Sees The Voice
I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven
golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of
Man. (Revelation 1:12–13a)
Lampstands Signify the Church
upon hearing the loud voice, the trumpet sound that signified the presence of
God, John turns to see this unexpected Visitor. The last words from the voice
were the names of the seven churches; as soon as John turned the first thing he
saw was seven golden lampstands, or as the King James Version calls them, seven
golden candlesticks. It is significant that he saw lampstands because the
lampstands are symbols that represent the seven churches. The symbol is defined
in verse 20, “the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.”
will recall we learned that a quality or nature of a symbol must in some way
relate to the quality or nature of the thing which it represents. The lampstand
John saw resembled a menorah, the lampstand that was in the Holy Place of the
temple. Adam Clarke quite understands the relationship of the menorah to the
is a reference to the temple at Jerusalem, where there was a candlestick or
chandelier of seven branches; or rather six branches; three springing out on
either side, and one in the center. This reference to the temple seems to
intimate that the temple of Jerusalem was a type of the whole Christian Church.
us examine how the characteristics of the menorah relate to the characteristics
of the church. God gave precise instructions to Moses on the construction of the
menorah, or lampstand.
shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered
work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers
shall be of one piece. And six branches shall come out of its sides: three
branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand
out of the other side. (Exodus 25:31–32).
first quality is that it must be pure. The Hebrew word taw-hore, meaning pure in a physical, chemical, ceremonial or moral
sense. Purity is an essential attribute of Christ’s church. “I feel a divine
jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride
to her one husband.” (2 Corinthians 11:2’ RSV) To be a pure bride for the
Glorified Christ, the Church must be free from sin. “God has united you with
Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us
right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.” (1
Corinthians 1:30’ New Living Translation). It is the blood of Christ, our
espoused husband that purifies us from sin. “According to the law almost all
things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no
remission.” (Hebrews 9:22). “The
blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7).
purpose and nature of the lampstand, the menorah, is to broadcast light into the
darkness to dispel that very darkness. “You shall make seven lamps for it, and
they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it.” (Exodus
25:37). In the same sense, the
church answers the symbolism of the menorah—Christ’s purpose for the church
is to give light. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a
hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but
on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” (Matthew
5:14–15). Jesus made this
statement in the Sermon on the Mount. He had just given the Beatitudes, which He
addressed to the true people of God, those who are in the kingdom of heaven. The
kingdom light, the truth of salvation from sin, must be placed on a lampstand to
give forth its light. That lampstand is the church. Adam Clarke enlightens us on
the connection between the light of the lampstand and the church:
are the light of the world—That is, the instruments which God chooses to make
use of to illuminate the minds of men; as he uses the sun (to which probably he
pointed) to enlighten the world. Light of the world was a title applied to the
most eminent rabbins. Christ transfers the title from these, and gives it to his
own disciples, who, by the doctrines that he taught them, were to be the means
of diffusing the light of life throughout the universe.
takes that which was familiar in the worship of the Israelites and transfers it
to the disciples who were to be part of the foundation of the church. The light
given them to shine forth into the world is the truth of the
gospel—particularly, that through Christ, God has made atonement for the sin
of the world and all who will repent of their sins and put their faith in Him
will be forgiven and made a new creation in Christ. Matthew Henry makes an
excellent and prolonged discussion of what Jesus said about the light of the
world and its relationship to the church. As the lights of the world, they are
intended to illuminate and give light to others, and therefore:
shall be set up as lights. The churches are the candlesticks, the golden
candlesticks, in which these lights are placed, that the light may be diffused;
and the gospel is so strong a light, and carries with it so much of its own
evidence, that, like a city on a hill, it cannot be hid, it cannot but appear to
be from God, to all those who do not wilfully shut their eyes against it.
must shine as lights. By their good preaching. The knowledge they have,
they must communicate for the good of others; not put it under a bushel, but
spread it. By their good living. They must be burning and shining; must
evidence, in their whole conversation, that they are indeed followers of Christ.
They must be to others for instruction, direction, quickening, and comfort.
here, First, How our light must shine—by doing such good works as men may see,
and may approve of; such works as are of good report among them that are
without, and as will therefore give them cause to think well of Christianity. We
must do good works that may be seen to the edification of others, but not that
they may be seen to our own ostentation; we are bid to pray in secret, and what
lies between God and our souls, must be kept to ourselves; but that which is of
itself open and obvious to the sight of men, we must study to make congruous to
our profession, and praiseworthy, Philippians 4:8. Those about us must not only
hear our good words, but see our good works; that they may be convinced that
religion is more than a bare name, and that we do not only make a profession of
it, but abide under the power of it.
For what end our light must shine—“That those who see your good works may be
brought, not to glorify you (which was the things the Pharisees aimed at, and it
spoiled all their performances), but to glorify your Father which is in
heaven.” Note, The glory of God is the great thing we must aim at in every
thing we do in religion. In this centre the lines of all our actions must meet.
We must not only endeavor to glorify God ourselves, but we must do all we can to
bring others to glorify him. The sight of our good works will do this, by
furnishing them, With matter for praise. “Let them see your good works, that
they may see the power of God’s grace in you, and may thank him for it, and
give him the glory of it, who has given such power unto men.” With motives of
piety. “Let them see your good works, that they may be convinced of the truth
and excellency of the Christian religion, may be provoked by a holy emulation to
imitate your good works, and so may glorify God.” Note, The holy, regular, and
exemplary conversation of the saints, may do much towards the conversion of
sinners; those who are unacquainted with religion, may hereby be brought to know
what it is. Examples teach. And those who are prejudiced against it, may hereby
by brought in love with it, and thus there is a winning virtue in a godly
Son of Man
John heard the voice, he turned and immediately saw the seven golden lampstands,
but when his vision focused he saw One like the Son of Man in the middle of the
lampstands. Here we see the menorah having morphed into the Son of Man, Christ.
Christ is inseparable from His church as the church is in fact His body. “The
church is Christ’s body and is filled with Christ who completely fills
everything.” (Ephesians 1:23, CEV).
keen student of Bible Prophecy will immediately recognize this vision of the Son
of Man as the same vision seen by Daniel in Daniel 7:13, “I was watching in
the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds
of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before
Him.” Adam Clarke draws the connection between the Son of Man and Christ:
most certainly points out the Lord Jesus, the Son of miserable man; who
took our nature upon him that he might redeem us unto himself. To prove himself
to be the Messiah he applies, before the high priests, these words of the
Prophet Daniel to himself, Matthew 24:30, Then the sign of the Son of Man will
appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will
see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Jesus says of Himself here certainly foreshadows how He appears to John and to
His church in the Book of Revelation. The prophecy in chapter seven of the Book
of Daniel had to do with the four beasts, the four empires leading up to the
coming of Messiah from the time of the Babylonian captivity. You may recall from
our study of Daniel’s prophecies that the coming of Messiah put an end to the
rule and dominion of those empires over the people of God. With the advent of
Christ, the kingdom of God was ushered in. This kingdom was unlike political
kingdoms in that it will never pass away. “Then to Him was given dominion and
glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His
kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:14).
voice John heard was none other than the Glorified Christ, One like the Son of
Man. The Gospel of Matthew records the expression Son of Man 31 times. As we
explore a few of these expressions we will learn some very important facts about
this unique person, the Incarnate Christ.
9:6, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive
sins—then He said to the paralytic, Arise, take up your bed, and go to your
house.” As the Son of Man He has the power to forgive sins on earth. That
means any and all people that repent and put their faith in His redeeming work.
Because He can forgive sins, He is God and because He is God He can heal
12:8, “For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” God instituted the
Sabbath on Mount Sinai as part of the Ten Commandments. Adam Clarke comments on
what is said here: “The change of the Jewish into the Christian Sabbath,
called the Lord's day, Revelation 1:10, shows that Christ is not only the Lord,
but also the truth and completion of it. For it seems to have been by an
especial providence that this change has been made and acknowledged all over the
Christian world.” The Son of Man, Christ bringing salvation, redefines the
Sabbath from just one day of the week to a state of grace.
12:40, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great
fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the
earth.” As the Son of Man, He died to make atonement for the sins of all
mankind. He was really dead and buried and then raised from the dead on the
16:13, “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His
disciples, saying, Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” In this passage
we learn that He is the Son of God. As the Son of God and the Son of Man, He is
truly God incarnate in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. As we learn from verse
16 following, this truth is the foundation of the church.
16:27–28, “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His
angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to
you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the
Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” Christ will return in His role as the Son
of Man. In this capacity, He is the only Person that can judge mankind because
He has been a real man and experienced real human life. The fact that He did no
sin as a Man, His life proves that humans can resist temptation and live in
obedience to the will of God.
18:11, “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” The Son of
Man is the redeemer of mankind. He came to this earth and lived as a man. As
such, He understands and has experienced the human life. His purpose was to
rescue lost humanity from the ravages of sin.
19:28, “So Jesus said to them, Assuredly I say to you, that in the
regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have
followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of
Israel.” Here Jesus speaks in terms that are suggestive of the Book of
Revelation. We see Christ taking His throne in Revelation chapter 6.
Jesus appears to John, He presents Himself as the I AM God, the Alpha and Omega,
the First and the Last. His voice was as startling as the blast from a trumpet,
arousing John from his reverie on this particular Lord’s Day. As John turns to
see the voice he catches a glimpse of Jesus he had never before seen. He sees
the Glorified Christ standing there fully identified with His church, and it is
His will that the Revelation be recorded and sent in the form of a book to His
church—not just the church in a limited area; it is to go to His church as it
exists throughout the remainder of time.