Word of the Month

Christ in the midst of His Congregation

July 2000

When the Apostle John received the Revelation on the Isle of Patmos, he was shown a vision that showed our current time, the time before the coming of Christ. The Apostle saw "...seven golden candlesticks; 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." (cf. Revelation 1:12-13)

The seven golden candlesticks symbolize the congregations. Gold represents integrity, truth and lasting value; the number seven, which is frequently mentioned in Revelation, represents a Godly entirety, in other words, perfection. Now when the Apostle sees seven congregations filled with truth and integrity, of lasting value by the grace of God, then all congregations are meant by this. There is not here or there an exceptional congregation standing beside less important congregations; all congregations are addressed, the people of God in its entirety.

And in the midst of these candlesticks, in other words in the midst of all congregations, is found one like unto the Son of man. This is none other than Jesus Christ, the victor of Golgotha, the resurrected Son of God! It is to Him that we should turn, as the Apostle John did, when the voice of the Son of God spoke unto him. Whoever wants to hear and receive the word of God must turn around, must turn away from all that is earthly, everyday or transient and turn to the place where God's will is revealed. The "garment down to the foot" that John saw on Christ shows the power of the ministry that the Son of God had won through his victory over hell, death and the grave. Already before He had told his Apostles: "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me" (Matthew 10:40). Thus, according to the words of the Lord, the power of his ministry is active through the Apostles, the ministries of the Church of Christ, that proclaim God's word and dispense the sacraments. And the golden girdle about the paps (breast)? That is where the heart is! The golden girdle is the symbol of the covenant with God, which resonates throughout the entire heart.

Now is still the time of grace. And even if some weaknesses and imperfections must yet be overcome, and some inclination to sin must yet be laid aside: he, that walks in the midst of the seven candlesticks, our Lord and Saviour, will help us and be gracious, will bless and forgive, comfort and strengthen and ultimately, complete his work.

With heartfelt greetings,<br/> Yours,

Richard Fehr