Revelation 1.12-13 & 20: Then 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…“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 which you saw are the seven churches.”
Here’s what Philip Mauro wrote about what this vision means for us: “Seeing that the symbol God has chosen as the representation of the local church of this dispensation is a candlestick (or lampstand), we may infer that the main purpose of its existence is to hold aloft, for the benefit of all around, the light of God’s Truth [Philippians 2.15-16].
In other words, the church is the appointed witness for Christ. Its members are gathered into one body to the end that by their collective testimony, not in word only, but chiefly in their distinctive manner of life after a pattern utterly foreign to this present evil world, they may show forth the reality, and the saving and life-transforming power, of the Gospel of Christ who died and rose again.
For Christ’s people are in the world, not for themselves or for what they can get out of it, but strictly to “occupy”, that is to carry on business, for Him. [Luke 19.13]
…The word spoken by the Lord and recorded in Matthew 5:15 throws clear light upon this subject, and is itself interpreted by His explanation that the candlesticks (lampstands) represent the churches: “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick [lampstand]; and it gives light to all that are in the house”.
Such being the main purpose of Christ for His churches, it would follow that when He walks in the midst of them and searches them with those eyes that are like flames of fire, His chief concern would be as to the things that affect their testimony.
For if a church fails in its testimony, if it is not maintaining a clear witness for Christ, it is a failure in the very thing for which it was called into being.
Therefore, every church of God is to be judged as to its efficiency and faithfulness as a Light-bearer; and it is primarily with respect to that supremely important matter that their condition and their behavior are reviewed by the Lord Himself, with the results set forth in these seven letters.
Let us therefore keep that fact in mind in our study of them; remembering also that the scene here put before us is not a thing of the long ago, but of this entire age, during which our Lord is ever walking in the midst of His churches.
What then is the testimony the churches are responsible to maintain? Or, to use the figure here employed, what is the nature of the “light” they are expected to shine upon “all that are in the house”? Briefly, the testimony or “light” of the local church is the conduct of those who compose it, that is to say, their whole manner of life, in their relations with one another and with “those who are outside” [Colossians 4.5].
Their entire behavior should be such as to “show forth the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous Light” [1 Peter 2.9].
Therefore, their [our] manner of life should be as much in contrast with that of the unregenerate, as light is in contrast with darkness.”
Things Which Soon Must Come To Pass, Philip Mauro, pp 83-85.