MENORAH STRUCTURE OF THE "I AM" STATEMENTS OF JESUS,
THE DETAILS OF HIS BIRTH, AND CONFIRMING "SIGNS"

MENORAH STRUCTURE OF THE "I AM" STATEMENTS OF JESUS, THE DETAILS OF HIS BIRTH, AND CONFIRMING "SIGNS"

flame
flame
flame
flame
flame
flame
flame

Feeding
of the
5000

I AM
the bread
of life

bread

Healing
of blind
man

I AM
the light of
the world

sunset

Healing
by Sheep
Gate

I AM
the door of
the sheep

sheep
left arrow

Entering
when door
locked

I AM
the good
shepherd

Jesus holding lamb
up arrow

Shepherds
given sign

Born like
lamb,
survived
Herod

Wise men
saw light,
found way

Born in
Bethlehem
Ephratah

Angel says
"Fear not"

down arrow

I AM
Don't be
afraid

Walking on
Water

right arrow

Raising
of
Lazarus

I AM
the resur-
rection &
the life

cross

Healing
of dying
son

I AM
the way,
the truth, &
the life

road

Turning
water into
wine

I AM
the true
vine

grapevine

left arrow
right arrow
left arrow

Bethlehem means
"House of bread"

right arrow

Ephratah means
"Fruitful"

THE MENORAH STRUCTURE

The "I am" statements of Jesus, and the corresponding details of his birth, form a menorah structure which shows Jesus to be the "I am" who became the Passover lamb. The base of the menorah is "I am; don't be afraid," which Jesus said while walking on the Sea of Galilee (John 6:16-21). Each of the seven branches relates to a specific metaphorical "I am" statement, and has a corresponding detail in the circumstances of Jesus' birth, and a corresponding "sign" (or "work"). The center post contains details of Jesus' birth which correspond to the seven branches.

"I AM" STATEMENTS

Six of the "I am" statements form three pairs of matching statements, and six details of Jesus' birth form three pairs of matching details. Here are the seven metaphorical "I am" statements in the order in which they appear in the Gospel of John:

1. "I am the bread of life." John 6:35, 41, 48-51
   2. "I am the light of the world." John 8:12, 9:5
      3. "I am the door of the sheep." John 10:7, 9
         4. "I am the good shepherd." John 10:11, 14
      5. "I am the resurrection, and the life." John 11:25
   6. "I am the way, the truth, and the life." John 14:6
7. "I am the true vine." John 15:1, 5

I have indented the list to show the matched pairs. The eighth "I am" statement is not metaphorical, but relates to the above:

8. "I am; don't be afraid." John 6:16-21

The first and seventh form a matched pair, the second and sixth form a matched pair, and the third and fifth form a matched pair. The fourth one stands alone in the center, and is by far the most significant one. The details of Jesus birth that correspond to the "I am" statements clearly reveal the menorah structure.

DETAILS OF JESUS BIRTH

The first matched pair of "I am" statements, "I am the bread of life," and "I am the true vine," are both linked to the place of Jesus' birth, Bethlehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:5, 6), since Bethlehem means "house of bread," and Ephratah means "fruitful."

The second matched pair of "I am" statements, "I am the light of the world," and "I am the way, the truth, and the life," are both linked to the time of Jesus' birth, the time the star appeared, since the wise men, who followed the light of the Star of Bethlehem, found their way to Jesus, knew the truth when King Herod tried to deceive them, and then survived the wrath of King Herod after they defied him (Matthew 2:1-12).

The third pair of matched "I am" statements, "I am the door of the sheep," and "I am the resurrection and the life," are both linked to the purpose of Jesus' birth, to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:36). Jesus was turned away from the door of the inn, but allowed to enter a cave or building which was normally used for sheep to give birth to their lambs (Luke 2:7). Jesus was, in this respect, like a Passover lamb. While many babies were killed as a result of King Herod's attempt to kill Jesus (Matthew 2:13-16), Jesus himself escaped and survived. This is reminiscent of the first Passover, when the first born sons of Egypt, not protected by the blood of the Passover lamb on the door post, were all killed, but the first born sons of Israel, protected by the blood of the Passover lamb on the door post, all survived unharmed.

The fourth "I am" statement, "I am the good shepherd," is linked to the angelic announcement to the shepherds. The shepherds were given a "sign," that they would find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger (Luke 2:8-20). The "swaddling clothes" were strips of cloth often used to wrap a dead body. Here was a symbol of death associated with a newborn baby. This is a picture of the good shepherd who would give his life for the sheep.

The eighth "I am" statement, "I am; don't be afraid," is also linked to the angelic announcement to the shepherds, since the angel told the shepherds not to be afraid.

CONFIRMING "SIGNS" OR WORKS (MIRACLES)

Each "sign" or work in the menorah structure is very similar, in terms of its overall theme, to the "sign" (or work) on the opposite branch. The "sign" for the lowest branch on the left, the "bread of life" branch, is the feeding of the 5,000. Five loaves of barley bread and two small fish are multiplied to supply 5,000 men plus women and children (John 6:1-13). The "sign" for the lowest branch on the right, the "true vine" branch, is the turning of water into "wine" (perhaps grape juice). Six large waterpots of water are turned into "wine" (or grape juice) for the guests at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11). Both bread and "wine" were consumed at the last supper, and represented the body and blood of Jesus (Matthew 26:20-29, Mark 14:17-25, Luke 22:14-20).

The "sign" for the middle branch on the left, the "light of the world" branch, is about the healing of the man born blind, enabling him to see the light. The man is sent to the pool of Siloam, which means "sent," and he comes back seeing. The man's parents are specifically mentioned in this account, emphasizing the fact that he is the son of his parents (John 9). The "sign" for the middle branch on the right, the "way, the truth, and the life" branch, is about the healing of the nobleman's dying son. The nobleman goes to Cana of Galilee, where Jesus is, and then is sent home to Capernaum. While the nobleman was on his way, his servants confirmed the truth of Jesus' words, "Your son will live.". This story also involves the healing of a son (John 4:46-54). In both cases, a son is healed, and in both cases, someone was sent from one location to another in connection with the healing.

The "sign" for the highest branch on the left, the "door of the sheepfold" branch, is about the healing of a paralyzed man by Jerusalem's Sheep Gate who says he has "no man" with him to help him. Although he cannot possibly rise and walk, since he has been lame for 38 years, he supernaturally rises and walks (John 5:2-9). The "sign" for the highest branch on the right, the "resurrection and the life" branch, is about the raising of Lazarus from the dead. The name "Lazarus" is derived from the Hebrew name "Eleazar," which means "God helps." Martha desperately wants Jesus to be with her and help her when Lazarus is dying, but he does not come until after Lazarus dies. Although Lazarus cannot possibly rise up and walk, since he has been dead for four days, he miraculously rises, and walks out of the tomb (John 11:1-45). In both cases, there is a need for someone to be there and help, but it seems as if there is no one there to help at the moment when it really matters. In both cases, someone who can't possibly rise and walk, rises up and walks, in an amazing display of divine authority.

The "sign" at the top of the center post, the "good shepherd" branch, Jesus' sudden appearance in the room with the disciples, while the doors are locked (twice), is about the disciples being with each other, in difficult circumstances, frightened, and then Jesus suddenly and unexpectedly appearing among them (John 20). The "sign" or work at the base of the menorah structure, Jesus' walking on water, is about the disciples being with each other, in difficult circumstances, and Jesus unexpectedly approaching them on the surface of the water, at night, during a storm. As soon as he enters the boat, they are suddenly at their destination (John 6:16-21). In both cases, the disciples are frightened, but Jesus calms their fears. In both cases, they are at first unable to recognize him. In both cases, someone is suddenly in a location where they couldn't logically be.

The similarity of themes between each "sign" or work in the menorah structure and the "sign" or work on the opposite branch of the menorah structure confirms that each "sign" or work belongs to the indicated part of the menorah structure.

THE "ORIGINAL ENDING" OF THE GOSPEL

John chapter 20 ends by stating that Jesus did "many other signs" which were not included in the Gospel of John, but that those that were included, were included so that the reader might believe that Jesus is the Christ (John 20:30, 31). This is sometimes called the "original ending" of the Gospel. This "original ending" occurs immediately after Thomas has realized that Jesus did, in fact, rise from the dead. As soon as he declares, "My Lord, and My God," the story of the resurrection itself is complete, and therefore the structure of the menorah itself is complete; however, there is more to come.

FIRE FROM HEAVEN

A menorah should be lit. John chapter 21 will light the menorah through the story of the 153 fish.

JESUS IS THE SOURCE OF LIVING WATER

Seven disciples fish all night and catch nothing. Jesus tells them to cast the net on the right side of the boat. All of a sudden they have a great catch of fish. Ezekiel 47:9 states that an abundance of fish is caused by fresh water flowing from the shore. Jesus, the giver of the living water of the Holy Spirit (John 4:1-42, John 7:37-39), is standing on the shore. When the fish are counted, there are exactly 153. What is the significance of that number?

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NUMBER 153

In the Old Testament, the King of Samaria sends exactly 153 men to take Elijah into custody. First, the king sends a captain of fifty with his fifty. Elijah's response is to call down fire from heaven, which consumes them. Then, the king sends another captain of fifty with his fifty. Once again, Elijah's response is to call down fire from heaven which consumes them. Then, the king sends a third captain of fifty with his fifty. This time, the captain of fifty begs for and receives mercy (2 Kings 1:9-15). Elijah spares this captain of fifty with his fifty. Therefore, the number 153 is associated with calling down fire from heaven.

THE FIRE FROM HEAVEN

Jesus said that he would make his disciples "fishers of men." Therefore, this story is about catching people and bringing them to Jesus. The living water (the Holy Spirit) produces the abundance of "fish," but the disciples still have to cast their net on the right side of the boat to catch them. The number 153 suggests that fire will be called down from heaven upon the disciples and/or the new believers that the disciples will "catch." The Holy Spirit is the "fire" that will come upon them. See Exodus 3:1-2,13-14, Acts 2:1-4.

SECOND MENORAH STRUCTURE

There is a small menorah structure in the story of the catch of the 153 fish. Seven disciples go fishing. These seven disciples form the seven branches of this menorah structure. After Peter jumps into the water to meet Jesus before the boat reaches the shore, there are six disciples remaining in the boat. Two of these disciples, Nathaniel and Thomas, are explicitly named. Two of these disciples, sons of Zebedee, are identified as sons of their father. The other two of these disciples are not identified, except as disciples. Therefore, there are three pairs of disciples, which form three pairs of branches of the menorah structure. Peter is the top center of the menorah structure, and Jesus is the base.

GOD HAS GIVEN A "TWIN"

Nathaniel's name is Hebrew and means "gift of God" or "God has given." Thomas's name is also Hebrew and means "twin." The meanings of the two names put together form the message, "God has given a twin." Twins in the Bible are a metaphor for the substitutionary death of Christ. See the Good Shepherd page for a complete explanation of this.

The second pair of disciples are the two sons of Zebedee, whose name is also Hebrew and means "God has given." This small menorah structure, like the main menorah structure above, involves two sons.


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