Chapter 19 The Candlestick

Thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold (Exodus 25:31).

The candlestick filled the holy place with light so that there was a place here on earth, in the midst of appalling moral darkness, where the pure light of Heaven shone. The candlestick speaks of Christ as the sustaining light of His people.

The candlestick was of pure gold. This is the costliest of all metals and that which God has selected to represent His beloved Son, our all-gold Saviour. The purity of the gold gives evidence that there was no dross, no flaw, no blemish in Him. He is divine. It is this which makes His atoning sacrifice so precious, and meets all the claims of divine law.

It was to be of “beaten work”—that is, the candlestick had to be battered into shape with hard hammer blows. This, of course, points to the sufferings of our Lord. This was in striking contrast to the idolatrous calf which Aaron made, and which very easily came into shape. The candlestick of God was beauteous in form, but it was hard-beaten into such. Everything about it was symmetrical, harmonious, and finely proportioned. It was a beautiful figure of our Lord, and in itself had a brightness and luster which outshone the sun.

The central stem had six branches from its sides like the image of a spreading tree. This would surely tell of how the light of the Lord Jesus would spread throughout the whole earth and cast its light in every place. His love and grace were to spread over every country and every dwelling place of man as the light of life.

The seven golden branches supported seven lamps. Each burned with a pure flame. The Lord’s people had to furnish the oil, and the oil was to be “beaten oil.” This suggests that only spiritual exercises wrought in us by the Spirit of God lead to the full revealings of our Lord as the Minister of light. Without light man’s heart is just a barren waste, a joyless wilderness, a deathful sepulcher. It is a dreadful darkness, and only the Lord Jesus can spread light in a poor sinner’s soul.

While the candlestick was to give light to all the holy place, we are told that is was set “over against the table” (Exodus 40:24). Only His light can illumine all that the table means in God’s thought. The seven lamps were to give light “over against it [the candlestick]” (Exodus 25:37)—that is, to show up all its excellent glories and perfections. Only divine light can do that. Not all the processes of human learning, or the elevation of the natural mind, or the discoveries of science can discover the infinite glories of our beloved Lord. The light from Heaven must reveal them, and they can be seen by the saints only as they bring their “beaten oil” for the light.

There is much more to be said about all the beauties of the workmanship on the candlestick. But let me just mention the snuffdishes. These, too, were of gold (verse 38). If the candlestick was just a representation of our Lord personally, then there would be no need for these utensils. But it is Christ ministered by the Holy Spirit through human vessels. Thus Aaron had to light the lamps “between the two evens” (Exodus 30:8, margin).

There were, therefore, elements which could dim the the light, and the snuffdishes were used for the removal of all that would cause the light to burn dim. There was to be a very clear shining of all that pertained to life and godliness. Worship, prayer, meditation, and the holy remembrance feast are some of the “tongs” for this sacred work, so that the Lord can shine in full splendor in our hearts.

Rise, my soul, thy God directs thee;
Stranger hands no more impede;
Pass thou on; His hand protects thee,
Strength that has the captive freed.

Light Divine surrounds thy going:
God Himself shall mark thy way:
Secret blessings, richly flowing,
Lead to everlasting day.

In the desert God will teach thee
What the God that thou hast found,
Patient, gracious, pow’rful, holy—
All His grace shall there abound.

J. N. Darby