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The Golden Lampstand Just inside the holy place on the left (south) side, stood the golden menorah that had seven candlestick branches (see Exodus 25:31-40). They were not wax candles as we know them, but lamps fueled by pure olive oil. The priests trimmed the wicks daily, and refilled the bowls with oil so that the menorah would constantly be a source of light for the holy place. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). He also said, "Ye are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). The olive oil in the lamps symbolized the Holy Spirit that illuminates the church. The lamp is a symbol of the Word, as well (Psalm 119:105). The Table of Showbread Opposite the lamp was the table of showbread on the north side. It was constructed of acacia wood and covered with gold (Exodus 25:23-30). On it were kept 12 loaves of unleavened bread (Leviticus 24:5-9). These loaves were symbolic of Jesus, who is the bread of life (John 6:35). They number 12 signified the 12 tribes of Israel and 12 apostles of Jesus who were to feed God's people with the bread of life-which is also a symbol of the Bible (Matthew 4:4). The Altar of Incense The altar of incense was located directly across from the door standing against the ornate veil that separated the holy place from the most holy place. Like several other items in the sanctuary, it was also made of acacia wood and covered with gold (Exodus 30:1-3). It was much smaller than the altar in the courtyard and contained a brass pot that held hot coals from the brazen altar of burnt offerings. It was here that the priest burned a very special blend of incense which filled the sanctuary with a sweet-smelling cloud, representing the prayers of intercession and confession of the believers sweetened by the Holy Spirit (Exodus 30:8). The Holy Place represents the process of sanctification. This corresponds to the wilderness wanderings of Israel. The pillar of fire was their menorah, and the manna was their showbread. The pillar of cloud was their cloud of incense. Sanctification is the process in the Christian's life of learning to obey. It is made up of a series of justifications. Each time we sin we ask for forgiveness, and we are justified again. However, God offers more than forgiveness when we confess. In 1 John 1:9, He promises us that, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." It is that "cleansing from unrighteousness" that constitutes sanctification. The key ingredients in our sanctification are a devotional life in the Word, prayer, and witnessing. The sanctuary's bread, incense, and lamp represent these elements. The Most Holy Place The length of the most holy place equaled its width so that it formed a square. It was also as high as it was wide and long, making it a perfect cube-just like the New Jerusalem will be (see Revelation 21:16). The apartment contained only one piece of furniture.
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