EVERY CHURCH A GOLDEN LAMPSTAND
In His eyes every church is a golden lampstand. Yet if you read the seven epistles to the seven churches, you will see how poor some were. Suppose you were in Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-23). After hearing such a letter, you might feel you must leave and go to Philadelphia. But both Philadelphia and Thyatira were golden lampstands. Even in Thyatira there was something golden (vv. 24-29). The same is true of Pergamos (vv. 12-17). I surely would not have liked to remain there. If I could not go to Philadelphia, at least I would have tried to go to Ephesus. Nonetheless, in Pergamos there was still a golden lampstand.
As long as we are on the proper ground and have come back to the genuine nature of the local church, in the Lord’s eyes we are a golden lampstand, regardless of how poor, weak, and defeated we may be. How can this be so? It is that here the Lord has the position to come in and deal with us. He does not have this way in the denominations; they are closed to Him. In His recovery every church is open to Him. Not one has been usurped by any human hand. Each one takes the position before the Lord, “Lord, this is Your church. It is a part of Your life. Lord, come in. We welcome You. We are waiting for You to come and look at us, to visit us and to walk through our midst.” What matters is not our condition of weakness and poverty, but our openness to Him. Do we give Him the ground to come in and walk around? Do we welcome His visit? I believe we would all say, “Surely we do.” As long as a local church is open to Him, it is a golden lampstand because there is at least some gold there.
John’s revelation is finer, more detailed than Paul’s. Paul’s highest revelation of the church is as the Body of Christ, the fullness of the One who fills all in all, and the new man. He did not mention the church as a lampstand. Yet this point is great.
In the Bible Christ Himself is portrayed as a lampstand. In Exodus 25:31-37 God charged Moses to make a lampstand according to the pattern he had been shown. That lampstand was a type of Christ. In Revelation John tells us the local churches are lampstands. This is an indication that every local church is Christ. The church is not only the Body of Christ. It is not only the new man. The church is Christ! In Exodus there was only one lampstand. In Revelation there are seven. In the United States there are more than seven lampstands. Every one is Christ! Do you think I am too bold? How else shall we describe the church in our locality? It is surely not a synagogue of Satan (2:9)! It is Christ!
THE SYMBOLISM OF THE LAMPSTAND
The lampstand is a full symbol of the Triune God. According to the full revelation of the New Testament, Christ is the fullness of the Triune God (Col. 1:19). The Father is embodied in Him, the Son. He, as the Son embodying the Father, is fully realized as the Spirit. With Christ, then, we have both the Father and the Spirit. This Triune God is fully symbolized in the lampstand.
Its nature is golden. A wooden table has wood as its nature. The lampstand is of pure gold. In typology gold signifies the Father’s divine nature. Thus, the nature and source of the lampstand signify God the Father.
There is a form to the lampstand. It is not a shapeless lump of gold. Its design is the very best possible. Just as the human face is so beautifully designed that no one can improve upon it, so the lampstand, whose pattern is given us in Exodus, has never been improved upon all these centuries. Christ is the shape of the lampstand. He is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). The shape of the lampstand signifies the excellent form of the Son of God.
The seven lamps shining speak of the seven Spirits, which are the seven eyes of the Lamb (Rev. 1:4; 5:6). The seven lamps symbolize the Spirit for expression.
In this one entity, the lampstand, there is the Father as the nature, the Son as the form, and the Spirit as the expression. The lampstand, then, is the Triune God embodied and symbolized.
Some say that they have no trust in typology; they will take only the plain word. But if the emblems have no meaning, why are they revealed in the Bible, not only in the Old Testament but also in the New? If this emblem of the lampstand in the last book of the New Testament has no spiritual significance, why is it revealed there? A picture is better than a thousand words. The heavenly vision of the lampstand is worth ten pages of description.
Not only is the Triune God embodied and symbolized by the simple symbol of the lampstand; the church in Revelation is the lampstand. This indicates that the church is also the embodiment of the Triune God! The church in your locality is the embodiment of the Triune God! First the Triune God is embodied in Christ. Now Christ is enlarged into a corporate Christ. In New York, Los Angeles, Stuttgart, Taipei, and Hong Kong—wherever there is a church—there is the corporate Christ. The church is the lampstand, symbolizing both the Triune God and the enlarged Christ.
(The Mending Ministry of John, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)