CHURCHES, CANDLESTICKS (LAMPSTANDS), LIGHT
First of all, a quick look at Revelation 1:11 (which will be brief a review)--“Saying I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, What you see, write in a book, and send it to the seven Churches which are in Asia (Turkey); unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodecia.”
In verse 10, John heard a voice speak to him, a voice that had the resonance of a trumpet. Here, in verse 11, the person doing the speaking is identified by the words He says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.” We’ve already studied how Jesus is the Alpha and Omega--the TERM USED is ONE of His many TITLES.
Jesus instructed John to write down what he SEES. This is an interesting CLUE--John NOT ONLY received the DICTATION of words to write, but ALSO John SAW the POWERFUL events of Revelation, as the FUTURE unfolded in front of his eyes.
John was to send the BOOK, that he received and recorded, to SEVEN Churches located in Asia Minor (now known as Turkey). The seven Churches are listed in AN EXACT ORDER, which shows them NOT ONLY as local Churches at the time of John--Churches who needed help, encouragements and warnings--but that these Churches, IN THE EXACT ORDER they’re presented, describe CHURCH HISTORY. The seven Churches, and the characteristics they possess, provide a PROPHECY which covers the entire AGE OF THE CHURCH on earth.
THE SEVEN CANDLESTICKS
Revelation 1:12--“And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;” (We’ll discover, as we continue into verse 13, that Jesus stood in THE MIDST of these candlesticks--BUT FIRST, "what" are they?)
John turned, expecting to see the One Who spoke to him, the One Who had the voice that sounded like a trumpet. BUT the FIRST THINGS John SAW were SEVEN CANDLESTICKS. Why candlesticks? Why SEVEN of them?
The Greek word for candlesticks is “luchnia” and it MEANS "light bearer." There are so many references to the “light-bearer” throughout the scripture, that it’s hard to find a place to begin.
In the Jewish Tabernacle, and later the Temple, there existed a “light-bearer,” a seven-branched lampstand (Menorah). This was the ONLY source of LIGHT in the Tabernacle/Temple, and it pointed to Jesus Christ as the ONLY source of light--"the LIGHT of the world." (In my next b;og, I’ll bring us BACK, to ELABORATE upon the lampstand as it’s found in the Old Testament and HOW it relates to Jesus, but first, let’s continue.)
The term "candlestick," which first appears in Revelation 1:12, is DEFINED and EXPLAINED in the SAME chapter. Let’s take a quick look at Revelation 1:20. “The mystery of …the seven golden candlesticks…” [There are also "seven stars" in this verse, but we’ll focus upon the SEVEN CANDLESTICKS for now] “…the seven candlesticks which you (John) saw ARE THE SEVEN CHURCHES.” Do you remember the list of seven Churches in verse 11? EACH ONE of those Churches has a candlestick, or a “light-bearer” within them.
Here’s the obvious and simple MEANING of the seven candlesticks. They represent the SEVEN CHURCHES--and the SEVEN Churches PICTURE the COMPLETE CHURCH as it exists down through history.
The Church offers LIGHT to the world during its time on earth. What light? The LIGHT of JESUS CHRIST, and Jesus is THE LIGHT of the world. JESUS operates THROUGH THE CHURCH by the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s the LIGHT OF JESUS which is seen within the Church.
The King James translation of the Bible PORTRAYS the symbol as SEVEN CANDLESTICKS in Revelation 1:12. BUT this is an unfortunate translation for the Greek "luchnia," the “light-bearer.” In the days of King James, the common understanding of “the light-bearer” was indeed a candlestick, a light provided by a candle, held upright in a piece of pottery or brass--a saucer-like implement with a handle upon it.
The USE of a candle NEVER occurred in the BIBLICAL UNDERSTANDING of this term. The correct word is THE LAMPSTAND. (Other Bible translations use LAMPSTAND--The Revised Standard, The New American Standard, The Amplified Bible, and even The Good News For Modern Man.)
The LAMPSTAND was part of the furnishings inside the Jewish Tabernacle/Temple. It was beaten out of one piece of gold, and was comprised of a main upright stem and seven branches which held oil. The oil was fed into the lamp from bowls which were constantly filled by priests in the Jewish Tabernacle/Temple.
The use of OIL in the LAMPSTAND for illumination is very significant. Oil in the scripture is a picture of the Holy Spirit. So therefore, the SEVEN LAMPSTANDS are the COMPLETE CHURCH, the LIGHT-BEARER of JESUS, a WITNESS to the world. THE SOURCE of the LIGHT, the OIL for the LIGHT, is the HOLY SPIRIT, Who LIVES INSIDE each INDIVIDUAL who makes up the CHURCH.
There are SEVEN WAYS in which OIL is like the HOLY SPIRIT.
(1.) Oil abolishes friction and smooths over. The Holy Spirit smooths out any arguments or dissensions--He brings peace within the body of Christ.
(2.) Oil heals. Wounds are cleansed, healing is facilitated, the body is restored, by the application of oil--by the presence of God’s power in the Holy Spirit. Anoint with oil and pray in faith in Jesus’ name--the Holy Spirit provides healings.
(3.) Oil lights or illuminates. The light of the Holy Spirit helps us to understand God’s Word, and the deep mysteries contained within it.
(4.) Oil warms. The presence of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, provides a warmth to one’s soul.
(5.) Oil invigorates, stirs up circulation, the life-giving flow of blood (when used as a body rub). The Holy Spirit invigorates, prompts, encourages God’s people to action.
(6.) Oil adorns--poured upon heads as an anointing in great feasts, or in times of sorrow and grief. The oil of gladness, poured out by the Holy Spirit, brings great joy in times of celebration or thanksgiving--brings the balm of comfort in times of great distress and suffering.
(7.) Oil is used for polishing. Have you ever rubbed oil upon the barrel of a rifle, or upon silver to help it shine? The Holy Spirit brings a polishing into our lives--our flesh is scrubbed and rubbed, until the crud and the lumps are replaced by the fruit of the Spirit--and we shine with the light of Jesus.
The LAMPSTAND in the Jewish Tabernacle/Temple was oil-filled. The Church is Holy Spirit filled!
The LAMPSTAND is a picture, a symbol, for Jesus Christ. The LAMPSTAND as APPLIED to the CHURCH, shows HOW JESUS is preached and made known to the world through the ministry of the Holy Spirit WITHIN this great BODY OF CHRIST.
Before we leave the concept of the LAMPSTANDS, I want to take time to PRESENT Jesus, as shown in the Old Testament USAGE of that symbol.
This will take another blog to complete. Be ready to learn even more!
Have a peaceful and quiet day in the presence of Jesus’ LIGHT. Be blessed and enlightened by His presence.