The Purpose of Showbread

The Purpose of Showbread
The “face of His presence”

Exodus 25:30 (Parsha Terumah)
And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always.

The Torah sets forth in detail the construction of the table the showbread is placed upon in the holy place of the tabernacle. However, we are told little about its purpose, preparation or maintenance. It would seem Yahweh gave us up until 70AD to start thinking outside the “box” of the stone and mortar Temple. I had some metaphorical thoughts on the subject. Let me share them with you.

For whose benefit is the showbread? The best translation I could find says the bread is the “face of His presence.” I do not think then that it is an “offering” for Yahweh, He knows who He is and needs no reminder. It must be for the benefit of His children with whom he chose to dwell in their midst in the tabernacle. It is necessary to see the tabernacle in terms of our relationship with Yeshua−we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (ICor 6:19) Yahweh come in the flesh is the bread of life. Even though He resided above the Mercy Seat inside the Most Holy place−He wanted it understood He is ever present outside the Most Holy place−in effect saying He is our Daily Bread. We, as priests, through faith in the work of Yeshua (Rev 1:5-6), are to maintain His presence−His face before us always.

He provides all the tools (pans, pitchers, dishes Ex 25:29) needed to prepare and keep His presence before us−it is our duty to provide the fresh ingredients for the preparation. It’s like an offering of ourselves to maintain His presence as vital, fresh and visible. It is in effect the exercise of our will that keeps His face before us.

Some commentaries suggest the bread was made of corn. I’m inclined to think, metaphorically, we’re to prepare it from the best grain that’s in season−from the best we have available to us.

How often is the bread made? The Torah doesn’t say. The rabbinical rules said weekly. My thinking is we look at our heart and whenever a fresh reminder of His presence is needed we make a new, fresh loaf. In some situations of stress or temptation it may be many times a day. How fresh we keep his “face” before us is our decision. But His presence is ALWAYS to be visible, vibrant and verifiable.

Kennedy Brown
February 9, 2016

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