An Amazing Image

Hebrews 8:3-5

We are blessed with a marvelous and loving God. Yes, God’s Word has so much to teach that once we peek into it all sorts of doors begin to spring open.  The more we consider the mystery of God’s Love and Melchizedek, the deeper the waters and the more intriguing the journey becomes –  especially concerning the relationships between Israel and the Church.

After the Israelites escaped their bondage in Egypt, God gave them precise instructions on how they were to arrange their encampment in the wilderness. If we were to approach from the east, looking down upon the camp  we would see what appears to be  a huge cross sprawled out in the desert. In the center, we see the camp of the Levites encircling the Tabernacle.  On the East are Judah, Issachar, Zebulun numbering 186,400 souls, displaying their standard – a Lion. To the west is Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin numbering 108,100 souls, displaying their standard – an Ox.  On the North is Dan, Naphtali, Asher numbering 157,600 souls, displaying their standard – an Eagle. And to the south is Ruben, Simon, Gad numbering 151,450 souls with their standard – a Man.  The spaces between are occupied by cattle and crops.

In His presence, God is the shadow caster.  He, Himself, has no shadow as in all the heavens and earth there is nothing and no one more glorious or brighter than the Creator of all that is.

The Levitical priesthood and the earthly Tabernacle are SHADOWS cast by the glory of the true substance in the Heavenly, scriptural shadows being physical representations of Spiritual realities.

The camp of Israel and the earthly Tabernacle are tangible representations of things we are shown in Revelation (particularly in 5, 6 and 8). In heaven and on earth we see the four standards about the Throne of God – the Lion, Ox, Eagle, and Man represented as the groupings of Israel on earth. In heaven stand the four Living Creatures in the presence of God.  Similarly, the Levitical priesthood surrounds the earthly throne (the Mercy seat) as the twenty-four Elders, both priests and kings (Revelation 5:10), encompass the heavenly Throne. There is a bronze sea on earth (cleansing/judgment) and a glass or crystal sea before the heavenly Throne (cleansed/purity). On earth, the seven burning lamps and in heaven the seven Spirits of God. There is also an altar and —-offered incense both on earth and before God’s Throne in heaven. On earth, the Levitical priests continually make sacrifices. In heaven stands the ultimate Sacrifice, our High priest and eternal Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Revelation 5:6). On earth, the table of showbread** representing Christ’s body, and God’s provisions for His people, who are ALWAYS before Him. In heaven, the showbread is replaced by Christ Himself, the true Bread of life.

As we have seen, one priesthood does not replace the other. The Levitical priesthood is the shadow; the Melchizedekian priesthood is the substance. God declares in Jeremiah 33:17-22 that David’s throne would always be occupied and that the Levites will always minister before Him – both presently in abeyance. In the Kingdom age the Levites (descendants through Phinehas and Zadok) will tend to the Temple duties on Earth while our High Priest, after the order of the Melchizedekian priesthood, tends to His heavenly duties.

“For if he (Christ) were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law (nomos)” Hebrews 8:4 (KJV)

Hebrews 7:12 is not saying,For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” That is a misunderstanding (poor interpretation) as not “one jot or tittle” of God’s Law changes. What the verse is merely saying is that there must be a different “nomos” that establishes the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ than the one that creates the High Priesthood of Aaron. This can be true because, as already shown, they operate concurrently but in different domains – one being a shadow of the other – one on earth and the one in heaven.

We might ask, what is the purpose of the Levitical priesthood in the Millennial age? It is to continue offering sacrifices (Ezekiel 45) as a continual memorial and reminder to those on earth, who have not yet attained their “resurrection” bodies, of sin’s awful cost and the incomprehensible Love of God expressed through Jesus Christ. Praise God, for the work of Jesus is eternally complete. God’s purpose for the Church on earth is to transform each member of His body into an image of His Son. So then, in a sense we are “shadows” of Christ.  And, miraculously, we too are children of God and greatly beloved!

Melchizedek introduces us to the “wine” and the “bread” to Abraham, in Genesis 14. Both are symbols of Christ Jesus, our High Priest and the “Bread of life.” The “Table of Showbread” in the earthly tabernacle, Exodus 25, also contained utensils and vessels, presumably for the wine. On the first of each month at CBC pastor sets a table before the congregation of believers who continue to faithfully obey Christ’s priestly instructions recorded in the Gospel’s.  Paul in 1Corinthians 11:25-26 recalls,After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, ‘This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” Thus, the Bread and the Wine are carried down to us across the ages – from Melchizedek to Abraham, through Aaron, Christ and the Church.

Jesus is (unquestionably) BETTER!


**Table of Showbread:

In commenting upon the significance of the table of shewbread it seems that, among such questions as have to do with the identity of the “shewbread” and the purpose it served, we must also include and consider its proper setting, i.e., where it was found.

And the consideration of these questions, one might suppose, should simplify such a subject. However, when we notice the table of shewbread was found in the tabernacle, we immediately have sufficient warning and are thus cautioned to proceed carefully. Why? Because the tabernacle speaks “typical” and “figurative” language [Shadow]. Therefore, there is always the danger of “loose” treatment; the danger of “spiritualizing” (making or investing with a spiritual meaning) far beyond biblical and reasonable bounds, so that a portion of scripture actually becomes absurd because of such interpretation.

It constituted one of the pieces of furniture that was found therein.

“And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” Exodus 25:8-9

The tabernacle, itself, with all its furnishings, grows out of that great truth God continued to declare unto His people, namely, “I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God.” (Ex. 6:7) The result of this great truth is that God takes His dwelling place among His people, and enters into fellowship and communion, with them. It is for this purpose, then, that God says:

“And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” Exodus 25:8-9

. . . Yet, we may well ask: “Why should the God of Truth, the Holy and Righteous God desire to dwell in the midst of a people who, by nature, are the very opposite of what He is?” The answer to this question, of course, not only speaks to us of the depth of God’s love for those upon whom He sets His affection, but we see also the purpose of the tabernacle namely, to reveal His grace. For, as the plan of redemption is unfolded, God comes out from where He dwelt in the most holy place and opens the way whereby His people may come into His presence, as they entered the tabernacle where He promised to meet with them, through the appointed ministries which, in their symbolical and typical meaning, spoke to God’s people of their redemption and of the Lord their God, Jehovah, and the nearness of His presence.

. . . In Scripture we are shown that the table does have spiritual significance as, for instance, in Luke 22:29-30  where we read:

“I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom.”

And again, in I Corinthians 10:21-22. However, in these instances there is the vital connection of that which is set upon the table and performed at the table with that which sets the figure of the table before us as representing the fellowship and communion of the people of God with God, in Jesus Christ.

Once the instructions for constructing the table are given, then follows the word of God to Moses: “And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me always.” (Ex. 25:30).

With this “shewbread,” we read, there were also certain golden vessels which were set upon the table. And since it is not likely that these remained empty, while we have no definite information, we may nevertheless assume that, in addition to being used for holding the frankincense and for carrying the loaves to and from the table each sabbath day, they were also used to contain either the oil or the wine which must have formed part of this offering of “shewbread.” For the table of shewbread, like the other offerings and sacrifices, served the entire purpose of the tabernacle itself; in other words, to unfold and emphasize some particular and comforting truth of God’s plan of redemption, as symbolized in Christ and His people whom God had given Him.

Now the bread was called “shewbread” because: it was always to have a place before the Lord. It was dedicated and offered to Him and it pointed to His presence as the name indicates, and was presented to Him in accordance with the Word spoken in Exodus 25:30—”shewbread before me always.” Literally, we read not “shewbread” but “bread of faces,” faces being put by a figure for “presence” and, as was observed, pointing to the presence of Jehovah in which the bread stood.

Typically, of course, this bread represented Christ who is the bread of life as He, Himself, declared.

“. . . my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.” John 6:32 “And Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of Life.” John 6:35

It is Jesus, therefore, who is the truth of this type [shadow], the “shewbread”; signified by “fine flour” and elsewhere as “the finest of wheat” (Ps. 81:16); “the corn of heaven.” (Ps. 78:24)

However, Christ is not alone. Unto Him was given a people, the Church. Hence, wherever Christ is, them His people are also. So it is here, as this bread not only stands for Christ, but for His body, as well, the church.


. . . Here, then, in these loaves which stood before the presence of God, we have, in type [shadow], the Lord Jesus Christ identifying Himself with His Covenant people. For the numeral “twelve” indicates the Church of God—the “Israel of God”‘ (Gal. 6:16); “redeemed . . . out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (Rev. 5:9) And this truth is further emphasized as we note that these twelve loaves are one bread. The twelve loaves signify the “shewbread” and thus, in type, bear out the truth of Scripture as we read “For we being many are one bread, and one body I Corinthians 10:17.

. . . For this is exactly the truth embodied in the “shewbread” which is typical of Christ and His people, and which is further borne out by what we read concerning the changing of these loaves from sabbath to sabbath. The instructions of the Lord were to place the “shewbread” upon the table on the sabbath day. (Lev. 24:8) The loaves were to remain there throughout the week and, upon the arrival of the following sabbath, they were to be removed from the table and the same number of new loaves were to be put in their place. There was to be no interval that elapsed. Just as soon as the priests removed the old loaves, new loaves were placed upon the table.

Thus, the table, you see, was never empty. Therefore, typically, Christ and His people always stood before the presence of Jehovah. They were before the Lord continually—in every generation and throughout all the ages.


That’s the significance of these “loaves” being changed from sabbath to sabbath. God always has His people before Him. They stand in His presence continually and 

“The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” II Chronicles 16:9

For this reason, too, we read this “shewbread” is also referred to as “the continual bread.” (Num. 4:7) Never, in all history and neither throughout all eternity has God—is God, nor will God be without His people. And the very gracious and merciful regard He has for His people is exemplified in this typical bread; the “shewbread” which is before Him, continually.


Only on the background of such truth, then, can we understand the comforting words which God speaks through His servants.

. . . God speaks to His Church the same truth He sets forth in the “table of shewbread.” We are accepted in the beloved. (Eph. 1:6). We have a sure and a continuing place before God’s presence. For the “shewbread,” typically, represents the people of God in Jesus Christ, as upheld in His presence, “by the one now crowned with glory and honor.”

The Church stands secure. She is safe; safe, now—even as she has always been. This, too, is a comforting truth of the table of shewbread. For notice, the bread was set on the table. And the spiritual significance of the table, we observed, is that communion and fellowship of God’s people with Him, in Jesus Christ.

Thus the table takes on a meaning because of Christ. But notice, again, that table is never empty. In other words, as long as there is bread upon it, Christ is there. And as long as Christ is there—before God’s face, His people are with Him.

Hence, we see the comfort of this truth. God has put His people in Christ; in the hands of Him who is able to keep them from falling, and out of whose hands, no man can ever pluck them. For, He is the beloved Son in whom God is well pleased—who has merited, by His suffering and His death and resurrection, the everlasting right for His people to dwell in the presence of God.

And because this fruit of the cross is the expression of the eternal counsel and good pleasure of God respecting His people, “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel.” Num. 23:21)

Furthermore, He determined to make known unto His people His lovingkindness and everlasting mercy as He made His dwelling place in their midst, and called them in Jesus Christ, of whom this “shewbread” was a type [shadoe], that they might come and continually stand before His presence and be unto Him “for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory.”

E. Emanuel     –     URL:


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