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Bread of the Presence

The showbread (or shewbread), also translated as "bread of the Presence," were twelve loaves of fine bread that were placed on a special table in the Holy Place of The Tabernacle. The twelve loaves were ceremonially symbolic of the twelve tribes of Israel, but ultimately represented, after the coming of the Messiah, spiritual Israel (see Physical and Spiritual Israel) just as the Tabernacle foreshadowed "a greater and more perfect tabernacle" (Hebrews 9:11 KJV). Beyond the Holy Place, where the showbread was placed, was the Most Holy Place where The Ark Of The Covenant (see also Raiders Of The Lost Ark) was situated. In the Ark, along with the tables of stone on which were written The Ten Commandments, was a jar of manna. The Christ himself explained the ultimate meaning of that bread:

"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 for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:48-51 KJV)

Bread of the Presence

Table of Shewbread The table for the showbread was made of gold-covered acacia wood. It was approximately 3 feet long, 18 inches wide, and a little over 2 feet high. Two gold-covered Staves, which were inserted through golden rings on the sides of the table, were used for carrying it whenever the Tabernacle was moved. The detailed instructions were given to Moses by The Lord (see also YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD):

"Thou 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. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about. And 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. And thou shalt make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet thereof. Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table. And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them. 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. And thou shalt set upon the table showbread before me alway." (Exodus 25:23-30 KJV)

The Lord also gave Moses the detailed instructions for the showbread. It consisted of twelve loaves made of the finest flour. They were placed in two rows of six each on the table in the Holy Place. They were replaced every Sabbath.

"And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals 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 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." (Leviticus 24:5-9 KJV)

The Tabernacle was of course merely representative of what was coming, by means of, and through, the Messiah.

"For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil [see also Why Was It Torn?], the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which 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; And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing The Mercy Seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly."

"Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year [see The Day Of Atonement], not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The 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: Which 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; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation."

"But 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; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood [see Why Blood?] he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." (Hebrews 9:2-12 KJV)

Fact Finder: What did Jesus Christ do after His ascension to heaven? What is the Messiah doing right now?
See What Is Jesus Christ Doing Right Now?

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