The Candlestick

Exodus 37:17-24

“One beaten work of pure gold” (Exod. 37:22). “Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:32).

The Light

Where the commandment to make the candlestick is given in Exodus 25 there are these words added, “And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it” (Exod. 25:37). For the words “over against it,” the margin reads, “over against the face of it.” This seems to suggest that the first purpose of the light of the candlestick is to display its own perfection and glory. When we consider that these vessels of the tabernacle are “patterns of things in the heavens” (Heb. 9:23), we can readily understand why the candlestick should be made to display its own glory. The candlestick and its branches is not Christ and His Church on earth, but Christ and His Church in heaven. “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him” (Eph. 1:10). “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 3:10). “When he shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe…in that day” (2 Thess. 1:10).

These verses show the unity of Christ and His people in glory, being the masterpiece of revelation to admiring multitudes. Grace, wisdom and power will then be seen to have wrought a monument to God’s glory such as creation could never have produced. This, I take it, is the first application of the teaching of the lighted seven branch candlestick in the tabernacle of God. Its light is over the face of it. The lighted lamps in the holy place reveal the lovely perfection of that candlestick which resembled an almond tree and which was “beaten out of one piece of pure gold.”

Testimony Now

When the symbol of testimony by the people of God is given for this present time, the figure is seven golden lampstands (Rev. 1:12). These candlesticks represent individual local churches where the Lord Jesus and His Word still have a place. The expression of unity now is in each company of Gods’ saints, not in a unity of assemblies. The unity of all the people of God is a blessed fact, and this is a fact that should cause us to be united where we have the opportunity of coming together and caring for one another now; but the place of the glorious manifestation of this oneness between our Lord and all who are His, is the glory when we are with Him. Then the light of the candlestick will be over against the face of it; now the light of our testimony is like a beacon light shining into the darkness, to give light to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide their feet into the way of peace.

The Material Of The Candlestick

The whole candlestick was pure gold. There was no shittim wood in this vessel. The reason of this may be because when the type of the candlestick is fulfilled and the Church of Christ are glorified together, it will be those ranks of heavenly beings around the throne to whom the outshining of grace and wisdom in the Church will be made known. Redeemed saints love to see Christ as a man. God over all, but God manifest in the flesh. The King of kings and Lord of lords; but my blessed Saviour. When the angels see the Church and the Lord manifested as one, it will be only glory everywhere. To them there will be no memorial of His love and lovely lowliness. However the treelike form of the candlestick, and the almond form of buds and flowers, will plainly tell the story of His resurrection. So the lighted candlestick was all of gold.

The Workmanship

Then the whole candlestick was “one beaten work of pure gold.” It was literally beaten out of one piece. One talent of pure gold was taken, and with the hammer alone, little by little, the whole magnificent masterpiece was fashioned. Had branches been made separately, and welded to the stem, one might easily have noticed the evidence of this joining. When it was all carefully hammered out of one piece the unity was so complete that thought of separation was utterly impossible. It was the candlestick everywhere, one place as much as another. “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones” (Eph. 5:30). The Church is as united to Christ as Eve was to her husband when God called their name Adam (Gen. 5:2). Eve was formed out of Adam, she was taken out of the man; Adam’s name was Ish, so Eve’s name was Ishi. However, this oneness of Adam and his wife, is only one of those types that are “not the very image of the things” (Heb. 10:1), for there is no one picture that can truly show this great mystery of Christ and the Church.


When Bezaleel looked at that one talent of pure gold he could see in it the perfect candlestick. It was all complete and perfect in his mind. So before the ages God’s great purpose of Christ and His Church was in His mind. These purposes were all in Christ Jesus before the world began. They are even now revealed in His Word so we can know the secrets of His heart. How wonderfully they are illustrated in the tabernacle and its vessels! As the hammer in the wise and able hand of Bezaleel patiently formed the golden masterpiece, so the Holy Spirit of God is now forming by His faultless working: the Church of Christ, which is formed out of Him, as well as for Him. What a glorious mystery this is! “How unsearchable are [God’s] judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11:33).

The Form Of The Candelstick

There were seven lamps on the candlestick at the extremities of the seven branches. These seven branches were six and one — six branches out of the central branch. The shaft is evidently the foundation. The word “branch” is used of the stem, and the word “branches” of the six on the two sides. So even the same word is used for each. Seven is the number of perfection; six is man’s number. The candlestick, thus, has our number as well as having God’s number, the number of absolute perfection.

The bowls in the decorations of the candlestick everywhere were made after the fashion of almonds, with a knob and a flower, a knob and a flower; the three repeated again and again. In each branch there were three sets of these decorations, while in the central branch there were four.

The knobs were likely almond buds; so the arrangement was a bud of the almond, then a flower of the almond, and then the almond itself, the fruit. Aaron’s rod in the tabernacle budded and bore almonds (Num. 17:8), which was God’s own evidence of his priesthood. The almond, being the first tree to bud in the spring, is a type of resurrection. The candlestick thus bore the evidences of resurrection, and also of the priesthood of our Lord. The bud, the flower, and the almond suggest life, beauty, and blessing. How true these are of Christ on earth or in heaven!

The Oil For The Light

(Exodus 27:20-21)

This beating was a slower process than the crushing of the olive berries. With a rod, the workman struck the olives one by one, to extract what was best of the oil. There was a more concentrated attack upon our Lord at Gethsemane and Calvary; He was the selected object of the hate of both Jew and Gentile. The malefactors were not spit upon, or ridiculed, when they were condemned and crucified. The crowd did not pass the cross and shoot out the lip and wag the head at them. The scorn and derision were reserved for the Christ of God. Every scornful eye looked at Him. Every jeer was hurled at Him. Jewish envy and Gentile scorn had the Son of God for a mark for their arrows. As the attention is riveted when one beats out olives, so the attention of all Christ’s enemies was centered upon Him when He came to that place called Calvary. Some had pushed their way through to pluck the hairs from His cheeks. Others had crowded in to smite the “judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.” Hardened Roman soldiers buffeted Him and smote Him with the palm of their hands. Barabbas was well nigh forgotten, for Christ was the target for floods of ungodly men. It was a beating of the olives. What was the result? Not threatening and anger, but oil for light. “When he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Pet. 2:23). In the same place it is said, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example,, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). This example is oil for our light. If we would let our light so shine before men it will be by manifesting the same spirit and following His example.

Oil A Type

Oil is a type of the Holy Spirit, and it is only by the Spirit of God that we can bring forth this fruit of the Spirit to His glory and praise. There is a striking verse about dressing the lamps in Exod. 30:7: “And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.” Lest any might suppose there was a trimming away of something wrong in the life of our Lord in His witness for God, it is distinctly said here that incense is put on the altar when this dressing took place. So there was ascending to God that which was precious and fragrant when Aaron dressed the lamps. With us the snuff-dishes are needed to take away that which accumulates during burning, lest the lamps make a disagreeable odor. With Him, all was fragrant and well pleasing to God. Usually after we have been used of the Lord in testimony, there is charred wick to be removed, lest we be exalted above measure. Unless this charred and burned wick be removed, the lamp will not burn again without smoking. With our Lord, the incense altar is associated with the dressing of the lamps as well as with their burning. Burning continually without smoking, the type of our Lord’s witnessing is preserved. There is continual light from the candlestick and perpetual incense from the golden altar, mingling light and fragrance forever in the presence of God.

Removing Hindrances

If we would let our light shine in this dark world, it must be by the removing of hindrances. Beds and bushels hide and hinder the light (Mark 4:21). “Let your light so shine before men” (Matt. 5:16). It will shine if you do not hinder it. Give it a chance; put it on a candlestick. Hold it up where people can see it. It is the very nature of light to shine out. If God has shined in (2 Cor. 4:6), you let the light shine out. Beds and bushels are still the greatest hindrance. Too much sleeping and idleness in the things of God; too much care and anxiety to use the bushel in the things of worldly prosperity. Take away that which makes the lamps smoke; put into the soul that which makes the lamps burn, and the testimony will soon be bright again.

His Grace Sufficient

“It is about fifteen years since I last saw you, so I appreciated your letter all the more. I have had a heavy cross to carry, but I am glad to tell you that His grace has been sufficient for me at every step of the way. At first I was somewhat rebellious, for I had great plans for the future. Many souls were turning to the Lord in all parts of the field, and I looked forward to the time when I should have the privilege of baptising thousands.

“I had said, ‘Lord, let me be Thy servant, filled with Thy Spirit, giving all my thought, all my energy and my life for Thee.’ And He answered me. But instead of letting me serve Him as I had planned to do, He suddenly took me away from the work forever. As I lay in the hospital in England, when the first horror of the final outcome was upon me, I thought sometimes that the Lord has forgotten and forsaken me, that He had hidden His face from me, but it was not so. The more sorrow I have had to bear, the easier it has become, and now I am rejoicing in my Saviour every hour. I know the time cannot now be long before I shall be with Him, but while I am in the body I cannot keep still. I must testify; I must tell of His great love for me, and I have written a paper to be read at the Missionary Conference in India, on ‘Filling full our place in life.’

“You ask how I am. I have lost my eyesight now and my voice; I have no feet or ankles; no arms; but my heart is far from dead. I still feel, and long, and sympathize. I still yearn for the extension of Christ’s kingdom on earth as much as I ever did. I cannot read or write, but the kind sisters in charge of the hospital come and read to me and write for me, as I can find means to dictate to them. I have everything I need, and could not be more comfortable were I in my own home. While I live I expect to prepare others for India… And though I am slowly dying, I must keep on doing something to help on the Redeemer’s kingdom when I have passed beyond.

“I know you will remember me in your prayers, that I may be humble and patient, and faithful to the end. I have no doubts in these days, and if I had my voice I should be singing all the day long. Sometimes I feel so happy that I long to go to my heavenly home and be with ‘my Beloved’ forever.1

“May the God of all comfort you, and grant you His grace, filling you with the sunshine of His presence, so that day by day you will be transformed into His likeness from glory to glory, is the prayer of

“Your brother in Christ’s Kingdom,
“John E. Davis,
(Missionary to the Telugas).”

A missionary writing from Manchuria tells of seeing displayed, by a Standard Oil depot away up there, the ambitious slogan: “Get the Light to Every Dark Corner of the World.” Is there not in this a rebuke and challenge to the people of God? The fact confronts us that throughout Asia and Africa are found multitudes of towns and villages lighted with the kerosene oil of the West, but without the light of the saving Gospel of Christ. May we all “let our light shine.”

1 He died with leprosy and is now with his Beloved.