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The Golden Lampstand points to Christ, the Light of the World, and His church as His light-bearers to the world.
Christ – The Golden Lampstand
The Tabernacle reveals to us much about the Lord Jesus Christ, and our life in Him. At the linen fence, barred from God’s presence we see the principle of Separation. We are separated from Him because of our sin and His absolute holiness. However, at the bronze altar we see the principle of Propitiation, which speaks of a sacrifice that turns away God’s wrath. It was at this altar, that the animals were killed, and their blood shed, and then their bodies offered up as a burnt offering to the Lord. The bulls and goats and sheep took the full force of God’s wrath instead of the sinners. The next object, the Bronze Laver, speaks of Purification. It was there that the priests washed their hands of blood, and their feet of dust, so that they could enter the Holy Place. So too, after we have been to the cross to be forgiven of all our sins, we still need to go to the Lord on a daily basis to confess our daily sins to Him, and allow Him to cleanse us with the washing of water with the Word. The next step was the Table of Showbread, in which the priests would eat the holy bread on the Sabbath instead the Holy Place. This speaks of Communication. The table speaks of fellowship, and the bread speaks of Christ, the Bread of Life. As believers, we learn to go to the Lord for fellowship with Him at all times.
Well, today we come to the 5th step in a sinner’s approach to God – Illumination. There at the Golden Lampstand, the priest had light that enabled him to minister in the Holy Place. The Golden Lampstand was the only source of light in the Holy Place. There were no windows. There was a roof made of four curtains, one on top of the other. It would have been very dark indeed inside the Tabernacle without the lampstand to illumine it. Of course, the Lampstand, like all the other objects in the Tabernacle speaks of Jesus Christ. He is the Light of the world. He is the Light of life.
1. The Appearance Of The Lampstand
The lampstand was made of pure gold (Ex.25:31). It was to be made of one piece of solid gold. Verse 39 tells us that it was made from a talent of pure gold. A talent of gold weighed about 120 pounds, so this was a very heavy article of furniture. Not only that, but it was very costly! At current gold prices today, this lampstand would be worth about 2.4 million dollars! Peter says in 1 Peter 2:7, “to you who believe He is precious.” Oh, the preciousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing on earth compares with Him.
The Lampstand Was Made of Hammered Work. (25:31). When the children of Israel fashioned a golden calf, they didn’t hammer it into place. They cast the molten gold into a mold. But in the fashioning of this lampstand no mold was used. The workmen started with one big slab of pure gold, and they hammered it into shape. This surely speaks of the sufferings of our Savior. He was hammered by the Jewish religious leaders, and by Satan, and Pilate, and the Roman soldiers. When he was scourged, He was beaten and beaten and beaten. The preciousness of our Savior is seen in that He was willing to be hammered and beaten in order to redeem you and me.
The Lampstand Had 1 Central Shaft, and 6 Branches. (25:32). Now, isn’t it interesting that these arms that came out from the central shaft are called “branches”?! Of course, we immediately think of John 15 where Jesus said, “I am the vine, and you are the branches.” How many branches did the Lampstand have? Six. In Scripture, six is the number of man. It is one short of 7, which is the number of perfection or completion. In Revelation 13:18, we are told that 666 is the number of a man. Now, that’s interesting to me. The Lord could have told Moses to build a Lampstand with 8 branches or 4 branches. But he didn’t. He told him to make the Lampstand with 6 branches. And when you add the central shaft, there were 7 lamps on the Lampstand. So, what are we seeing here? I believe we have the picture of Christ united to His people. Christ is represented as the central shaft of the Lampstand. The six branches coming out from the side represent His people. So, here in the Lampstand, we see Christ united to His people shining forth God’s light. This morning think of yourself as one of those branches coming out from the central shaft which was made to bear light.
The Lampstand Had Almond Bulbs and Flowers in the Branches. (25:33). In each branch there were three almond bulbs and flowers. In the central shaft, there were four almond bulbs and flowers. Now is there some significance to this? I believe there is. Remember the time when Korah led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron? They said, “who made you King around here? Why are you acting like the big cheese? Every one of this congregation is holy. Who do you think you are?” Well, God wanted to make a point as to whom He had chosen to be Israel’s high priest. So, he had all the leaders of the twelve tribes bring a rod, and write their names on their rods. Aaron also wrote his name on his rod. Then they deposited the 12 rods in the Tabernacle. The Lord told Moses that the rod of the man whom He had chosen would sprout. Well, on the next day Moses went into the Tabernacle, and he saw that Aaron’s rod had sprouted and put forth buds and had produced almonds. Almonds are not mentioned in the Old Testament very often at all. However, they are mentioned in connection with Aaron’s rod that budded, and they are mentioned in connection with the Lampstand. Now why? The budding of Aaron’s rod manifested a re-impartation of life – a resurrection of sorts. When the rod was put into the Tabernacle, it was dead. The next day it was alive and producing fruit. It seems to me that the almond buds and flowers on the Lampstand speak of resurrection. The almond tree is the first of all the trees in Israel to bud and bring forth fruit. They begin budding as early as January. The almonds were the first fruits to come forth in Israel. Well, in 1 Cor. 15:20 Paul says, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” The Lampstand was hammered into shape to remind us of Christ’s sufferings. But on each branch were almond buds to remind us of His resurrection. He is the first fruits of those who are asleep. He was the first one to rise again, never to die again.
The 6 Branches Were Of Hammered Work. Not only was the central shaft fashioned from a single piece of solid gold, but all six of the branches were as well. Not only was Jesus Christ hammered and beaten in His sufferings and death, but my friends, if you are ever to shine God’s light into this dark world, you too will be hammered and beaten. In fact, that is actually when we shine the brightest. It is when we go through sufferings and continue to trust and praise God that people around us stand up and take notice. Notice 1 Peter 3:14-15, “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” A lot of people use this verse to teach that we should be ready with answers for the skeptic that has questions about God and faith. However, that’s not the context of this passage. Peter was writing to Christians living probably during Nero’s reign. It had become very uncomfortable for Christians during these times. Ultimately Peter and Paul would die under Nero’s reign as martyrs. Peter is telling these Christians that they are going to be hammered. They are going to suffer. But when they are suffering, others around them are going to ask them about their hope. Why are you persevering in this faith? Why not just give up? If you stopped confessing Christ all your sufferings would cease. But it was at this point right here that these believers had their greatest opportunity. People would ask them questions about their hope, and they could point them to Jesus Christ, their ultimate hope! You see, they were hammered, but that just gave them opportunity to shine brightly for the Lord. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation” (1 Peter 4:12-13). John said, “Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you” (1 John 3:13). Paul said, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).
2. The Application Of The Lampstand
Exodus 25:37 says, “Then you shall make its lamps seven in number; and they shall mount its lamps so as to shed light on the space in front of it.” There is the purpose – to shed light on. To illumine. The purpose of the lampstand was to illuminate. So, how do we apply the picture of the Lampstand to our lives today? First, we must understand that the Lampstand points to Jesus Christ. Then we must understand that the Lampstand points to the church.
Jesus Christ Illumines Truth. Light is used in the Bible as a metaphor for revealing truth, and granting knowledge. Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” When Jesus went to Galilee, Matthew said it was to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy, “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned” (Mt.4:16). Do you realize what a blessing light is? We just take it for granted. But try to imagine a world where there was no light. We could not see to walk around without bumping into everything. There would be confusion and disorder. It would be terrible. Well, when Jesus Christ came into the world He brought light. He revealed God’s truth to the people. He enabled the common person to understand the Father. Where there was ignorance of God, Jesus cast light so that they could see. Proverbs 6:23 says, “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light.”
Jesus was the Master Teacher. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, it says that the crowds were amazed at His teaching, for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
In fact, you and I would never be saved, if God had not illuminated the truth about Jesus Christ and His gospel to us! Paul says in 2 Cor. 4:6, “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
Jesus said in Mt. 11:27 that no one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. If you are a Christian, it is because Jesus has revealed the Father to you, and the Father has revealed the Son to you. He has shone in your hearts to give the knowledge of Christ.
Jesus Christ Exposes Sin. In Luke 12:2-3 Jesus said, “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.” In other words, Jesus is saying that light exposes what is there. Whatever we have said or done will be exposed by Jesus Christ at the final Judgment.
Did you know that Jesus Christ will be the judge of all men on Judgment Day? “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son” (Jn.5:22). So, if Jesus is going to judge all men, He is going to have to expose the truth about their lives. That’s why Paul says in 1 Cor. 4:5, “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” 2 Cor. 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
Now you might be thinking, “I’m don’t think I like that! I thought my secrets would not be exposed because I’m a Christian. Didn’t God cover up all my secret sins when I trusted Christ?” It is absolutely true that if you have repented of sin and trusted Jesus Christ as Savior, then God has forgiven all of your sins. However, that doesn’t mean that He is not going to bring to light all of your life and bring a righteous judgment on you.
Jesus said, “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall given an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” So, this is how I think this will play out. Christ is going to sit as your judge, and He is going to bring out everything about your life one day, the good and the bad. Everything will be exposed by His piercing light. It will be obvious to everyone that you deserve God’s eternal wrath and judgment once your life has been revealed. But then, Christ is also going to reveal how you turned from your sin, repented, and trusted Jesus. He’s going to show everyone the day when you were broken over your sinful life, and committed your life to Christ. He’s going to show the good works that flowed from your new life. He will show everyone the times when you witnessed, and shared the gospel with others. He will show the times when you responded to angry and bitter words with kind and gracious words. He will show how your life was transformed, and you began to show love and grace to others. Where you were completely self-centered before, after you met Christ you went out of your way to help others, give them rides, take meals to them, and serve them.
His light will expose all, and thank God, He will expose the truth that He was your Lord and Savior and Treasure!
However, if you are not a Christian, you also will be exposed. You will stand naked, and guilty, and condemned before Him. But in contrast to the Christian, there will be no time in your life that Christ will expose where you repented and trusted Him. No conversion. No transformation. All there will be is a life of sin. Your words will condemn you. Your actions will condemn you. You will have no Advocate to plead your case, because the only Advocate there is, is now your Judge. Christian, the idea that Christ will expose your whole life may be scary, but it is nothing like what the non-Christian will experience. He is the one who should be terrified. My friend, if you are not at peace with God, I urge you to repent, and cast yourself on His mercy today!
The Church Is To Shine Before Men. Mt. 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, 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 who is in heaven.” Not only does the Bible say that Jesus is the light of the world. It also says that we are the light of the world. How can that be? Well, Jesus said in John 9:5, “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” The people of Jesus’ day extinguished that light by crucifying the Son of God. He was the light of the world, while He was in it. But He’s not in it physically any more. Thus, He has appointed us, His church, to be the light of the world now!
So, just what does it mean for us to let our light shine? When we let our light shine, what do men see? Do they see perfect Biblical doctrine? That’s not what Jesus said. He said that they see our good works. Evidently, to shine our light before men is to do good works.
Listen to how Paul puts it in Philippians 2:14-16, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing;
so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.” How do we appear as lights in the world? By not grumbling or disputing, like everyone else does. We live a life radically different from non-believers. Their lives are filled with arguing and complaining. Your life is filled with giving of thanks. And, just by doing that, you appear as a light in a dark world.
Why is the Christian called to let his light shine before men? Paul says in Ephesians 5:8, “for you were formerly darkness, 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). Jesus referred to His disciples as “sons of light” in Luke 16:8. Jesus said in John 12:36 “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”
However, there is a difference in how Jesus shines His light, and we shine our light. Think about the Lampstand. The Lampstand was only a container for the light. It did not produce the light. It was just a vessel that held it. The seven churches in the book of Revelation are seven golden lampstands (Rev.1:20). We, as the church, are lightbearers, not light producers. Jesus Christ is the true light. We are just vessels that bear Him. He is the One who shines. But He lives inside of us, and when He shines, it looks to the world like we are shining. It’s really the difference between the sun and the moon. God made the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night. The sun produces light – the moon reflects it. The moon has no light of its own. But it can reflect it, and when it does, it looks like it is shining.
So, brothers and sisters hear this. If Jesus Christ is in you, then His light will produce fruit. He will shine from your life. The fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth. You are not the source of that goodness, righteousness and truth. He is! But you get to the be the vessel, the container that bears that light to the world. Paul says in Phil. 1:11, “having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Folks, we don’t even have the ability to produce the fruit of righteousness. But praise God, we can be a vessel in which the Lord can produce righteousness.
My friends, the Lord wants to live through you. He wants to manifest His goodness, and righteousness, and truth through you. He wants to shine His light through you. However, you must “let” your light your light shine before men. You must allow it. He wants it. But you must let it. You see, we can hinder through sin and our flesh, what the Lord is longing to do through us. A large part of being used by God is to simply get our self-will out of God’s way. Our flesh can be a drag, a hindrance to what God wants to do through us. Let your light shine before men. When the flesh rises up in opposition to God, fight it! Remind yourself of who you are in Jesus Christ. You are a saint, a holy one, clothed in His righteousness, having been given a new heart and a new spirit. As we learned last week, spend time regularly at the table of showbread, fellowshipping with Christ. If you walk closely with your Lord, His light will shine through you. The children’s song is very true: “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!” Amen.
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