Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

"...I see a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl above it. The lamps on it are seven in number..." (Zechariah 4:2, Tanakh).

The MENORAH -- Lamp of YEHOVAH God and Symbol of His Ecclesia!

In 1 Samuel 3:1-3 the Menorah becomes identified as "THE LAMP OF GOD". As such, the Menorah is a timeless symbol. For many Christian-Israelites this seven-branched lampstand has been regarded as little more than a Jewish relic. However, this God-given symbol should not be considered something "out of date" nor simply Jewish but divine and therefore timeless. The Menorah was not referred to as the "Lamp of the Jews" or the "Lamp of the Temple" nor the "Lamp of the Synagogue" but the LAMP OF YEHOVAH GOD. Why? Because it was YEHOVAH who designed it, had it constructed, and commanded its use (Exodus 25:31, Numbers 8:2-4).

by HOIM Staff

"This is the revelation which God gave to Yeshua the Messiah..." (Jewish New Testament) -- These are the opening words to the last book of the Bible (Revelation1:1). They leave no room for doubt as to the results desired by its author -- which is a complete exposition of every facet of the Messiah's triumphant ministry. An exposé of the all encompassing effects of his Judean ministry on the eternal scene is the objective. Still, a recent survey indicates that many laymen find this book too mystical to be appreciated. Some scholars are now giving it second-class billing in importance for study, considering any interpretation of it to be purely speculation or conjecture and therefore too controversial. Some pastors and religious educators boast of deleting it entirely from their teaching agenda. What accounts for this? Why the apparent paralysis of interest and prevailing difficulty in appreciating the content of this book with such a lofty introduction?

One major cause for the limited understanding of this book's content is the prevailing unfamiliarity of the average Christian with Biblical Judaism [1] and its accompanying symbols. The Menorah [2] (lampstand) is one of those important Hebraic symbols. Why is it so important to understand the unique Judahite background of this book that some refer to as the "Readers Digest" of the Bible? Dr. John Walvoord of Dallas Theological Seminary has noted that "Of the 404 verses of the Apocalypse, 278 are direct quotes from [Torah], Jewish scripture."

Unfortunately, historic efforts to delete everything "Jewish" from the doctrine, liturgy and symbolism of the first century ecclesia and from Biblical expression has contributed to a certain interpreting handicap. The absence of this all important dimension has left the ecclesia ill equipped to understand many of this book's Hebraic expressions and symbolic references. It has deprived us of some richness of understanding that would otherwise be available if the Revelation of the Messiah and the entirety of scripture, for that matter, was interpreted from a Hebraic mind-set. What to do about it?

Perhaps Catholic scholar Edward H. Flannery has expressed a "touch-stone truth" when he states: "An over Hellenized, over Latinized Christianity needs a re-Judaising process to bring it back to its founding Jewish roots and renew it more in keeping with its own inherent ideals." It is with this thought in mind that we approach the matter of symbolism as it pertains to the lampstand and its importance to the spiritual value system of YEHOVAH God. In the final analysis, symbols such as the Menorah are not "Jewish" in an ethnic sense, but they are simply Biblical in a divine sense, and therefore eternal and universal for YEHOVAH's people Israel.

The book of Revelation is in large part a book of symbolism. Those who would minimize the importance of symbolism minimize not only the importance of that book but the entirety of scripture. Symbolism plays a crucial role in Biblical revelation and interpretation. One of the first symbols encountered as we begin reading the book of Revelation is the seven-branched Menorah. The Messiah (the Son of man) is observed in the midst of seven of them:

"And in the midst of the seven lampstands one like unto the Son of man..." (Revelation 1:13).

These lampstands were not just seven isolated singular lamps as one might suppose at first glance, but they are seven (Judahite) MENORAHS -- YEHOVAH's idea of a lampstand. Immediately we are informed that the lampstands represented the Israelite-Christian churches of Asia:

"The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven lampstands which thou sawest are the seven churches" (Revelation 1:20).

This declaration therefore, by association, makes the lampstand an Israelite-Christian symbol and representative of the New Testament Ecclesia. It is important that believers perceive the all-encompassing message embodied in the Biblical lampstand. You may be surprised how up-to-date this symbol of antiquity really is. As the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God continues on it's present course of restoration and renewal, the seven-branched lampstand could well become one of the more prominent symbols displayed by YEHOVAH's people.  True Christians will do well to become better informed on this aspect of Biblical heritage in symbolism. It is for this reason that we wrote this article. The scriptures teach that the Menorah was, and is, esteemed of YEHOVAH God a symbol extraordinaire. Indeed it has been referred to in scripture as the "Lamp of God." If it is, then YEHOVAH's people Israel should embrace it and perceive the lessons embodied therein.

No one knows for certain the exact shape of the original Mosaic Menorah. We do know that it contained a numerical pattern. History gives us the two possible renderings shown above. Both have been used by the Jewish people in symbolism for centuries and both have merit. The Titus Menorah seems to favor the Exodus 25 description. We are certain that the configuration of the lampstand depicted on the Arch of Titus was the kind used in the last Jerusalem Temple which was destroyed in AD.70. Titus was a Roman general who sacked Jerusalem and returned to Rome taking many of the Temple treasures with him. (See our article, Mystery of the Menorah for more information on the actual shape of the menorah).

The Menorah As a Symbol

"...I have looked, and behold a lampstand all of Gold...and his seven lamps thereon..." (Zechariah 4:2).

The Menorah stands for light, wisdom, and Divine inspiration. Originally, the Menorah was a seven-branched lampstand beaten out of a solid piece of gold that served as one of the sacred vessels in the Temple. It stood in the southern part of the Temple and was lit every day by the High Priest. Only pure, fresh oil of the highest quality was suitable to light the Menorah.

As its unique design communicates, the Menorah endures as a symbol of Divine light spreading throughout the world of YEHOVAH's people Israel. To this end, YEHOVAH God commanded that the Menorah’s goblets be turned upside down on their stems, emphasizing the importance of spreading light to others. This design reflects the Menorah’s exact purpose in the Temple, which was to spread the light of Godliness to all of Israel.

The lampstand (Menorah), then, is conceivably the most comprehensive of all Biblical symbols. As such, it is important that believers investigate the origin, use and purpose of this symbol referenced in both Old and New Testaments. We will discover that this lampstand symbolizes many things such as the Ecclesia, the holy spirit, the Word of God, the Seven Spirits of God -- even the Messiah himself as "the light of the world."

The first direct mention and detailed description of the lampstand (Menorah) is found in Exodus 25:31-40. Moses had just returned from Mount Sinai where he had been in communion with YEHOVAH God. It was there that he had been instructed to make the lampstand. Not only had he received detailed instructions concerning the critical design of this instrument of light to be placed in the Tabernacle, but also of the various other implements that would be used for service in YEHOVAH's divine worship system. Many of these symbols ceased to be used under the New Testament but not the Menorah -- and for good reason as we shall clearly show.

The Messiah and the Menorah

After his resurrection, the Messiah tells his disciples that everything in the Tanakh (Old Testament) was actually pointing to him. In Luke 24:27 it states:

"Then, starting with Moshe [Moses] and all the Prophets, he explained to them the things that can be found throughout the Tanakh concerning himself" (Jewish New Testament).

The Messiah taught that all things written by Moses, including the instruction for the Menorah, were signs pointing to his life.

YEHOVAH God gave His people very specific instructions for hammering out a lampstand of pure gold. He goes into great detail explaining that six branches are to extend from the lampstand outward, three on each side of the center trunk. The Menorah has seven lights which remind us that seven is the number of YEHOVAH God -- He remade the world in seven days. YEHOVAH also set up seven feasts for His people Israel to celebrate through the year. What are the Seven Feasts, and how do they point to Yeshua the Messiah?

The seven branches of the Menorah represent the seven feasts. The seven feasts each point specifically to the birth, life, death, and final resurrection of YEHOVAH's anointed Messiah.

The first branch is Passover. Passover is when YEHOVAH God brought deliverance to His people Israel from the bondage of Egypt by having them sacrifice a perfect lamb. The Messiah said that he was the Passover lamb that would be sacrificed for those of us of Israel to be delivered from spiritual bondage. The Messiah died on the tree on the actual Passover date to bring us spiritual freedom.

The second branch is Unleavened Bread. This is a feast of seven days requiring us to eat bread that didn’t rise while we pray for YEHOVAH God to “bring bread forth from the earth" during the Passover service. ("Blessed are You, O LORD our God, King of the universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth"). This festival began on the actual day that the Messiah, who called himself "the bread of life", was in the ground. Furthermore, the Messiah was born in Bethlehem -- which means, in Hebrew, "House of Bread". In 31 A.D. all of Jerusalem was praying that Passover night that YEHOVAH God would “bring forth bread from the earth.” Thus the Messiah’s death and resurrection was the spectacular answer to the prayers of Unleavened Bread.

The third branch is First Fruits, which occurred on the third day after Passover. On this festival, YEHOVAH’s people were to bring to Him the first thing out of the ground from the spring harvest. The Messiah is called the First Fruit of resurrection. He was raised from the dead on the actual date of First Fruits because he was the “first thing out of the ground” at his resurrection.

The fourth branch points to the Feast of Shavuot or Pentecost. Seven Sabbaths complete plus fifty days after First fruits, Pentecost celebrated when Moses came down and gave YEHOVAH God’s Word to the people of Israel (Exodus 32:5). Seven Sabbaths complete and fifty days after the Messiah's death, YEHOVAH's spirit came down and gave YEHOVAH’s Word to the people of Israel in the Book of Acts at the Festival of Pentecost.

The fifth Menorah branch points to the Feast of Trumpets. This was a time of blowing the Shofar. Trumpets were often used as a celebration of the returning king. The Messiah said that he and his Father will one day appear on earth as kings over Israel and the world with the sounds of trumpets.

The sixth feast is the Day of Atonement. This was the day the high priest went into the Court of the Priests in the Temple (close to the worshippers) and put his hands in an urn called Calpi which contained two lots bearing the inscription "la-YEHOVAH" and "la-Azazel". The High Priest then laid the two lots on each of two unblemished goats. The goat that received the "la-Azael" lot then became the “scapegoat” to take away the consequences of the Israelites' wrong doing. The High Priest would place his hands on the goat symbolizing the blame-transfer from the people of Israel to the goat. The goat would then be released into the wilderness as a symbol that the Israelites had escaped punishment. The Messiah claims to be our scapegoat and great High Priest. He went into the presence of YEHOVAH God, placed all our wrong doing on himself, and the curtain of the Temple was torn in two from the top upon his death giving us access to YEHOVAH God.

Now we come to the middle branch. This light of the Menorah points to the Feast of Tabernacles. This feast actually featured a Menorah. It was a longing for YEHOVAH’s Shekinah Glory to come and dwell (or tabernacle) among His people Israel. YEHOVAH said it was to be a time of rejoicing and celebration among the Israelite people. This feast was in the fall, a time of ingathering of crops. Herod created giant 70-feet tall Menorah’s to light up the temple at this time.

The Feast of Tabernacles was a celebration of YEHOVAH God’s light coming to the world. It was celebrated with giant menorahs. It was a time when YEHOVAH’s people Israel were commanded to rejoice. It was a time when YEHOVAH God promised to Tabernacle with His people Israel throughout the Millennium from His newly-built Temple in Jerusalem. Ezekiel 37:26-28 is the promise that YEHOVAH God Himself will tabernacle with us on the great period of celebration that points to the Millennium and in the Millennium itself:

"Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them [Israel], and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them [during the Millennium], and I will set My sanctuary [miqdash] in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle [mishkan -- Temple] also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, YHVH [YEHOVAH], sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore [6]."

The Messiah attended several of these feasts during his lifetime. Upon the lighting of the menorah, he once cried out, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).

The Menorah was YEHOVAH’s road map to the Messiah. It laid out his birth, death, burial, resurrection, and eventual appearance at the end of the age.

We are not alone. YEHOVAH God is with us.

Divine Design

All of the furnishings of the temple including the lampstand were to be constructed according to the "pattern" of heavenly things:

"...for, See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount" (Exodus 25:40, Hebrews 8:5).

Obviously, YEHOVAH God demands precision. Consequently, the Menorah has a Divine configuration. From the biblical description of the lampstand spelled out in Exodus Chapters 25 and 37 (reinforced by historical record), we discover that a numerical pattern emerges. There were 7 lamps on the top of the Lampstand, 70 (2) [3] garnishings on its branches and 12 [4] foundational divisions of its stacked hexagon base. The specific numbers 12, 70 (2), and 7 represent a basic numerical pattern of operation for both Israel and the Ecclesia. In the governmental structure of Israel there were 12 men who served as leaders or heads over their tribes with whom Moses could communicate (Numbers 1:44).

Moses chose 70 (2) elders of the people to be with him on Mount Sinai as a support system (Numbers 11:16). After Moses' departure, Joshua appointed 7 priests who led the camp of Israel into victory blowing the rams horns (Joshua 6:4). In the same manner, the Messiah began the formation of the New Covenant Ecclesia (Hebrews 8:8) during his ministry by choosing 12 apostles who became the foundational governing pillars of the Ecclesia (Mark 3:14). He then appointed another "70" (2) and sent them out in the ministry (Luke 10:1).

After his crucifixion, the 12 appointed a body of 7 men to assume a great portion of the care and responsibility for the Ecclesia so that the twelve apostles could return to Jerusalem and give themselves continually to prayer and ministry of the word (Acts 6:2-3). These seven men were far more than deacons as is commonly supposed. They were all powerful ministers clearly demonstrated by Philip and Stephen.

Obviously the very framework of YEHOVAH's government for His people is reflected in the design of the lampstand. We find these numerical patterns and or multiples of them, in many Old Testament and New Testament demonstrations. References to them are particularly noted in the book of the Revelation of Yeshua the Messiah.

Is it any wonder then, that YEHOVAH God has placed such significance on this symbol and given it "high profile" from Genesis to Revelation when you consider that it represented the presence of all truth, hence the light of the world? YEHOVAH God informed Moses that the Menorah was to be located in what was known as the "Holy Place" in the sanctuary of YEHOVAH God. Throughout the many years of Temple worship, it was tended to on a daily basis being trimmed every morning and lighted by the ministering priests. It was the only source of light in the wilderness tabernacle as it continued to be in all future Temples except for the annual glowing of the Shekinah Glory in the Holiest of Holies on the Day of Atonement. The lampstand occupied a place of great prominence among the instruments used in worship. I am proposing that the Menorah should also take its rightful place in Israelite-Christian symbolism. Not that the Menorah should become an idol but rather an ever present symbol of YEHOVAH's truth.

Some may rightly question how we reconcile the following commandment with YEHOVAH's subsequent orders to do what appears to be in opposition:

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:" (Exodus 20:4).

Nevertheless, we find that Moses was charged by YEHOVAH God with the responsibility to do that very thing. He was commanded to build a sanctuary according to the "heavenly" pattern. It was to contain such imagery as the lampstand (menorah), a table of shewbread, altars, the ark of the covenant, golden cherubims of glory, angelic figurines embroidered on the inner curtains of the sanctuary, and many other items that Moses had seen in his heavenly vision. Solomon's temple would prove to be even more elaborate and ornate than the old tabernacle, having graven images of lions, oxen, etc. Does this represent a contradiction on YEHOVAH's behalf? Not at all! The answer to this question is found in the following verse of scripture:

"Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God..." (Exodus 20:5).

The worship of them would be a sin. While the people of Israel were commanded of YEHOVAH God not to bow down and worship symbols, they play a crucial role in promoting spiritual understanding. The Apostle Paul expressed it unequivocally:

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20).

These "things that are made" include not only those things that YEHOVAH God made in the creation such as the earth, beasts, trees, stars, etc., but included those things that He commanded the men of Israel to make for revelation purposes such as the Menorah. YEHOVAH God is not worshiped in these things that are made but He is most definitely revealed through them.

When the Lamp Went Out

"And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. And it came to pass at that time when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; And ere the LAMP OF GOD went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep:" (1Samuel 3:1-3).

Here the Menorah becomes identified as "THE LAMP OF GOD". As such, the Menorah is a timeless symbol. This seven-branched lampstand, for many Christian-Israelites (if recognized at all) has been regarded as little more than a Jewish relic. However, this God-given symbol should not be considered something "out of date" nor simply Jewish but divine and therefore timeless. Notice in the foregoing scripture that the Menorah was not referred to as the "Lamp of the Jews" or the "Lamp of the Temple" nor the "Lamp of the Synagogue" but the LAMP OF YEHOVAH GOD. Why? Because it was YEHOVAH who designed it, had it constructed, and commanded its use (Exodus 25:31, Numbers 8:2-4).

The lampstand, perhaps better than any other item that YEHOVAH commanded Moses to make, serves the ends and purposes of revelation by symbolism. We will discover that the Menorah symbol regularly surfaced in the spiritual experiences of many other prophets and visionaries as it did with Samuel. Notice the circumstances surrounding Samuel's prophetic call and the existing condition of Israel. The lamp of YEHOVAH God was going out and soon afterward the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant. Eli, the judge and High priest of Israel, had died and a child was born to Phinehas his son who's name says it all, Ichabod meaning "The glory of God has departed."

In principle this story could very well parallel many of the conditions within the Ecclesia in history and serve as a prophetic picture of our own time. The setting was at evening time, the light from the Lamp of YEHOVAH God was shining less brightly in the Temple and there was "no open vision" (revelation). It is very unusual that the lamp of YEHOVAH God would have been going out at the very time of day when it normally should have been freshly fueled and burning its brightest. The Ecclesia can learn valuable lessons from this story. We could very well be approaching the end of the age (evening). The Lamp of YEHOVAH God, which is the Word of YEHOVAH God (Psalm 119:105) and our understanding of it, has been seriously eroded due in great part to our forsaking the foundations of our faith rooted in the Hebrew heritage. The judgment of YEHOVAH God is impending as the Messiah predicted:

"The Kingdom of Heaven at that time will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible....Now the bridegroom was late, so they all went to sleep.... The foolish ones said to the sensible ones, 'Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out'" (Matthew 25:1, 2, 5, 8, JNT).

In parabolic expression, the Messiah predicts that just prior to his coming a large percentage of those destined for the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God will be spiritually asleep. He seems to indicate that there would be an unawareness of the gravity of time. A clear vision into the purposes of YEHOVAH God and the destiny of Israel would be missing. The virgins were not aware of the eminent coming of the Bridegroom. Because the Ecclesia seems to be experiencing storms of "every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14), there is a lot of eschatological (end-time events) confusion amongst YEHOVAH's people Israel. This is generating complacency and serious apathy towards truth. Many seemingly do not care. That is the down side. The up side is this:

"It was the middle of the night when the cry rang out, 'The bridegroom is here! Go out to meet him!' The girls all woke up and prepared their lamps for lighting" (Matthew 25:6-7, ibid.).

A sweet rain of pure truth has been predicted for the "pure in heart." YEHOVAH has promised:

"My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God" (Deuteronomy 32:2-3).

"...and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month" (Joel 2:23).

This refreshing rain of truth for the work of restoration and renewal is central to YEHOVAH's strategic plans. It will cause the lampstand (Ecclesia) to be ablaze with the light of absolute truth. We should pray earnestly for "rain in the time of the latter rain" (Zechariah 10:1). Let it become a continuous theme in the prayer life of us all.

We Must Shine Forth as Lamps in a World of Darkness

It was at evening time when the lampstand was refueled for greater burning in the Temple. If we are indeed in some close proximity to the end of the age it is "lamp trimming time." In other words, it is "Biblical research time" for the body of the Messiah.

There is a beautiful Hebrew idiom that suggests: "Study is the highest form of worship." Christian-Israelites would do well to grasp the richness of that philosophical truth. If we are to shine forth as lamps in a world of darkness as the Messiah indicated (Luke 12:35), YEHOVAH's word must become very precious to us and an accelerated understanding of it a high priority. Apathy toward truth is undoubtedly one of the subtle sins of our time. It is this condition that YEHOVAH God is presently addressing so that His people Israel are motivated toward a restoration of all things Biblical. The Apostle Peter confirmed explicitly on the day of Pentecost what the Messiah taught us in the parable of the virgins:

"...so that times of refreshing may come from the LORD's Presence, and He may send the Messiah appointed in advance for you, that is, Yeshua. He has to remain in heaven until the time comes for restoring everything, as God said long ago, when He spoke through the holy prophets" (Acts 3:20-21, Jewish New Testament).

"Not by Might, Nor by Power, But by My Spirit"

Another prophet of restoration in whose vision the symbol of the lampstand appeared was Zechariah. He was one who was highly motivated for and involved in the restoration of the walls of Jerusalem and the Temple of YEHOVAH God. There is a definite similarity between Samuel's experience and that of Zechariah. As the vision unfolded before Zechariah, he beheld a huge lampstand (Menorah) with seven lamps upon the top of it. While beholding the scene, he heard a voice:

"And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:...Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, [the restorer] saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the LORD of hosts" (Zechariah 4:2, 6).

Christians from time to time can be heard reciting the inspirational and familiar phrase from this notable scripture "Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." It has been applied in numerous ways and unfortunately, most often out of context (salvation, healing, miracles, etc.). While this application may be well intended, the message can be lost. Now, what is there about the sight of the golden lampstand (Menorah) that would evoke such an utterance? Not many Christians would give a similar response to such a vision. Why? Because, for the most part, we would not recognize the Menorah nor appreciate it for what it represents. In this case it symbolized the seven-fold spirit of YEHOVAH God at work in the restoration efforts taking place in Jerusalem.

After being held in Babylonian captivity for 70 years, the southern kingdom of Judah was frail and its people few in number. It was only through a special anointing from YEHOVAH God that they were able to maintain their determination in the face of much discouragement to continue rebuilding the Jerusalem walls and the Temple of YEHOVAH God. This extraordinary anointing for restoration was symbolized by the lampstand. It will undoubtedly take an equal measure of anointing for the Ecclesia to be successful in declaring the Gospel of the Kingdom throughout the nations of Israel (Matthew 24:14) and bring the restoration of all things. Also, it is only through a complete seven-fold anointing that doctrinal unity and maturity can be brought to the body of the Messiah to insure our success in YEHOVAH's purposes.

There is more to be learned about YEHOVAH God from the Menorah symbol than from many of the more familiar symbols such as the cross, the lamb, the dove, or the fish that are of common use throughout pagan Christendom today. That idea is resident in the Sermon on the Mount. The Messiah was a Judahite and well acquainted with his Judahite heritage. Since we know the setting was in the season of the feast of Tabernacles when huge Menorah's were being lighted throughout Jerusalem, some historians suggest -- and it is reasonable to assume -- that the Menorah (Lampstand) was what he had in mind when he declared:

"You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don't cover it with a bowl, but put it on a LAMPSTAND, so that it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah [law] or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete" (Matthew 5:14-17, JNT).

The Ecclesia here is represented by the symbol of the lampstand. The lesson is that the Ecclesia must become the light of the world (a reflection of the Word of YEHOVAH God). The book of Revelation gives substantial affirmation to this assertion when the angel states:

"...the seven MENORAHS are the seven MESSIANIC COMMUNITIES [ECCLESIAE]" (Revelations 1:20, ibid.).

Further confirmation is given to us in chapter two where YEHOVAH God, through His angel, implores the Ecclesia of Ephesus to return to its first love:

"But I have this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Therefore, remember where you were before you fell, and turn from this sin, and do what you used to do before. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your MENORAH from its place -- if you don't turn from your sin!" (Revelation 2:4-5, Jewish New Testament).

A spiritual interpretation could be reasonably rendered from this passage but evidently there is also a very practical side to consider. There is every reason for us to conclude that this Menorah symbol was physically on display in those first century ecclesiae, and for good reason. First, as a congregation, they were more "Israelite-Christian" in nature and appearance than the subsequent ecclesia that became more Greco-Roman in orientation. The indication is that the Menorah must have served as an official symbol of identity with that body of Christian-Israelite ecclesiae originating in Jerusalem who had been birthed of Biblical Judaism. The Lord did not want the Ephesus congregation -- if it remained in its existing loveless condition -- to even be considered by the public as representing the Israelite-Christian Faith.

God-Given Symbols are Biblical and Therefore Eternal and Universal

The spirit of love is central to the very essence and nature of YEHOVAH God as is demonstrated in the symbolism of the lampstand. The center lamp of the Menorah is, in Hebrew, called the Ner Elohim the "Lamp of God". Since the scriptures teach that "God is love" (1 John 4:8), one might even call this center light the "Love Lamp" amidst the seven. Therefore the threat of the lampstand's removal was very significant. The absence of love was sufficient cause to threaten the disenfranchisement of the Ephesus congregation from the body of ecclesiae representing the Messiah in that area.

Obviously few, if any, Christian-Israelite ecclesiae of today would feel intimidated by the threat of losing a lampstand (assuming one existed), considering the lack of understanding by the ecclesia of YEHOVAH God of the meaning of this symbol of antiquity. Even the familiar interpretation of what this threat implies (departure of the presence of YEHOVAH God and the Messiah) requires exhaustive teaching today. Such was not the case for the congregations of the first century.

It is quite evident that they were much closer to Biblical Judaism in thought, practice and symbolism than is the Christian-Israelite ecclesiae of today, and they clearly understood the implications of this threat. There are, however, some indications that significant Israelite restoration to the body of the Messiah is imminent. Increasingly, pastors and congregations are becoming inspired of the holy spirit to introduce many of these Israelite principles into their teaching and worship. This is also being demonstrated by the reintroduction of the Biblical Feast Day celebrations (seven in all), the use of banners, the use of the Hebrew names of YEHOVAH God, Sabbath celebrations, etc. None of these practices were foreign to the first century congregations. It should therefore come as no surprise to discover that the Menorah symbol was on display within these Israelite-Christian congregations in Asia. Their understanding of these Biblical things is assumed in these letters. That no doubt accounts for the abundance of Israelite expression in the book of Revelation.

The circumstances and the particulars of the Menorah's mention early on in the book of Revelation merit investigation. In the first chapter, we discover the Son of Man (the Messiah) in the midst of the seven golden Menorahs. What does this mean? Since we have learned that the Menorahs represented the ecclesiae, we must conclude that it depicts those ecclesiae wherein the spirit of YEHOVAH God is truly alive and motivating. The overriding theme of the angelic cry to the seven churches (ecclesiae) of Asia was not redemption, but restoration to a Messiah-like spirit and Biblical order. The Apostle Paul alludes to this in his letter to the Galatians:

"My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you…." (Galatians 4:19).

Paul is not suggesting by the term "birth" that the people be saved again or born again. It was not a case of the Messiah being absent from their hearts, but rather there was an absence of the form of the Messiah in their lifestyle, their value system and in the corporate setting of the local congregation. The Messiah had travailed for their eternal salvation, but it was Paul who had "travailed" for their birthing and development as an Israelite ecclesia in the formative years in the city of Galatia. It was he who had taught them the word so that they might become a living lampstand. Paul did not say they needed Yeshua formed in them, but the Messiah. There is, however, a difference. The name Yeshua means "savior", while "Messiah" means the "anointed" or "the anointed word."

The "form of Christ" means a Biblical pattern symbolized by the lampstand. The Galatians had forsaken their Godly heritage and began taking up the "elements [patterns] of the world." In this same chapter, he reproached them specifically for having adopted the celebration days and festivals of the gentiles, forsaking the Biblical order, hence contributing to their loss of the "form of Christ." The Apostle Paul was travailing for a corporate restoration or rebirth. This is exactly what YEHOVAH God is calling for in the body of the Messiah today -- an Ecclesia re-birthed in Biblical patterns.

The Spirit of Prophecy

Have you ever considered what all might be included in the familiar term a "Christ-like" spirit, and in what ways is it manifested? Well, it undoubtedly includes all of the more familiar ways that readily come to mind (i.e., love, joy, compassion). However, there is one character trait in a "Christ-like" spirit with which the Ecclesia is much less familiar -- the spirit of prophecy.

"For the testimony of Yeshua is the SPIRIT OF PROPHECY" (Revelation 19:10, JNT).

The entire life of Yeshua was an exercise in prophetic display. Do not construe the word prophecy as meaning a spirit to prophesy. It was not in the nature of the Messiah's ministry to go about making many grandiose predictions but rather to fulfill the messianic prophecies of old. He was the Light of the World because he brought to light and lived a life of fulfilling prophecy. His entire life was a divine orchestration of fulfilled Biblical prophecy which set him apart from all would-be messiah's.

His other body, the Ecclesia, should do no less if we are to become the light (lampstand) of those descended from Israel and those of the world. It is the spirit of prophecy that will bring greater Biblical mission and purpose to the body of the Messiah. The Old Testament is prophecy declared, the New Testament must be prophecy revealed and fulfilled (Matthew 11:13, Acts 3:21) The restoration of these Biblical symbols, celebrations and values to the Ecclesia (consisting of YEHOVAH's people Israel) is a prophetic mission in and of itself.

Therefore, YEHOVAH God will -- and is -- abundantly blessing those ecclesiae that are motivated with the spirit of prophecy and who place an emphasis on His word being fulfilled. They understand that a return to the Hebraic foundations of our faith is a prophetic program being fulfilled in our time. Like Zechariah, these congregations function in the spirit of the minor prophets symbolized by the Menorah (Zechariah 4:6). They are discovering what YEHOVAH God is doing and work with Him. They are not working for YEHOVAH God; they are working with YEHOVAH God. As a result, these believers are becoming living LAMPSTANDS of prophetic restoration.

The Seven Spirits

Finally, because there are seven branches to the Menorah, through which YEHOVAH's spirit flows from Him to us, we are immediately reminded of the "seven Spirits of God" -- that is, the seven manifestations of the spirit of YEHOVAH God to His people Israel -- the "seven sefirot of God." We see seven flames of fire, a heavenly Menorah as it were, blazing before the throne in heaven:

"And 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).

The seven sefirot -- also denoted by the seven weeks of counting the Omer from Passover to the end of "seven Sabbaths complete", and the seven items in the lulav waved during the Feast of Tabernacles -- represent the seven manifestations of YEHOVAH's spirit. What are the "seven spirits of God" and what is their mission? They are: chesed -- loving kindness; gevurah -- contained strength; tefirat -- beauty, mercy; compassion; netzach -- victory, triumph, eternity; hod -- glory, splendor; yesod -- foundational strength; malkut -- manifestation, kingdom. Each of the burning lamps on the Menorah represents one of these divine attributes, which we are to strive to build into our own character!

 Isaiah the prophet mentions some of these manifestations:

"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" (Isaiah 11:2).

The purpose for mentioning these seven spirits ablaze before the throne of YEHOVAH God is to show that the principles of the lampstand are also manifested in Heaven. For the Ecclesia to be a living lampstand in the earth, and the light on a "lampstand" that the Messiah predicted (Matthew 5), all of these seven spirits of YEHOVAH God must be burning in our personal lives, as well as in the corporate Ecclesia. The seven-branched lampstand (Menorah) was given to constantly remind us of that important truth. Even a casual observer of the scripture must draw that conclusion.

"And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood 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" (Revelation 5:6).

Should we not pray "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" and participate in the process? The Menorah symbol is a constant reminder of that imperative.

Practical Uses

I can think of no Christian-Israelite event where the Menorah would be inappropriate for display. I would encourage the notion that its presence in all Christian-Israelite ecclesiae is not only appropriate but practical and fundamentally useful. It can accompany any liturgical ceremony. The Menorah can be effectively used at wedding ceremonies, home dedications, the dedication of a business or any other occasion where a declaration of the seven spirits of YEHOVAH God would be appropriate.

Conclusion

Obviously, from the preferential treatment accorded the beautiful golden lampstand in scripture, it is indeed esteemed of YEHOVAH God as a symbol extraordinaire. As the body of the Messiah progresses in restoration and renewal, this symbol should occupy a place of greater prominence in our ecclesiae and our spiritual value system. The prediction is that this will become a trend of the future. It is fitting and proper that this symbol be displayed in all Christian-Israelite ecclesiae and in the homes of believers. Again, the Menorah symbolizes the grandeur and brightness of YEHOVAH's Shekinah Glory and presence that will be with His people Israel during the Millennium.

The Menorah is the Biblical Symbol of the Ecclesia

While the preaching of the crucifixion and its message is indeed "the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16), so horrible was the scene at the tree, that the Heavenly Father could not bring Himself to look upon it. Therefore the Messiah, if he was on earth, would condemn the historic emphasis and high profile many of YEHOVAH's people have placed on the emblem of the cross. Although the message of sacrifice and redemption would have remained the same, he would denounce "the old rugged cross" as totally pagan and he would even prevent it from being displayed. This is why the cross is so glaringly missing -- indeed totally absent -- from the abundance of symbolism to be found in the book of the "Revelation of Jesus Christ." It is simply nowhere there to be found. The fact is, the Messiah was put to death on a living tree -- not a pagan cross!

On the other hand, he would no doubt be heartened and thrilled at the sight of the golden Menorah, which is so profoundly meaningful in the revelation of who YEHOVAH God is and in the power of His resurrection of the Messiah and the light of His presence with His people during the Millennium. As we more fully appreciate the significance of this magnificent symbol, we will join with the angel to declare "NOT BY MIGHT, NOR BY POWER, BUT BY MY SPIRIT SAITH THE LORD [YEHOVAH]" (Zechariah 4:6).

YEHOVAH God is not looking for single, solitary "lampstands" who stand apart, unwilling to join with others to create a blazing light together, as the body of the Messiah. He is searching for people who are willing to abase themselves, and submit to the light of YEHOVAH God, and His discipline, and who are willing to stick together, and stay together, and produce a combined light which will shine into the remote corners of darkness of this evil, impenetrable world -- and to expose its deeds and its wickedness by the power of the light that shines within us.

The Messiah said that we were to be the "light of the world" and that we were to put our light on a lampstand (Matthew 5:15). Christian-Israelites everywhere should be encouraged to display the Menorah to "Let your light so shine." Are you a part of the Menorah of YEHOVAH's spiritual Temple? How well is your light shining? Are you receiving plenty of "oil"? Have you trimmed your wick?

Hanukkah -- Feast of the Dedication

To those unfamiliar with Israelite history, confusion often arises as to the difference between the symbolism of the seven-branched Menorah (lampstand) that YEHOVAH God commanded Moses to make for use in Temple worship (Exodus 25:31) and the nine-branched [5] Hanukkah light of common use in many Jewish homes. It is easy to confuse these two if you are not counting. The Hanukkah light was created to memorialize a momentous national deliverance of Israel from an evil invader. Hanukkah means "dedication." Hanukkah became one of the many traditional festivals of biblical Judaism. This festival is also known as the Feast of Lights and the Feast of Dedication. There is a reference to it in the New Testament:

"And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter" (John 10:22).

While Hanukkah is not one of the seven Divinely appointed festivals of scripture, it is historically significant with regard to the restoration and rededication of the ancient Temple of YEHOVAH God. In the year 169 B.C., an evil invader by the name of Antiochus Epiphanes, a vile and godless man, campaigned against Egypt. Despite his victory, he was compelled to withdraw from Egypt at the command of powerful Rome. At that time, Palestine was under Syrian rule. Returning to Syria, Antiochus vented his wrath upon the hapless Judeans by entering Jerusalem, destroying a large part of the city, and slaughtering men, women, and children. He crowned his evil deeds by plundering the Temple, carrying away the golden altar, the lampstand, golden vessels, and other sacred treasures. To show his utter contempt for YEHOVAH God, he sacrificed a pig in the Temple to the god Jupiter. He forbade the Judahites in the Holy Land to observe their religion, particularly the Sabbath and the laws pertaining to clean animals. He therefore commanded that only pigs be sacrificed in the Temple of YEHOVAH God. He himself cooked a pig in the Temple and poured its broth on the holy scrolls of the law and upon the altar, thus polluting them.

One day an officer of Antiochus arrived in the small township of Moden, three miles north of Jerusalem and commanded an assembly of Judahites to sacrifice their swine. A man by the name of Mattathias, the Maccabee, head of a priestly family, became enraged by the ungodly decree and killed the first Judahite who was about to comply with this order. This caused a revolt that was encouraged by Mattathias son of Judas Maccabee. They eventually drove the Syrians from Jerusalem together with the disloyal priesthood who collaborated with the invaders.

After cleansing the Temple, the Maccabees rededicated the Temple of YEHOVAH God amidst great rejoicing and consecrated a new altar in place of the old. In their efforts to restore proper Temple worship, they searched for some unpolluted oil with which to trim the seven-branched lamp of YEHOVAH God. Finally, hidden in one of the nooks of the Temple, the Judahites found a small jar of consecrated oil used in former days. The oil was sufficient for only one night, but lo and behold, the little cruse of oil miraculously lasted for eight days, until a new supply could be prepared, a procedure that normally required seven days to complete.

Annually, in memory of this wonderful victory over the wicked king, the festival of Hanukkah has, for many centuries, been celebrated by lighting eight candles consecutively for eight days in every Jewish household. It began with lighting one on the first day, two on the second, progressively until the eighth day. The reason for the Hanukkah light being a nine-branched candlestick is that one special candle is used to light the other eight. The ninth one represented the small cruse of oil that had been discovered in the Temple. The remaining eight candles commemorate the miraculous eight-day burning.

The Pagan Origin of Candles

While the lighting of candles certainly conveys the historicity of the event, the fact is that candles were not used in the nine-branched menorah until many centuries after the rededication of the Temple. Contrary to most modern designs the ancient seven-branched Menorah and the Hanukkah menorah did not contain or hold anything resembling seven or nine candles, since candles were unknown in the Middle East until about 400 A.D. Many people erroneously conclude that the use of candles in religious services had its beginning in the sanctuary erected by Moses in the wilderness. Was there not a golden candlestick in the first apartment? It is true that an unfortunate translation describes the seven-branched lampstand as a "candlestick." But, as the Jewish Encyclopedia notes, there were no candles in Jewish religious services until comparatively modern times (volume 6, pages 517-518). This includes Hanukkah.

So where did the use of candles in religious services in both Judaism and Christianity come from? Taken from pagan festivals and rituals, candles insidiously found their way into Jewish and Christian worship as they lost the simplicity and devotion of apostolic times. Lactantius, himself a convert from heathenism, understood clearly the place of candles in heathen worship. The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (volume 3, page 188) goes on to say:

"We may take it as established beyond dispute that there was no ceremonial use of candles...in Christian worship or in churches for the first three centuries. Up to that time the spiritual simplicity of worship as well as the strong antagonism to heathen customs which characterized the early days still continued, and found expression in occasional protests against the corrupting effect of heathen customs."

However candles, along with many another accessory of heathen worship, found their way into the church (and synagogue and Jewish homes) in the days of the great apostasy. Jerome wrote of the practice of burning candles during the reading of the Gospel throughout the Eastern churches. By the end of the fourth century, according to Chrysostom, candles burning on the altars of churches was a usual sight. Candlemas, a "Christianized" pagan festival, was dedicated to Mary. This ancient feast required the purification of the whole house in anticipation of the return of the sun, and by lighting candles and torches in memory of Ceres searching for Proserpina.

These historic explanations of the use of candles in Jewish and "Christian" services reveal their origin in heathen worship. Along with other pagan customs they were adopted by Rome and, in these later years, have found their way into the synagogue and Protestant church services.

However, this doesn't take away from observing Hanukkah -- the reason for the observance should be kept in mind without the lighting of candles. There are LED Hanukkah menorahs available where the battery powered lights can be turned on from from one LED to the next for the eight days of the feast. 

Prophetic Lessons

One may well draw some prophetic significance from this historic event with regard to the personal and corporate renewal of the Ecclesia. The apostle Paul often refers to our bodies and the corporate Ecclesia as the Temple of YEHOVAH God. A graphic story could be told of that first century ecclesia and its plunge into years of apostasy. It is a sad story of deliberate efforts to divorce the Ecclesia from it's Biblical Israelite roots and Hebraic contours of first century Christianity, replacing (hence polluting) it with pagan symbolism and teaching. This de-Judaising effort is epitomized by the edicts of Constantine the Great through political fiat. Subsequent centuries of on-going spiritual and doctrinal pollution were experienced until YEHOVAH God moved upon the "reformers" to begin the embryonic process of restoration and renewal that continues until this day. Many men of great light and understanding, people of restoration zeal and dedication have contributed to the progress of the arduous journey for renewal. Today the Lamp of YEHOVAH God (the Ecclesia) remains in the earth and grows brighter and brighter because of these pioneers of truth.

Personal

Personal applications can also be made from this historic event with regard to the spiritual life of the individual:

"Don't you know that you people are God's temple and that God's spirit lives in you? So if anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you yourselves are that temple" (I Corinthians 3:16-17, Jewish New Testament).

In the light of this scripture, we should have no difficulty in seeing how meaningful the Hanukkah celebration can be to the Christian-Israelite believer. Again, the very word itself means "dedication." It is only from dedicated spiritual temples (our bodies) that the acceptable incense of praise and worship can flow unto our God (Ephesians 2:5). In this context, it would be quite acceptable for the Christian-Israelite to observe this feast and even display the nine branched lampstand at this time of year as an occasion for renewed commitment and a personal "Feast of Dedication" for the upcoming year. We might sing with David this song of old:

"O LORD, thou has searched me, and know me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thoughts afar off. Thou compasseth my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me...Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me..." (Psalm 139:1-5, 23-24).

Rededicate your temple! Make it a Celebration!

Footnotes:

[1] Here we make a distinction between "Torah-centric Judaism" [Biblical] and "Rabbinic Judaism" [Talmudic.] A Torah-centric Judaism was the religion out of which the first century church grew maintaining it's biblical contours in the faith and theology of Israel.

[2] Menorah: The Hebrew term for the seven branched lampstand.

[3] The knops, flowers and bowls appear to add up to seventy plus two. There seems to be a bit of mystery regarding the apparent conflict in translations as to whether this is "seventy" or "seventy-two". However, there does seem to be a nagging presence of this nuance of a supplementary two, even in some Old Testament passages. Be that as it may, the number 70 plays the dominant role in Biblical expression and numerology. Concerning the candlestick the first-century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus confirms "It was made with its knops, and lilies, and pomegranates, and bowls (which ornaments amounted to seventy in all);"

[4] See base explanation accompanying the two depictions of Menorah.

[5] While the nine-branched candlestick has historical and perhaps spiritual significance, we have no record that God commanded its construction. Therefore, it should not replace nor take priority over the seven-branched Menorah. The Mosaic Menorah retains the far greater Biblical significance.

[6] Here both of the common Hebrew words for the Temple/Tabernacle are used: miqdash and mishkan. The former comes from the verbal root "to make Holy" and the latter from the verbal root "to dwell." Both of these concepts are the basis of a Biblical understanding of the Temple. It is the Holy Place of YHVH's LITERAL Presence.

 

Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!

Hope of Israel Ministries
P.O. Box 853
Azusa, CA 91702, U.S.A.
www.hope-of-israel.org

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