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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!