While researching the content for this book, I visited some local friends at their shop in the Christian Quarter of the Old City (Syriac Exhibition of Silver). They showed me a newly created piece of jewelry. Within the menorah-style lamp stand is embedded the name of Jesus in Hebrew: ישוע (Yeshua).
Archeologists have found in the Galilean region many first century lamps made from pottery originating from Jerusalem. They think local residents bought lamps in Jerusalem during annual feasts in order to bring the light of the Temple back to Galilee. Lamps from the Byzantine period have been found with Greek inscriptions that state, “The light of Christ shines for all.”
The jewelry refers to John 8 where Jesus declares in the Temple, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (v. 12). The light emitting from the lamp forms the letters for Jesus. The church is to reflect this light of Jesus to the world.
The seven-branched menorah design is explained this way: Seven is God’s number of completion, but despite the plurality of lamps, it is made of one piece. Seven is one, similar to a rainbow or a week. The presence of the One True God is in the midst of them. In Revelation the lamps represent the Spirit’s presence in churches to whom John writes messages from Jesus. Seven churches are listed, yet they are the one bride of Jesus.
Another aspect of the seven-branch design is that it resembles a tree. In Jewish tradition the menorah is reminiscent of the Tree of Life from the creation story. In the New Testament, Revelation equates the tree with eternal life. Adam and Eve were banished from the tree and Revelation 22 shows those with clean robes have access to it. The menorah speaks of eternal life with God for His bride made available to everyone only through the blood of the Messiah. In John 15, Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches.” He is the tree and only in Him can a person live spiritually and produce good fruit.
John records a vision of seven golden lamps with Jesus standing in the midst of them. The seven separate lamp stands represent seven churches located in modern Turkey. They were a light to the world and Jesus, their commander in chief, walked among them.
Jesus is still in the midst of His Church examining, encouraging, and exhorting her to walk in His steps. They are to bring love, justice, and peace (shalom) into the world.
This piece of jewelry is a beautiful symbol of the church, symbolizing Jesus’ guiding presence in the midst of His people. As His light-bearer, the church is to give hope to every people group in the world. The Savior is leading a movement of believers dedicated to seeing His glory fill the whole earth.
Jesus is in the midst of the Church…leading The Resistance.