The Table of Showbread

                                                                                              Exodus 25:23-30
                                                                                              Exodus 37:10-16




"And you shall make a table of acacia wood, two cubits long and one cubit wide and one and a half cubits high. And you shall overlay it with pure gold and make a gold border around it. And you shall make for it a rim of a handbreadth around it, and you shall make a gold border around it. And you shall make four gold rings for it and put rings on the four corners which are on its four feet. The rings shall be close to the rim as holders for the poles to carry the table. And you shall make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold, so that with them the table may be carried. And you shall make its dishes and its pans and its jars and its bowls, with which to pour libations; you shall make them of pure gold. And you shall set the bread of the Presence of the table before Me at all times." (Exodus 25:23-30)


     The table of showbread was made of shittim (acacia) wood covered with gold, speaking of the two-fold nature of Jesus Christ. A gold rim encircled its top; gold rings were placed at each corner; and acacia wood staves or poles covered with gold were placed through the rings to carry it.  The table was 3 feet long, 1 1/2 feet wide, and 2 3/10 feet high (Ex25:23-28)

     The gold in the table spoke of Jesus' deity.  The table of wood overlaid with gold typified the union of Jesus' divine and human natures (Phil 2:6-11).  His divine and human natures were united together in one person.  The accacia wood as spoke of earlier in the brazen altar was a hard, incorruptible, indestructible wood that speaks of the humanity of Christ, who came as a root of dry ground (Is 53:2) and was sinless in His human nature (Heb 4:15, 7:26).  The indestructibility of the wood speaks of Christ in His humanity, withstanding the fire of crucifixion (Jn 10:18), the decaying effect of the grave (Acts 2:31), and His bodily resurrection (Mt 28:5-6).

     The table of showbread typified the Lord's life and ministry.  Back at the outer court, all was about washing, judgement and death at the bronze-coated laver and burnt offering altar.  Here in the Holy Place, all is about life, food, light and fragrant incense.  On the showbread table were placed 12 loaves of unleavened bread, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.  The loaves were placed every week freshly on the Sabbath (Lev 24:5-9): fresh food in the house of God for the priests, Aaron and his sons.  It was set before the presence of Jehovah (who dwelt in the holy of holies) as a meal offering from the children of Israel.  Bread is called the staff of life and is emblematic of life itself, and the showbread was a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, who is the true bread of life.  He was born in the city of Bethlehem, which means house of bread.  The loaves of unleavened bread remind us of the Lord Jesus who said "I am the bread of life.  He who comes to Me shall never hunger." (Jn 6:35).  The unleavened bread typified His sinless life.  The Mosaic law strictly forbade leaven, a symbol of sin (Ex 12:8, 15-20; Mt 16:6), from being used in the flour set aside for priestly ritual (Lev 2:11).  Jesus, the bread of life, was without sin (2 Cor 5:21); 1 Pet 1:19)

     The 12 loaves represent the whole people of God, in God's house (the church, 1 Tim 3:15), in fellowship with one another (1 Jn 1:7).  The loaves were gathered from the 12 tribes each Sabbath and used in two ways.  First, they were brought as a unit by the 12 tribes as a portion of their labor to be dedicated to the Lord's service each week.  By bringing their bread offering to the Lord each Sabbath, the Israelites symbolized Christian giving.  Paul instructed us to systematically set aside a portion of our income as God has prospered us, and, through our local church, we are to present our tithes to the Lord on the first day of the week (1 Cor 16:2).  Second, the bread provided food to be eaten by the priests on the Sabbath in the holy place (Lev 24:5-9).  We, as believer-priests are to feed on Christ, the bread of life, receiving in return spiritual sustenance and strength for worship and service (Jn 15:5, Phil 4:13)

     The bread and wine that sat on the table of showbread spoke of priests' fellowship with the Lord.  Our communion with the Lord typifies fellowship as well.  Today, many Christians are spiritually starving.  Based on the parable in Luke 11:5-8, we need the Bread of Life not just for ourselves but also for our needy friends who come to us on our journey.  Jesus makes it clear; people in the world are hungry, but the flesh profits nothing (Jn 6:35,62).  Jesus came that He might give life to the world, so that those who believe in Him may have eternal life (Jn 6:33, 47).  Therefore, we should ask, seek and knock in prayer (Lk 11:9), until He gives us as much Bread of Life as we need for ourselves and for our friends.  Our heavenly Father delights to do this.  We must look around us at the hungry souls who are starving for lack of spiritual food and provide sustenance for them.  If you were the only one in your neighborhood with food, could you, in good conscience, fill yourself while others around you were starving?  Of course you couldn't! God has commanded us to take Christ, the bread of life, to those around us so that their spiritual appetites can be satisfied.


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