The table of shewbread which was at the priests’ right (northside) as they entered the Holy Place. There were 12 loaves on the table representing the 12 tribes. All of God’s people were represented at the table. There was also a pitcher of wine. The shewbread or, in the literal Hebrew, “bread of my face” or “The Bread of Presence”, was placed in 2 rows with a “gold dish of frankincense at the top of the shewbread as an offering”. The burning of the frankincense at the top of the stacks made the showbread an offering by fire to God. The loaves were not burned in the fire, because they were to be eaten. Every sabbath the loaves were replaced with fresh ones, and Aaron and his sons were to eat the old loaves in the Holy Place, as the most holy of the offerings (Leviticus 24:9).
The bread was not only to sustain them for that moment but also as a spiritual awareness of its significance as the manna from heaven (bread of heaven). Bread is typical of the provisions of life, and represents God providing for His people who dwell in His midst. The real bread from heaven would come in the incarnation of Jesus. In the New Testament bread is symbolic both of the living and the written Word of God. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life! He that comes face to face with me shall never hunger and he who finds his faith resting in me shall never thirst”(John 6:35 Mirror), and in verse 51, He said,”I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”(HCSB).
Bread and wine speaks of communion. In the Old Testament Abraham meets Melchizedek (king of Salem, priest to God most high) after defeating King Chedorlaomer. Melchizedek brought out to Abraham bread and wine and blessed Abraham (Gen. 14). We meet Jesus at the table of Shewbread, at the communion table. Luke 24 tells the story of 2 disciples after the resurrection on the way to Emmaus. Jesus joined them; but it was not until he broke bread that the disciples could see Jesus as the bread of life, as the face to face bread and when he gave the bread to them their eyes were opened and they could see. In communion, bread and wine, we are partakers of the bread of life, we will feast on our true incarnate identity mirrored in Jesus and discover the life of the ages incarnate in us. As He is, so are we.
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