An excerpt from God’s Lamp, Man’s Light: Mysteries of the Menorah by Dr. John Garr
When the Maccabean Jews rededicated the Temple and themselves unto God, the result was a miraculous manifestation of light. Oil that naturally would have burned for only one day supernaturally burned for eight days, signifying God’s approval upon the efforts of his people to separate themselves and their sanctuary to him.
The same thing happens with us. When we dedicate ourselves unto God by being sanctified through the Word of God, we become channels of light to the world. Jesus declared in the Sermon on the Mount that this is the very purpose of the church=s existence: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. . .
Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in now wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. . . For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
It is interesting that Jesus did not tell us to let our light shine so that men would see our faith and glorify God. He said that they would see our good works and glorify the Father. Good works are not a means of salvation or justification before God; however, they are a product of the righteousness that is imputed to us for our faith when we are born from above. And, the way we understand the good works that will bring honor to God is from studying the Scriptures:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16, 17).
When the Word of God is applied to our lives, we are taught, corrected, and instructed in righteousness so that we become mature, completely equipped for all good works. (Interestingly enough, the “God-breathed” scripture to which the apostle alluded in this passage was the Tenach, the Hebrew Scriptures that Christians call the Old Testament. Can anyone doubt, then, the value of studying and applying the first testament so that our good works can bring light to the world that will cause them to glorify the Father?
Paul describes the light that we are to be and the manner in which we become it in Philippians 2:15: “That ye may 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; holding forth the word of life.” We become lights only when we extend to men the Word of life, the person of Jesus Christ. We are not the light; we are merely channels through whom the light shines. In us dwells no good thing, but in us dwells the best thing in the universe, God=s Son. And, through him we have the light that brings vision and warmth in a cold world where sin abounds.
How We Are Light
“In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. . . In him was life and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1, 3).
Jesus is the person of the Word (the Memra, or Logos) of God who was with the Father in the beginning and was inherently God. He was the living Torah, the Word made flesh. He was the light that existed before the creation of the sun, moon, or stars. The eternal life that was inherent in him became the light of men during his incarnation.
This is the key to our being light in the world. Putting the Word of God into action in our lives produces light for men. It is not our works that enlighten men. It is God=s Word in us that produces light. The world must not see, not us, but the light. It would see only Jesus.
How do we manifest the light of Jesus in our lives?
We begin by declaring with Jews of all ages, “Shema, Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu, Adonai Echad” (“Yahweh, our God, is one.”) We love God with all our “heart, soul, mind and strength” (Matthew 22:37). We have no other gods before the Lord. We separate ourselves unto him. We sanctify his name. We consecrate ourselves to his service. We remove all the pollutants that mar our lives. We determine to walk with God and please him. We focus our lives on working the works of righteousness, the good works that are the product of faith.
Then, we proceed to fulfill the commandment of Leviticus 19:18 and Matthew 22:39 by loving our “neighbor” as ourselves. We seek to fulfill the positive commandments of the Torah by being obedient to the Word of God. In so doing, we prove that there is something more in the world than man=s selfishness and man=s inhumanity to man. The outworking of God=s Spirit in our lives brings the light of his Word into the lives of others, who, in turn, are persuaded to receive the Messiah for themselves.
When we dedicate ourselves wholly to God, we become channels of the divine light of heaven. We become mini-menorahs, lampstands upon which God can place his light so that it gives light unto all in the house and to all the world. A miracle occurs: What we in our inadequacies could not do, the Holy Spirit does. A one-day supply of oil burns for eight days, the small light that we have is multiplied, and God is glorified.
God’s Lamp, Man’s Light: Mysteries of the Menorah by Dr John Garr
A a masterful analysis of the menorah, the only biblical symbol that has the distinction of being designed by God himself. The only comprehensive study of the menorah in existence, this book is filled with valuable information about the history, design, and function of the menorah in both the Israelite sanctuary and in the earliest church. By Dr. John Garr.