The Tabernacle its construction and furnishings”, Part 31

“The Table of Show-Bread”

Thou shall also make a table of shittim wood: two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a
cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. And thou shall overlay it
with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about. And thou shall make unto it a
border of a hand breadth round about, and thou shall make a golden crown to the border
thereof round about. And thou shall make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four
corners that are on the four feet thereof. Over against the border shall the rings be for places
of the staves to bear the table. And thou shall make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay
them with gold, that the table may be borne with them. And thou shall make the dishes thereof,
and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shall
thou make them. And thou shall set upon the table showbread before me always
.” (Exod 25:23–
30; see also Exod 37:10–16

“Within the Tabernacle, in the first apartment the `
Holy,’ on the right (north), stood the Table of
—a wooden table overlaid with gold; and upon it were placed twelve cakes of unleavened
bread in two piles, with frankincense on top of each pile. (
Lev 24:6, 7) This bread was proper for the
priests only to eat
(typifying those wholly consecrated to the Lord): it was holy, and was renewed
every seventh or Sabbath day.” (

The Golden Table, which in the `Holy’ bore the showbread, represented the Church as a
whole, including Jesus and the apostles
—all the sanctified in Christ who serve in `holding forth the
word of life
.’ (Phil 2:16) The great work of the true Church during this age has been to feed,
strengthen and enlighten all who enter the covenanted spiritual condition. The Bride of Christ is to make
herself ready. (
Rev 19:7) The witnessing to the world during the present age is quite secondary and
incidental. The full blessing of the world will follow in God’s `
due time,’ after the Gospel age (the
antitypical Day of Atonement with its sin-offerings
) has ended.” (T115)

And thou shall take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one
cake. And thou shall set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the LORD.
And thou shall put pure frankincense upon each row that it may be on the bread for a
memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD. Every Sabbath he shall set it in order
before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting
covenant. And it shall be Aaron’s and his sons’; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is
most holy unto him of the offerings of the LORD made by fire by a perpetual statute
Lev 24:5–9)

It is not ascertain as to whether or not the twelve loves or cakes were placed in “rows” or in “piles”,
Rotherham one of the most reliable translations states that it was rows, but in the margin suggest
likewise that it may just as well have been piles

“The showbread was a meal-offering, and was made of fine flour (
Lev 24:5). Fine flour bespeaks
evenness and smoothness.
We are not told that the showbread was made of unleavened flour,
but since leaven is a type of sin
(R5192:4) and was forbidden to be used upon God’s altar (Lev
) we may reasonably assume that it had no place within the Sanctuary of God: and that,
therefore, the flour used was unleavened

“Antitypically, the showbread represented the “
word of life” (Phil 2:16—see T115)—the Truth, upon
which the “
royal priesthood” serving in the “Holy” of the Tabernacle must of, needs eat—feed
however there must have been some moist ingredient, perhaps olive oil, as in the case of other
meal offerings (
Lev 6:21), for one cannot bake cakes with just flour. The flour represented the spotless,
immaculate Jesus (
Heb 7:26) and the olive oil, that holy Spirit of which he had been begotten at Jordan,
and which glorified the man Christ Jesus for 31/2 years. Thus was Jesus, who declared, “
I am the way,
the truth, and the life
,” (John 14:6) beautifully represented in the “showbread.”

The baking process represented the trials of life, by way of which he was made an edible food for us. The
oil as an ingredient indicates the measure of divine supervision of the Holy Spirit involved in the giving of
the Word, by way of man. (
2 Pet 1:21; Matt 18:18) This latter was signified in the fact that there were
six cakes in each of the two rows. Six is the number of man, especially while he is yet imperfect, or while
evil and imperfect conditions prevail! (
R3164:1) It should also be noted that wheat and oil are the
creations of God; whereas, the baked
loaves (cakes) are of man!

Brother Russell suggested, basically, that the showbread represented the truth (
T22)—the word of Life
T115)—in other words, the scriptures themselves. “The bread of life”—Jesus. (John 6:35) “The
word of life
” (Phil 2:16; T115)

The Hebrew words rendered “showbread” in Exod 25:30 are lechem panim the meaning of
which according to
Young’s Analytical Concordance is “bread of presence.” To understand this,
one must keep in mind that the Tabernacle for the Israelites was God’s dwelling among them. It was the
place where He had promised to be and to meet with them.

This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the
tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak unto thee.
And there will I meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my
glory. And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also
both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest’s office. And I will dwell among the
children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that
brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD
their God
.” (Exod 29:42–46)

This is the reason why the Standard, and many other versions and translations, now use the term
Tabernacle of Meeting” rather than “Tabernacle of the Congregation”!

However, none of the children of Israel did ever see God, for they had no access into the Tabernacle
proper; of which the first compartment was called the “
Holy” and the second the “Most Holy.” Nor did
their priests ever see God, though the High Priest at certain times when he had access to the Most Holy
might recognize Him by the shekinah-glory-light which appeared from between the two cherubim atop
the Ark of the Covenant. (
Exod 25:22; Psa. 80:1)

And, though thus, Jehovah was invisibly present in the Tabernacle—both in the Holy and the Most Holy—
whoever and whatever was within those boards and curtains was in His presence! And thus did those
priests who had access to the “
Holy” and/or “Most Holy” have communion with God, and feed upon the
bread of presence” also known as the “bread of the face.” (See George Ricker Berry, “A New Old
”, at Exod 25:30)

“May it not be that this same spiritual Israel of God, the Church, is also represented in the 12 loaves of
showbread? If so, they who are thus represented, must in their lives also, be the embodiment of the
Truth—the “
word of life”; and in laying down their lives in obedience to their covenant of sacrifice, will
themselves become “
food” for their brethren in the “Holy” to feed upon. (1 John 3:16)

From (Lev 21:17, 21), we learn that the sacrifices offered upon the altar unto God were
considered by Him to be
His “food”; and from Lev 21:22 we further learn that the priesthood
also were partakers with Him of
His “food.” And while it at first would appear that the food of which
the priesthood partook was literally that of the animals slain, the “bread of his God” has a far deeper
significance. God needs not to feed upon these sacrifices as such. The true significance of the term
bread of his God” becomes evident on considering the words found in Psalm 50 which read:

Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee . . . I will not
reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me. I will
take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds, for every beast of the forest is
mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills . . . if I were hungry, I would not tell thee:—for the
world is mine, and fullness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
Offer unto God thanksgiving: and pay thy vows unto the Most High.” (Psa 50:7–14)

Accordingly, we see that God does not desire “
sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and
offering for sin
” (Heb 10:5, 6, 8), but rather the love and thanksgiving of an obedient heart, which like
unto Jesus’ declares, “
I come …to do thy will, O God” (Heb 10:7, 9), and again, “I delight to do thy
will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart
.” (Psa 40:8) Who will deny that the faithful, loving
sacrifice of Jesus was the acceptable “
bread of his God”?

Just so, our faithfulness in rendering thanksgiving and praise to our God by way of carrying out our
consecration vows “
unto the Most High” will be “food” not only for God, but also for our brethren.
Thus, by living the Christ-life (
2 Cor 4:10, 11) we (the Body of Christ, the Church represented in the
Table of Showbread
) areholding forth the word of lifeto others.

The frankincense placed upon each row represented praise (R3703:4) to Jehovah. This
frankincense, was, of course, not eaten, but offered by the priest as a “
memorial” upon God’s altar “for
an offering made by fire unto the LORD
.” (Lev 24:7) For a time, the frankincense was identified with
the showbread, though in no way a part of it. So the element of praise is not itself a part of the Word of
the TRUTH: but it is called forth by it! Thus he (the antitypical priest) who has been “refreshed
and strengthened . . . with the truth, as represented in the `showbread
…should daily offer up
sacrifices at the `Golden Altar,’ acceptable to God through Jesus Christ —a sweet perfume to
our Father
.” (T22) Such sacrifice upon the “Golden Altar” are of praise and thanksgiving (Heb 13:11;
Psa 50:5, 14
) unto Jehovah God. “Praise ye the LORD Praise God in his Sanctuary.” (Psa 150:1)
Notes on the Tabernacle”, Page 174-179

When the camp prepares to journey, Aaron and his sons shall cover the Table of Showbread, “On the
table they shall
first spread a blue cloth, and put on it the dishes, the pans, the bowels, and the
pitchers for pouring; and the showbread shall be upon it. They shall spread over them
a scarlet
, and cover the same with a covering of seal skins; and then they shall insert the poles.”
Num 4:7, 8)

When the “table of showbread” moved through, or with the Camp the showbread was upon
it; but both the “table” and the “showbread” were covered so that neither was seen by the
people of the Camp
. It is interesting to note that the outermost covering was of seals’ skins—rough
and unsightly, representing our flesh, which to the world has no more beauty nor comeliness than did
that of Jesus to the people of his day. And as this covering hid both the table and the showbread from
the sight of the people, so does our common, ordinary flesh, not reveal our true nature and position
before God! Beneath the seals’ skins covering there were two cloths, one scarlet, and the other blue.
Symbolically, these set forth the faithfulness (blue) unto death (scarlet) of those here represented.

And only the table, of all the furnishings of the Tabernacle, was thus covered! We believe, that
God in this way intended to show that our faithfulness unto death is like that of Jesus in a special sense,
for the body’s sake” (Col 1:24)—for our brethren, though this cannot be recognized by the world. If
in this sense, then, we are
broken for each other, may it not be that we too are represented in the
twelve loaves of showbread, as the twelve tribes of antitypical Israel, who because of our faithfulness
now in “
holding forth the word of life” will one day be among those of whom the Revelator speaks,
who shall be standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion?” (
Rev 14:1; 7:4–8) Notes on the Tabernacle”,
Pages 179, 180

Hereby perceive we love, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our
lives for the brethren
.” (1 John 3:16) The Apostle Paul delighted in this, for he said: “I, Paul, am
made a minister; who now rejoice in my suffering for you, and fill up that which is behind of
the afflictions of Christ for his body’s sake, which is the church
.” (Col 1:23, 24) Such faithfulness
on behalf of the brethren is even as food to their souls. This, undoubtedly, is the reason why the cloth
of blue and the cloth of red are manifest only in the coverings of this Table of the Showbread and not in
connection with the remaining vessels of the Holy. Yet, such faithfulness unto death will not be
appreciated by the world; for here, too, they see only the seals’ skins covering—our flesh, our
humanity.” (
Notes on the Tabernacle”, Pages 252, 253)

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