My morning Bible study was on the Golden Candlestick in the Old Testament Sanctuary. The golden candlestick was decorated with almonds. Why almonds? The word Almond in ancient Hebrew means to make haste and also has a second meaning have much zeal. These almonds were on the center stick and its six branches. In the book of Revelation, we are taught that these seven candlesticks represent the seven churches and since the number seven represents completeness, then the seven churches represent the whole or complete church of God. Since this represents the whole church of God, then the whole church must spread the gospel with much hast and with great zeal. Christ represents the light shining out from the churches and the Holy Spirit is the power given to church for it to carry out its work with haste and zeal.
In the story of the ten virgins they were all given a portion of the Holy Spirit because their lamps burned brightly for a while. This initial oil scripture indicates this takes place at Baptism. However, they all fell asleep, but five brought extra oil. How did they attain this extra oil? Keeping in mind the that oil represents the Holy Spirit.
Unlike English which is read from left to right, Hebrew is read from right to left, so what is happening on the left has to start on the right, and in this case the power of the holy spirit is given as the third phase in the process of sanctification. So two other steps must be present before the power of the Holy Spirit is fully given.
The first step in the process of sanctification must take then place at the table of showbread. Unlike us that typically move in a clockwise direction, they would move from in a counter clock wise direction. So starting at the table of showbread, we must partake of the bread upon that table. Jesus called himself the bread of life and so daily we must partake of the bread of life by studying the word. Daily, deeply studying the word. As the children of Israel were fed daily by the manna that fell from heaven, so must we be fed daily by the word of God.
As the process of sanctification continues we find ourselves before the Golden Altar where our fervent prayers are offered which are them mixed with the incense of Christ’s righteousness to become pleasing to God. As we grow and learn of about God, the nature of our prayers will over time change. More and more our prayers will be less and less about our own selfish desires and more and more about helping others and glorifying God in what and how we pray.
It is then and only then that we can move to the third phase of sanctification, in which the Holy Spirit pours his power out upon His people and His Church as we move to the golden candlestick. In God’s plan, there is no skipping phases. You cannot have fervent prayers without first studying the word of God. Study without fervent prayer leads to nothing because the Holy Spirit will not be pour out upon those that are not asking for it.
We see this in Acts chapter 2 where the disciples 120 strong came together after having spent time in study (spending time with Christ) and now in fervent prayer and then the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them.
How then, just how is it, that we as a people, we as a church expect to be empowered by the Holy Spirit if we are not actively participating in the process of sanctification by daily eating of the manna of God’s word and fervent prayer. God is looking for a people, looking for a church that with haste and zeal will spread the good news of the gospel. But, it all starts with daily committing ourselves to the study of His word and fervent prayer.