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The design and structure of the Temple Menorrah was given to Moses by God with instructions to build it exactly as He specified:
God told Moses:"You are to make a lamp-stand of pure gold...Six branches must extend from the sides of it three from one side, three from the other. (Each) branch is to carry three cups shaped like almond blossoms...The calyx and the branches must be one piece, with the lamp-stand, and the whole made from a single piece of pure gold, beaten out...Then you are to make seven lamps of them and set them so that they throw their light towards the front...See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." (Exodus 20:32; 25:31-40; & 37:17+).
You will rarely see this Mosaic lamp in Jewish synagogues and homes today. It has been replaced by a Hannukah lamp called a "Hannukiah" which does not follow God's design. So don't be confused. The two lamps, though similar in appearance, are entirely different. (See footnote)
God's Mosaic design features a lamp of seven arms. They are all the same height and all beaten out of the same peice of gold. This is the design you will see in all archeological pictures and artifacts. The Hannukiah common today has 9 arms, and one, by tradition, is supposed to be different than the others (usually higher).
The Old Testament tells us that the 7-armed lamp of God's instructions stood in the Holy Place just outside the Holy of Holies. It stood on the south side of the Tabernacle, opposite the table which fronted the veil. It was one of the most sacred objects in Semitic theology. Designed by God Himself, it's importance to prophecy is profound.
It is one of the objects stolen from the Temple of Herod by the Romans when they destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. A representation of it (as a part of the captured booty of the Roman soldiers) can be seen in the decorations on the Arch of Titus in Rome, where it was taken. It has never been seen since.
Every design given to Moses by God represented a foresight of profound spiritual significance. The spiritual significance is it's true meaning can only be seen in Christ. As far as the lamp is concerned, Jesus has defined it in terms of the "SEven Spirits" and "Seven Churches" described by John in the Book of Revelation (Chapters1 & 2).
God showed John the Seven Churches in the image of seven golden lampstands. His vision ties the design of the scattered churches to the structure of the ancient Hebrew lampstand (the Menorrah) which stood inside the Tabernacle of the Testimony at the time of Moses.
As we saw before, the fact that Jesus equated these seven churches with one of the key objects at the heavenly altar is certain proof that John's representation is symbolic.
These seven cover, not just seven cities in a country we now call 'Turkey', but the whole world. As divine metaphor, the vision is designed to show us that God sees the scattered churches of Christianity as the essential framework of His entire religion -- a framework encompassing every church on earth dedicated to Christ's Gospel.
The divine unity of these seven different lamps was made clear when Moses was instructed by the angel of God to design all seven exactly the same down to the smallest detail, and all out of the same piece of gold. It is obvious in Jesus' revelation to John (Rv.1:20), that this seven-pronged Mosaic lampstand (the menorrah) was made to prefigure the structure of the ingathered Church.
The Holy Spirit ordered the construction of this lampstand, and made an important issue about it's details in the old Testament specifically to highlight the seven churches of the Messiah. That is because these seven churches were to be the mechanism of God's 'lamp of life' on earth.
God has always presented Himself to us in the form of graphic metaphoric images. In his vision, John witnessed Jesus in the image of a lamb -- the Lamb of God in heaven. John said that this Lamb had "seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits which God has sent out all over the world." (Rv.5:6).
The seven eyes correlate with God's instructions that the cups on the lampstand be shaped like almond blossoms. The almond was called the 'watchful tree' because it was the first fruit tree to blossom in the spring (thus it 'watched' for spring's appearance when new life appeared). God expanded this metaphore when He spoke to Jeremiah. "Jeremiah, what do you see?" asked the Lord. Jeremiah answered, "I see a branch of the watchful tree." Then the Lord said, "Well seen! I too watch over my word to see it fulfilled." (Jer.1:11-12).
Since John had earlier described the seven spirits as "the angels of the seven churches" (Rv.1:20), his statement here infers that Christ's 'eyes' and 'power' are all brought to a single focus in the seven churches these angels oversee.
The number 'seven' itself is metaphoric and stands for perfection (for complete fulfillment). That is why, when we read the Holy Spirit's admonition to these seven churches, we see ourselves as well as all the other members of Christianity in John's address. The Holy Spirit meant Christ's words for all of us -- no one is left out. The seven churches describe the totality of Christianity on the planet. From the largest to the smallest -- every church in the Christian faith.
The unity of the Hebrew lampstand (the perfect equality in its construction that Moses insisted upon) is the Holy Spirit's way of showing us that God has no favorites -- that all churches in Jesus enjoy the same favor since each one has its own specific part of the darkness to illuminate.
Each church expands Christ's proclamation deeper into the world, so that the Lord's light can reach into every part of the darkness, thus allowing the Holy Spirit to search through the murkiest shadows of the world for the lost people of God.
In the spread of this preaching, God's Church has not grown haphazardly. The Holy Spirit has built these 'seven' lighthouses of Christian faith precisely the way God instructed. Yet they, themselves are not faultless. John's whole address to this lampstand of churches in the Book of Revelations consists of seven congratulations mixed with stern warnings for improvement.
The churches have been given a divine responsibility to preach God's word exactly as stated and to insist on it. Those that stray from this directive become subject to the warning.
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