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TABERNACLE : NR 4
THE GOLDEN LAMPSTAND
Scripture: Exodus 25: 31-40; John 8: 12; Matthew 5: 14-16
Just imagine a life without light. No sun, moon, stars, electricity, candles. No life will be possible. Nothing.

At the creation, the Lord first created light before the sun and moon. Genesis 1. Some modern theologians reckon that the account of the Biblical creation is nothing else but nice poetry. Anything except historical facts, because how can there be light without the sun.

Led by the Spirit though, Paul writes in 2 Cor 4:6 that God let the light shine out of darkness – not from the sun. As light is primarily essential for life on earth, the same way God himself is the primary essential light. That is what is actually written into the account of creation. 1 John 1:5: “God is light, in Him, there is no darkness at all”.

That is the next element in the picture-image that the tabernacle draws – as presented in the golden lampstand.

CHRIST is the light who came into the sin-darkened world. In John 8:12 Jesus says: “I AM the light of the world“. Without this light, one lives in darkness – even though you think you are a decent enough human being.

And you deceive yourself because you do not know where you are going. There is no real LIFE possible, in the same way, that there is no life possible on earth without sun and moon.

Think for example about the absolute darkness in which the non-Christian religions find themselves: fear/doubt/blame.

But also church members of many years standing can be caught up in exactly the same darkness. It can be that church members are still wandering about in the desert outside the tabernacle. Only because the Gospel message is too easy and simple, and they just cannot believe that the entrance is 10 meters wide!

But whoever embrace the good news of the Gospel that Jesus is the GATE and that you are reconciled with God at the altar (cross) and is daily cleansed and consecrated at the washbasin, automatically share in the meaning of the lampstand: Life in the light.

Moreover: Such a person becomes a bearer of the light. Matt 5:16: YOU are light. Indeed, light needs to be carried – it needs a candle or a lightbulb. Light cannot float in the air.

At the Golden Lampstand, two images stand out: LIGHT and OIL. Which portrays 3 persons: Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the believer!

The glory of the Tabernacle-studies is that Christ is at the centre! It brings life!

The Tabernacle is a picture image of how the lost person who is standing outside of God, can once more enter and live with Him – become a man/woman-of-God!

The lampstand does not only symbolize the Light (Christ). The lampstand is also a bearer of the light: the church of Christ. The Bible itself says it in Rev 2:1 where the church is compared to a lampstand. The Lord did not appoint His angels as reflectors of His light, but ordinary people of flesh and blood.

Significant that Exodus 25: 31, 36 mentions that the lampstand shall be of one piece. Nothing attached or stuck onto it. One solid entirety. Of solid gold. Six branches extend from the shaft of the lampstand. That one centre shaft of pure gold points toward the Son of God out of whom the churches are the bearers of light. You see: it is only possible out of Christ and out of connectedness with Him.

The wonder is that we do not have to make ourselves connected to Christ. We do not make ourselves connected to Him by our devotion. We can only believe that we are connected to Christ because God the Father included us with Him on the cross.

Therefore we do not have to make the LIGHT either. Christ is the Light. We should however remain in connectedness with Him – by believing in our connectedness with Him (John 15). But it is God himself who holds His light in the world high by His Word and Spirit. And He does it THROUGH the church. Eph 3:10: “Through the church, the manifold wisdom of God becomes known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms”. 1 Tim 3:15: “The church of the living God is the pillar and foundation of the Truth”.

Is this not the main reason why church people often struggle to reflect the light and are so anti-everything? Anti-mission. Anti-witness. Anti-being involved. Aloof and critical. They have perhaps not yet discovered the great secret: Included with the Light-bearer. May believe it. Does not know it. Therefore negative. So unnecessary. A total absence of understanding.

How many church members really know the Truth? If not, how can you be a BEARER of it? We think we know the truth because we know a few basic biblical facts. But FEW people truly KNOW the good news of free grace. Most people think it is about trying to do your best to live as careful as possible and for the rest just to hope for the best – hope that the Lord would not treat you too severely. Often there is no principle-difference between some church members and a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist etc. Think the same about religion: God rewards you for your efforts. “Du ut des” – “I give so You can give”.

That is how we live in ignorance and can not be bearers of the Truth.

To be a light bearer: Firmly forged to the Word/Truth. That is the light of the lampstand = Christ/Word which burns through the oil – the Holy Spirit.

You know, the tabernacle had no windows. The only light the priests had, was the light of the lampstand. Therefore: No natural light is allowed in. Only the olive oil was allowed to produce light. The moment when the priests wanted to live in natural light, they had to leave the tabernacle. But, from the outside, they could not see or experience anything of the splendour and beauty on the inside. From the outside, they could only see the animal hides. All that could reflect the natural (sun)light was the dull grey of the desert sand. Therefore: away from the olive oil-light of the lampstand, means: away from the glory of Christ.

Can you see the very important truth: The true light is Christ, but also the Word because the two are one (John 1:1). All light outside of this light is man-made natural light and can only light up the outside of the tabernacle. In addition, the natural light of human reason can blind one to the true light (Christ and Word). All that remains is to speculate, to guess, to philosophize about the inside of the tabernacle.

Only the priest who walks by the light of the lampstand knows the true beauty of the inside of the sanctuary. That is why 1 Cor 2:14 is so important. By nature, man does not know the things of the Spirit of God. We have two kinds of people: those who can only say: “I suppose so, I think so, I hope so…” (natural light of human understanding) and those who can say “I am sure…” (light of the Spirit through the Word).

What sort of light plays a decisive role in your life? The natural light of your reason, thoughts and ideas – other people’s opinions? Or are you Word-saturated and therefore Christ-saturated? The Spirit leads one by the Scriptures which is taken up into your heart. Beware of false light.

I have already met so many people who have read so many books and is well-read in everything philosophical and have much to say about the Bible and the Christian Faith, but… they seldom read the Bible. Beware of the natural light outside the tabernacle. That light can really not reveal Christ. To reflect only that light to the outside, will not help other people or draw them to the tabernacle.

A few years ago a theologian of the DR Church wrote a book wherein he tried to make the Gospel message acceptable to the modern person’s overbearing critical mind. He reasoned away and rejected everything in the Bible that is unacceptable to human reason. Filed away every sharp edge.

For example the virgin birth of Christ, the existence of the devil, the physical resurrection of Christ etc. In that way, he wants to reconcile the arrogant critical mind of man with the Bible. But in the process he is using natural light – human reason – to put out the light of the lampstand.

At best the world does not need natural human light but of the light of the lampstand! The light is produced by the oil.

TO SUMMARISE:

NUMBER 1 > The LIGHT symbolises Christ (John 9:5 > I am the light of the world – and the Word (Ps 119:105 > Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path). Although Jesus and the Word are ONE. John 1:1 > In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

What are you reflecting on? The spiritual person is Christ-saturated and Word-saturated. There are only two options. EITHER: “I think/suppose…” OR: “I know – because the Bible say so”.

We should guard against the light from OUTSIDE of the tabernacle!

NUMBER 2 > THE OLIVE OIL > The Spirit of the Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me (Is 61:1). God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38). The olive oil symbolises the Holy Spirit. Christ-saturated is Word-saturated is Spirit-saturated.

The lampstand had no inherent light in itself. The light had to come from the oil!

And THAT is the secret of the Christian life exactly. I expect everything from the Spirit.

NUMBER 3 > THE BELIEVER IS THE REFLECTED LIGHT > The entire lampstand is a picture of the congregation/church that reflects Christ through the working of the oil/Spirit. It is not for nothing that the lampstand consists of one shaft and six branches. 7 in total. The number 6 is the number for man. Together = 7 = perfection. Christ is the shaft, and the 6 branches are the church, but they form a unity. “I am the vine, you are the branches“. That is why Jesus can say in Matt 5:14: YOU are the light!

Perhaps our prayer should be that Tafelberg church will be a Word-saturated church and that we would reflect a light lit by the Spirit – even though it runs against the grain of the natural light of King Man’s logic. Then a kind of wisdom and power shall go out from our midst that would draw other people to the Tabernacle (Christ). Which is the light from Above, not from here below.

Translated by Marthie Wilson

Category Tabernacle

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