Summary notes from Week 5 of A Woman’s Heart ~ God’s Dwelling Place
If last week was my favorite week of Bible study yet, this week might have been the most challenging. We have now entered the Holy Place, the area beyond the first curtain of the tabernacle that contains both the Golden Lampstand and the table of the Bread of Presence. I am overwhelmed by the rich, deep meaning and intricate symbolism of the Golden Lampstand. I really don’t know if I could ever reach the bottom of its meaning! I am grateful for the promise: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (I Corinthians 13:12)
The lampstand is another object in the tabernacle fashioned according to God’s explicit instructions. It was hammered out of 75 pounds of pure gold. There were 7 branches, each with multiple almond buds, blossoms, and fruit. Every stage of the growth of the almond branch was represented on the lampstand: springtime, summer, and harvest. As with all other aspects of the tabernacle, the lampstand was a shadow of a heavenly reality. Many scholars believe that the lampstand represented the tree of life that existed in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9) and exists eternally in the heavenly kingdom (Revelation 22:2).
What is the significance of the almond branch? God gives us a glimpse of the meaning in His call of the prophet Jeremiah, when God shows Jeremiah a vision of an almond branch. God asks Jeremiah, “What do you see?” Jeremiah replies, “I see an almond (in Hebrew: “shaqed”) branch.” God answers him, “You have seen well, for I am watching (in Hebrew: “shaqad”) over my word to perform it.” (Jeremiah 1:11-12) God is playing on words in Hebrew and uses the almond branch to illustrate to Jeremiah that He is watching to see that His word is fulfilled (NIV translation). How does God see His word fulfilled in us? When we remain in the true vine of Christ and bear fruit. “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing…By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:5,8)
God instructed that each of the 7 lamps on the lampstand were to burn continually with pure, pressed olive oil brought by the Israelites themselves (Leviticus 24:2). What is the symbolism behind the use of olive oil? Before His betrayal and arrest, Jesus went to a place at the foot of the Mount of Olives called Gethesemane (in Hebrew: “oil press”). Jesus described his overwhelming distress to His disciples, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.” (Mark 14:34) There in the garden, He fell to the ground under the full weight of His humanity, praying to God, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me…” (Matthew 26:39) Our Lord entered His darkest period, pressed from all sides, as the pure oil of sacrifice.
May we rejoice as we consider the Golden Lampstand, burning continually to cast its glow and light our way behind the heavy veil to the entrance of the Holy of Holies.
Viewer Guide answers (pages 112 & 113 of your study book):
- echo, Eden, Garden of Eden; cherubim, bar, God’s presence
- branches, buds, blossoms; time, springtime, summer; harvest; all at once, time
- almond flowers, watch, watchful, vigilant; earliest
- combined imagery
- tend, continually