Matthew 5:16, "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heaven." Or, it may refer to the words of Jesus in Luke 11:33, where he said, "No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putted it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light." Or, it may be based on Matthew 5:14–15, where Jesus said, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; nor does it give light unto all that are in the house God is the illuminating light in the minds of His people. That leads us to His Holy Spirit who brings light to every situation and circumstance in our lives. He is the one that directs us in this light that we also may be the lights of this world. That demonstrates God will for all of mankind. Can a light be put under a bed and yet it will still radiate and illuminate what is in this little light of ours. It is then God allows us to shine because of His Spirit that lives in us must shine that others may see the God that is in the lights of this world. Everything in that sacred room foreshadowed the glory and the beauty of Him who was to come. AS THE priests entered the Holy Place of the Jewish tabernacle, they beheld three beautiful articles of furniture, all lighted by the golden candlestick. Indeed, there was no other source of light in this sacred dwelling place of God “in the midst” of His people, Israel. There was no window in the sanctuary, for all natural light was excluded. But as the seven lamps of the golden candlestick burned, at the left of the priest as he entered the door, they shone not only upon this beautiful article of pure gold, but also upon the golden-covered table of showbread just opposite the candlestick on the north, and upon the golden-covered altar of incense in front of the door and before the veil which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. In this light shows the beauty of Jesus Christ who is the light of the world. This may be one of the first verses you learned in Sunday school. No doubt you sang the song: This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine. Jesus said that we (His disciples) are the light of the world. We must not hide that light under a bushel or in a church building. We must let it shine. How will people see that light? Through our good works. What does Jesus mean by light? Jesus also calls Himself "the light of the world." John calls Him "the life that is the light of men," "the light that shines in the darkness" (John 1:4-5). The light in us is His light, the indwelling Christ, the Holy Spirit within us. The apostle Paul speaks of "the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:4). We have that light shining through our lives if our actions reflect the nature of Christ—His love, compassion, and forgiveness. His light shines through our attitudes, words, and deeds. When people see that our lives have been changed so that we have Jesus' values and see the power of God at work in us, they will agree that we do have a great Savior. When they see redeemed people, they are more inclined to believe that we have a Redeemer. The Christ like life is the platform on which individual testimony becomes convincing.
As the three pieces of furniture in the Holy Place represent the light in Jesus as well as men. Given their positions by the Lord Himself the Father Son and Holy Spirit are the important links to light leading to the cross. It is outlined by the God-given arrangement of the six articles which made the furniture of this tent of the congregation; then their typical significance becomes overwhelming proof that they foreshadowed “The Glories of Christ as Seen in the Jewish Tabernacle. “Not only did the light from the golden candlestick reveal the beauty of this seven branched Lampstand and that of the table and the altar; but it also cast its rays upon the beautiful gold covered boards which formed the walls, and upon the hangings and curtains of fine twined linen embroidered with cherubim of blue, purple, and scarlet.
We hardly need to repeat here the symbolism of these precious things; but let us try to imagine for a moment the impression they must have made upon the minds and hearts of the priests as they entered this holy place to minister before the Lord- The gold was symbolic of His eternal deity; The golden lampstand was the only source of light in the holy place. Its primary purpose was to give light in front of it. It was to shine on the table of shewbread and never to be put out. It was never to stop shining. This was a constant reminder that God was with His people. The Bible says that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. When the apostle John said, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it," he was referring to Jesus coming into the world. Jesus made the world and created life and came to bring Gods life to fallen man but since man is in darkness apart from Jesus they could not comprehend the light that comes with the life of God. The golden lampstand illuminated the shewbread and so God illuminates His people. The Spirit of God illuminates the dark mind of man to the knowledge of God and to spiritual life. John went on to say, "That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Man is blind apart from Jesus. Man cannot know God apart from Jesus. Even if God were to come Himself to His very home, man is incapable of perceiving any spiritual light because the darkness has made him blind. The golden lampstand speaks of Jesus as the light of the world. John 9:5 "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. The fine white linen, of His righteousness; Revelation 19:8 "The fine linen is the righteousness of saints" or "the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints"? What is your righteousness before a holy and just God? Is it your own righteous acts or the imputed righteousness of our precious Lord Jesus Christ? The imputed righteousness of Christ is illustrated and clearly taught throughout the King James Bible of 1611. In the beginning, after Adam and Eve had sinned and hid themselves from God because they were naked, we are told in Genesis 3:21: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skin, and clothed them.” An innocent animal was slain, and its coat was made a covering for the naked, guilty pair. God has to cover us; we cannot cover ourselves acceptably before Him. Isaiah 61:10 beautifully expresses this truth: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bride adorned herself with her jewels. The blue, of His heavenly character; 'Blue' (Heaven) Woven into or embroidered on the linen were blue, purple, and scarlet threads. The Hebrew word for blue means shellfish. A brilliant dye was excreted from this mollusk. This bright color is always mentioned first. Man needed something to suggest the idea of heaven as a place from which God reveals Himself more fully than on earth. Therefore the color blue represents heaven, the color of the sky. Blue was always mentioned throughout the tabernacle to remind man that his destination is heaven and because of our Redeemer we are destined to be in God's Presence. Blue speaks of that which comes down from above ("from above" is a Jewish idiom for heaven). Remember when the woman touched the blue hem of Jesus' garment? We see the loveliness of the blue in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ who was not only heavenly in His origin but in His very nature and ways. "He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. The purple, of His royalty; the scarlet, of His sacrifice there is a very strong correlation between the subject of royalty and the color purple in the scriptures. The word, royal, means that which belongs or pertains to a king. The children of a king are said to be his royal seed. The clothing of a king are his royal apparel. The cities of the king are referred to as royal cities. Thus, all the possessions of a king are royal possessions. Purple is a mixture of blue and red. Blue is associated with law or commandment and red is associated with war, blood, and judgment. Our King, Jesus Christ, kept the law (blue) to a jot and a tittle and then conquered sin, Satan, death, hell, and the grave through shedding his blood upon the cross of Calvary and satisfying the judgment of God upon the imputed sins of his elect people. The inscription above the head of Jesus on the cross read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." He was and is indeed the King of the Kingdom of heaven.
The color, purple, is found in many things pertaining to the tabernacle and temple. Often it is used in combination with other colors such as blue, red, gold, and white. The following items in the tabernacle and the clothing of the high priest contain such combinations including purple: curtain of the tabernacle, veil of the tabernacle, hanging for the door of the tent, hanging for the gate of the court, the ephod of the high priest, the curious girdle of the high priest, the breastplate of the high priest, the hem of the priests robe. The color, purple is also the color of the covering of the brazen altar. The combination colors will be dealt with in another section of this study on colors. The soldiers who crucified Jesus dressed him in raiment of purple before his crucifixion and mocked him: - The candlestick typified Him as “The True Light,” “The Light and Life of Men.” The table of shewbread suggested that He was “The Bread of Life.” The table of showbread was a small table made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. It measured 3 feet by 1.5 feet and was 2 feet, 3 inches high. It stood on the right side of the Holy Place across from the lampstand and held 12 loaves of bread, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The priests baked the bread with fine flour and it remained on the table before the Lord for a week; every Sabbath day the priests would remove it and eat it in the Holy Place, then put fresh bread on the table. Only priests could eat the bread, and it could only be eaten in the Holy Place, because it was holy. “Shewbread” also was called “bread of the presence” because it was to be always in the Lord’s presence. The table and the bread were a picture of God’s willingness to fellowship and communion (literally speaking, sharing something in common) with man. It was like an invitation to share a meal, an extension of friendship. Eating together often is an act of fellowship. God was willing for man to enter into His presence to fellowship with Him, and this invitation was always open. Jesus exemplified this when He ate with tax collectors, prostitutes and the sinners of Jewish society. But this was more than just a gesture of friendship on earth. Jesus came to call sinners to Him, make them right with God, so that they could enjoy everlasting fellowship with God.“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. … Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.” (John 6:35, 49-50)The incense was a symbol of the prayers and intercession of the people going up to God as a sweet fragrance. God wanted His dwelling to be a place where people could approach Him and pray to Him. “…for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isaiah 56:7) The picture of prayers wafting up to heaven like incense is captured in David’s psalm and also in John’s vision in Revelations: “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” (Psalm 141:2) The golden altar, furthermore, is a representation of Christ, who is our intercessor before God the Father. During His days on earth, Jesus prayed for the believers. He was like the high priest of the tabernacle, who bore the names of each of the Israelite tribes on his breastplate before God. Just before He was betrayed and sentenced to death, Jesus interceded for His disciples and all believers, asking God to guard them from evil and sanctify them by His Word, and that they may see God’s glory and be a witness to the world (John 17:1-26). Today, Jesus still is our high priest at the Father’s side, interceding for God’s people: “Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34) Since we have been forgiven of our sins through the blood of Christ, we also come boldly in prayer in Jesus’ name. When we pray in Jesus’ name, we are praying based on the work He has done and not on our own merit. It is in His powerful name that we are saved and baptized, and in His name we live, speak and act. “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14) And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:15-16)Above the priests and upon the door and veil were the outstretched wings of the cherubim, reminding Aaron and his sons of the majesty and power of the God who sends His angels to execute His holy will. There was nothing in the Holy Place to mar its beauty. Everything spoke of the glories of the promised Messiah and Savior of the world, and of His relationship to His own. It was a high privilege which the priests enjoyed, for no one else could enter there. It is a glorious privilege which born again souls enjoy now and will enjoy throughout eternity; for “none but his loved ones” can know His beauty, His glory, and His grace! We must enter now by faith into heaven itself by the way of His cross, if we would behold His matchless Person and know the power of His ministry for His own. And this we would do today, in the reading of His Word, as it is applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,” praising God for His “great salvation.” Human reason is but as a natural light; it does not reflect His glory. We must walk in the light of the golden candlestick, as it were, if we would know the Lord. But we who have been born again are believer-priests; we may walk in the light that shines from Jesus, “The Light of the World.” Would to God apostate Christendom would go to the cross and be saved! THE GOLDEN CANDLESTICK a TYPE OF CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH these seven candlesticks are a symbol of the church in her ideal existence and relation to her Lord, as a light shining to the glory of God in Christ. They represent the church in perfect holiness and righteousness, as she is in the counsel of God, and as she once shall be when the Lord shall present her as His perfected and glorified bride, without spot or blemish. The symbolism reminds us, of course, of the seven armed candlestick, or lamp, which once stood in the holy place of the temple in Jerusalem. In that sanctuary there were the altar of incense, the table of shewbread, and the golden candlestick. The last-mentioned piece of temple furniture consisted of a perpendicular shaft from each side of which three arms branched out, so curving that their tops were level with that of the central shaft. The lamps had to be kept burning continuously, and they symbolized the truth that Israel was the light of God shining in the darkness of the world to the glory of Jehovah their God. In our vision the seven candlesticks represent not Israel of the old dispensation, but the church of all ages in her ideal perfection. They convey the truth that the church is a light, even as God is a light and there is no darkness in Him. She is a light, not of herself, but, as is clearly indicated by the fact that Christ stands, or walks, in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, only through her fellowship with Christ in the Spirit. The Lord is her light, and apart from Christ she is in darkness and lies in the midst of death. We may notice, however, that there are two points of difference between the candlestick as it stood in the temple and the seven candlesticks as they appear in this vision. First of all, it may be observed that the former consisted of one lamp whose arms all stood in a straight line, while in our vision the seven candlesticks evidently stand in a circle around the Savior: for we read that Christ stood in the midst of them, and in the first verse of the next chapter we even read that He "walked in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks." This distinction is in harmony with the difference between the church of the old dispensation and the church in her ideal perfection, or as she is already being realized in the new dispensation. In Israel the church was confined to a single nation: the covenant line ran in the generations of Abraham according to the flesh. But the church is gathered from every nation and tongue and tribe. And already this is being realized, for the church is gathered from Jew and Gentile both. And, secondly, we may notice that the candlestick in the temple was one piece of furniture, so that there was a material and visible connection between the seven shafts, while in our vision there are seven separate lamps without any visible connection. The significance of this is plain. Among Israel the church was united by the physical bond of the nation and the theocracy; but the true and eternal connection between the church and her Lord and between believers mutually is a purely spiritual one. It is in the Spirit and through faith that we are connected as one church with Christ our Head in the communion of saints. That these candlesticks are golden denotes the perfection and purity, the incorruptibleness and the preciousness of the church of Christ, which He has purchased with His own precious blood. The church is more precious than the finest gold. She is pure and holy and more glorious than the noblest of metals. And she is incorruptible and imperishable because of her union with her Lord, the Son of God in the flesh, who died and was raised and lives forevermore: death hath no more dominion over Him! The Seven Churches And thus, finally, we come to consider the church as she is represented by the seven churches of Asia. That there is an essential connection between these and the seven candlesticks is evident from the number seven. Repeatedly this number occurs. There are seven churches to which John must write; there are seven candlesticks in the midst of which the Lord appears; there are seven stars in the right hand of the Savior; and, as we have seen before, there are also seven Spirits before the throne of God, seven lamps of fire burning before that throne, seven eyes of the Lamb, (4:5; 5:6). Seven denotes a fullness and perfection of grace. It contains the numbers three and four, and it is also the sum of six and one. In the latter sense it denotes the perfection of all that God does in time with a view to and including the eternal Sabbath, the rest that remained for the people of God, the consummation of all things in the eternal kingdom and tabernacle of God. In the former sense it symbolizes the perfected communion of God (three) and the cosmos (four), the perfected covenant of God's friendship in Christ, God's dwelling with men. And for the same reason it denotes the fullness of the spirit that dwells in the church, the fullness of grace and spiritual blessings, and the fullness of the church itself as the body of Christ. This is the essential connection between the seven candlesticks and the seven churches in Asia. They are not the same. The former denote the church in her ideal existence and eternal perfection, her essence, as she appears in the eternal counsel of God, and as she once will appear in the eternal kingdom. The latter represent the church as she is in the world, essentially the same as the church as represented by the seven candlesticks, but an earthly manifestation of the latter, the historic church on earth with its essential holiness and actual imperfections and infirmities: the church of Christ, indeed, but as she is still in constant need of consolation and encouragement, of exhortation and rebuke, the house of God from which judgment must needs begin. That, therefore, exactly seven churches are selected indicates that in these the whole church, as she exists in the world at any time of the present dispensation, is represented. They no doubt actually existed at the time. They are no mere fiction, but historical churches. And they are mentioned here in the order of their geographical position in Asia Minor: from Ephesus north to Pergamos, and thence south to Laodicea. However, these churches were chosen because they were prepared by God through Christ in order that they might together constitute a picture of the entire church in the world, with its perfections and defects, its strength and its weaknesses, its trials and temptations. And thus it happens that in the seven-fold message to these churches in Asia Minor we have the Word of Christ to His church in the world at any time and in all lands, even until the coming again of the Lord. These messages, therefore, concern us as directly as they concerned the first seven churches to which they are addressed. Christ, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, the Head of His ideal church, given Him by the Father, also is in the midst of His church in the world. He is her light and life. Without Him she is nothing and can do nothing. He is in her midst as her merciful High Priest, praying in her behalf and blessing her with all the blessings of salvation. He is with her as her mighty King, ruling over her by His grace and Spirit, protecting her in the midst of hateful enemies, and leading her unto victory and glory. He comes to her also as her righteous Judge, commending whatever good there is found in her, rebuking and admonishing her for her sins and weaknesses, calling her to repentance and threatening her with His wrath and judgments. It is because Christ is in the midst of His church in the world as her Judge that the church must ever reform, even though separation from a certain manifestation of her is the result. And He is in her midst as her only Prophet, giving her the stars, instructing her through His Word and Spirit, and causing her to know the things that must shortly come to pass. Look on Him, and be filled with that fear and trembling in which you must work out your own salvation! Behold Him, and be assured that the church can never perish; she is safe though all hell come raving against her! “I am the light of the world: he that followed me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life . . . The sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (John 8:12; Philippians 2:15). “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. Ye are the light of the world” (John 9:5; Matthew 5:14). “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all . . . Let your loins be girded about, and your be no night there” (Revelation 21:25). Is your lamp sending forth but a nickering ray of light, as you wait for that coming, eternal day? Let your Great High Priest trim your wick. Is the trimming bringing tears and sorrow and heartache? Let Him have His way with your lamp that it may shine all the more brightly for His glory. One day you shall be like Him, forever to behold and to share His glory. Then keep on burning brightly for His name’s sake. “Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness” (Psalm 112:4). “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shined more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18).