The Lamp Stand
The Hebrew word menorah, (mĕnôrâ), means lampstand and is used 41 times in the NKJV. The 28 times it is used in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers it is the Golden Lampstand inside the Tent of Meeting and its service in the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting. Ten times the word menorah is used in the books of Kings and Chronicles, nine describing the ten golden lamp stands outside the inner sanctuary in Solomon’s temple, and once for the lamp stand in the upper room prepared for Elisha. The final two instances menorah is used are in Zechariah’s dream, (Zech 4:1-6).
The Menorah that was placed inside the Holy place of the Tent of Meeting was beautifully ornate, hammered from a single talent of gold and fashioned after an almond tree with six budding branches, three on either side. The lamps themselves looked like flowering almonds, the same fruit that budded from Aaron’s rod in Numbers 17:1-10 and which I suspect looked very similar to the Menorah once it sprouted. The Hebrew word for almond or almond tree is šāqēd, (שָׁקֵד), and is synonymous with guarding and watchfulness. The almond tree which blooms as early as January or February in Israel is affectionately looked upon as the harbinger of spring and is appropriately enough called šāqēd “the waker” or “The waking tree” The similarity of the words watchfulness and almond tree is reinforced in the call of Jeremiah, (Jer 1:12, 31:28, 44:27).
Festival of Lights
Menorah is also the name of the small candelabrum used in The Feast of Dedication or Festival of Lights, which is more commonly known today as Chanukah or Hanukkah, which in Hebrew means dedication. The menorah used is typically fashioned after the Menorah in the Tent of Meeting, but with two extra branches, one on each side. Eight candles are lit over an eight day period to represent when the Jewish people re-dedicated the Temple in 2 Maccabees 10:1-9, as they recount the story of the miracle of one day’s worth of oil for the Menorah lasting for eight full days. They legend says the reason they celebrated the rededication for eight days was because they had just finished celebrating the Feast of Booths which lasts eight days. The center candle in the menorah is known as the Servant candle and it is lit first each night and is used to light all the other candles during the ceremony. An interesting thing to note is the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Booths both are representative of Christ’s coming. The Festival of Lights is believed to be the time when the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and placed the seed of Christ within her womb, (Matt 1:18, Luke 1:35), and the Feast of Booths some nine month later, corresponds to the time of His birth, (Luke 2:4-7).
The importance of the Menorah in the Scriptures is it is a picture of the Triune nature of God. Fashioned from one single piece of gold, the branches can be looked at as arms, The three sets of arms represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all reaching to the same height being equally God. To further show this unity, all the light is pointing towards the center to magnify the light to a central focus, so you see not seven lights, but a sevenfold magnitude of light, a representation of His perfect light. The Chanukah menorah adds to this image, not that it represents the eight days of purification in the temple made of stone, (which it does), but it represents the purification of our own fleshly temple. The crucifixion of Jesus the Anointed One on the cross was not an accident, it was a deliberate prescribed act to show that the essence of man in the sinless flesh of the Christ was to be added to the perfect essence of the Godhead thereby forever making mankind a part of His immutable nature and saving man by bringing his nature into Himself. Paul alludes to this in Romans 8:16, 17. 16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (NAS95) Paul declares in Ephesians 3:5, 6 that the Gentile believer has the same promise as the Jewish believer; 5which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, (NKJV) And even uses an example in Romans 11:16,17 to illustrate this point of grafting olive trees to show we are tapped into the same Godly source because of Christ’s sacrifice; 16If part of a batch of dough is made holy by being offered to God, then all of the dough is holy. If the roots of a tree are holy, the rest of the tree is holy too. 17You Gentiles are like branches of a wild olive tree that were made to be part of a cultivated olive tree. You have taken the place of some branches that were cut away from it. And because of this, you enjoy the blessings that come from being part of that cultivated tree.
Tabernacle of Meeting
The first three items Moses was commanded to build in Exodus 25 were the Ark of the Covenant, the Table of Showbread and the Menorah. The Ark was to reside in the Most Holy Place, inside the veil of the Tent of Meeting, and the Table of Showbread and Menorah were to reside outside the veil in the Holy place of the Tent of Meeting. In the chapters that follow Moses was instructed to build the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting the Laver of bronze, the Alter where all the sacrifices were to be made, the priestly garments and the Alter in Incense. The rituals and sacrifices that were to become such an integral part of their lives were woven between the precise instructions for the fashioning of each article, down to the littlest detail.
Interspersed through the chapters describing exactly how the Tabernacle was to be built and how it was to be laid out is a beautiful image of the manifold nature of the LORD, (Ex 25-30). The LORD had Moses build the Tent of Meeting as one unit separated internally by a veil; within one half is the Ark of the Covenant where the Shekinah Glory or the very Presence of the Most Holy LORD dwells above the cherubim atop the Mercy Seat, within that Ark is the Word of His covenant, the instructions and Ten Commandments given to Moses on the mountain, essentially His promise. Within the Holy Place is everything Christ said He came to the world to show He is; the Door to the Holiest Place, the Bread of Life, the Light of the World. The Way to the Father, the Truth of His Word, and the everlasting Life of resurrection are things we can only have in and through Jesus the Christ.
Gods portend of things to come was shown in The Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting and the rituals of the sacrifices. This was the Billboard telling of an upcoming feature, not showing pictures of the players, but renderings that allude to who and what. I do not struggle with the triune nature of my God; it is plane to see in the illustration of the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting. The court is the Holy Spirit, This is where we are cleansed, and brought in and trained and set apart for service. The entrance to The Tent of Meeting is where we talk to God; this is where we have fellowship with Christ, the eating of His Body in reading the Word and the drinking His Blood in the Fellowship offerings and prayer. Finally behind the veil is the very Presence of the Most Holy God, His Throne room where His Shekinah Glory dwells and the Altar of Incense which is the prayers of the saints that is always before Him as a fragrant aroma. The Septuagint callsthe Tent of Meeting; ”σκηνὴν τοῦ μαρτυρίου,” the Hebrew text, “אֶת־מִשְׁכַּן אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד” No matter how you say it, it represents three distinct things for one, three aspects, One God.
In John’s Gospel account, Jesus refers to Himself as Deity in seven “I am” statements. The first, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35), He said right before Passover after feeding the five thousand the year before He was crucified (cf. John 6:4), Christ is the Showbread. “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12), He said during the Feast of Booths. (cf. John 7:1), Christ is the light of Life. “I am the door” (John 10:9), Christ is the only way to the Father, and “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11), He said during the Feast of Dedication, (cf. John 10:22) Christ became the sacrifice and laid His life down for us. “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), after raising Lazarus from the dead a short time before Passover, (cf. John 11:55) Christ foretelling His own miraculous resurrection. And the last two, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and “I am the true vine” (John 15:1), He said to His disciples as they held an early Seder before His betrayal and crucifixion on the Day of Preparation, (cf. John 13:1), reminding them again what His purpose was.
Each statement made by Jesus is used to show His disciples a picture of the Tent of Meeting. “I am the bread of life” and “I am the light of the world”, Jesus is the Table of Showbread and Menorah in the vestibule called the Holy Place, for breaking of bread and fellowship the desire to meet with the LORD. “I am the door” shows Jesus is the entrance into the Holiest Place, and, “I am the good shepherd” that He will lay down His life guaranteeing their access and guiding them all the way through it. Once a year, the High Priest would walk through the Holy place with a cord and bell tied on his body to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the Ark of the Covenant behind the veil in the Most Holy place, to push back the sentence of death for another year, if the sacrifice was accepted he came out alive, if not they used the cord to drag his corpse out. Jesus tells them, “I am the resurrection and the life”, because He knew He would be the new sacrifice, one that isn’t just for a year’s reprieve, but forever. The last celebration Jesus spends with His disciples, He wants them to understand what He is about to do and why. The statement in John 14:6 is huge, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Jesus is not just going to perform a ritual that will merely keep them from the consequence of their sins for a time, but with the added message of continual renewing that He reveals with, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” He declares that not only will He cleanse them and usher them into the very throne room of God, but if they abide in Him, He will continually cleanse them and give them power so they can by being linked with Him and stay in His Fathers presence forever.
Christ chose to call upon His beloved disciple John to pen His messages to the seven churches. I can see John turning his head to see the face of his dear friend and master. I believe as John perceives his lord Jesus, he is struck by the picture of Christ standing not between seven individual lamp stands, but standing superimposed in the midst of a single golden Menorah, the seven branched Menorah described in Exodus and also Zechariahs dream.
The Menorah John sees looks a little odd, mixed within the seven golden branches that hold the oil lights, Christ’s right hand holds the light source of the seven stars just between the outermost branch on the right, and his head, hair and eyes give light to the Servant position as his left hand extends between the rightmost branch to resemble the menorah used in the Feast of Dedication, giving the same image to John that he saw so many years ago when Christ stood in front of the huge stone menorahs outside the Temple and declared, “I am the light of the world.”
I am reminded of Mark 10:42-45, “42Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”” (NASB95)
Jesus the Messiah stands as the Light of the world and the Bread of Life as the only Door to the Father. Christ alone is the Good Shepherd and the Sacrificial Lamb, for He is the only Way, the Truth and the Life and when we are grafted into Him we take on some of His nature foe He is our source of Power and Life.
“Do not be afraid, I am the first and
the last…” (Rev 1:17).
The order of service the priests are to follow when bringing a sacrifice before the LORD describes the washing in the bronze laver that sits between the Altar and Tent of Meeting before the sacrifice is made at the Altar. The washing of water by the Word is always the first step, (Eph 5:26). Then it it is eaten with the showbread and drink offering at the door of the Tent of Meeting, (Heb 4:1-3) . The Tent of Meeting is where the presence of the LORD dwells between the golden cherubim above the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant, the Table of Showbread and the Menorah sit inside the doorway of Holy Place of the Tent of Meeting and is the only path into the Holiest place to the throne room of the LORD
Shepherd PS 80:1