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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 1 - Verse 12

Verse 12. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. He naturally turned round to see who it was that spake to him in this solitary and desolate place, where he thought himself to be alone. To see the voice here means to see the person who spake.

And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks. These were the first things that met his eye. This must have been in vision, of course; and the meaning is, that there seemed to be there seven such lamps or candelabras. The word rendered candlestickslucnia—means properly a light-stand; lamp-stand;—something to bear up a light. It would be applied to anything that was used for this purpose; and nothing is intimated, in the use of the word, in regard to the form or dimensions of the light-bearers. Lamps were more commonly used at that time than candles, and it is rather to be supposed that these were designed to be lamp-bearers, or lamp-sustainers, than candlesticks. They were seven in number; not one branching into seven, but seven standing apart, and so far from each other that he who appeared to John could stand among them. The lamp-bearers evidently sustained each a light, and these gave a peculiar brilliancy to the scene. It is not improbable that, as they were designed to represent the seven churches of Asia, they were arranged in an order resembling these churches. The scene is not laid in the temple, as many suppose, for there is nothing that resembles the arrangements in the temple except the mere fact of the lights. The scene as yet is in Patmos, and there is no evidence that John did not regard himself as there, or that he fancied for a moment that he was translated to the temple in Jerusalem. There can be no doubt as to the design of this representation, for it is expressly declared (Re 1:20) that the seven lamp-bearers were intended to represent the seven churches. Light is often used in the Scriptures as an emblem of true religion; Christians are represented as "the light of the world," (Mt 5:14) compare (Php 2:15; Joh 8:12) and a Christian church may be represented as a light standing in the midst of surrounding darkness.

{h} "seven" Ex 25:37

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