We have been making our journey through the Tabernacle behind the first veil, the Holy Place. The first piece of furniture that was discussed was the Menorah. The second piece of furniture is the Table of Shewbread.
In Exodus 25:23-30 we can read about the instructions given to Moses concerning the building and maintaining of the Table of Shewbread.
The Table of Showbread is called in Hebrew the “Bread of Presence” and the “Bread of Face”. The Hebrew word for Shewbread is paniym and means face. The bread itself is called “ lechem panim” Bread of Face. Rashi (Jewish commentator of old) says that the bread itself is called this because the “two” faces or ends of the loaves were to face the sides of the sanctuary. One additional thing of interest: the word Table in Hebrew comes from the root word “shalack” which means to “send away”. Surely we have been commanded TO GO!! As followers of Yeshua, the bread from heaven, we have been commanded to go into all the world and take the good news of the bread of life.
According to Leviticus 24:5-9, I Samuel 21:3-6, and I Chronicles 9:32, the bread was made fresh each Sabbath and placed hot on the table The bread was made from matzah (Lev. 24:5,6). The old bread was to be eaten by the priests ministering in the inner sanctuary. It was the priests responsibility to make sure that the table always had bread on it and that new bread was placed there every week and the old bread eaten as the priests portion.
12 loaves of bread were made weekly, one for each of the tribes, and they were stacked on the table in two rows of 6 each (Leviticus 24:6). Frankincense was poured on the loaves (Lev. 24:6-7). Along with the table were the bowls, spoons, supporting frame etc… needed (Ex. 25:29). These 12 loaves of bread, one for each of the 12 tribes, shows that the 12 tribes of Israel were always before the face of Yahweh and that they were always before the priests as they ministered before Yahweh. The shewbread was a continual offering before Yahweh.
Since the priests and the tabernacle/temple both served according to the example and shadow of heavenly things – Hebrews 8:5, we should understand that the shewbread was an anti-type of a heavenly thing which was to come. The thing which was to come was Messiah, the Son of Yahweh, the Bread of Heaven.
We know that Yeshua is our bread from heaven - Matthew 26:26, John 6:51-53.
His presence is always with us - Heb. 13:5, Deut. 31:6
His face shines upon us, we are the apple of His eye - Zechariah 2:8, Proverbs 7:2
He is our sustenance and our everything. We must be totally dependent upon Yeshua for our physical and spiritual food. We must hunger for Him. Hunger for His face - James 4:8, Numbers 6:24-26. Just as a child wants his parents to be attentive to him, so we too must hunger for His face to shine upon us.
Just as the priests got nourished from the bread of the table, we too must get nourished from our bread from heaven.
Just one little piece of insight here that I would like to share. The Table of Showbread, also known as the Bread of Presence or Bread of Face, was found in the Holy Place. Only a designated priest could go behind the first veil and minister to the LORD in this place. 12 loaves of bread were kept on this table, one for each of the 12 tribes, and the bread was replaced with 12 fresh loaves every Sabbath day. This was considered to be a shared meal between Adonai and the priests on every weekly Sabbath. If you have ever attended a synagogue or Messianic congregation, or visited a Jewish home on the Sabbath, then you should be familar with Challah bread. It is baked and then eaten every Sabbath in Jewish homes and it is broken and shared in these type of congregations on the weekly Sabbath. It is called the bread of fellowship. Why? When the Jews were scattered throughout the world because of their disobedience God promised that He would be a little sanctuary to them wherever He scattered them throughout the world. Yeshua also promised that He would make us a kingdom of priests. The thought is that each individual believer, each observant family, each congregation, is an extension of the tabernacle or sanctuary. By breaking this bread together on the Sabbath, just like the priests of old, we are having a small fellowship meal with each other, as priests to Messiah, and with the LORD on His day, the Sabbath day. Challah bread is a very important part of any Sabbath keeping (in my opinion). It is our bread of fellowship, and don't forget how it points to Messiah Yeshua as He is the bread from heaven. We read in the Brit Hadashah (New Testament) that when Yeshua was crucified that the veil in the temple tore from top to bottom. While many commentators believe that this points to the Almighty's disdain for the temple and its sacrificial system, and that He was bringing it to an end, the Hebraic understanding is quite different. According to Hebrews 10:19-20 the veil symbolizes Yeshua's body. The tearing of the veil gives analogy to what the death of Messiah Yeshua accomplished for us. His death gave us access to the Father. When that Holy Place was revealed it showed that we all, if we accept His sacrificial atonement, have access to the Father as a kingdom of priests. We can all minister, or come directly into His presence. We can now approach, through Yeshua's suffering, the very throne of God. Don't forget, we are living stones which make up the temple, a spiritual temple. One day we shall all rule and reign with Messiah Yeshua and be literal priests before Him in His temple in Jerusalem. Please see the article, Living Stones - The Restoration of All Things, #livingstones.
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