And said unto me, What seest thou?
&c.] That is, after he was awake, and had looked about him: And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all [of] gold;
such an one as was in the tabernacle of Moses, only with this difference; that had no bowl on the top, nor seven pipes to it, nor two olive trees on each side of it, with two pipes to them, ( Exodus 25:31-37 ) such a candlestick was never in being, only in vision; and is an emblem of the church of Christ, into which the light of the Gospel is put by Christ, and held forth by it, and especially by its ministers; see ( Revelation 1:12 Revelation 1:13 Revelation 1:20 ) for the light put into this candlestick, the church, is not the light of nature or reason, which is "the candle of the Lord searching into the inward parts" of man; by which he may discern somewhat the being and perfections of God in his works, and of moral good and evil; but it is too dim to direct and guide him in the affair of salvation: nor the law of Moses, said to be a light, and a lamp; by which men might come to the knowledge of sin, but not of a Saviour from it: but the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, which was like a candle lighted up in the evening of the Jewish dispensation, and placed in the Christian church; and gave light, not only to the saints in Judea, but in all parts of the world, whither it has been carried; for this candlestick is portable, and has been removed from place to place; and wherever it is set, it gives light, and removes the darkness of error, infidelity, and immorality; and is useful to direct the saints in their walk and conversation, and render them more capable of working with delight and pleasure; and will blaze out more brightly in the end of the world, when it is about to be no more; and by the light of it lost sinners, like the lost piece of silver, are looked up, strayed ones are brought back, and backsliders restored; hypocrites and formalists, heretics and false teachers, and their doctrines, are discovered and detected; and saints are enlightened, comforted, and directed: and this candlestick being "all of gold" may denote the value of it; the true church of Christ, and the real members of it, are highly esteemed by Christ; the precious sons of Zion are comparable to fine gold, jewels, and precious stones; they are the excellent in the earth, in whom is his delight: and likewise its brightness and purity, splendour and glory; its members being possessed of the gifts and graces of the Spirit, of the pure and glorious doctrines of the Gospel, and exercising holy discipline, and living holy lives and conversations: and also the duration of it, which will be to the end of the world, the gates of hell not being able to prevail against it; and which is continued, not by might or power of man, but by the Spirit of the Lord, and his grace, which is sufficient for it, and with which it is supplied; not by any natural or artificial means, but by a wonderful and uncommon manner; signified by oil not pressed from the olive by the help of man, but flowing from two olive trees, on both sides the candlestick, of itself, freely, and constantly. This candlestick may primarily respect, and may be an emblem of, the then present state of the Jewish church, when this vision was seen; and point at how it was raised up, restored, and preserved; but has a further view to the church of God, under the Gospel dispensation, unto the end of the world: with a bowl upon the top of it;
an oil vessel, or cruet, round, and large enough to hold the oil, which supplied it, and each of its lamps, whereby its light was maintained and continued; and this may intend, either the fulness of grace in Christ, which is as "a fountain", as the word F12 here used signifies, ( Joshua 15:19 ) to supply his church and people; and from whence they have the oil of grace in measure, which is in him without measure, whereby their lamps are filled, and their lights are kept burning; and who is fitly placed as the Head of the church for this purpose, as this bowl was upon the top of the candlestick: or rather, since this "bowl" is but a measure, though it may be a large one it may signify that large portion of gifts and grace which is communicated to the church in all ages, and abides in it, and is severally divided to the ministers and members of it, for its profit and edification; to one one gift, to another another; to some greater, and others less; and all for mutual good; and which are given forth from Christ and his Spirit; who, as Capellus thinks, may be meant by the two olive trees, who of themselves, without pressing, having all fulness of grace in them without measure, freely and liberally impart it; and keep filling the bowl, so that there is constantly a supply of the Spirit, and grace for the church and people of Christ in all ages; according to ( Isaiah 59:21 ) "my Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed saith the Lord, from henceforth, and for ever". Cocceius thinks the merit of Christ is meant by this bowl or cup, by which he obtained the promise of the Spirit: and his seven lamps thereon;
on the candlestick; such a number of lamps were on the candlestick in the tabernacle, ( Exodus 25:37 ) and may design the many members of the church bearing the lamps of profession; or rather the ministers of the Gospel, who are the lights of the world, and bright and burning ones, that hold forth the word of life both in doctrine and conversation; unless the gifts and graces of the Spirit, qualifying them for such work, should be meant; see ( Revelation 4:5 ) but rather ministers themselves are designed, who are called lights and lamps, ( Matthew 5:14 ) ( John 5:35 ) and the number seven, being a number of perfection, may denote a fulness and sufficiency of Gospel ministers, which Christ furnishes his church with, and will do unto the end of the world; he having a perfection of gifts in his hands for them, to fit them for his service; just as these are called the "seven pillars" of Wisdom's house, ( Proverbs 9:1 ) . Cocceius thinks by these seven lamps are intended the seven churches, or the seven states of the church under several periods in the Gospel dispensation; the same with the seven churches of Asia, and the seven golden candlesticks, in the midst of which Christ was seen by John, ( Revelation 1:4 Revelation 1:11 Revelation 1:12 ) : and seven pipes to the seven lamps which were upon the top thereof;
these pipes, infusers or funnels, were at the bottom of the bowl, in which were so many holes, that let out the oil into them, by which it was carried to the lamps; a pipe to every lamp. In the Hebrew text it is, "seven and seven pipes" F13; that is, fourteen, two to every lamp; which Fortunatus Scacchus F14 thinks, they being joined to one another, the one put in the neck of the other, were for the better cleansing and purifying of the oil from any dregs that might be in it. Jarchi is of opinion there were seven to every lamp, in all forty nine, but without any foundation: by these are meant, not the seven sacraments, as say the Papists; but either the various gifts of the Spirit, fitting ministers for their service; or the various means they make use of to learn the mind of Christ in the Scriptures, to know the Gospel, and more of it, that they may hold it forth to others; such as reading, meditation, and prayer.
F12 (hlg) "fons", Pembellus; "scaturigo", Sanctius.
F13 (hebvw hebv) "septem et septem", Pagninus, Montanus, Calvin, Piscator.
F14 Sacrer. Elaeochrism. Myrothec. l. 1. c. 10. p. 53.