I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ…
1. The nature of the symbol. The Church is called a candlestick, in allusion to the candlestick in the ancient sanctuary-in allusion also to the exposition of the symbol given by the prophet (Zechariah 4:2-6); and on account of her own celestial light — she receives, resembles, embodies, and dispenses the light, glory, and gladness of heaven (Isaiah 60:1).
2. The precious material of which they are formed. They are golden candlesticks. The formation of the Church is the doing of the Lord, and marvellous in our eyes. The plan, the contrivance, the direction, and formation of the golden candlesticks were all Divine and heavenly; bearing the impress of the hand that formed them. They are called golden candlesticks, to express their intrinsic excellence, their purity and value, their glory and beauty, their splendour and their preciousness. They are called golden candlesticks, to express the estimation in which they are held by the family of heaven.
3. The form and number of the golden candlesticks. They were seven. There was but one candlestick in the ancient sanctuary, which represented the one Church of Israel — complete within itself.
(1) The number implies the purity of the light; it proceeds from the pure celestial oil.
(2) The fulness of the light; a plenitude of glory is poured from the Churches, to enlighten and cheer a dark world.
(3) The power of the light; it has a power of holy influence and everlasting consolation; the power of sweet attraction.
(4) The variety of the light; the beauty and variety of the colours of the rainbow meet and mingle here.
(5) The unity of the light; there is a blessed unity without uniformity; although there are seven, they are all one; they have all one support, they are formed of one material, nourished by the same means.
4. The use and design of the seven golden candlesticks. The use of a candlestick is to receive, exhibit, and dispense the light. Now, the Church of Christ does this by her purity; her purity of doctrine, purity of communion; purity, simplicity, and spirituality of worship; and by her spiritual power to command heavenly purity. She does it by her testimony to the character of God, in the embodied form of Divine truth, in the pure essential doctrines of grace, and she does it by her efforts to publish the gospel; as a witnessing Church, in maintaining the truth; and a missionary Church, in dispensing the truth throughout the whole world.
Parallel VersesKJV: I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.