To his left, the Menorah glowed brightly, overcoming the darkness. Straight ahead, just before the Veil, incense smoldered on the Golden Altar, filling the air with a rich fragrance. To his right stood a small table of glistening gold.
God instructed Moses, “You are to construct a table of acacia wood, thirty-six inches long, eighteen inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high. Overlay it with pure gold and make a gold molding all around it. Make a three-inch frame all around it and make a gold molding for it all around its frame” (Exodus 25:23–25). The solid-gold molding and “three-inch frame” must have resembled a king’s crown.
On the tiny table were golden “plates and cups, as well as its pitchers and bowls for pouring drink offerings” (Exodus 25:29), along with “the Bread of the Presence” (Exodus 25:30). The bread, presumably unleavened, was baked of “fine flour”(Leviticus 24:5) and arranged “in two rows, six to a row” (Leviticus 24:6) and “set out before the Lord every Sabbath day”(Leviticus 24:8).
The bread, God declared, “belongs to Aaron and his sons, who are to eat it in a holy place” (Leviticus 24:9). As the priest tended the lamps of the Menorah and replenished the incense on the Golden Altar, he would turn his attention to the communion table and the “Bread of the Presence.” This table, with its twelve loaves representing the twelve tribes of Israel, pictured the fellowship and communion of God with His people. The priests’ eating of the bread demonstrated intimate fellowship between God and His chosen people.
Note: The “Bread of the Presence” (CSB, ESV, NIV, NASB), or the “showbread” (NKJV), or “shewbread” (KJV), is mentioned twelve times in the Old Testament (Exodus 25:30; 35:13; 39:36; 1 Samuel 21:6; 1 Kings 7:48; 1 Chronicles 9:32; 23:29; 28:16; 2 Chronicles 2:4; 4:19; 13:11; 29:18).
When Jesus walked the earth, he twice miraculously multiplied loaves and fish to feed a multitude. In the only miracle (other than Christ’s resurrection) which is recorded in all four Gospels, Jesus fed five thousand men and their families (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-14). On a separate occasion, Jesus fed four thousand men and their families (Matthew 15:32-39; Mark 8:1-9). “Jesus took the loaves, and after giving thanks he distributed them to those who were seated” (John 6:11). Later, Jesus explained to His disciples: “I am the bread of life … No one who comes to me will ever be hungry” (John 6:35).
On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples. During the ceremonial meal, Jesus blessed the bread, broke it and declared, “ ‘This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:24–26). The Golden Table with the “Bread of the Presence” foreshadowed the unlimited grace and always-sufficient substitutionary sacrifice and ministry of Jesus.
The Communion Table is prepared. The King is ready for His guests. The “Bread of Life” is available. Come and dine!