‘But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.’ Exodus 32:32
The stars that are mentioned in our scripture-passage of today, are the angels of the church (1:20). They are called ‘stars’ to symbolize their glory. The angels of the churches are no guardian angels or other heavenly figures, for such persons would not have been called upon to repent (:5). No, these angels are the messengers of the churches, just like the prophets (Haggai 1:13) and the priests (Malachi 2:7). So the seven stars – angels – are the leaders of the churches. The number seven has a spiritual meaning in the Bible: it indicates a fullness. And therefore all churches are implied here, also the church and its leaders in our days.
Apparently, it is not enough to know that He holds us in His hand. No, it turns out that He knows us very intimately, as is clearly revealed in the following verses. ‘I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance…’ and what follows. A great deal of good is told about the leader of the church in Ephesus, more than can be told about us… But in spite of all this good, God says, ‘Consider how far you have fallen!’ Why?
Because the simple dedication to Jesus, the love for Him, is lost. In daily life, Jesus is no longer Lord, and one cannot fall deeper than this. Still God does not reject His children: no, He calls upon them to repent, and to learn again to love and work out of the intimate relationship of love with the Lord. If this call is not answered with repentance, the Lord will come and remove the lamp-stand from its place; remove the church (1:20). The unrepentant will, probably, not notice this; he never experienced the genuine communion with the Lord, or he abandoned it long ago. The religious services continue, but the Lord is gone.
O Lord, forgive us, otherwise we cannot live!