THE MAIN SIGNS IN REVELATION
The first sign in Revelation that the Apostle John saw is the lampstands. In chapter one we are told that John, on the Lord’s day, on the island of Patmos, saw seven golden lampstands. He saw the lampstands. The seven lampstands are the seven churches (1:20). To describe what the church is in its spiritual significance would take a thousand books. But just one sign, one picture, is better than a thousand words.
What is the church? What should the church be? Look at the lampstand. The church must be golden. Gold signifies God’s essence, God’s nature. This means that the church must have God’s essence as its substance. This gold must be in the shape of a lampstand, a lampstand shining with a sevenfold intensity. Some lamps have a three-way switch; but have you ever seen a seven-way lamp? The lampstand has a sevenfold shining. The golden nature signifies God’s essence, the shape signifies Christ as the embodiment of the Triune God, and the seven lamps are the seven Spirits (4:5).
The Trinity is here: the Spirit is shining forth, Christ is the embodiment, and God is the very essence. What is the church? The church is a composition, a constitution, of the Triune God, shining forth God’s virtues and attributes in the dark night so that all can see the light. We need message upon message to describe what the church is, but God’s wisdom is to show us a lampstand. Saints, this is the church. Look at the church. The lampstand is the church! The church is not muddy, but golden. It is of the divine nature of God. It is not without form, but shaped. It is not dark, but shining. This is the church!
The Seven Stars
The second sign is the seven stars, which accompany the lampstands. The seven stars are the messengers or angels of the churches (1:20). In every church there are some brothers who are stars in spirituality. They are shining stars. In Daniel 12:3 they that turn many to righteousness will shine as stars. In Matthew 13:43 the Lord says the righteous will shine forth in the coming kingdom as the sun. But the church messengers do not need to wait until the coming age to shine. They are shining right now. I hope that all the elders in the churches are shining stars. When people go to them, they should come into light. A star shines, enlightens, in a time of darkness. By looking at the stars we can learn what kind of persons should be the leaders in the church.
Jasper—the Appearance of God
After John saw the lampstands and the shining stars, he saw a throne in heaven and One sitting on the throne. That One was like in appearance to jasper stone (4:2-3). John saw God in the appearance of jasper. Jasper is a beautiful greenish color, signifying fullness of life. The fullness of life is God’s appearance. Jasper is also the appearance of the New Jerusalem (21:11), and its entire wall is built of jasper (21:18). This indicates that the entire city bears the appearance of God, because it is constituted of those who have been transformed into His image.
We should read Revelation 21:11 with 2 Corinthians 3:18: "We all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory." Revelation 21:11 describes the New Jerusalem as "having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, as a jasper stone, clear as crystal." The whole city bears God’s glory and shines like jasper; this is because the entire composition of the New Jerusalem has been transformed into God’s image. The One sitting on the throne, who is God, looks like jasper, and the entire city looks like jasper. This means that Genesis 1:26 has been fulfilled: "Let us make man in our image." Man was to be God’s expression, and this is fulfilled in the New Jerusalem. The entire New Jerusalem is an image, an expression, of God. God’s appearance can be described by one sign. the sign of jasper.
(The Basic Revelation in the Holy Scriptures, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)