A quick update from the Athens Church of Christ

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Sermon Follow Up for Sunday, August 8, 2021


In Revelation 1, John introduces symbolic language and imagery to communicate the vision he receives from God on the island of Patmos. Perhaps he relays the vision exactly as he actually receives it. Another possibility is that he uses symbolic language and images from the Old Testament to describe things he saw but hasn’t the actual language to describe, much like when Paul experienced “inexpressible things” in 2 Corinthians 12. 


In either case, the symbolism of the Old Testament (especially Daniel, Ezekiel, and Zechariah) is present in Revelation, as well. Understanding the meanings of the language in its original Old Testament setting helps us shed light on what the symbols mean in Revelation. 




Read REVELATION 1:10-13, 20. 

What does the lampstand represent? Verse 20 tells us plainly that the image of the lampstand represents the church (7 lampstands = seven churches). Thus, if we understand the role of the lampstand and how it was symbolically used in the Old Testament, we can glean some valuable lessons regarding our lampstand, the church!


Read EXODUS 25:31-40. 

This passage records when the Lord gave to Moses directions regarding how to construct the lampstand for the tabernacle (where God would meet and dwell with his people).  


Out of what was the lampstand to be made? How does this relate to the church, which is our lampstand? {1 Peter 1:6-7, 15-16}


Hammering (labor) was necessary to construct the lampstand? What sort of “hammering” (labor) is required from us to build the church?

{Romans 3:21-25, 2 Peter 1:5-9, Ephesians 4:3-6}


What was the purpose of the lampstand? What does this teach us about the purpose of our community of faith, the church? 

{John 1:4-5, Matt 4:16, 5:14-16}


According to what pattern was the lampstand to be constructed? Who gave the Israelites this pattern? What does this teach us regarding what pattern we should follow for building the church?

{Acts 2:42, Ephesians 2:19-20} 


Read NUMBERS 8:1-4.

It says that the people build the lampstand exactly according to the pattern the Lord had shown Moses. Why do you think they obeyed? What does this teach us about our hearts and why should we obey the Lord when it comes to building up the church? 





What do the lamps symbolize? In ancient Hebrew writing, the number 7 carried with it a symbolic meaning of ‘holiness, completeness…’ Thus, the “seven spirits of God” is most likely a reference to God’s Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:4). 


Read ZECHARIAH 4:1-9.

In this vision the lampstand represents the temple which is to be built and the lamps represent the Spirit by which God will complete the work of building it. In 1 Corinthians 3:16, Paul writes that we (the church) are the temple in which God now dwells  by his Spirit. 


The lampstand served as a fixture from which the light shone, but it was the lamps that served as the actual source of light. What does this teach us about the role of the Holy Spirit and that of the church when it comes to displaying the light of God? 


If the Spirit serves as the actual light which draws people to God, then what is our role as the “lampstand?” OUR ROLE IS TO DISPLAY THE LIGHT OF THE SPIRIT, NOT EXTINGUISH IT! (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22;  Ephesians 4:30-5:2)


How do we make sure we are led by the Spirit, rather than dimming its light?


  1. We must desire the Spirit’s leadership (Psalm 143:10)

  2. We must discern the Spirit’s direction:

    1. Scripture (2 Peter 1:20-21)

    2. People (Proverbs, 1 Thess 5:20-22, Eph 4:11-15)

    3. The Spirit’s “voice” — that ‘tiny voice’ that tells you it is time to share your faith, encourage, point out something you see, serve, forgive, etc. 

      1. This is where the Spirit guides you in how to apply what you know to be true in the moment. 


  1. We must Defer to the Spirit’s Instruction — We must YIELD to the Spirit’s will and OBEY it.





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