THE SHAPING OF THE LAMPSTAND
Gold Added to Us
How did this lampstand come about? We have not only been cleansed by the precious blood; we have also been regenerated. This new birth implies that there is another life and therefore a father is involved. Because we have been born again, we have a life which has its source in the Father. Outwardly we have been cleansed; inwardly we have been regenerated. Now God is our Father. It follows naturally that we have His nature, just as every son bears his father’s nature. John 1:11-12 says that those who receive Christ are born of God. We are called “partakers of the divine nature” in 2 Peter 1:4. Pure gold has come into us!
From Clay to Gold
By our first birth we are men of clay, formed of the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7). “The first man is of the earth, earthy” (1 Cor. 15:47). When we die, we return to the dust. “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:19).
Before we were regenerated, we were men of clay. One day, however, we got saved, and God came into us. Now, instead of being men of clay, we are men of gold!
Look at yourself. There is gold in you! Because God is your Father, you have His substance and nature. But do you have the form of the Son? To have the shape of the Son means that there has been some transformation in you. “But 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, even as from the Lord Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18, Gk.). How much of the Lord’s image do you have? This depends on the amount of transformation you have experienced. Yes, you have gold within, but it is surrounded by the clay and has not yet taken shape. In your living, does the clay come out or the gold?
The Need for Christ to Be Formed in Us
We are in the church. The church, however, is a golden lampstand. It is not made of clay. Since we are part gold and part clay, we are partly the church and partly not the church. We are in the process. The golden lampstand is buried in the clay! Christ is yet to be formed in us (Gal. 4:19). He has been revealed in us (1:16) and lives in us (2:20). Now the gold within needs to take shape. We know there is something shiny and weighty inside us; this substance must be formed into the lampstand. Because of this gold, we hesitate to say that we are not the lampstand. Yet there is so much clay still clinging to us that we wonder if we can be considered the lampstand. When we are in this mixed condition, can we call ourselves the church?
The church is the practical expression of the Triune God. The Father enters into man to be his nature. The Son is in man transforming him to be the form. Then the Spirit in man expresses God. Thus the church is depicted as a golden lampstand (Rev. 1:20b).
THE LAMPSTAND IN EXODUS, ZECHARIAH, AND REVELATION
There are three phases to the golden lampstand. The first is in Exodus in the tabernacle, where it represents the Triune God (Exo. 25:31-37). The second is in Zechariah, where it represents the children of Israel who are in the position of receiving grace (Zech. 4:2). Those who thus receive grace, before God are His testimony. The last is in the New Testament, where the golden lampstand is the church (Rev. 1:12, 20). This testimony declares that the substance of the Father has been wrought into the believers; the shape of the Son has also been constituted into them; and the expression of the Spirit is realized through them.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 27, by Witness Lee)