The Golden Lampstand

The Golden Lampstand was hammered from one piece of gold.

Exod 25:31-40 "You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece. And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side. Three bowls shall be 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 that come out of the lampstand. On the lampstand itself four bowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower. 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. Their knobs and their branches shall be of one piece; all of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold. You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it. And its wick-trimmers and their trays shall be of pure gold. It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils. And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain."

In the holy place there was no window or place to let in the light. It was lit from a glorious golden lampstand, which stood directly opposite the table on the south side in the Holy Place. Made from one piece of solid beaten gold it weighed about 43 kg. (over 100 lbs.). In Hebrew it is known as the 'menorah' and has developed into one of the most commonly used symbols of Judaism.

The Menorah which stands outside Israel's parliament, the Knesset.

The menorah within the holy place of the ancient tabernacle was a work of extraordinary beauty and consisted of three main parts: the base, the shaft and the branches. Out of the base a vertical shaft arose and from either side of the shaft there sprang three branches curving outward and upward.

Each of the six branches and the center shaft ended in a cup made in the form of an open almond flower. At the very top the opened petals of the flower held an oil lamp. The branches and the central shaft were skillfully decorated with that same open-almond blossom design with three on each branch and four on the center shaft.

Each of the six branches ended in a cup made like an open almond flower. The seven oil lamps resting in the flower petals were like small bowls.

The decoration was so exquisite and intricate that God commanded that only the most highly skilled craftsmen anointed by the Holy Spirit should make it. No measurements are given as to its exact size (who can measure the light of God?). The seven oil lamps resting in the flower petals were like small bowls. A flax or linen wick would be placed in the lamp and the fire was never to go out (Lev. 24:2).

Twice every day, morning and evening, a priest attended to the wick and replenished the pure beaten olive oil for the lamps ( Ex 30:7).

Ex 27:20-21 "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. "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.

Jewish Tradition

Still today the Jews use pure olive oil (shemen zayit) to light the menorah on Hanukkah because it is the finest quality to be found. The word shemen is an acronym for:

shemen - oil

mizayit- from olives

nivhar - chosen

The first Hebrew consonant of each word spells shemen.

It was the high priest alone who trimmed and dressed the lamp. He alone was responsible for the light shining.

Lev 24:3 "Outside the veil of the Testimony, in the tabernacle of meeting, Aaron shall be in charge of it from evening until morning before the LORD continually; it shall be a statute forever in your generations.

All day and all night, whether anyone was present or not, these seven lamps constantly lit up the glory of the Holy Place and especially on the table of the shewbread as a reminder that Gods Presence is always with His people.

Seven-branched menorah on a Hasmonean coin.

Jewish Tradition

The Rabbis interpret the lamp as a symbol of Israel, whose mission is to become a "light to the nations" (Is 42:7). In the present day synagogue there are similar religious items. The ark is located on the east wall of the synagogue; it contains the Torah scrolls. Above the ark, an eternal lamp is kept burning. To the side of the ark a menorah or seven branched candelabra is placed.

In Hebrew it is known as the 'menorah' and has developed into one of the most commonly used symbols of Judaism.

The Almond

Almond in Hebrew means "the awakening one", because the almond tree was the first tree to awake from the sleep of winter and blossom. It spoke of the speedy and powerful result of light.

Gen 43:11 And their father Israel said to them, "If it must be so, then do this: Take some of the best fruits of the land in your vessels and carry down a present for the man-- a little balm and a little honey, spices and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds.

Eccl 12:5 Also they are afraid of height, and of terrors in the way; when the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper is a burden, and desire fails. For man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets.

Jer 1:11-12 11 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Jeremiah, what do you see?" And I said, "I see a branch of an almond tree." Then the LORD said to me, "You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word."

note: See also Numbers and Scripture about the number 7

Here you see on the triumphal Arch of Titus, in Rome, the Roman victory over the Jews and the Roman soldiers carrying off the Temple Menorah. Jerusalem's fall in 70 AD was celebrated by Titus Vespasion as a great victory and a commemorative arch was erected in Rome to mark the occasion.

A Type of Christ

The golden lampstand was the only source of light in the holy place. Its primary purpose was to give light in front of it. It was to shine on the table of shewbread and never to be put out. It was never to stop shining. This was a constant reminder that God was with His people. The Bible says that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. When the apostle John said, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it," he was referring to Jesus coming into the world. Jesus made the world and created life and came to bring Gods life to fallen man but since man is in darkness apart from Jesus they could not comprehend the light that comes with the life of God. The golden lampstand illuminated the shewbread and so God illuminates His people. The Spirit of God illuminates the dark mind of man to the knowledge of God and to spiritual life. John went on to say, "That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Man is blind apart from Jesus. Man cannot know God apart from Jesus. Even if God were to come Himself to His very home, man is incapable of perceiving any spiritual light because the darkness has made him blind. The golden lampstand speaks of Jesus as the light of the world.

Jn 9:5 "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

Is 49:6 Indeed He says, `It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.'"

Is 4:2 In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious;

Is 11:1-2 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

Ps 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Ps 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Matt 4:16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned."

Jn 1:4-5 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Jn 3:19-21 "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. "But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."

Jn 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

Eph 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

Eph 5:14 Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light."

Phil 2:15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Matt 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

1 Pet 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

1 Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Matt 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden

Jesus is the light of the world.