The many names of the Savior and their symbolism are fascinating to me. One of my favorites is Light of the World. This is because I love light and hate the darkness. Ever since I heard of people in the Twin Towers on 9/11 making their way IN THE DARK down flights and flights of stairs, I have tried to keep flashlights readily available. I have one in my purse, one in the car, one next to my bed, and there is even a flashlight in my bathroom. While this might seem to border on paranoia (and maybe it does) but since I live in Western Washington where we experience frequent power outages in the winter, it comes in pretty handy.
A More Permanent Darkness
When I was 10 years old, a friend of mine told me he had leukemia and might die. At the time my family and I did not attend church. I had no idea what dying meant, really. One of the first things that came to my mind was that it was like going to sleep and never waking up-a permanent form of darkness. I was horrified by that idea. That was when my search for God began.
Christ is that light that saves us from permanent darkness. Unlike my flashlights, His light is not dependent on batteries or light bulbs. His is a constant and dependable source of light.
This week in my reading in the New Testament, I came across another symbolism of Christ as the Light of the World that I had not noticed before. I might have missed it this time too if it weren’t for theInstitute Manual. The stories from John 7 took place during the “Feast of Tabernacles”. This was one of the “greatest and most joyful” of the feasts. While their customs were different than anything we do today, I’ve read that it loosely relates to our Thanksgiving.
The festivities included, “On the temple mount, four large golden candelabras (also called menorahs or candlesticks) illuminated the temple grounds during dances and other festivities held late into the night and early morning. The golden candelabras, which were 50 cubits tall (approximately 73 feet or 22.25 meters), not only provided light for the celebrations, but they symbolized that Israel was to be a light to those who walked in darkness.” New Testament Student Manual
That is mind boggling to me–73 feet tall! How tall is that? I wanted to be able to compare it to something so I did a quick google search and learned that wooden phone poles are approx. 24 ft tall. Suffice it to say 73 feet is ginormous. So imagine the surprise of the Jewish leaders, who were seeking to entrap Jesus, when He stood before these giant candelabras and proclaimed Himself to be “the Light of the World.”
It’s powerful, stunning and beautiful to me all at the same time.
Photo attribution: LDS Media Images