Close Menu X

The Lampstand in Revelation


By Chad Sanders


In the Old Testament, God related to His people through the "tabernacle." The Exodus generation was given prescripted, detailed plans of a tent-like structure with six pieces of furniture that would be tended by priests. This tabernacle was where God would meet them and where priests could make intercession for the people with sacrifices and offerings. 

Within the Holy Place, outside the Holy of Holies, was the lampstand. Exodus 25 tells us the lampstand was to be hammered out of pure gold in one piece. It was to have six branches - 3 on each side - with a seventh branch in the middle (picture the modern Menorah of the Jewish faith).The cups on top of each branch were to resemble almond blossoms. Along each branch were four additional almond flowers. So each branch was essentially a series of almond flowers with the last being open like a cup. 

This flower-cup held oil. In the oil was placed a wick. Seven flower-cups with oil and a wick on each lampstand. The wicks were to be lit by the priest every evening and burn all night until morning, every single day. It was the job of the priest to tend to the lampstand. In Leviticus 24, Moses tells the people to make oil from beaten olives, and the priests would use the oil in the lampstand and trim the wicks and keep the fire burning by adding oil and lighting wicks throughout the night. 

It is difficult to say for sure what the light of the lampstand represents. It could be that the light of the lampstand represents the Presence of God. The lampstand was always to remain lit throughout the night. In John, Jesus was at the feast of booths, and He declares to the crowd that He is the light of the world. Many other places in the Bible associate light with God. It could also be that the light represences the people. The people, getting their light from God, are to keep their light shining. In Matthew 4 we see that God's people are like a lamp shining in a dark place. 

One other interesting Old Testament passage is relevant here. In Zechariah 4, Zechariah sees a vision of a lampstand that has pipes, or plumbing, going directly to two olive trees, so that the oil from the olive trees is contstantly flowing to the lampstand so that it will never go out. In that passage, we read the interesting verse that states: "Not by might, nor by power, but my Spirit," says the Lord." 

In other words, the Holy Spirit is the oil! And there will be a constant, never-ending supply of the Spirit to keep the lampstand burning. 

What does all this mean for us? In Revelation 1, John sees a vision of the Son of Man (Jesus) standing among seven lampstands. The lampstand was in the Holy Place, so this is the heavenly temple. Only priests tended lampstands. Jesus is the priest. In verse 20 we are told the seven golden lampstands are the seven churches.

Remember seven is the favorite number of Revelation. It means "complete and whole." The seven lampstands are the whole, complete church universal. And Jesus stands among the lampstands (the church) tending and caring for us. And we have a never ending supply of the Holy Spirit - oil- to keep the light on. 

Chapter 2 and 3 of Revelation will develop this further. But for now, know that we are God's workmanship, hammered out of gold, tended by Jesus Himself, with the power of the Holy Spirit, to let our light - the light of God Himself - the light of the Gospel, shine in the darkness.