I wrote the following on pages 188-194 in Looking Glass, The City God Loves:
Let’s continue on our journey through the heavenly tabernacle. It is exciting to finally enter the holy place! Before we go through Heaven’s door, however, we should first check to see if our hands are clean and our hearts are pure (Psalm 24:3-4).
I would like to look at the one holding the golden censer and bowls on the east side of the city. He could represent the seven angels with the seven plagues. Revelation 15:6 says that the angels "were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests." The one in the picture could also represent the Lord Jesus. The beloved disciple says, "And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest" (1:12-13). He says that the Lord's hair was white as snow (v. 14).
In Stained Glass, The New Jerusalem, I talked about a heavenly harp. As it turns out, this could be the lampstand, also known as a menorah. Since I had a traditional menorah in mind, I didn’t recognize it right away. The Lord told Moses to “make a lampstand of pure gold” (Exodus 25:31). Since gold is the most valuable of metals, it was a perfect gift for the little, yet great King when He was born (Matthew 2:11).
Two men named Bezalel and Oholiab hammered the lampstand out of one piece of gold (Exodus 25:31; 31:1-6). There was a base and a shaft in the middle with three branches on either side (v. 32). It was kind of like a tree with six branches. The trunk of the lampstand counted as the seventh branch. The “harp menorah” pictured above has two larger branches on the bottom, two medium branches in the middle, and two smaller ones on top.
As the priest entered the holy place, the lampstand was on his left; the table with the dishes, as well as the bread of the Presence, was on his right; and the altar of incense was a little further back in the middle. We can see the pattern in the picture below. We have to approach it from an angle. (Begin just above the lower left-hand corner and then move diagonally.)
Even though we can’t see the details of the branches, we know that each one was made like an almond flower (Exodus 25:32-35). And each flower held an oil lamp (v. 37). The almond tree was the first tree to blossom or awaken in the spring. It is symbolic of Jesus since He is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23) and awakened into new life.
The Israelites provided the clearest oil for the lampstand (Exodus 27:20). It was pure oil pressed from olives. I find it interesting that the tree of life could be an olive tree. Just think about all the times the Lord Jesus spent on the Mount of Olives in Scripture. He also ascended into Heaven from this place and will return to it one day.
In Revelation 4:5, the beloved disciple sees seven lamps burning in front of the throne, “which are the seven Spir’-its of God” (KJV). Let’s return to the stump of Jesse for a moment, where we see a Branch that bears fruit (Isaiah 11:1). These are the seven fruitful attributes of the Spirit. The Prophet Isaiah tells us that “(1) the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—(2) the Spirit of wisdom (3) and of understanding, (4) the Spirit of counsel (5) and of might, (6) the Spirit of the knowledge (7) and fear of the Lord…” (v. 2). Each of the seven attributes has a connection to the seven branches of the lampstand.
In Revelation 1:12-13, the beloved disciple says, “I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest."
The seven lampstands represent the seven churches in the following cities: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. (1:20-2:22). Jesus warned the church at Ephesus that they had left their first love (2:4). If they didn’t repent, the Lord told them He would remove their lampstand from its place (v. 5). However, if they were victorious, Jesus said they would have the right to eat from the tree of life (v. 7).
If the lamps on the menorah ran out of oil or stop burning for some reason, they would get rekindled from the fire on the altar of the sacrifice. Since the Lord sent the Holy Spirit to help the church, we receive a continual supply of oil that keeps our spiritual light burning in a dark world (Matthew 5:14; John 15:26). The parable of the ten virgins suddenly comes to mind. When the women went out to meet the bridegroom, five of them took jars of oil for their lamps, while the other five didn’t (Matthew 25:3-4). Since the bridegroom took a long time, all the women got tired and fell asleep (v. 5). Five of them, of course, didn’t have enough oil, so they went to buy some more. While they were away, they missed the bridegroom’s arrival (v. 10). A bride, of course, generally enjoys preparing for her wedding day. How much more should we prepare for the return of our Beloved and for the wedding of the Lamb? The church at Ephesus had lost its first love. I pray we continue to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). May we receive the victory when it comes to our love for Him. We need not worry that our lamp will run out of oil.
Copyright © 2016 Heidi Rabe