“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep…and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening…and they shall eat the flesh in that night…”
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.”
“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them.”
This page discusses the physical characteristics of the table of shewbread, please visit this link for a discussion of the symbolism.
The physical characteristics of the table of shewbread are set forth in Ex. 25:23-30. The frame work was comprised of acacia wood overlaid with gold. Assuming one cubit equals 18 inches, the table was approximately 36 inches in length, 18 inches in width, and 27 inches tall. The table was located in the holy place, on the north side of the room opposite the golden candlestick (see Ex. 26:35, Ex. 40:22). On top of the table were laid the twelve loaves of shewbread which were arranged in two rows of six (Lev. 24:5-6). Also placed on the table were the gold dishes, spoons, covers and bowls used for the drink offering (Ex. 25:29). The image above is based on my artistic assumptions. No one can know the exact form and appearance of the table unless it was revealed to him by revelation from the Lord. Nevertheless, the scriptures are filled with rich symbolism to help us understand the meaning of this vessel, in our lives today.
Fresh loaves were placed on the table each Sabbath day and the old loaves were eaten by the Priests and the High Priest only. The drink offering was made by pouring wine unto the Lord into one of the jars placed upon the table. The drink offering was the final part of the continual burnt offering.
An ordinance can be defined as a permanent rule of action given by the Lord. There are several rules the Lord commanded which governed the use of this vessel.
- The table had to be anointed with pure olive oil before it could be used (i.e. the anointing set it apart and made it holy)(Ex. 40:9).
- The shewbread had to be made of fine flour using specific measurments (Lev. 24:5).
- The shewbread had to be placed in two rows of six (Lev. 24:6).
- The shewbread had to be replaced with fresh loaves every Sabbath (Lev. 24:8).
- The shewbread could only be eaten by a Priest or a High Priest (i.e. a direct male descendant of Aaron)(Lev. 24:9).
- Frankincense had to be placed upon each row of the shewbread (Lev. 24:7).
- The drink offering had to be poured out into of the bowls upon the table after nearly every offering (Ex. 29:40-41, Num. 28:7).
- The wine from the drink offering could NOT be consumed by a Priest or a High Priest within the holy place (Lev. 10:9-11).
- The table could NOT be physically touched by anyone who was not a Priest or a High Priest (i.e. a direct male descendant of Aaron)(Num. 4:15).
- Before moving the table (along with the rest of the tabernacle) it had to be covered with a blue then a scarlet cloth by a Priest or the High Priest (Num. 4:7-8).
- Only the sons of Kohath, of the tribe of Levi could physically move the table after it had been properly covered (Num. 4:15).
- The penalty for unauthorized contact with the table was physical death (Num. 1:51, Num. 4:15).