noted are these: (1.) That Josephus says, the candlestick here carried in this triumph was not thoroughly like that which was used in the temple, which appears in the number of little knobs and flowers in that on the triumphal arch, not well agreeing with Moses’ description, Exod. xxv. 31-36. (2.) The smallness of the branches in Josephus, compared with the thickness of those on that arch.”
Thus it may well be that the lampstand depicted on the arch of Titus is at best an artist’s conception, and may give only a rather vague idea of the actual lampstand’s appearance. The thickness of the branches, the heavy base, the decorations on the base, the decorations on the stem and branches, all may differ considerably from the real object.
The prophet Zechariah saw in vision an unusual golden lampstand. As with the lampstand prepared for the tabernacle, it had seven lamps, but these lamps had seven pipes, which scholars understand in a distributive sense to mean a pipe to each lamp. Also, on top of the lampstand there was a bowl. Apparently a continuous supply of oil was provided for the lamps through the pipes leading to them. The oil evidently came from the two olive trees the prophet saw alongside the lampstand.—Zech. 4:2, 3, 12.
Jehovah God, through the glorified Jesus Christ, gave to the apostle John a vision in which he saw “seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands someone like a son of man.” This one, whose description reveals him to be Jesus Christ, explained to John that the lampstands meant seven congregations. (Rev. 1:1, 12, 13, 20) These visionary lampstands were probably like the one that lighted the tabernacle so that the priests could perform their duties there. The use of such to represent congregations is in harmony with Jesus’ words to those who are dedicated servants of God: “You are the light of the world.” (Matt. 5:14) As the one “who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands,” he oversees all their activity as lightbearers.—Rev. 2:1.
In counseling the congregation at Ephesus, Christ warned that he would remove the lampstand from its place, unless they repented. This would doubtless mean that they would no longer be used to shed the light of truth in that area, but that their light would go out.—Rev. 2:1-5; compare Matthew 6:22, 23.
The final mention of lampstands in the Bible bears certain similarities to Zechariah’s vision. “Two witnesses” who were to prophesy in sackcloth were said to be symbolized by “the two olive trees and the two lampstands.”—Rev. 11:3, 4.
See ARMS, ARMOR.
From very early times, property rights of landowners or landholders have been recognized. Abraham bargained with Ephron the Hittite for a burial place for his wife Sarah, finally buying a field for a stated sum, the transaction being legalized before the townspeople. (Gen. 23:1-20) During a famine in Egypt, Joseph bought land for Pharaoh from Egyptian landowners, in exchange for food. The priests were excepted, continuing to hold their land and to be fed with rations from Pharaoh. (Gen. 47:20-26) God’s faithful servant Job, living in the land of Uz, possessed inheritable property, doubtless including land, that he gave to his sons and daughters.—Job 1:4; 42:15.
When Jehovah brought Israel into Canaan he exercised his right as Lord and Owner of the whole earth to dispossess the Canaanites, who were, in effect, “squatters” on the land. (Josh. 3:11; 1 Cor. 10:26) The period of God’s tolerating their holding the land had run out. God, although he had promised the land to Abraham’s seed, had told Abraham more than 450 years previously: “The error of the Amorites [a term sometimes used for all the Canaanite tribes] has not yet come to completion.” (Gen. 15:7, 8, 12-16) Therefore, as the Christian martyr Stephen told the Jews, God “did not give [Abraham] any inheritable possession in it, no, not a foot-breadth; but he promised to give it to him as a possession, and after him to his seed, while as yet he had no child.”—Acts 7:5.
Israel was not to fight wars of aggression, continuing to expand its territory by taking the property of surrounding nations. Jehovah warned Israel that they must respect the property rights of certain nations to whom he had assigned land. These nations were Edom, Moab and Ammon, related to the Israelites through Esau (Edom) and Lot (Moab and Ammon).—Deut. 2:4, 5, 9, 19.
Promised Land held in trust
Even the people Israel, although God gave them the land and they were able to enjoy it as landowners, were told by Jehovah that they were not actually owners of it, but only held it in trust. He said concerning the sale of a family land estate: “So the land should not be sold in perpetuity, because the land is mine. For you are alien residents and settlers from my standpoint.” (Lev. 25:23) God had ousted the Canaanites from the land for their disgusting practices. He would also take away all title from Israel and drive them out of the land if they followed such practices, which they later did, and were sent into exile. (Lev. 18:24-30; 25:18, 19; 26:27-33; Jer. 52:27) After seventy years of desolation of their land, from 607 to 537 B.C.E., God mercifully reestablished them, but this time under Gentile domination. Eventually, in 70 C.E., the Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem and scattered its people.
Within the nation, tribes were assigned sections of the land, or cities inside the boundaries of other tribes. Priests and Levites had cities with pasture grounds. (Josh. chaps. 15-21) In turn, within the tribes families were allotted inheritances. These divisions became smaller as families subdivided their own allotments due to increase in numbers. This resulted in thorough cultivation and use of the land. Inheritances were not allowed to circulate from one tribe to another. So as to prevent this, women who inherited land (because there were no living brothers) had to marry within the tribe to hold their inheritance.—Num. 36:1-12.
If a man died without having a son, his brother (or, if no brothers, his nearest of kin) could marry his widow, to bring forth offspring from her. The man marrying the widow could also repurchase the dead man’s inheritance, if it had been sold. (Ruth 4:9, 10, 13-17) The woman’s firstborn would take the name, not of his actual father, but of the widow’s first husband, thus possessing the land inheritance and keeping the man’s name alive over his inheritance in Israel.—Deut. 25:5, 6.
The Jubilee year
God had said to Israel: “No one should come to be poor among you.” (Deut. 15:4, 5) The Jubilee year, as long as observed, prevented the nation from sinking into a situation where only two classes existed, the ultrarich and the very poor. On every fiftieth year (counted from the time of Israel’s entering Canaan) every man returned to his inheritance, any land he had sold being restored to him. Because of this law, the price of land decreased every year as the Jubilee approached. Actually, the buyer, in a sense, only leased the land, the price depending on the number of crops until the Jubilee year. (Lev. 25:13-16, 28) Even a buyer of another’s inheritance could not hold it until Jubilee if the one whose inheritance the land was or a repurchaser (relative) had the money and desired to repurchase the land for the original owner.—Lev. 25:24-27.