Studies on the Tabernacle: The Golden Candlestick

Lesson 5

Exodus 25:31-40 and Exodus 27:20-21

In the Holy Place, there were three pieces of furniture: the table, the altar of incense, and the golden candlestick. We will discuss the golden candlestick first.

The Golden Candlestick

The golden candlestick was a very important item within the Holy Place. It was very costly. It was made of beaten gold. It was composed of the shaft and the branches. On the ends of the branches there were lamps. Then finally there was the oil for the lamps. It was in the light from the candlestick that the priest performed his duties before God. There was no natural light in the tabernacle.

Look now at the spiritual application. The buds and flowers = resurrection. The gold represents the deity of the Lord. No wood = humanity. Notice that the gold was beaten. It had endured punishment of the Savior. Isaiah wrote: “It pleased the Lord to bruise Him.” “He was bruised for our iniquities.” See Isaiah 53:5, 10. God did this to the Lord, not just for our salvation, but that He might bring the Church into existence; the birth of the Bride of Christ. Peter said, “Unto you who believe He is precious.”

Note the weight of the candlestick was 90 talents (94 lbs). At present day prices, it would cost approximately $30,000. All we know of the candlestick is its weight and general appearance. We know nothing of its dimensional characteristics. As a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, this is unique. No limitations can be put on our Lord, who is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. He, not only, is unlimited and unrestricted, but His value is fathomless. “What is thy beloved more than another beloved?” The incarnate world is immeasurable. He is the fullness of the Godhead bodily and full of grace and truth. We are not redeemed with silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Jesus. 


The Shaft - The Shaft reminds us of John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” The branches, three on either side, and one on top, were all part of, and attached to the shaft or stem. This signifies our union and relationship with Christ. When a marriage takes place, God sees two people becoming one flesh. Spiritually we become one with Christ at conversion. Paul likens this, in Romans, to a marriage. 


The Branches - Matthew 5:14 says, “Ye are the light of the world.” As long as Christ was in the world, He was the light of the world. He still is, but not in a fleshly body. He meets individuals - you and me, to shine in the dark world. The Lord admonishes us, “Let your light so shine before men.” See Revelation 1:20. The churches are described as lamp stands. From them shone forth the gospel light; so today, true local churches shine in the Dispensation of Grace. For the influence of the Church in the world, see 2 Thessalonians 2. 


The Seven Lamps - In Revelation 4:5, John speaks of the “seven lamps of fire,” which are the seven Spirits of God. There is no light in the world today except as the Holy Spirit sets on fire the children of God. All effort is futile, unless energized and motivated by the Holy Spirit. The number seven in the Word speaks of divine perfection. This is seen in the seven lamps placed on the candlestick, representing the Holy Spirit indwelling the Church of Jesus Christ. 


The Oil for the Lamps - This speaks to us of the Holy Spirit. There are numerous instances where oil is used as a type of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 1:9, for instance, says, “Thy God hath anointed Thee with the oil (spirit) of gladness.” Think also of the parable of the 10 virgins - see Matthew 25:1-13.

Salvation cannot come to anyone without the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit upon the heart of that individual. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts (see John 14). It was the Holy Spirit hovering over the face of the waters and the spoken Word of God that brought light to this world. It was the same Holy Spirit Who hovered over Mary and caused her to conceive and bring forth a Son, Jesus - the Light of the World.

The candlestick was made from beaten gold. The oil was made from beaten olives. This possibly represents the sufferings of the Holy Spirit. We must remember that the Holy Spirit is a person, who has feelings as you and I. Ephesians 4:30 says, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit.” The olive was beaten, not just crushed, in order that the lamps might have oil and give forth light.


The Only Light - From the candlestick came the only light in the tabernacle. There were no windows, no natural light. Even the priest did not carry a light as he performed his sacred duties in the Holy Place. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” We cannot approach God in worship except through Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. For worship or salvation, we need Christ.


The Showbread

The showbread was made of fine flour. This spoke of the Lord: no roughness – no irregularities. The showbread truly spoke of the sinless character of Christ (“Truly this was the Son of God,” and “I find no fault in this man.”). It may also speak of the suffering of Christ; in the midst of suffering, brought into the fire of God’s judgment. The showbread became the food of priests. We also should feed on the Bread of Life. 

Table of Showbread: Exodus 25:23-30 

    1. Material: Wood and Gold. This was representative of the humanity and deity of Christ. He was born of a woman – born in the flesh – yet the incarnate Son of God.

    2. The Priest could not sit at the table. The priests always stood in the presence of God. Their work was never done (see Hebrews 10:11-12). “Every priest standeth…But this man after He had offered, sat down.”

    3. Typical Significance: Fellowship. Revelation 3:20 says, “open the door – come in – sup with him.” The Lord yearns for our fellowship. The table of showbread speaks of communion and fellowship with the Bread of Life.

The crowns speak of exaltation. There were two: a crown of thorns and a crown of glory. The unleavened bread speaks of the sinless-ness and perfection of Christ. Leaven speaks of evil. There is no evil in the Lord. While speaking of the Living Word, we may also speak of the written Word.