The Table of Shewbread in the Book of Revelation
“Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?” Psalms 77:13
“And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8
“1Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. 2For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. 3And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 4Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. 6Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. 7But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: 8The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. 11But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;” Hebrews 9:1-11
“1Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. 3For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. 4For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: 5Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” Hebrews 8:1-5
It is the purpose of this article to show that God’s sanctuary is very important in His Word. The Sanctuary, especially the one that Moses built, has three basic divisions – the Courtyard, the
For clarity’s sake the focus will be on the furniture of the
God does not make indefinite and obscure what He has plainly stated or taught. So when God refers us to His sanctuary, He wants us to understand it clearly and plainly. Therefore, I ask again, if 2 of the pieces of Sanctuary furniture are mentioned, and are connected to significant church history through the symbols of the Candlesticks and the Trumpets, would He neglect to mention the 3rd piece of Sanctuary furniture – the Table of Shewbread? It is the belief of this writer that the Table of Shewbread is connected to the 7 Seals, just as the Candlesticks are connected to the 7 Churches, and the Altar of Incense is connected to the 7 Trumpets.
Now let’s discuss the purpose of the Table of Shewbread more thoroughly from Bible history and see what Jesus has given us to ponder and meditate upon.
The Table of Shewbread in the Old Testament Sanctuary:
In Exodus 25:23-30 we have the first official presentation of the Table of Shewbread in the Mosaic Sanctuary. So let’s read about the Table of Shewbread and see what God has to say to us in Exodus 25:23-30:
“23Thou shalt 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. 24And 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. 26And thou shalt make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet thereof. 27Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table. 28And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them. 29And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them. 30And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me always”
Jesus told Moses to make a rectangular table – two cubits in length, or about 3 feet long (cubit equals about 18 inches so 2x18 equals 36 inches divided by 12 inches for a foot would give us about 3 feet) and a foot and a half wide (cubit equals 18 inches which is about 1 and ½ feet wide) and the height of the table was about 27 inches or a little over 2 feet high. The table was made out of Shittim wood, a wood that had qualities to last a long time and was “less subject to decay than any other to be obtained at Sinai.” Patriarchs and Prophets page 347. Then the table was to be overlaid with gold, and a golden crown/moulding was placed around the border of the table. Then there were four rings placed at the four corners to carry the table with staves/poles. This table was set on the North side of the Sanctuary (a type of the throne of God). Exodus 26:35; Exodus 40:22-23; Psalms 48:2; Isaiah 14:13; Daniel 11:44.
On top of the table was the Shewbread. Leviticus 24:5-9 states that the Shewbread was made of fine flour made into 12 loaves. There is some confusion as to how much flour “two tenth deals” equates to (Leviticus 24:5; 23:17) but in the end the table was full of bread. The Shewbread consisted of 12 loaves that were baked each Friday and placed on the Table each Sabbath. The Shewbread by definition, was interpreted to mean – bread, or food. In Patriarchs and Prophets page 354 we are told the “Shewbread” meant “bread of the presence”. This would indicate that God’s ability to provide food for His children, both physical and spiritual, was an ever present abiding issue for God. This bread was a testimony of God’s ability to care for the needs of His people at all times and in all ways (II Corinthians 8:15). Patriarchs and Prophets states these truths in the following manner:
“The showbread was kept ever before the Lord as a perpetual offering. Thus it was a part of the daily sacrifice. It was called showbread, or "bread of the presence," because it was ever before the face of the Lord. It was an acknowledgment of man's dependence upon God for both temporal and spiritual food, and that it is received only through the mediation of Christ. God had fed Israel in the wilderness with bread from heaven, and they were still dependent upon His bounty, both for temporal food and spiritual blessings. Both the manna and the showbread pointed to Christ, the living Bread, who is ever in the presence of God for us. He Himself said, "I am the living Bread which came down from heaven." John 6:48-51. Frankincense was placed upon the loaves. When the bread was removed every Sabbath, to be replaced by fresh loaves, the frankincense was burned upon the altar as a memorial before God.” Patriarchs and Prophets page 354
God’s messenger likens the Shewbread to the manna. By this, she is stating that all food provided by God is incorporated into the concept of the Shewbread and reveals that this was a daily concern for God, and revealed His ability to care for the needs of His people.
Additionally, the frankincense was a part of the Table of Shewbread. Frankincense was a symbol of the prayers of our Intercessor, and it was also a symbol of the prayers of God’s people covered with the righteousness of Jesus. (Revelation 8:3-4). This frankincense was burnt as a memorial before God when the Shewbread loaves were changed each Sabbath.
When the Shewbread was changed, it was to be eaten by the priests (Leviticus 24:9). It was holy bread and it was to be eaten by holy men of God in a holy place. This symbolized that God would feed His servants with His bread, both temporal and spiritual, while they did His service. God wants us to have the assurance that He was consistent in the past, the present, and the future, and that He is fully able to care for His people under all circumstances, especially as they were doing service for Him.
The ministry of the Table of Shewbread was also a part of the Daily, the perpetual ministry of Christ to continually keeping His merits ever before us (Numbers 28-29). This service is clearly stated in Leviticus 24:8 where God says “Every Sabbath he shall set it in order before the Lord continually.” In Leviticus 24:9 God says “…it is most holy unto Him of the offerings of the Lord made by fire by a perpetual statute.” In Numbers 4:7 we find “And upon the Table of Shewbread they shall spread a cloth of blue, and put thereon the dishes, and the spoons, and the bowls, and covers to cover withal: and the continual bread shall be thereon:” II Chronicles 2:4 states that “Behold, I build an house to the name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to Him, and to burn before Him sweet incense, and for the continual Shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the Lord our God. This an ordinance for ever to
We need to discuss one more matter and that is Exodus 25:29 “And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them.” These bowls and dishes were part of the Table of Shewbread. Now they could be part of the process of making the Shewbread, or they could be a part of the process to show the other side of an interesting Bible phrase “…bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.” Isaiah 33:23-17 especially verse 16. The righteous will be cared for by Jesus and He will provide bread and water for His people. See Nehemiah 9:13-15. The Table of Shewbread should be seen as a symbol of God’s ability to provide for all of our needs, not just bread, but water, and everything needed for our spiritual journey just as He did for
God wants us to understand the sanctuary service so that we ever keep the intercessory merits of Jesus ever before our eyes. He wanted them to understand this in the past and He wants us to understand these things today for they are essential for our salvation. Now let’s see how God revealed these issues in the Old Testament.
The Table of Shewbread as a Part of the Daily:
In the Sanctuary service we know that the Sacrifice was to take place morning and evening of every day. (Numbers 28:1-8; II Chronicles 13:10-11) We also know that since the priest(s) came into the
How Jesus is Revealed in the Table of Shewbread in the OT:
Once we accept that the principle of the Table of Shewbread is a testimony of God’s ability to provide for His people, it opens doors for us to “see” how God has cared for His people all through history, and Jesus, our Creator, has not changed, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8. Jesus has always watched over His people and this was especially demonstrated when the Children of Israel were in the wilderness after leaving
But this fabulous wilderness story is not the only time that Jesus, our Creator, revealed His almighty power to provide and care for His people. Another testimony was in His week of Creation. Jesus created the earth, the plants, and the foods necessary for all creatures, including mankind. (Genesis 1:9-31) Jesus is always alert to providing for His people, both in physical and spiritual food, for Jesus testifies that He allowed the events of the Exodus to take place to test His people so that “…He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord, doth man live.” Deuteronomy 8:3.
Other examples of His providing care was when He revealed His love for Elijah and the widow of Zarephath (I Kings 17:2-16), the miracles of provision to Elisha, the healing of the waters (II Kings 2:19-22); the provision of water for the two kings (II Kings 3:6-24); the multiplying of the oil for the prophet’s widow (II Kings 4:1-7); the healing of the food (II Kings 4:38-41); the feeding of the multitudes (II Kings 4:42-44); and the feeding of the nation of Samaria after the great famine and siege by Benhadad (II Kings 6:24-7:20). All of these events exemplified Christ’s ability to care for His people in emergencies and in daily living. Jesus wants us to remember that He is there for each of us every day and every night and that He will care for all of our needs if we but ask Him.
How Jesus is Revealed in the New Testament Sanctuary:
In the New Testament we see the earthly sanctuary that was built by Ezra and Nehemiah, and later enhanced by Herod. God stated that the glory of this sanctuary would be greater than the
“The second temple did not equal the first in magnificence, nor was it hallowed by those visible tokens of the divine presence which pertained to the first temple. There was no manifestation of supernatural power to mark its dedication. No cloud of glory was seen to fill the newly erected sanctuary. No fire from heaven descended to consume the sacrifice upon its altar. The Shekinah no longer abode between the cherubim in the most holy place; the ark, the mercy seat, and the tables of testimony were not found there. No sign from heaven made known to the inquiring priest the will of Jehovah.
And yet this was the building concerning which the Lord had declared by the prophet Haggai: "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former." "I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts." Haggai 2:9,7. For centuries learned men have endeavored to show wherein the promise of God, given to Haggai, has been fulfilled; yet in the advent of Jesus of Nazareth, the Desire of all nations, who by His personal presence hallowed the precincts of the temple, many have steadfastly refused to see any special significance. Pride and unbelief have blinded their minds to the true meaning of the prophet's words.
The second temple was honored, not with the cloud of Jehovah's glory, but with the presence of the One in whom dwelt "all the fullness of the Godhead bodily"--God Himself "manifest in the flesh." Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:16. In being honored with the personal presence of Christ during His earthly ministry, and in this alone, did the second temple exceed the first in glory. The "Desire of all nations" had indeed come to His temple, when the Man of Nazareth taught and healed in the sacred courts.”
Jesus was the glory of the Sanctuary in
It is our job to study all facets of the
How Jesus is Revealed in the Table of Shewbread in the NT:
In believing that Jesus is the fulfillment of the
Since Jesus is all things in the
The Table of Shewbread in the Holy Place Ministry of Jesus in Heaven:
We know that in the
A further piece of evidence is that the Lamb, who sits on the throne of God, is able to open the book/scroll spoken of in Revelation 5:1. In the Bible there are two references to men being offered a scroll by God with the intent that they are to eat the book and go through an experience with God (Ezekiel 2:1-3:14; Revelation 10). In both cases, the men of God were commanded to eat a book and then to pass on the messages to God’s people to prepare them for the experiences to come. If we were to look at Revelation 5 in the same manner, we would see that God has a book and He wants to feed it to His people so that they can also go out and give warning messages to the world. In Revelation 6-7 the opening of the seals indicates that another piece of the book is to be given to the world through His church. This progressive unfolding is God’s “feeding” His people to prepare them to go into the whole world with the Revealing of Jesus. This feeding with His Word is a symbol of the feeding of Bread – the Lamb of God, the Bread of Life sent from heaven for the nourishing of the nations. It is this writer’s opinion that the Seals are a revealing of the Bread of Life that came down from heaven for us (John 6).
The Role of the Table of Shewbread in the Prophecies of Revelation:
For an in-depth study of how the Seals from the book/Shewbread fulfill the prophecies of Revelation, I refer you to Revelation chapters 5-7 - http://the1844way.com/revchapfive.html; http://the1844way.com/revchapsix.html; http://the1844way.com/revchapseven.html; where you will find plenty of material to keep you occupied in deep study.
The intent of this article was to discuss the history and development of the symbol of the Table of Shewbread in the Mosaic Sanctuary. This symbol was incorporated in the
In the book of Revelation the Table of Shewbread is also used as one of the
I pray that as you read this article that it will open up new vistas of study in the book of Revelation and that you will be able to “see” God’s ability to care for us in all our earthly and heavenly affairs. May God bless you in your future studies.