TYPES OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2001 James Melough
TABLE OF SHEWBREAD
third article of furniture in the sanctuary (the outer room of the tabernacle) was
the golden table, upon which the twelve loaves of shewbread rested, and most students
of Biblical typology agree that it represents, not only Christ as the Bread of life,
but also as the Lord’s table around which believers meet on the first day of the
week to remember His death, and present their corporate worship.
From the details of its
construction given in Ex 25:23-30 we learn that it was relatively small, about
thirty-six inches long, eighteen inches broad, and twenty-seven inches high.
In its composition, acacia
wood overlaid with pure gold, we are being shown the dual nature of Christ, for wood
is the symbol of humanity, as gold is of Divine glory.
In Him we have combined two perfect natures, one human, the other Divine.
He is perfect Man, but also perfect God.
Its composition reminds us
also of His sufferings and death. As the
tree was cut down, and sawn into boards, so was He “cut down” in death, in order
that He might become the “Table” that furnishes the believer’s spiritual
“Bread.” As the gold was subjected
to the fire, and to the smith’s hammer, so was Christ subjected to the fire of
Divine wrath against sin, and to the “hammer” of man’s wrath against holiness.
As the table, ornamented
with a double crown, sat there in the presence of God, so does the Lord sit today,
crowned with glory and honor, at the Father’s right hand.
twelve loaves, or cakes, (one for each tribe), were viewed by God as one bread,
called the shewbread. Each Sabbath those
loaves, after being replaced with fresh ones, were eaten in the holy place, by the
priests. That table therefore
symbolically furnished bread for God, and also for man; but inasmuch as eating speaks
of satisfaction, the truth being declared is that God and man find their satisfaction
in the Christ represented by the bread on the golden table.
It should not be forgotten, however, that the men who ate that bread were the
priests, the sons of Aaron. Only
believers (spiritual priests, 1 Pe 2:5,9), the sons of the great High Priest, find
satisfaction in Christ.
The number of the loaves
which constituted the shewbread has also its lesson.
Since twelve is the number of Divine government on display, God would remind
us that the only One Who has ever yielded a perfect obedience to that government is
the Lord Jesus Christ. And since
glorification is the reward of obedience, we see the Lord’s glorification displayed
in the fact that that bread sat upon a table of gold (emblem of Divine glory).
As He glorified the Father in an obedient life, so has the Father now, in
resurrection, glorified the Son. The
shewbread reminds us that the Lord’s resurrection glory is the reward of an
obedience that extended even unto death, for as that bread was the result of the
cutting down of the wheat, the grinding, the action of the fire, so is the
resurrection glory of the true Bread the result of His having been cut down, of His
sufferings as man’s Substitute.
That table is also an
appropriate emblem of the communion enjoyed by the Father and the redeemed, through
the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Surely only blind eyes will fail to see
in that golden table a picture of the Lord’s table around which the redeemed gather
on the first day of each week. As the
sons of Aaron set the bread before God upon the table each sabbath, so do the
spiritual sons of the great high Priest, through the presentation of their corporate
worship, set the Bread (Christ) before the Father on the first day of each week.
And as they ate the bread, in the holy place (God’s house), so do believers
eat the communion bread, in the holy place, the “house” comprised of believers
met together as a corporate body, “whose house are we,” Heb 3:6.
“The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?”
1 Cor 10:16.