Quite frankly, it is not the purpose of the writer of these articles that the reader’s store of knowledge may be increased – good as that may be, – but rather that when we lay down this little message we shall be constrained to say, “Hallelujah, what a Saviour.”
Much ministry, both spoken and written, has been given, dealing with the prophetic and historical aspects of the Seven Letters to the Churches, but interwoven with these truths there is a very glorious presentation of the Person of the Lord Jesus, illuminated in & distinct manner by the Holy Spirit in each letter. Space will not permit us to “Glean in the fields until even,” but each of us may surely “beat out our ephah of barley.”
How suitable it is that the first view we have of Him in our study is “in the midst,” and how often has He taken this, His rightful place. He was in the midst of His people as they journeyed through the wilderness, but He still takes His place in the midst when the furnace is heated “seven times hotter than it was wont to be heated,” and if the three Hebrew children must walk through that dread fire of persecution then He will be in His place “in the midst” and walk with them – and now He Who once died on the middle cross on Calvary’s hill is here seen in the midst of the Golden Lampstands. What a glorious reminder that He, the glorified Lord, must be the centre of gathering for every company of believers meeting in Scriptural simplicity as well as the preeminent object of His people’s testimony – disregarded indeed by the world and, alas, disowned by many who profess to bear His Name. Oh, that we, turning from the passing troubles as well as man-made schemes and organisations, may view Him afresh in all His grandeur, righteousness, and moral glory, the true Lord of the assembly.
In the general description of the Lord Jesus in chapter 1 we are not told that He is walking in the midst of the Golden Lampstands, but as we come to the more intimate letter to the first church, we are given this very precious additional detail. What a very personal note this is – coming so near to each lamp that He is present to sustain each vessel of testimony and instantly available in whatever the need may be. Walking surely speaks of activity and whether as assemblies of His children gathered out to His Name, or as individuals, we may be sure of the glorified activity of that One who is there in the power of an endless life.
Again, linked with the walking, we also see Him as the One who is holding, and surely this brings Him still nearer us – so near that He can feel every heartbeat, knows every spiritual ambition, each pang of disappointment, just why the light flickered when it did, – and as we think of that “holding” hand remember that He once said that all power had been put there. Look again at that all-powerful holding hand and notice that it still has the marks of the cruel nails of Calvary’s Cross. That is the hand that holds you.
In next issue (2) Smyrna – “The First and the Last.”
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