In view of letters testifying to help received through the reading of the question raised at the conference at Belmar, and the summarization of the answer given, we submit some more of these interesting questions.
Question: Who are the overcomers of these seven letters to the churches of Asia?
Answer: This difficult question resulted in a thorough and careful examination of a number of salient facts. The discussion was conducted in a profound spirit of reverence for the Holy Scriptures, an esteem for fellow brethren, and an attitude of dependant humility upon the Holy Spirit. In fact each discussion throughout the entire conference was characterized by a lack of the evil moods of dogmatism.
The salient points examined were: First, that the “overcomer” of the Book of The Revelation stands in contrast to the unsaved, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be His God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death,” (Rev. 21:7-8). Second, that the basic idea of the overcomer here is that of one who has been redeemed, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony,” (Rev. 12:11). Third, that every promise to all the overcomers in the seven churches is seen as common to all the people of God in the eternal state described at the close of The Revelation. To the Tree of Life promised to the overcomer in Ephesus, all have access in heaven, (22:2). Preservation from the second death is promised to those in Smyrna, and it is common to all the saved in Eternity, (Rev. 20:14-15). The new name promised in Pergamos may have its counterpart in the new name of chapter 22:4. The Morning Star promised the overcomer in Thyatira appears to all in Chapter 22:16. The Book of Life seen in Sardis is seen again in chapter 21:27, as embracing the final list of all the redeemed. The temple, and the pillars within it, as seen in Philadelphia is interpreted in chapter 21:21-22. Finally, the throne and the co-rulers referred to in the letter to Laodicea are viewed in their eternal glory in chapter 22:3-5.
This problem was further examined in the light of another of the writings of John, his first epistle. There it is obvious that the over-comer is seen in two aspects, first, the judicial aspect, that is, the believer an overcomer because of his union with Christ, “But whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world… Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5). In second place, the experimental aspect, “I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the Word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one,” (1 John 2:14).
It was the general consensus of all who took part, that the evidence proved the overcomer seen in the seven churches of Asia to be pictured in the judicial aspect, that the overcomer was in Christ, and, therefore, to be considered synonymous with the seven stars, and those that had ears to hear.
Question: What constitutes a lamp-stand testimony? Could an assembly exist without being a testimony ?
Answer: The first brother from whom an answer was sought, readily admitted his limitations, and added to the two parts of the question, a third, namely, “If the lamp-stands symbolize the professing church why are they pictured as being golden?
The following suggestions were submitted: First, the churches are symbolized by lamps for it is the divine intention that all churches, all assemblies, give light, that is, bear testimony.
Second, in the attempt to answer the questions, “What constitutes a lampstand testimony?” and “Why the lampstand is pictured as being golden?” the symbol of the lamp-stand was examined in its various parts and functions. 1st, the lamp-stand is golden because it represents the divine plan for the church in the world. 2nd, the lamp was for light, suggesting the divine purpose for the church. 3rd, the lamp by a comparison of Scripture uses oil (Zech. 4), and this suggests divine power in the church, the Holy Spirit of God. 4th, the lamps were each upon the stand, the divine foundation for the church, whether universally or locally is Christ. 5th, the lamps are in the plural intimating the divine fellowship intended among the churches. 6th, the care of the lamps in the light of Ex. 24:1-4, Num. 8:2-3, and Zech. 4 suggest the function of the Christian priesthood.
This discussion was concluded by the reading of Rev. 22:5, “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle (lamp) neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign forever and ever.” All possibility of testimony closes with the end of time.