(CNN)Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama will visit the White House on Wednesday for the unveiling of their official White House portraits — marking their first joint return since they left in 2017 and the return of a Washington tradition last celebrated 10 years ago.
The pieces, which will hang inside the White House for decades to come, are the first official portraits added to the White House Collection since then-President Obama held an emotional, bipartisan unveiling ceremony for George W. Bush and Laura Bush in 2012.
Wednesday’s ceremony in the East Room marks a rare occasion for a celebration among two presidential administrations inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are expected to convene a who’s who of administration officials past and present — from the unique vantage point of having served in both.
What will the Obama portraits look like?
Details about the pieces being unveiled on Wednesday are a tightly held secret, with artists and art movers signing confidentiality agreements to keep things under wraps before the big day. But the Obamas have often used art as a tool to express their tastes, so it should come as no surprise that their White House portraits are expected to do the same.
“There’s going to be a somewhat of an evolution in these portraits over time … and I think it’s actually going to be exciting,” McLaurin said in a preview of the upcoming Obama portraits. “I think this is going to be somewhat of a magical moment. I think it’s going to be an evolution of art.”
Biblical Symbolism and Idioms – The Menorah and the Olive Tree
Revelation 1:20 explains the symbolism of a menorah (or lampstand). In this verse we are told that a menorah represents an ‘ekklesia’. The Greek word ‘ekklesia’ is generally translated as ‘church’, but more specifically it means a group of people who are ‘called out’ by God. An ekklesia might refer to an assembly of believers, a congregation, a local church, or the whole world-wide Church. In the Septuagint (the earliest remaining Greek translation of the Old Testament), the word ‘ekklesia’ is used to refer to the congregation of Israel – and we know that a menorah is used as a national symbol for Israel today.
God himself chose the seven-branched menorah as a symbol for his chosen people – and God also specified the design (Exodus 25:31-40). Like everything else in the original tabernacle, God designed the menorah as a physical illustration of spiritual truths.
The menorah was to be fashioned from a single mass of pure gold (Exodus 25:31), indicating the intended unity of the people of the Lord. The individual lamps on the menorah represent individual believers. There are seven lamps in total, because seven is God’s number of completion. Seven lamps, therefore, represent everyone called out by God.
God was very specific as to how the menorah was to be maintained. In Numbers 8:3, the Hebrew text literally means that Aaron was to stand face-to-face with the lamps whenever he maintained them. In Exodus 30:7-8, it says in Hebrew: “And Aaron shall burn sweet incense on [the altar] every morning, when he improves the lamps … and when Aaron lifts up the lamps at sunset.”
Aaron was the High Priest, and he is an Old Testament ‘shadow’ (Hebrews 10:1) of our High Priest, Jesus. God intends that our High Priest should stand face-to-face with us every day, improving and lifting up our light. As Jesus works in our lives, he also “burns sweet incense” on the altar before the mercy-seat. Incense symbolises prayer (Psalm 141:2), and Jesus continues to intercede for us (Romans 8:34) every day – just as Aaron offered incense to God every day.
If we spend time in face-to-face intimacy with the Lord every day, allowing our High Priest to lift up our light, then collectively the whole world-wide Church can be the light to the nations that the Body of Christ is intended to be (Isaiah 49:6)
The Olive Tree
The olive tree is a symbol for Israel, which emphasises the religious benefits of Israel, and which pictures Israel as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). Olive trees have always been cultivated primarily to supply olive oil, and oil is used to anoint priests. Oil also symbolises the Holy Spirit, and the true anointing is the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Clearly the symbol of the olive tree is associated with the symbol of the menorah, because the menorah requires oil to burn in its lamps. If the people called out by God are faithful and obedient to the Lord, then they will be fruitful – and the olive tree will yield much oil. In turn, the constant supply of oil will provide the necessary fuel for the lamps on the menorah to burn brightly.
In Romans chapter 11, the apostle Paul describes two olive trees. The original cultivated olive tree represents Israel. The Messianic Jews are the healthy, fruit-bearing branches on this cultivated olive tree. The Jews who reject Jesus are branches which are lopped off the tree. The second tree represents the faithful Gentile Church – and this is described as a wild olive tree, which is grafted into the original cultivated olive tree (Romans 11:17).
Putting it all together
Revelation chapter 11 contains a description of God’s Two Witnesses. Revelation 11:4 states that these two witnesses are “the two olive trees and the two menorahs [or lampstands] that stand before the Lord of the earth.”
It never ceases to puzzle me why many learned Bible scholars cling to the misconception that God’s Two Witnesses are two individuals. Since these two witnesses are “two menorahs”, they are clearly two groups of people who have been called out by God. Since these two witnesses are also described as “two olive trees”, then Romans 11 informs us that the two groups of people must be the Messianic Jews and the faithful Gentile Church. (I will go into more detail about the timespan involved in part 4 of this series.)
In Old Testament times, before Jesus came to establish his Church, there was only one menorah – Israel. However, there were still two olive trees. Faithful Gentiles, like Rahab and Ruth, were adopted into the congregation of Israel. Thus, in Zechariah chapter 4, we have a picture of a single menorah (Israel) being supplied with oil (Holy Spirit) from two olive trees (Spirit-filled Jews and Spirit-filled Gentiles who accepted the Jewish faith).
The Tribulation is commencing…
Please repent, carry your cross daily and accept the free gift of Jesus Christ’s Death on the Cross for payment for your sins.
#Yahweh #Yeshua #HolySpirit #LordAlmighty #SovereignLord #Nameaboveallnames #TheWay #TheTruth #TheLife #TheGate #Heaven #KingdomofHeaven #Saved #Glorified #Endtimes #LastDays #FeastofTrumpets #markofthebeast #verseoftheday #birthpains #Judgement #Christian #Christianity #hope #love #Jesus #Christ
Leave a Reply