Grace and Truth

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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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Jesus and Incense

In Jesus and the Altar of Incense we saw that the Altar itself is a type of Christ, pointing the way to Him.

censerAs the Altar of Incense fore-shadowed Christ, so too the incense offered on the Altar also fore-shadows Him.  This is how:

The Incense

Old Testament Shadow New Testament Reality in Jesus The Church’s Application
It was made of a delicate blend of four different spices. Each spice had to be of equal quantity, exactly balanced. Jesus Christ is the One in whom is perfectly balanced grace and truth, holiness and love, righteousness and mercy. Christ lives His holy life through the Church, as His Body. “Christ in us, the hope of glory.”
Each spice had to be crushed to a fine powder before it was added to the incense. Christ was “wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities”. He was smitten, stricken, crushed. His perfect, sinless life poured out. This points to “death to self”, the humbling of the believer.
Salt was added to the incense – salt is a seasoning and a preserver Salt points to the holiness of Christ and the flavor of His life. The Church is the salt of the earth –a preserving agent.
The incense was burned on the altar in front of the Ark of the Testimony. Christ went through the fire of affliction in His sufferings and ultimately His death on the cross. Our faith is tried by the fire of affliction and suffering.
The incense sent up a sweet perfume which entered the veil into the Holy of Holies, surrounding the Ark of the Testimony. Christ’s sinless life of obedience was as a sweet perfume unto God. Christ has entered the veil  and has made the way open for us too through His shed blood. We are now able to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”
Aaron was to burn the incense in the morning and the evening when he also attended the lamps. “As Christ ministers to the Church interceding for His own, He trims the wicks of the lamps and supplies the oil of the Spirit.”(1) We are to pray in the Holy Spirit. “Prayer is the key for the day, the lock for the night” Corrie Ten Boom
No strange incense was to be offered on the altar, nor was anyone to make for themselves the incense. It was to be holy to God. Points to Jesus being the only Way to the Father, there is no other Name under heaven whereby man can be saved. It’s only through faith in Christ that we are saved. We are to have no other gods before Him. We are to pray in Jesus’ Name.
The incense was to be “perpetual…before the Lord”. Points to Jesus as our High-Priest “who ever lives to make intercession for us.” We are commanded to “pray without ceasing”. Our life is to be a perpetual prayer unto the Lord.

 

The Golden Censer

Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil. And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the Testimony, lest he die” Leviticus 16:12-13

Old Testament Shadow New Testament Reality in Jesus and the Church
On the Day of Atonement the High Priest brought a golden censer full of fire and a handful of incense into the Most Holy Place. He put the incense on the fire in front of the Ark so that the cloud of incense covered the mercy seat. He then sprinkled the blood of the sin offering upon the mercy seat. The mercy seat is a picture of Christ Himself. The sprinkled blood points to Christ’s shed blood. The censer of incense is significant of Christ taking the prayers of His people within the veil to God’s presence, on the basis of His shed blood. Read also Revelation 8:1-5

Incense is simply an Old Testament shadow or type of prayer and intercession.  God is no longer interested in the shadows or types, but rather in the eternal realities to which these shadows point.

He is extremely interested in the prayer and intercession of His Church. For the life of a believer to be truly saturated in prayer is well-pleasing to God.

Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” Ephesians 6:18

 

God bless!

  1. Page 49, The Tabernacle of Moses, Kevin J Conner

 

 


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New Covenant Hope : Jesus our Priest

The New Covenant promises are there to be a foundation for our hope in the Lord.  This is the reason I would like to share below the comfort I have Heaven 4found in Jesus, Him being the High Priest of the New Covenant.  When “darkness hides His lovely face”, when we go through hard times, when we feel lost or lonely, then it is that this hope must be “the anchor of our soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 8:19, 20

The difference we have in the New Covenant with Jesus as our High Priest:

Old Covenant New Covenant
Moses was the mediator of the Old covenant Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the New covenant
No oath was made to human priests by God.“for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath…” Hebrews 7:21 Jesus was made a priest by an oath:“God has sworn and will not relentYou are a priest forever, according to the

Order of Melchizedek” Psalm 110:4

The law appoints as priests men who have weakness. Jesus is the guarantee of a better covenant because of the oath. The oath appoints Jesus as Priest, who has been perfected forever.
The priests were human. As such they were sinners themselves, bound to the earthly realm. Jesus is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and is not earth-bound, but rather He is higher than the heavens.
The priests needed to daily offer up sacrifices for both their own sins as well as the sins of the people. Jesus is sinless so does not need to offer up a sacrifice for Himself. At the cross He offered up a once-for-all sacrifice for the sins of mankind.
The priests offered animals as sacrifices for sin Jesus offered up Himself as the sacrifice for sin.
The priests each eventually died, and so there were many different priests at different times. Jesus never dies so His priesthood is unchangeable. (What a comfort!)
The priests could only intercede for the people whilst they were alive, therefore their priesthood was LIMITED. Therefore, because our Priest never changes, because He always lives and is always interceding for us, He will save to the UTTERMOST those who come to God through Him. His Priesthood is UNLIMITED and NEVER-ENDING.

“His oath, His covenant, His blood

Support me in the ‘whelming flood

When all around my soul gives way

He then is all my hope and stay”

(lyrics from “On Christ the Solid Rock I stand”)

(This table is by no means exhaustive. There are so many more eternal truths about Jesus as our High priest. I have compiled this table from a study of Hebrews 6 & 7)

Blessings!