Message – The Menorah
Series: Thru the Bible – Exodus
There were three articles or furnishings within the Tabernacle of Meeting. From left to right:
- The Menorah, Lampstand or Candelabra
- Incense altar
- The Showbread Table
The Lampstand & Oil
Exodus. 25:31-40, (Overview Passage)
“35 And there shall be a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand. 36 Their knobs and their branches shall be of one piece; all of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold. 37 You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it. 38 And its wick-trimmers and their trays shall be of pure gold. 39 It shall be made of a talent (75lbs) of pure gold, with all these utensils. 40 And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.”
Exod. 27:20-21, “(20) And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually. (21) In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the LORD. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.”
The Menorah itself:
Exod. 37:17-24, “(17) He also made the lampstand of pure gold; of hammered work he made the lampstand. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and its flowers were of the same piece. (18) And six branches came out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side.
The Knobs & Flowers:
(19) There were three bowls made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower—and so for the six branches coming out of the lampstand.
Fruit & Bowls:
(20) And on the lampstand itself were four bowls made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower. (21) There was a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches extending from it. (22) Their knobs and their branches were of one piece; all of it was one hammered piece of pure gold.
Utensils & Priest lighting Menorah:
(23) And he made its seven lamps, its wick-trimmers, and its trays of pure gold. (24) Of a talent of pure gold he made it, with all its utensils.” [see also 2Chron. 4:19-22 as another reference]
Symbolisms: The 7 parts of the Menorah are the base, the center staff, the branches, fruit, the lamp bowls, the wicks and the oil.
The Menorah itself
The hammered work of one single piece of gold = Echawd. It is a snapshot of God’s family in Christ as with the Tabernacle building itself which we discussed last week.
Union realized in diversity. (The man and woman will be ONE (echawd) flesh.)
Jesus went out of his way to describe His union with God, ours with Him and our collective union all together. Again, as I said last week this shows up at least twice in the tabernacle… the construction of the tabernacle itself being the first and this menorah being the second.
If you remember from last week… all of the inner portions of the tabernacle painted a family portrait of love, deference, sacrifice and honor.
- Gold = Deity
- Silver = Freedom
- White linen = purity and righteousness (possibly bone)
- Purple, Blue and Scarlet = royalty, heaven, mindful and obedient to the law and the blood of purifying & Cleansing.
So now in the Menorah we have a different family portrait.
While the tabernacle revealed interconnectedness, royalty, sacrifice and honor through our differences… the Menorah points out our union, interdependence and individual functions working toward one goal and our unified nature with Him. So this is simply a different side of the same coin of echawd.
The Oil = Holy Spirit; anointing; harmony; union & joy
Psa. 133:1-2, “(1) A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (2) It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;”
1Jn 2:20, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.”
Heb. 1:9, “YOU HAVE LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATED LAWLESSNESS; THEREFORE GOD, YOUR GOD, HAS ANOINTED YOU WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS MORE THAN YOUR COMPANIONS.”
There was a place to put oil in the Menorah, but it is a matter of some disagreement as to where. Each branch may have had an individual chamber for oil or the entire center staff and branches may have been hollow and oil may have been put into the center to flow to the branches.
Josephus in Antiquity of the Jews Book III Chapt. 6 verse 7 says of the Menorah:
“Over against this table [for the Showbread], near the southern wall, was set a candlestick [correctly, lampstand] of cast gold, hollow within, being of the weight of one hundred pounds, which the Hebrews call Chinchares; if it be turned into the Greek language, it denotes a talent. It was made with its knops, and lilies, and pomegranates, and bowls (which ornaments amounted to seventy in all) by which means the shaft elevated itself on high from a single base, and spread itself into as many branches as there are planets, including the sun among them. It terminated in seven heads, in one row, all standing parallel to one another; and these branches carried seven lamps…”
In either case – the symbolism would seem to point to Christ as the center out of which all the branches grow. The significance of the structure being hollow is that it would hold the oil. Presumably the oil would go into the center staff and hince flow from it to all the branches. This would perfectly illustrate how the church received the Holy Spirit, for it is FROM Christ that we received the Spirit (John 16:7, “Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you.”)
In such a dramatized illustration Christ would be seen as our life our VINE and we are His branches. It is from Him that we receive our VINE LIFE (the Holy Spirit) BY which we produce fruit and are the lights of the world.
Which leads us to the branches…
Branches with fruit:
Obviously this refers to our union with Christ as our vine and the fruit is that of the Spirit – meaning character change.
John 14:15-20, “(15) If you love Me, keep My commandments. (16) And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— (17) the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (18) I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (19) “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. (20) At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”
John 17:20-26, “(20) I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; (21) that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. (22) And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: (23) I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. (24) “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. (25) O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. (26) And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
John 15:1-11, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. (2) Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. (3) You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. (4) Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. (5) “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. (6) If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. (7) If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. (8) My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples. (9) “As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. (10) If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. (11) “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”
Wicks were made of flax:
These would draw the oil out of its reservoir to become saturated with it. When lit the wick would remain relatively uncharred while the oil was being consumed by the flame. IF ever the oil ran out, the flax itself would burn and fill the room with a stench. This was a source of embarrassment for a housewife because it was impossible to mask – for a priest it was a sin and a dereliction of duty.
The size of the Menorah is not given, but Jewish tradition assigns it a height of about 5ft. and a width of about 3 ½ ft.. Other dimensions are offered which place it at abou 7’, but this is the most unlikely since that would be impractical for filling with oil, trimming the wicks and lighting.
Isaiah prophesied of the work of Christ which illustrates this picture of the Menorah and is shown to be accomplished in Christ in Matthew’s gospel. Let’s look at them. Turn first to Isaiah 42. This is the reference to the smoking flax and bruised reed. The smoking flax was a wick which began to burn itself due to having ran out of its oil. So the symbolism is clear, that it would represent being a witness to Christ outside of the power of the Holy Spirit – something Jesus commanded His disciples to NOT do.
Luke 24:46-49, “(46) Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, (47) and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (48) And you are witnesses of these things. (49) Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
The bruised reed could loosely illustrate the branches of the Menorah since the word “reed” simply means a flexible stalk or stem of a plant…like a branch. In this illustration the flax had no oil BECAUSE the branch was bent which prohibited the free flow of the oil. Our condition prior to Christ was actually worse than this since we were actively filled with all evil. But the symmetry of the illustration remains.
Isa. 42:1-4, “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice (straightness or rightness of character) to the Gentiles. (2) He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. (3) A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. (4) He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law.”
Matt. 12:15-21, “(15) But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. (16) Yet He warned them not to make Him known, (17) that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: (18) “BEHOLD! MY SERVANT WHOM I HAVE CHOSEN, MY BELOVED IN WHOM MY SOUL IS WELL PLEASED! I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT UPON HIM, AND HE WILL DECLARE JUSTICE TO THE GENTILES. (19) HE WILL NOT QUARREL NOR CRY OUT, NOR WILL ANYONE HEAR HIS VOICE IN THE STREETS. (20) A BRUISED REED HE WILL NOT BREAK, AND SMOKING FLAX HE WILL NOT QUENCH, TILL HE SENDS FORTH JUSTICE TO VICTORY; (21) AND IN HIS NAME GENTILES WILL TRUST.”
This also speaks of the oneness we have received IN and THROUGH Christ in the phrase – TILL HE SENDS FORTH JUSTICE TO VICTORY Which translated properly means,
“Until He throws out separation resulting in Triumph”.
This only adds to the perfect illustrative power of the Menorah representing ONENESS and perfect UNITY with God.
1Cor. 6:17, “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”
We will begin to discuss the Altar of Incense, what it was and some ways in which it serves as a type and shadow of today under the New Covenant…next week!
There is more information in the audio/video of the actual message. I hope you listen, learn and enjoy!
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