What is the meaning of "lampstand" in Revelation 2:5 ?

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. ( ESV )

What does "lampstand" signify? What is meant by the removal of it?

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According to Rev 1:20 the seven stars are the seven messengers to the seven congregations; while the seven lampstands represent the seven congregations themselves. Each congregation is (significantly) represented by a lampstand and this is a source of light - compare Matt 5:14-16.

That Jesus is depicted as walking among these seven lampstands suggests, not only that is He closely associated with the work of these seven congregations, but that ultimately, He is the source of light which they shed (John 1:4, 5, 8:12). Further, the light which the Christian community sheds is to illuminate Jesus and bring Him glory - another reason Jesus is depicted as walking among the lampstands in Rev 1.

Jesus' statement that He is coming to remove their lampstand is essentially saying that they by their continued transgression (ie, if it persists) they have forfeited the right to shed the light of Jesus to the world, and thus, they disqualify themselves from shedding the light of life, namely, Jesus. The Pulpit commentary observes:

I come to thee. … the verb is present, not future (comp. John 14:18). The coming, of course, refers to a special visitation, not to the second advent. The removing of the candlestick is not the deposition of the bishop, but the dethroning of the Church, cancelling its claim to the kingdom, severing its union with Christ. Compare "The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" (Refer to Matthew 21:43) .



Indeed, as Mac’s Musing said….. the source of the Light is Jesus. The lampstand represents those who witness to this dark world the testimony of Jesus. The Lampstand = showing forth the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ to others…speaking His testimony to others.

Yet, if we lack the “first works” that should abound in us along with His knowledge….(the first works: the temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, love that should accompany it)…then we become “barren” and unfruitful with the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our witness of His knowledge gets removed…as the lampstand gets removed by Him every time we speak so that others will not hear us without these things abounding in us. We become barren and unfruitful with His knowledge as those who may hear will not.

Again, without these first works abounding in us, the lampstand is removed every time we speak His knowledge to others.

Others will not hear (as the lampstand is presently being removed by Him). We then become barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of Him even though we may understand all mysteries and all knowledge.

Peter 1:5-10 KJV (5) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; (6) And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; (7) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. (8) For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9) But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (10) Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

If we have not love, we become as a sounding bass or a tinkling cymbal to others. Although we may understand all mysteries and all knowledge….but yet have no love, then we are nothing as the lampstand gets removed every time we speak His knowledge to others.

1 Corinthians 13:1-2 KJV (1) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (2) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

If we do these things....the “first works”, then we shall never fall. The church of Ephesus had fallen from these things.

2 Peter 1:10 KJV (10) Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall



Great thoughts from the prior posts. I especially like the reference to 1Cor13 which is foundational. Here is an excerpt from a longer session. I am encouraged that it aligns with the other posts. Hopefully this presents more to ponder in our journey of understanding/believing.

Lampstands The lampstands are introduced in John’s vision. John hears a voice, then when he turns he sees seven lampstands and the Living One, who we know to be Jesus by the description. He tells us that there is a mystery with the seven stars and the seven lampstands; that they are the seven “angels” and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. It appears that it is more than a simple poetic way of identifying seven churches : that would not be a mystery.

There are numerous references to the Lampstand in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle (later- the Temple). We can infer that it had seven lights, as the design specifies various items that lead that way. There are specific instructions about the six branches and logic would infer the center structure from which the branches protruded also had a light at its top. The Law specifies that the six branches are to be arranged so that they provide light to the front. It seems a reasonable assumption that the front would be the side facing the Table of the Presence, on which were various things for eating, including the specifically identified Bread of the Presence. Anyone who touches or sees the Lampstand or the Table of the Presence who is not sanctified will die (in the law, pre-torn-curtain).

There are other lamps and lampstands mentioned. The most noteworthy and possibly pertinent is the lampstand in Zechariah’s vision. Zechariah has a dream vision of the High Priest as a very sinful man standing before the Angel of the Lord while Satan stands accusing him. The LORD commands him to be dressed in righteousness and promises that he will send a Branch that will remove all sin in a single day. (There is also a stone with seven eyes and an inscription - which is related to other revelation letters ) Then the Angel wakes up Zechariah and shows him (now a waking vision) “solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. 3Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left” . When Zechariah admits that he does not know what this means, the LORD ALMIGHTY says “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit.”.

If I can be so bold as to summarize: The Lampstand illuminates the Bread of His Presence. Zechariah sees a High Priest (only a man-descendant of Aaron). He is filthy with sin. The Aaronic High Priest was to be a guide, counselor, intermediary between God and man. Zechariah vision: The lampstand will provide light by the Spirit, not by human effort. The Aaronic Priest (only man-descended) can illuminate the Presence by the Spirit, not by his own righteousness. Zechariah’s vision shows the Lamp getting its oil (making light) automatically by the olive Branches. God will send the Branch to remove all sin in one day. The Zechariah Branch (High Priest God/Man-descended) is the Living One walking among the Lampstands that are the churches. The Lampstands that are the churches are to serve by illuminating His presence, using the Light provided by the Branch that removed all sin in one day. By His Spirit. This builds a basis for understanding the churches and other statements in the letters.

So removing the Lampstand may mean:

Jesus says that Ephesus must change her mind - return to the deeds of Love, else He will remove her Lampstand from its place of influence. Given the understanding we have of the lampstands, it may be reasonable to interpret this as removing the ability of that organisation to be a light illuminating His Presence. This view may have some concurrence with a historical view of the church. We see organisations (sects; denominations; movements) rise in glory, accompanied by events that read like the first chapters of the book of Acts. Like Acts, this period is characterized by widespread Love of Jesus and each other. Then we see them devolve into debating the rules (like other parts of Acts) accompanied by infighting and lack of tolerance. Then the organisation becomes a dry well, with a promise of Hope but no resemblance to the earlier days. The Lampstand is removed from its place of influence.


What is the meaning of “lampstand” in Revelation 2:5?

Removal of the Lampstand.

The problem with the Ephesians is identified by Jesus, now in heaven, in verse 2:4-5 says to them :

4 " But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent."

You have left your first love.

So the Ephesians needed to revive their initial love for God and the truth. It is obvious that by the end of the first century their first love, zeal and enthusiasm for the truth "the illuminating light" ,had cooled off.

The scriptures do not tell us if the Ephesians responded to Jesus words, we hope that they did repent and re-awaken their love for God and the truth, however, if they did not, their lampstand will be removed, in other words they will lose their right to shed the light of truth.


But if you read further down Jesus speaks of not being hurt by the second death if they remain faithful. That means once having faith then afterward falling and becoming unfaithful. It speaks to losing salvation I believe

  • Welcome to Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. Please be sure to take the site tour and read up on how this site is a little different than other sites around the web. Could you cite the passage further down that you refer to? Thanks! Apr 20, 2021 at 19:51

This statement cannot be understood apart from 4:5 which reads

“And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God

The seven spirits which are the seven lamps of fire that burn before to throne are the seven churches to whom this revelation is sent (verse 20),

“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 angemphasized textels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”

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