The First Step in Sanctification. We are now fairly within the holy place - the sanctification room of the sanctuary. Before us are wonderful opportunities. With all the resources of Heaven at our command, let us improve every one. As in the court of the sanctuary the work of reconciliation and justification are illustrated at the brazen altar and the laver, so in the holy place, sanctification is symbolized at the golden table, the golden altar, and the golden candlestick. Sanctification is surely a "golden" experience. The table provides our first opportunity for Christian growth for character perfection - for sanctification. It is the real starting point of our growing up "unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Eph. 4:3.
The Golden Table. Ex. 25:23-30; 37:10-16. The table, located on the north side of the holy place, was made of shittim wood, overlaid with pure gold, thus illustrating humanity and Divinity united. The Work of God itself, inspired by God but written by man, shows this union. As already noted, gold, in whatever form it appeared in the earthly sanctuary, was a type of Christ, the Almighty. Job 22:25, margin. Idolatry counterfeits the true, so when Israel apostatized they made gods of "gold." In this they rejected the true God, the Pure Gold, and said, "These be thy gods, 0 Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." Ex, 32:4,8.
The Table was two cubits long, one cubit wide, and one and one-half cubits high - the same height as the grate in the brazen altar. May this not indicate that reconciliation and sanctification are equally important in Christian experience?
The Two Crowns of the Table. All around the table top was "a crown of gold," Ex. 37:11, called by Moffatt "a moulding." Besides this moulding, there was another; "Also he made thereunto a border of an handbreath (five or six inches) round about; and made a crown of gold for the border thereof round about." Ex. 37:10,12; 25:25. From this, some understand that this lower border, or moulding, enclosed a shelf located somewhere below the top of the table, such as is found in our modern service tables. This shelf provided a place for the dishes, "which were upon the table." Ex. 37:16. Thus the table was decorated with a double crown of gold - one around the top and another around the shelf which was below the top. Over against this border, in the four feet, were four rings of cast gold for the staves to bear the table. Ex. 37:13,14; 25:26,27.
The double border of crowns has a twofold significance. A crown worn by a sovereign indicates authority and power. The Word of God, symbolized by the bread on the table, has dynamic power. Received into the heart, it changes the life. It "is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit." Heb. 4:12 - It has authority. It brought the world into existence. "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth." Ps. 33:6. When God speaks, "let all the earth keep silence before Him." Hab. 2:20. It is His to speak; it is ours to obey.
These crowns also fittingly represent the reward that those will receive who "always" eat at the golden table. Anyone who has ever given earnest study to God's Word will agree that it does bring to the soul a double reward.
The Table Dishes of Gold. "And he made the vessels which were upon the table, his dishes, and his spoons, and his bowls, and his cover withal, of pure gold." Ex. 37:16. Moffatt's rendering reads: "The table dishes, the saucers, the flagons, and the chalices, for pouring the libations, were of pure gold." From this, it would seem that the table top was for the bread, and the shelf for the libation of
wine, both of which are essential to the table of the Lord - "the pure table before the Lord." Lev. 24:5,6.
Just how many dishes there were of each kind we are not told, and doubtless the number varied to meet changed conditions. However, when the princes brought their gifts, each of the twelve brought, among other gifts, one golden spoon weighing ten shekels - twelve spoons in all. Num. 7:86. The golden "covers to cover withal" were probably used to cover the bread during the week. According to Clark's Commentary and also Josephus, the golden saucers were used to hold the frankincense that was placed on each row of loaves, Lev. 24:7, and the spoons, being "full of incense," Num. 7:14,20,26,32,28,44,50,62,68,74,80, 86, were evidently for dipping the frankincense into the saucers from the supply provided by the Levites. I Chron. 9:29. The golden flagons, or pitchers, were for the wine, and the golden chalices or goblets, were the individual wine cups.
The Bread on the Table. 'Thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two- tenths deals shall be in one cake. And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the Lord." Lev. 24: 5-9. Each cake, or loaf, was made of "two-tenths deals," or two- tenths of an ephah of flour. Josephus states that two-tenths of an ephah was equal to 3 pints. Others give about 3 quarts. Another says, "These measures must only be accepted as approximately correct, because of the absence of sufficient data, the statement of most writers being doubtful." However, we may safely conclude that these twelve large cakes provided bountifully for the priests, Aaron and his four sons, Ex. 28:1, who represented the twelve tribes. It was eaten in "a holy place," Lev. 24:19, Moffatt; that is, "in the court" which was a holy place. Lev. 6:26. Nothing was ever eaten in the Holy Place; that is, in the first apartment of the sanctuary, but all eating was in the court. Our King James version of the Bible makes almost no distinction between the court and the first apartment of the sanctuary - both being translated the holy place, which is another term for the first apartment. Ex. 40:22,24,26. Moffatt's translation is less confusing. He speaks of the court as a holy place or a holy spot, "the sacred court," Num. 28:7; the first apartment as the Trysting tent; and the most holy place as the sacred place or the inner shrine.
The bread was broken and eaten with the wine by the priests throughout the week. Is not this a beautiful illustration of the truth that if at all our meals throughout the week, after expressing heartfelt thanks for the food, we eat and drink to the glory of God, eating and drinking only that which will nourish the body, and dedicating to God all the strength thus received, "the family board becomes as the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament"? DA 660.
Christ the Bread of Life. The bread symbolized Jesus, the Bread of Life. John 6:35. He is the Bread that came down from heaven, the word of God. John 6:32,33,38,63; 1:1. The bread and the wine that were on the table, suggests the Lord's communion table. And let it be noted that this immediately followed the ordinance of feet washing prefigured at the laver. After we are laved, as we partake of the bread and the wine of communion, do we not thus renew our covenant with Jesus to feed daily on the Bread of life and to drink daily from the Fountain of life? John 6:53-56. In these symbols, do we discern His broken body and His spilled blood, and are we willing to continue to partake of His sufferings, which they represent? Let us weigh this well, lest we partake unworthily." I Cor. 11:28,29. A spiritual understanding of the sanctuary will help us to discern the Lord's body.
Fine Flour Bread. Not only as a whole, but in each of its "four" ingredients, the bread symbolized Christ. The fine flour of which it was made, was flour ground fine, all unevenness and all coarse particles removed. This represented Christ, who was made perfect through suffering. If we are to be like Him, we too, must pass through the grinding process - we must be refined, all coarseness and roughness removed from our lives. "In Jesus there was no unevenness. He was always even, always the same. In Him one days walk never contradicted another, one hour's service never clashed with another. In Him every grace was in its perfectness, none in excess, none out of place, none wanting. In Him firmness never degenerated into obstinacy, or calmness into stoical indifference." Andrew Jukes, in The Law of the Offerings, P. 75.
Other Ingredients. The shewbread was a true meat offering, besides the fine flour, there was oil, salt, and water, but, like our communion bread, no leaven. 1,ev. 2:1,5,11,13. Oil symbolized Christ working through the Holy Spirit. âWe receive Christ through His Word; and the Holy Spirit is given to open the Word of God to our understanding, and bring home its truths to our hearts.â MB 164.
Salt is a preservative, a symbol of incorruption. A reverent study of the Word will preserve the Christian Bible student from corrupt doctrines as well as corrupt manners. Salt is sometimes put on icy walks to keep people from slipping and falling, and the Word of God in our hearts will keep us from falling on the slippery paths of life. Salt is not only a preservative, it is also a symbol of perpetuity. âthe Lord . . . gave the kingdom. . . to David forever . . . by a covenant of salt.â II Chron. 13:5. It is also a symbol of wisdom: "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Col. 4:6. It is a symbol of friendship and hospitality. Reference to this is made in Ezra 4:14, margin: "Because we are salted with the salt of the palace." And so the Christian is admonished, âHave salt in your selves, and have peace one with another." Mark 9:50. As we share our faith with others, we must do so with incorruption of mind and sincerity of heart. Our attitude must be one of friendship and hospitality, of peace and good will, and our speech " - with grace" - never unkind or critical. It is when we mingle these graces with our efforts to give the Word to others, that we shall become "the salt of the earth." Matt. 5:13.
God's Word Cleanses. The water used in the bread represents the cleansing power of the Word of God. âWherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word.â Ps. 119:9. Jesus gave Himself for the church, "that He might . . . cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word." Eph. 5:26. âNow ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.â John 15:3. Obedience to the Word of God cleanses and refines and ennobles our lives, and enables us to be true servants of God.
The Word Sanctifies. To sanctify is to make sacred and to set apart for a sacred use. Obedience to the Word of God, represented by the bread, sanctifies the soul. "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth." John 17:17. We are born again only of the incorruptible Word of God. I Peter 1: 22,23. It is by the Word that we become "partakers of the divine nature," II Peter 1:4. Its influence upon our lives destroys the carnal life, and imparts a new life - the life of Christ. The Word of God "is able to build up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified." Acts 20:32.
It is through the Word that we are made perfect. "All scripture . . . is profitable . . . for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect." II Tim. 3:16,17. "Let those who would be sanctified, search the Word of God, with patience, with prayer, and with humble contrition of soul." R & H.
Unless we eat, digest, and assimilate this bread of life, we can have no life in us, John 6:53, any more than we can live a physical life if we neglect physical food. We may drag along in a semi- starved condition for a time, but sooner or later life becomes extinct. This neglect is the first step toward going back to the beggarly elements of the world. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Hos. 4:6.
When Jesus said, "I am that Bread of life . . . if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world," the Jews and also the disciples murmured, and said, âHow can this Man give us His flesh to eat?â Jesus explained, saying, "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are life." John 6:48,51,52,63. The Word of God is the living bread, giving refinement, wisdom, cleansing, spiritual strength and endurance, and finally sanctification and eternal life.
Frankincense on the Bread. "And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord." Lev. 24:7. This
frankincense was the same as that burned daily on the golden altar. At the end of the week, it also was burned on the golden altar, "an offering made by fire unto the Lord." It represented the righteousness of Christ, which, mingled with sincere prayer is given to those who eat the Bread of life "continually." It taught the lesson that "never should the Bible be studied without prayer." When the Bible is studied without prayer, we are told that Satan stands ready to suggest error, or belittle the sacredness of the Word. The frankincense was on the bread "for a memorial," or as Moffatt has it, "a reminder to the Eternal" - a reminder that His righteousness is promised to all who give prayerful study to the Word.
The "Continual" Bread. Of the type, Christ said, the bread was "before Me alway." Ex. 25:30. The table was never without it, therefore it is called the "continual" bread. Num. 4:7. Chosen ones of the Kohathites, a division of the Levites, prepared it every Sabbath, I Chron. 9:32, and at the beginning of each Sabbath, the "newly baked" bread was brought to an incoming priest who "set it in order" on the table "before the Lord." Lev. 24:5-8; PP 348; S.B. Diet. Then the old bread was taken away, and eaten the following week by the outgoing priests "on behalf of the Israelites, to mark a lasting compact." Lev. 24:8, Moffatt. At the end of the week, whatever of the old bread remained, was burned on the brazen altar, "for it is most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire." Lev. 24:9. Does this not teach us that our study of the Bible should be constant, a daily partaking of the bread of life? Does it not teach us that during the week we are to eat and digest the holy bread continually?
This special Sabbath feast, together with daily and prayerfully partaking of the Living Bread, is the first essential to "growing up" into perfection of character. It is essential if we are to be kept from sin, - "Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee." Ps. 119:11. It is essential to sanctification - it is "most holy" unto the Lord. There is no substitute for earnest study of the Word; it is "fundamental;" it cannot be merely "supplemental," as Christ, the Word, was made flesh, John 1:1,14, so the Word of God in us must be made flesh. We must not only know the word, we must be the word.
Earnest Study Essential. Some Christians who have passed through a sincere court experience, know very little of the experience of growing up "unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Eph. 4:13. They remain "babes," or at least dwarfs, in the Christian life. Why is this? All have equal access to the divine Word, but many neglect or ignore their privileges. Although the banquet is spread before them, they allow the cares of life or the deceitfulness of riches to choke the Word. At times they read the Bible as a Christian duty, but their hearts are on the trivial concerns of everyday life. They hear the word as it is preached from the sacred desk, but it falls on stony ground or among thorns; it does not take root, and soon withers away, or the thorns grow up and choke it, and it yields no fruit. As Paul says, they are "dull of hearing." He further says, although "ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk and not of strong meat. For everyone that useth milk is unskilful in the Word . . . for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them . . . who by reason of use (of the Word) have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." Heb. 5:11-14. Should not this be a challenge to all who have entered the holy place? If the Spirit of God discovers to us spiritual malnutrition, the surest remedy is an earnest study of the Word of God, which is our spiritual food.
The Scriptures a Safeguard. If the Bible is truly to be our "safeguard" through times of trouble, we must dig deep into its rich mine of truth, comparing scripture with scripture. In these closing hours of probation, we need to study more earnestly than ever before. Satan knows that the Bible, studied with heart and mind and soul, will be our "safeguard" during the perils of these last days; therefore it is his "constant study to keep the minds of men occupied with those things which will prevent them from obtaining the knowledge of God." V Test 740; See also GC 593. But if we improve our opportunities to gain a knowledge of the Bible, God will not leave us to the buffetings
of the enemy. To those who hunger and thirst after righteousness the promise is that they shall be filled. Matt. 5:6. This promise, "set in the framework of faith" and "placed in memory's halls," will never fail. V Test 630. The channel of communication will be unobstructed. "Deep, earnest study of the Word under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, will give fresh manna, and the same Spirit will make its use effectual." VI Test 163, Then let us not depend on others to do our thinking for us, but let us sink the shaft deep into the treasures of His Word.
If our opportunities for education have been limited, how encouraging are these words: "The understanding of Bible truth depends not so much on the power of intellect brought to the search, as on the singleness of purpose, the earnest longing after righteousness." GC 599. "If he (the Christian) would have his powers and capabilities daily improved, he must study; he must eat and digest the Word . . . The soul that is nourished by the bread of life will have every faculty vitalized by the Spirit of God." VI Test 153. If in this spirit we daily feed upon the Word, Jesus will multiply it as He did the five loaves, so that not only shall we ourselves be filled, but through our efforts the multitudes also will eat and be filled. Mark 6:35-44; John 6:9-13.
Bread of His Presence. Shewbread literally means "bread of the face" or "bread of the presence." "The bread of the face," says Smith's Bible Dictionary, "is therefore that bread through which God is seen; that is, through the participation of which man attains the sight of God. Whence it follows that we have not to think of bread as such, as the means of nourishing the bodily life, but as spiritual food, as a means of appropriating and retaining that life which consists in seeing the face of God." "The shewbread pointed to Christ, the living Bread, who is ever in the presence of God for us." PP 354. Now, by faith we see His face through His Word, but when type reaches antitype, the promise is we shall see His face and His name shall be in our foreheads. Rev. 22:4.
The golden altar or prayer altar had four horns, representing the power of Christ available for all who have learned to pray; also a border of crowns indicating their reward. It was located just before the second veil, nearer to the mercy seat and the shekinah in the most holy place than any other article of furniture. Here, morning and evening, with the preayers of saints, the high priest offered the incense, symbolizing the righteousness of Christ, which makes prayer acceptable and effectual. Ex. 30:6-8. the golden censer was kept with this altar when not used on the day of atenement. EW 251-252.