New Testament Context

The Menorah, although significant in the Old Testament such as in Exodus 25:31-32 & 37 is not mentioned at all in the New Testament. This is not to say though that it is not of importance in New Testament culture, both within the time of Jesus and afterwards in the days of the early Christians.

The Menorah in the Old Testament was a symbol of God, a reminder that he was the light that guided the children of Israel by night during the exodus. Could the early followers of Jesus have linked the Menorah with Jesus, also a symbol of light? Jesus said:

 "I am the Light of the World." (John 8:12)

Perhaps there was an idea of Jesus being the new light to guide anyone who follows him through the darkness into the true light. That as early Jewish Christians looked upon the Menorah they saw it as symbolic to Jesus guiding them out of the darkness and into the light

Menorah Fresco

Menorah Fresco from Western wall of 3rd century CE synagogue at Dura Europos

 

The real significance of the Menorah for early Jewish Christians is unclear however it was a symbol still in use even after the destruction of the temple. As such we can only speculate it was a symbol which had significance in the lives of Jews. The early followers of Jesus saw themselves as Jews who followed the teachings of Christ so we can only imagine that they found new meaning and importance from it in their daily lives. 



[1] Negev, A., 1990. The Archaeological encyclopedia of the Holy Land.

[2] Anon, 1989. The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.