The Golden Candlestick

Exodus 25:31‑40; Exodus 27:20‑21; Leviticus 24:1‑4; Numbers 8:1‑4  •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The Golden Candlestick was properly a Lampstand, for it was fed with oil. In speaking of the Candlestick we must bear this in mind.
It was made of pure gold. Unlike the previous articles we have considered, no Shittim wood entered into its construction, and no measurement is given as to its size. It weighed a talent of pure gold (114 lbs.), and was worth about £5,745 at the low valuation of those days. It was beaten out of one piece, exquisitely proportioned and ornamented.
Just as the Table of Show-bread sets forth Christ as the Food of His people, so the Candlestick sets forth God's provision for the Light of His people.
There was no window in the Tabernacle. No light of nature entered the Holy Place. The light of the Golden Candlestick, and that alone, constituted the light of the Holy Place. It reminds us of the Scripture, " The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof " (Rev. 21:2323And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. (Revelation 21:23)).
Most evidently the Golden Candlestick is typical of our Lord. First it was made of " pure gold," always typical of our Lord's Godhead glory. Then it had no measurement, for it sets forth Christ in glory in all the fullness and blessedness of His person and work. We read, " Three bowls made like unto almonds with a knop [bud] and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the Candlestick. And in the Candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers " (Ex. 25:33, 3433Three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick. 34And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers. (Exodus 25:33‑34)). We bring to mind what we said about Aaron's Rod that budded, blossomed and bore almonds overnight as typifying our Lord in His resurrection, which signified life out of death. These ornamentations link up with this teaching, and clearly show it is typical of Christ in the place He has secured for us in resurrection as the result of His atoning death. It is beautiful how Scriptures link up with each other, and confirm and make plain their meaning as they throw light upon each other.
Thus far we have spoken of the Golden Candlestick as the Light BEARER. But what of the light itself? We know that these lamps were fed by oil, and oil is a figure of the third Person of the blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit of God. How does the light shine for the Christian to-day? Christ is no longer on earth. He has ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on high. How, then, does the light shine to-day for the Christian? In answer we point out that our ascended Lord has sent the Holy Spirit into this world in a very special way in connection with the Church of God upon this earth. So we read, " When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, HE shall testify of Me" (John 15:2626But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (John 15:26)). We believe the oil is clearly typical of the Holy Spirit of God, who testifies of Christ, and this sheds the light of Christ into the hearts of believers.
Num. 8:22Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick. (Numbers 8:2) confirms this very beautifully. We read, " Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the Candlestick." Evidently the lamps were so arranged as to light up the beautiful Golden Candlestick, and its ornamentations of buds, blossoms, and almonds, setting forth the grand truth of life out of death, and that all our knowledge of, and blessing in Christ are founded on that glorious resurrection, which is proof of the acceptance of His atoning death by God, thus setting Him free to bless us in this wonderful way.
On each lateral stem of the Candlestick were three bowls, almond shape, with their knops (buds) and flowers. Three surely sets forth the full testimony of the Holy Spirit to the glory of Christ in His Person and work. The central stem had four bowls with knops and flowers, indicating that our Lord's Person and work, and the glory of them, is for the whole world. Alas! the whole world does not respond.
The Candlestick had seven stems, setting forth the many-sided activities of the Holy Spirit in His testimony to Christ. Four times over in the Book of Revelation does it speak of the seven Spirits of God. One passage in particular says, " There were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God " (Rev. 4:55And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. (Revelation 4:5)). In Eph. 4:44There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (Ephesians 4:4) we are told explicitly, " There is... ONE Spirit." That is surely true. Though there were seven branches in the Candlestick, there was only ONE Candlestick. Seven lamps burning, yet only one pervading light.
Isa. 11:1, 21And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; (Isaiah 11:1‑2), may illustrate this. We read, " And there shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of His roots: and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord." Here we have three couplets, which with the addition of the term, " The Spirit of the LORD," make seven descriptions of the one Spirit of God.
There was no measurement given for the Golden Candlestick, setting forth the infinite fullness of our risen Lord. Though He carried Manhood to the throne of God, never to drop it henceforth, yet there is the answer to the measureless Candlestick, " In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily " (Col. 2:99For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9)).
It is clear that the full light of God could not shine forth till Christ was raised and ascended. Wonderful as the light was when He was here on earth as the Light of the world, yet the whole truth could not come out. It was only after resurrection that the Lord could say to Mary, " Go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father and your Father; and to My God and your God " (John 20. 17), thus announcing the new and wondrous relationship formed by love Divine, in virtue of His death and resurrection, and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Again it was not until Christ was in resurrection and ascended, not until He took His place on high, and the Holy Spirit descended in the full and peculiar way characteristic of Christianity, that the truth of the one body could come out, that mystery hid from all ages. " There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling " (Eph. 4:44There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (Ephesians 4:4)).
The Candlestick was made of beaten work. Even in the glory there will ever be the remembrance and witness to the amazing love of our Lord in enduring the bruising of the cross for us. " He was bruised for our iniquities " (Isa. 53:55But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)). The Apostle John was told, " Weep not: behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof " (Rev. 5:55And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (Revelation 5:5)). When he looked and he saw " The Lion of the tribe of Judah," but as " a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the Seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." And when the glorious city, symbolic of the Church in administration during the Millennium, is seen, she is introduced as " The Bride, the Lamb's wife " (Rev. 21:99And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. (Revelation 21:9)).
There were instruments accompanying the service of the Candlestick. We read, " And the tongs thereof, and the snuff dishes thereof shall be of pure gold " (Ex. 25:3838And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, shall be of pure gold. (Exodus 25:38)). We have spoken of the Candlestick, or Lamp-holder, type of Christ Himself; and the oil, type of the Holy Spirit, but no mention is made of the wick, or cotton, without which there would be no light. But the snuff dishes clearly imply this. They would be used to remove the charred portion of the wick after hours of burning, so that the light might be unhindered, and be in full strength. We cannot refer the snuffers to the Holy Spirit of God. That is clear. But we do know that the Holy Spirit uses human vessels through which His ministry may flow. We have the gifts—the apostles and prophets, the pastors and teachers, the helps, the joints and bands of the body of Christ.
If the Holy Spirit uses human vessels, there is room for corrective ministry, in other words the need of the snuffers. Take the case of the Apostle Peter. He was anxious to prove his devotedness to His Lord, but what self-confidence was mixed up with it. He denied His Lord with oaths and cursing. Christ graciously used his fall to teach His impetuous servant very necessary lessons. The golden snuffers were used to good effect. See how clearly the light shone on the Day of Pentecost, when he gave testimony to Christ in
wonderful power, and three thousand souls were added to the Lord.
Or take the case of the Apostle Paul. Likely to be puffed up beyond measure by the wonderful things he saw and heard in the third heaven, the Lord gave him a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet him. The golden snuffers did their work. The Holy Spirit strengthened Paul to do a mighty work in founding assemblies, in giving light and blessing to the whole Church of God.
Remember the Golden Candlestick held the Light
The oil, typical of the Holy Spirit, fed the light.
The wick, believers as used of the Spirit, pass on the light.
But remember, the Church does not teach. The Church is not the source of light. It is only as God's people are kept in humble communion and self-emptiness that God can use them. In the Holy City, symbolic of the Church in administration in the millennial period, we read, " The nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it " (Rev. 21:2121And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. (Revelation 21:21)). But that light is not the light of the Church. In the previous verse to the one just quoted we read, ".The glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." It is the light of God and of the Lamb shining through the city that gives light to the saved nations. Unless this is clearly grasped we are in danger of mysticism.
Let it not be,
" 'Twas I did this, 'Twas I did that,
Nay, brother, nay, take thought and say
What fountain fills thy emptiness. The central wick has grown too thick,
Instead of keeping spare and slim."