Yeshua our High Priest lifts His light in us
by Daniel Yahav
(Numbers 8:1-4, Exodus 30:7-8)
Yeshua our Lord tells us that we are the light of the world. He challenges us to live in such a way that brings glory to our heavenly father. But how can we increase His light in our lives? In the following teaching we will see interesting pictures from the Old Testament, as we examine the original Hebrew text, that can help us learn deep and practical spiritual lessons. May God help us be His light in this dark world.
Moses received detailed instructions directly from God, while on Mount Sinai, about how to construct the Tabernacle: from the outer courtyard, to the Holy place - with the table, the Menorah and the altar - to the Holy of Holies. When it was all completed, according to everything God had commanded, His presence descended on the Tabernacle. These specific instructions, given to Moses, are very significant, because everything that was physical in the wilderness, including the journey itself, the Feasts and the Tabernacle, are a shadow to which there is a spiritual meaning, which is fulfilled in Yeshua, as it is written: "Therefore let no man judge you... in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days, things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to the Messiah" (Col 2:16-17). Also: "For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things..." (Hebrews 10:1).
When God described how the Menorah in the tabernacle was to be maintained, he was very particular about how Aaron should do this : "And Aaron did so, he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick, as the LORD commanded Moses". In the original Hebrew text instead of:'over against', it says literally: at theface of the lamp: "...he lifted up the lampsat the face of the lamp stand", which means , standing face to face with the lamp stand. In Ex. 30:7-8 it says in Hebrew: "And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning, when he improves the lamps....And when Aaron lifts up the lamps at even..." Aaron was to care for the lamp not from behind, nor from the side, but from the front, standing face to face with the lamp. The Hebrew word for the front - p'nei - is actually the word for face. This gives us a clue as to the real, spiritual meaning behind the practical instruction. Aaron, the high priest, was to stand with his face towards the face of the Menorah in order to “improve” or “lift up” its light. Let us look now, at the different elements involved, and what they mean to us as believers.
1) Aaron - the high priest , is a shadow of Yeshua Himself, our High Priest, as it is written: "We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man" (Hebrews 8:1).
2) The Menorah symbolizes -
a) The individual believer. Yeshua said: "You are the light of the world.... neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt 5:14-16).
b) The assembly of believers. In Rev 1:20, we see that each congregation is represented by a lamp stand: "... and the seven lampstands are the seven congregations" (Rev 1:20).That means that all of us together as the church of Yeshua, are to be light to this world. The number seven- seven lamp stands, seven branches of the Menorah - signifies completeness. This represents the fullness of all congregations of believers. And the fact that the Menorah was made of one piece of hammered work represents the reality that the church of God, made up of all believers, from the original apostles (at the base of the lampstand) until today, we are all ultimately part of the one new man, the Body of Messiah, down through the ages, from all languages, and until Yeshua returns, when there will be no division in God's kingdom, only unity among all who love God.
3) The Light itself represents Life . "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4).
Not only do we need physical light, we need spiritual light - this is eternal life through Yeshua. "Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).
Numbers 8 give us a clue as to how Yeshua ignites and maintains the light in us.
Just as Aaron, the high priest, stood face to face in front of the Menora, in order to fill it with oil, light it's lamps, trim the wicks - lift up it's light and improve it, so Yeshua, our High Priest desires to stand face to face with us individually, in order to ignite His light in our hearts and maintain it. He seeks an intimate relationship with each of us personally. Just as Aaron was alone in the Holy Place to care and improve the light in the Menora, daily, morning and evening, so we need to be alone before God, face to face with Him, in prayer, worship and His Word, in order to receive His life which will then shine through us to the world around us. The more time we spend in the presence of our High Priest, our God, face to face with Him, the more intense will be the light that shines from our lives and gives glory back to the Lord Himself.
We can see another physical picture of this spiritual reality already in the life of Moses. Three times was Moses with God forty days and forty nights.(Deut 9:9, 9:18, 10:10). God spoke to him 'face to face'. "Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to a friend" (Exodus 33:11). The third time, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the second set of the stone tablets, the light within Moses was so intense that it even shone physically through his face. "And it came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai....Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him" (Exodus 34:29). He was so full of light that he had to cover his face with a veil (Ex 34:34).
"The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness" (Matt 6:22). This is all about intimacy with Yeshua, our High Priest, and only He sees our heart. It is crucial which way our face is turned, and therefore our heart. If our attention is on the world and the things of the world (the temptations of sin, the Internet, the deceitfulness of riches, outward appearance etc.) then the light in us will get dimmer and dimmer. But if we give our attention to Yeshua, let Him care and lift up his light shining through us, the light in us will grow ever stronger.
We must cut off everything that would take us away from intimacy with our High Priest. If we love Him, we will love what He loves and hate what He hates. If we are weak, He will help us to turn from these things and choose Him. Meeting God face to face is a life-changing experience. It begins the process of transforming us into His image. As the prophet Isaiah experienced (Isa.6). When we see His glory, we become aware of our own sin and our need to be cleansed. When we repent and call upon His mercy, He cleanses us. If we fix our eyes on Him we will be filled with His light. We have the enormous privilege of seeing Yeshua without a veil - He does not hide his face from us. "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor 3:18). "For God.... is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus the Messiah" ( 2 Cor 4:6).
Yeshua, our High Priest, sets His face towards us, lights our lamp and lifts our light, so that we can shine His light to the world. When people are touched by God’s love through us, or when we are recognized for certain achievements, this is our opportunity to give glory to our Lord and Saviour. It is so important that we make it clear where this light comes from, so that God indeed gets all the glory and not we ourselves. It is our honour and privilege to bring glory to the Lord, when His life and His presence shine through our lives. Let us take time to be alone, face to face with Yeshua, our High Priest, and allow Him to ignite the fire in our hearts and keep it growing, by His love and His Spirit, so that His light will shine through us and others will see and glorify the Lord God Almighty!