The Golden Lampstand

Exodus 25:31-32,37 And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.
32 And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side:
37 And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.

This is the golden lampstand that was situated in the Holy Place of the tabernacle. It was made up of seven lamps on one lampstand. Three lamps branched out from one side and three on the other. The center lamp, which we will discuss later, was a little taller than the six branches. First, we want to determine the meaning of the lampstand. The King James Bible calls it a candlestick; lampstand is the correct terminology. A candlestick is consumed as it burns, but it is not so with the lamp. The lamp continues to burn as long as the oil is supplied. We will see the significance of this later on.

In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, we are told that Jesus Christ is the “true light, which lights every man that comes into the world” (John 1:9). Then in Matthew 5:14, Jesus tells His disciples that they are “the light of the world.” The Book of Revelation gives further insight concerning the lampstand with its seven lamps.

Revelation 1:10,12-13,20; 2:1 I (John) was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man…
20 …the seven candlesticks which thou saw are the seven churches.
2:1 …these things saith He…who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.

Verse 20 plainly tells us that the seven candlesticks (lampstand of seven lamps) are the seven churches. To properly understand this there are a few things we must know. Seven is a number of completeness. For example, seven days complete one week. The eighth day begins a new week; so eight is a number of new order. A week comprises six working days and the seventh day is a day of rest, which also speaks of God’s workings with His people until He completes it by bringing them to the sabbath rest of His Kingdom. So the term “seven churches” speaks not of seven churches only, but the entire Church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

We should also understand that the “seven churches,” or seven lamps, do not represent the entire church-world, as we know it. The reason being that the entire church-world is not under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. When John turned to see the voice that spoke to him, he saw the seven candlesticks, and the Son of man was in their midst. Revelation 2:1 says that Jesus walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. So the lampstand speaks of the Body of Christ, the Church through which Jesus is actively moving and ministering.

When the Scriptures speak of the Church, they are speaking of the Body of Christ. We cannot say that the entire church-world is the Body of Christ, because the entire church-world is not under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Neither is the Lord actively moving in their midst. The Body of Christ is only that part of the church-world that is under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This tells us two things, in particular. The Body of Christ is a body of people through whom the Lord Jesus Christ is actively functioning. He is the Head of the Body; therefore, it is under His direction and leadership. Secondly, the Body of Christ is only a portion of the church-world. Henceforth, when we speak of the Church we are speaking of the Body of Christ. Otherwise, we will use the term “church-world.”

Whenever we see the number seven connected with the Church, it also involves the Lord Jesus Christ, for the Body is not complete without the Head, nor the Head without the Body. The lampstand, you remember, had six branches, and the center lamp was taller than the branches. Six is the number of man. So the seventh lamp in the center, which is the tallest, represents the Lord Jesus.

The oil, of course, represents the Holy Spirit’s anointing. The Holy Spirit causes the fire to rest upon the Church, that the presence of the Lord may emanate from it.

Gold is a type of the divine nature of the Lord. So the lampstand, being made of pure gold, tells us that the Church takes on the nature of the Lord. And the fact that it is made of pure gold of “beaten work” tells us that the saints making up the lampstand have experienced the work of the cross. And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold of beaten work (Exodus 25:31). The “beaten work” process we go through is the only route to His holiness. For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth…that we might be partakers of His holiness (Hebrews 12:6,10). Obviously, it is only those who have the revelation that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18), who not only submit to the work of the cross, but aggressively appropriate it that they might obtain to the greater glory. They are filled with His nature because they “hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). And they are the pure gold lampstand of “beaten work.”

Job knew what was happening when he went through the “beaten work” process, for he said, “When He hath tried me I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). Those who have become members of the Body of Christ have submitted to the refining fires of the Lord. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Malachi 3:2-3.

So the lampstand, the Church, is made up of “beaten work.” When we see how the Body of Christ is created, then it becomes obvious why it is not comprised of all that calls itself Christian.

Leviticus 24:1-4 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.
3 Without the vail of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the Lord continually: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations.
4 He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the Lord continually.

The people were commanded to bring oil from beaten olives for the lamps. Pure oil could only be obtained by thoroughly beating the olives, leaving no residue of the olive itself to contaminate it. This speaks the same as the gold of beaten work. The more thoroughly the self-life has been crushed and beaten the greater the anointing, and the brighter the light of Christ will shine through us.

Then the Lord said, “Aaron shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the Lord continually.” Aaron was the high priest, so he typifies our High Priest the Lord Jesus Christ. This is obviously speaking of the Lordship of Jesus over the Body of Christ.

We see, then, that in order for the Church to become what God wants it to be, it must be under the Lordship of Jesus. He “must order the lamps.” Secondly, the Church must be endued with the divine nature of the Lord; it must be made of pure gold. And in order to accomplish this, it is made of gold of “beaten work.” The Church must experience the work of the cross. Thirdly, there must be the anointing of the Holy Spirit, typified by the pure olive oil that causes the lamps to burn. And, again, the olives are beaten thoroughly to extract the pure oil.

There is one more ingredient we want to discuss, which is really the basis for everything the Lord wants to do with His Church. Without this ingredient none of the others are possible. The Lord told Moses to “command the children of Israel, that they may bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.” It is significant that the worshipers are the ones to supply the oil for the lamps.

I suppose it might seem strange that the anointing oil is supplied in this way, but there are confirming scriptures. The prophet Zechariah saw the same thing in a vision. The angel said to me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold (the golden lampstand representing the Church), with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, which are upon the top thereof: and two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. Zechariah 4:2-3.

In the vision Zechariah sees the lampstand being supplied with oil by the two olive trees. Then Zechariah asked the angel, “What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side?” (verse 11). And the angel answered, “These are the two anointed ones (literally, “sons of fresh oil”), that stand by the Lord of the whole earth” (verse 14). The anointed ones who empty the golden oil out of themselves into the lamps are the “sons of fresh oil.” They are worshipers! They “stand by the Lord” in worship of Him.

Then in the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25, the foolish virgins ask the wise virgins to give them some of their oil. Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out (verse 8). And the wise virgins answered: Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell and buy for yourselves (verse 9). Again, we see those that can supply the oil of the Spirit.

Worship is the most important function of the Church. Worship is what makes us pliable so the Lord can mold us into what He wants us to be. It is in the worship that the Lord can fill us with His Spirit. Worship not only activates the Lord’s ministry to and through His Church, but it also activates the judgments of God in the earth. Notice that it is the worship in Revelation chapter five that precedes the opening of the seals in the sixth chapter.

John 4:23-24 The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

If we can understand how important true worship is, then we can understand why the Father is seeking worshipers. It is the one thing the church-world is lacking most. Christians are not being taught how to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth.

Where are the people that are willing to love the Lord with all their heart and to “follow the Lamb whithersoever He goes”? (Revelation 14:4). Where are the ones that endure the cross, despising the shame, but embracing it because of the joy that is set before them? (Hebrews 12:2). Do you want to be a part of the Church typified by the golden lampstand in the tabernacle? Then set your heart to be a worshiper, learn to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth.

Copyright © 1999 by Henry DuBose

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