31 “Make a lampstand of pure gold. Hammer out its base and shaft, and make its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them. 32 Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand—three on one side and three on the other. 33 Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. 34 And on the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. 35 One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all. 36 The buds and branches shall all be of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold.
37 “Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it. 38 Its wick trimmers and trays are to be of pure gold. 39 A talent of pure gold is to be used for the lampstand and all these accessories. 40 See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain. (Exodus 25.31-40 NIV)
We are talking today about the source of light in the Holy Place, a lampstand. The KJV calls this a candlestick but it was not a candle like you would think of a candle, it was an oil-fueled lamp. Moses was very clear only oil could be the light in the Holy Place (Lev. 24.2). The lampstand was one of three objects in the Holy Place, the showbread we mentioned in our last post and the next post will discuss the altar there. This was where the Levites served daily.
Now, the lampstand is unusual as it is the first object in which we are not given dimensions for. It had to be hammered out of 120lb of pure gold (that’s nearly £2 million worth of gold in today’s prices), the gold reminding us of Jesus – that He is precious and divine! This lamp would have been large, as large almost as the table of showbread that it was opposite.
The bread on the table as we said was Jesus our sustainance, our bread of Life, our growth and maturity. But Jesus is also the lamp shining on the bread. Not only does Jesus feed us – He shows us the way to feed on Himself. He is not just the life, He is the wisdom that shows us how to live the life!
Now Jesus is the light of the world, but this light was not shown to the world. There is a light you can only see inside the tabernacle, and there is a light that only the righteous can see. There is an illumination that we can only have as we turn to Jesus. The light shows us Jesus.
The lampstand had seven cups and they were filled with oil and lit for the light. Oil is often a picture of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been sent to us from Jesus to reveal Him to us, to point us to Him, to exalt Him. What a powerful picture – the Holy Spirit is the light fueling our minds illumination to reveal the Bread of Life to us.
Now to get the lamp to the correct shape to bring light, it needed to be hammered. The Hebrew word is miqshah, and it means to beat the whole object over and over again. To turn a single piece of gold into a lamp without breaking it and just by beating it takes a lot of skill and energy. But think of that image, this block of gold was beat over and over again – and as it was beat it became our light.
Jesus Christ, the God-man, was beat over and over and over. He was whipped again and again, He was nailed to a cross, His beard was ripped off, His head was bleeding, His hands and feet were nailed to the cross, and He died of that beating. But He rose again on the third day, the beating had changed His shape. No longer the one and only Son of God, now He is the first born of many brethren. His suffering transformed Him into the captain of our salvation. His beating made Him the light of the world. And He is still our light today.
What a powerful image of Jesus! The light shines out of the darkness. The dark beating and death of Jesus, his face marred beyond all recognition, his form no longer looking human, has released the light of glory into the world!