The Tabernacle, The Table of Showbread, Part 1 - Lesson 21
In our last lesson we began a study of an object that was located in the tabernacle in the place known as the Holy Place.
The Holy Place, abutting the Most Holy Place, and twice its floor area, 200 square cubits, contained three objects.
God directed that the golden candlestick, the table upon which incense was burned and the table upon which was placed the Showbread, be located in the Holy Place.
In Exodus 25 we learned the details of the first object to be mentioned, the Table of Showbread.
It was to be made of shittim wood, overlaid with gold.
It was to have a solid gold crown around it, with a hand breath wide border with a crown around it, and four rings of gold in the four corners designed to receive the carrying staves.
In inches, its measurement would be approximately 36 inches long, 18 inches deep and 27 inches high.
Its cross section area is one tenth scale of the floor area of the Holy Place, the length being twice the depth.
It is to be noted that the Table, the Brazen Altar Grate and the Ark of the Covenant are all 1 1/2 cubits, or approximately 27 inches in height.
For the believer these objects of the same height are paramount in the believer’s approach to God.
They speak of the believer beginning at the Judgment Seat, the Brazen Altar which is a shadow of the Cross, then to the Showbread Table where the believer has fellowship with God but only on the basis of the blood of the Mercy Seat placed over the Ark of the Covenant.
All three "same height" objects, one in the outer court, one in the Holy Place and one in the Most Holy Place, signify the path of every believer who comes to God.
God also commanded Moses to make the necessary dishes, spoons, covers, and bowls, all of pure gold.
And God told Moses that there was to be placed upon this table showbread at all times.
The word "Showbread" means to "tell forth" or "declare."
It speaks to us of the New Testament Bread of Life who showed Himself to not only His disciples but to the entire world.
So this was its purpose.
It was a place that bread was to be displayed and this bread was a shadow of our Lord, who is indeed the bread of life.
The Table of Showbread was placed directly opposite the Golden Candlestick in the Holy Place, where priests in addition to the High Priest could enter.
Upon this Table of Showbread were placed 12 loaves of bread, of which the priests who were all of the Tribe of Levi were to partake.
This of course is simply a shadow of what takes place in the church, in the body of Christ, for we as priests also partake of the bread of Life who is Christ.
All of this brings forth the truth that God has prepared a Table in Christ for His redeemed people, represented by Priests of His Sanctuary under the Mosaic Covenant.
The Priests ate the 12 loaves of bread from the Table, in the Holy Place under the Old Covenant, we partake of THE BREAD OF LIFE, CHRIST, under the New Covenant.
Again we see the natural preceding the spiritual.
For in John 6:51 we read, I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
In the construction of the Table in the Old Testament we find it was again like all the other pieces of furniture given by revelation.
It was constructed by the Divine pattern.
After its construction it was set on the North side (the right side as you enter the Holy Place), opposite the Golden Candlestick.
The light of the Golden Candlestick revealed and illumined the Bread and the Table.
The Table is given several names in Scripture. It was called:
· The Table of Showbread (Numbers 4:7)
· The Table of Shittim Wood (Exodus 25:33, 37:10)
· The Pure Table (Leviticus 24:6 - we must be clean by the blood to partake)
· The Table (Exodus 39:36; 40:4,22)
· The Table of Gold (1 Kings 7:48) - in Solomon's Temple
The Table of Showbread is typical and significant of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself as the Bread of Life to His people.
It points to the Table of the Lord or the Communion of the New Testament Church, the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:15-21; 11:23-24) and Matthew 26:26-28.
This Table is what David had in mind when he declared:
Psalm 23:5, Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
David saw God preparing a table and that table came forth in the person of Jesus Christ.
The table’s basic foundation was of shittim wood which speaks of the sinless, incorruptible and perfect humanity of Christ.
As already noted, the shittim or acacia wood is translated "incorruptible wood".
Christ Jesus in many places is described in terms of wood.
He is described in Isaiah 53 as the ROOT OUT OF DRY GROUND, and in Isaiah 11 as a BRANCH.
Isaiah 11:1-4, And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
Now the shittim wood foundation of the table was to be overlaid with pure gold.
The Hebrew word for "gold" comes from a word meaning "shimmer" something glistening, something shinning.
Gold therefore is always a type of Heaven, Deity or the Divine nature of Christ, which overlaid the Earthly nature (shittim wood).
In the Table we have gold and wood, which again speak of His two natures - deity and humanity for Jesus Christ is the God-Man.
He is the WORD, Deity, (Gold) made FLESH, Man, (wood) and He dwelt among us.
It is this same Christ who is the mediator between humanity and divinity.
In order to mediate between the two parties He had to be both God and Man and partake of both natures.
He must be Divine to represent God to man.
Yet, He must be human to represent man to God before the throne.
He must also be human in order to have blood, for God being Spirit has not blood, and blood was required to satisfy the justice of God for God has declared without the shedding of blood there is no remission.
The gold and the wood came together in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and is displayed in the construction of the Table of Showbread.
John 1:14-18, And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Moving on to the details of the Table of Showbread we are told in:
Exodus 25:24-25, And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make
thereto a crown of gold round about. 25And thou shalt make unto it a
border of an hand breadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden crown to the
border thereof round about.
From these passages we learn that this table had two crowns round about it.
A crown at the top of the table, most likely acting as a guard to protect anything from falling off the Table and a second crown which seemed to be connected to a border around the table a border the width of a handbreath, about 3 inches wide.
Crowns in the Old Testament speak to us principally of two offices, Priest and King.
The miter on the High Priest was actually called "The Holy Crown" or the Crown of Anointing.
We read of this in Exodus 29:6, And thou shalt put the miter upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the miter.
The second office that was crowned under the Old Covenant was King.
The Kings were crowned after they had been anointed to their office.
The double crown on the Table points to the fact that Jesus Christ is our Priest-King before God and He has united the two offices in Himself.
He is crowned King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek.
Jesus is the Branch who is sitting as King-Priest exercising the ministry of Mediator between God and man.
Man crowned Him with thorns, the product of sin and the product of a curse, but God doubly crowned Him with Glory and honor.
Hebrews 2:9, But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
As was true in the Ark of the Covenant, the table of incense and the altar, the table of Showbread had four rings in its corners.
Four is the number of the earth, for we have four seasons, winter, spring, summer and fall, four directions, north, south, east and west, four phases of the moon, new moon, half-moon waxing, full moon, and half-moon waning, and four elements, earth, fire, water and air.
Number 4 then is associated with the Earth and with completeness.
As is true in the furniture of the tabernacle every piece symbolizes Christ.
The Table of Showbread is Christ so everything about the table tells us of Christ even in the fact that it has four gold rings, four corners, four feet.
If we connect that number to the number that is so prominently displayed in earthly things we can see that Jesus Christ is connected to an earthly ministry.
He is that which God has given to feed the earth for He is the Bread of Life.
There are worldwide efforts to feed the world with the world’s food, but the food that the world truly needs is the Bread which is extended by the Father to the world in the person of Jesus Christ.
Jesus intends for the world to be fed and he began his worldwide ministry to feed the people by commissioning the disciples in:
Mark 16:15 to, Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.
Every dollar that we give in Missionary support should go toward providing that bread to the starving of the world for anyone who does not feed on the Bread of Life is starving.
The four feet of the table can remind us of the feet of Christ who walked this earth, feet that had no place of rest to call their own.
The four feet can also remind us that God choose to tell us of Christ’s earthly ministry by telling of it in four Gospels accounts.
The four feet can also bring to mind that Christ walks with another, that Christ walks with me and in that walk feed me daily with the bread of life, instructing me in all things that brings me true life.
The four gold rings speak of the deity or divine nature of Christ.
Their circular construction symbolizes eternity which has no beginning or end for the Lord Jesus Christ is from everlasting to everlasting.
Now, of course, with the four rings mounted at the corners go the staves of shittim wood overlaid with gold, staves to bear the table from God directed place to place.
Again, here we have the thought of incorruptible wood which symbolizes humanity, overlaid with the pure gold which symbolizes deity.
Another beautiful picture of Christ, the God-Man.
The purpose of the Staves was to carry the Table of Bread in the wilderness wanderings.
What a picture this is when you see it as the Gospel going throughout the world, a Gospel, God given to feed the world the Bread of Life.
Jesus Himself was a "pilgrim" and a "stranger" here in His earth-walk and He gave the church the mission to follow Him, by his example, and walk this earth giving out the Bread of Life to a hungry and dying world.