A Candlestick All of Gold (continued)
An Awakening to What God Has to Say
In the Revelation this is: "He that hath an ear, let him hear," and in the case of Laodicea - which represents the end - it is: "I counsel thee to buy of Me ... eyesalve ... that thou mayest see" (Revelation 3:18). "I turned to see the voice which spake with me," said John. God is speaking; He has something to say; but there must be "a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; having the eyes of your heart enlightened" (Ephesians 1:17-18).
Spiritual discernment, perception, understanding and intelligence are all too rare. The cause are many. The engrossment with the work and its multifarious concerns; the rush and hurry of life; the restless spirit of the age: these , with an exhaustive provision of external religious facilities, all tend to render the inner place of Divine speaking inoperative or impossible of functioning. Perhaps we have forgotten that the Bible not only is a revelation, but also contains a revelation, and that that deeper spiritual content is only possible of recognition and realization by such as have had their eyes and ears opened; in other words, by those who have been awakened. Some of the Lord's most faithful servants are still only occupied with the letter of the Word, the contents of books, topics, themes, subjects, outlines, analyses, etc., and are not, in the deepest sense, in spiritual understanding. (This is not meant as a criticism.) The difference too often is that between a ministry to the mind or head, and one to the heart or spirit. The former will sooner or later tire and weary both the minister and those ministered to. The latter is a ministry of life to both, and is inexhaustible in freshness.
Whether it comes at the beginning or later, it is the greatest day in our history of which we can say: "It pleased God ... to reveal His Son IN me". "I received it, not from man ... but by revelation of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:15-16, 12). That is the beginning of an inwardness of things which may have many critical issues. One of these is that of which we are particularly thinking now, namely, the awakening to see what is the thought and desire of God at given and specific times. Such a revelation - through the Scriptures - is nothing less than revolutionary, and usually costly.
Would to God that there was an adequate number at this time who, like the men of Issachar, "had understanding of the times" (1 Chronicles 12:32).
We now proceed to see what comes into view when God's instrument is awakened, and is able to answer the heavenly interrogation: "What seest thou?"
"Behold, A Candlestick All of Gold"
Every ministry in the Scriptures appointed by God was constituted upon something having been seen. The test of a Divine commission may be found in this question, "What seest thou?", and the answer, upon the basis of God having shown something very concrete, may well provide the credentials. It is not the matter of winning the sermon or winning the audience, but declaring the truth for the time as it has been made a fire in the bones. It would be pertinent, rather than impertinent, to challenge the servants of God with this question, relative to the time in which they live, and relative to the immediate concern of God - "What seest thou?"
There is no doubt that what God has seen at all times as His objective is "a candlestick all of gold", but from time to time there has been a special necessity for Him to bring it into the view of the people, and especially of His prophets. It is for that that He reacts, and the end-time must see a renewal of His reaction.
Now, ignoring the fact that there is a difference between the seven-branched candlestick or lampstand of the Old Testament, and the seven lampstands of the Apocalypse, there is a relationship of the two in a common principle. That common principle is that they both represent -
The Instrument of the Testimony In the House of God
While that innermost light of the Most Holy Place - the light of Christ in the presence of God - remains undimmed and inviolate, there is that which is midway between Heaven and earth - the Holy Place - where the testimony has to be kept clear both Godward and manward. Concerning this - as differing from the other - God has given very careful and explicit instructions and injunctions for its perpetual maintenance. He is peculiarly jealous over this testimony. Thus, we find that it is here, in the sphere of this, that the prayer life (Altar of incense) and the feeding fellowship (Table of shewbread) of the Lord's people have their true value and vitality.
The instructions for the making of the Candlestick in Exodus 25 and 37 are full of the richest significance. First in these is the material - "pure gold". If it is to have a sevenfold fullness, intensity and expression, which refers to spiritual completeness, then it must be preeminently suitable to the Divine purpose. The meaning of the "all of gold", then, is that it is -
Absolutely According to God
Be sure to get the force of this: an instrument of the testimony wholly according to God! There is only One Who is thus wholly according to God's mind and heart - the Lord Jesus, and if the whole Tabernacle in every part came firstly from God and then was Christ in type throughout, then this lampstand speaks of a vessel of the testimony of God in which the Lord Jesus is absolute and complete. God would have everything according to Christ. This fact governs the whole revelation in the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation. It is typified and prophesied in the Old Testament. It is presented in the Gospels; demonstrated in the Acts; defined in the Epistles; and consummated in the Revelation. But, alas, what a tragic and heart-breaking history is associated with this fact, and how difficult has it ever been to get anything wholly according to Christ.
In an earlier chapter we saw God's reactions to this in Bible times, and suggested that since then He has again and again so reacted.
(continued with # 28)