THE VISION OF THE LAMPSTANDS AND
THE ACTUALITY, THE PRACTICALITY,
OF THE CHURCHES
As the lampstand, the church must be purely and wholly of God’s divine nature. It has to be golden in essence. It also must bear the image of Christ, the appearance of Christ. It must be in the form, in the shape, of Christ. Furthermore, the seven lamps which are the seven Spirits of God must be its expression. This is the local church. Are the local churches that you see like golden lampstands? When you look at a local church do you see a lampstand as the embodiment of the Triune God with the Father’s divine nature, in the Son’s shape and image, and through the Spirit’s expression? The vision of the churches as the lampstands is in Revelation 1, but in actuality, in practicality, the local churches are in Revelation 2 and 3 where we see the church in Ephesus, the church in Smyrna, the church in Pergamos, the church in Thyatira, the church in Sardis, the church in Philadelphia, and the church in Laodicea. The vision is one matter, and the actuality, the practicality, is another matter. If we say that we have seen a golden lampstand in our locality, we have to realize these two aspects of the vision and the actuality, the practicality. What is there as the churches in actuality is not the same as the vision of the churches, but God is working to make what is there in actuality the reality of the vision. Eventually, the churches in actuality will be according to the reality of the vision of the churches as the golden lampstands.
THE SON OF MAN AS THE HIGH PRIEST
TAKING CARE OF THE LAMPSTANDS
In Revelation 1, John saw the vision of the seven golden lampstands representing or signifying the seven local churches. John also saw the Son of Man, Jesus, in the midst of the lampstands (1:13). In John’s Gospel we can see that John was very close to the Lord Jesus (13:23; 19:26). After the Lord’s ascension John saw Him again. This time the Lord Jesus appeared as a High Priest in the midst of the churches. He is "clothed with a garment reaching to the feet" (v. 13) which is the priestly robe (Exo. 28:33-35), and He is walking in the midst of the lampstands (Rev. 2:1). He is like the priest in the Old Testament coming to the Holy Place to dress the lamps (Exo. 27:20-21; Lev. 24:1-4). To dress the lamps, the priest first had to snuff the burned out wick. The wick in the lamps burned with oil to give the light. When the wick got burned out it became black, so the priest had to come to cut off the black part of the wick. This is what it means to snuff the wick, that is, to cleanse the lamp that the lamp may shine better. At the same time, to dress the lamps the priest had to add more oil.
The Lord Jesus appears in Revelation as the High Priest walking among the lampstands to snuff the burned out wicks and to add more oil. The burned out wick signifies something that is not according to God’s purpose. This may be something worldly, sinful, fleshly, or even satanic. The burned out wick is something that is absolutely not good. These things have to be snuffed, have to be cut off. The churches also need more oil. Oil typifies the Spirit (Isa. 61:1), and in Revelation the oil is the sevenfold Spirit. The Lord Jesus desires to add more oil into the lampstands. In Revelation 2 and 3 the Lord was there as the High Priest snuffing the wicks and adding more oil to the lampstands. In nearly every epistle to the seven churches, the Lord Jesus snuffed some bad things, and at the same time the Lord added more oil, which means He added more Spirit into the church. He is snuffing the wicks of the lampstands and adding more oil to make all the golden lampstands pure and shining.
(The Divine Economy, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)