Revelation’s Imagery, pt. 1: Lampstand

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Here’s some more of my scattered research while preparing for my final Revelation paper. Again, don’t judge how unedited and raw this is.

The lampstand in the Old Testament was a symbol in the tabernacle of Yahweh’s presence among His people (Num. 8:1-4; Ex. 25:30-31, reference to the lampstand right after reference to the Bread of the Presence). Incidentally enough, the tabernacle lampstands (symbolic for the Church in Revelation) are designed in such a way as to bring back memories of Eden’s Tree of Life (“flowers”, Ex. 25:31; “branches”, 25:32; “cups like almond blossoms”, 25:33). As God’s presence was represented as the Tree of Life in Eden (that which gives perfect life), so the Lampstand represents God’s presence in the tabernacle ( In the same way, the lampstand represented the mission of all of Israel to be a light to the nations (Isa. 42:6, 49:6, 51:4, 60:3) vis a vis a kingdom of priests (Ex. 19:6). Incidentally, when Babylon falls in 18:23 the “light of the lamp” (the witness of the Church; Matt. 5:14-15; Eph. 5:8; Phil. 2:15) will shine no longer. Important to note is that the voice of the bridegroom and the bride (the voice of God and His Church) will also no longer be heard. In the new city in Rev. 21, the Lamb as a lamp gives off the light of God’s glory, and there is no more need for earthly lights.

The lampstands (seven, plural) represent the universal, Church of all time, which is here depicted as seven Churches around the Roman empire (2:1-3:22). Their mission is depicted by the lampstand. As in Israel in the Old Testament, the Church as a lampstand is supposed to be representatives of Christ by letting the light of Christ shine through them as the light of the world (Matt. 5:14-15). Through the witness of the Church is the presence of Christ shone throughout the earth. Just as the presence of Yahweh inhabited the tabernacle through the lampstand, now the presence of Jesus inhabits the world through the Church as the body of Christ (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 1:23; 4:12; 5:30; Col. 1:24). In this way, Christians, both individually and corporately, mimic Jesus, for His light cannot shine though them in ways that it does not emanate from Him. More specifically, in this context, the only sword that Christians can pick up is the only one that Jesus Himself carries, the one that protrudes from His mouth. Thus, the warfare that Christians participate in is the same warfare that Jesus participates in, nonviolent warfare in which the greatest weapon on the side of the God’s army is His piercing Word. This is a spiritual reality that manifests itself physically.

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