The Word of God and the Tabernacle Menorah
Today's lesson concerns an Old Testament Tabernacle object, one of three in the Holy Place, called a menorah, most commonly translated as 'lampstand.'
This particular menorah is not the Hanukkah menorah that most people are familiar with, as it concerns Jewish observances. The Hanukkah menorah has eight branches with a center branch known as the shamash, unlike the the object of this lesson which has seven branches and is described in Exodus chapter 25.
We will look at how this particular Holy Place furnishing represents the Word of God itself.
It might first be important to take a look at the structure itself and the arrangement of particular items. This might be useful in understanding the position and purpose of the menorah.
As you can see in the above diagram, there were three sections to this structure that the priest would have to pass through in order to get to the Presence of God at the Ark of the Covenant. These three areas consisted of the Outer Court, Holy Place, and Holy of Holies. The arrow on the right in the diagram indicates where they would begin, and it, of course, began at the door or threshold of the Tabernacle, with a sacrifice.
Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep...If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved...
— John 10
Jesus was the sacrificial lamb for us
“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
— John 1:29
By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all...And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified
— Hebrews 10:5-14
The sacrifice was offered up on the "Altar of Burnt Offering" and then the priest would move along to the Laver that was filled with water for washing.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
— John 13:3-5
What a beautiful picture of being cleansed from sin through a sacrifice.
how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God
— Hebrews 9:14
The priest could now enter into the Holy Place where there were three pieces of furniture. (Table of Bread, the Lampstand, and the Altar of Incense) The first stop was the Table of Bread upon which were placed twelve loaves of bread before the Lord continually.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life...I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world
— John 6
The bread is also an image of the Word but not the focus of this study. More on this can be found in another article called "Our Daily Manna"
The instructions for the menorah are quite detailed and can be difficult to visualize. Some of the information I will be sharing was therefore borrowed from a book titled "The Tabernacle of Moses" by Kevin J. Connor who sheds some light on what this may have looked like and the purpose of that. Lets first look at the Biblical description.
“You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece. And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side. Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower—and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand. On the lampstand itself four bowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower. And there shall be a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand. Their knobs and their branches shall be of one piece; all of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold. You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it. And its wick-trimmers and their trays shall be of pure gold. It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils. And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.
— Exodus 25:31-40
Did you notice that "lampstand" (menorah in Hebrew) is used seven times for this seven branched object?
The number seven is such a large topic, in and of itself, that it will get its very own study in the near future, but for now, and the purpose of this particular study we will look at a highly condensed understanding of it.
In short, this number seven will connect us with how the Word of God itself is imaged in this object as expressed in the following verse.
The words of the Lord are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times
— Psalm 12:4
King David in his song of praise to God confirms
“For You are my lamp, O Lord;
The Lord shall enlighten my darkness....
...As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the Lord is proven (tried, tested, true, refined, and purified);
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
— II Samuel 22:29,31
Seven expresses the concept of totally complete, satisfied and perfect. We can count on the Word of God to be complete, satisfying tested, tried and true.
The Seven Spirits of God
There are seven Spirits of God recorded in Isaiah chapter eleven that are thought by some scholars to correspond with these branches. More on Isaiah being a miniature Bible in and of itself, later. In parentheses I labeled where each facet of God's Spirit would be located on the menorah.
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, (central shaft)
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, (two outer branches)
The Spirit of counsel and might, (two outer branches)
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. (two outer branches)
— Isaiah 11:1-2
Solomon in the book of Proverbs uses this same language as Isaiah using seven similar words, as it concerns how to receive and walk in this light of His Word.
My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
— Proverbs 2:1-5
Like the hunger of a flame imaged in this object, we must, cry out, stretch out our ear, lift up our voices, seek for the truth and wisdom as if it were a hidden treasure.
The Psalmist makes the comparison of the weightiness and richness of gold and of God's Word, and also mentions its enlightening attributes. His Word is expressed in six terms (law, testimony, statutes, commandments, fear of the Lord, and Judgments) which could be viewed in light of the six branches extending from the main shaft of the menorah, with seven attributes. This can illustrate for us the how the Word of God (7) works in man (6)
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold
— Psalm 19:7-10
The subject of gold leads us to our next consideration.
Another observation is that the tabernacle menorah was made entirely of pure gold. Gold in Scripture represents Godliness and the Glory of God.
And that Godliness may dwell in us through faith.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls
— I Peter 1:6-9
Jesus tells the luke-warm Laodicean church that thinks they are satisfied because they are rich, wealthy and need of nothing but do not know that they are actually wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked ...
I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire
— Revelation 3:18
This object represents the Word of God so how does this relate?
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
— Isaiah 55:1-3
Listening carefully, hearing, and stretching forth one's ear to the Word of God is how we buy gold that is refined in the fire. Recall that his Word has been purified seven times in the fire. The chapter later details what and whom we are to listen to a bit more
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
— Isaiah 55:10-11
We buy this gold with our ear as my old pastor Scott Wood used to teach.
faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
— Romans 10:17
Hearing is attached to the concept of obedience in Hebrew thought, and our faithfulness may be tried and tested by fire as well. This was discussed in the parable of the soils in which the Word of God was sown
afterward tribulation or persecution having come because of the word, immediately they are stumbled.
— Mark 4:17
Just about everything in the Tabernacle had specific measurements. Not so with the menorah. Only its weight is considered. It was made out of a talent of pure gold (60-100 pounds). One of gold's most important characteristics is its density and weight hence the phrase "worth its weight in gold" see "Glory and Liver" for further information on this topic.
the Word of God is infinite (immeasurable) in wisdom when we consider its weight and value.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
— Romans 11:33
Gold is symbolic of God's weightiness, perfection, and glory. In this particular instance
"it (gold) marks the Divine character of truth"
— John Ritchie "Tabernacle in the Wilderness"
The unmentioned measure is communicated in another way in terms of its branches. The Hebrew word for "branch" as used in Exodus 25 is the same word for "measuring rod or reed"
In the visions of God He took me into the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain; on it toward the south was something like the structure of a city.
He took me there, and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze. He had a line of flax and a measuring rod (same word as branch in Exodus) in his hand, and he stood in the gateway.
— Ezekiel 40:2-3
Gods word is the only accurate standard of measure.
For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise
— II Corinthians 10:12
The description given in Exodus 25 says that the bowls were to be made like almonds. The Hebrew word for almond is the same word for watchfulness or wakefulness and can symbolize awakening. Almond trees blossom (awaken) early during the winter even before its leaves appear. It is the first tree to awaken or be resurrected from the dead winter.
And there is a word of Jehovah unto me, saying, 'What art thou seeing, Jeremiah?' And I say, 'A rod of an almond (shaqed) tree I am seeing.'And Jehovah saith unto me, 'Thou hast well seen: for I am watching (shaqed) over My word to do it.'
— Jeremiah 1:10-11 YLT
Olive Oil - Holy Spirit
When we read Exodus 25, this object we are studying is most frequently translated as "lampstand", our modern imaginations might be tempted to think of wax candles emerging from seven branches, but the lamps of that time were fueled by oil and this is significant in that the oil is to image the Holy Spirit.
Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
— II Corinthians 1:21-22
The word "anoint" above ha to do with oil. In the Old Testament, kings and priests were appointed and empowered using this pouring of oil upon them which was to be an early image of the Holy Spirit who could come to anoint, appoint, and empower.
Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the laver and its base, to consecrate them. And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him.
— Leviticus 8:10-12
This is exampled in the life of Christ
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
— Acts 10:38
Jesus is identified as the Word of God and light in the Gospel of John
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 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.
— John 1:1-5
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth
— John 1:14
Later in John's Gospel Jesus also connects the concepts of light and Word with the Holy Spirit
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
— John 6:63
And Jesus also tells us in John that it is the Holy Spirit that will reveal the truth of Christ to us.
when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth
— John 16:13
The preacher of Proverbs agrees when he writes
The lamp of the Lord is the breath of man,
that searches every innermost part
— Proverbs 20:27
The Tree of Eternal Life and the Word of God
It is understood that the oil used in this lamp was specifically olive oil. An excellent and recommended read on this whole topic is "God's Lamp: Man's Light" by John D. Garr, Ph.D. who notes in his book that
"The Jewish people have long believed that the menorah originally represented the tree of life...the tree of life also represented the Torah, the wisdom of God's Word. Solomon declared..."
Happy is the man who finds wisdom...She is a tree of life...
— Proverbs 3:13,18
He also notes that in the book of Revelation...
Blessed are those who do His commandments (Torah/Word of God), that they may have the right to the tree of life
— Revelation 22:14
The olive tree was considered an "eternal" tree, considering its longevity. There are olive trees around today that are considered to be over 3000 years old. Garr also notes that
"even when the trunk of an olive tree is cut down, new life springs forth from its roots"
— John D. Garr
Torah scrolls are said to be wound on dowels of olive wood and they are called etz hayyim which means "tree of life"
Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments (Torah/Word of God).”
— Matthew 19:16-17
Quoting Garr again
"The Torah is the record of God's instructions that, when fulfilled in men's lives, produce life...walking in rebellion against the commandments of God that were explicitly set forth in the Torah tends toward darkness and death"
In his book, "The Beast That Crouches at the Door", by Rabbi David Fohrman, He writes that Modern day Torah observant Jews who attend synagogue on the Sabbath recite Proverbs 3:18 above: "It is a tree of life to all who grab hold of it", when the Torah is raised for all to see.
The most prominent purpose of this furnishing was to give light. There was no other source of light in this "Holy Place" The Psalmist declares his only source of light.
Your word is a lamp (ner) to my feet
And a light to my path.
— Psalm 119:105
This connection with Light and God's Word is made in Proverbs chapter six, where a father counsels his son about the prevention of the pitfalls of adultery. This is great advice concerning our human relationships, but I think the message is much deeper, in that, it images for us how to be faithful to God and that is by staying near in thought and obedience to His Word.
My son, keep your father’s command (Mitzvot),
And do not forsake the law (Torah/instruction) of your mother.
Bind them continually upon your heart;
Tie them around your neck.
- When you roam, the will lead you;
- When you sleep, they will keep you;
- And when you awake, they will speak with you.
For the commandment is a lamp,
And the law a light;
Reproofs of instruction are the way of life
— Proverbs 6:20-23
Three is the number of spiritual and solid things, as is numbered by three things that are a lamp, light, and a way of life. They are expressed as commands, laws, and instructions. The light of God's Word, Commands, Laws, and Instructions are very real substantial solid and spiritual. (More on this in this at "The Biblical Number Three and the Truth of Spiritual Things") God images for us His loving commands and our faith in His goodness, exhibited through obedience in the context of a parent child relationship.
This very light is none other than Jesus the Word Himself that was from the very beginning.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God...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
— John 1
John witnesses that this indeed the "Light of the World"
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world
— John 1:1-9
Pulling this all together...
"the light of God is manifest from the life that is written, spoken, and living Word"
— John D. Garr
Psalm 119 is what is known as an alphabetic Psalm that consists of 22 sections of eight verses each which are titled by the letters of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet of which there are 22 of course. Each stanza of a particular section begins with the letter it is headed by and also follows the pictographic understanding of that letter.
The above verse from Psalm 119 is the first of eight stanzas that begin with letter noon from which this section is titled. It is also the first letter of the word for "lamp" (ner) in the above verse. Noon is pictographically represented by a fish or seed and carries the idea of life, propagation, generation, and eternal things. It could be seen that the continuance of generations is a natural image of things that can be propagated infinitely and pictures things that are forever. I thought on this note it would be fun to look at the chiastic structure of these eight verses that reveal the mechanics of this concept in terms of practical application.
The Chiastic Structure of Psalm 119:105-112
I would also like to view the entire section of Psalm 119 chiastically, as I think it leads to even deeper look at the practical application His Word being light.
A chiasm is a literary sandwich of sorts where the most important points are in the middle of a portion of Scripture and are wrapped or surrounded by parallel texts that detail this main point on each side. I have labeled the parallels by letter.
A) Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
B) I have sworn and confirmed
That I will keep Your righteous judgments.
C) I am afflicted very much;
Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word.
D) Accept, I pray, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord,
And teach me Your judgments.(righteous decisions)
D) My life is continually in my hand,
Yet I do not forget Your law. (Torah - instructions)
C)The wicked have laid a snare for me,
Yet I have not strayed from Your precepts.
B)Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever,
For they are the rejoicing of my heart.
A) I have inclined (stretched out) my heart to perform Your statutes (established tried and true prescriptions - think doctor giving you trial proven prescription of medicine or some action)
Forever, to the very end. (Hebrew word achev means consequential reward)
— Psalm 119:105-112
The first comparison is the "A's" the first "A" speaks of feet that are walking symbolically through life via the light of God's Word. The second "A" details the Word as God's statutes or prescriptions for that walk that reap eternal consequences or rewards.
Moving along to the "B's", taken together we can see that the psalmist swears to the keeping of God's commandments by viewing them as an eternal inheritance that rejoices one's, heart.
The "C's are related in theme with affliction and the wicked who have laid a snare, and the Psalmist relying completely on the God's prescribed Word and expecting to be revived by it.
The "D's", are the central axis, and are common with the righteous decisions and perfect instructions of God. This portion begs to be taught God's Word, prescription, and instructions and not forget them. It also connects the concepts of word and deed. (mouth and hand) as offerings in this process. This concept is brought together by Paul in the book of Romans
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
— Romans 12:1-2
Psalm 119 carries on this thought into the section of the letter pey which is imaged by a mouth and offers a fitting metaphor for how this light is received.
The entrance (petakh - begins with pey) of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.
I opened my mouth and panted,
For I longed for Your commandments
— Psalm 119:131-132
We must desire and even pant for His Word. Fire is hungry and devouring. This is the illustration of how to feed this flame.
...man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.
— Deuteronomy 8:1-3
Hebrew Word Pictograph
Hebrew is a pictographic language, in that, the letters of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet are each associated with an image that helps define the word itself. The Hebrew word menorah has some interesting insights when viewed through these concepts.
Menorah is spelled with these Hebrew letters. Mem, noon, vav, resh, and hey. Most Hebrew words are two or three letters long making the additional letters either prefixes or suffixes. In this case, the center three letters noon, vav, and resh are the root and simply mean lamp. We will look at these first.
Noon, as discussed earlier, is the fish or seed that images propagating life and is connected to the idea of eternal life.
Vav is a nail and simply means to connect
Resh is pictured as a man's head indicating first, highest, priority, and is connected to the idea of a person. That person, in this case, is the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God Himself.
If we combine the picture concepts, we see that ner or lamp, is eternal life connected to the highest most important person. Peter declared
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
— John 6:68
Let's now look at the prefix and suffix. The mem is the prefix, and the hey is the suffix of this word.
Mem is imaged by water and in this case can represent a womb carrying the concept of incubating, multiplying and developing.
The hey at the end of the word makes the word female and generally asks the question "what comes from" It is imaged by a window indicating light and revelation. This makes an easy connection as it concerns the Word of God.
God said "Let There Be Light"
According to Rabbi Daniel Lapin when there is a mem in front of a word and hey at the end the word conveys the idea of transforming a concept into a reality, much like a woman who receives the seed of a man. The result or what is revealed from this incubation and multiplication is a baby. The Word of God produces as is described in the parable of the sower
he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces
— Matthew 13:23
Isaiah also confirms this
My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it
— Isaiah 55:11
This shows us what comes from receiving the words of life, connected to the highest most important one, it is truth reproduced and revealed in us.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven
— Matthew 5:14-16
The Hebrew word menorah, therefore, is pictographically illustrating for us, that the word of God is meant to produce something in us.
Mary strongly images this for us when visited by the Words of God.
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her
— Luke 1:38
Paul also makes this connection and admonishment in connection to our light being produced and connected to the Word of Life.
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain
— Philippians 2:14-16
A Little Math
For this Finale section, we are going to do a little bit of math that confirms the menorah as an illustration of the Word of God itself. It will be easy math otherwise I personally wouldn't understand it let alone present it.
I began this article with the detailed description of the menorah as recorded in Exodus chapter 25. As stated before, It is difficult to visualize what this may have looked like and therefore I have borrowed the description given in Kevin J. Connor's book "The Tabernacle of Moses" where he describes a center main shaft from which three branches extend on both sides. This totals seven lights atop seven branches. He explains that each of the extending six branches had three sets of three items on them. The three items were a knop, a flower, and a bowl. In many replicas, these three items are shown as one piece. The center shaft had four of these.
If we put a number three next to each knop, flower, and bowl bunch, we can see that, when adding together each set on each branch, nine is the total of the individual six outer branches and twelve is the total of the center shaft.
If we start from the left and add up the total of the first four branches including the shaft, we would have a total of 39. This corresponds to the number of books in the Old Testament. If we add together the remaining three we have a total of 27 which is consistent with the number of books in the New Testament. The Grand total is 66 which of course is the same number of books in the Bible total.
So why did I add the middle branch with the first four? Because the central shaft is to image the Messiah Word of God who would come to the earthly created realm, which is why there are four knop flower and bowl sets. four is the number of the earth and physical things that transform as was discussed at length in "The Monarch Butterfly an Illustration of Transformation Part One" He is the central figure who fulfilled the Old covenant that ushered in the new.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes
— Romans 10:4
If you were to simply add the blossoms (3 parts together) counting each as one. The total number of blossoms would be 22. This is interesting because if you took all 66 books of the Bible and rolled them up three times equally, there would be 22 books in each roll. These 22 blossoms are distributed on seven branches. 22/7 equals pi (the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter)
The Almond blossom has five petals. The foundation of scripture is the Torah or first five books of the Bible.
"In Christ the Messiah, in Jesus the Savior, in the Son of God the redeemer--all the truths of the Bible center."
Nine Attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit
As it concerns nine, another layer of understanding that could be derived from this is that nine is the number of fruit of the Spirit.
the fruit of the Spirit is
— Galatians 5:22-23
There are seven churches described by John in the book of Revelation with Jesus at the center
Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band
— Revelation 1:12-13
These seven are fueled by the Spirit of God with Jesus at the center.
Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth
— Revelation 1:4-5
I couldn't help but think of the twelve at the center as well, there were twelve tribes of Israel, twelve disciples, and twelve apostles. The result that God desires to be displayed in His Kingdom...
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
— Matthew 5:14-16
Paul also ties these things together in his letter to the Ephesians summarizing light, Spirit, and fruit with three reasons to walk in the light, lending to us a beautiful application.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth)
— Ephesians 5:8-9
The Hanukkah lamp that was mentioned at the beginning of this article was made as a memorial to the miraculous deliverance of the Jews from the cruel oppression of Antiochus Epiphanes IV who had persecuted them severely and desecrated the temple along with its objects. The Lord miraculously made it possible for the one flask of pure oil that was left to last for eight days until more could be made. There are therefore eight branches on the Hanukkah menorah with one servant/shemash light in the middle. This brings the total number of flames to nine, standing in agreement and in concert with the numeric theme of the tabernacle menorah. Jesus Himself observed this festival in John chapter ten.
The Nine Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The Apostle Paul noted that there are also nine gifts of the Spirit, in his first letter to the Corinthians.
- There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
- There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And
- there are diversities of activities,
but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for
- to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit,
- to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
- to another faith by the same Spirit,
- to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
- to another the working of miracles,
- to another prophecy,
- to another discerning of spirits,
- to another different kinds of tongues,
- to another the interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
— I Corinthians 12:4-11
Did you notice the trinity in the first verse? There are also seven occurrences of "Spirit" in this portion of scripture think once again of the seven lights atop the lamp stand. Fruit and gifts are the work of the Spirit that fuels our ability to shine.
Isaiah - A Bible in the Bible
Another interesting confirming transition like this occurs in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah contains 66 chapters like the Bible contains 66 books. The first 39 chapters image the Old Testament, which would make chapter 40 the beginning of the New Testament. This chapter, in fact, opens much like the New Testament does with the payment and pardoning of sins along with the call to repentance.
“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
Says your God.
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned; (The purpose of Christ's coming -The sacrificial lamb enters the scene)
For she has received from the Lord’s hand
Double for all her sins.”
The voice of one crying in the wilderness: (John the Baptist)
“Prepare (literally turn your face toward - image of repentance) the way of the Lord;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
— Isaiah 40:1-5
Tying this all together we can see the menorah speaking to us, in terms of His Word, as being breathed with the Spirit of the Lord, our light, our very breath and life, and gives us an incredible insight into the parable of the ten virgins with which I conclude this study.
Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
— Matthew 25:1-13
© 2016 Tamarajo