The table of shewbread, the golden candlestick, and the altar of incense were the only three vessels inside the holy place. The table of shewbread was a future symbol of the ordinance of the sacrament, and the continual need of spiritual nourishment. Partaking of the bread and water is designed to help us remember the salvation from physical death, and the opportunity of liberation from spiritual death through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Previously, wine was used in the sacramental ordinance. Modern revelation specifies that wine is not necessarily required. The humble attention and devotion of the individual towards the Father is what makes the ordinance effective. Through the prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord has revealed the following:
“…I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory – remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of sins.” ~ D&C 27:2
The Lord Jesus Christ gave his physical body so that we might all be resurrected and saved from physical death. This is what we are to remember as we partake of the bread. The blood of Jesus Christ was shed so that we might receive a remission of our sins by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel, this is salvation from spiritual death. This is what we are to remember as we drink the water. Through this ordinance, we can receive the continual companionship of the Holy Ghost. I testify that this power is real, and that the Lord’s promise of having the spiritual to be continually with you is real. I consider the companionship of the Holy Ghost to be perhaps the greatest blessing I enjoy in my mortal existence, for through it, all other considerations of eternal significance have lasting meaning.
I write these things in the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The sideboards of the tabernacle formed a division between the outer courtyard and the two rooms of the inner sanctuary the holy place, and the most holy place. In order to enter into the holy place, spiritually speaking, one of the things we must do is hearken unto the word of God. To hearken means to both listen and obey. Nephi, an ancient prophet from the Book of Mormon explained to his older brothers, the spiritual significance of a dream his father Lehi had previously received.
In the dream, a rod of iron led the way to the tree of life. As Nephi explained, the rod of iron was the scriptures, which teach mankind how to obtain the fruit of the tree of life, or the love of God.
“And I said unto them that [the rod of iron] was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.” 1 Nephi 15:24
Those who held onto the rod of iron were led in safety to the tree of life. Those who did not wandered in darkness, and some fell into a river of water which flowed near the tree. Nephi’s brothers again asked him what the river of water meant. To which he responded:
“…the water which my father saw was filthiness… and I said unto them that it was an awful gulf, which separated the wicked from the tree of life, and also from the saints of God.” 1 Nephi 15:27-28
Those who held fast to the scriptures received of the love of God, and were made clean through the blood of the lamb. Those who departed from the scriptures fell outside the claim of mercy and were subject to the full implications of justice. Those who hearken (listen to and obey the word of God) were made clean, while those who did not remained filthy. The sideboards of the tabernacle separate the clean and holy from the filthy and unholy. Every aspect of the tabernacle testifies of the Lord Jesus Christ.