Bible Question:

In 1 Samuel 3:3, the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was and Samuel was lying down to sleep. Pertaining to type and shadows, what do you think this represents?

Bible Answer:

In the opening verses of 1 Samuel 3 we are told that when Samuel was a boy, God spoke to him one evening while he was lying down.

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was, that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” (NASB) 1 Sam. 3:1-4

It is important to note that the passage tells us a) the “Lamp of God” had not yet gone out, that is, the lamp was still burning, and b) Samuel was lying down.

The “Lamp of God” appears to refer to the golden lampstand which was located in the Holy Place within the tabernacle (Lev. 24:1-4). The golden lampstand was to be lit every evening.

Every morning and evening they burn to the LORD burnt offerings and fragrant incense, and the showbread is set on the clean table, and the golden lampstand with its lamps is ready to light every evening; for we keep the charge of the LORD our God, but you have forsaken Him. (NASB) 2 Chron. 13:11

2 Chronicles 13:11 clearly indicates that the light from the lampstand would be decaying in the evening hours. Therefore, we can conclude that it was evening when young Samuel was on his bed and when God spoke to him in the dark.


What is the type or shadow of the golden lampstand? Since scripture does not tell us, we actually do not know. Scripture only rarely defines a type and shadow for us. For example, the rock that Moses struck in the wilderness was a type or shadow of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 10:1-4), but scripture never defines the type or shadow of the golden lampstand. But scripture does tell us that the tabernacle is a copy of things in heaven (Heb. 9:21-23). Even though scripture does not define a type or shadow for the golden lampstand, it is important to note that most of the items in the tabernacle are reminders of or point forward to Jesus. Therefore, we could say that the golden lampstand reminds us of Jesus, since He is the Light of the World.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (NASB) John 8:12

Suggested Links:

What do the other parts of the tabernacle represent?
Picture of Jesus (Hebrews 9:6-10)