He also made the lampstand of pure gold. He made the lampstand of hammered work. Its base, its stem, its cups, its calyxes, and its flowers were of one piece with it. 18 And there were six branches going out of its sides, three branches of the lampstand out of one side of it and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side of it; 19 three cups made like almond blossoms, each with calyx and flower, on one branch, and three cups made like almond blossoms, each with calyx and flower, on the other branch—so for the six branches going out of the lampstand.20 And on the lampstand itself were four cups made like almond blossoms, with their calyxes and flowers, 21 and a calyx of one piece with it under each pair of the six branches going out of it. 22 Their calyxes and their branches were of one piece with it. The whole of it was a single piece of hammered work of pure gold. 23 And he made its seven lamps and its tongs and its trays of pure gold. 24 He made it and all its utensils out of a talent of pure gold. (Exodus 37:17-24)
The Hebrew word for the lampstand was Menorah and it is a very distinctive shape, full of meaning as we shall see. It was a single upright shaft with 6 branches coming out of it making 7 lamps in all. It was to represent a tree or a vine. It denotes our unity with Jesus and our being part of him. He is the central stem but we have been grafted into Him and receive our sustenance from him.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
The lamps were filled daily with oil and they were never allowed to go out but were maintained continually. It was the only light source in the holy place, suggesting that God alone is the only source of light, of revelation of clarity and enlightenment.
Every object we have seen so far has been made of wood overlaid with Gold but the lampstand was made of pure gold. It is not just ‘solid’ gold but ‘pure’ gold with no imperfections. This also points to God being perfect and without blemish;
As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless (Psalm 18:30 NIV)
The theme of light clearly points towards Jesus who proclaimed himself to be the light of the world;
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
The choice in the decoration of the lampstand was also significant. It represented an almond in the 3 stages of its development; flower, bud and fruit. The almond tree is a type of resurrection. It is the first tree to ‘come to life’ after the winter. This is a shadow of Christ who was the first to be resurrected;
and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. (Revelation 1:5)
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)
As I mentioned when we looked at the contents of the ark, Aaron’s rod was an almond branch and it too came to life and budded when it was obviously dead. The theme of resurrection is clear from the almond and it points to Jesus who died and rose again.
So the lampstand shadows Jesus in its; light, purity and resurrection.