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Jesus and the Table of Shewbread

The Table of Shewbread

hpIn the golden, glowing place of fellowship with God – the Holy Place – is a Table. The Table is laden with bread. It is a place of provision, a place of communion, a place where the priest meets with God and eats the bread in His presence. This is the Table of Shewbread.

No longer in the bright glare of the sun in the Outer Court of the Tabernacle of Moses, now we are in the room of gold. The Golden Lampstand is the only source of light here and casts the glow from its seven lamps over the Altar of Incense and the Table of Shewbread.

The Purpose of the Table

A table is a place to eat and to fellowship with others. A place to gather around to commune and to break bread together. In fact, tables hold great significance in life. The table is the place where family comes together to eat and to share in each others’ lives. Studies have been conducted demonstrating that children from families who eat together 4 or more times a week do better academically and emotionally. This is because around the table we are united, we communicate and we bond with each other. It is a place of security and stability for children and adults alike.

In the Tabernacle it is no different: the Table of Shewbread is the place where the priests were to gather together to eat the Bread of the Presence as one, in God’s presence. Remember the Table is in the Holy Place and the Holy Place is the place of Fellowship.

 

The Table – a Picture of Christ Jesus

table-of-showbreadThe Table of Shewbread, as with all of the other furniture in the Tabernacle, first and foremost points to Jesus Christ.

The Table was made of acacia wood, overlaid with pure gold.

Once again this reflects the dual nature of Christ, the God-Man: the incorruptible acacia wood, His sinless humanity; and the pure gold, His deity.

The table was the same height as the Brazen Altar’s grate in the Outer Court and the Mercy Seat in the Most Holy Place – 1 ½ cubits. We begin at the Judgment seat (the Brazen Altar: cross) so that we may come to the Table for fellowship with God and His Priests on the basis of the shed blood of the Mercy Seat.

The Table carries the bread – just as Jesus bears His people:

“He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom…” Isaiah 40:11

The Table had a gold moulding around the edge measuring one hand’s breadth with a gold crown on top.

The crown speaks of His Kingship. He is the King of Kings.

The gold moulding speaks of the protection of His people, a golden enclosure surrounds them. It measures one hands’ breadth: He holds His people in His hand.

 

The Bread – a Picture of Christ Jesus

The Shewbread, or Bread of the Presence, also points to Jesus Christ.

“Shew” means to “tell forth” or “declare”. Thus the Shewbread “tells forth” or bears witness to God’s Son, Jesus. See Jesus was never an after-thought nor Plan B, because God’s first plan didn’t work. No, Jesus was always God’s plan of redemption to a fallen world, (See Genesis 3:15). He is the only One, the Only Way and He has always been so. Thus the Old Covenant in the Old Testament tells forth of Him.

“Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come– in the scroll of the book it is written of Me– to do Your will, O God.'” Hebrews 10:7

There were two piles of six unleavened loaves on the table.unleavened-bread

12 is the number that is used consistently in the Bible for Israel. It is also the number for Apostolic fullness and Governance (think of the 12 apostles and the 24 (12×2) thrones in Revelation 4:4.

How the bread was made – a process of death and suffering

Bread was made from fine flour. The flour was made from harvested wheat. The wheat had been alive and growing, but then the wheat was harvested and died in order to be ground to fine flour to become bread. This foreshadows Jesus’ suffering and death. Jesus was alive, but He suffered and was crushed under the weight of bearing the sin of the world. He died and by His death He gives life to the world.

The bread was unleavened = Jesus’ sinless nature

The bread was baked in fire. It was an offering to the Lord by fire: this also speaks of the sufferings of Christ and His obedience unto death.

The bread was perforated = Jesus was pierced and wounded

Frankincense was placed on each row of bread

Exodus 24:7 “ And you shall put pure frankincense on each row…”

Incense always speaks of prayer and intercession. Remember the Altar of Incense was the place of intercession. So frankincense sprinkled over the Shewbread speaks of Jesus’ life of prayer and Intercession.

 

The Bread of Life

Of course Jesus Himself refers to Himself as the “Bread of Life” – John 6:32-35 & John 6:48-51

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry…” John 6:35

Jesus is the living bread – all who eat of Him will never die because He is life. Shewbread in its physical form was a picture of Him being the true, spiritual Bread of Life. Manna was also a picture of Him. The Manna and the Shewbread were simply shadows – He is the reality. He is the divine Bread sent from Heaven to provide the answer to sin, to provide life to us, to sustain us, to keep us, to fill us.

God has provided for us eternal bread. Those priests whom ate the Shewbread in the Tabernacle are now dead. So are those Israelites whom ate the Manna in the wilderness. But those who eat of Jesus will never die. He says

“Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:49-51

Just as the priests ate the Bread in the presence of God at the Table, so we too need to eat of Jesus regularly in God’s presence. This is not the Catholic false doctrine of the Eucharist – no – it is by eating of the Word of God in the light of the revelation of the Holy Spirit (the Golden Candlestick).

So we see that:

bible-cover-pageThe Shewbread is also a Picture of the Word of God

We are to daily eat the bread of the Word of God which reveals Jesus to us. Now we have the written Word which reveals to us the Living Word. The Shewbread was replaced regularly – we have to come to the Word of God regularly for fresh bread.  The Shewbread was covered in Frankincense, and we need to come to the Word of God in prayer.

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

 

 

Drink Offering

There were also bowls, cups and pitchers on the Table of Shewbread. They were made of pure gold.

With the Shewbread the priests were commanded to offer a drink offering to the Lord – wine from the gold cups, pitchers.

This is a picture of Jesus’ shed blood being poured out for us.

So we see the Priests breaking the bread and eating it and pouring out the wine in the presence of God, in unity and as a witness to Christ.

 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:19,20jesus-last-supper

Of course this reminds us of New Covenant communion. This is where we gather around the Lord’s Table and eat the break and drink the cup to “shew forth the Lord’s death till He comes.”

1 Corinthians 11:26 “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup you do shew forth the Lord’s death till He comes…”

Communion is the place where New Covenant believers gather together in the unity of the Holy Spirit in the presence of God and remember the Lord’s death. Once again we see those words “shew forth”. Communion is also a witness, a testimony, to what Jesus has done and that He is coming back soon. Praise the Lord!

 

The Table of Shewbread Also Points to You and Me

Now the Ministry of the Old Covenant priests reflect our ministry as New Covenant believers:

  • We are His priests
  • We are to have fellowship with Him
  • We are to daily eat the bread of the Word of God which reveals Jesus to us. Now we have the written Word which reveals to us the Living Word. The Shewbread was replaced regularly – we have to come to the Word of God regularly for fresh bread
  • Just as the Shewbread was covered in Frankincense, so we need to approach the Word of God prayerfully
  • Remember the Golden Lampstand illuminates the Holy Place – it sheds light on the Bread – the Word of God.  This is a picture of the Holy Spirit bringing revelation to us through the Word of God.
  • We are to come to His table in fellowship with Him and one another and have communion together to shew forth His death until He comes
  • But even more – we are now to share in His death and sufferings, we are to know Him and the fellowship of His sufferings. We are now to be broken bread and poured out wine to a dying world.
  • Paul said in 2 Timothy that his life is being poured out like a drink offering. We know that Jesus, the Table, will hold us and support us through it all.


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The Golden Lampstand and Fellowship with God

lampstandHere we are now in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of Moses. No longer are we under the bright glare of the sun in the Outer Court and faced with the bronze furniture. (Remember: bronze = judgment) We now enter the soft, glow of the Holy Place. Here, as specified by God Himself, there are no windows and no natural light. The only light in this room emanates from the glow of the Golden Lampstand standing on the South side. It takes a while for the priests’ eyes to adjust, but once they do they behold a glowing golden room.

The acacia wood walls are lined with pure gold. The light from the pure gold Lampstand casts a glow on the Golden Altar of Incense and the Table of Showbread – both of which are acacia wood overlaid with gold.Heaven 4

Imagine the beauty of that room! The shimmering golden light radiating from the seven lamps of the Lampstand and bouncing off the gold walls and furniture. Truly this is a picture of the beauty of our fellowship with the Lord.

For surely, as the Outer Court was the place of the judgement for our sins, placed upon the lamb, the Holy Place is the place of our fellowship with God and our enjoyment of Him.

Fellowship with God

God does not intend for His people to stop outside in the Outer Court, He wants us to progress through into the place of fellowship with Him.

God’s intention has always been to have a people in right relationship with Him. He longs for those with whom He can share His heart, for those whom will pray His prayers and walk with Him in the glow of His light. God has so much to give of Himself and He is calling for a people who are willing to receive of Him.

Indeed, we see in John 1:14 that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”. When God sent His Son to earth it was to dwell amongst us. In fact it has always been God’s desire to dwell among His people.

The word “dwelt” here is the same as “tabernacled”.

Jesus2“The Word became flesh and “tabernacled” among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the only begotten Son….”

So when God gave Moses the instructions to build the Tabernacle it was in order that He would dwell amongst His People. Of course sin needed to be dealt with first, as it has been at the cross (the Brazen Altar in the Outer Court), and now God wants to dwell among His people to fellowship with them. In the Old Covenant He dwelt nationally amongst His people. In the New Covenant He dwells both individually in the believer and corporately in the Church.

The Purpose of the Golden Lampstand

The function of the Golden Lampstand in the Holy Place was to give light: to provide illumination for the priests as they ministered to the Lord. If the Lampstand had not been there it would have been pitch black and the priests wouldn’t have been able to carry out their ministry. God would never have us groping in the dark. He has provided His light to the Church, both in His Son Jesus Christ and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

The Ministry of the Prieststabernacleholyplacerose

The priests entered the Holy Place twice daily to minister to the Lord:

    • To eat the showbread from the Table of showbread : The Showbread is both a picture of the Word of God and the Bread of God who came from Heaven to give life to the world : Jesus Christ Himself
    • To top up oil in the lamps of the Golden Lampstand : The oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit
    • To burn incense at the Golden Altar of Incense: The Altar of Incense is a picture of prayer and intercession

The Lampstand is a Picture of Jesus

The Lampstand Jesus Christ
The only light source in the Holy Place Jesus is the light of the world. John 8:12
Was made of pure gold. Gold = deity Jesus is God. He is deity, divine, the second person of the Godhead. John 1:1
The gold was hammered and beaten into shape Shows the sufferings of Christ. Isaiah 53:5
The Lampstand had seven branches Jesus has the 7-fold spirit of God. Isaiah 11:1-2; Rev 3:1, 4:5
Was decorated with almond blossoms and almonds The almond tree was the first to blossom after winter in Israel. This speaks of the resurrection of Christ.
No natural light in the Holy Place The natural, fleshly man can’t see His deity. It has to be revealed (illuminated) to us by the Holy Spirit.

 

The Lampstand is Also a Picture of the Holy Spirit

It illuminates the Table of Showbread 1.       Holy Spirit reveals Christ to us as the Bread of Life. John 6:35

2.       Holy Spirit illuminates the Word of God. Matthew 4:4

It illuminates the Altar of Incense The Holy Spirit leads us to prayer, and prompts us to pray and intercede according to God’s will. Romans 8:26
It had seven branches 7-fold Spirit of God. Isaiah 11:1-2; Rev 3:1, 4:5
It illuminated the Altar of Incense and the Table of Showbread in order that the priests could fellowship with and minister to the Lord The Holy Spirit leads us to prayer and reading the Word in order that we can fellowship with and minister to the Lord, as His “royal priesthood”. 1 Peter 2:9

 

How to Have Fellowship with GodIMG_5175

And so we see that just as God provided the Golden Lampstand to the priests of the Old Covenant, in order to fellowship with Him, so too has He provided us, the Church, with Light so that we too can have fellowship with Him. Firstly through the Light of the World, the person of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind. And secondly through the ministry of the person of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit shows us how to have fellowship with God – it is through the eating of the Bread (the Word of God) and ministering at the Golden Altar of Incense (prayer). In fact, God’s way hasn’t changed. It is only through His Son, the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, that any fellowship with God is possible at all. Once we are put back into right relationship with God through Jesus’ shed blood, then the Holy Spirit leads us to prayer and the Word.

prayer bibleThere is not some new or secret way to fellowship with God. It is simply through spending time with Him in our prayer closets, with the Word of God and our hearts open ready to receive of Him.

 

May our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ bless you!


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Jesus and the Golden Lampstand

TabernacleLeaving the Outer Court of the Tabernacle of Moses, we now enter the Holy Place, the place of fellowship with God.

 

The contrast between the Holy Place and the Outer Court is immediately apparent.

 

The Outer Court The Holy Place
The Outer Court is outside, lit by the daylight. The Holy Place is enclosed, lit only by the Golden Lampstand

 

The furniture is made of acacia wood overlaid with bronze The Holy Place’s furniture is made of gold or acacia wood overlaid with gold

 

The Israelites were free to bring offerings here Only the priests were allowed to enter the Holy Place to minister to God and for fellowship with Him.

 

hpThe Holy Place

Imagine stepping from the daylight, through the heavy door and into the Holy Place. Here there was no daylight, only the light from the beautiful golden candlestick to your left casting a soft glow over the Golden Altar in front of you and the Table of Showbread to your right.

It takes a moment for your eyes to adjust but when they do, you see that it is positively luminous within the Holy Place. Everything is shimmering gold, reflecting the light of the candlestick. In fact the wood-panelled walls are overlaid with gold and so the whole room seems to glow in the soft, golden light.

The Golden Lampstand

The Golden Lampstand was made from solid gold. It was not cast in a mould, neither was it made from acacia wood overlaid with gold. It was hammered from one piece of pure gold. The only other piece of furniture in the Tabernacle of Moses that was made of pure gold was the Mercy Seat with Cherubim, which was in the Most Holy Place.

“You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, lampstandits branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece….It shall be made of a talent of pure gold” Exodus 25:31, 39

 

The Beauty of the Lampstand

The Lampstand had a main shaft with six branches protruding out of it, three on each side. At the top of each branch was a small gold bowl in the shape of almond blossoms which held the olive oil for burning. So in total there were seven branches and seven bowls. Each branch had ornamental knobs and flowers hammered into it.

And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side.  Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower—and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand.  On the lampstand itself four bowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower.  And there shall be a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand.  Their knobs and their branches shall be of one piece; all of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold.  You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it. And its wick-trimmers and their trays shall be of pure gold.  It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils.”

What a stunning piece of artwork! God certainly doesn’t do anything by halves, He is the ultimate artisan. And He is still creating beautiful artworks today in His church, ie, you and me.

Of course, not only was this lampstand beautiful, but it also shows forth significant truths.

 

How the Materials of the Lampstand Point to Christ

As we have seen from our previous studies, every single item contained within the Tabernacle had a purpose and a divine pattern. God uses the Tabernacle to reveal His precious Son; and the Golden Lampstand’s purpose is no different.

Gold: always points to deity/divinity. This shows us the divinity of Christ. The Lampstand was made of one piece of gold and hammered into shape.

Hammered: the hammering of the gold points to the sufferings of Christ

Seven: is the number of divine perfection/completion. It is the number given to the Holy Spirit, ie. “The seven spirits of God” (Rev 1:4; Rev 4:5, Isaiah 11:2-3) whom Jesus has, “He who has the seven Spirits of God…” Revelation 3:1

Almond blossom: were hammered into shape on the branches of the lampstand. The significance of the almond is also pictured in the story of the blossoming of Aaron’s rod in Numbers 17.

 

The Significance of the Almond Blossomalmond blossom

Moses’ brother Aaron was the High Priest of Israel. This was a position to which God Himself called Aaron. When others rebelled and contested Aaron’s High Priestly role, God commanded Moses to :

“Speak to the children of Israel, and get from them a rod from each father’s house, all their leaders according to their fathers’ houses—twelve rods. Write each man’s name on his rod. And you shall write Aaron’s name on the rod of Levi. For there shall be one rod for the head of each father’s house.  Then you shall place them in the tabernacle of meeting before the Testimony, where I meet with you. And it shall be that the rod of the man whom I choose will blossom” Numbers 17:1-5

The next day it was Aaron’s rod that had “sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds.” Numbers 17:8

The miracle of a long dead piece of wooden rod sprouting new life was God’s confirmation to all of Israel that Aaron was the man he had endorsed to be in the High Priestly role.

But this miracle pointed to something even more significant.

Aaron as High Priest of the Old Covenant foreshadows Christ as our great High Priest now in the New Covenant:

“…We have such a high Priest who is seated at the right had of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected and not man.” Hebrews 8:1,2

Jesus is the Man whom God has ordained to be His Great High Priest. And God’s approval of Aaron’s High Priestly role foreshadows His endorsement of Christ’s High Priestly role. That is, through the resurrection.

You see, the almond tree was the first to blossom in Israel after the cold, winter months. The first tree to bring forth life from death. So Aaron’s dead rod physically brought forth life from death to show God’s approval of him. And of course, the anti-type is God raising Christ physically from the dead after His sufferings, being God’s ultimate seal of approval.

jesus tombThe Golden Lampstand’s branches have almond blossoms beaten into their golden shape to show forth Christ’s resurrection from the dead after His sufferings.

 

Next ….

  • more on how the Lampstand points to Jesus; and
  • The Lampstand also as a picture of the Holy Spirit

 

 

 


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Jesus and the Door to the Holy Place

The Tabernacle of Moses contained three doors:Tabernacle

  • The Gate –  the entry point into the Outer Court of the Tabernacle
  • The Door –  the entry point into the Holy Place; and
  • The Veil – the entry point into the Holy of Holies

It will come as no surprise to the student of the Word that each door represents Christ Jesus Himself, He whom called Himself “the Door”.

“I am the door, whoever enters through me will be saved.” John 10:9

It’s all about Jesus. The study of the Tabernacle is simple when you realise it is all a testimony to God’s beloved Son. It is also a teaching tool He has given us to show us many wonderful truths about Christ and about us, the Church.

Previously we have looked at the Gate and the furniture in the Outer Court of the Tabernacle: the Brazen Altar and the Brazen Laver.

moses tab- revised

Now we will look at the Door, which was the barrier between the Outer Court of the Tabernacle and the Holy Place.

 

 

 

 

Contrast Between the Door and the Veil

The Doordoor The Veilveil
Provided access to fellowship with God Provided access to worship of God
No Cherubim embroidered on Door Cherubim embroidered on Veil
Door held up by 5 pillars Veil held up by 4 pillars
Set in brass sockets/foundations Set in silver sockets/foundations
Door for entrance into the Holy Place Veil to keep out from the Most Holy Place

 

Materials of the Door

The Door was made of woven blue, purple, scarlet and white fine linen.door

Five pillars supported the Door. These were made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. The sockets for the door were made of brass.

 

Significance of the Materials

God specified the exact materials and proportions to Moses that were to be used in the Tabernacle, in order to convey eternal truths to us:

  • The Five Pillars

Acacia wood overlaid with gold is such a beautiful picture of Christ. The incorruptibility and earthliness of acacia wood signified His incorruptible (sinless) human nature and the gold signified His heavenly divine nature. Both God and Man in the one Person.

So we see that the five pillars point to Christ.

“He….upholds (the door) Himself as He invites every qualified person to enter for priestly privileges.” Portraits of Christ in the Tabernacle, Theodore H Epp.

Five is the number of grace.

In the Outer Court brass is the main material used, as seen in the Brazen Altar and Laver (brass signifying God’s judgment). However in the Holy Place it is a very different case. Gold is used extensively in the Holy Place and here, in the pillars of the Door accessing the Holy Place, we see for the first time the use of gold.

  • The Fabric

White fine linen- a picture of Christ’s righteousness

Blue – His heavenly nature

Scarlet – His sacrifice

Purple – His Kingly nature

  • The Brass Sockets

Brass always signifies God’s judgment and is used only in the Outer Court of the Tabernacle.

Remember that we are at the point in between the Outer Court and the Holy Place.  So while the five pillars point to Jesus in His dual-nature of God and Man, they also point to judgment (brass) and grace (five). There was only one place where God’s judgment and His mercy/grace met – and that is the cross of Jesus Christ.

As we saw in the study of the Brazen Altar, Christ took the judgment for our sin upon Himself at the cross. So now as we pass through this Door into the Holy Place we see once again that the only way to enter fellowship with God is through the atoning work of His Son at Calvary.

“I am the Way…..No one comes to the Father but through me.”

To approach the Father is only possible through the one Door, Jesus Christ.

 

The Purpose of the Door

doorImagine standing at the Brazen Altar or the Laver in the Outer Court and looking up at this Door. The brilliant colours of the fabric intricately woven together, the sunlight catching the light on the gold of the pillars holding up the fabric. Surely the beauty of that door would have caused the average Israelite to catch their breath and wonder what was beyond. The gold hinted at the beauty of the fellowship available to the priests beyond the door.

But the average Israelite would never enter the Holy Place. The door shut off the Holy Place from the Outer Court of the Tabernacle. While the Israelites were free to come into the Outer Court to bring offerings, it was only the priests who were allowed to enter the Holy Place to minister to the Lord and for fellowship with Him.

Primarily though, in contrast to the Veil, the Door was a place of entrance, but only for those qualified – the priests.

 

The Priesthood

Twice daily the priests entered the Holy Place through this door to tend the lamps of the Golden Lampstand, to burn incense on the Golden Altar and to eat of the bread from the Table of Shewbread.tabernacleholyplacerose

However today we are in the New Covenant and the Bible says that all believers today are a “royal priesthood” (1Peter 2:9).

So we now have the privilege of entering through the Door (Jesus Christ) into the presence of God for fellowship. Once our relationship has been established through our faith in the finished work of Christ at Calvary (the brazen Altar) and we have been cleansed by the Word (the brazen Laver) we do not have to stay shut out in the Outer Court wondering about the beauty of the Holy Place. We each have the privilege and responsibility of entering into fellowship with God in the Holy Place.  We each have the joy of moving onward from the brass (judgment) of the Outer Court, where Jesus took the judgment for our sins, and into the gold of getting to know our wonderful Saviour.

The priests daily entered into the Holy Place for fellowship with God. It may be asked – do we also enter the Holy Place daily for fellowship with God?

Are we still out in the Outer Court or have we moved forward into fellowship with God?

 

The next few posts will be focussed on the furniture of the Holy Place and the wonderful truths they convey:

  • The Golden Lampstand

    source: blog.ninapaley.com

    source: blog.ninapaley.com

  • The Golden Altar and
  • The Table of Shewbread.

 

 


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Jesus and the Brazen Laver

bronze-laver-priestFollowing on from Jesus Christ and the Brazen Altar, we will now look at the Brazen Laver. As we have been discovering in this series, every item of furniture in the Tabernacle of Moses was a type or a shadow of the reality that is now available to us in Jesus Christ.

The Brazen Laver is a wonderful picture of two things:

  • the Word of God; and
  • sanctification, (or separation)

 

The Laver was Made From Bronze Mirrors

“He made the laver of bronze and its base of bronze, from the bronze mirrors of the serving women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.” Exodus 38:8

Mirrors in those days were made from highly polished bronze, not glass. Bronze is always a picture of judgment in the Tabernacle. And wow – what a picture it is. Imagine moving forward from the Brazen Altar, where the blood of an innocent animal has been shed for your sins, to the Brazen Laver where you now wash your feet and hands. As you do so, you are confronted with your reflection in both the water of the Laver and the bronze mirrors holding the water.

…. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;  for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25 (emphasis mine).

 

The Word of God ExposesthVT2OSNBU

Once you are at the Laver you cannot escape the confrontation of your own reflection.

You are exposed.

This is exactly what the Word of God does. As we read, study and meditate on it we behold ourselves as in a mirror. We are exposed for who we truly are and we cannot hide from it because it is “alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12)

We see where we fall short of the standard of God’s Word and we are convicted and pierced by it “even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”. (Hebrews 4:12)

This work of the Sword of the Spirit is so close, so intimate, even to the division of joints and marrow. The marrow is inside the bone-joint. How sharp is that Sword and how dextrously is it handled by the Spirit that it exposes those hidden, secrets places in our souls that contain even our innermost intents of the heart!

The priest in the Tabernacle would cut up the sacrifice for the offering with a sharp knife. This is God’s intention for us. That He would be able to work in us in order to conform us to the image of His Son through the Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God). He wants to expose and cut away all that is soulish and instead fill us with the life of the Spirit.

 

Justification Vs Sanctification

Once we have been to the Brazen Altar, a type of the cross of Jesus Christ, we are justified before God.

“We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son” (Romans 5:10).

rickeyminor.orgWe are saved by blood and delivered from condemnation at the Altar.

Whilst the Brazen Altar is a picture of our justification, the Brazen Laver is a picture of our sanctification. This is the second aspect of salvation and it is to do with separation.

The penalty for sin is dealt with at the Altar, the cleansing from sin at the Laver.

 

The Word of God Cleanses

Just as “Aaron and his sons…wash(ed) their hands and their feet in water from (the Brazen Laver)” (Exodus 30:19), so too the Word of God cleanses us.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word” Ephesians 5:26

As the priests came into the Tabernacle their feet would have been dusty. Their hands would have needed cleansing after their work. The Brazen Laver had two washing basins, one for the hands and one for the feet.

  • Hands speak to us of our service for God.
  • Feet of our walk with God.

Daily we need to be washed by the water of the Word of God. Even though we are saved, as we go about life in this sinful world we pick up dust and dirt along the way. In order to fellowship with the Lord and come into His presence we need to be separated unto Him daily by the cleansing of the Word. The Laver shows us that whilst sin has been dealt with once for all at the cross, we need to come daily confessing our sins so that we may be cleansed from any defilement of the world.

 

The Word of God Brings us to Maturity

The Laver also speaks to us of going on to maturity in Christ. At the Altar we have been born again, but at the Laver we grow as we look into the mirror of the Word of God. Those heart-motives and intentions that were exposed by the mirror of the Word are also cleansed away by the water of the Word.

We must remember that the priests regularly came to the Laver to wash. We are now “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9) and we too must come regularly to the Word of God to be convicted, cleansed and sanctified.

The Word of God is integral to maintaining our life in Christ. The Brazen Laver could not be avoided in the Tabernacle on the way into the Holy Place.  The priests were required to stop there and take the time in order to be convicted, cleansed and set apart. So too must we take the time to spend with our wonderful Saviour in feeding on His Word.

God bless! 🙂

 


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Jesus Christ and The Brazen Altar part 3

So far in our study of the typology of the Brazen Altar we have seen :

source: blingcheese.com

source: blingcheese.com

  • The word “altar” literally means “slaughter place”, “high” or “lifted up”
  • That it was made from Bronze/brass representing God’s judgment against sin; and acacia wood representing the incorruptible humanity of Christ.
  • That the Brazen altar is a picture of Christ Himself and His blood atonement

The Brazen Altar is Also a Picture of the Cross

A Place of Substitutionary Death

As we saw in the last post, the altar was a place of shed blood, a place of death. The place where God’s judgment on sin was poured out upon the innocent animal, whom took the place of the sinner. There the blood was poured out and the fire of God consumed the sacrifice.

Of course at the cross Jesus’ blood was shed and He took the judgment and wrath of God upon Himself for our sins. Jesus’ death upon the cross fulfilled all of the Old Testament sacrifices and did away with them once and for all.

Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:12-15

Outside the Camp

cross-on-hillOnce an animal had been sacrificed on the altar, the remaining ashes and the offal were taken outside the Israelite’s camp to be discarded and burned.

And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen trousers he shall put on his body, and take up the ashes of the burnt offering which the fire has consumed on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. Then he shall take off his garments, put on other garments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place.” Leviticus 6:10, 11

This also points to Jesus Christ who suffered “outside the camp”. Calvary was outside of the walls of Jerusalem in a place of shame.

For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.” Hebrews 13:11,12

As followers of Jesus Christ we are to gladly bear His reproach too. Sometimes we are persecuted, shamed and rejected because we follow the Lord. This means we are following in the footsteps of our Master. Let us not try to court the world’s favour, instead “let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach” Hebrews 13:13

The Horns of the Altar

Horns signify the strength or power of the animal. The altar had one on each corner. The animal sacrifice would be bound to the Brazen altar by these four horns. So too was Christ nailed to the cross. Whilst the animal that was sacrificed had no choice in the matter, Jesus Himself did, and He willingly laid down His life for us.

““Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again….” John 10:17,18rickeyminor.org

The four horns of the corners of the altar speak to us of Christ’s sacrifice being for all of humankind – the power of His grace extending to the four corners of the earth. They also signify the power of the gospel going out to the four corners of the earth.

The Fire on the Altar

God Himself lit the fire on the Brazen Altar. It was a divine fire, sovereignly started by God, wholly initiated by Him. As we see in Leviticus 9:24 the fire came out from the Most Holy Place and consumed the burnt offerings on the altar:

Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.” Leviticus 9:23-24

It was unacceptable for man to light his own fire, in fact it was a crime was punishable by death. We see this with Nadab and Abihu upon whom the judgment of God fell when they tried to offer profane fire (Leviticus 10). This is a very clear picture for us and one we do well to heed.

You see God has a proscribed way of worshipping Him. It is always on the basis of the blood of substitutionary atonement.

It is always and only the way of the cross.

fireGod sending the fire of judgment upon the Brazen Altar was His acceptance of the offering presented there. God’s fire of judgment falling upon Christ at the cross showed forth His acceptance of His Son as the perfect offering for sin. Our sin was judged at the altar of the cross by the divine fire and because of that we are able to stand before God. If we bypass the fire of that altar, then we are choosing to stand before God apart from the death of Christ and be judged according to our own works. Of course the judgment that has to fall on the flesh is death because “the wages of sin is death”.

God commanded that this fire was to never go out.

A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out” Leviticus 6:13

The fire was lit sovereignly by God but was to be maintained by man. It was to never go out and so it was the responsibility of the priests to bring the wood every day to keep the fire burning for the morning and evening sacrifices.

We saw previously that the fire signified God’s judgment on sin. However this fire also speaks to us of the Holy Spirit. When we accept Christ as the divine substitution for our sin, and subsequently lay down our lives for Him, God sends the Holy Spirit to live within us. The basis for the Holy Spirit coming to live within us is always the altar or cross of Jesus Christ. It can never be initiated by us and our fleshly good works. His divine life enters our spirit by His Spirit only when we have been to the cross, and suddenly a fire is kindled within.

Although God sovereignly ignites the spark it is our responsibility to maintain the divine fire every day, just as the priests did. We are to pray and read the Word of God daily. This is the way in which we keep the fire of God burning within.

 

Next Lesson… The Brazen Laver


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Jesus Christ and the Brazen Altar – Part 2

When God instituted the Mosaic Covenant it was strictly with the nation of Israel. Why then do we, the people of the New Covenant, have an interest in studying it? The answer is varied, but one part of it is this:

  • through the Mosaic Covenant God showed forth some wonderful eternal truths pointing to His Son and the Church.

It is worth looking into these things because it adds layers and depth to our faith as God reveals these truths to us by His Spirit.

In the last post we saw the significance and typology of the materials used in constructing the Brazen

source: mudpreacher.org

source: mudpreacher.org

(or bronze) altar of the Tabernacle of Moses and we saw that the altar was a picture of the cross of Jesus Christ. In this post we will look at the significance of the blood of the altar and how this points to Christ’s atonement for us.

The Altar of Blood

Having just been confronted with the 7.5 feet high linen walls of the Tabernacle, signifying God’s holy righteousness, the sinner enters through the one and only entrance of the Tabernacle – the Gate.

Now the first piece of furniture he encounters is the Brazen Altar. Imagine standing in front of this piece of furniture.  This is where where many, many innocent animals had been slain for the sins of the people. It was not a pretty picture. It was most likely intimidating. The altar was the place of death and blood. The place where the full penalty of sin became gruesomely obvious. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

source. kenraggio.com

source. kenraggio.com

It represented sacrifice, death and blood atonement. For the sinner to proceed any further into the Tabernacle, innocent blood would need to be shed upon this altar on his behalf. Any attempt to bypass this step and approach God without blood would have resulted in death.

“….without the shedding of blood there is no remission (forgiveness of sins)” Hebrews 9:22

No one, not even the High Priest, could approach the Lord except on the basis of innocent shed blood.

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11

The altar demonstrates that the only way a person can meet with God is on the basis of substitutionary atonement. On the basis of BLOOD.

The Blood Covenant

In fact, the Mosaic Covenant became known as the “Blood Covenant” (Hebrews 9:19, 20) due to the huge number of animals that were sacrificed.

“This elaborate sacrificial system with its multiplied continual sacrifices was given for two major reasons.

  • First, it was to illustrate that no amount of continued animal sacrifices could effectively take away man’s sinfulness.
  • Second, it was to point to Christ’s perfect, sinless, and once-for-all sacrifice that could take away man’s sinfulness (Hebrews 9,10).” source (1)

God instructed the Israelites to bring offerings to Him on the Brazen Altar:

Sacrifice Verses Elements Purpose
Burnt Offering Lev 1; Lev 6; Lev 8; Lev 16:24 Bull, ram or male dove. Must be a male without blemish Atonement for unintentional sin; act of worship
Grain Offering Lev 2; Lev 6:14-23 Grain, fine flour, olive oil, incense, baked bread, salt. Always accompanied burnt and fellowship offerings (with drink offerings Act of worship, recognition of God’s goodness and provision; devotion to God
Fellowship/Peace Offering Lev 3; Lev 7:11-34 Any animal without defect or blemish from herd of flock; breads Act of worship, thanksgiving and fellowship (it incl a communal meal)
Sin Offering Lev 4; Lev; Lev 8; Lev 16 1.     Young bull for high priest and congregation

2.     Male goat for leader

3.     Female goat/lamb for common person

4.     Dove/pigeon for the poor

5.     10th of an ephah of fine flour: for the very poor

Mandatory atonement for specific unintentional sin; confession of sin, cleansing from defilement.
Guilt/Trespass Offering Lev 5:14-6:7

Lev 7:1-6

Ram Mandatory atonement for unintentional sin requiring restitution; cleansing from defilement; make restitution; pay 20% fine

Table adapted from NIV Study Bible

 

The Altar & the Blood Point to Christ

“…he must bring to the LORD a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed. He is to present the bull at the entrance to the tent of meeting before the LORD. He is to lay his hand on its head and slaughter it there before the LORD.” Leviticus 4:3, 4

Just as the innocent animal became an offering for the sin of the Israelites, so too Jesus became an offering for the sins of the whole world. The New Testament says:

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 1 Corinthians 5:21

So we see the Altar is a type of Christ because He is:

source:wordlive.org

source:wordlive.org

  • A substitutionary atonement for us,
  • Blemishless because He never sinned,
  • The innocent substitution on our behalf

At the cross Jesus’ blood was poured out and He took the judgment for our sins upon Himself.  All of the animal sacrifices upon the altar pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of God’s perfect, blemishless Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus death upon the cross fulfilled all of the Old Testament sacrifices and did away with them once and for all.

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come,with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.  For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,  how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:11-14

Next post….

  • Outside the Camp
  • How the altar points to the cross

Sources: 1 The Mosaic Covenant, Kevin J Conner & Ken Malmin