Then you are to make a lampstand of pure, hammered gold. It shall be made of one piece, including its base and shaft, its cups, and its buds and petals.
A candlestick of pure gold.I. THIS LIGHT SHINES BECAUSE IT IS LIGHT, WITHOUT EFFORT, SPONTANEOUSLY. If the lamp is kindled it will shine; and so this emblem has its beautiful felicity in that it points, as the highest definition of all Christian men, to the effortless, spontaneous irradiation and streaming out from themselves of the fire that lies within them. Like a light in an alabaster vase, that shines through its transparency and reveals the lovely veining of the stone, so the grace of God in a man's heart will shine through him, turning even the opacity of his earthly nature into a medium for veiling perhaps, but also in another aspect for making visible the light that is in him.
II. THE LIGHT WAS DERIVED LIGHT; AND IT WAS FED. We have a priest who walks in His temple and trims the lamps. The condition of the light is keeping close to Christ, and it is because there is such a gap between you and Him that there is so little brightness in you. The candlestick was really a lamp fed by oil; that symbol, as Zechariah tells us, stands for the Divine influence of God's quickening Spirit.
III. THE LIGHT WAS CLUSTERED LIGHT. The seven-branched candlestick represented the rigid, formal unity of the Jewish Church. In the New Testament we have the seven candlesticks diverse, but made one because Jesus Christ is in the midst of them. In this slight diversity of emblem we get the whole difference between the hard external unity of the ancient Jewish polity and the free variety in unity and diversity of the Christian Church, with its individual development as well as with its binding association.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
The Study.Look at the text as typical of Christ and His Church.
I. PERFECTION OF LIGHT. He was "the true Light," etc. (John 1:9). He came to shed light on every important subject; to let us know —
1. What God is, "in the face of Jesus Christ." To let us know —
2. What man is — in his sin, his spiritual relations, his wants, his destiny, etc. To let us know —
3. The future — to bring to light life and immortality.
II. PERFECTION OF UNION. Branches united to one stem, and both of same material.
1. If these branches represent the Church of Christ, the central shaft may well be regarded as representing Christ Himself. From Christ the Church springs, and by Him it is supported, as the outspreading arms of the candlestick are by its central shaft. The Church is united to Him, and sustained by Him.
2. Notice next the branches of the candlestick. These sprang from the central shaft, and were of the same material with each other, and with it. So it is with Christ and His people. "He who sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified are all of one."
3. Notice next the ornaments upon the candlestick.(1) There were "bowls like almonds" wrought upon it. In these the branches terminated, forming appropriate receptacles for the lamps of the candlestick. The almond, being the first tree to bud in the spring, was a fit type of Him who is "the First-born from the dead."(2) The next ornament was the knops. These may have been swelling buds, from which the branches of the candlestick sprang, expressing the idea that these spreading arms owed both their existence and fruitfulness to the parent stem.(3) The other ornaments were the flowers. Natural emblems of beauty, representing spiritual loveliness of Christ's people.Lessons:
1. The necessity of a Divine revelation. Without the light of the candlestick, darkness, the most profound, must have filled the Tabernacle. And just such would have been our condition, spiritually considered, without the light of Divine revelation. Reason, the natural sun in the mental world, can shed no light upon the soul's concerns. There is no window in the soul through which the light of this natural luminary can shine. The priest in the sanctuary could only see his way and discharge his duties by the help of light from the candlestick, and this was light from heaven, a Divine revelation. And it is only by the aid of such a revelation that we can see our way in reference to spiritual things.
2. The benefits of such a revelation. We perceive this the moment we look around us, in the holy place, and observe what the light of the candlestick discloses to our view. See, over against it stands the golden table with its shewbread. The candlestick, with its heavenly light, enabled the priest, as he entered the holy place, to see where to find this bread. He could not have seen it without this light. And so it is only the light of Divine revelation which reveals Christ, the heavenly bread, to souls that are hungering and perishing for the want of it.
3. The perfection of this revelation. Seven lamps.
(R. Newton, D. D.)
1. Have I seriously and deliberately sought the illumination of my understanding in the things of God from above? I read, "If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God" (Proverbs 2:3-5). Do I thus cry and lift up my voice in supplication for heavenly wisdom? And is God's Law really better to me than thousands of gold or silver? The blessing is annexed to the precept; can I expect the one without a compliance with the other?
2. Am I walking in the light and comfort of the Holy Ghost? As both a Teacher and a Comforter is the Spirit given. Does He lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:24), and cheer me with tokens of good (Psalm 86:17)?
3. Do I realize the constant inspection of the Son of Man amidst the congregations of His people? He walks among the golden candlesticks. Is the preacher free from all unbecoming fear of his fellow-mortals on the one hand, and is there no lurking latent aiming after worldly popularity on the other? Does the hearer listen as for life, cultivating a child-like spirit before the Lord, and cherishing no needless or refined fastidiousness about voice or manner in the teacher?
(W. Mudge.)Psalm 19:10). We are not curiously here to seek the difference of the knops, branches, and flowers, but only to rest in the general — that the candlestick signified the Word. The candlestick had seven branches; it signified the divers gifts bestowed upon His Church by the Word, and John alludeth to the seven branches of this candlestick: "And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like the Son of Man clothed with a garment" (Revelation 1:13). This was but typus arbitrarius, or an allusion; for the golden candlestick was not made to be a type of the seven Churches of Asia, but it is only an allusion to it. So "the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life" (Proverbs 11:30), here is an allusion only, that it is like to the tree of life. The oil which was in this candlestick was pure oil. "Command the children of Israel that they bring unto thee pure oil olive, beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually" (Leviticus 24:2). This pure oil is called golden oil, or gold for the purity of it, because the oil was bright, clear, and glistering, like gold (Zechariah 4:12). So "Gold cometh out of the north" (Job 37:22);that is, fair and clear weather. It was beaten oil, to signify with what pain and travail the Word is prepared, and with patience preached and made to shine in His Church. The Lord commanded to make snuffers of pure gold for the snuffing of the lamps, and snuff-dishes to receive the snuff. He would have the snuff taken from the light, to signify that He would have the Word kept in sincerity and purity; and He would have the snuffers of gold, to teach them to be blameless and holy who are censurers and correctors of others; and He would have the snuff-dishes of gold, to teach them that the covering of the offences of their brethren was a most excellent thing. Lastly, in what manner the priests dressed the lamps. When the lamp was out he lighted it, and when it was not out he dressed it. When the middlemost lamp was out he lighted it from the altar; but the rest of the lamps every one he lighted from the lamp that was next; and he lighted one after another, to signify that one Scripture giveth light to another; and they say in the Talmud that the cleansing of the innermost altar was before the trimming of the five lamps; and the trimming of the five lamps before the blood of the daily sacrifice; and the blood of the daily sacrifice before the trimming of the two lamps; and the trimming of the two lamps before the burning of incense. That the priests should order and trim the lamps signifieth how Christ and His ministers should continually look unto the purity of doctrine and preaching of the light of the gospel from evening to morning in the dark place of this world, "until the day dawn, and the day star arise in our hearts" (Revelation 1:13; 2 Peter 1:19).
(John Weemes.)I. IT WAS THE ONLY THING THAT HELD THE LIGHT WHICH ENLIGHTENED THE SANCTUARY! From Christ all the light of grace comes for the benefit of His Church.
II. IT HAD SEVEN LAMPS (ver. 37), to signify that perfection of light that is in Christ.
III. IT WAS PLACED IN THE SANCTUARY. So is Christ as a glorious light placed in His Church.
IV. It had an upright stem, which bore the many branches issuing from it.
V. THE BRANCHES WERE ADORNED WITH BOWLS, KNOBS, FLOWERS, etc. So are Christ's ministers adorned with many graces.
VI. AARON DRESSED THOSE LAMPS AND RENEWED THEIR OIL DAILY. So our High Priest is the only enlightener of His faithful ministers.
VII. THE CANDLESTICK HAD SNUFFERS AND SNUFF-DISHES OF PURE GOLD; which might figure forth the good and godly discipline of the Church whereby evil persons who hinder its glory are taken away.
(E. E. Atwater.)
(E. E. Atwater.)
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)Hebrews 2:10). And the people of God have to be bruised (Philippians 3:10). It was the duty of the high priest to trim the lamps twice every day, when he came with his golden snuffers and removed any dead material which hindered the light from shining. So Christ, our High Priest, walks among His golden candlesticks, and He has often to apply the snuffers, and to cut off something which hinders the lamp from sending forth its light as it did in times past. When the high priest came with his snuffers he brought the oil-vessel at the same time; so when Christ removes a something which we love, but which hinders us from giving forth that light which ought to shine out from us, He gives us more of the oil of the Holy Spirit's power and grace, so that our afflictions may really make us brighter and better Christians. We read about snuffers and snuff-dishes in connection with the candlestick, but not a word is said about an extinguisher. No extinguisher was needed, because the light was never to go out. Our High Priest never comes to us to put out our light; He would have it burn on all the time we remain in the wilderness. Let the Christian remember this, and never mistake the snuffers for the extinguisher. As the candlestick faced the table of shewbread, and so enabled the priests to find their food, it may represent the light of the Holy Ghost which shines on Christ, the true bread. The table is prepared, the food is there, but without the light of the Spirit we shall never find it. We should thank God as much for the Spirit as for the Son, for one will be of no use to us without the other.
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