Welcome back! I pray that you are finding this study enjoyable and rewarding. I am in awe at God’s planning – each piece of furniture in Israel’s tabernacle foreshadowed Jesus Christ. Through study of what some see as dusty and boring passages of Scripture, we see God’s plan for us as we truly worship the Son.
The Tabernacle had an Outer Court and The Tent of Meeting (inside court). The Tent of Meeting contained the holy place and the Holy of Holies. In our last studies we were reminded that there was only one way into the tabernacle, which points to Jesus as the only way to God. The tabernacle door had to face east – toward the rising sun. The cleansing of our sins can only be accomplished through a blood sacrifice, so the bronze altar is our picture of Jesus Christ. This week we will look at what God commanded to be placed in the holy place – the table of showbread (showbread), the lampstand, and the altar of incense.
When the priest entered the holy place, he would encounter the table of showbread to his right. Showbread comes from a Hebrew word meaning “bread of the presence”. The showbread was set on the table before the face, or presence, of God, who was dwelling in the Holy of Holies.
“You shall take fine flour and bake twelve loaves from it; two tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. 6 And you shall set them in two piles, six in a pile, on the table of pure gold before the Lord. 7 And you shall put pure frankincense on each pile, that it may go with the bread as a memorial portion as a food offering to the Lord. 8 Every Sabbath day Aaron shall arrange it before the Lord regularly; it is from the people of Israel as a covenant forever. 9 And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place, since it is for him a most holy portion out of the Lord’s food offerings, a perpetual due.” Lev 24:5-9 (ESV)
And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me regularly. Ex 25:30 (ESV)
So we see that even in the placement of the bread, God has set regulations. Why? And did you notice who was to eat it? Aaron and his sons – the priests – were to eat the bread in the presence of God. So what does this mean? Are we to take communion on a weekly basis? Is there something else that we need to notice? I think so! Who called Himself the bread of life?
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35 (ESV)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” John 6:47-51 (ESV)
Jesus spoke of manna in this passage. Do you see parallels or contrasts between Jesus and manna? What promises did Jesus make regarding the bread of life? And what does one need to do to obtain the bread of life?
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Matt 4:1-4 (ESV)
And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deut 8:3 (ESV)
Satan tried to tempt Jesus when he was at his lowest point – hungry after being in the wilderness for 40 days. But Jesus didn’t rise to Satan’s temptation. Instead, He quoted scripture. Jesus could have easily changed the stones into bread, but He didn’t. Why do you think He chose to quote that old passage to Satan?
We see that bread is not just bodily nourishment. The bread of life is spiritual nourishment. When the priests ate the showbread, they were taking life in two ways: physically, and through eating the bread in the Presence of the Holy God.
How does this relate to our worship? Starting with our church service, we see that worship includes eating of the bread of life – the word of God. So worship isn’t just the three or four songs we sing. It’s a process. First we are to accept the offering of Jesus’ blood (bronze laver), then we ask forgiveness, cleansing us from sin (basin). Once we are clean and holy, we enter the church to eat the showbread with our fellow priests in the presence of the Holy One. He gives us not only physical but spiritual nourishment.
I pray that this study is making your Sunday worship more vibrant! I trust you see that worship isn’t just the music (or lack of it), but that worship is something that God has set forth for His children as the way to bind us to Him. On Wednesday, we will look at the lampstand – the holy place’s only source of light.
I cherish your comments! Please feel free to email me or leave a comment in the box below. See you next time.