The Menorah: Lamp of God
What Christians Should Know About It
by: Robert (Bob) Somerville
"...I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of Gold...and his seven lamps thereon..." Zechariah 4:2
FOREWORD BY KENNY MITCHELL
Reader Beware! If this is your first exposure to Robert Somerville's biblical insights, you will quickly discover he has led you to the table of the Savior who called, "Come and dine."
As you read this material concerning the Menorah and discover its biblical significance to the Christian community and scriptural exegesis, you will know that a greater knowledge (revelation) of Jesus Christ is dependent upon understanding the Judaic "roots" of the Christian faith. The Holy Spirit is inspiring ministries of this kind to bring a greater "awareness" to the Christian community throughout the world, of their need to understand the rich truths revealed in biblical Judaism and its accompanying symbols. As a result, many are sensing that this must become a more significant part of the church's value system.
If you pursue this path of renewal, you will find that Robert Somerville, of Awareness Ministry is one of the most articulate speakers and succinct authors on such matters. This booklet on the Menorah will whet your appetite for more of Bob's insights into other important topics that needs to be factored into the spiritual value system of the serious believer.
These topics include "the eternal memorial feast days (Sabbaths, Passover, tabernacles etc), the seven spirits of God, the "hours" of prayer, the covenants of God with mankind and the "gospel of the Kingdom of God."
I have known the Lord for more than thirty years and have served Him in many roles (Christian husband, father, deacon, elder, pastor and NASA aerospace engineer/manager). Knowing Bob Somerville as a friend, teacher and beloved brother in Christ for the past 12 years has deepened my service to God in these roles. His teachings on biblical truth are both inspirational and practical. As many wise sages have noted, "If it isn't practical, it's not scriptural."
Bob's teachings are full of [these types] "truisms." For example, he often notes that:
Man was made of the earth, in the earth, for the earth. If God had meant for us to live in heaven eternally, he would have created us there.
If you don't know why you were born, you won't fully understand why you must be 'born again'.
While there is an Old and New Testament, the Word of God is neither 'old' or 'new' ¾ it's eternal!
The more Biblical you become, the more Jewish you may appear to be!
Thing Biblical are not just Jewish or Christian, they are divine and therefore eternal and universal (for everyone)
He can make more of an impression on you with a few words than most people you will ever encounter. Therefore, READ ON!! You are in for a treat. The Spirit of God in you is about to say "Yes - Amen!"
Symbolism: Crucial to Biblical Understanding
THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST – These are the opening words to the last book of the Bible (Rev.1:1). They leave no room for doubt as to the results desired by its author which is a complete exposition of every facet of our Lord's triumphant ministry. An exposé of the all encompassing effects of his Judean ministry on the eternal scene is the objective. Still, a recent survey indicates that many laymen find this book too mystical to be appreciated. Some scholars are now giving it second-class billing in importance for study, considering any interpretation of it to be purely speculation or conjecture and therefore too controversial. Some pastors and religious educators boast of deleting it entirely from their teaching agenda. What accounts for this? Why the apparent paralysis of interest and prevailing difficulty in appreciating the content of this book with such lofty introduction?
One major cause for the limited understanding of this book's content is the prevailing unfamiliarity of the average Christian with *Biblical Judaism and its accompanying symbols. The *Menorah (candlestick) is one of those important Hebraic symbols. Why is it so important to understand the Jewishness of this book that some refer to as the "Readers Digest" of the Bible? Dr. John Walvoord of
*Menorah: The Hebrew term for the seven branched lampstand.
Dallas Theological Seminary has noted that "Of the 404 verses of the Apocalypse, 278 are direct quotes from [Torah], Jewish scripture."
Unfortunately, historic efforts to delete everything "Jewish" from the doctrine, liturgy and symbolism of the first century church and from Biblical expression has contributed to a certain interpreting handicap. The absence of this all important dimension has left the church ill equipped to understand many of this book's Hebraic expressions and symbolic references. It has deprived us of some richness of understanding that would otherwise be available if the Revelation of Jesus Christ and the entirety of scripture, for that matter, was interpreted from a Hebraic mind-set. What to do about it ¾ perhaps Catholic scholar Edward H. Flannery has expressed a "touch-stone truth" when he states: [An over Hellenized, over Latinized Christianity needs a re-Judaising process to bring it back to its founding Jewish roots and renew it more in keeping with its own inherent ideals.] It is with this thought in mind that we approach the matter of symbolism as it pertains to the candlestick and its importance to the Christian spiritual value system. In the final analysis, symbols such as the Menorah are not Jewish in an ethnic sense, nor even Christian in a religious sense, but they are simply Biblical in a divine sense, and therefore eternal and universal (for everyone).
*Here we make a distinction between "Torah-centric Judaism" [Biblical] and "Rabbinic Judaism" [Talmudic.] A Torah-centric Judaism was the religion out of which the first century church grew maintaining it's biblical contours in the faith and theology of Israel.
The book of Revelation is in large part a book of symbolism. Those who would minimize the importance of symbolism minimize not only the importance of that book but the entirety of scripture. Symbolism plays a crucial role in Biblical revelation and interpretation. One of the first symbols encountered as we begin reading the book of Revelation is the seven-branched Menorah. Jesus [the Son of man] is observed in the midst of seven of them.
"And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man..." (Rev 1:13)
These candlesticks were not just seven isolated singular candles as one might suppose at first glance, but they are seven (Jewish) Menorahs - God's idea of a lampstand. Immediately we are informed that the candlesticks represented the Judeo-Christian churches of Asia:
"The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." (Rev. 1:20)
This declaration therefore, by association, makes the candlestick a Judeo-Christian symbol and representative of a New Testament Church. It is important that believers perceive the all-encompassing message embodied in the Biblical lampstand. You may be surprised how up-to-date this symbol of antiquity really is. As the Church continues on it's present course of restoration and renewal, the seven-branched candlestick could well become one of the more prominent symbols displayed by Christendom, perhaps comparable to the ubiquitous cross. Christians will do well to become better informed on this aspect of Biblical heritage in symbolism. It is for this reason that we make the effort to publish this book. The scriptures teach that the Menorah was and is esteemed of God a symbol extraordinaire. Indeed it has been referred to in scripture as the "Lamp of God." If it is, then God's people should embrace it and perceive the lessons embodied therein.
No one knows for certain the exact shape of the original Mosaic Menorah. We do know that it contained a numerical pattern. History gives us the two possible renderings shown above. Both have been used by the Jewish people in symbolism for centuries and both have merit. The Titus Menorah seems to favor the Exodus 25 description. We are certain that the configuration of the candlestick depicted on the Arch of Titus was the kind used in the last Jerusalem Temple which was destroyed in AD.70. Titus was a Roman general who sacked Jerusalem and returned bringing many of the Temple treasures with him.
The Lamp of God
"...I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of Gold...and his seven lamps thereon..." (Zech. 4:2)
The lampstand (Menorah) is conceivably the most comprehensive of all Biblical symbols. As such, it is important that believers investigate the origin, use and purpose of this symbol referenced in both Old and New Testaments. We will discover that this lampstand symbolizes many things such as the Nation of Israel, the Church, the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the Seven Spirits of God, even the Lord Jesus Christ himself as "the light of the world."
The first direct mention and detailed description of the candlestick (Menorah) is found in Exodus 25:31-40. Moses had just returned from Mount Sinai where he had been in communion with God. It was there that he had been instructed to make the candlestick. Not only had he received detailed instructions concerning the critical design of this instrument of light to be placed in the Tabernacle, but also of the various other implements that would be used for service in God's divine worship system. Many of these symbols ceased to be used under the New Testament but not the Menorah and for good reason as we shall clearly show.
All of the furnishings of the temple including the lampstand were to be constructed according to the "pattern" of heavenly things:
"...for, See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount." (Ex 25:40, Heb. 8:5)
Obviously, God demands precision. Consequently, the Menorah has a divine configuration. From the biblical description of the lampstand spelled out in Exodus Chapters 25 & 37 (reinforced by historical record), we discover that a numerical pattern emerges. There were 7 lamps on the top of the Lampstand, 70 (*2) garnishings on its branches and **12 foundational divisions of its stacked hexagon base. The specific numbers 12, 70 (2), and 7 represent a basic numerical pattern of operation for both Israel and the Church. In the governmental structure of Israel there were 12 men who served as leaders or heads over their tribes with whom Moses could communicate (Num. 1:44). Moses chose 70 (2) elders of the people to be with him on Mount Sinai as a support system (Num.11:16). After Moses' departure, Joshua appointed 7 priests who led the camp of Israel into victory blowing the rams horns (Joshua 6:4). In the same manner, Jesus began the formation of the New Covenant Church (Heb 8:8) during His earthly ministry by choosing 12 apostles who became the foundational governing pillars of the church (Mk. 3:14). He then appointed other "70" (2) and sent them out in ministry (Lk. 10:1). After His crucifixion, the 12 appointed a body of 7 men to assume a great portion of the care and responsibility for the churches so that the twelve apostles could return to Jerusalem and give themselves continually to prayer and ministry of the word (Acts 6:2-3). These seven men were far more than deacons as is commonly supposed. They were all powerful ministers clearly demonstrated by Philip and Stephen. Obviously the very framework of God's government for His people is reflected in the design of the lampstand. We find these numerical patterns and or multiples of them, in many Old Testament and New Testament demonstrations. References to them are particularly noted in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
*The knops, flowers and bowls appear to add up to seventy plus two. There seems to be a bit of mystery regarding the apparent conflict in translations as to whether this is "seventy" or "seventy- two". However, there does seem to be a nagging presence of this nuance of a supplementary two, even in some Old Testament passages. Be that as it may, the number 70 plays the dominant role in Biblical expression and numerology. Concerning the candlestick the first-century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus confirms "It was made with its knops, and lilies, and pomegranates, and bowls (which orna-ments amounted to seventy in all);"
** See base explanation accompanying the two depictions of Menorah.
Is it any wonder then, that God has placed such significance on this symbol and given it "high profile" from Genesis to Revelation when you consider that it represented the presence of all truth, hence the light of the world? God informed Moses that the Menorah was to be located in what was known as the "Holy Place" in the sanctuary of God. Throughout the many years of Temple worship, it was tended to on a daily basis being trimmed every morning and lighted by the ministering priests. It was the only source of light in the wilderness tabernacle as it continued to be in all future Temples except for the annual glowing of the Shechinah glory visitation in the Holiest of Holies. The lampstand occupied a place of great prominence among the instruments used in worship. I am proposing that the Menorah should also take its rightful place in Christian symbolism. Not that the Menorah should become an idol but rather an ever present symbol of truth (ie, the cross).
Some may rightly question how we reconcile the following commandment with God's subsequent orders to do what appears to be in opposition:
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: (Ex. 20:4).
Nevertheless, we find that Moses was charged by God with the responsibility to do that very thing. He was commanded to build a sanctuary according to the "heavenly" pattern. It was to contain such imagery as the candlestick, a table of shewbread, altars, the ark of the covenant, golden cherubims of glory, angelic figurines embroidered on the inner curtains of the sanctuary, and many other items that Moses had seen in his heavenly vision. Solomon's temple would prove to be even more elaborate and ornate than the old tabernacle, having graven images of lions, oxen, etc. Does this represent a contradiction on the Lord's behalf? Not at all! The answer to this question is found in the following verse of scripture:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, ... (Ex. 20:5).
The worship of them would be a sin. While mankind was commanded of God not to bow down and worship symbols, they play a crucial role in promoting spiritual understanding.
The Menorah an ever present symbol of truth
The Apostle Paul expressed it unequivocally:
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse (Ro 1:20).
These "things that are made" include not only those things that God made in the creation such as the earth, beasts, trees, stars, etc., but included those things that He commanded men to make for revelation purposes such as the Menorah. God is not worshiped in these things that are made but He is most definitely revealed through them.
A UNIQUE LAMPSTAND
And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. And it came to pass at that time when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; And ere the LAMP OF GOD went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep: (1Samuel 3:1-3).
Here the Menorah becomes identified as "THE LAMP OF GOD". As such, the Menorah is a timeless symbol. This seven-branched candlestick, for many Christians (if recognized at all) has been regarded as little more than a Jewish relic. However, this God-given symbol should not be considered something "out of date" nor simply Jewish but divine and therefore timeless. Notice in the foregoing scripture that the Menorah was not referred to as the "Lamp of the Jews" or the "Lamp of the Temple" nor the "Lamp of the Synagogue" but the LAMP OF GOD. Why? Because it was God who designed it, had it constructed, and commanded its use (Ex 25:31, Number 8:2-4).
The candlestick, perhaps better than any other item that God commanded Moses to make, serves the ends and purposes of revelation by symbolism. We will discover that the Menorah symbol regularly surfaced in the spiritual experiences of many other prophets and visionaries as it did with Samuel. Notice the circumstances surrounding Samuel's prophetic call and the existing condition of Israel. The lamp of God was going out and soon afterward the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant. Eli, the judge and High priest of Israel, had died and a child was born to Phinehas his son who's name says it all, Ichabod meaning "The glory of God has departed." In principle this story could very well parallel many of the conditions within the Church in history and serve as a prophetic picture of our own time. The setting was at evening time, the light from the Lamp of God was shining less brightly in the temple and there was "no open vision" (revelation). It is very unusual that the lamp of God would have been going out at the very time of day when it normally should have been freshly fueled and burning its brightest. The Church can learn valuable lessons from this story. We could very well be approaching the end of the age (evening). The Lamp of God, which is the Word of God (Psa. 119:105) and our understanding of it, has been seriously eroded due in great part to our forsaking the foundations of our faith rooted in the Hebrew heritage. The judgment of God is impending as Jesus predicted.
"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins,
which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. . . .While
the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. ... And
the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps
are gone out." (Mt 25:1,2,5,8)
In parabolic expression, Jesus predicts that just prior to his coming a large percentage of the Kingdom of God will be spiritually asleep. He seems to indicate that there would be an unawareness of the gravity of time. A clear vision into the purposes of God and the destiny of man would be missing. The virgins were not aware of the eminent coming of the Bridegroom. Because the Church seems to be experiencing storms of "every wind of doctrine" (Eph 4:14), there is a lot of eschatological (end-time events) confusion in our world. This is generating complacency and serious apathy towards truth. Many seemingly do not care ¾ that is the down side. The up side is this:
"And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps."
A sweet rain of pure truth has been predicted for the "pure in heart." God has promised:
"My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God." (Deut. 32:2-3)
"...and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month." (Joel 2:23)
This refreshing rain of truth for the work of restoration and renewal is central to God's strategic plans. It will cause the lampstand (Church) to be ablaze with the light of absolute truth. We should pray earnestly for "rain in the time of the latter rain" (Zech. 10:1). Let it become a continuous theme in the prayer life of us all.
We must shine forth as lamps in a world of darkness.
It was at evening time when the lampstand was refueled for greater burning in the Temple. If we are indeed in some close proximity to the end of the age it is "lamp trimming time." In other words, it is 'Biblical research time' for the body of Christ:
There is a beautiful Hebrew idiom that suggests: "Study is the highest form of worship." Christians would do well to grasp the richness of that philosophical truth. If we are to shine forth as lamps in a world of darkness as Jesus indicated (Luke 12:35), God's word must become very precious to us and an accelerated understanding of it a high priority. Apathy toward truth is undoubtedly one of the subtle sins of our time. It is this condition that God is presently addressing so that His people are motivated toward a restoration of all things Biblical. The Apostle Peter confirmed explicitly on the day of Pentecost what Jesus taught us in the parable of the virgins:
And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution [restoring] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:20-21).
Another prophet of restoration in whose vision the symbol of the candlestick appeared was Zechariah. He was one who was highly motivated for and involved in the restoration of the walls of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. There is a definite similarity between Samuel's experience and that of Zechariah. As the vision unfolded before Zechariah, he beheld a huge candlestick (Menorah) with seven lamps upon the top of it. While beholding the scene, he heard a voice:
"And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked,
and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top
of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven
lamps, which are upon the top thereof: . . .Then he answered
and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto
Zerubbabel,[the restorer] saying, Not by might, nor by power,
but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." (Zech. 4:2,6)
Christians from time to time can be heard reciting the inspirational and familiar phrase from this notable scripture "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." It has been applied in numerous ways and unfortunately, most often out of context (salvation, healing, miracles, etc.) While this application may be well intended, the message can be lost. Now, what is there about the sight of the golden candlestick (Menorah) that would evoke such an utterance? Not many Christians would give a similar response to such a vision. Why? Because, for the most part, we would not recognize the Menorah nor appreciate it for what it represents. In this case it symbolized the seven-fold spirit of God at work in the restoration efforts taking place in Jerusalem.
After being held in Babylonian captivity for 70 years, the Jews were frail and few in number. It was only through a special anointing from God that they were able to maintain their determination in the face of much discouragement to continue rebuilding the Jerusalem walls and the Temple of God. This extraordinary anointing for restoration was symbolized by the candlestick. It will undoubtedly take an equal measure of anointing for the Church to be successful in declaring the Gospel of the Kingdom throughout the nations (Mt. 24:14) and bring the restoration of all things. Also, it is only through a complete seven-fold anointing that doctrinal unity and maturity can be brought to the body of Christ to insure our success in God's purposes.
There is as much [in some ways more ] to be learned about God from the Menorah symbol than from many of the more familiar symbols such as the cross, the lamb, the dove, or the fish that are of common use throughout Christendom today. That idea is resident in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was a Jew and well acquainted with His Judaic heritage. Since we know the setting was in the season of the feast of Tabernacles when huge Menorah's were being lighted throughout Jerusalem, some historians suggest and it is reasonable to assume that the Menorah (Lampstand) was what He had in mind when He declared:
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a CANDLESTICK; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." ( Mt. 5:14-17)
The church here is represented by the symbol of the candlestick. The lesson is that the Church must become the light of the world (a reflection of the Word of God). The book of Revelation gives substantial affirmation to this assertion when the angel states:
"...the seven CANDLESTICKS which thou sawest are the seven CHURCHES." (Rev. 1:20)
Further confirmation is given to us in chapter two where God, through his angel, implores the church of Ephesus to return to its first love: "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love."
"Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy CANDLESTICK out of his place, except thou repent." Rev. 2:4-5
A spiritual interpretation could be reasonably rendered from this passage but evidently there is also a very practical side to consider. There is every reason for us to conclude that this Menorah symbol was physically on display in those first century churches, and for good reason. First, as a congregation, they were more "Judeo-Christian" in nature and appearance than the subsequent church that became more Greko-Roman in orientation. The indication is that the candlestick must have served as an official symbol of identity with that body of Christian churches originating in Jerusalem who had been birthed of Judaism. The Lord did not want the Ephesus congregation, if it remained in its existing loveless condition, to even be considered by the public as representing the Judeo-Christian Faith.
God-given symbols are Biblical and therefore eternal and universal.
The spirit of Love is central to the very essence and nature of God as is demonstrated in the symbolism of the candlestick. The center lamp of the Menorah is, in Hebrew, called the Ner Elohim the "Lamp of God" as well as Shamash. Since the scriptures teach that "God is love" (1 Jo 4:8), one might even call this center light the "Love Lamp" amidst the seven. Therefore the threat of the candlestick's removal was very significant. The absence of love was sufficient cause to threaten the disenfranchisement of the Ephesus congregation from the body of churches representing Christ (Messiah) in that area. Obviously few if any Christian churches of today would feel intimidated by the threat of losing a candlestick (assuming on existed), considering the lack of understanding by the church of the meaning of this symbol of antiquity. Even the familiar interpretation of what this threat implies (departure of the presence of Christ) requires exhaustive teaching today. Such was not the case for the congregations of the first century. It is quite evident that they were much closer to Biblical Judaism in thought, practice and symbolism than is the Christian church of today, and they clearly understood the implications of this threat. There are, however, some indications that significant Judaic restoration to the body of Christ is imminent. Increasingly, pastors and congregations are becoming inspired of the Holy Spirit to introduce many of these Judaic principles into their teaching and worship. This is also being demonstrated by the reintroduction of the Biblical Feast Day celebrations [seven in all], the use of banners, the use of the Hebrew names of God, Sabbath celebrations, etc. None of these practices were foreign to the first century congregations. It should therefore come as no surprise to discover that the Menorah symbol was on display within these Judeo-Christian congregations in Asia. Their understanding of these Biblical things is assumed in these letters. That no doubt accounts for the abundance of Judaic expression in the book of Revelation. Interestingly, this was true in spite of their being predominately Gentile churches in constituency. It was not and is not an issue of ethnicity but one of Biblical correctness.
The circumstances and the particulars of the candlestick's mention early on in the book of Revelation merit investigation. In the first chapter, we discover the Son of Man (Jesus) in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. What does this mean? Since we have learned that the candlesticks represented the churches, we must conclude that it depicts those churches wherein the spirit of Christ is truly alive and motivating. The overriding theme of the angelic cry to the seven churches of Asia was not redemption, but restoration to a Christ-like spirit and Biblical order. The Apostle Paul alludes to this in his letter to the Galatians:
"My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you..." (Ga 4:19)
Paul is not suggesting by the term "birth" that the people be saved again or born again * again. It was not a case of Jesus being absent from their hearts, but rather there was an absence of the form of Christ in their lifestyle, their value system and in the corporate setting of the local congregation. Jesus had travailed for their eternal salvation, but it was Paul who had "travailed" for their birthing and development as a church in the formative years in the city of Galatia. It was he who had taught them the word so that they might become a living lampstand. Paul did not say they needed Jesus formed in them, but Christ * there is a difference. The name Jesus means "savior", while "Christ" means the "anointed" or "the anointed word." The "form of Christ" means a Biblical pattern symbolized by the candlestick. The Galatians had forsaken their Godly heritage and began taking up the "elements [patterns] of the world." In this same chapter, he reproached them specifically for having adopted the celebration days and festivals of the gentiles, forsaking the Biblical order, hence contributing to their loss of the "form of Christ." The Apostle Paul was travailing for a corporate restoration or rebirth. This is exactly what God is calling for in the body of Christ today ¾ a Church rebirthed in Biblical patterns.
The Spirit of Prophecy
Have you ever considered what all might be included in the familiar term a "Christ-like" spirit, and in what ways is it manifested? Well, it undoubtedly includes all of the more familiar ways that readily come to mind (i.e., love, joy, compassion). However, there is one character trait in a Christ-like spirit with which the Church is much less familiar ¾ the spirit of prophecy.
"...the testimony of Jesus is the SPIRIT OF PROPHECY." (Rev. 19:10)
The entire life of Yeshua (Jesus) was an exercise in prophetic display. Do not construe the word prophecy as meaning a spirit to prophesy. It was not in the nature of Jesus' ministry to go about making many grandiose predictions but rather to fulfill the messianic prophecies of old. He was the Light of the World because He brought to light and lived a life of fulfilling prophecy. His entire life was a divine orchestration of fulfilled Biblical prophecy which set him apart from all would-be messiah's. His other (mystical) body, the Church, should do no less if we are to become the light (candlestick) of the world. It is the spirit of prophecy that will bring greater Biblical mission and purpose to the body of Christ. The Old Testament is prophecy declared, the New Testament is must be prophecy revealed and fulfilled (Mt. 11:13, Acts 3:21) The restoration of these Biblical symbols, celebrations and values to the Gentile church is a prophetic mission in and of itself. Isaiah foretold of its occurrence when speaking of the "strangers" who would keep His sabbaths and His covenant (Isaiah 56). Therefore, God will and is abundantly blessing those churches that are motivated with the Spirit of prophecy and who place an emphasis on His word being fulfilled. They understand that a return to the Hebraic foundations of our faith is a prophetic program being fulfilled in our time. Like Zechariah, these congregations function in the spirit of the minor prophets symbolized by the Menorah (Zec 4:6) They are discovering what God is doing and work with Him. They are not working for God; they are working with God. As a result, these believers are becoming living LAMPSTANDS of prophetic restoration.
The Seven Spirits
Finally, we see seven flames of fire, a heavenly Menorah as it were, blazing before the throne in heaven:
"And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God." (Rev. 4:5)
What are the *seven spirits of God and what is their mission? Isaiah the prophet is very specific on this point:
"And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD." (Isa 11:2)
The purpose for mentioning these seven spirits ablaze before the throne of God is to show that the principles of the candlestick are also manifested in the heavenlies. For the Church to be a living lampstand in the earth, and the light on a "candlestick" that Jesus predicted (Mt 5), all of these seven spirits of God must be burning in our personal lives, as well as in the corporate Church. The seven-branched candlestick was given to constantly remind us of that important truth. Even a casual observer of the scripture must draw that conclusion.
And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. (Rev 5:6)
Should we not pray "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" and participate in the process? The Menorah symbol is a constant reminder of that imperative.
I can think of no Christian event where the Menorah would be inappropriate for display. I would encourage the notion that its presence in all Christian churches is not only appropriate but practical and fundamentally useful. It can accompany any liturgical ceremony. The following is an example of a liturgical declaration or [any variation thereof] that could be recited as the Menorah is being lighted in your own home or church.
Liturgy of Lights
Pastor: And I saw seven spirits of God burning before the throne!
Congregation: The Spirit of Love (Lord)
The Spirit of Wisdom
The Spirit of Understanding
The Spirit of Counsel
The Spirit of Knowledge
The Spirit of Strength
(and) The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord
Corporate: Jesus is the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
Now we are the light of the world!
We will shine forth as lights in a world of darkness!
Lord Jesus Christ, you are our light and our salvation! Amen!
(Ref. from Rev. 4:5, Isa. 11:1-2, Jn. 1:9, Mt. 5:14, Ph. 2:15, Ps 27:1)
The Menorah can be effectively used at wedding ceremonies, infant dedications, home dedications, the dedication of a business or any other occasion where a declaration of the *seven spirits of God would be appropriate.
Obviously, from the preferential treatment accorded the beautiful golden candlestick in scripture, it is indeed esteemed of God a symbol extraordinaire`. As the body of Christ progresses in restoration and renewal, this symbol should occupy a place of greater prominence in our churches and our spiritual value system. The prediction is that this will become a trend of the future. It is fitting and proper that this symbol be displayed in all Christian churches and in the homes of believers (Jew or Gentile). Again, the cross has definite value in Christian symbolism as a reminder of the suffering and shame endured by our Lord for us as a sacrifice, but the candlestick symbolizes the grandeur and brightness of His glory and presence.
The candlestick is the Biblical symbol of the Church.
While the preaching of the cross and its message is indeed "the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16), so horrible was the scene at the cross, that the Heavenly Father could not bring Himself to look upon it. Therefore it is doubtful that Jesus, if He was on earth, would encourage the historic emphasis and high profile we have placed on the emblem of the cross. Although the message of sacrifice and redemption would have remained the same, it is unlikely that He would "cherish the old rugged cross" any more than He would some other instrument of cruelty that may have been used to cause His suffering and death. Indeed, it is entirely possible that He would even discourage its being excessively displayed. The cross would bring back haunting memories of excruciating torment as is indicated by the writer of Hebrews when he states that our Savior "endured the cross despising the shame" (Heb. 12:2). Perhaps this is why the cross is so glaringly missing, indeed totally absent, from the abundance of symbolism to be found in the book of the "Revelation of Jesus Christ." It is simply nowhere there to be found.
On the other hand, He would no doubt be heartened and thrilled at the sight of the golden candlestick, which is so profoundly meaningful in the revelation of who He is in the power of His resurrection and the light of His presence. As we more fully appreciate the significance of this magnificent symbol, we will join with the angel to declare "NOT BY MIGHT, NOR BY POWER, BUT BY MY SPIRIT SAITH THE LORD" (Zec 4:6).
Jesus said that we were to be the "light of the world." And that we were to put our light on a candlestick (Mt. 5:15). Could it be that the candlestick would surpass the cross as the symbol for representing the Christian church? Probably not, but at the very least, it should be included.
Christians everywhere should be encouraged to display the Menorah.
Let your light so shine.
Feast of the Dedication
To those unfamiliar with Jewish history, confusion often arises as to the difference between the symbolism of the seven-branched Menorah (candlestick) that God commanded Moses to make for use in temple worship (Ex. 25:31) and the nine-branched Hanukkah light of common use in many Jewish homes. It is easy to confuse these two if you are not counting. The Hanukkah light was created to memorialize a momentous national deliverance of Israel from an evil invader. Hanukah means dedication. Hanukkah became one of the many traditional festivals of Judaism. This festival is also known as the Feast of Lights and the Feast of Dedication. There is a reference to it in the New Testament:
"And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter." (Jn 10:22)
While Hanukkah is not one of the seven divinely appointed festivals of scripture, it is historically significant with regard to the restoration and rededication of the ancient Temple of God. In the year 169 B.C., an evil invader by the name of Antiochus Epiphanes, a vile and godless man, campaigned against Egypt. Despite his victory, he was compelled to withdraw from Egypt at the command of powerful Rome. At that time, Palestine was under Syrian rule. Returning to Syria, Antiochus vented his wrath upon the hapless Judeans by entering Jerusalem, destroying a large part of the city, and slaughtering men, women, and children. He crowned his evil deeds by plundering the Holy Temple, carrying away the golden altar, the candlestick, golden vessels, and other sacred treasures. To show his utter contempt for "Yahweh" God, he sacrificed a pig in the Temple to the god Jupiter. He forbade the Jews in the Holy Land to observe their religion, particularly the Sabbath and the laws pertaining to clean animals. He therefore commanded that only pigs be sacrificed in the Temple of God. He himself cooked a pig in the Temple and poured its broth on the holy scrolls of the law and upon the altar, thus polluting them.
One day an officer of Antiochus arrived in the small township of Moden, three miles north of Jerusalem and commanded an assembly of Jews to sacrifice their swine. A man by the name of Mattathias, the Maccabee, head of a priestly family, became enraged by the ungodly decree and killed the first Jew who was about to comply with this order. This caused a revolt that was encouraged by Mattathias son of Judas Maccabee. They eventually drove the Syrians from Jerusalem together with the disloyal priesthood who collaborated with the invaders.
After cleansing the Holy Temple, the Maccabees rededicated the Temple of God amidst great rejoicing and consecrated a new altar in place of the old. In their efforts to restore proper temple worship, they searched for some unpolluted oil with which to trim the seven-branched lamp of God. Finally, hidden in one of the nooks of the Temple, the Jews found a small jar of consecrated oil used in former days. The oil was sufficient for only one night, but lo and behold, the little cruse of oil miraculously lasted for eight days, until a new supply could be prepared, a procedure that normally required seven days to complete.
Annually, in memory of this wonderful victory over the wicked king, the festival of Hanakkah has been celebrated by lighting eight candles consecutively for eight days in every Jewish household. It began with lighting one on the first day, two on the second, progressively until the eighth day. The reason for the Hanukkah light being a nine-branched candlestick is that one special candle is used to light the other eight. The ninth one represented the small cruse of oil that had been discovered in the Temple. The remaining eight candles commemorate the miraculous eight-day burning.
One may well draw some prophetic significance from this historic event with regard to the personal and corporate renewal of the Church. The apostle Paul often refers to our bodies and the corporate Church as the Temple of God. A graphic story could be told of that first century church and its plunge into years of apostasy. It is a sad story of deliberate efforts to divorce the Church from it's Biblical Jewish roots and Hebraic contours of first century Christianity, replacing [hence polluting] it with pagan symbolism and teaching. This de-Judaising effort is epitomized by the edicts of Constantine the Great through political fiat. Subsequent centuries of on going spiritual and doctrinal pollution were experienced until God moved upon the "reformers" to begin the embryonic process of restoration and renewal that continues until this day. Many men of great light and understanding, people of restoration zeal and dedication have contributed to the progress of the arduous journey for renewal. Today the Lamp of God [the church] remains in the earth and grows brighter and brighter because of these pioneers of truth.
A Rebuilt Temple?
Some also see in this story of Hanukkah a prophetic picture to be repeated in the last days. It is believed by some that the false prophet will pollute the physically restored temple in Israel prior to the second coming of Jesus. This false Messiah [it is believed by some] will claim to be God as did Antiochus, but he will be destroyed and the temple will either be reconsecrated or rebuilt to be used by Jesus during the millennial kingdom reign. Whether or not that is exactly the case I do not know. We can be assured, however, that history has a tendency to repeat itself in some form or fashion.
Personal applications can also be made from this historic event with regard to the spiritual life of the individual.
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy for the temple of God is holy; which temple ye are." (I Co. 3:16-17)
In the light of this scripture, we should have no difficulty in seeing how meaningful the Hanukkah celebration can be to the Christian believer. Again, the very word itself means "dedication." It is only from dedicated spiritual temples [our body] that the acceptable incense of praise and worship can flow unto our God (Eph. 2:5). In this context, it would be quite acceptable for the Christian to observe this feast and even display the nine branched lampstand at this time of year as an occasion for renewed commitment and a personal "Feast of Dedication" for the upcoming year. We might sing with David this song of old:
"O LORD, thou has searched me, and know me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thoughts afar off. Thou compasseth my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me ... Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me..." (Ps. 139:1-5, 23-24)
Rededicate your temple! Make it a Celebration!
Note: While the nine-branched candlestick has historical and perhaps spiritual significance, we have no record that God commanded its construction. Therefore, it should not replace nor take priority over the seven-branched Menorah. The Mosaic Menorah retains the far greater Biblical significance.
The Titus Menorah