“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Mat. 5:16)

The above citation demonstrate the importance of shining the Light of Revealed Truth to men and women around us. In fact, when we consider the context more carefully, we find that there are two aspects of our shining: to the World, and to those already in the House:

“Ye are the Light of the World … Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under a bushel, but on a lampstand; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house” (Mat. 5:15).

This latter aspect of light illuminating “the house” reminds us of the manner by which the Lampstand illuminated the House of God in Solomon’s day. Indeed, there are other passages in Scripture which make this direct comparison:

“do all things without murmurings and disputings: 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” (Phil. 2:15-16).

“The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the messengers of the seven ecclesias: and the seven lampstands which thou sawest are the seven ecclesias” (Rev. 1:20).

We find then, that our responsibility as recipients of the Light of the Truth, is to allow it to shine within and from us, “holding forth the word of live”, just like the lampstands of the Temple.

When we consider the arrangement of Light in the Temple that Solomon built, we find some highly interesting principles being set forth:

“ … and the lampstands of pure gold, five on the right side, and five on the left, before the oracle, with the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs of gold” (1 Kings 7:49).

Often in expounding the significance of these things, brethren point out that there are ten lampstands, and draw a principle out from the number ten. However, the inspired narrative is careful to specify that there were not ten, but two groups of five: “five on the right side, and five on the left”. Yes, there were ten, but an accurate analysis should be based on the Spirit’s narrative that there were two groups of five.

This becomes particularly interesting, when we consider that it is often said that five is the number of grace. Consider that fact with the testimony of the Apostle Paul:

“… being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1-2).

Notice the Temple language being used: “the glory of God”, which brings to mind the Glory of God that dwelt in the Most Holy place. But Paul, being guided by the Spirit, speaks of us have “peace with God”, for we have “access by faith”. Here “peace” = “to join together” This matches the High Priest standing in the Holy place before entering in beyond the veil on the Day of Atonement. He is drawing near to Yahweh, with the faith that his offerings will be accepted. And in his position standing before the Vail, he stands in the midst of the lampstands (Rev. 1:13), with five lamps each side of him – or, as the Apostle puts it, “this grace wherein we stand”. We find then, that the High Priest stood in such a position of Grace, as he drew near to the Glory of God before him, to make reconciliation and covering for the sins of the people.

There are many important points that emerge from a study of the Day of Atonement, and most expositions draw out principles whereby the High Priest forshadows the work of Messiah. But we need also to draw out the principles by which the People were to occupy their time, as they waited for the return of their High Priest. None other than he were permitted to enter into the Temple; the people and other priests had to patiently wait for his coming. Isaiah 58 describes what the people were to do, and their failure to do it. But the central point to consider is that we, as the people, await the coming of our High Priest—and we must occupy our time with wholesome things, redeeming the time that passes before his coming:

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation”

We who look for Messiah’s appearing, must maintain a constant state of readiness for that day. As another writer expresses it:

“As a thief, as a midnight robber, Christ will steal upon the world. In like manner he will come to many in the brotherhood. But not so to faithful brethren and sisters. To these he will come, not as an unexpected and unwanted intruder, but as a looked for and longed for friend. Their attitude will be one of expectancy, although they may not know the day or hour of the event. What is our attitude in the matter? Are our thoughts fixed on Christ’s return? Are we ready and waiting to give him a welcome? Let us not deceive ourselves. It is possible for us to believe that we are the friends of Christ when we are nothing of the kind. The Scriptures foreshadow the bitter humiliation of many who will have been so deluded (Matt. 7:22-23). To avoid such a calamity, let us engage freely in self-examination. Do we keep the commandments? Only those who do are his friends (John 15:14). May his word so motivate us that we may not be put to shame in the approaching day of our Lord’s appearing.”

(Cited from Logos 1985)

Christopher Maddocks