THE SPIRIT SPEAKING TO THE CHURCHES
In Revelation 2 and 3 we are told again and again that the Spirit speaks to the churches. This is very different from the Old Testament expression, "Thus saith the Lord." Since the Spirit today is speaking to the churches, we must be in one of the local churches in order to hear His speaking. The Spirit today is speaking directly to the churches. Therefore, it is vital for us to be in one of the churches, in a church that we can designate as our local church.
In Revelation the churches, signified by the golden lampstands, are the testimony of Jesus (1:2, 9) in the divine nature, shining in the dark night locally, yet collectively. The churches should be of the divine nature—golden. They should be the stands, even the lampstands, that bear the lamp with the oil (Christ as the life-giving Spirit), shining in the darkness respectively and collectively. They are individual lampstands locally, yet at the same time they are a group, a collection, of lampstands universally. They are not only shining locally, but also bearing universally the same testimony both to the localities and to the universe. They are of the same nature and in the same shape. They bear the same lamp for the same purpose and are fully identified with one another, not having any individual distinctiveness. The differences of the local churches recorded in chapters two and three are all of a negative nature, not of a positive nature. Negatively, in their failures, they are different and separate one from another; but positively, in their nature, shape, and purpose, they are absolutely identical and connected one to another.
IMPLYING THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TRIUNE GOD
Throughout the centuries, few Christians have touched the depths of the significance of the lampstands as symbols of the local churches. According to our natural concept, a lampstand is simply an object holding a lamp that shines in the darkness. The lampstand in Exodus 25 is pure gold, and the lampstands in Zechariah 4 and Revelation also are golden. Substantially, the lampstand is golden. With the lampstand we see three important things: the gold, the stand, and the lamps. The lampstand implies the significance of the Triune God. Gold is the substance with which the lampstand is made, the stand is the embodiment of the gold, and the lamps are the expression of the stand. The gold signifies the Father as the substance, the stand signifies the Son as the embodiment of the Father, and the lamps signify the Spirit as the expression of the Father in the Son. Thus, the significance of the Triune God is implied in the lampstand. Substantially, the lampstand is one, but expressively, it is seven because it is one lampstand with seven lamps. At the bottom the lampstand is one; at the top, it is seven. Should we argue about whether it is one or seven? In substance, the lampstand is one piece of gold, but it holds seven lamps. This mysteriously indicates that substantially the Triune God is one. In substance, He is one, but in expression, He is the seven Spirits. The Father as the substance is embodied in the Son as the form, and the Son is expressed as the seven Spirits.
How can we prove that the seven lamps are the Spirit expressing Christ? The seven lamps are first mentioned in Exodus. If we only had the record in Exodus, however, it would be difficult to realize that these seven lamps are the Spirit. But as we proceed from Exodus to Zechariah, we see that the seven lamps are the seven eyes of Christ and the seven eyes of God (Zech. 3:9; 4:10). As we continue on to Revelation, we see that the seven eyes of the Lamb are the seven eyes which are the intensified Spirit of God. Hence, we have a strong basis for saying that the seven lamps are the sevenfold, intensified Spirit as the expression of Christ.
(The Genuine Ground of Oneness, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)