"And thou shalt make a lampstand of pure gold." (Ex. 25. 31).
golden lampstand, with its seven lamps and centre shaft, is the type of
ministry according to God in the power of the Holy Ghost, in its
various branches of testimony, having Christ for its centre, source,
and subject. In the CHERUBIM, on the mercy-seat, we have ministry in
its heavenly and divine source; in the LAMPSTAND, ministry in its
exercise on earth.
. That which is
here signified by the "pure gold" is ministry according to God, and not
according to the principles and practices of men - ministry after a
divine model, maintained in the power of divine grace. "If any man
speak," says Peter, "let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man
minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in
all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 4. 11). Not
cultivated intellect, putting forth its strongest efforts to the credit
of the preacher, and to the honour of the ministry, but divine grace,
manifested to the glory of God.
ministry looks to no earthly source for its authority, but has its
sanction and its strength in God. It is GIFT received from the Lord
Jesus Christ, risen and glorified; distributed by the Holy Ghost
according to His own will, and exercised in subjection to the supreme
authority of Christ (1 Cor. 12. 11). There are diversities of gifts,
but the same Spirit; differences of administration (or services), but
the same Lord; diversities of operations, but it is the same GOD which
worketh all in all (1 Cor. 12. 4-6).
"Of beaten work
shall the lampstand be made." "Beaten work" for the lampstand, and
"beaten oil" for the light (Exod. 27. 20). The lampstand was not cast
by one simple operation, but wrought. This shews the labour, care, and
skill which is required in ministry according to God. It is not simple
gift, but gift stirred up, laboriously fulfilled, and strengthened by
its exercise. (See 1 Tim. 4. 13-16; and 2 Tim. 1. 6).
THE CENTRE SHAFT AND BRANCH.
His shaft, and his
branch (not branches, see chap. 37. 17), "his bowls, his knops, and his
flowers, shall be of of the same." This is the centre shaft and branch,
which is called, by way of pre-eminence, "the lampstand," in 5. 34, and
is typical of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the centre and source of
testimony in the power of the Spirit, and the great example and pattern
of it in His personal ministry on earth. As to fruit bearing, He is the
true vine, and His disciples are the branches. As to testimony-bearing,
He is the true Lampstand, and His servants are branches of the same. In
either case, without Him we can do nothing.
THE SIX BRANCHES
Verse 32. "And six
branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the
lampstand out of one side and three branches of the lampstand out of
the other side."
The apostles and
prophets of the present dispensation, having laid the foundation, and
all the fundamental points, whether of truth or practice, being
settled, and contained in the inspired Scriptures, the three standing
branches of ministry in the Church, and for its adding to, and building
up, until it is complete, are those of the EVANGELIST, the PASTOR, and
the TEACHER (Eph. 4.). The six branches proceed from the main shaft in
PAIRS, expressing fellowship and concurrence in testimony. They proceed
from the sides, and not the front; for the object of ministry is not to
make it or the minister prominent, but for the exhibition of Christ.
"We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your
servants for Jesus' sake." Standing aside that He may be visible to
all, and thus giving Him in testimony His own proper place. "Jesus in
These branches, as
the original implies, are hollow. In Zech. 4 we have a lampstand of
gold; the representation of ministry in the power of the Spirit, in the
latter day, in connection with Israel. This lampstand had a bowl on the
top, and seven pipes leading to the seven lamps. While two olive trees
supply the oil to the bowl - and thence to the seven branches and
lamps. The two Olive trees are representations of Zerubbabel and
Joshua; but these are typical of the Lord Jesus in his Melchisedek
character as priest and king. The great lesson is -"Not by might, nor
by power, but by my Holy Spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts." "Branches,"
hollow , thus adapted to receive and convey the oil. The import is
expressed by the apostle, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to
think anything of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God." "We have
this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may
be of God, and not of us."
The SOURCE of
supply for ministry is in Christ, the POWER for all testimony is the
Spirit of God. Three branches on either side. The EVANGELIST begins the
work , and lays the foundation, which is Christ Jesus; his sphere is
the widest, his parish is the world. The PASTOR carries on the work in
caring for the blood-bought flock of God. The TEACHER leads the soul
yet higher into the truth of God, and the apprehension of the divine
glories of the person of Christ.
Verse 33 "Three
bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch,
and three bowls made like unto almonds in the other branch, with a knop
and a flower; so in the six branches that come out of the lampstand"
oval form "made like unto almonds" is significant. The root of the
Hebrew word for "Almond" signifies to WATCH, also TO BE EARLY, READY or
PREPARED. The almond tree was noted for its early blossoming. See Jer.
1. 11, 12, "Moreover, the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying,
Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.
Then said Jehovah unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten [am
watching over] My word to perform it."
So also 2 Tim. 2.
21, "If a man, therefore, purge himself for these, he shall be a vessel
unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, prepared unto
every good work." And 2 Tim. 4. 5, "But watch thou in all things, . . .
do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." These
bowls, therefore, made like almonds, express watchfulness, readiness,
and preparedness for the Christian ministry. But this preparedness
consists in an acquaintance with divine truth; the Word of Christ
dwelling richly in the heart, in all wisdom.
Like the scribe
instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, bringing forth out of His
treasure things new and old (Matt. 13. 52).
So Paul wrote to
Timothy, "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that
thy profiting may appear to all" (1 Tim. 4. 15). "Study to shew thyself
approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly
dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2. 15).
THE KNOPS AND FLOWERS.
"Knop." Round, the
original word signifies, and smaller in size than the bowls. These
knops I understand to be typical of GIFT, such as that of the
evangelist, pastor, or teacher.
"AND A FLOWER." The
Septuagint says, a lily. As the bowls express PREPAREDNESS for
ministry, through a deep acquaintance with the Word of God; and the
knops, distinct GIFT for its ministration; so by the flower is
expressed the FULL UNFOLDING of divine truth -. in actual testimony.
This suggests an
instructive lesson, that God would have His truth presented in
attractive form. "The preacher sought to find out acceptable words," or
words of delight (Eccles. 12. 10). "The sweetness of the lips
increaseth learning" (Prov. 16. 21). On the lips of the great Teacher,
the people hung, and marvelled at the gracious words that proceeded
from Him; and no wonder, for "never man spake like this Man."
Three bowls, one
knop, and one flower in each branch. Significant of a threefold
capacity or preparedness, a general acquaintance with each branch of
divine truth -"three bowls." One distinct gift, as that of evangelist,
pastor, or teacher -"a knop." And one manifestation of gift - "a
flower." Every EVANGELIST should not only be acquainted with the truth
of the gospel, but with other truths of God's Word, so as to be
prepared to give the word of exhortation and instruction as needed,
though his distinct work be that of preaching the gospel.
So the PASTOR'S
especial call may be, to deal with souls experimentally, "To reprove,
rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine," but he should be
ready also to present the gospel of the grace of God to perishing
sinners, and to instruct the souls he deals with. And while the TEACHER
makes full proof of his own ministry, he will find it profitable to "do
the work of an evangelist" as God gives him opportunity (2 Tim. 4. 5).
Experimental dealings with souls in secret, will tend to increase the
richness and value of his ministry in teaching.
THE CENTRE SHAFT.
Verse 34. "And in
the candlestick four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and
This is the centre shaft and branch, the type of the Lord Jesus, the
great Pattern, Centre, and Source of ministry in the Spirit. "Four
bowls." All treasures of wisdom and know-ledge are in Him. "Four
knops." He was the great Evangelist, the Good Shepherd, and the perfect
Teacher, and the great Apostle and Prophet of our profession.
"And their four
flowers." The very perfection of beauty and excellency shone out in His
ministry. When He PREACHED THE GOSPEL, all the publicans and the
sinners drew near unto Him for to hear Him. And what can equal the rich
unfoldings of grace contained in the fifteenth of Luke? When He FEEDS
HIS SHEEP, what green pastures and still waters do His cheering words
provide! When He INSTRUCTS HIS DISCIPLES, what rich unfoldings of
divine truth! what revelations of a Father's love! And when He UNFOLDS
THE FUTURE, how distinct the prophetic visions stand before the eye!
How vivid the brightness of His coming! How gorgeous the mansions of
His Father's House appear! and that ONE place which He is gone to
prepare for us!
In verse 31 we have
noticed "His BRANCH," for He too was the empty and dependent One in
ministry on earth. His language was, "I can of Mine own self do
nothing. As I hear I judge," and "My doctrine is not Mine, but His that
sent Me." And when, from the height of His glory, He gives the
revelation to His servant John, He writes upon it the title, "The
Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him." What an example
THE KNOPS UNDER THE BRANCHES.
Verse 35. "And
there shall be a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under
two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same,
according to the six branches that proceed out of the lampstand."
The word "AND"
shews that this is additional. There are four knops in the centre
BRANCH above, and three in the SHAFT below the six branches, making
seven in all, the perfect number; for the PERFECTION OF GIFT IS IN
CHRIST; He has received gifts, all gifts for men And it is beautiful to
see how each several branch of ministry is sustained, as it were, by
the corresponding office and grace of the Lord Jesus, as we read, "A
knop under two branches of the same," &c. The evangelist, the
pastor, and the teacher all fall back on Him, that, out of His fulness,
they may receive grace for grace in the exercise of their several gifts.
THE ONENESS OF THE LAMPSTAND.
Verse 36. "Their
knops and their branches shall be of the same: all of it shall be one
beaten work of pure gold."
expressive of the oneness of His ministry, and labour, and patience!
"He that planteth, and he that watereth are one," and one in Christ.
Howsoever diversified the gift, the labour, the characters, and service
of each; and though each one will receive his own reward according to
his own labour; yet, in the end, he that soweth and he that reapeth
will rejoice together. By the grace of God they are one in the service,
and, when the whole shall result in the glory of God, they shall share
in the joy. "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit;
differences of administrations, but the same Lord; diversities of
operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all" (1 Cor.
Verse 37. "And thou
shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps
thereof, that they may give light over against [Heb. the face of] it."
"Seven lamps" - the
perfection of testimony to divine truth. Six in the side branches, and
one in the centre shaft, making the seven. For all testimony is
incomplete apart from Christ. He gives it its perfection.
That ministry alone
is complete, according to God, which has Christ for its central
subject. "And they shall light the lamps thereof." Where God has given
the gifts, it is that they may be exercised. "No man lighteth a lamp
and putteth it under a bushel, but on a lampstand."
"That they may give
light over against it." The design of testimony in the power of the
Spirit, is the manifestation of the glory of God in the Person of the
Lord Jesus. The whole circle of truth is to be connected with Him, that
it may not merely be truth, but "as the truth is in Jesus."
How beautifully the
Lord Jesus has taught this in speaking of the Comforter, through whom
it is that this ministry is exercised! He shall glorify Me: for He
shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the
Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and
shall shew it unto you" (John 16. 14, 15).
In Ex. 27. 20, we
read, "And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring
thee pure oil olive beaten for the light [light-giver] to cause the
lamp to burn always."
How this oil - that
is, the supply of the Spirit - is to be obtained, we learn from the
example of the early disciples, recorded in Acts 4. 23-31: "They
lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, . . . And now,
Lord, . . . grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may
speak Thy word. . . . And when they had prayed, the place was shaken
where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the
Holy Ghost." Paul says: "Brethren, pray for us," "and for me, that
utterance may be given unto me,. that I may open my mouth boldly, to
make known the mystery of the gospel . . . that therein I may speak
boldly, as I ought to speak" (Eph. 6. 19). "Through your prayer, and
the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1. 19).
If the lamp of
testimony should burn dim in the sanctuary, the real cause may not be
so much on the part of the testimony-bearers, as that those ministered
to may have neglected to seek from above, the needful supply of
spiritual unction and power, in order that the lamp of God may burn
with continual and increasing brightness.
THE VESSELS BELONGING TO THE LAMPSTAND
Verse 38. "And the tongs thereof, and the snuff dishes thereof, shall be of pure gold."
In Rev. 1., 2., 3.
we have a beautiful example of the use of these golden instruments by
the Lord Jesus, where He is seen in the midst of the seven golden
lampstands, trimming the lamps. So also in the ministry of the apostle
Paul, as seen in his Epistles to Timothy and Titus. And how, when
needed, ministry is to be regulated, not by human authority, nor on
human principles, but on those which are of God, and according to God,
by godly counsel and admonition, exercised in spiritual wisdom and
A TALENT OF GOLD.
Verse 39. "Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels."
A talent of gold is computed to be about 114 lbs. in weight, and about