The Tabernacle: The menorah
And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.
“Candlestick” is translated in some versions as lampstand. The Hebrew word for this is “menorah”. The menorah did not hold wax candles, but oil lamps. It is said that the tubes were hollow and filled (to overflowing) with oil. At lamp’s end shreds of the priest’s old linen were used as wicks. This paints a beautiful picture of Jesus being the light of the world (Jn.8:12) Who ordained us to be the light of the world (Mt.5:14, Acts 26:23) with burning robes of righteousness (Rev.19:8; Is.61:10).
The menorah was to be made of pure gold (not wood overlain with gold), thus speaking of full godliness. It also had to be of beaten work, speaking of Jesus beaten for our peace (Is.53:5).
And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side:
7 lamps: 1 main stem and 6 branches. 7 is the number for completeness, 6 the number representing humanity. This reminds us of John 15 where Jesus says “I am the true vine… you are the branches.” God took from Adam’s side a rib (Gen.2:21) to form a bride for him. On the Cross a soldier pierced the side of Jesus (Jn.19:34) and out of it came blood and water – fluids found at the birthing process. For the Last Adam – Jesus Christ – a bride was born (the church) through His death on the Cross.
If you look at the picture, you’ll see two branches closest to the stem, two branches in the middle, and two branches at each end. In the tabernacle we find the outer courts, the Holy place, and the Holy of Holies. This could also speak of our spiritual progress. In the outer courts one enjoys the peace of being saved; in the Holy place one goes a little further and commits to service in the Kingdom out of love and appreciation (like Martha in Luke 10:40); in the Holy of Holies one comes to sit at the feet of Jesus (like Mary in Luke 10:39). Being in service like Martha, is not a bad thing. We need people like Martha, but Jesus said there is more and Mary chose that good part…
Three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick.
A white almond blossom blooms in winter time in Israel and is the very first flower to blossom and bear fruit. 1 Corinthians 1:20 tells us that Jesus, risen from the dead, became the firstfruits.
And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers. And there shall be a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick.
The middle shaft had to have 4 bowls with its units, and the 6 branches only 3. Thus the middle shaft had to be higher than the 6 branches, just as Jesus – our High Priest and God – is higher than us.
Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold.
One beaten work of pure gold: Sanctified by Him, we are one with Him. With Him we are the light of the world (Mt.5:14) that shines brightest when it is dark, and just as His light shone when He was beaten, so will ours. In Genesis 1:16 God created two big lights: the sun and the moon. The moon doesn’t shine on its own, but reflects the light of the sun. Likewise we should reflect the Light of Jesus.
Troubled times will come; it’s a guarantee. Put in troubled times we have hope. (James 2:2-4; 1Peter3:14-15; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.
The last phrase in Hebrew reads along the lines of “that they may be light on-across (or opposite) its face.” The six lights’ purpose was to shine the light (face) of the main Light (stem). In our most trying times holding on to Jesus, He becomes clearer to us. Just like in the case of Hannanyah, Misha’el and Azaryah (Daniel 3:25-26) God was seen in the midst of the most scorching fire.
And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, shall be of pure gold.
The tongs to trim the wicks and the snuffdishes to snuff the candles out were also of pure gold. Who snuffs your light? People or God? Where is your focus? If your focus is on God trimming your wick and snuffing your candle from time to time through other people, then you won’t nit-pick over the actions of other, but see it as a God-provided opportunity to have your light burn even brighter. (1Thes.5:16-18)
Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels. And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.
“Pure gold”: The menorah is the only object in the tabernacle where no dimension is give, but we know it was made of pure gold, thus it carried weight. Likewise the brightness of light is not stopped by any dimension, yet it carries weight.
“shall he make it”: here a specific person is singled out: Bezaleel. Later we will see that this typifies the Holy Spirit at work in us.
“pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.” On Mount Sinai God gave Moses an exact pattern to follow. On Mount Calvary Jesus – knowing the joy of receiving us set before Him (Heb.12:2) also gave us an exact pattern to follow.