A Brief Study of the Tabernacle

By Ellsworth A. Archer

Chapter 8


Ex. 25:23-29

     The table of shewbread, the second piece of furniture in the tabernacle which we will consider, was located in the Holy Place at the right side of the entrance, just opposite the golden candlestick.

     The Table of Shewbread was a small table made of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, a golden rim around the top, gold rings at the corners of its four feet, staves for the rings, and a border joining the legs, holding them together.

     It was 2 cubits long, 1 cubit broad and 1 1/2 cubits high. Twelve loaves, or cakes, of unleavened bread, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, were placed on it in two piles. These were renewed each week, and the loaves which were removed were eaten by the priests in the Holy Place. (Lev. 24:9.) Upon the table there were also plates for the bread, spoons for the incense, and flagons and bowls for the drink offering. All these were made of pure gold. (Lev. 24:5-9.)

     When we think of bread we naturally think of it as a food which gives strength. As water represented cleansing and the light illumination, so the bread represents the satisfying of the soups deeper need by Christ as revealed in His word. It is the strength-giving substance. As physical bread is the staff of life, so the Bread of Heaven is the staff of our Christian life. "Give us this day our daily bread."

     This shewbread also represented the fact that Jehovah was the source of all material blessings. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above." (James 1:17a.)

     The renewing of the loaves each Sabbath was an acknowledgment of man's continual dependence on God.

     As the bread was always on the table in the Holy Place, ready for use, so there is always ready fur us sufficient bread that we may be satisfied spiritually. We may help ourselves at any time and find a satisfying portion. Jesus said:

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