The Tabernacle - 8
The Menorah - Part 1
by Brad Scott
As we move away from the north side of the Holy Place and the life sustaining bread, we now travel to the south side in which the Menorah stands.
Shemot (Exodus) 25:31-32And thou shalt make a lampstand of pure gold: of beaten work shall the lampstand be made; its shaft, and its branches, its bowls, its knobs, and its flowers, shall be of the same. And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; Three branches of the lampstand out of the one side, and three branches out of the other side.
The word candlestick in the King James English is from the Hebrew word menorah (מנרה). This word is taken from the word nur (נור) or light. The nur or light forms the middle of the word menorah. With the addition of the mem prefix and feminine singular suffix the light now becomes the apparatus from which the light shines, illuminates, or exposes. If you read the text casually you would conclude that this lampstand is formed with six branches, however a closer study reveals a middle shaft called a yarek (ירך). The six branches actually extend from this shaft and all seven branches form the menorah that is one beaten work. This is the meaning behind the supplied phrase "of the same". The word "it" in verse 32 refers back to the shaft. The word yarek is generally translated as thigh, loins, or body (Bere’shiyt (Genesis) 24:2, Shofetiym (Judges) 8:30). The six branches extend out from the shaft and are yet one with the shaft. Is it just a coincidence that believers of the Messiah, whether Jew or Gentile are referred to as branches in Romans 11? Is it just mere happenstance that these branches are all one with the central shaft or tree, and called the body of the Messiah? Even further, is it just the luck of the draw that Yeshua‘ uses this lampstand to refer to His kehillot (assembly, "church") in Hitgalut (Revelation) 1:20?
As we continue to study the tabernacle structure it will become clear that the Most Holy and Holy Places are completely covered in various linens and skins. The inner sanctuaries were dark, very dark. There was no natural light to enter this place. Only the light of the menorah was to illuminate the Holy Place or the place of ministry. Ministry is to be driven by the light of God and not by man's design or desires. The life-sustaining shewbread was to be eaten by God's priests, but that food was to be shared or given to all that hunger for righteousness. The light of the menorah expresses that commission. Our minds are to be illuminated by God's light. His light speaks forth of the contents of the ark of His testimony. It is this light that is to be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Mizemor (Psalm) 119:105). Proverbs 6 sums it up:
Mishlei (Proverbs) 6:23For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light, and the reproofs of instruction are the way of light.
Torah teaches Israel that they were to be His light to the nations.
Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 49:6... I will also give thee for a light to the nations, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
Historically, we know that Israel failed to do this, so Abba prepared a body, Himself, to be that same light to the gentiles. "I, YHVH, have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations...". Yeshua‘, confirming that calling in Yochanan (John) 8:12, claims to be the light of the world. Yeshua‘ then calls those who follow Him, whether Jew or Gentile, to be the light of the world in Mattitiyahu (Matthew) 5:14. According to the idioms and symbols understood and practiced by the writers of the New Testament, the symbol of light spoke of the menorah in the temple. The menorah, according to their thinking, was the illuminating expression of the edut (עדות) or testimony of the ark. This is known as Torah. Remember, Yeshua‘ is the author of all that is written in the Tanakh. To be a light was not simply a quaint, poetic expression to denote a glowing personality. It had a previous firmly established meaning familiar to Yeshua’‘s brethren. For example, the term "sons of light" used by Sha’ul in 1 Thessalonians 5:5 was speaking of the children or inheritors of Torah, the light of God. This would be a good time to go back to our archives and click on lesson 4 of my discussion on the defining of light. Light was Torah and Torah was light, and every physical activity of God's people was to be guided by this. Many times I wonder what most modern Christians think Yochanan (John) means when he says that we are to walk in the light. Are we supposed to conjure up an image of strolling around with a piercing glow about us? Is being a light to mean that I put "Jesus" bumper stickers on my car, or buy only "Christian" music? Am I being a light when I enter church on Sunday or go to Wednesday nite Bible study? Am I being a light to the world by just telling people about Jesus or confronting the cults? Or does the word of God teach us that to be a light is: to proclaim God's ways to a world covered in darkness, and that the answer to all of man's trials is found in His word? To theologically restrict our commission to proclaiming that Yeshua‘ is the Savior of the world, is to provide a lost world with the apparatus of the light, but not the light.
The menorah was never to go out. In Vayiqera (Leviticus) we read,
Vayiqera 24:2-3Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.
The priests obeyed this command because they understood the meaning of the light. It was the word of YHVH that sustained their lives, not to mention the universe. The sages of old, before Yeshua‘’s time, taught that the universe was held together by Torah, and Torah was formed by the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. If Torah failed to be spoken, much less observed, the world would melt away with a fervent heat. Sound familiar? Kefa (Peter) uses this same image to describe the end times in 2 Kefa 3:10. He describes this in conjunction with the "day of the Lord". When you investigate all the verses in the Tanakh concerning the "day of the Lord", you will see most of them describe a time in which all peoples have rejected Torah. This is why ‘Amos describes it as a time of darkness.
‘Amos 5:18Woe unto you that desire the day of YHVH! To what end is it for you? The day of YHVH is darkness, and not light.
The menorah goes out in the tabernacle. Three chapters later ‘Amos will proclaim again,
‘Amos 8:11Behold the days come, saith YHVH ’Elohiym, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of the hearing of the words of YHVH;...
The six branches of the menorah are to be of one beaten work with the shaft or seventh branch. This lampstand was to be the symbol of Israel. However, it was designed to be the symbol of all that claimed to be one with the seventh branch. This is why Yeshua‘ uses this same image in describing the condition of seven of His kehillot (churches) at the time that Yochanan wrote, and a symbol of the kehillot since then. Hitgalut chapter two and three are also an accurate prophetic description of the condition of His branches today. In Hitgalut 2:1-7, there is a description of the k(q)ahal (קהל) (church - singular) at Ephesus, and it begins by mentioning one of the aspects of Yeshua‘’s ministry. "...who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands." Yeshua‘ commends this group first by reminding them of their dedication to forging out imposters, and of their works, and patience. However, He then tells them what He has against them. They have lost their first love, and will not go back to their first works and repent. He says that if they continue He will remove their lampstand from its place. Many times I have been confronted with verses four and five, and asked to defend certain "salvation" doctrines. As it is with much of what the New Testament teaches, this scripture is not teaching whether you can or can not lose your salvation. It is a warning to repent! If you are a child of God then repent! If you are a believer and cleave to a doctrine that states you can do something to remove yourself as a child of God, then Yeshua‘ is telling you to repent. However, if you have been taught that there is nothing you can do to render yourself "unborn again" then God is still telling you to repent!
The light of the menorah pictures the word of God, and the menorah is the bearer of that light. The light of the menorah is to first irradiate the mind with the testimony of God. That tesimony is then to be taken to the nations. Take this symbol of God's instructions for man and bring it into 1 Yochanan:
1 Yochanan 1:5-7This, then, is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Yeshua‘ the Messiah, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
Yochanan goes on to relate sin to darkness, and light to keeping His commandments. If walking in the light is vital to our "Christian" walk, then would it not be imperative to know what walking in the light means?
Yesha’yahu 8:20To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊