THOUGHTS FROM REVELATION

THE PERFECTION OF THE CHURCH

In Revelation 1:12 two symbols are used that speak of the perfection of the Church. This perfection of the Church is embedded not only in the word ‘seven’, the number of perfection, but in the symbol of the ‘lampstands’. This symbol takes us right back to Exodus 25:31-40 and 35:30-33, where instructions and reports are given regarding the crafting of the lampstand for the Tabernacle. Of this lampstand we learn:

That it had seven arms, each bearing a lamp.
That it was made of pure gold.
That it was crafted [hammered out] from one piece of gold.
That it was consecrated to God, that is, deemed to be holy because it was set apart by God and for God.

The lampstand, delicately beaten out from the one piece of pure gold was the work of a master craftsman from the tribe of Judah, chosen and gifted by God for this task, and filled with the Spirit of God.  Even so, the Church is crafted by Jesus Christ, who is from the tribe of Judah, chosen and enabled by God for the task, and filled with the Spirit of God. We, the Church, are his workmanship – ‘pure gold’ and ‘one’.

The perfection of the Church has two points of application:

[1] The numeric perfection: All of God’s ‘elect’ will be saved – the full quota of those whom he has chosen in Christ before the creation of the world [Ephesians 1:4], whose names were written in the Book of Life from the creation of the world [Revelation 17:8]. Not one of them will be lost. While this concept of divine election somehow offends our human perception of ‘fairness’, it does not seem to bother God at all. Wherever he refers to it in the Scripture it is intended to reassure his people of the security of their salvation. It is never meant to disturb us. Rather, it is meant to encourage and comfort us. So here, in the ‘seven’ churches [symbolised by seven golden lampstands (seven times seven lamps)] indicating perfection, we are once again in touch with God’s assurance to all who truly believe. By this allusion to election God is saying to us: you are mine and therefore you are safe. I will not lose one of you.

[2] The moral or spiritual perfection: Although in the letters to the seven churches [Revelation 2 and 3] the present imperfection of the church is obvious, yet there is another dimension that soars above this imperfection: that in Christ and because of Christ the Church and each individual member of the Church is even now, by God’s grace, perfect. The eternal reality of the pure and spotless Bride of Christ already exists.

Ephesians 1:4: God ‘chose us in him … to be holy and blameless in his sight’.

Ephesians 5:25-27: ‘Christ … gave himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her …to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.’

Colossians 1:22: God presents us ‘holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation’.

Colossians 2:10: We are ‘complete’ in Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 10:10: By God’s will ‘we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’.

Hebrews 10:14: ‘by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy’.

This perfection, resulting from the sacrificial death of Christ, is spoken of several times in Revelation under the symbol of ‘white’ clothing – clothing ‘washed in the blood of the Lamb’ [1:5; 3:4,5,18; 6:11; 7:9,13,14; 19:11]. It is the possession of all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2015