Then you shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand, its base, and its shaft are to be made of hammered work; its cups, its bulbs and its flowers shall be [of one piece] with it.
The description of the lampstand and the lamps and all their accoutrements puzzles me a bit. Maybe it is just lack of familiarity with the things involved, like almond blossoms, but I have trouble getting a good mental image of the thing. And where does this fit in the throne room of God? I think that the answer to that is that it does not.
The beginning of John’s vision on Patmos — the first three chapters of Revelation — involve John seeing Jesus walking in the midst of seven lampstands — possibly lampstands that look like the one described here in Exodus 25 — and dictating letters to seven churches and their “angels.” Since the word translated “angel” can also mean messenger and since Jesus was dictating letters to John for human reading, it stands to reason that Jesus was addressing people, not His angelic servants in Heaven. The lampstands in John’s vision represented people. So, I conclude that this lampstand also represents a person or people.
There are certain aspects of the lampstand that lend themselves to the interpretation of the lampstand representing a person or persons. The fact that there are six branches when the number six is often representative of humanity in The Bible is one such. The whole almond blossom symbolism when Aaron’s rod gave almond blossoms (Numbers 17). If, then, I roll with that almond blossom symbol, then it stands to reason that the lampstand represents the high priest. The lampstand is made entirely of gold, which means it is pure and glorious, so the lampstand is not symbolic of just any high priest. And the lampstand holds up seven lamps. Seven is often representative of completeness or perfection in The Bible, so the light given by this lampstand is perfect and complete. Combine all of these things and I am left with the lampstand being a symbol of Christ.
And it would be great, from a purely theoretical perspective, to leave things there. But that knowledge is useless if I cannot apply it to my walk with God today. Which takes me back to Revelation. Jesus is not, in that vision, the Himself the lampstand, but is walking in their midst. These lampstands are men who are shining the light of God. Jesus said, in Matthew 5, that believers are the light of the world. We are the lampstands now. And this makes perfect sense. Romans 8:29 tells me that I am being conformed to the image of Christ, which means that I am being made into a lampstand that gives God’s light to the world.
There are a couple of things that I need to notice about this. One, a lampstand does not make itself. The lampstand is made by someone. It is God’s place to shape me and make me what He desires me to be. It is my job to submit to that shaping and allow His work to move forward. Two, the lampstand is made of hammered work. This tells me that the process of becoming a vessel fit to shine God’s light may be painful and unpleasant at times. Three, the lampstand has no light of its own. The lamps and oil are put into the lampstand by someone else. I cannot shine God’s light unless I am first filled with the Holy Spirit (oil) and have the lamps (Truth) placed in me.
Father, thank You for a new understanding of the lampstand. I do not think I ever really stopped to consider it before today. Thank You for what it teaches me about shining Your light through my life. Please continue to work on making me fit to shine and prompt me when I need to get our of Your way so that You can work.