Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Seven lights

In three respects, Gen 1 foreshadows the menorah:

i) The word for "light(s)" on the Fourth Day is repeated in reference to the menorah, viz.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so (Gen 1:14-15).

the lampstand also for the light, with its utensils and its lamps, and the oil for the light (Exod 35:14)

the lampstand of pure gold and its lamps with the lamps set and all its utensils, and the oil for the light (Exod 39:37).

ii) The seven days of creation parallel the sevenfold lampstand. Just as the seven days of creation represent seven units of light, the menorah represents seven units of light:

32 And there shall be six branches going out of its sides, three branches of the lampstand out of one side of it and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side of it…37 You shall make seven lamps for it. And the lamps shall be set up so as to give light on the space in front of it (Exod 25:32,37).

iii) Gen 1 has alternating periods of day and night. Likewise, the menorah was lit at twilight (Exod 30:8), which seems to mean the menorah only burned at night. That makes sense. It provides a nocturnal light source for the tabernacle in the absence of sunlight. In that respect, the menorah mirrors the diurnal cycle.

Just as sunlight periodically illuminates the earth, lamplight periodically illuminates the tabernacle. There's a sense in which the menorah is sacred light. 

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