Altar of Burnt Offerings
Altar-of-Burnt-Offerings
Laver
Laver
Golden Candlestick
Golden Candlestick
Table of Shewbread
Table of Shewbread
Altar of Incense
Altar of Insense
Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant

“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:54


The table of shewbread is a symbol of the Lord’s Supper, or the sacrament.  The ordinances performed upon the table, its location, and the restrictions placed upon it are symbolic of the ordinance of the sacrament and covenant renewal.  This page discusses the symbolism of the table of shewbread, please visit this link for a discussion of the physical characteristics.

Symbolism

Upon fulfillment of the Law of Moses, the tabernacle, and by extension the laws associated with the table of shewbread were no longer in effect.  The tabernacle is based on ordinances pertaining to animal sacrifice which are no longer in force due to the everlasting sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  The table of shewbread did however, point to or symbolize the future ordinances pertaining to the sacrament.

The association of the table of shewbread with the sacrament is obvious.  The sacrament is to be consumed weekly (D&C 59:9), the shewbread was replaced weekly (Lev. 24:8).  Those who partake of the sacrament must have faith, repent of their sins by offering a broken heart and a contrite spirit, be baptized, and be currently living worthy to receive the influence of the Holy Ghost. (1 Cor. 11:27, 3 Ne. 18:28-29).  Only those authorized to enter the holy place could consume the bread and wine from the table (Lev. 24:9).  The sacrament can only be blessed by an individual holding at least the office of priest in the Aaronic Priesthood (D&C 20:46, 76).  The table of shewbread could only be directly touched by the high priest or a priest (Num. 4:15).  The sacrament can be prepared by an individual holding at least the office of teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood (CH 20.4.2).  After proper preparation, the table of shewbread could only be moved by at least a decedent of Kohath (Num. 4:15).  Those who partake of the sacrament are under commandment to remember the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ (Matt. 26:26-28).  Those who administer at the table of shewbread will have just completed slaying a lamb, burning its flesh and pouring its blood, and then offering the associated drink offering at the table (see ‘Ordinance’ section above).

Human beings are not perfect.  Though a person have faith, repent, be baptized, and receive the influence of the Holy Ghost, he is not perfect.  Such a person has the privilege (spiritually speaking), to enter into the holy place.  He has the right to remain (spiritually speaking) by renewing the covenant made during baptism by partaking of the sacrament.  No man has the right, physically speaking or spiritually speaking, to be in the holy place in his own right.  He can only be there due to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.  In other words, it is not the works of a person (faith, repentance, or baptism) which gives him the right to enter the holy place, it is the sacrifice of the flesh and blood of Jesus the Christ, the Lamb of God.  However, if he does not choose to walk down the straight and narrow path (faith, repentance, and baptism) he will never be in the holy place (physically or spiritually speaking).  The grace of God cannot save a person who chooses to not have faith in him, nor make a covenant with him.  The grace of God can save a person who chooses to have faith, follow the example of the Son of the Living God, and make a covenant with the living God through baptism.  Such a person will receive the grace of God.

The Sacrament

The table of shewbread was a foreshadow of the ordinance that would later be implemented by the Lord Jesus Christ.  This ordinances is called the sacrament, or the Lord’s supper.

“On the night before his Crucifixion, Jesus Christ met with His Apostles and instituted the sacrament (see Luke 22:19-20).  After His Resurrection, He instituted the sacrament among the Nephites (see 3 Ne. 18:1-11).  Today the sacrament is an ordinance in which members partake of the bread and water in remembrance of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice.  This ordinance is an essential part of worship and spiritual development. Through this ordinance, Church members renew the covenants they made with God when they were baptized.

“When He instituted the sacrament, Jesus Christ said, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. . . . This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19-20). The sacrament provides an opportunity for Church members to ponder and remember with gratitude the life, ministry, and Atonement of the Son of God. The broken bread is a reminder of His body and His physical suffering—especially His suffering on the cross. It is also a reminder that through His mercy and grace, all people will be resurrected and given the opportunity for eternal life with God.

“The water is a reminder that the Savior shed His blood in intense spiritual suffering and anguish, beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane and concluding on the cross. In the garden He said, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death” (Matthew 26:38). Submitting to the will of the Father, He suffered more than we can comprehend: “Blood [came] from every pore, so great [was] his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people” (Mosiah 3:7). He suffered for the sins, sorrows, and pains of all people, providing remission of sins for those who repent and live the gospel (see 2 Nephi 9:21-23). Through the shedding of His blood, Jesus Christ saved all people from what the scriptures call the “original guilt” of Adam’s transgression (Moses 6:54).

“Partaking of the sacrament is a witness to God that the remembrance of His Son will extend beyond the short time of that sacred ordinance. Part of this ordinance is a promise to remember Him always and a witness of individual willingness to take upon oneself the name of Jesus Christ and to keep His commandments. In partaking of the sacrament and making these commitments, Church members renew the covenant they made at baptism (see Mosiah 18:8-10; D&C 20:37).

“In return, the Lord renews the promised remission of sin and enables Church members to “always have his Spirit to be with them” (D&C 20:77). The Spirit’s constant companionship is one of the greatest gifts of mortality.” [Source]

This video is a portrayal of the Lord’s implementation of the sacrament on the last night of his mortal life.