When the book of Revelation refers to the lampstands, what do they mean?
The lampstands in the book of Revelation are found for the first time in Revelation 1:1.
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this . . . (NASB) Rev. 1:1
Then at the end of the chapter we discover the meaning of the lampstands.
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. (NASB) Revelation 1:20
The seven stars are the messengers to the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. Some believe that the messengers are the pastors of the churches and others believe that each church had an angel assigned to it. The Greek word for “angel” is aggelos. This word means “messenger.” One must determine from the context if the individuals are angels or messengers. Most likely the individuals are the pastors of the churches. The seven churches are Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7), Smyrna (Rev. 2:8-11), Pergamum (Rev. 2:12-17), Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29), Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6), Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-13), and Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22).
Lampstands were the place from which light would illuminate a room or light up the night. In the same way that the seven churches were to be lights shining in a spiritually dark world, we are to shine forth the good news about Jesus as well. Just as lampstands that do not provide a light are worthless, except for maybe an antique dealer, so are churches that do not shine by faithfully teaching the truth about God and His Word.
God has called us to tell others about Jesus Christ. How are you doing?