on Revelation 1 :12
And I turned For he had heard the voice behind him. To see the voice; i.e., the person from whom the voice came.
Seven golden candlesticks - Ἑπτα λυχνιας χρυσας· Seven golden lamps. It is absurd to say, a golden silver, or brazen candlestick. These seven lamps represented the seven Churches, in which the light of God was continually shining, and the love of God continually burning. And they are here represented as golden, to show how precious they were in the sight of God. This is a reference to the temple at Jerusalem, where there was a candlestick or chandelier of seven branches; or rather six branches; three springing out on either side, and one in the center. See Exodus 25:31-37. This reference to the temple seems to intimate that the temple of Jerusalem was a type of the whole Christian Church.
on Revelation 1 :12
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me - He naturally turned round to see who it was that spake to him in this solitary and desolate place, where he thought himself to be alone. To see the "voice" here means to see the "person" who spake.
And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks - These were the "first" things that met his eye. This must have been in "vision," of course, and the meaning is, that there "seemed" to be there seven such lamps or candelabras. The word rendered "candlesticks" (λυχνία luchnia) means properly a light-stand, lampstand - something to bear up a light. It would be applied to anything that was used for this purpose; and nothing is intimated, in the use of the word, in regard to the form or dimensions of the light-bearers. Lamps were more commonly used at that time than candles, and it is rather to be supposed that these were designed to be lamp-bearers, or lamp-sustainers, than candle-sticks. They were seven in number; not one branching into seven, but seven standing apart, and so far from each other that he who appeared to John could stand among them. The lamp-bearers evidently sustained each a light, and these gave a special brilliancy to the scene. It is not improbable that, as they were designed to represent the seven churches of Asia, they were arranged in an order resembling these churches. The scene is not laid in the temple, as many suppose, for there is nothing that resembles the arrangements in the temple except the mere fact of the lights. The scene as yet is in Patmos, and there is no evidence that John did not regard himself as there, or that he fancied for a moment that he was translated to the temple in Jerusalem. There can be no doubt as to the design of this representation, for it is expressly declared Revelation 1:20 that the seven lamp-bearers were intended to represent the seven churches. Light is often used in the Scriptures as an emblem of true religion; Christians are represented as "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14; compare Philippians 2:15; John 8:12), and a Christian church may be represented as a light standing in the midst of surrounding darkness.
on Revelation 1 :12
1:12-13 And I turned to see the voice - That is, to see him whose voice it was. And being turned, I saw - It seems, the vision presented itself gradually. First he heard a voice; and, upon looking behind, he saw the golden candlesticks, and then, in the midst of the candlesticks, which were placed in a circle, he saw one like a son of man - That is, in an human form. As a man likewise our Lord doubtless appears in heaven: though not exactly in this symbolical manner, wherein he presents himself as the head of his church. He next observed that our Lord was clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt with a golden girdle - Such the Jewish high priests wore. But both of them are here marks of royal dignity likewise. Girt about at the breast - he that is on a journey girds his loins. Girding the breast was an emblem of solemn rest. It seems that the apostle having seen all this, looked up to behold the face of our Lord: but was beat back by the appearance of his flaming eyes, which occasioned his more particularly observing his feet. Receiving strength to raise his eyes again, he saw the stars in his right hand, and the sword coming out of his mouth: but upon beholding the brightness of his glorious countenance, which probably was much increased since the first glance the apostle had of it, he fell at his feet as dead. During the time that St. John was discovering these several particulars, our Lord seems to have been speaking. And doubtless even his voice, at the very first, bespoke the God: though not so insupportably as his glorious appearance.