In the first four chapters of the book of Revelation, John repeatedly mentions seven stars, seven lampstands, seven churches, seven lamps, seven spirits.1 In fact the number “seven” is used seventeen times in these four brief chapters. What do these mean?
In Rev 1:12 it says, “Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands.”
After that Jesus tells us in Rev 1:20, “As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”
Therefore we know that the seven golden lampstands represent the seven churches of Asia.
He also tells us that the seven stars are the seven angels of these churches. The word “angel” literally means “messenger or spokesman” so we can deduce that the seven stars are the pastors of these seven churches. This makes sense because Jesus told John specifically to write “to the angels of each of the churches”2 and these must be the earthly pastors because it would be meaningless for John to write to heavenly angels. Furthermore, each message ends with: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”3 These are addressed to earthly churches—not angels.
Then later in Rev 4:5 we are told, “And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” So the seven lamps represent the Spirit of God sent to each of the seven churches.
These seven Spirits of God are also mentioned in Rev 5:6.4 It is interesting that in this verse it adds “…sent out into all the earth.” Isn’t the purpose of the church to display Jesus for the whole earth to see? What is the purpose of a lampstand if it isn’t to hold a lamp up high so its light will be seen?5 A lampstand by itself is useless unless it is crowned by a lamp. In this case the lamp is Jesus who said “I am the light of the world.”6
Photo Attribution: Joshua Coleman – unsplash.com
- Rev 1:4 (2x), Rev 1:11, Rev 1:12, Rev 1:16, Rev 1:20 (6x), Rev 2:1(2x), Rev 3;1 (2x), Rev 4:5(2x)
- Rev 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14
- Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 28; 3:6, 13, 22
- “And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.”
- Mt 5:15; Mk 4:21; Lk 8:16; Lk 11:33
- John 8:12