“I am the Bread of Life [that gives life–the Living Bread]. Your forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and [yet] they died. [BUT] this is the Bread that comes down from heaven, so that [any]one may eat of it and never die. I [Myself] am this Living Bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats the Bread, he will live forever; and also the Bread that I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh (body)” (John 6:48-51–Amplified Bible).
In my last detective work blog, I mentioned the Holy Place, speaking of worship. There are three articles of furniture placed in this section of the Tabernacle:
1. The Table of Shewbread.
2. The Golden Lampstand.
3. The Altar of Incense.
The blueprint for this blog, The Table of Shewbread is in Exodus 25. It suggest many things; speaks of sustenance, of provision and of supply.
FIRST, IT’S A TABLE OF SALVATION
Turn to the Gospel of Matthew and we will look at Jesus’ parable of a King’s marriage supper for his son (Matthew 22:1, 2). Among the Jews, the “wedding banquet” was in a place of the husband’s house. It was a great social event in the family life. There was always large hospitality shown in this place and a huge resentment at the refusal of an invitation (Matthew 22:1-14).
An invitation has gone out today to the world where you are living:
INVITATION TO THE MARRIAGE SUPPER
Come and Partake
As it is in Christ Jesus
Look at Matthew 22:14 as the King says, “For many are called (invited and summoned), but few are chosen”.
SECONDLY, IT’S A TABLE OF PROVIDENCE
God, as Creator, provides all food for man and beast today. Mankind eats at God’s table in the physical realm. Yet, how few recognize it and give Him thanks for His bounty! Reminds me of an old story I heard years ago about giving thanks to God, for His bounty of food, no matter where you were located.
A man stopped at a diner for lunch one day off of a freeway exit. He walked into the diner, and sat down on a swivel padded stool, next to a large, giant of a man. No words were exchange; not at first anyway. The waitress took the man’s order and brought him a sandwich and a bowl of hot chicken noodle soup. He bowed his head and spoke, “Lord, please bless this food and the people who are eating here too. In Jesus Name I pray, AMEN.” As he put his spoon into the bowl of steaming soup, the burly man on the stool next to him said six words: “I don’t pray before I eat!” And without stopping to take a bite of his sandwich, the man who had just prayed responded by saying, “That’s okay. My dog doesn’t pray before he eats either.” By the way, please don’t respond in the same way if this story i just told you becomes your own reality.
THIRDLY, IT’S A TABLE OF THE LORD
It suggests the Lord’s table was established at the Last Supper. It’s a long table for believers because it extends from the Upper Room to heaven above. The Table of Shewbread is a prefigurement of Jesus, the Christ. He is the sustainer of spiritual life for the believer. The table’s physical dimensions were as follows: 2 cubits long, by 1 cubit wide, by 1 1/2 cubits high (3 feet long x 1 1/2 feet wide x 2 1/4 feet high; 1 cubit = 1 1/2 feet). It was made of shittim wood or acacia wood, and overlaid with gold. The shittim or acacia wood was deemed incorruptible and speaks of Christ’s humanity. The gold speaks of His deity.
THE TWELVE LOAVES OF BREAD ON THE TABLE
Two rows of six loaves of bread were place on the table. The table and the bread were considered as one; same terminology is used for both. When the bread is mentioned, the table is included and vice versa.
The bread was changed each Sabbath Day. The bread that was removed was then eaten with wine by the priestly family in the Holy Place. This table does not prefigure Christ in the same way that manna does. Both speak of Christ but not in exactly the same connection. However, Jesus is the bread in both instances. The manna speaks of Jesus as the life-giver; His own interpretation of the manna is given in the Gospel of John:
“I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Moses did not give you Bread from heaven [what Moses gave you was not the Bread from heaven], but it is My Father Who gives you the true heavenly Bread. For the Bread of God is He who comes down out of heaven and gives LIFE to the world” (John 6:32, 33–Amplified Bible).
“Jesus replied, I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry, and he who believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me will never thirst any more (at any time)” (John 6:35).
“Pass the Bread please!” The shewbread speaks of Jesus as the life sustainer. Eternal life is a gift; the manna that came down from heaven. He that receives the manna receives eternal life. However, eternal life requires special food to sustain it in growth and strength. The shewbread sets forth Jesus as the food for those who have taken part of the manna of life.
This picture is seen in another bit of language that Jesus used. The shewbread was made of grain; ground, unleavened, made into bread and baked (Leviticus 24:5). The analogy of this is found in John 12:24-33:
“I assure you, most solemnly I tell you. Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest” (verse 24).
Jesus is the kernel of wheat which falls to the ground and dies; He was ground in the mill of suffering.
Last Thanksgiving Holiday, Dianne and I spent time with my family in Waco, Texas. As an outing, our family went to a Country Fair outside of the city which is held every year. Demonstrations are held during the day such as sheep herding with dogs, a live iron forge kept by a blacksmith over a hot fire and a water-wheeled, stone ground mill. We saw how a large round stone, being powered by a huge water driven wheel, could grind and pulverize corn kernels in to fine flour. A perfect picture of Christ’s crucifixion.
John 12:27: Jesus was brought unto the fire of suffering and judgement.
John 12:31, 32: Jesus came out of the tomb in newness of life. His soul never saw corruption (Psalm 16:10) and now He lives a resurrected life. Jesus is the shewbread now for believers to feed on to sustain eternal life growth.
“Pass the Bread please!” The daily food of the Christian is Jesus Christ through His Word. Only by appropriating Him through His Word will there be growth in your life. And, those who come to Him will find full satisfaction.
“So Jesus said to them, You will have the Light only a little while longer. Walk while you have the Light [keep on living by it], so that darkness may not overtake and overcome you. He who walks about in the dark does not know where he goes [he is drifting]” (John 6:35).
THE TABLE WAS THE CENTER OF UNION AND COMMUNION
The priestly family was instructed to eat at the table in the Holy Place according to Leviticus 24:9. The real unity of the priestly family was about the table; the real unity of believers today is about Jesus, or it should be.
Twelve loaves of bread were placed on the table; one for each of the 12 -Tribes. Little Benjamin had the same kind of loaf as Big Judea. Outcast Reuben had the same amount as priestly Levi. Each stood on the same ground of relationship; shared alike in participation of heavenly food.
Man is equalized when Jesus is exalted. We are lifted up when we praise and give glory to His holy Name, rather than praising man (1 Corinthians 10:17).
A final feature of The Table of Shewbread before moving on to The Lampstand of Gold in PART 5; the series on “The TABERNACLE: Jesus and the Cross”. In Leviticus 22, instructions were given which forbid the stranger, defiled, servant, lame, blind, or blemished from eating at the table. Its spiritual meaning in todays churches? Worship is the privilege of believers in Jesus Christ which is foreign to all others. Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as “public worship”. No one can worship until brought to repentance by the blood of Jesus and made whole. No stranger could eat, only sons can worship God today.
“Marvel not [do not be surprised, astonished] at My telling you, You must all be born anew (from above)” (John 3:7).
No servant could eat; works do not make an approach to God. To be acceptable, the worshiper must come by the brazen altar; the cross of Jesus. The believer must come by the laver of bronze for cleansing.
In the NEXT blog, (PART 5), The Lampstand of Gold.