If you had walked into our Christmas service, you might be surprised to see a Jewish Menorah at a Christmas Celebration.
The designs for the Menorah were given to Moses by God in Exodus 25 instructing them to make a seven stick golden candle that looked like a bush. When it was lit in the tabernacle, it would be a constant reminder of the burning bush and of his presence.
Now let’s fast-forward to Jesus.
After his resurrection, Jesus tells his disciples that everything in the Bible was actually pointing to Him. In Luke 24:27 it states:
…and beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
Christ taught that all things written by Moses, including the instruction for the Menorah, were sign pointing to His coming to earth.
God gave His people very specific instructions for hammering out a lampstand of pure gold. He goes into great detail explaining that six branches are to extend from the lampstand outward, three on each side of the center trunk.
The Menorah has seven lights which remind us that seven is the number of God - He made the world in seven days. God also set up seven feasts for His people to celebrate through the year.
Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal looks at a giant Hanukkah Menorah after its installation at the Pariser Platz in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. The eight day Jewish Festival of Lights Hanukkah will start on Dec. 8. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
What are the Seven Feasts, and how do they point to Jesus Christ?
The seven candles represent the seven feasts. The seven feasts each point specifically to the birth, life, death, and final resurrection of Christ.
The first candle is Passover. Passover is when God brought deliverance to His people from the bondage of Egypt by sacrificing a perfect lamb. Jesus said that He was the Passover lamb that would be sacrificed for us to be delivered from spiritual bondage. Jesus died on the cross on the actual Passover date to bring us spiritual freedom.
The second candle is Unleavened Bread. This was a feast day requiring you were to eat bread that didn’t rise while you prayed for God to “bring fruit out of the ground that you most needed” for the next day of First fruits. This festival occurred on the actual day that Jesus was in the ground. All of Jerusalem was praying that night that God would “bring out of the ground that which they most needed.” Jesus’s death and resurrection was the answer to the prayers of Unleaven Bread.
The third candle is First Fruits, which occurred three days after Passover. On this festival, God’s people were to bring to God the first thing out of the ground from the spring harvest. Jesus is called the First Fruit of resurrection. He was raised from the dead on the actual date of First Fruits because He was the “first thing out of the ground” at His resurrection.
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The fourth candle points to the Feast of Pentecost. Fifty days after First fruits, Pentecost celebrated the “50 days after Passover” when Moses came down and gave God’s Word to the People. Fifty days after Jesus death, His spirit came down and gave God’s Word to the People in the Book of Acts at the Festival of Pentecost.
The fifth Menorah candle points to the Feast of Trumpets. This was a time of blowing the Shofar. Trumpets were often used as a celebration of the returning king. Jesus said that He will one day return to earth as a king with the sounds of trumpets.
The sixth feast is the Day of Atonement. This was the day the priest went into the Holiest place and put his hands on a “scapegoat” to take the consequences of our wrong doing. You would place your hands on the goat symbolizing the blame-transfer from us to the goat. The goat would then be released into the wilderness as a symbol that you had escaped punishment. Jesus claims to be our scapegoat and great High Priest. He goes into the presence of God, places all our wrong doing on Himself, and the curtain of the temple is torn upon his death.
Now we come to the middle candle. This light of the Menorah points to the Feast of Tabernacles. This feast actually featured a Menorah. It was a longing for God’s light to come and dwell (or tabernacle) among his people. God said it was to be a day of rejoicing and celebration among the people. This feast was in the fall, a time when “Shepherds are out in their fields by night.” Herod created giant 70-feet tall Menorah’s to light up the temple on this day.
Tabernacles was a celebration of God’s light coming to the world. It was celebrated with giant candles symbolic of a modern day birthday cake. It was a time when God’s people were commanded to rejoice. It was a time when God promised to Tabernacle with His people.
[sharequote align="center"]We are not alone. God is with us.[/sharequote]
Jesus attended several of these feasts during his life. Upon the lighting of the candle, He once cried out, “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12)
Jesus was born on the date of the Feast of Tabernacle. The Angels reference this festival when they tell the shepherds that this is a time of great joy for all people. John tells us that "Jesus was the Word made flesh" that came to dwell or tabernacle among us. (John 1:14)
The Menorah was God’s road map to the Christ. It laid out his birth, death, burial, resurrection, and eventual return. Christmas is the promise that God tabernacled with us on the great Feast Day of celebration. We are not alone. God is with us.
For more information about how the whole Bible points to Jesus, check out www.fasttrackbible.com. This eight week DVD series is the quickest way to understand the greatest story ever told. It allows you to take yourself, your family, or your church through the entire Bible in eight weeks.
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