The Hearing of Faith
The golden lampstand is an important symbol in the Bible. It is mentioned in Exodus 25, 1 Kings 7, Zechariah 4, and Revelation 1. In Exodus only one lampstand was placed in the tabernacle to give light in the Holy Place. This unique lampstand symbolizes Christ as the embodiment and expression of the Triune God. The substance of the lampstand was pure gold, which symbolizes God the Father in His divine nature. This gold was beaten into the form of a lampstand, which symbolizes God the Son, who is the embodiment of God the Father (John 14:9-11a; Col. 1:15; 2:9). The seven shining lamps symbolize God the Spirit as the seven Spirits of God (Rev. 4:5; 5:6) for the expression of the Father in the Son. Thus, the three attributes of the lampstand—its substance, its shape, and its shining expression—symbolize the three of the Divine Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
The description in Exodus 25 portrays the lampstand as a living, growing tree. The lampstand had a central shaft with three branches on each of its two sides. At the intersection of each pair of branches with the shaft there was a calyx (the leafy green part of a flower). Furthermore, along the length of the shaft and along each branch there were cups made like almond blossoms, with calyxes and blossoming buds. This picture gives the impression that the shaft grows upward and the branches grow out of the shaft. Since the lampstand is a portrait of the Triune God, who is embodied in Christ, the life in the lampstand must be the divine life, the eternal life, the life of God, which is in Christ (John 1:4; 1 John 5:11-12) and even is Christ Himself (John 14:6). The lampstand had seven lamps, one at the end of the central shaft and one at the end of each of the six branches. The shining of the seven lamps signifies the testimony, the expression, of the Triune God, which results from the growth of the divine life. The function of the lampstand is to express the Triune God by shining out the divine light of life.
At the end of the Bible, in Revelation 1, there are seven golden lampstands. As indicated in verse 20, the seven lampstands symbolize seven local churches. According to verse 11 these seven churches were in seven cities, respectively, one local church in each city. This picture shows that each local church is a lampstand, just as Christ is. The lampstand in the Old Testament was only one, whereas the lampstands in the New Testament are many. The seven lampstands in Revelation 1 are the multiplication of the one lampstand in Exodus 25. This signifies that the local churches are the reproductions of Christ. They and Christ are the same in nature (gold), in form (a stand), and in function (shining). Because of this, the lampstands are also identical to one another; there is no way to distinguish one from the other. As portrayed in the picture of the lampstand, in order for the local churches to be the reproductions of Christ, the believers in the churches need to experience Christ as their life and allow Christ to grow within them. As Christ grows in His believers, He transforms them inwardly into His image, His form (2 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 8:29). Ultimately, this growth and transformation through the divine life of Christ in His believers causes the local churches to shine forth the divine light, both individually in their respective localities and collectively in the universe, as the testimony of Jesus.
From Issue No. 24, April 2000