protected and sheltered. He has complete control over the Church. He walks boldly through the center of seven golden lights which represent the Church. Security
The mystery of the seven stars, which you saw on my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the messengers[vi] of the seven assemblies and the seven branches of the menorah are the seven congregations.
Yeshua knew those seven stars and lampstands perplexed John, he knew you and I would wonder today, so he explained. Before we ask, he answers. Matthew records an incident where he told the disciples that during the time of the end the stars would fall from heaven[vii]just before the Second Coming. But not all of them will fall, because Yeshua has the stars of the Church firmly in his hand. We remember Yeshua promised that what he held in his hand, no one could remove. Therefore, Yeshua is standing in the midst of the Church with her angels secure in his control.
The world is a very insecure and becomes more unstable as the second law of thermodynamics works its way toward total chaos. Each day that brings us closer to the “final trump” also brings us closer to the day when the heavens pass away with a rushing noise because the elements of all the hosts of heaven have been dissolved with a great heat[viii], when the heavens roll together as a scroll and all their multitude fall down[ix]as the leaf falls from the trees in Autumn. But the good news that Yeshua reminded John of that day, and has been repeated wherever hearts were faint, is that there is security with Yeshua. We can join all the green machines this world has to offer and recycle till we’re blue in the face, but the world evolves ever nearer to total destruction. Our well-being and safekeeping is in Yeshua alone. He who calls the stars by name knows his sheep and gently leads them out to green pastures. He feeds his flock like a shepherd, he gathers the lambs in his arms and gently carries them in his bosom, and softly leads those who have their young.
We have no reason to fear that he doesn’t know what is going on or that we have to work out a plan for serving him as we assemble together. He is right there all the time and will direct our worship and service. He is not far away, we don’t have to beg him to listen to our prayers or yell at him so he will hear our petitions. He will speak to our hearts through the untrained lips of an uneducated, unlearned bungler; or through the lips of a trained orator. We have his assurance that he is there, walking amidst us. It is his Church, his Body, and his Flock. He has written on our hearts, “Be still and know that I AM God.” And we assemble together humbly waiting for power from on high.[x]
[i] Barkley, volume I, pages 70-73
[ii] I Timothy 1:3
[iii] Acts 18:19, 24, 26
[v] John 10:28
[vii] Matthew 24:29
[viii] II Peter 3:10
[ix] Isaiah 34:4
[x] Acts 4:24-31