Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Before we consider more detailed points concerning the lampstand, it will be helpful to have a general view of the lampstand. Exodus 25:31 says, “And you shall make a lampstand of pure gold; of beaten work shall the lampstand be made: its base and its shaft; its cups, its knobs, and its blossoming buds shall be from it. And there shall be six branches going out from its sides, three branches of the lampstand from its one side, and three branches of the lampstand from its other side.” The lampstand consists of a base, a stalk, and three pairs of branches. There were three branches on each side of the lampstand. Underneath each pair of branches there was a knob holding the two branches at the stalk. Then on each branch there were three cups shaped like almond blossoms with knobs and blossoming buds. We have seen that each cup was composed of two layers: a bottom layer, called the knob, or the calyx, the leafy green bottom of the blossom, and a top layer of petals, which actually made up the blossom, the flower. The bottom layer is called the knob, and the top layer is called the blossoming bud. The whole flower, including calyx and blossom, is a cup shaped like an almond blossom.
As we consider the lampstand as a whole, we shall see that on it there are twenty-five knobs. There are three on each branch, three holding one pair of branches each, and four on the shaft of the lampstand, making a total of twenty-five. Since the three knobs which each hold one pair of branches do not have blossoms, the lampstand has a total of twenty-two blossoms. The divine thought here is that the lampstand is actually a tree with calyxes and blossoms.
If we have a general view of the entire lampstand, we shall realize that it does in fact look like a tree. Furthermore, the lampstand is described in such a way as to give the idea of growth. These verses speak of branches, buds, and almond blossoms. Blossoming indicates growth. Thus, we must be impressed that the lampstand is a growing tree.
As a tree, the lampstand has certain outstanding features. First, it is a golden tree. Gold signifies the nature of God. As we pointed out in the previous message, the golden lampstand is the expression of the Triune God. The Triune God is a living tree, growing, budding, and blossoming.
We have seen that this golden tree has many almond blossoms. In typology almonds signify resurrection life. Aaron’s rod budding with almonds signifies resurrection life. Hence, the almonds on the lampstand indicate that it is a tree in resurrection. Resurrection is life that overcomes death without being damaged or injured by death. Death is powerless to do anything with resurrection life. Death can inflict all kinds of damage on other forms of life, plant life, animal life, and human life. Only one kind of life cannot be hurt by death, and this is resurrection life. Resurrection is life which passes through death and can never be held by it. According to the full revelation of the Scriptures, God Himself is this resurrection life.
The lampstand, of course, gives light. However, the first significance of the lampstand is not light, but life. The light is at the top of the lampstand and underneath this shining light are the blossoms. The lampstand is something that grows. The calyx under each pair of branches indicates the growth of life. These branches are produced by the growing of life. Thus, with the lampstand we see the branching out of life which takes place under the shining of the light. Life grows out light and blossoms with light. This means that the light is actually the blossoming of life. When we grow and blossom, the light shines. Our blossoming is our shining. We grow with life, but we blossom out light.
Thus far, we have seen that with the lampstand we have the divine nature, resurrection, life, and light. The seven lamps on the lampstand (v. 37) signify the Spirit. Therefore, with the lampstand there are five crucial matters: the divine nature, resurrection, life, the Spirit, and light. The revelation in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, corresponds to the lampstand in these five matters—the divine nature, resurrection, life, the Spirit, and light.
Now we must see that as those who believe in Christ, we are a part of this wonderful tree. Realizing that I am part of this golden tree causes me to be beside myself with joy. Praise the Lord that we are parts of this tree in resurrection and with the divine nature, life, the Spirit, and the shining light!
The lampstand in Exodus 25 signifies the Triune God embodied in Christ. The lampstand in Zechariah 4 signifies the Triune God expressed in the Spirit. Finally, in Revelation we have the lampstand reproduced and multiplied. In both Exodus 25 and Zechariah 4 we have just one lampstand, but in Revelation 1 we have seven. The one lampstand has been reproduced to become seven lampstands. These seven lampstands are the church. Because the lampstand has become the church and because we are all parts of the church, we have the ground to say that we are parts of the lampstand. I have the boldness to testify that I am a part of the lampstand. I hope that all the saints can declare this marvelous fact. Do you not have the divine nature? Do you not also have resurrection, life, the Spirit, and the shining light? As true believers in Christ, we have all these things.
We have seen that the lampstand is a tree. It is not an entity without light, and neither is it inanimate. It is living, organic, and full of life. It is a tree-stand, a stand that grows like a tree. This living tree is growing, branching, budding, and blossoming.
As we have pointed out, the blossoming is the shining of the light. Thus, the light is the life blossoming. Actually the light is the life. John 1:1 and 4 say, “In the beginning was the Word...and the Word was God....In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” This is the shining of Christ, the embodiment of the Triune God, as the light of life.
The fact that the lampstand is golden signifies that, as the embodiment of God, Christ is altogether divine. But two aspects of the lampstand point to the humanity of Christ. First, the central stalk of the lampstand has four blossoms, whereas each branch has just three blossoms. In the Bible the number four is not composed of two plus two; rather, it is composed of three plus one or one plus three. The number three signifies both the Triune God and resurrection. Actually, as we have mentioned, the Triune God is resurrection. Therefore, according to the Bible, the number three signifies the Triune God in resurrection. The number four in the Bible signifies creatures. For example, we have the four living creatures and the four winds. Thus, the number four signifies creation.
As God, Christ is the Creator. But as a man, He is a creature. Some Christians may protest when they are told that Christ is both the Creator and a creature. But the Bible definitely says that Christ put on human nature, that He had a body with flesh, blood, and bones. Are these not the elements of a creature? Furthermore, Colossians 1:15 says that Christ is the Firstborn of all creation. In the lampstand we have not only the Triune God, but also the creature, as signified by the number four. This is the first aspect of the lampstand which points to Christ’s humanity.
The second aspect of the lampstand related to the humanity of Christ is the wick. The wick was made of fibers, primarily of cotton. When the lamps on the stand were lighted, the wick burned with the oil. Every morning it was necessary for the priests to trim the lamps, that is, to snuff the charred, burnt wick. The charred portion of the wick is called snuff. The word snuff is also a verb meaning to cut off the burnt part of the wick. Exodus 25:38 speaks of the snuffers and the snuff dishes. The snuffers were used to cut the wick, and the snuff dishes were used to contain the burnt part of the wick. When the priest trimmed the lamps every morning, he cut off the charred wick and also added fresh oil. This was the priests’ work in caring for the lampstand.
The wick was the only part of the lampstand that was not made of gold. Thus, the wick signifies not divinity but humanity. Furthermore, the fact that the wick could become charred indicates that the lampstand not only signifies Christ Himself, but also us. Christ’s humanity could never produce a charred wick. Only our humanity is capable of becoming burnt and charred. Surely Christ had no need of a snuffer to trim Him, to deal with Him. As we read the four Gospels, we realize that it was never necessary for Christ to be snuffed, for there was never a charred wick in His human living. However, we easily become charred and need to be snuffed every day.
Morning watch is an excellent time to experience the Lord’s trimming, His snuffing. I can testify that this trimming takes place as I make confession to the Lord and ask Him to forgive me of all my defects, failures, weaknesses, and wrongdoings. If we consider our situation each day, we shall see that there is always some charred wick that needs to be snuffed. Our humanity is very low compared to Christ’s humanity. His humanity never produces any snuff, but ours produces snuff every day and requires a daily trimming. Thus, in our experience we need the snuffers and the snuff dishes.
Perhaps you are wondering who performs this work of trimming, or snuffing. Often Christ Himself will snuff us during times of fellowship with Him in the morning. At other times He may use an elder or one of the saints to do this. Furthermore, the ministers of the Word also snuff the saints and trim them. If you are a Christian who is growing and maturing in the Lord, you will unconsciously snuff others as you have fellowship with them. Some have told me that, during the course of fellowship, they have been snuffed by me. Of course, I had no intention of trimming anyone. This happened unconsciously and unintentionally. For example, one brother told me that something I said in fellowship helped him with respect to a problem he had with his wife. He told me that this cutting, this snuffing, was very helpful to him.
Many Christians today are not shining because they have a long, charred wick. Their charred wick is smoking rather than shining. In some cases, the wick may be more than twelve inches long! In order to shine properly and adequately, we need the snuffing.
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