Did the risen Jesus compare gatherings of His followers to the Jewish Menorah? I believe He did so in the book of Revelation.
The apostle (sent one) named John, who had been one of Jesus’ closets disciples, had a vision where he saw the living, resurrected Jesus, full of His eternal glory, standing in the midst of seven golden lampstands. Jesus told John that the lampstands were seven ekklesias (gatherings of Christ-followers meeting under the direct headship of the living Jesus, commonly mistranslated into English as churches).
What were those lampstands? The Hebrew word for lampstand is menorah. God told Moses to make a special lampstand (menorah) for the Tabernacle which was later used in the Jewish Temple. Moses was told to make it out of gold and that it was to have 6 lamp branches plus a center lamp (7 total). Originally it was 7 oil lamps made together out of gold, not a candelabra.
The book of 1 Samuel calls it “the lamp of God.” The Bible describes it in Exodus 21:35-40 and Zechariah 4:2.
When Jesus identified the menorahs that surround Him as ekklesias He revealed some of the characteristics of gatherings of His followers as the body of Christ.
- When Christ-followers gather in His name as the lamp of God (under His personal headship and direction), He is truly present and active, and actuality demonstrates His reality in their midst.
- Those gathered are set aflame with the oil of the Holy Spirit.
- Although Christ-followers are individuals, they are one in the golden bond of the unity of the Spirit.
- They all are able to freely contribute light to the meeting.
- No lamp has preeminence over the others.
These observations are not just theological or theoretical. I have personally experienced them hundreds of times. They are literally manifested when ekklesia meets and allows the risen Jesus in their midst to be the leader of the gathering.