"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Monday, March 7, 2022

NUMBERS – From SINAI To The PROMISED LAND: Chapters 8

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

Complete Study of Numbers by pastor Chuck Smith

NUMBERS 8: “THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE GOLDEN LAMPSTAND & THE DEDICATED TO THE LORD’S WORK”

– by Sonny Islas, For the full message, watch it on Facebook video or on SHINE BRIGHT Church YouTube channel!

INTRODUCTION: At this point in the OT narrative, the children of Israel have been in the wilderness of Sinai for a little over two years now (NUM 1:1). They went from being slaves of Pharoah in Egypt to now being servant of Yahweh in the wilderness. To being contaminated by false worship in Egypt to being blessed with true worship in the desert.
In NUMBERS 7 twelve leaders, one from every tribe brought their offerings and sacrifices to the dedication of the Tabernacle (which was in a sense the earthly house of God). And now Aaron will be told how to arrange the lamps on the lampstand and the Levites will be ceremonially cleansed and dedicated - before the LORD and the entire congregation - for the work of the LORD.

NUMBERS 8:1-4
1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2 "Speak to Aaron, and say to him, 'When you arrange the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.'" 3 And Aaron did so; he arranged the lamps to face toward the front of the lampstand, as the LORD commanded Moses. 4 Now this workmanship of the lampstand was hammered gold; from its shaft to its flowers it was hammered work. According to the pattern which the LORD had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand
.

Let’s take a look at the significance of this special Lampstand which was located in the first room of the Tabernacle known as the Holy Place or the Sanctuary as in (HEB 9:2).
This Lampstand was somewhat shaped like a tree (an almond tree) with the base and center shaft resembling the trunk and with three “branches” on each side. It no doubt looked like an ancient Jewish Menorah.

I’m going to share 5 things about the Golden Lampstand (and I’m sure that there is more):
They are lights/flames upon the lamps that face the Altar of Incense and the Table of Showbread:

1. The LORD talks to Moses “from above the Mercy Seat” (NUM 7:89) and tells Moses to tell Aaron to “arrange the lamps to face towards the front of the lampstand” At first glance the positioning of the lamps on top may seem minor but the lamps on top looked somewhat like this (view of the lampstand menorah) and the front of the lamp where the flame/light comes out was to face towards the front of the lampstand – why?

It was because the lampstand was placed on the opposite side of the Altar of Incense and the Table of Showbread. The seven small lamps were to shed as much light as possible on these two holy pieces of furniture. i.e. It’s like a boy holding a flashlight for his father while dad takes a look under the hood of his truck at night and tells his son to face the flashlight towards the engine instead of the ground or some other place (making shadow animals on the ground).
God was telling Aaron to point the light at the Altar of Incense and the Table of Showbread not towards the gold wall. What’s the spiritual significance here?

The Altar of Incense was symbolic for prayers rising to heaven before the LORD and The Table of Showbread was symbolic for communion with God – The bread represents Jesus who is the Bread of Life (JOHN 6:33-35,48) and His Words – the Word of God.
In other words, God who is light reminds us to stay connected to Him in faithful prayer and study.

This is the ONLY light in the Holy Place:
2. Due to the Tabernacle not having any windows (or light switches), the lampstand was THE ONLY LIGHT in the Holy Place. This is a picture of Jesus who is the only light of the world. He’s the only One who can light the way to the Father through divine truth. JOHN 1:9 says of Jesus, “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”
“True light” also points to the seven flames on top of the Lampstand which is the number of perfection. Jesus is not just the only light, but He is the perfect light. And He alone can give light (truth about the knowledge of God) to lost and blind sinners.

This lampstand is of “hammered work”:
3. The entire golden Lampstand was hammered work. Jesus who is “the light of the world” was beaten (ISAIAH 52:14) and literally hammered to a tree. HEBREWS 5:8 in regards to Jesus says, “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. In a sense the things Jesus suffered served as a hammer to bring about the beauty of perfect obedience to the Father. And Jesus’ obedience was pure gold like the Lampstand. Gold speaks of rich trust, knowledge, and devotion to God after fiery trials/after suffering.

The Golden Lampstand provide light for visibility:
4. Just like the priest could not do their work in the dark without the lampstand and it’s lamps lit, you and I could not do the work of God without Jesus, and the light (wisdom, knowledge, truth) of His Word. In JOHN 15:5, Jesus says “without Me you can do nothing.” In the same way, without the Golden Lamp, the priest could not properly work the Altar of Incense, nor the Table of Showbread. You can’t get much done in the dark. We can’t do anything if we’re disconnected from Jesus (like branches from a vine) and we can’t do anything if He doesn’t shine some light on our responsibilities.

The Golden Lampstand may be a picture or type of The Tree of Life:
5. One commentator says that “Many scholars believe that God commanded the floral design in order to remind the Israelites of the Tree of Life from the garden of Eden (GENESIS 2:9).”
What did Peter say of Jesus? “To whom shall we go? YOU HAVE THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE!” (JOHN 6:68)

In one sense the cross is the New Testament Tree of Life because Jesus who is light and Life hung there on our behalf and anyone who comes to this Tree by faith has eternal life.
In REVELATION 1:20 The Church and individual local churches are called Lampstands – or platforms for the light of Jesus to the world.

And listen to what Jesus says about His Church in MATTHEW 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill that cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but put it on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

The reason for the light that the LORD has given us is for us to enjoy, others to be blessed by and ultimately for God to be glorified! God is glorified when His light, life, and power in us is recognized by the world.

NUMBERS 8:5-26
5 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 6 "Take the Levites from among the children of Israel and cleanse them ceremonially. 7 "Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purification on them, and let them shave all their body, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean. 8 "Then let them take a young bull with its grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, and you shall take another young bull as a sin offering. 9 "And you shall bring the Levites before the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall gather together the whole congregation of the children of Israel. 10 "So you shall bring the Levites before the LORD, and the children of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites;

11 "and Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD, like a wave offering from the children of Israel, that they may perform the work of the LORD. 12 "Then the Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the young bulls, and you shall offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering to the LORD, to make atonement for the Levites. 13 "And you shall stand the Levites before Aaron and his sons, and then offer them like a wave offering to the LORD. 14 "Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be Mine. 15 "After that the Levites shall go in to service the tabernacle of meeting. So you shall cleanse them and offer them, like a wave offering. 16 "For they are wholly given to Me from among the children of Israel; I have taken them for Myself instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the children of Israel.

17 "For all the firstborn among the children of Israel are Mine, both man and beast; on the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them to Myself. 18 "I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn of the children of Israel. 19 "And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the work for the children of Israel in the tabernacle of meeting, and to make atonement for the children of Israel, that there be no plague among the children of Israel when the children of Israel come near the sanctuary." 20 Thus Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel did to the Levites; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so the children of Israel did to them. 21 And the Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes; then Aaron presented them, like a wave offering before the LORD, and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them. 22 After that the Levites went in to do their work in the tabernacle of meeting before Aaron and his sons; as the LORD commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.

23 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 24 "This is what pertains to the Levites: From twenty-five years old and above one may enter to perform service in the work of the tabernacle of meeting; 25 "and at the age of fifty years they must cease performing this work, and shall work no more. 26 "They may minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of meeting, to attend to needs, but they themselves shall do no work. Thus you shall do to the Levites regarding their duties
."

In this portion of scripture the Levites are openly dedicated to the LORD and His Tabernacle work
(vs. 7) “Sprinkle water of purification on them” Listen to the way our LORD has cleaned us New Testament disciples:

REVELATION 1:5b–6 says,
“…To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood (not by sprinkling water nor by the blood of animals) and has made us kings and priests to His Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen

(vs. 14) “Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the children of Israel, and the Levites SHALL BE MINE. (In a special way for a special tasks).
Understanding that we are God’s property – that we are owned by God, this is what frees us from living for ourselves and serving sin.

2 CORINTHIANS 5:15 says,
“And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.”

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