Today we begin Numbers Chapter Eight.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James Version, click here.
“Adonai said to Moshe, “Tell Aharon, ‘When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps are to cast their light forward, in front of the menorah. Aharon did this: he lit its lamps so as to give light in front of the menorah, as Adonai had ordered Moshe.”-Numbers 8:1-3
In a nutshell, Numbers Chapter Eight deals with the two topics:
-The Operation of the Menorah
-the consecration of the Levites into service for Hashem.
Recall that the Menorah was the prominent golden 7-branched lamp stand standing next to the southern side of the Holy Place.
Also understand that the “Levites“, I’m talking about here are NOT the Priests.
At this stage in the Torah, it’s very important you understand that the Tribe of Levi has been divided into two groups: The Priests (Aaron’s Clan) and everybody else.
The “everybody else” were the common Levites charged with the blue-collar tasks to support the priests.
The priests had to tend to both the Altar of Burnt Offering and the Menorah twice a day to ensure the fire in both of these holy objects kept burning.
However, unlike the Altar of Burnt Offering which was kept burning 24/7, the Menorah only burned during the nighttime.
Now understand that the Altar of Burnt Offering didn’t necessarily have a raging fire burning 24 hours a day.
After all the sacrifices for the day were completed, the coals of the altar were heaped into a mound with some coals kept hot so that the next morning’s fire could be rekindled.
Next, notice verse one where it says “the seven lamps are to cast their light forward“.
There are two important details I want you to catch here.
First, notice that the Menorah is made up of seven “lamps” and NOT candlesticks (as a lot of people mistakenly assume).
It’s because we are dealing with oil lamps and NOT candlesticks that the priests were able to direct the light emanating from the Menorah in whatever direction they chose which brings us to the second detail I want you to notice.
The fact that the Lord instructed the light to face forward.
Okay, here’s where things get awesome.
Let’s travel back in time to the creation story in chapter one of Genesis and take a look at verse 3.
“Then God said,
‘Let there be light”;
and there was light.'”
Do you recall what the word for “light” from this verse in Hebrew is?
It is OWR and it refers to God’s HOLY light, NOT planetary objects that give off light like the sun or the stars (the Hebrew word for that would be MAAROT).
So here’s the thing.
The Menorah represents God’s OWR or HOLY Light.
Now recall that the 12 loaves of Shewbread symbolized the 12 Tribes of Israel.
So what we have here is a picture of God’s Holy Light shining upon Israel.
Or another way to look at is that Israel would only prosper and be blessed when they under God’s presence.