Tuesday, December 29, 2015

What you don't want to hear is: "Big Mistake. Big Mistake. Huge Mistake."

The Lampstand


Photo courtesy of: http://www.templebuildersministry.com/ -- please do visit their site.

Exodus 25:31-40: Then you shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand and its base and its shaft are to be made of hammered work; its cups, its bulbs and its flowers shall be of one piece with it. Six branches shall go out from its sides; three branches of the lampstand from its one side and three branches of the lampstand from its other side. Three cups shall be shaped like almond blossoms in the one branch, a bulb and a flower, and three cups shaped like almond blossoms in the other branch, a bulb and a flower—so for six branches going out from the lampstand; and in the lampstand four cups shaped like almond blossoms, its bulbs and its flowers. A bulb shall be under the first pair of branches coming out of it, and a bulb under the second pair of branches coming out of it, and a bulb under the third pair of branches coming out of it, for the six branches coming out of the lampstand. Their bulbs and their branches shall be of one piece with it; all of it shall be one piece of hammered work of pure gold. Then you shall make its lamps seven in number; and they shall mount its lamps so as to shed light on the space in front of it. Its snuffers and their trays shall be of pure gold. It shall be made from a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils. See that you make them after the pattern for them, which was shown to you on the mountain.”
We come now to the third piece of furniture God wanted constructed by the people of Israel – a lampstand of pure gold. He gives them specific instructions that one reads in this passage.  There are a few special aspects we should point out. The text speaks of “bulbs” and one could well say, “Wait a minute, they didn’t have bulbs, as in light bulbs, in the day of Moses.” And one would be right. This lampstand would not even be lit with candles. Instead, the ‘cups’ that were shaped like almonds, but also looked like flowers, made of gold, were to be filled with oil and a wick placed in them, which would be lit.  But once lit, they were to remain lit, and so we imagine the wick and the oil would need replacing and replenishing often. David Guzik suggests the use of the almond blossom image is significant in that it is the first tree to blossom in the springtime. I draw from that the “children of Israel” were the first of God’s children and the real light (Jesus Christ) came to them first.
It would have six branches going out from it, three on each side, and the center post shall have four ornaments looking like flowers on it, likely spread out from the top to the bottom of the stand, the top one also used as a lamp along with the other six ornaments – so seven lamps (or lights) all together.
And if that’s not enough detailed instruction, God wants the flame in each of the seven lamps to be placed in such a way that each one sheds light on the space before it.  Accessory equipment like the snuffers and the trays they sit on are also to be made of pure gold.  Wow not even ladies of the southern aristocratic families of the last century had these many demands for anything they ordered for their fancy plantation homes. And God drives home His request by telling Moses to make sure that all these things are made in accordance to the pattern He gave to him on the mountain.  Our God is a demanding God.  But here’s the newsflash – He has every right to be.  And once again that is the hardest foundational hurdle of faith for us to overcome, and the rest comes easy. For those that are looking for a better (from a human perspective) explanation, Chuck Smith says God wanted it exactly the way He wanted it “because it has to be an exact thing if it’s going to be a model of the heavenly.” Then he points out that in Hebrews 8:5 we are told that that’s exactly what it is.
Remember this lampstand (along with the Ark and the ‘table of showbread’) was to be kept in the structure that God instructs His people to build next – the tent we call the Tabernacle. The lampstand was to be the light in the tent that would be completely covered and thus needed internal light, but Chuck Smith commentates, “it really was a symbol of God’s desire for the nation Israel to be the light of the world.
Matthew Henry takes the symbolism one step further. Until the real Light (Jesus Christ) was to come to earth (for He already existed in the heavens), God was not left without witness of His existence. The lamp, to Henry, represented the commandments of God, and the lights of this lampstand the law.  The branches from the lamp were the prophets who gave light in their time throughout the Old Testament.
As interesting as all this symbolism is, I must remind myself that it is all symbolic and sometimes left to the interpretation of commentators.  However, what we should not ignore to any extent is God’s caution that He now has repeated twice and I believe does so again later in Scripture.  Simply put, it is “Follow the Instructions!”  Not, “If all else fails, follow the instructions!” But follow them the first time. Henry says, “Nothing was left to his (Moses’) own invention, or the fancy of the workmen, or the people’s humor; but the will of God must be religiously observed in every particular.
And here’s why this is so significant according to Henry: “All God’s providences are exactly according to his counsels, and the copy never varies from the original.  Infinite Wisdom never changes its measures; whatever is the purposed shall undoubtedly be performed.” That’s critical.  God’s principles do not change.  If something was wrong in the days of Israel, it’s wrong today. If God desired a relationship with us in the day of Moses, He desires a relationship with us today. And so on. And thus His representatives in the Church today must administer all his ordinances according to His instructions. Jesus Himself echoed this when in Matthew 28:20 He said, “Observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.

In the business world today, contractors lose their jobs if they fail to follow the exact specifications of the blueprints they are given. Engineers can get sued if they fail to build a product to spec. Deaths can result from such disobedience. So we all do our best to follow the instructions to a tee if we want something to work well. But for some reason, when it comes to either our relationship with God, or in our obedience to His directions for our lives, we think we can improve on the design or the process.

Many of you have seen the old movie with Julia Roberts were she, looking a little like a tramp, was refused service when trying to buy something at a very expensive store on Rodeo Drive in Beverley Hills, California. She was asked to leave.  Later in the week, she drops in to the same store, loaded with several bags from a competitor elite retailer, finds the same saleslady, holds ups all her shopping and utters her famous line, “Big mistake. Big mistake. Huge mistake.” You ask what’s the connection? Simply this: When God tells you to do something, do it.  If you’re there to serve others – don’t pick and choose who you serve; serve all that God brings your way.  And you can draw many of your own inferences.  The point is you don’t want God or the angels He sends in disguise coming back and saying, “Big mistake.” Let’s get serious about God’s instructions and let’s follow them religiously. 

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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.


  1. I like to read your comments, Ken. You nail the topic and continue to provide me with the insight I am looking for, and in bite size bits.
    This one brings home that Jesus IS the Light of the world.

    1. Thank you Andrea for being such an encouragement to me. I enjoy studying Scripture and try to see what it says to me that I can share with others. May 2016 be a good year for us all. Ken.