The Lampstand in the Sanctuary:

Christ, the Light of the World

Exodus 25:31-40, 27:20-21, 37:17-24 and Leviticus 24:2-4

    DIG: What features define the distinctive lampstand described here? Why the number seven? Why the blossom motif? The pure gold? What did its light represent for early Israel? What did this lampstand represent for the early Church (Hebrews 8:5; Revelation 2:1-3:22)?

    REFLECT: Do you think this pattern of furniture set for by God is necessary to adequately worship Him? Why or why not? Where is the light of Christ that you carry: (a) Hidden under a bushel basket? (b) Set on a lampstand? (c) On a dimmer switch? (d) Snuffed out altogether? How can you brighten your lamp to reflect the LORD’s powerful light in your life?

    There were five pieces of furniture in the Sanctuary. As the priest entered the Holy Place he would see the lampstand on his left, opposite the table of the bread of the Presence on his right. Like the mercy seat, the entire lampstand was hammered out of pure gold. The rabbis taught that because of a different spelling for the phrase, hammered out (the extra yod, not the usual passive), that Bezalel was told by Moses to throw the gold into the fire, and low and behold, out popped the lampstand! It had a base and a shaft, or middle branch, with six branches extending from its sides, three on one side and three on the other. Each branch was like the limb of an almond tree. There was an oil lamp made of flower like cups, shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms atop the shaft and each branch (25:31-33, 37:17-19). It was there that lamps, small receptacles for the oil and wicks, were filled.

    The almond flowers with their cups and buds were merely ornamental. The center shaft had four such cups. One bud was under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud was under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair. There were seven branches in all. It is interesting to note that no measurements were given for the lampstand. Why? Because you can’t put a yardstick on deity.575 Today the seven branched lampstand, or menorah, is a popular symbol of Judaism and of the modern nation of Israel.576 The number seven, of course, represents completeness, and may also point to the concept of the Sabbath. It may also be intended to serve as a reminder of the seven-day creation account.577 The buds and branches were of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold with no wood (25:34-36, 37:20-22). It was very expensive and easily the most ornate piece of furniture in the Tabernacle.

    The almond flowers remind us of Aaron’s staff that budded. When Aaron’s priestly prerogative was in question, the budding of his almond staff established his right to the priesthood (Numbers 17:18; Hebrews 9:4). The almond staff, a dead branch, was made to come alive and bear fruit. Messiah was established as the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead. The resurrection did not make Christ the Son of God, because He was already that before time began. The resurrection only confirmed it. Aaron was appointed high priest by ADONAI and the fact that his staff budded only confirmed it.578

    The lampstand provided all the light in the Holy Place because there were no windows. Its seven lamps were set up so that they would provide all the light that was needed. Its wick trimmers and trays were also to be made of pure gold. A talent, or about seventy-five pounds of pure gold was used to hammer out the lampstand and all its accessories (25:37-39, 37:23-24). No outsider could see the beauty of the golden lampstand; nor can any but believer-priests today know the beauty of Christ, or His union with the Church made up of Jewish and Gentile believers (Ephesians 2:11-18). The person without the Holy Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he or she cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (First Corinthians 2:14). The outsider only saw the hides of sea cows. To the unsaved heart, Jesus was merely a good man – not the eternal God who became man to save sinners. The skeptic sees no beauty in Him. But the believer sees the gold, His deity, now by faith (and one day by sight).579

    ADONAI commanded the Israelites to bring clear oil of pressed olives to use in the lampstand (27:20a). This is supposed to have been oil that was obtained from olives not fully ripe and pounded in a mortar instead of being put into a press. It was considered the best and purest, producing little smoke and giving off better light.580 Oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures (Zechariah 4:2-6, 11-14; John 7:37-39). The seven lamps picture the completion or fullness of the Holy Spirit that Christ possessed in a unique way that no other human being will ever possess. The Spirit of ADONAI will rest on Him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of ADONAI (Isaiah 11:2 CJB, also see Revelation 3:1, 4:5).

    The priests were to keep the seven lamps burning continually before ADONAI from evening till morning. They were never to be extinguished all at one time. Therefore, the lampstand was serviced twice a day, once in the morning and once at sunset. This was considered to be one of the five key responsibilities of the priesthood. This was to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites as long as the Torah was in effect (Exodus 27:20b-21; 30:7-8; Leviticus 24:1-4). But, there will be no lampstand in the Millennial Temple because Yeshua Messiah, the light of the world, will take its place (see my commentary on Isaiah Db - The Nine Missing Articles in Messiah's Coming Temple).

    The significance of the lampstand was that it provided light in the darkness of the Holy Place. While the Shechinah glory provided the light in the Most Holy Place, the seven lamps provided the light in the Holy Place. Messiah’s own words, the testimony of Zechariah, Simeon, and the inspired apostles leave no doubt as to whom that light pointed to. I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life . . . children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine as lights in the world (John 8:12; Philippians 2:15b KJ).

    While I am in the world, I am the light of the world . . . you are the light of the world (John 9:5; Matthew 5:14).

    God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all . . . be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning (First John 1:5; Luke 12:35).

    In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world . . . for you were once in darkness, but now you are light in Jesus. Live as children of light (John 1:4 and 9; Ephesians 5:8).

    The rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in the darkness, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to Your people Israel . . . for God, who commanded the light to shine out of the darkness, made His light to shine in our hearts to give us the light of knowledge of the Shechinah glory in the face of Christ (Luke 1:78b-79a, 2:32; Second Corinthians 4:6).

    If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin (First John 1:7).

    The Israelites were instructed to build everything according to the pattern shown to Moses on the mountain (25:40). The writer to the Hebrews quotes this verse in the context of arguing that the offerings brought to the Tabernacle were merely shadows and copies of the heavenly sacrifices. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and a shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the Tabernacle. ADONAI said to him: See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain (Hebrews 8:5). So what was given to Moses on Mount Sinai was not blueprints for a new structure, but merely the plans of the Tabernacle that already existed in heaven where Yeshua now serves as High Priest. He is there now, having offered His own body as a once-for-all sacrifice for His people.581

 

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