I googled to find a picture of the Menorah which existed in Herod's Temple at the time of Jesus on earth. The representation shown is a carving of the Menorah on the Arch of Titus in Rome. The Arch was built to commemorate victories including the crushing of the Jews in 70AD. the Menorah was brought as booty to Rome.
This representation shows the Menorah looking exactly like the copy I have in my house. It has seven branches, that is, six branches going off from a middle pillar which forms one of the seven lights. All of these are the same height. The middle "light" is neither taller nor shorter than the other six.
The base is exactly like my Menorah. In other words, my Menorah, which was bought in Rome by my grandmother, was created to look just like the one represented on the Arch of Titus.
For me this solves the problem of what a Menorah looked like in the time of Jesus.
There is another mystery, though. Where is the Menorah today? That original one brought to Rome?
In Solomon's Temple (the one before Herod's) there were said to be a number of candle stands in the Holy of Holies, not just one Menorah.
The number 8 which figures in the Hannukah story is not about how many candles or oil containers there were. It is about how many days the oil burned (8).
The eight candles plus middle lighter-candle on modern Hannukiahs thus does not have the same number of "lights" as the Menorah in the Temple. The Hannukiah
is a special candle-holder made to commemorate the eight days that the oil burned on the first Hannukah, not the number of oil receptacles in the Menorah in the Temple.
The number "seven" is perhaps more important to us than the "eight" in the Hannukiah, because the seven has been taken to refer to the seven churches of Revelation,
which Jesus, standing in their midst, threatened to darken if they did not follow Him.
I hope I have this right! I am not a numbers person. I am a visual person, and I see my Menorah with its seven lights of equal height.
My Menorah is very important to me. It is the only thing I have from my childhood home. It is the only thing which survived many moves, thefts, and even the Los Alamos fire of 2000. I never knew when I was a child in an agnostic home that the Menorah would become a symbol of hope to me now. I hope the Lord forgives
my iniquities and comes for me, and us, soon. I asked for a passage in the Bible yesterday, as to what is our current status in regards to His coming. I opened it
to Isaiah 64, in which the prophet begs the Lord to come down to us in spite of our iniquities. I am praying with the great prophet Isaiah for this coming to us. Isaiah
prays that the Lord will rain judgment on the enemies of His people. I have never thought I wanted this sort of judgment, but yesterday I "felt" what Isaiah meant,
the same meaning as the passage in Revelation where the saints call out "How Long, Oh Lord?" We ARE oppressed by Evil and I pray with Isaiah for the judgement
and removal of Evil! And our deliverance through Jesus, Light of the World.