Tag Archives: light of the world

Reflections of His Light

This is the eighth article of our Living Tabernacles series, where we study the Tabernacle in depth. It is exciting to see how each element symbolizes some characteristic of Yeshua.  It is also challenging when we examine what each element means for us, since each of us is now a living tabernacle of YHVH [Yehovah].  We are posting two articles each month as part of this series. YHVH is building His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.  A king reigns from his throne and also pronounces judgment from there. 

This article focuses on the significance of the lampstand [Menorah] that YHVH instructed His people to build and place in the Holy Place, along with the Table of Showbread and the Altar of Incense.  In Exodus 25:31-32, YHVH said to the Israelites: “You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece.  And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side”.

The seven-branched Menorah held individual lamps that represented God’s perfect light. The lamps contained pure olive oil inside almond-shaped containers, suggesting the seven eyes of YHVH mentioned in Zechariah 4:2.  The Menorah and its seven lamps were referred to as the Perpetual Lamp (ner tamid), a source of light that illuminated the Bread of Presence and the Altar of Incense within the holy place. The lamp was to be attended to every morning and evening during the time of the burning of the sweet incense (symbolizing prayer), and was never to be extinguished (Lev 24:2).  The priests obeyed this command because they understood that light represented the word of YHVH (Ps 119:105, 150). It was the word of YHVH that sustained their lives and all that YHVH created.

A close look at the Menorah reveals a middle shaft, with the six branches extending out from this shaft.  The seven branches were a single beaten piece of gold.  The Hebrew word for this shaft is generally translated as thigh, loins, or body. The six branches extend out from the central shaft, but yet they are one with the shaft.  Note that in Romans 11, believers in Messiah Yeshua, whether Jew or non-Jew, are referred to as branches.   Even more significantly, note that these branches are said to all be one with the olive tree, which is referred to as the Body of Messiah.  Yeshua uses the lampstand to refer to His kehillat (assembly or “church”) in Revelation 1:20.

From ancient writings, the center candle was said to be the only one that always stayed lit.  After the Temple was destroyed and thus all Temple sacrifices were stopped in AD 70, the center candle of the Menorah no longer stayed lit from morning until evening, but had to be re-lit in the evening.  The six outside lamps all faced towards the center lamp, which was called the Servant lamp [Shamash].  This served to focus the light towards the center of the Menorah, making the Shamash candle even brighter.  Let’s look at a couple of the Scriptures that focus on Yeshua as the true Light of the world:

  • John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
  • John 12:46: “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

Yeshua is the Light of the World.  The Menorah was hammered from one solid piece in order to support the six branches, just as Yeshua’s arms and legs were hammered for our sins.  In John 15:5 Yeshua says that He is the Vine and we are the branches.  The branches were also hammered, warning us of our own persecution.  We are now living as “children of light” (Ephesians 5:8) who draw our source of light from Yeshua, the one true Light.  Just as the other six lamps of the Menorah face towards the Servant [Shamash] lamp in the center, we as His followers are to keep our focus on Yeshua and magnifying His light throughout the Kingdom.

Revelation 2-3 accurately describes the condition of His branches today. In Revelation 2:1-7, there is a description of the church 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 by reminding them of their dedication to removing imposters, of their good works, and their 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.  Our love and passion for Yeshua must remain strong.

The Menorah was made of pure gold (not gold plated) and had seven branches. Pure gold is a representation of the deity and perfection of Yeshua.  Seven is the number of completeness in the Bible. The believer is made complete by the perfection of Messiah.

The Most Holy and Holy Places are completely covered in various linens and skins, which means that these inner sanctuaries were very dark.  Only the light of the Menorah was to illuminate the Holy Place, or the place of ministry.  This tells us that ministry (worship) is to be driven by the light of YHVH and not by people’s plans or desires.  Our minds are to be illuminated by God’s light. His light shines forth from His Word (Torah). It is this light that is to be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105).  Are we reflecting Yeshua’s light in this dark world?

[Author’s note: we have tried to cover the main aspects of the Menorah as they relate to Yeshua and our own spiritual light, but there is so much more to cover that we might someday consider “branching out” to a deeper study (pun intended )]

Yehovah is Light

light shining out of darkness We must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:4-5

I John 1:5 says that God is light, but what does that really mean and why is it important to us? It seems significant that immediately after God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth, He saw that “The earth was without form and void; and darkness was over the face of the deep”. (Gen 1:2)  It is clear that He was not pleased with the darkness, because He then said “Let there be light”, and when He saw the light, He declared that it was good (Gen 1:4). But He didn’t stop there – He was still not totally satisfied, because He then separated the light from the darkness.

At a physical level, we have a very consistent theme here – God is light and is the source of all light. There is a related theme that is just as important though – God cannot dwell in the presence of darkness, so He must separate His light from all darkness. I quoted the first part of I John 1:5 above, but I left out the last part – after John says that God is light, he goes on to say “in Him there is no darkness at all”. Throughout the Scriptures, darkness is associated with people’s sinful hearts (John 3:19), or the evil one and his Kingdom of darkness (Col 1:13).

In the same way that YHVH separated the light from the darkness in His creation, he wants to separate us from the darkness of this world. In Isaiah 52:11, YHVH says: “Depart, depart, go out from there; touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves..”. He is telling His people to come out of the darkness and impurity of the world and to cleanse their hearts of worldly impurities. Sha’ul tells us to live in the light: “You are all children of light and of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness”. (I Thess 5:5) Peter [Keifa] says that as followers of Yeshua we are: “…a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that we may proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light”. (I Pet 2:9)

From all that we have studied about the deeper (sod) spiritual meaning of YHVH’s Scriptures, everything that YHVH does has a purpose and usually teaches us some type of lesson. So let’s dig a little deeper here. We started at the front of the book with God “turning on the lights” in the beginning, and also heard John make the statement that God is light. Now let’s go to the back of the book. In Revelation 21:23, Yeshua tells John that in the end there will no longer be any need for the sun and moon because the glory of God will illuminate the city of New Jerusalem, and the Lamb [Yeshua] will be its light. When we look at the ancient Hebrew word pictures associated with the three letters in the word for light (ohr in Hebrew), we see a deeper meaning emerge: “the first Man [Yeshua the living Word] was there in the beginning when light was created”. So, we see that Yeshua was the source of light in the beginning, and He will be the source of Light again when He comes to reign on the new Earth.

Yeshua told us clearly that He is the Light of the world and we are to follow Him:

  • John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
  • John 12:46: “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”
  • Acts 26:17: Yeshua encountered Sha’ul on the road and told him to be a light to the lost: “… to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God…”.

Sha’ul encourages us to walk in the light of Yeshua: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”. (Eph 5:8) In Yeshua’s well-known teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, He says: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven”. (Matt 5:14-16) At first glance, it sounds like He wants us to be out there in the world drawing attention to ourselves as we do good works. But look at the punchline at the end. What is the purpose of doing good works? So that we can “Glorify our Father in Heaven”. We are not to draw attention to ourselves through our wonderful deeds, but to Abba Father! We need to be constantly pointing to Him when people ask us why we are doing what we do, acting humbly and selflessly but boldly giving Him the glory.