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As the golden candlestick in the tabernacle consisted of seven lamps; this chapter contains directions for the lighting of them. Here is also the order for the consecration of the Levites, to their particular office, by the purifying of their bodies and garments: with some other circumstances of the like nature.
If the Reader will consult Exodus 25:31 he will find similar directions given concerning this service. But it was here that the first precept is given of the order for lighting the lamps. But let the Reader attend to the more important things of a spiritual nature, veiled under this service. Are not the seven lamps here spoken of, typical of the HOLY GHOST's influence described in the book of Revelation, under the same number, the seven spirits of GOD? There can be no doubt but that the number of seven is intended, not by way of implying a plurality in the person of GOD the SPIRIT, as to his nature; but solely to intimate that there is a diversity in his gifts, and operations, and influences. See Revelation 1:4 ; 1 Corinthians 12:11; 1 Corinthians 12:11 . But this is not all which is couched under this type; are not the lamps themselves emblematical also of the word of GOD? See Psalms 119:105 ; Proverbs 6:23 . And observe moreover, that those lamps were intended to give light, over against the candlestick; that is, to the table of show-bread: meaning no doubt as the show-bread was a type of the ever blessed JESUS, the true showbread, and the bread of life; John 5:39 so the scriptures like the lamps of the tabernacle, all point to Him. And as the whole body of lamps lighted to the show-bread; so the HOLY GHOST whom thus, lamps represent in all his offices, points to the LORD JESUS. John 16:14 .
Observe here who was expressly appointed to the office of lighting the lamps; it was Aaron. Yes! It was JESUS our Almighty Aaron, that sends to us the HOLY SPIRIT, as the FATHER'S gift, to enlighten the souls of his people, and as the fruit and effect of his own ascension-gifts to his church. Hence David saith, Thou LORD wilt light my candle. Psalms 18:28 . Dearest JESUS! thou art both the light, and the life of thy people, and in thy light, shall we see light. Psalms 36:9 .
What a beautiful though short description, is given of the candlestick; namely, of beaten gold: intimating most probably, the GODHEAD and glory of Him, who is as the church describes him in himself, as the head of his people, as the most fine gold, both in his divine nature and in his headship, as GOD over all, one with the FATHER who is blessed forevermore. Song 1-8.
The Levites were before appointed to this service, and here is the form of their ordination. See Numbers 3:6 , etc. But let the Reader remark with me, the gospel feature strongly pointed out. The Levites, even though Levites, and chosen of GOD, partake of the common corruption of our fallen nature: they must be therefore cleansed from this. And how? Nothing but the blood of JESUS, can cleanse from sin; and nothing but the water of regeneration of the HOLY GHOST can renew our fallen nature. See GOD'S promises to this effect in reference to gospel times. Ezekiel 36:25-27 ; Titus 3:4-6 , Souls thus regenerated and cleansed, are said to be dedicated to the LORD. So were these Levites. Ephesians 5:26-27 ; Romans 12:1 . But the type goes further.
All this was to be done with sacrifice. Yes! in everything, and by every service, JESUS, the great sacrifice both for sin, and for our acceptance is held forth. That sweet scripture of the apostle to the Hebrews, is a gracious instruction to us upon many occasions. Hebrews 10:14 .
This self-dedication as following the LORD'S appointment, is among the evidences of our being the LORD'S. Paul hath a sweet observation upon this: 2 Corinthians 8:4-5 .
The age of twenty five, from whence this dedication to the LORD'S service began, was meant no doubt, to point out the ripeness of age, required for his sacred employment. The apostle hath given the like direction for the gospel ministry, under the HOLY GHOST's authority. 1 Timothy 3:7; 1 Timothy 3:7 .
PAUSE my soul, while by faith thou walkest in the sanctuary of the Old Testament dispensation, and in viewing the golden candlestick with the lighted lamps, behold thy adored Redeemer, as divinely represented shining forth, in and through all his New Testament revelation, under the fulness of all the HOLY SPIRIT's influence. Oh! how gloriously did he shine, of whom this golden candlestick with its seven lamps was but the faintest image, unto whom the SPIRIT was not given by measure. Hail! thou ever blessed, ever glorious JESUS! thou that are both the light, and the life of thy people. From thee and thy precious influence, do all the lights of the temple derive their lustre. By thee they shine; for thee they minister; and to thy glory they serve. LORD! communicate to my dark and benighted heart the rays of thy grace. Shine in precious JESUS, on my cold and lifeless soul, and warm my frozen affections; be thou my everlasting light, and my GOD my glory.
And while I thus look up to thee my GOD and Saviour, as the fountain and source of all that is truly glorious, may my soul behold in the dedication of these Levites to the temple service, how high a dignity those souls are called to, who, by the LORD'S appointment, minister in holy things. Let me offer a prayer before the mercy seat, for all of this description and character, who are the true Levites before GOD; I mean such as are of the HOLY GHOST's commissioning, that He who hath called them may qualify for the work. Oh! LORD, consider their earthen vessels: pity and compassionate the weakness of their frame; and by the powerful influences of thy grace, do thou give in unto them that they may give out to thy people! may a gracious GOD and Saviour make them faithful, to shine as lights in thy church here; and, by turning many to righteousness, may they shine as the stars in the church above, forever, and ever!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Numbers 8". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20