Message given at Beth Ariel by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum
In New Testament Greek, the meaning of “mystery” is both technical and simple. It refers to something that was totally unrevealed in the Old Testament, and only revealed in the New Testament. Keep in mind that the word mystery is not being used in the same sense as it would be used in the English language where a mystery is something we don’t understand or we don’t have a solution for, or an answer for. However, in the New Testament usage, it refers to something that was totally unknown, something unrevealed anywhere in the Hebrew Bible and it is only revealed for the first time in the New Testament. Therefore, what is found in the New Testament is something that is now knowable as revealed by God.
Today we are going to deal with five of these mysteries which are in some way, very relevant to the Church. So, the first of the five mysteries of the church can be seen when we turn to Revelation Chapter one, which speaks of the seven stars and the seven golden lampstands.
Revelation 1:20 reads: As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Now in chapters 2 and 3, we are addressing the situation of the seven different churches. Of these seven churches there was something wrong in five of them but nothing wrong in two of these churches. Furthermore, in the last church, the church where the Messiah is totally outside of, it is claiming to be a typical local church but it is not a believing local church.
So, what we know from the first mystery of the churches is a short discussion that the seven stars are the seven angels, but that is not the mystery because throughout the Hebrew Bible whenever the word star is used symbolically it is always the symbol of an angel. And that is also true in almost all imagery of stars in the New Testament. These angels could be either holy angels or fallen angels, but the stars are almost always representing an angel of a specific kind. So, the seven stars represent the seven angels who are the guardians of the seven churches. Furthermore, every local church has its local angel which will carry out either blessings or cursing, following the letters to the churches which we find in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. So these angels will carry out either the blessings or the cursing according to these letters.
The thing to notice is that there is a distinction between Israel which is a lampstand with seven lights [the menorah is representative of Israel] and these seven churches. Here, the mystery is the fact that the seven individual lampstands symbolize the seven local churches. In the Book of Revelation, the lampstand represents a witness, such as in 11:3-4. Thus, each local church is to be a witness; if it fails to do so, their lampstand can be removed according to 2:5 and God can put out the life of the lampstand if it’s necessary for divine discipline. The mystery is that each individual congregation, each individual body (church) has its own lampstand. So, the real mystery is not seen with Israel as the menorah (or lampstand) because this was already revealed in the Hebrew Bible. Here, the mystery is the fact that the seven individual lampstands symbolize the seven local churches.
For the other 4 mysteries of the church please click on the link to view the full Saturday message. If you would like to purchase the download of this manuscript, please click on the link that brings you to our web store.