And in the middle of the seven candlesticks one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot…
Ordinarily, if we would enjoy the Divine presence and blessing, we must seek them in the ordinances of Divine appointment. But the case is different when our absence from the public means of grace is unavoidable. God is not, in the bestowment of spiritual good, confined even to the means which He Himself has instituted. The truth of this St. John realised.
I. EXPLAIN THE VISION WHICH ST. JOHN BEHELD, AND NOTICE ITS EFFECT UPON HIM.
1. The personage described as in the midst of the seven candlesticks was a representation of Him who was accustomed, while upon earth, to designate Himself, "The Son of Man."
2. St. John further describes His situation: He was in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.
(1) This exhibits the character and duty of the Churches of Christ. They are candlesticks. Having been themselves enlightened from above, it is the duty of Christians to diffuse light.
(2) The light which Christians are required to shed on the gloom of a sinful world is not their own, but a borrowed light. The light which they possess has been kindled within them by the Father of lights.
(3) The care which Christ manifests towards the Churches.
3. The glorious Person who appeared to John is also described in His habit. He was "clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle." The dress was sacerdotal. He is not only a prophet and a king but also an high priest.
4. In this representation of Christ He is more particularly described by the parts and members of His body.
(1) "His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow." A hoary head denotes age; and may not our adorable Saviour be thus set forth as the "Ancient of Days"?
(2) His eyes are described as "a flame of fire," clearly to denote His piercing knowledge.
(3) His feet are described as "like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace." This is symbolical of the power of Christ, which nothing can resist. Whatever opposition may be made to the Divine plans and proceedings, it will utterly fail.
(4) His voice was "as the sound of many waters." The same simile is employed by the prophet (Ezekiel 43:2). The roar of waters is powerful, and is heard afar. And so Christ will command attention. By the representation before us, He probably intended to signify that, however His words had been disregarded by the fallen Churches, they could not drown His voice.
5. The glorious Personage whom the apostle beheld in the vision is also described as holding in His hand seven stars. Stars appear when the sun has withdrawn himself; so Christian ministers are the ambassadors of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, praying men, in Christ's stead, to be reconciled to God. Of what service are the stars to the mariner, as he sails over the trackless deep! The Christian is a mariner, voyaging over the sea of life, anxiously tending towards the haven of the skies, yet fearing lest he should make shipwreck of faith. The ministers of Christ are stars. Their peculiar office is to hold forth the light of God's truth, and, by their course in the world, by their life and conversation, to be examples and guides to their flocks. Christian ministers are stars, and have, therefore, orbits assigned them in which to move. The Head of the Church plants each in His proper place within it.
6. The protection which Christ affords to His ministers is also strikingly set forth in this description. He holds them in His right hand. He holds the stars in His right hand, and every one of them is immortal till His work is done.
7. Of the glorious Personage whom St. John saw in the vision, he says that there went out of His mouth a sharp two-edged sword. This sword manifestly denotes the word of truth which Christ has spoken. If it fail to cut the heart of the sinner with conviction, it will pierce and destroy him.
8. In the vision under our notice, we have Christ represented as with a countenance like the run shining in his strength. Oh, how changed from that visage which was so marred more than any man!
II. DEDUCE ONE OR TWO SUITABLE REMARKS FROM THE SUBJECT BEFORE US.
1. The clearer the discoveries which Christ makes of HimseLf, the more humbled shall we be under a sense of our own vileness.
2. God vouchsafes special comfort and support to those who suffer for His sake.
3. What cause will the enemies of Christ have to tremble, when He appears, in the last day, to judge them!
(W. Cardall, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.