Christian Churches of God
Lampstands in God’s
(Edition 1.0 20070718-20070718)
From the Tabernacle in the Wilderness we know that God had one lampstand with seven bowls of oil set in the Holy Place. In this lesson we will see how the concept of the lampstand expanded in the future dwelling places of God to the lamp in the City of God.
Lampstands in God’s Dwelling Places
Most of us have a very good idea what light is. We may not be able to explain how it works but we understand the concept that light helps us to see things in dark places, and without light we are physically or spiritually blind. In this lesson we are going to look at the lights God uses in His dwelling places and His directions to us regarding light.
James 1 tells us who the Father of light is:
James 1:17 Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (NASV)
In 1John 1:7 we learn we are to walk in the light of the Father and His Son, Joshua the Messiah.
1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (NASV)
Let’s look at some references to light in Scripture.
Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and light to my path. (NASV)
Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light. And reproofs for discipline are the way of life. (NASV)
Isaiah 51:4 Pay attention to Me, O My people; and give ear to Me, O My nation; for a law will go forth from Me, and I will set My justice for a light of the peoples. (NASV)
2Corinthians 4:4 In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (NASV)
From the above scriptures we see the Law of God is a light. God’s justice becomes a light to all people and the light of the Gospel shows us the Glory of the Father and His Son.
Let us review briefly the type of lights that were set up in the Tabernacle of the Wilderness.
The Lampstand in the Tabernacle of the Wilderness
The lampstand was made of pure gold out of one piece of metal (Ex. 25:31-40; 31:8; 37:17-24). The lampstand and its utensils were made from one talent of gold (Ex. 25:39). It had one central shaft with three branches out of each side, and with places for seven oil lamps on top of each branch. The lamp was ‘dressed’, meaning that the wick was trimmed and oil added daily. The lamps were kept burning before the Lord daily and from evening to morning (Ex. 27:20-21; Lev. 24:2-3).
These seven lamps seem to represent what was understood as the seven spirits before God’s Throne. See also The Seven Spirits of God (No. 64).
There are numerous references to the number seven in the Bible. From the paper The Significance of Numbers (No. 7) we see seven signifies or represents spiritual perfection. When we see seven in the Bible it is a very important number to pay attention to.
The lampstand was on the south side of the Tabernacle (Ex. 26:35; 40:24). It was to burn continually (Ex. 27:20-21; Lev. 24:2-3). From our studies on the Family of God we also know God has seven spirits before His Throne (see the paper The Creation of the Family of God (No. CB4)). The seven spirits are also in the south if they are before the Throne, just as the lampstand was located on the south side of the Tabernacle.
The oil for the lampstand was pure olive oil. The oil was not ground in a mill but it was beaten to produce finer oil (Ex. 27:20). Easton’s Bible Dictionary comments on beaten oil: (Ex. 27:20; 29:40), obtained by pounding olives in a mortar, not by crushing them in a mill. (This is the same symbolism as our prayers are to be beaten fine.) The oil was thought to be the best.
We are to be that lampstand to the world reflecting the light of God’s Holy Spirit to all who come in contact with us (Mat. 5:14). Once we are called, repent, and are baptized, we are to tend the Holy Spirit daily. We never want to be without oil in our lamp as the five foolish virgins found themselves (cf. Mat. 25:1-11).
Ten Lampstands in the Temple Solomon built
1Kings 7:48 and 2Chronicles 4:7 describe the ten golden lampstands of Solomon’s Temple – five on the right and five on the left. Here, instead of seven bowls of light, we now have 70, just as the Council of God has 70 Beings in it [plus two] as the Sanhedrin also had, as did the council of the Seventy of God. Modern authorities claim the Sanhedrin had seventy-one members. See the paper The Creation of the Family of God (No. CB4).
As stated above, the number seven implies spiritual perfection and the number ten means divine order. Therefore, we can assume that the ten lampstands that contain seven bowls indicate divine order and spiritual perfection.
The furnishings and decorations of the Temple were often in sevens (1Kgs. 7:17, from the Masoretic Text); Ezek. 40:22,26; cf. Prov. 9:1).
Messiah is the main or central lampstand from which the other lampstands come. We also know the lampstands represent the Angels of the Seven Churches (Rev. 1:20). Therefore, we have the sequence of the 10 lampstands composed or made up of Messiah, the seven Churches, and two Witnesses. The two Witnesses have to complete the work of the final churches, including that of the Sardis and the Laodicean Churches, which failed. See paper The Witnesses (including the Two Witnesses) (No. 135).
From the paper Psalms from the Temple Worship (No. 87) we see:
In the antechamber of the Temple (the eastern room) were the three sacred vessels. In the centre stood the golden altar of incense, also called "the inner altar" on which incense was offered daily both morning and evening; south of that was the golden seven-branched lamp-stand of oil which was kept continuously burning (Schürer, pp. 296-297; fn. 17 p. 297).
The Bible texts tell us that the lamps of the Menorah were to be lit in the evenings so that they burned during the night. The practice in the Temple was that three were lit during the day and all seven at night (according to Josephus, (Antiq, III, 8,3), but according to the Mishnah it was one by day and all seven by night (m.Tam. 3:9); 64:1; likewise Sifra on Lev. 24:1-4, cf. Schürer, ft. 17 p. 297).
The officer cast lots to decide: 1: the slaughterer, 2: the sprinkler of blood on the altar, 3: who should clean the ashes from the inner altar, 4: who should clean the lamps, and then to decide who should bring each piece of the sacrificial victim to the altar steps which are, 5: the head and one hind leg, 6: the two forelegs, 7: the tail and the other hind leg, 8: the breast and neck, 9: the two sides, 10: the entrails, 11: who should carry the fine flour, 12: the baked grain offering (of the High Priest), 13: the wine (cit. Schürer, ibid., p. 304).
The sacrifices did not occur before daybreak. While the lamb was then selected after daybreak the two priests chosen to clean the altar of incense and the lampstand went to the Temple, the former with a golden pail and the latter with a golden pitcher. They opened the great Temple gate and entered. In the case of the golden lampstand, if the two lamps furthest east were burning they were left untouched and only the remaining lamps were cleaned. If the two eastern most lamps had gone out, then they were cleaned and relit first, before the remainder were cleaned and filled.
We in the Church need to always remember it is our responsibility to keep the lamps burning.
2Chronicles 13:11 and burn unto the Lord every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices, and sweet incense; the shewbread also set they in order upon the pure table; and the lampstand of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening for we keep the charge of the Lord our God but we have forsaken him. (NASV)
Where else in Scripture do we see a lampstand referred to, and what does it mean?
The Lampstand of Zechariah 4
Zechariah chapter 4 goes on to deal with the Witnesses who stand on either side of the seven lamps on the great lampstand. Through Zechariah, God declares that: "It is not by might, nor by power but by my spirit says the Lord of Hosts". These are the two Witnesses that stand beside the Lord of the Earth and the seven eyes are the seven spirits of God that run to and fro throughout the Earth. This is not Satan "the god of this world" (2Cor. 4:4) but Messiah who is to replace him. This is the section dealing with the Day of the Lord and the triumph of the Witnesses in the Last Days. See Zechariah 4:1-14 for the exact text.
Messiah is the central lampstand for the ages; he guided and directed the seven Churches. He also works with the two Witnesses while they complete their work.
The two Witnesses are to come at the end of the sequence or age, and do not refer to anyone from then until now. For more details on the Witnesses see the paper Commentary on Zechariah (No. 021K)).
The Witnesses will do God’s work for 42 months or 3 ½ years. They will be killed and lie dead in the street for 3 ½ days. Then the breath of life from God comes into them and they rise (Rev. 11:11). The Second Woe is finished and the Third Woe comes quickly; the seven trumpets sound and Messiah returns to the Earth. See Trumpets (No. 136); The Seven Seals of Revelation (No. CB95); The Seven Trumpets of Revelation (No. CB96).
Next, let us look at some of the many places the Bible talks of Christ being the light of the world.
Scriptural references to Messiah as the light to the world
As seen in Revelation 1:13, Messiah is depicted as being in the midst/middle of the seven candlesticks and may be the central supporting stem of the lampstand. He is spoken of as a light in the Old Testament.
Isaiah 9:2 the people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. (NASV)
Isaiah 42:6 “I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you, and I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations. (NASV)
Simeon’s comments – when Jesus was presented in the Temple again – emphasise the point that Messiah is the light of the world.
Luke 2:29-32 “Now lord thou dost let thy bond-servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for my eyes have seen Thy salvation, Which Thou has prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, and the glory of Thy people Israel” (NASV)
Actually, many scriptures refer to Christ as the Light of the world and how we are to walk in and demonstrate or show the Light of God to the world.
John 1:9 There was the true light which coming into the world, enlightens every man. (NASV)
John 8:12 Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life. (NASV)
John 12:35,36 Jesus there said to them “For a little while longer the light is among you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the light believe in the light in order that you may become sons of light” (NASV)
Acts 13:47 For thus the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have placed You as a light for the Gentile, that You should bring salvation to the end of the earth. (NASV)
Acts 26:23 that the Christ was to suffer and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles. (NASV)
In the Book of Ezekiel, much detail is given to the building complex and the intricate work of the carvings of the lion, palm trees, cherubim and men’s faces. Yet there does not appear to be a mention of the lampstand in the Millennial Temple. So, for this reason we will be silent also about the lampstand.
The City of God
In Isaiah, we read of the glorified Zion, being another name for Jerusalem.
Isaiah 60:1-3 “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth, and deep darkness over the peoples; but the Lord will rise upon you, and His glory will appear upon you. And nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. (NASV)
In Revelation, we see that time described. Let’s read parts of Revelation 21 and 22 so we clearly know what God’s word is telling us. The magnitude of these verses is hard to imagine. It is difficult for human beings to think of a time when we will not need the light from the sun or moon. The brilliance of Eloah and the Lamb will light the planet. Let us read what Revelation has to say about this time.
The New Heaven and the New Earth are mentioned in Revelation 21.
Revelation 21:1-5, 11-27
1 I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and so had the sea. 2 Then I saw New Jerusalem, that holy city, coming down from God in heaven. It was like a bride dressed in her wedding gown and ready to meet her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice shout from the throne: God's home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. 4 He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever. 5 Then the one sitting on the throne said: …11 The glory of God made the city bright. It was dazzling and crystal clear like a precious jasper stone. 12 The city had a high and thick wall with twelve gates, and each one of them was guarded by an angel. On each of the gates was written the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 Three of these gates were on the east, three were on the north, three more were on the south, and the other three were on the west. 14 The city was built on twelve foundation stones. On each of the stones was written the name of one of the Lamb's twelve apostles. 15 The angel who spoke to me had a gold measuring stick to measure the city and its gates and its walls. 16 The city was shaped like a cube, because it was just as high as it was wide. When the angel measured the city, it was about fifteen hundred miles high and fifteen hundred miles wide. 17 Then the angel measured the wall, and by our measurements it was about two hundred sixteen feet high. 18 The wall was built of jasper, and the city was made of pure gold, clear as crystal. 19 Each of the twelve foundations was a precious stone. The first was jasper, the second was sapphire, the third was agate, the fourth was emerald, 20 the fifth was onyx, the sixth was carnelian, the seventh was chrysolite, the eighth was beryl, the ninth was topaz, the tenth was chrysoprase, the eleventh was jacinth, and the twelfth was amethyst. 21 Each of the twelve gates was a solid pearl. The streets of the city were made of pure gold, clear as crystal. 22 I did not see a temple there. The Lord God All-Powerful and the Lamb were its temple. 23 And the city did not need the sun or the moon. The glory of God was shining on it, and the Lamb was its light. 24 Nations will walk by the light of that city, and kings will bring their riches there. 25 Its gates are always open during the day, and night never comes. 26 The glorious treasures of nations will be brought into the city. 27 But nothing unworthy will be allowed to enter. No one who is dirty-minded or who tells lies will be there. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life will be in the city. (CEV)
Revelation 21:15-17 in the KJV gives a clearer meaning using God’s measurements.
15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.
Revelation 22 goes on to further explain about the City of God.
Revelation 22:1-5 The angel showed me a river that was crystal clear, and its waters gave life. The river came from the throne where God and the Lamb were seated. 2 Then it flowed down the middle of the city's main street. On each side of the river are trees that grow a different kind of fruit each month of the year. The fruit gives life, and the leaves are used as medicine to heal the nations. 3 God's curse will no longer be on the people of that city. He and the Lamb will be seated there on their thrones, and its people will worship God 4 and will see him face to face. God's name will be written on the foreheads of the people. 5 Never again will night appear, and no one who lives there will ever need a lamp or the sun. The Lord God will be their light, and they will rule forever.
The Coming of Christ is spoken of in verses 16 to 21.
16 I am Jesus! And I am the one who sent my angel to tell all of you these things for the churches. I am David's Great Descendant, and I am also the bright morning star. 17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" Everyone who hears this should say, "Come!" If you are thirsty, come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It's free! …
20 The one who has spoken these things says, "I am coming soon!" So, Lord Jesus, please come soon! 21 I pray that the Lord Jesus will be kind to all of you. (CEV)
Revelation 22:20-21 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (KJV)
We see here that a great change comes to the planet when sin is finally gone and God the Father relocates His Throne to Earth.
Here we see the true meaning of the light of the world. Anciently, many things prefigured this light: the burning bush that spoke to Moses; the pillar of fire by night; the lampstands in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness; the ten lampstands in the Temple Solomon built; the torches of Gideon’s 300; and the fire of Samson’s 300 foxes.
We need to remember we are the spiritual Temple (naos) of God (1Cor. 3:16-17) and each one of us is individually responsible to continue to work while there is still light to work. We are all required to be about our Father’s business and continue to preach the Gospel to the world and to build the spiritual Temple of Eloah.
Ephesians 5 tells us what to do.
Ephesians 5:8-10 ... but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth) learn what is pleasing to the Lord. (NASV)
Remember we are to be as in Matthew 5:14:
Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden nor do men light a lamp and put it under the peck measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father that is in heaven.” (KJV)
So let it be said of all of us.