TYPES OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2000 James Melough
Of the two compartments
comprising the tabernacle building proper, the first is called in Heb 9:2, “The
sanctuary,” and within it were three articles of furniture: the candlestick or
lampstand, the golden or incense altar, and the table of shewbread.
Each was a type or symbol of Christ, designed to present some special feature
of His perfections; and students of biblical typology are agreed that the golden
lampstand focuses attention upon Him as the Light of the world.
From the description given
in Ex 25:31-40 we learn that it consisted of a talent of pure gold (approximately 66
lbs.), beaten into one central shaft, from either side of which extended three
subsidiary branches. The top of the
central shaft was beaten out to form four cups shaped like almonds, and from the top
of each of the six branches three almond-shaped cups were also beaten out, to hold
the oil in which floated the wicks. This
lampstand was the sole source of light in the sanctuary, and as such is a fitting
type of Him Who is the Light of the world.
While every detail sets
forth an attribute of Christ, space precludes our doing more than glancing very
briefly at some of them; but for those wishing to study the subject in detail I
recommend Lectures on the Tabernacle by Ridout, and published by Loizeaux
Beginning with the material,
pure gold, (and gold is the symbol of Divine glory), the first lesson we learn is
that the lampstand presents Him, Who though He became man, never ceased to exhibit,
not just on the exterior, but in thought, as well as word and deed, that in Christ
“God was manifest in the flesh,” 1
The quantity of the gold (at
today’s value worth approximately half a million dollars), reminds us that to God
and to the believer, He is of inestimable worth, “... chosen of God, and
precious.... a chief corner stone, elect, precious.
Unto you therefore which believe He is precious....” 1 Pe 2:4,6_7.
Before the gold could become
the lampstand, however, it had to be subjected to the fire and to the smith’s
hammer, processes which remind us that He
Whom the lampstand portrays, endured not only the hatred and abuse of men, but also
the wrath of God against sin. Before He
could be “... the Light of life,” Jn 8:12, He had to enter into the unfathomable
darkness of those three hours at Calvary when the light of the Father’s face was
turned away from Him, and He endured the wrath and judgment which a holy God must
pour out upon sin.
If the firing and the
beating of the gold announce His death, the ornamental almond motif, however,
declares His resurrection, for the almond tree, the first of the trees to come to
life in the spring, is the biblical symbol of resurrection.
And inasmuch as the motif
consisted of buds, blossoms, and fruit,we are being shown something of the fullness
of that resurrection life which He now possesses and gives to all who trust Him as
Savior, as He Himself declared, “I am come that they might have life, and that they
might have it more abundantly,” Jn 10:10.
In the central shaft’s
bearing the six branches, God would have us see in symbol the truth that Christ and
His redeemed are one. As those branches
were of the same material as the stem which supported them, so are believers
possessed of the very nature and life of Christ, “As He is, so are we in this
world,” 1 Jn 4:17; “... I am in My
Father, and ye in Me, and I in you,” Jn 14:20.
The fact that those branches were beaten out by the same process that had
fashioned the central stem, reminds us that here in the world every true believer
should expect to experience the same hatred of men as did the Lord Himself, “In the
world ye shall have tribulation....” Jn 16:33.
Encouragement to endure, however, comes from Paul, “That I may know Him ...
and the fellowship of His sufferings....” Ph’p 3:10.
The light from the four cups
on top of the central stem, shining over the six branches, reminds us of the
assurance given to believers (represented by the six branches) “... he that
followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life,” Jn
8:12. But inasmuch as that light extended beyond the branches and
lighted the whole compartment, we see the truth that Christ is willing to shed His
light upon all who will come to Him in faith. (In passing, we might note that the four lamps on top of the
central stem are viewed by many as being types of the four Gospels.
It is through the illumination of the written Word that the believer walks in
the light of Him Who is the living Word).
The six branches,
however, also shed their light upon the central shaft, reminding us that every
believer is responsible to shed light upon Christ, i.e., to be a witness for Him.
And in the branches also shedding their light throughout the whole room we
learn that we are to have the same compassion for men as led Christ to Calvary to die
for their sins. We are to “... be blameless and harmless, the sons of God,
without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as
lights in the world,” Ph’p 2:15.
In concluding this brief
sketch, we should note the essential part played by the oil which filled all the
cups, those on the branches as well as those on the center stem.
Since oil is one of the symbols of the Holy Spirit, the truth being taught is
that the Holy Spirit with Whom the Lord was anointed, is the same One Who anoints and
indwells every believer, and apart from Whom there can be no testimony.