Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Tabernacle Experience - The Table and the Bread

Make a table of acacia wood. . .Overlay it with pure gold and make a gold molding around it. . . and make its plates and dishes of pure gold, as well as its pitchers and bowls for the pouring out of offerings. Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before me at all times.
~Exodus 25:23-24, 29-30

Inside the Holy Place, just outside the Most Holy Place, was a table on which sat the items used for the pouring out of sacrifices. On this table also sat twelve loaves of bread. They were called the Bread of Presence because of their nearness to the Most Holy Place and therefore standing in the presence of God. These twelve loaves represented the twelve tribes of Israel and the union they shared with God.

One important thing to note is the Jewish culture in this time believed two lives were bound together by sharing a common meal. This is why the bread being set out before the Lord on the tables at all times represented the bond between Israel and God. In addition, bread is a symbol of life in the Jewish culture. The twelve loaves offered to God each Sabbath acknowledged their dependence on Him in their lives.

This understanding bring deeper meaning to Jesus' statement of "I am the bread of life" (John 6:35) It also brings deeper meaning to communion. In 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 Paul talks of communion being a participation in the body of Christ because we all partake of one loaf. We become on body. By taking communion with our fellow believers we are bound to our Lord and to one another into one body.

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