Monday, 24 August 2020
Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, Revelation 1:12
The previous verses said that John heard a voice behind him like a trumpet. The voice gave John instructions to carry out. In having heard this, it now says, “Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me.” It is an interesting phrase.
Here, the “voice” is given for the source of the voice. As the voice was like a trumpet, he wanted to discern what would produce such a voice, as if the two were one thing. This follows in concept from the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:7, 8 –
“Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? 8 For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?”
A trumpet produces its own voice, but it can be intelligible or unintelligible. A voice like a trumpet that speaks out intelligible words isn’t a trumpet at all. John wanted to see the voice that spoke with him, and thus he wanted to see what produced the voice. And more, John says the voice spoke “with” him, not “to” him. There is the sense of conversation rather than merely focused direction. And this, even before John has beheld the speaker. This is probably because of what he said in verse 10 – “I was in the Spirit.” John was conversing with the Lord. The Lord has responded. Because of this, John says, “And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands.”
In his turning, John’s mental focus, that of being in the Spirit, is redirected to another plane of perception. His eyes now behold what his ears heard. And the first thing that catches his attention is the seven golden lampstands. The golden lampstand, or menorah, is first seen in Exodus 25. In the construction of the tabernacle, Moses was given precise instructions concerning each article to be made, including where it was to be placed after it was made.
The order received for the furniture within the tabernacle was the Ark of the Covenant, then the Table for the Showbread, and then the Golden Lampstand (meaning the Menorah). This implement was kept in the south side of the Holy Place, across from the Table of Showbread.
To understand its amazing typology, one should take the time to watch or read the Superior Word sermon entitled “Exodus 25.31-40 (The Menorah).” The lampstand is referred to again in Zechariah 4:2. However, in the temple built by Solomon, ten separate lampstands were made (see 1 Kings 7:49).
For this verse, John says, “seven golden lampstands.” It is debated if it is one lampstand with seven branches or seven separate lampstands. If only one, then John ius seeing Christ standing in front and the seven branches spread out behind him. Or, it could be that there are actually seven separate lampstands just as there were ten separate ones in Solomon’s temple. The text allows for either possibility.
The lampstand will be explained in 1:20. In verse 2:1, it says that the Lord “walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.” In verse 2:5, it says the Lord may remove a church’s lampstand. Therefore, it is more likely that these are separate lampstands.
Either way, the symbolism of the lampstands will be consistent with that given in Exodus. It is an amazing study.
Life application: The King James Version and other archaic translations describe these lampstands as “candlesticks.” We thus lose the symbolism of what is being related. It is always helpful to read multiple translations of the Bible, weeding out error, archaic terminology, and erroneous descriptions in the process.
This is important in order to understand the true intent behind any given passage or verse. Let us be students who stand approved because of our pursuit of the truth as conveyed in God’s precious word.
Lord, You alone have authority over the churches of the world. Any church that rejects You, as You have revealed Yourself in Your word, does so at its own peril. We know that You are watching the conduct of each church, and indeed each person in Your church, monitoring us according to Your wisdom and Your standard of holiness. May we as groups who gather, and as individuals as well, be obedient and faithful to You. Amen.