Bible Reading: Luke 2:25-35
Text verse: 29
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word.
Today is Communion Sunday in our Church.
On the Communion Table this morning we have two Jewish Candlesticks.
The Jewish Candlestick is called the Menorah.
The Menorah holds an important message for us as Christians.
While the Menorah is considered a Jewish symbol, it portrays a deep spiritual message
for us Christians.
For almost two years, I have wanted to preach on the subject of the Menorah
- ever since a good friend the
Rev Barbara Di Gilio of Mayim Hayim Ministries
sent me the Book -
The Mystery of the Menorah and the Hebrew Alphabet by JR Church and Gary Stearman.
But, I could not find a Menorah - Georgie and I discovered two recently,
normally they are very expensive but these two were cheap because of the smallness
of their size and the fact that they are made of bronze.
We wanted to light them but unfortunately we could not find the right size candles for them.
It should be remembered that in Bible times however they did not use candles however but rather
pure olive oil and a wick.
But enough, let us first examine the history of the Menorah.
The first Menorah was used in the Tabernacle of Moses in the Wilderness.
And he made the candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work made he the candlestick; his
shaft, and his branch, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, were of the same:
And six branches going out of the sides thereof;
three branches of the candlestick out of the one side thereof,
and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side thereof:
Three bowls made after the fashion of almonds in one branch, a knop and a flower;
and three bowls made like almonds in another branch, a knop and a flower:
so throughout the six branches going out of the candlestick.
And in the candlestick were four bowls made like almonds, his knops, and his flowers:
And 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 going out of it.
Their knops and their branches were of the same: all of it was one beaten work of pure gold.
And he made his seven lamps, and his snuffers, and his snuffdishes, of pure gold.
Of a talent of pure gold made he it, and all the vessels thereof.
Why, were the bowls - lamps made like that of almonds ?
The answer is found in:
And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness;
and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded,
and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.
It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word for Almond is LUZ.
Luz is the root word for LIGHT in a number of languages !
But why were there 7 bowls ?
The answer is found in the following Scriptures:
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace,
from him which is, and which was, and which is to come;
and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne.
We all know that the rod (branch-takkie) that grows out of the roots (stem-stomp)
of Jesse is a reference to the Messiah - Jesus !
With this knowledge it is not surprising to learn that the middle bowl (lamp) is called:
Ner Elohim - The Lamp of God
as well as
Shamash - The Servant Lamp
The middle bowl or lamp is thus a symbol of the Messiah - Jesus !
Seven lamps to remind us of the Creation.
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the
seventh day from all his work which he had made.
The first-century Jewish Historian, Flavius Josephus liken the Menorah
to the six planets that were visible at that time from earth.
Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn
with the Sun providing the light for the whole universe.
The Sun could thus be called the Servant Lamp of our universe.
Jesus said that He was the Light of the World.
Lets examine the Scriptures further:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
This verse in the original Hebrew comprises of SEVEN Hebrew words (a Menorah ?)
Remember the heavens and the earth was created in 7 days
and the Menorah has 7 lamps !
But what is really interesting in the first verse of Scripture is that the 4th word
- the middle word in Hebrew is left untranslated !
The Jewish scholars call this the untranslatable word !
In not a single Bible - not English - not Afrikaans - not Dutch - not German
- is this word translated !
What is this word ?
- It consists of only two Hebrew letters
- the ALEPH and the TAHV.
The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
What is the signification of this ?
It is the same as saying:
The first and the last !
The beginning and the End !
The Alfa and the Omega !
Yes, the Messiah - Jesus !
The Menorah is a symbol of and reminds us of our Saviour - our Messiah !
This first verse of Scripture would read as follows
if the 4th Hebrew word were to be translated:
“In the beginning God
( The first and the last -the beginning and the End - the Alfa and the Omega )
created the heaven and the earth.”
Listen what the New Testament says:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without
him was not any thing made that was made.
But Pastor, I don’t understand what all this has to do with
our Bible Reading and Text verse this morning.
- Bear with me a little longer:
A strange story is told about the Menorah and its Servant lamp in the
Jerusalem Talmud - Yoma 43:3.
We are told that the “Servant Lamp” stopped burning about 40 years
before the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70AD.
The Servant Lamp simply refused to burn !
The Jewish Encyclopaedia however tells us the reason
- it says that the Lamp went out upon the death of “Simeon the Righteous”
who was the high priest in those days.”
Friends, could Simeon the Righteous not be the same Simeon
who was in the Temple when Jesus was brought in by Joseph and Mary
for His “Redemption of the Firstborn” ceremony.
Remember, the one presiding over the “Redemption of the Firstborn” ceremony had to
be a priest. Surely, if he was not the high priest at the time - he would have called the
High Priest - because he recognised Jesus as the Messiah BUT he did not !
It makes one think does it not !
Listen once more to the words of Simeon:
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
A fulfilment of the Message of the Menorah ?
But Pastor there are two Menorahs on the Communion Table and they differ from each other.
The one has 7 lamps while the other has 9 lamps.
Why the difference ?
The Menorah with the 9 lamps is called the Hanukkah Menorah.
Let me share with you its history.
During the silent years - the period between the Old and the New Testament.
In the year 168 BC, the Syrian General, Antiochus Epiphanes conquered and occupied Jerusalem.
He desecrated the Temple and in order to anger the Jews slaughtered swine
on the Altar in the Temple grounds.
Three years later Judas Maccabaeus drove the Syrians out of Jerusalem and proceeded
to cleanse the Temple and restore true worship.
It was however discovered that there was only sufficient oil for the Menorah to burn
for one day only. It would take 8 days for the priest to produce another batch of oil.
It was decided that it was more important to commence with the worship services
rather then to delay until sufficient oil could be produced.
The Menorah was lit anyway and to everyone’s surprise the Menorah
continued to burn for 8 days until the new batch of oil was available !
Now because of this miracle of supply, every year during December, Jews throughout
the world celebrate the Hanukkah - the Festival of lights to remind them of the Miracle
of the Menorah when the Temple was re-dedicated for use in 165 BC.
The middle lamp - the Servant Lamp - is used each day to light one lamp - until all
eight lamps are lit - One lamp for each of the eight days of the festival of Hanukkah.
The Hanukkah Menorah has a powerful spiritual message for us today !
They lit the Menorah despite the knowledge that there would not be sufficient oil for
the next day nor the days following.
This is a reminder to us to trust the LORD and always remember:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall
be added unto you.
The silent years but remember
For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Regardless of what others may say or the circumstances always remember:
For with God nothing shall be impossible.
We serve a Great Big Wonderful GOD and the Menorah is a constant reminder that
our God has not Changed !
HE is still able to work miracles in your life
- if only you will put your trust in HIM.
Pastor CSJ Claassen
PO Box 99
9460 SOUTH AFRICA
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