While in worship at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City one morning, my eyes fell on this passage from the Torah:
Make a lampstand of pure, hammered gold. Make the entire lampstand and its decorations of one piece-the base, center stem, lamp cups, buds, and petals (Exodus 25:31).
The verses were warm and familiar. As an artist, I have poured over these Scriptures written to the ancient Hebrew artisans of the day-the detailed instructions from the heart and mind of God on how to handcraft the temple and the holy objects contained within. But somehow I missed these two words: hammered gold.
The process of hammering gold is 5,000 years old. It is fascinating that the craft hasn’t changed much since then. Egyptian artisans discovered the amazing durability and malleability of gold. After gold is melted under high heat it can be poured and then rolled and beaten into shapes. It is beaten while it is still hot, and the purified metal burns with a transparent glow as it is pounded over and over until the exact image or design is achieved.
Colossians 1:15 tells us that Yeshua is the image of the Father, and he was and is God revealed in the flesh (John 1:1, 14). If we want to know what God looks like, we must gaze upon and accept the image and person of Yeshua. Hebrews 1:3 says that Yeshua is the “radiance of His glory and exact representation of His nature.” Yeshua told his disciples, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
Scripture gives us the perfect image of the Son of God, Jesus or Yeshua in Hebrew.
Television personality, Bill Maher, has a documentary out, “Religulous,” that mocks the existence of God, organized religion, and those who believe in God. Maher asks the question how can someone believe in something or someone they have never seen.
I am interested in Maher’s curiosity about the image of God. It shows spiritual hunger. And no matter how prickly Maher may conduct his search for something or someone beyond this world, I am moved to pray that he will receive a revelation.
As a Jew, Maher seeks a sign, something to know tangibly that there is a God. The Bible is clear that Jews are looking for something concrete that points to God. In Maher’s case, he wants solid proof that He exists. God is probably less offended at his method of search than you and I.
As believers, we read God’s Word and see the image of Yeshua. It is like we are looking in a mirror at the glory of God, and we see how we do not measure up to that image. The blood atonement of Yeshua covers our failings and sins, but we are also changed into the image we see in Scripture through trial and tribulations–through pressing on in faith, clinging to God’s Word amidst it all.
That is where the “hammering” of gold comes in.
Corrie ten Boom, an elderly Dutch believer who hid Jews during WWII in her father’s home, was sent to a concentration camp for her kind generosity to God’s ancient people. She suffered just as the Jewish people around her, still she believed in the goodness and love of a just God.
At the end of the war, Corrie was released because of a clerical error. She traveled the world saying, “There is no pit so deep, but the love of Jesus is deeper.” Her message of endurance, love, and forgiveness have influenced thousands.
When I read her testimony, I see the image of Yeshua in the earth. I also see how she became like “hammered gold” through the testings of her life.
One day our difficulties will be over, but the hammer marks, the image of our beloved Lord will remain.
To answer Bill Maher’s question about where is the image of God in this earth: He can look at people like Corrie ten Boom, who laid her life down and suffered for the Jewish people during WWII. It was her love of Yeshua and God’ ancient people that compelled her to do it. I see a loving God in the life of Corrie.
Bill Maher, and others who are seeking, should look at us, the disciples of Yeshua, and know that God exists. Romans 1 says that God is seen in creation. How much more, we the redeemed of the Lord, should reflect His image to the world.
The hammer marks upon the gold–or that which will endure–of our lives should say, “Emmanuel!”… God is with us!
And the Lord-who is the Spirit-makes us more and more like him as
we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18).