Stained Glass Symbols — The Temple Menorah

Temple Menorah - Sacred Heart Catholic Church -  Wauzeka WIA Symbol of Christ

Menorah is the Hebrew word for “Candlestick.” You may be familiar with the nine-branched menorahs Jews employ to celebrate Hanukah, the “Festival of Lights,” however the menorah above features seven branches. This is the design God gave to Moses when commanding him to have a lampstand fashioned to stand within His tabernacle in the desert. (Exodus 25) Later, this pure gold lampstand lit the sanctuary of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Christians see in the temple menorah a sign of Christ, the Light of the World, who is always in the Father’s presence.

It is from a story about the temple menorah that the feast of Hanukah comes. In the second century BC, the Greeks profaned the temple with pagan sacrifices and tried to force the Jews to abandon their faith. One family, called the Maccabees, rose up against their Greeks oppressors, defeated them, and rededicated the Jerusalem Temple in 165 BC. When those Jews relit the temple’s sanctuary lamp they could supply it with only one-day’s worth of olive oil and it would take a week to prepare more. Yet, the temple menorah kept miraculously burning for eight days until the new oil was ready. Rather than olive oil, Hanukah menorahs burn nine candles: one for each of the eight nights and one central candle from which the others are lit.

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