THE CHURCH BEING THE GOLDEN LAMPSTAND
Revelation 1:12 says, “And when I turned,…I saw seven golden lampstands.” Then verse 20 says, “The mystery of… the seven golden lampstands…the seven churches.” This clearly tells us that a local church is a golden lampstand. Some say that a lampstand is for shining and that in this dark age today, the church shines as a golden lampstand. Although it is right to say this, the golden lampstand is not so simple. We need to read the Bible and find the entire history of the golden lampstand so that we may understand its significance.
We know that the revelation in the Bible develops progressively. The seeds of the divine revelation are sown mostly in the first few books of the Bible, and then they are gradually developed in the succeeding books until Revelation, where the harvest is reaped. The revelation concerning the golden lampstand is no exception. The seed of the revelation concerning the golden lampstand is sown in Exodus 25. Then in 1 Kings 7 it sprouts; in Zechariah 4 it is developed; and finally in Revelation it is harvested.
The Golden Lampstand Being the Solid Expression of the Triune God
Exodus 25 mentions that the golden lampstand is beaten out of one piece of pure gold. It has a shaft with six branches going out from its sides, three branches on the right side and three branches on the left side. On the branches there are three layers—the cups, the calyxes, and the blossoming buds; in addition, there are the lamps. This picture first shows us that the substance of the golden lampstand is pure gold; second, that the one piece of gold is beaten into a golden lampstand with a form; and third, that the golden lampstand has seven lamps. The meaning is this: First, according to biblical typology, gold signifies the nature of God. God’s nature is unique, divine, pure, unalterable, and lasting. Therefore, the emphasis here is that the pure gold as the substance of the lampstand signifies the Father as the nature of the golden lampstand. Second, the form of the lampstand signifies Christ. The incarnated Christ is God’s form, God’s solid expression: “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). Christ is the impress of God’s substance (Heb. 1:3) and the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). Christ is also the only begotten Son in the bosom of the Father who declared God (John 1:18). John 14 even tells us that when we see the Son, we also see the Father because the Son is the solid expression of the Father. Hence, the lampstand here signifies the Son who declared the Father. Third, the golden lampstand has seven lamps. Concerning this, we cannot find the answer in Exodus. We need to look at Zechariah and Revelation together to understand the significance of the seven lamps.
Zechariah 4 says that there are two olive trees beside the golden lampstand. The prophet Zechariah asked, “What are these, sir?” (v. 4). The angel answered, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says Jehovah of hosts” (v. 6). Here, therefore, the revelation of the Spirit is implied. Exodus only mentions the golden lampstand which signifies Christ; it does not mention the olive oil which typifies the Spirit. It is not until Zechariah 4 that there is a further revelation—a revelation concerning the Spirit. Furthermore, it shows us that the seven lamps are the seven eyes of Jehovah. Revelation 4:5 tells us that the seven lamps before the throne are the seven Spirits of God, and Revelation 5:6 tells us that the seven eyes of the Lamb are the seven Spirits of God. By putting together these passages, we can see that the seven lamps of the golden lampstand in the book of Zechariah are the seven Spirits of God in Revelation. Hence, the seven lamps signify the expression and shining of the Spirit. Thus, this golden lampstand not only has the substance of the Father, the form of the Son, but even more the expression of the Spirit. In other words, the testimony of the church is the solid expression of the Triune God.
According to the record in Revelation 1, we see that where the church is, there is the golden lampstand. Where the church is, there are the substance of God and the riches of Christ, and there are also God’s dispensing, transmission, supply, and even judgment. Every local church is an embodiment of the Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. When people come to the church, they can sense that God is here, Christ is here, and the Spirit is here. This is the Father, the Son, and the Spirit operating, shining, and being manifested and expressed here. Such a church is the golden lampstand.
(Five Great Mysteries in the Bible, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)