The Holy Place: The Lampstand
After cleansing himself at the bronze laver, the priest entered the Holy Place. As we previously discussed, in the wilderness the only ones qualified to enter the Holy Place were the Levite priests. However, as Christians we have become a royal priesthood and can enter the Holy Place after cleansing ourselves at the bronze laver. I John 1:9 tells us how we are cleansed through confession and godly repentance.
Knowing human nature, we would first look at the light to our left from the Menorah. So let us familiarize ourselves with the Menorah, the Golden Lampstand.
Physically, the lampstand stood at the left side of the Holy Place. It was hammered and shaped from one solid piece of gold. There are no specific dimensions to give us the size, but just from the fact it was from one piece of gold would limit its size. The lampstand had a central branch from which three branches on each side extended. Did not Jesus say: I am the vine- you are the branches. (John 15) The central branch from which the other branches extend, therefore the central branch represents the Lord Jesus.
Each branch looked like the branch of an almond tree, containing buds, blossoms and flowers. These seven branches would hold seven lamps filled with olive oil. This lampstand with its seven cups filled with olive oil burned continuously. It was the only source of light in the Holy Place.
There is so much for us to glean here- we will look at nothing else but this piece of furnishing today. Our eyes are drawn naturally to the light. Light stimulates vision- without light we can see nothing. You will notice we are told how the lampstand was to be made, but God gives no dimensions, no measurements. The lampstand was shaped and fashioned out of pure gold. It would have been a tedious task, as the gold would have to be constantly placed into purifying fires to shape it. We know pure gold is a symbol of deity. This might also be why there are no dimensions, because God in His purest form is infinite, cannot be measured.
Again Moses is given the instructions and told to make them after the pattern, which is in heaven. So let us look into heaven for a moment with the aid of the Apostle Johns description in Revelation 4. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Remember the number seven in the Bible symbolizes fullness, completeness or perfection. We will look at Luke 4:20- where Jesus reads from the Scrolls of Isaiah then connect that with the verses from Isaiah 11.
What are the seven spirits of the God? Isaiah 11: A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse. ( Jesse was Davids father. The stump refers to the kingdom of Judah which was all but destroyed following the Assyrians and the Babylonians exile and the destruction of the temple.) From his roots a Branch will bear fruit. ( This is the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.) The Spirit of the Lord will be on Him the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord and he will delight in theSpirit of God. The central branch of the lampstand from which the other branches come is the Spirit of the Lord. From the Spirit we receive wisdom, understanding, counseling, power, knowledge and the fear of the Lord. All seven of this attributes were manifested in the Lord Jesus.
The Lord Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus himself said in John 8: I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
In John 12- Jesus states: I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. ( john 12:46) The only light in the Holy Place comes from the lampstand its seven bowls.
Notice the structure, shape and detail of the lampstand is of a tree a central vine with branches. Jesus told his disciples and us on the eve of His arrest in John 15: I am the vine and you are the branches. He goes on to tell us His Father is the gardener or vine dresser and as such : He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will bear even more fruit.
Lets take these two pictures of branches bearing fruit and light that scatters darkness so we might see all that the Spirit wants to reveal to us.
A TREE IS KNOWN BY ITS FRUIT ( Matt. 12:33)
A simple statement of fact- a tree is known by its fruit. Aarons rod sprouted blossoms and bore fruit- almonds. What fruit are we to bear? The fruit of the Spirit, which is described in Galatians 5:22,23: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness(meekness), and self-control, against such things there is no law. We are told to live by the Spirit and we will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Jesus said abide in Him and we would bear much fruit. Abiding in Him is maintaining a living communion with Him through obedience. So clearly we see the picture- He is the vine, we are the branches we grow out of Him, our life comes from Him as a branch in Him. The sap that flows from the vine is the life source of the branch, it is also what produces the fruit. For Jesus said a branch apart from Him could do nothing. But by bearing fruit, we glorify the gardener, the vine dresser- who is our Father in Heaven.
As believers we are called the branches- who abide in the Vine, sprouting out from the Vine drawing our life from the Holy Spirit that flows in our life. We can quench the Spirit cant we- and when we do we cut ourselves off from the life of the Lord Jesus.
We are also called the Bride of Christ. Where did Adams wife , Eve, come from? His side. God put Adam to sleep and from his side created a bride for him. God did the same with the last Adam, the Lord Jesus, who was put to sleep at Calvary and from His side came His bride. Look again at the lampstand- do you see the middle shaft comes up from the root of the lampstand and the branches come out of the side of this shaft. Again the picture of the vine and the branches that come forth from it. And listen to what Jesus said in this most amazing statement:
I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one. (John 17:23) I in them, and You in Me. Longest word in that statement has five letters. There is not a word in that statement that cannot be spelled and understood by an 8 year old. Yet when placed in this sequence describing the most wonderful yet mysterious union- it is perhaps one of the most incredible statements and truths in the universe! Do you believe He is in you, and the Father is in Him and we are being made perfect in One? ITS ABOUT A SIMPLE STATEMENT AND DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE?
The almond tree blossoms before all other trees in the spring in Israel. It is also the last tree to drop its leaves in the fall. The olive tree is the last fruit to be harvested in the fall season. The husbandman of the orchard watches for the blossoming of the almond tree for this is his signal to begin pruning the olive trees. Listen to these verses in Jeremiah 1: The Word of the Lord came to me, What do you see, Jeremiah? I see the branch of an almond tree I replied. The Lord said to me, you have seen correctly, Jeremiah, for I am watching to see that My Word is fulfilled. The almond tree was synonymous in Hebrew with awakening. The word the Lord used for watching was similar and from the same root word as the Hebrew word for awakening. Our Heavenly Father is the husbandman, the vinedresser who prunes in order to produce fruitfulness that comes from His Word being fulfilled.
Here we see two trees come together- the almond tree and the olive tree, for it is the olive oil that provides the fuel placed in the lamps of the Menorah to give light in the Holy Place. Together they are representative of the Holy Spirit and the light of the Word of God, i.e., Psalms 119 ( thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light upon my path).
Without this lamp and its light, the priests could not see what was in the Holy Place. For also in the Holy Place was the table with the shewbread . Twelve loaves of bread which the priests ate on the Sabbath. This eating of the bread is a picture of Gods willingness to fellowship with us. God was willing to eat with us sinners. He invites us to eat with Him. Hear the Saviors request in Revelation 3: Behold, I stand at the door and knock and anyone who hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.
Jesus was the bread of life and in Luke 15, the Pharisees criticized Jesus because he ate with sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes. As the bread of life Jesus said, it is only through His broken body, which He told his disciples at the Last Supper was broken for us that we can have fellowship with God. Jesus is also called the Word of God, and we are told man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. We cannot understand the Word of God or spiritual truth until we have the Holy Spirit to shed light upon it for us. The other piece of furniture was the altar of incense, which we will see in future lessons represents our prayers going up to God.
Now putting this together- we look at fellowship with God through His Word (the bread) and prayer ( incense), neither of which can be done without the light from the Menorah where the almond tree and olive oil come together to produce enlightenment so we may worship God, fellowship with Him in Spirit and in Truth.
YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. Matthew 5:14
The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord , searching all the inward parts of the belly. ( Proverbs 20:27)
Where did the fuel for the lampstands come from? Leviticus 24 gives us the answer: The Lord said to Moses: Command the sons of Israel to bring clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may burn continuously. The lamps of the pure gold lampstand before the Lord must be tended continually.
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the room. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they might see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Now lets see the symbolism here: first we see man, and man alone of all creation has a spirit. A spirit placed in him as a lamp of the Lord. A lamp that can be filled with oil, the Holy Spirit and ignited by the One who is called the Light of the World, the Lord Jesus.
And after being lighted we are to be filled continuously and placed on a lampstand to give light to the world around us.
Notice the fuel is clear olive oil, virgin olive oil from pressed olives. Jesus is referred to as the vine in whom all believers are grafted. Where did the Lord Jesus go the night of His arrest? The Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane. Do you see how pressed He was there? The Lord cried out He was overwhelmed with sorrow. He was pressed like the olives were pressed and squeezed and strained for pure oil. He was beaten and hammered like the pure gold to create the lampstand.
Jesus told the disciples it was necessary for Him to leave them so the Holy Spirit could come. He is called the Spirit of Truth, Counselor, the One Who Comes Along Side, who will never leave us or depart from us.
The Holy Spirit is the fuel or the oil that lights our life and our way. The world cannot understand spiritual truths without the Holy Spirit to reveal those truths to them. These truths we believe are foolishness to them. He is our helper, our comforter and our teacher.
We like the cups in the branches of the lampstand are to be filled with Him continuously. If we are not filled with Him, it is because we have quenched the Spirit.
Know this- when we are born again, the fuel of the Holy Spirit comes into our lives ignited by the One who is the light of the world . Although this light can never be extinguished, the brightness of the flame entirely depends on how much of the oil we allow Christ to pour into us continually and how clean the bowl is. It also must be placed on the lamp stand to provide light, not hidden under a basket.
In fact the entire Godhead, the Trinity are involved in this work in your life. God the Father offered the light and sent the light into the world, while also creating man with a lamp to receive the light and the oil. God the Son, the Lord Jesus came bearing the light to all who would receive it. The Holy Spirit came to add oil and oxygen to fuel perpetually.
If you and I do not burn brightly- it is not because God has limited us. It is because we have limited God with our disobedience which always arises out of unbelief. This is because we have some area in our life that is blocking the flow from the vine to the branch. We have some area of disobedience and sin in our life we will not confess and repent from and thus our lamps remain dirty for He cannot cleanse us unless we confess and repent.
So ask yourself the following: do you believe God is Who He says He is? Do you believe He is able to do what He says He can & will do? Do you believe you are who He says you are- a royal priest, a joint heir with Jesus, blessed with every spiritual blessing? Is the Word of God alive and active in your life through obedience? For this is what keeps the flame burning brightly and the oil flowing and the fruit being produced.
What are the first spoken words of God in the Bible? Let there be light Genesis 1:3
What was the world like before that command? Now the earth was without form and void and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.
That was a picture of my life before I was saved. I was in darkness and my life was without shape, or purpose and empty. But the Spirit of God was hovering over my life.
I was in darkness and chaos until I saw the light shining in the darkness.
Gods first commandment was let there be light and there was light. God saw the light was good and He separated the light from darkness. God called the light- day.
Our sun the center of our solar system is a star that appears and shines during the day. It is a day star. Peter said: We have a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well to take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the daystar arise in your hearts. ( 2 Peter 1:19)
The center of our life is the Son. He is the light of the world. In Him is life.
Every day when you arise God the Father has an agenda for your life. For the Word of God tells us He delights to order your steps.
And every day you arise, God the Son desires to walk with you and talk with you and communicate the Fathers agenda through His Word and His life for He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no man comes to the Father except by Him, through Him.
And every day you arise, God the Holy Spirit works in you a desire to obey God and the power to obey God.
For you see as a Royal Priesthood, we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and God will be faithful to provide you with everything you need.
Remember your duties as a Priest.
So first things first- enter through the gate and present your body a living sacrifice.
Cleanse yourself as you look into His Word , the mirror which shows you what needs to be confessed so He can cleanse you and purify you of all unrighteousness. Do not forget to keep the lamps filled with oil and the fires burning continuously as we will see the other daily duties we have as we follow Gods pattern for fellowship with Him.
The Lampstand was the only source of light in the Holy Place. Without it the priests could not see how to perform their duties and worship God. God wants us to be enlightened. God wants us to offer Him intelligent worship, not ignorant, superstitious worship. Jesus told the woman at the well, you Samaritans worship what you do not know.
Our prayers to God are enlightened by His Word and the Word is opened to us as we pray. Both the study of the Word of God and prayer must be energized and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the very fuel that lights the Lampstand.
It is interesting the Israelites in the camp could not see what the priests did in the Holy Place. Only God saw what the priest did in the Holy Place. THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF A CHRISTIANS LIFE IS THE PART THAT ONLY GOD SEES.(Warren Wiersbe, Be Delivered)
Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. ( Psalms 119:105-106)
I was a seeker for light in a dark world, I looked for truth but settled for lies. I had been blinded, I couldnt see, Till the Star in Bethlehems sky opened my eyes.
I have seen the Light shining in the darkness, bursting through the shadows, delivering the dawn, I have seen the Light whose Holy Name is Jesus, His kingdom is forever, He reigns on Heavens throne!!Copyright © 2010 Linda Benthal
Last modified: 08/12/14