THE golden candlestick with its seven golden lamps was on the south side of the first apartment of the sanctuary. It was made of gold beaten into shape by the workman's hammer. (Ex. 25:31-37) It took many a hard and skillful blow to form those delicate flowers and bowls; but the candlestick was to be made after the heavenly model to teach heavenly lessons to mankind. (Ex. 25:40 margin)
John, the beloved disciple, was permitted to look into the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven, and there he beheld seven golden candlesticks. He also beheld the Saviour in the midst of the glorious candlesticks, of which the earthly one was a shadow.
Christ, in explaining to John the meaning of what he had seen, said, “
The seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” (Rev. 1:12-20) The number seven in the Bible denotes a complete number. The candlestick of beaten gold with its seven bowls for the lamps was an “
example and shadow of heavenly things. (Heb. 8:5) Its seven branches, each holding aloft a lamp, represented the church of God.”
The individual that forms a part of the “
church of the firstborn, which are enrolled in heaven,” (Heb. 12:23) will often feel the workman's hammer; “
for we are His (God's) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” (Eph. 2:10) Then, “
beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.” (1 Peter 4:12) It is only the Master-workman fashioning you to become a part of the great church enrolled in heaven.
The candlestick in the type held seven lamps. The beloved disciple also had a view of the heavenly lamps, of which the earthly ones were models. Before the throne of God in heaven he saw the seven lamps of fire, “
which are the seven Spirits of God.” (Rev. 4:2,5) The church of Christ is the candlestick to hold up the light in the midst of moral darkness. The Saviour says, “
Ye are the light of the world.” The Spirit of the Lord is said to be the eyes of the Lord which “
run to and fro throughout the whole earth, strongly to hold with them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” (2 Chron 16:9 margin) Then the brightness of our light depends upon the condition of our heart. The Spirit is searching throughout the earth for those whose hearts are perfect toward God, and it will “
strongly hold” with such ones: their light will not burn dim.
None but the high priest could perform the sacred work of lighting the lamps in the earthly sanctuary; he trimmed and lighted them each morning and evening. (Ex. 30:7,8) So none, but our High Priest, who was “
tempted in all points like as we are,” Heb. 4:15 can give us the help we need. In the morning we need His Spirit to direct us during the day; and at evening we need it to enlighten our minds as we review the work of the day, that we may detect the flaws and dropped threads in the warp of our lives. The trimming and lighting of the lamps was a beautiful type with a daily lesson for us at the present time. It was a link in that marvellous threefold typical chain of service celebrated each morning and evening, while “
the whole multitude of the people were praying without” the sanctuary. (Luke 1:10) The whole burnt-offering in the court, the incense, and the burning lamps within the sanctuary, all were a wonderful type which will never lose its beauty.
Whenever an individual will fulfil in his very soul the antitype of the typical “
whole” burnt-offering, that is, wholly surrender himself to God, place himself and all he has upon the altar, to be consumed in God's service as He directs, that individual, whether he be rich or poor, learned or ignorant, will be covered with the fragrant incense of Christ's righteousness, and his name will be enrolled with the church of the first-born in heaven; and here in this sin-cursed earth, as he goes to and fro, he will be a part of the great candlestick, and from his life will shine out the bright rays of the Spirit of God.
The question may arise in many hearts, How may I become a light-bearer in the earth? When Zerubbabel was trying under very adverse circumstances to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, he came to a time when the difficulties appeared like mountains before him. Then the Lord sent His prophet with a message to help and encourage him. Zechariah was given a view of the golden candlesticks, and was also shown whence the oil came that supplied the lamps. He saw two olive-trees, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on the left side, which through golden pipes kept the lamps supplied with oil, that they might burn brightly. (Zech. 4:1-4) The prophet asked the angel the meaning of what he saw. In reply the angel said: “
This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6) Then he gave a message to Zerubbabel to go forward, and said that the mountain of difficulties would become a plain before him, and that as surely as his hands had laid the foundations of the house of the Lord, so surely would he finish it.
Zerubbabel was walking by faith in the words of the prophets who had foretold how and when Jerusalem would be rebuilt; (2 Chron. 36:20-23; Jer 25:12; Hosea 1:7) but those prophets were dead, and he now faced difficulties that he might be tempted to think the prophets never expected would arise. Then God sent a living prophet with a message of encouragement, to keep the light burning, and enable Zerubbabel to press forward and complete the work prophesied of by the dead prophets.
We cannot comprehend the word of the Lord without the Spirit to enlighten our minds. The light shines to the degree in which we take the word and risk our all upon it: and as we come into difficulties in following out the instruction given through the dead prophets, the Lord sends messages of strength and encouragement through the living prophet, to enable us to press forward to victory.
These are the two sons of oil (light-givers), that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” It is the Spirit of God accompanying the word which has been committed to the people, that will give light. Whatever the prophets of God have revealed to man in the past, is light; and those who have adhered strictly to the testimony of God by His prophets, although it may be hundreds of years after the testimony was given, are spoken of favourably by the living prophet, as Zechariah spoke to Zerubbabel.
|Ex. 40:24. Golden candlestick in the first apartment of earthly sanctuary.||Rev. 1:12. John saw the seven golden candlesticks in heaven. Ex. 25:37; 40:25. There were seven lamps upon the candlestick.|
|Ex. 25:37; 40:25. There were seven lamps upon the candlestick.||Rev. 4:2, 5. John saw seven lamps of fire before the throne of God in heaven.|
|Ex. 30:7, 8. The high priest trimmed and lighted the lamps in the earthly sanctuary.||Rev. 1:12-18. John saw Christ, our High Priest, in the midst of the candlesticks in heaven.|
|Lev. 24:2. The lamps were burned continually, always shedding forth light.||John 1:9. The Holy Spirit lightens every soul that comes into the world, whether he accepts or rejects it.|