Question: In your October 1999 newsletter, you made a comment in the Q&A section that “the lighting of candles in conjunction with religious observance is a pagan and occult practice.” I beg to differ with you. God commanded the use of candles in worship of him in the Torah (Ex 25:37) and more than 50 other places in the Old Testament. The Menorah (candles) were commanded by God to be used in worship. This custom was practiced by the Jews to obey God. This is alluded to in the New Testament. Jesus is a/the [sic] light (candle). Revelation chapters 1-3 talk about candles and worship. Candles in worship are not prohibited or condemned in Scripture; in fact they are encouraged and commended. I think you need to reconsider your statement.
Response: On the contrary, neither the word “candle” nor “candles” is ever used in the Bible in relation to worship. The words “candlestick” and “candlesticks” (prior to Revelation) refer to objects used exclusively in the tabernacle and/or temple. There was, in fact, no “custom practiced by the Jews” involving candles or candlesticks. These items were unique. Their use was solely in conjunction with the priestly duties inside the tabernacle or temple, and there were no copies of them in use outside the tabernacle or temple for the Jews to involve in any of their customs.
Any religious use today of candles or candlesticks would signify a return “to the weak and beggarly elements” of the old covenant” (Gal:4:9) with its animal sacrifices. That would be a blatant denial of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Candles and candlesticks were “a figure for the time then present...in meats and drinks...and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until...Christ being come an high priest of good things to come...by his own blood...entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb:9:1-12).
In Revelation, seven candlesticks are seen in heaven in Christ’s presence. These are not used in worship but represent “the seven churches” to which Christ writes (1:20). There is one further mention of a candlestick: Christ warns the church at Ephesus to repent or He will “remove thy candlestick,” i.e., no longer acknowledge it as a true church.
Candles are, however, used in witchcraft, and in Roman Catholicism as a symbol of prayer to the alleged saints. It would be unbiblical and would open the door to further error for true Christians to start to use candles as part of prayer or worship.