Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Mystery of Mysteries -- What Is the Showbread?
Maimonides, the great Jewish sage, said he didn't understand it; Adam Clarke said it was a baffling mystery; scholars are puzzled and mystified by it. Just what was the "shewbread," anyway? What does it represent and symbolize? Why was it included in the Temple services of YEHOVAH God? Here is new insight in this bewildering enigma -- a look new at the mystery of the "showbread"!
Mystery of mysteries -- what was the purpose of the enigmatic "shewbread" that YEHOVAH God commanded was to be baked every week, and put in the Temple of YEHOVAH God every Sabbath day, as a perpetual covenant -- an everlasting covenant?
The mystery of the showbread has never been adequately explained, or revealed. Adam Clarke says, "It is more difficult to ascertain the use of these, or what they represented, than almost any other emblem in the whole Jewish economy. Many have conjectured their meaning, and I have no disposition to increase their number by any addition of my own."
Even the great Jewish sage of the Middle Ages, Maimonides, confessed of the shewbread, "I do not know the object of the table with the bread upon it continually, and up to this day I have not been able to assign any reason to this commandment."
What commandment was he referring to?
In Leviticus 24:5 we read: "And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth parts shall be in one cake. And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the LORD. And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the BREAD ["lechem"] for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD. Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. And it shall be Aaron's and his sons; and they shall eat it in the holy place; for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the LORD made by fire by a perpetual statute" (Lev. 24:5-9).
This showbread was, literally, "bread of the Presence." It consisted of twelve loaves of wheat bread, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. It was placed on the table of the showbread, on the north side of the Temple, in front oft the Holy of Holies, opposite the lamp stand containing the seven lamps. It was placed on the bale every Sabbath, arranged in two rows of six loaves each, with each loaf piled on top of another. When the new loaves were placed on the table, the week-old loaves were taken off the table, and eaten by the priests in the Holy Place, or Sanctuary.
Says the Hertz edition of the Soncino Pentateuch and Halftorahs,
"Most commentators understand the Presence-bread as an expression of thankfulness and standing acknowledgment on the part of the children of Israel that God was the Giver of man's daily necessities" (p. 329).
Says the Critical-Experimental Commentary by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, the twelve loaves or "cakes" of the showbread were baked by the Levites, the flour being furnished by the people (I Chron. 9:32; 23:29). Oil, wine and salt were the other ingredients (Lev. 2:13). Each loaf was to be "two tenth deals" -- that is, of an ephah. In other words, each loaf weighed about 13.5 pounds. Every Sabbath day hot new loaves were placed on the table and the old loaves were removed and eaten by the priests, except in cases of dire emergency (I Sam. 21:30-6i; Luke 6:3-4).
Declares The Odyssey of the Third Temple, by Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the twelve loaves were baked in specific pans, in a specific fashion, and rested one on top of another with golden shelves separating one loaf from another to prevent their breaking. The table itself was of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, and weighed several "talents" -- each talent being about fifty kilograms, or one hundred twenty pounds. Thus the table itself weighed several hundred pounds, perhaps about four-five hundred pounds!
The breads were baked in specially designed golden pans. Says Rabbi Ariel:
"On the festivals, the table would be raised aloft . . . and displayed to the pilgrims. The priests would call out: 'Behold how precious you are to God! The bread was removed as required, but though seven days have passed they are still hot as if freshly baked' (BT Menachot 29:A).
"This was one of the miracles experienced in the Holy Temple, revealing to all that the Divine Presence indeed rested there. The rabbis further relate that when the breads were distributed to the priests, each received a measure the size of a bean seed . . . and yet they ate it and were completely satiated!" (p. 54-55).
This same source states that the baking of the loaves themselves was a complicated process, for it was necessary to preserve the wholeness of each loaf for the duration of a week, and to avoid its being crushed by the weight of the loaves above it. The method also had to insure that the bread would not become moldy or spoiled. The Garmo family was in charge of this process, and held a carefully guarded family secret, passed down from generation to generation, to keep the knowledge of the process alive and hidden from prying eyes of those who might seek to use the secret process to bake loaves for pagan idols.
Literally, the "showbread" is lechem ha'panim, that is, "bread of the face" -- or, "bread of the Presence (of God)." It is also called the "continual bread" (Num. 4:7), "continual shewbread" (I Chron. 2:4), or "bread of the row" [or "arrangement"] (I Chron. 9:32, translated "shewbread" in the KJV). Each loaf was the volume of 86.4 eggs. The loaves were mixed and kneaded outside of the Courtyard.
Literally, the term "showbread" refers to lechem panim, "bread of faces" -- the plural form of "faces" is used, panim. Since this is the bread of God's "Presence," the term panim -- plural for "faces" -- refers to the faces of YEHOVAH God. It could also be a reference to the "faces" of the twelve tribes of Israel, as they appear before YEHOVAH God, represented by the loaves of bread. The showbread, being placed in the Temple, to the right of the entrance, in front of the Holy Holies, is continually "in God's Presence," from week to week. This pictures Israel as having constant communion and fellowship with YEHOVAH God, and being accepted by Him.
Says the New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, "Each loaf contained 2/10 of an ephah of fine flour, such as was used for honored guests and for the king's table (Gen. 18:6; I Kings 4;22); and was employed in various offerings (Lev. 2:1; 5:11, etc.). The 12 loaves represented the 12 tribes of Israel (cf. Lev. 24:7 with Ex. 28:10-12; also Ex. 24:4; 28:21). In the O.T. period these 12 loaves set in the presence of the Lord probably signified the constant communion of his people with him in those things which his bounty provided and they enjoyed in his presence and used in his service" (p. 876).
The Table and the Showbread
The table of showbread, on which the loaves were presented before YEHOVAH God, was of acacia wood, overlaid with pure gold (Exo. 25:23-24). The loaves were placed on the golden surface of the table itself, with nothing under the bottom loaf (see The Chumash, Lev. 24:4-7, p. 691). The gold represents the divine (golden) nature of YEHOVAH God. In the metals used in the Tabernacle, gold represents YEHOVAH God the Father, silver represents Yeshua the Messiah, and brass (or bronze) represents man (or Israel). Interestingly, these three metals have healing properties, and are known to be useful and health-restoring as "medicine," to effect cures of diseases. The loaves themselves were covered with a covering cloth of blue -- or turquoise wool (Num. 4:7). The sky-blue wool symbolizes the colour of the sky, the highest degree of holiness -- the colour which represents YEHOVAH God the Father.
Says Alfred Edersheim in The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, the showbread was baked and prepared with painstaking care, so that in appearance and color the lower should be exactly the same as the upper part of it. The loaves of the showbread were kneaded separately and baked in pairs. They were made ready in a mould; and when they were taken from the oven, they were once again put in a mould, lest they should suffer any hurt (p. 140).
Edersheim adds that this showbread was
"made of the finest wheaten flour, that had been passed through eleven sieves. There were twelve of these cakes, according to the number of the tribes of Israel, ranged in two piles, each of six cakes. Each cake was made of two omers of wheat (the omer = about five pints). Between the two rows . . . two bowls with pure incense were placed, and, according to Egyptian tradition, also salt. The cakes were anointed in the middle with oil, in the form of a cross. As described by Jewish tradition, they were each five handbreadths broad and ten handbreadths long, but turned up at either end, two handbreadths on each side, to resemble in outline the Ark of the Covenant" (p. 142-143).
When the showbread was changed, according to the Mishnah, four priests entered the Holy Place, two carrying each a pile of six showbread, and the other two priests carrying the two dishes of incense. Four priests had preceded them, two to take off the old loaves of showbread (six each), and two to pick up the two bowls of incense from the previous week. Those who brought in the new loaves and incense, stood at the north side of the table, facing southward, and the others priests stood on the south side of the table, facing northward. As the priests on the south side picked up the old showbread and incense bowls, the priests on the north side replaced those with the new showbread and dishes of incense, with perfect timing, at the very same moment, so that showbread was always upon the table, continually.
Leavened? or Not Leavened?
Notice! This is the "showbread." In this definitive passage, there is NO MENTION of its being "unleavened." The Scriptures merely state that it was LECHEM -- THAT IS, "BREAD." Could this have been leavened bread? Why not? It most likely was, since the word for "unleavened," matzah, is NOWHERE USED in regard to the "showbread"! Certainly, if YEHOVAH God had commanded that the showbread be made of UNleavened bread, His Word would have stated such! But there is no such commandment in all the Scriptures pertaining to the "showbread." Interesting, isn't it?
Similarly, on the Day of Pentecost, YEHOVAH God commanded: "Ye shall bring out of your habitations TWO WAVE LOAVES of two tenth parts; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with LEAVEN; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD" (Lev. 23:17). "And ye shall offer with the BREAD ["lechem"] seven lambs without blemish of the first year . . ." (v. 18). Here YEHOVAH God commands that this bread offering of two LOAVES OF FINE FLOUR be offered to Him. "And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD" (v. 20).
In this case, "leaven" obviously does not pertain to "sin." YEHOVAH would never accept "SIN" as an offering to Him. Rather, the leaven portrays the holy spirit, as it does in the parable of the women who hid two measures of leaven in her meal, until the whole was "leavened" -- a type of the action and working of YEHOVAH's holy spirit, which over time makes us holy, and converts our human nature into YEHOVAH's divine nature (see Matt. 13:33).
Since there is NO Biblical command that this was to be UNLEAVENED bread, it was originally most likely LEAVENED bread -- simply "lechem," the word used for regular, raised bread, throughout the Old Testament! Whenever the Old Testament refers to "unleavened" bread, it uses the word for "unleavened," or matzah. It is nothing but unsupported "tradition" that the showbread was to be "unleavened."
The Scriptures in no place indicates that the "showbread" had to be "unleavened." The very fact that leavened loaves were presented, by commandment, to YEHOVAH God on Pentecost, as the "firstfruits," is an indication that these twelve loaves -- representing the twelve tribes of Israel -- were also most likely leavened bread -- the finest leavened bread. Why?
Leaven -- an Agent of CHANGE
Contrary to that many may assume, leavened bread is the MOST DESIRABLE of all bread. Its "nature" has been changed, by the yeast, into a product totally unlike the original grain from which it was made. The yeast changes the nature of the ground flour into a wonderful delicious product, appealing to YEHOVAH God and to man! This is a "type" of how YEHOVAH's holy spirit changes our human nature into his divine and holy GOD nature (II Pet. 1:4). Furthermore, the showbread was a picture of the prosperity that YEHOVAH would bless His people with -- and delicious leavened loaves of bread picture prosperity, whereas unleavened bread pictures adversity and affliction.
Josephus the Jewish historian in Antiquities of the Jews states that the showbread was "unleavened" (Ant., III, 6, 6). However, history reveals that the Jews during the course of their history at times used leavened bread for the showbread, and at other times unleavened bread. Obviously, this was due to the fact that the Scriptures nowhere indicate which was to be used. Could it be that either kind of bread could be used, as far as YEHOVAH God is concerned, but the type of bread used depicted the type of relationship or "condition" Israel was in at the time that particular type of bread was used?
Consider: What IS "unleavened bread"? What does it picture? In the book of Exodus it is referred to as "the bread of AFFLICTION" (Deut. 16:3). It pictures hard times, suffering, urgency, a tough road, trials and tribulations. Paul also speaks of "the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (I Cor. 5:8). How are sincerity and truth related to our afflictions? Simple. As David put it: "Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word" (Psalm 119:67). Afflictions are good for us, in that they lead us to trust in and depend upon YEHOVAH God. Jeremiah wrote:
"For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men . . . Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search our ways, and turn again to the LORD. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens" (Lam. 3:33-40).
The times when Israel offered "unleavened" bread as the showbread, which was often, no doubt was a symbol of the afflicted state Israel was in at the time -- physically, and spiritually. It pictures Israel being afflicted because the nation had gone astray, and its relationship with the Divine was "strained." This was true of most of their history!
On the other hand, the times when the showbread was of leavened -- that is rich, bountiful, luxuriant -- bread, would depict the times when Israel was in favour with YEHOVAH God, and had a good relationship with the Divine Presence. This would have been in the time of Moses and Aaron, Joshua, when Israel was obedient to YEHOVAH God. It would likely have included the time of David and Solomon, whose reigns pictured the Messianic age to come, and the World Tomorrow. Such bread may also have been used during the time of the righteous kings of Judah, such as Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah.
Whether afflicted, or blessed, we are always in the hands of YEHOVAH God. As the apostle Paul wrote:
"For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do [suffer, go though, accomplish] ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST which strengtheneth me" (Phil. 4:11-3).
Even so, the showbread can be either of leavened bread, or unleavened. Throughout most of Israel's history, it was unleavened, picturing their state of affliction, trials, tests, and tribulation. But like the true lechem, the spiritual Bread of Life, it could also be the raised, transfigured, resplendent Bread of Glory, the luxurious Loaf of Life!
Further Evidence -- That of Comparison
The "showbread" and the two loaves of bread presented to YEHOVAH God on Pentecost, are similar in that both of them are extra large loaves of bread. The normal meal offering was only half as large (Num. 15:4; Lev. 24:5). The two loaves of leavened bread presented on Pentecost were the same size as the showbread loaves -- "two tenths deals" (Lev. 23:17). The showbread are also called "cakes" or "loaves" -- the Hebrew word being challah or challot -- the same word used for the two loaves of "challah" used today in Jewish homes every Sabbath, delicious loaves of leavened bread. Says The Jewish Book of Why:
"The Hebrew word challa, usually translated as 'a cake' or 'a loaf,' is mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Numbers (15:20). The Children of Israel were commanded to set aside, from the bread they bake, a small portion of dough . . . for the sustenance of the Priests .. . The word challa was first used in the Bible (Leviticus 24:5) to describe the twelve showbreads (lechem hapanim) that were arranged on the altar in the Tabernacle. The twelve loaves or cakes (challot) were laid out in two rows of six each. According to most authorities, this is the origin of the use of challa on the Sabbath and holy days. . . .
"[T]he two challot serve as a reminder of the loaves of bread (lechem hapanim) permanently displayed first on the Tabernacle table (Exodus 25:30) and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. In each case, twelve breads were laid out in two rows; they were displayed all week long. These showbreads were required to be continually displayed in the presence of God. Each Sabbath fresh breads were prepared to replace the old ones, which became the property of the Priests. The Priests were required to eat them in a holy place, since the bread was holy. The two shallot used today represent the two rows of showbreads displayed in the Tabernacle and Temple" (p. 172-173).
In other words, the "challah" eaten on the Sabbath and holy days, today, is a reminder of the "showbread." Interestingly, the "challah" eaten today is leavened bread -- not unleavened! Could this be an indication that originally the showbread itself was also unleavened?
Also, since the loaves of showbread were identical in size to the two leavened loaves presented before YEHOVAH God on Pentecost, is this not further indication that originally these loaves were of leavened bread -- as the word lechem itself implies? Remember, nowhere in Scripture are the loaves of showbread ever commanded to be made "unleavened" or to be made of matzot! Although the regular "meal" offerings were definitely commanded to be made with unleavened bread (Lev. 2:4), such is not the case with the "showbread"! What does this tell us? What does the "showbread" really picture?
The Meaning of the Showbread
YEHOVAH God calls the showbread a "memorial" (Lev. 24:7). The twelve cakes picture the TWELVE TRIBES of Israel. They are "taken from the children of Israel." They are the "bread of the covenant" (Lev. 24:5-8). But who is "Israel"?
The apostle Paul states, "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter" (Rom. 2:28-19).
Physical "Israel" is not the true Israel of YEHOVAH God, in the final analysis. Rather, physical "Israel," as Paul tells us, "answereth to Jerusalem, which now is, and is in bondage with her children" (Gal. 4:25). Physical "Israel" is blinded to the truths of YEHOVAH God! But Paul adds, speaking of the Church, "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all" (Gal. 4:26). We who are the Church are the "children of promise" (v. 28). Therefore Paul calls the Church of YEHOVAH God "the Israel of God" (Gal. 6:16)!
This does not mean that YEHOVAH has cast away His people (Rom. 11:1-2). However, for the present time most of them are blinded to the truths of YEHOVAH God, and the identity of the Messiah. As Paul wrote, "What then? Israel hath not [yet] obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were BLINDED" (Rom. 11:7). The true spiritual Israel, today, then, is the Church of YEHOVAH God! As Paul wrote, "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and HEIRS according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29).
In John 6:32-33 we read what appears to indicate that Yeshua the Messiah was the "living bread" that CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN -- notice! He said, to the Jews, "But my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world". Yeshua added: "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger" (v. 35).
Many take these verses -- and others in the Book of John -- to bolster their belief that Yeshua the Messiah pre-existed before his birth to Mary. But do these verses really say that? The Jews could not understand this and were angry with him (v. 41) because they knew very well that there is only ONE GOD and that no one (with the exception of the angels) had ever existed alongside YEHOVAH God. They took issue with him for saying that he was the bread that came down from heaven. So he explained to them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (vs. 47-51).
Yeshua himself said that he came "down from Heaven" in seven different places in the sixth chapter of John -- verses 33, 38, 41, 42, 50, 51 and 58. Now, did Yeshua literally come down from heaven as these scriptures seem to insist? Was Yeshua the God of the Old Testament, who left his heavenly throne and was transformed into a seed places in the womb of Mary in order that the Creator could be born as a human?
Or does "down from Heaven" have a totally different non-literal meaning? Does it mean that Yeshua came from the Father as the physical manifestation of the character and essence of the Father but not pre-existent? Without going into a lot of detail, Yeshua began as a newborn baby whose physical father was Joseph, and then experienced his life cycle to later become some thirty odd years of age and the FIRSTBORN SON of YEHOVAH God! Later, at the end of the age, there will be many others since the Messiah is the "firstborn of many brethren" (Romans 8:29). Yeshua is from above in that he has always obeyed YEHOVAH, spoken for YEHOVAH, revealed the Father and acted as His messenger in preaching the good news of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God.
Yeshua was "sent" by the Father when he "came down from Heaven." Does "sent by YEHOVAH God" literally mean that one is sent from Heaven? Not in the case of John the Baptist! "I will SEND my messenger..." (Malachi 3:1). "There was man SENT FROM GOD, whose name was John" (John 1:6). In the case of Elijah, he did not originate in Heaven -- even though he too was "sent" by YEHOVAH: "Unto none of these was Elijah SENT (Luke 4:26). Bottom line: If someone or something (e.g. manna) is sent by YEHOVAH God it does NOT mean that he, or it, had a previous existence in Heaven.
The Father, the Creator God, commissioned Yeshua to preach the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, and to later sacrifice his life as the Lamb of YEHOVAH God. All of this is involved in the "sending" of Yeshua the Messiah from Heaven to those who would receive him. As the Pharisee Nicodemus said in John 3:1-2: "We know that you are a teacher COME FROM GOD: for no man can do these miracles...except GOD BE WITH HIM."
That Yeshua the Messiah "came down from Heaven" and that "he was sent by the Father" does NOT mean that he was formerly a God (God #2) in Heaven, who gave up his Divinity and was sent to earth by the Father (God #1) to be born as a human baby. Rather it was this most SPECIAL human being who was sent "from Heaven" -- that is, "from YEHOVAH God" -- commissioned to accomplish the all-important Work of becoming our Savior.
Now the word for "bread" in all these verses is the Greek word artos, which means a "loaf of bread," that is, a raised loaf, or leavened bread. The Greek word used when normally speaking of "unleavened" bread is azumos, which means "unleavened." But the word artos generally refers to regular, normal, leavened bread -- the kind we eat throughout the year! Regular loaves of bread were "leavened." Yeshua himself spoke of the "leaven of bread [artos]" (see Matt. 15:12). Whenever 'unleavened" bread is mentioned in the New Testament, the word used is always a totally different word -- azumos (for example, see Matt. 26:17; Mark 14;1,12; Luke 22:1,7; Acts 12:3; Acts 20:6; I Cor. 5:8).
Yeshua the Messiah, as the "bread of life," however, is not azumos, in the Greek, but artos -- the word used for regular, raised (leavened) bread! That is, the real delicious kind of bread that we enjoy as a mainstay of life! It is this bread, "artos," which he said represents "his body." We read, "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread [artos], and blessed it, and brake it, and gave to the disciples, saying, Take, eat; this is my body" (Matt. 26:26). Paul explains in I Corinthians, "The BREAD which we brake, is it not the COMMUNION [fellowship] of the body of Christ? For we, BEING MANY ARE ONE BREAD, and one body: for we are all partakers of THAT ONE BREAD" (I Cor. 10:16-17).
Again, the word here is artos, referring to regular, normal bread. The Messiah is therefore the "bread of life," and we -- those in his true Church -- are also "one bread," through Yeshua the Messiah! Partaking of this true "bread," therefore, makes us one in the Messiah, and members of each other. It is a symbol of our DIVINE FELLOWSHIP IN, WITH AND THROUGH YESHUA THE MESSIAH, THE MESSIAH SENT BY YEHOVAH GOD!
The Real Meaning Revealed!
Bread, then, is a symbol of Yeshua the Messiah; it is also a symbol of the people of YEHOVAH God, the "Israel of God." We are all "one bread." Therefore, we, the members of the true Church of YEHOVAH God -- the Israel of YEHOVAH God -- in a very real sense are pictured by the LOAVES OF SHOWBREAD which stand before YEHOVAH's Presence continually!
Bread, also, and partaking of bread together, is a symbol of true fellowship. We read in the book of Acts, at the inception of the New Testament Church of YEHOVAH God, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and FELLOWSHIP, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. . . . And they continued daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat (food) with gladness and singleness of heart" (Acts 2:41-46).
Through the Messiah, the Bread of life, we have "fellowship" with YEHOVAH God -- as John wrote, "That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ" (I John 1:3).
In other words, brethren, we have "met the showbread" -- and it represents US!
The showbread is "taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant" (Lev. 24:8). The twelve loaves represent the twelve tribes. But the true Israel, today, spiritually, is the Church of YEHOVAH God (Gal. 6:16), those who have the holy spirit of YEHOVAH God (Rom. 8:7-9). Those in the flesh cannot please YEHOVAH; only those who have His spirit can do so (vs. 14-17). We have fellowship with YEHOVAH through Yeshua the Messiah! We become ONE BREAD through him! And through him, we stand daily, continually, before the very Presence of YEHOVAH God Almighty, our Heavenly Father!
What a remarkable truth! What a wonderful truth!
A Vital Comparison
Since the showbread represents the Israel of YEHOVAH God, we should take a closer look at the making of the showbread, and compare it to our own spiritual lives. The showbread is composed of the finest and best wheat. What kind of spiritual "wheat" are we? Are we "high quality" wheat? Or are we just "tares," masquerading as "wheat" (see Matt. 13:24-30)?
The showbread is refined and put through the sieve eleven times, sifted and resifted until it is of excellent fineness and purity. What about our spiritual lives? How "refined" are we spiritually? How "pure"?
Once the dough is prepared, kneaded, and ready, it is placed in the oven and baked until it is perfectly "done." It is perfectly baked, so that its color is the same on top and bottom. It is not burnt in one place, and still raw dough in another -- but it comes out a perfectly cooked loaf. What about us? YEHOVAH God puts us through the "heat" that is caused by the oven of trials and tests, tribulation and persecution. These trials are for our own good, so that we can come out a "golden" color -- beautifully and exquisitely cooked, until "done." As Paul declared: "Each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will TEST each one's work, of what sort it is" (I Cor. 3:13). "If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire" (v. 14-15). Are your trials and tests perfecting you?
The baked loaves are then placed before the Holy of Holies, in the Temple of YEHOVAH God, as "loaves of the Presence." They remain there continually, forever, a sweet-smelling savor in the Presence of YEHOVAH. Even so, as true Christians, we remain before YEHOVAH's throne day and night, forever in His presence. As David wrote, "One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple" (Psa. 27:4). Even so we are continually in the Presence of YEHOVAH God, day in and day out. Therefore, it behooves us to remember that we are continually before YEHOVAH, "face to face," in His Presence. Therefore, "For you were bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (I Cor. 6:20). "Therefore whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (I Cor. 10:31). "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:17).
Are we conducting our lives, continually knowing that we are constantly in the Presence of YEHOVAH God, before His throne, before Him?
And, like the showbread, we also have a "secret ingredient" -- the holy spirit of YEHOVAH God (Rom. 8:9-10). That secret ingredient, missing in the children of this world, is causing the Messiah to be "formed" in us (Gal. 4:19). The holy spirit is day by day changing our nature, transforming us into the perfect bread -- the perfect "living sacrifice" (Rom. 12:1-2).
How well are we measuring up? How refined are we becoming, spiritually? What kind of "showbread" are you?
-- Edited By John D. Keyser.
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