Exodus Message #47 Ed Miller Nov. 24, 2021 The Holy Place – Table of Shewbread

Listen to audio above while reading transcript below (also available for download in Word at www.biblestudyministriesinc.com)

“As we get ready to look into God’s word, I remind my heart and yours of that principle of Bible Study that’s absolutely indispensable, and that’s total reliance on God’s Holy Spirit.  I want to share a verse from Colossians 1:5&6, and I’ve selected certain words in the verse and dropped out a few things, not essential things, but to just keep the connection. “The gospel which has come to you is constantly bearing fruit and increasing since the day you understood the grace of God in truth.”  Isn’t that a wonderful expression? Understanding the grace of God in truth, and that’s called gospel, good news.  So, as we get ready to look in the word let’s ask the Lord to open our hearts and eyes, that we would understand in a fresh way the grace of God in truth.

Father, we commit our session unto You, so thankful that You allow us to gather at this time and freedom in this place, and we ask you, Lord, to use Your indwelling Holy Spirit and put the spotlight squarely on our Lord Jesus. Lord, we want to see Him.  We thank you for every part of the Bible and in a special way these days, for the wonderful book of Exodus.  We commit our session unto You in the matchless name of Jesus.  Amen.

Welcome again to another opportunity to meditate on the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We’re studying the revelation of the Lord as He manifested Himself in the book of Exodus.  We’re coming pretty near to the end of that feast.  We can’t review everything.  We’ve seen too much to review everything.  Actually, this is lesson #47.  If you’ve come in the middle, don’t think you’re going to be lost, because every lesson is a presentation of Christ, and every lesson stands on its own two feet, so you can come in at any time and leave at any time and still behold the Lord.

I’ll quickly remind of where we are in our meditation and where we left off.  We’re looking at the final one third of the entire book of Exodus.  What’s the content of a third of the book?  The answer is it’s the tabernacle.  The tabernacle takes a whole third of the book of Exodus.  God puts that at the end of Exodus because it’s a summary of the message of Exodus.  The message of Exodus is redemption by power and by blood.  That’s the message, and the tabernacle summarizes that.  It’s not only the summary of Exodus, it’s the summary of redemption in the entire Bible, and the final outworking in our heart is worship, praise to the Lord.  That’s where we are.

So, since the tabernacle is God’s object lesson of full redemption, every time we look at the details, we’re looking at the Redeemer because all truths of redemption are in Him.  We can only begin, therefore, to study the tabernacle because there’s too much in it.  We see the big things.  We can see the courts, we can see the veils, we can see the furniture, we can see the priests, we can see some of the ceremonies that took place, their garments, their food and so on, but we’ll spend the remainder of our days on this earth being able to comprehend all that is included in what we call redemption.  It’s all pictured here in the tabernacle: the gold, the silver, the brass, the royal colors, what’s overlaid in gold, the materials that were used, the rings, the bars, the ceremonies, the garments, the coverings, the veils, the spices, the oil, the minute directions, all of that is redemption.  You’re not going to find in your Bible, Old or New Testament, one truth of redemption that is not somewhere displayed and manifested in the tabernacle.  It’s God’s complete picture in the Old Testament, seed form, of a full redemption.  Since redemption is a Person, it’s the full picture in seed form of our Redeemer.

The main thing about the tabernacle is as clear as crystal.  Exodus 25:8, “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.”  It was God’s will to live, to dwell, to move around, to travel, to have an address on the earth, and you are the tabernacle.  You’re His address.  He lives in you.  He lives in me.  He has always desired to live in a tabernacle made out of skin.  We are that tabernacle.  And in that tabernacle made out of skin He would fill it with His glory.  He would establish His throne.  He would come to rest, and He would manifest Himself as a testimony to the world through that indwelling.  That was His plan, and that’s pictured in the tabernacle, and later it’s pictured in the temple, and after that it’s pictured in the church, and it’s all the same thing.

In our cursory glance at this thrilling picture, we first remember the flyover, and that is that we looked at everything in a general way, and we focused on the Person of Christ and saw two things.  We saw that God is holy.  You can’t study the tabernacle and not see that God is holy.  We see that God is holy, and we also see that God is love.  After our flyover we landed the plane, and we began what we call a walk-through.  We deliberately went through the same tabernacle, but at a slower pace, and to look more focused on the individual pieces of furniture.  In our walk-through we met an imaginary priest who offered to be our guide as we walked through.  We took Lillian’s suggestion and named that priest Ezekiel.  We name him Ezekiel because the prophet Ezekiel was a heart priest, and as Ezekiel leads us through our walk-through, he is explaining to us the deeper things, the spiritual side of what we see with these eyes.  We have to see the facts, but we want to see a little deeper than that.

So far, Ezekiel has taken us through the outer court, and there he explained, with the altar of sacrifice, the brazen altar, the altar of cleansing, the outer court answers everything connected with the sin question.  Then our heart priest took us into the Holy Place, and we saw the great contrast.  The outer court was for everybody, and this was just for the priests.  The outer court had natural light.  In the Holy Place there’s no room for natural light.  The outer court was all brass, judgement.  The inner court is mostly gold.  There’s a difference between the outer and the inner.  When you are out there you had to hold your nose because it was a foul smell, dead animals and blood, and choking smoke, but as soon as you passed through the veil into the Holy Place, the first room in the sanctuary, the smell was different.  Now it’s filled with incense, a sweet-smelling sacrifice. 

In the outer court the furniture dealt with the sin question.  The furniture in the Holy Place has to do with fellowship with God.  The sin question is over.  It’s been answered.  And Ezekiel explained all of that to us.  When we left off Ezekiel was taking us through the Holy Place, and we were stopping at each piece of furniture.  We’re in the Holy Place, the first enclosed room in the sanctuary, and there are three pieces of furniture: the candlestick, the table of shewbread, and the golden altar of incense.  Last session, Ezekiel stopped at the candlestick and explained that the candlestick not only pictured light, but also pictured life, and was in the form of a tree.  It had a stem and had branches and had buds and had blossoms and had fruit.  It pictured life and light, light expelling darkness with a seven-pronged perfection, and light illumining.  You wouldn’t even know there was a table if you didn’t have the lampstand.  It would be pitch dark in that room.  You wouldn’t know there was an altar of incense without the lampstand.  It would be pitch dark in that room. 

That’s where we left off and Ezekiel invited us to cross the room to the table of shewbread.  Ezekiel is our priest-guide as we go through this thing, and he’s attempting to explain things to us.  If you disagree or have a quarrel, see Ezekiel.  You can’t blame me for this, your quarrel is with him.

As we walk across the room, we stand in front of this table with all of its furnishings, and Ezekiel asked us to remember when we were at the candlestick, in a general way we looked across the room, standing at the candlestick, just to get a vague look at that table.  Remember what we saw, Exodus 25:29, “You shall make its dishes, its pans, its jar, its bowls with which to pour drink offerings, you shall make them of pure gold.”  Another word for pans is spoons.  We learned from Leviticus that all of that was on the table.  It wasn’t on the ground, it wasn’t at the base, it was on the table.  Then we also saw, Leviticus 24:5&6, “You shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it, two tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake.  You shall set them in two rows, six to a row on the pure gold table before the Lord.  You shall put pure frankincense on each row, that it might be a memorial portion for the bread, even an offering by fire to the Lord.” 

So, we looked at the table from a distance when we were at the candlestick, and Ezekiel said, “What impression do you get?” And we said, “Well, with a table so eloquently set with bowls and cups and flasks and spoons, and in the light of the candlestick, and with bread lying out on the table, what it looks like is that we’re going to have company.  You set a table like that; it looks like somebody is coming.  You’re going to have a feast,” like tomorrow when we all gather to have families at Thanksgiving. So, we say, “It looks like a great fellowship, a family meal.”  He said, “Yes, but now I want to take you a little closer and show you what constitutes that great fellowship, that great union.” 

So, we come closer, and Ezekiel asks us, “What do you see first with these eyes which you didn’t see from a distance?” And so, he said, “If you are going to understand the table, we’re going to have to first see it from the standpoint of man, and then we have to see it from the standpoint of God.  You’re going to miss the table if you don’t get both of those.  So, our first observation, we didn’t realize there was so much gold.  When we looked at a distance it was glowing, but now we come, Exodus 25:24&25, “You shall overlay it with pure gold, and make a gold border around it.  You shall make for it a rib of a hand breadth around it.  You shall make a gold border for the rim around it.”  Verse 26, “You shall make four gold rings for it, and put rings on the four corners on its four feet.  The rings shall be close to the rim as holders for the poles to carry the table.”  Exodus 25:28, “You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, so that with them the table may be carried.”  Verse 29, “You shall make its dishes, its pans, its jars, its bowls with which to pour drink offering, you shall make them of pure gold.”  Gold, gold, gold, everything is gold. 

Ezekiel asks, “Good observation.  Anything else you see?” And we say, “Well, from a distance we saw twelve loaves.  Now we see there is six in a row, six and six.  What is the white powder on top of the bread?  We didn’t see that from a distance.”  He said, “Alright, let me just talk about the gold first.  Everything is gold or gold covered.  There’s a golden border, or crown around the table, and its serves the same purpose that the crown around the ark of the covenant served.  Exodus 25:11, “You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it.  You shall make a gold molding around it.”  “Since the mercy seat was the exact size of the ark, there would have been a tendency when that thing was in transport, that the lid would slide off the top of the ark.  So, they made a border to hold to lid in place.  That border, that rim was to hold everything in place.  Just so, there’s a rim around the table.  There’s a lot of stuff on the table.  We don’t want anything to fall off.” 

And then Ezekiel said, “Especially the bread must be secured, that it will never fall off the golden table.”  If you think a little, there’s a lot more included in that.  Everything is glorious on this table, every detail is golden, every detail is glorious on this table.  Actually, the rim that was around it, in the book of Micah 7, that same word is called a fortress.  You aren’t going to put a border around it.  You are going to put a fortress around it.  You are not going to fall off the table, brothers and sisters in Christ.  This is all pictured in this wonderful table, and everything is perfectly suited for its place in the tabernacle.  They’re just looking at the table.  Don’t forget, you’re the tabernacle, and the table is in you, just like the other piece of furniture are in you.  So, when you begin to see some of the spiritual reality, remember that’s what God has planted in your heart and in my heart.  Part of that is the great security.

“I’m glad you mentioned the white on the bread.”  Leviticus 24:6, “You shall set them in two rows, six to a row, on the pure gold table before the Lord.  You shall put pure frankincense on each row, that it may be a memorial portion for the bread, even an offering by fire.”  “What you see is frankincense.  The word just means pure, white.  It can be ground into a powder, and it has a sweet aroma to it.”  What Ezekiel is about to explain is that everything on the table, the bread, the frankincense, the gold inside, everything from man’s point of view is an offering, and the frankincense says that it’s not just an offering, it’s a sweet-smelling offering.  From the frankincense to all the details, everything we see will illustrate that this is an offering.  Ezekiel explained, “You’re not going to understand the table if you don’t see it as an offering.  In Leviticus 24:9, it’s called an offering by fire.  You’re going to notice on the table that there’s a golden bowl to pour out drink offerings.”  Leviticus 25:29, “You shall make its dishes, pans, jars, bowls for which to pour out drink offering.”  You picture on a table a bowl, it’s more like a flask.  It contains wine.  This table, and we’ll look at it next week, contains bread and wine.  Did you ever hear of a table that would contain bread and wine?  We’ll get into that a little bit next week.

Everything about this table from the human side pictures an offering.  It’s an offering by fire.  So, I asked Ezekiel, “If it’s an offering by fire, I’m standing at the table; what’s burned?  You’ve got to burn something, if it’s an offering by fire.”  He called our attention to the golden pans.  KJV calls them spoons.  We learn from the book of Numbers that there were twelve of them on the table, twelve spoons.  What is in those spoons?  Numbers 17;14, “One gold pan,” or spoon, “of ten shekels full of incense.”  Ten shekels when you’re talking about content is about four ounces, if you believe my commentators, and Ezekiel.  The spoons held the incense.  That’s what was in the spoons.  The actual Hebrew word is for the hollow of a hand.  That’s how much, in the hollow of a hand.  When they went to sprinkle it they would take the spoon and pour it into the hand and then they would sprinkle it on the altar.  It’s a offering of fire because incense that was kept on the table was going to be burned on the altar of incense.

Ezekiel must have seen that at least one person on the walk-through, Ed Miller, was confused, and so he said, “Let me back off and give you a big picture, and then we’ll come back to the table.  Remember when we talked about the brazen altar of sacrifice, and that has one message; God accepts a perfect substitute in place of a guilty sinner.  That’s the message of the altar.  But then there were five offerings.  I’m just going to break that down.  It’s only one message; God accepts a substitute.  But let’s look at the burnt offering and the grain offering and the peace offering and the sin and the trespass offering.  We’re looking at five parts of the one truth.  Just so, the furniture that you see… We look at the candlestick; that’s not by itself alone.  We look at the table; that’s not by itself alone.  There’s one message of the table, we didn’t get to it yet, but there’s one message, and we’re going to see what that message is, but they’re all connected.” 

He said, “Let me give an illustration.  You can’t even get into this room unless you go through the brazen altar and the laver.  Once you’re in the room, you can’t see anything; you need the lampstand.  So, you use the lampstand.  You have to burn incense, and now you’ve got to go to the table because that’s where the incense is.  You might say that you’re going to bring it to the altar of incense, but not yet.  You’ve got to go out to the altar of sacrifice to get the fire.  You can’t burn it without fire.”  Leviticus 16:12, “He shall take a fire pan full of coals of fire from upon the altar before the Lord, two handfuls, finally ground sweet incense.  Bring it inside the veil, and he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord.”  “And when you go out to get the coal to burn the incense, you’ve got to go through the laver again, because you can’t get in unless you go through there.  These pieces of furniture are one and are all connected.  Priests are running back and forth to each piece of furniture to accomplish one particular offering to the Lord.  Just so, this table is called an offering by fire to the Lord.” 

Exodus 25:29, “You shall make its dishes, it’s pans, its jars, its bowls with which to pour drink offerings.”  “Every item on this table had a different aspect, and now you’ve come to the jars and the pouring out.  What is the pouring out?  It’s an offering.  And so the flasks, the jars that held the wine, and called libations, or drink offerings, was in close connection to many of the offerings that the Jews had in their worship.”  So, I asked, “The drink offering, where is it poured out?  I can see the wine; I can see the flask.”  He said, “Well, sometimes you had to go out to the burnt altar, the altar of sacrifice, and it had to be poured out there.”  Then he said, “Look down at the floor.”  So, we looked down and we said, “There is no floor.  The tabernacle doesn’t have a floor.  It’s just the ground, just the desert floor.  It’s dirt, the floor of the tabernacle.”  Numbers 28:7, “In the Holy Place you shall pour out the drink offering to the Lord.”  This is not outside in the outer court.  “In the Holy Place, in other words,” Ezekiel said, “they would take that wine and pour it out right in front of the table on the ground, and the desert floor would drink up that drink offering. From start to finish, the frankincense, sweet smell is an offering to the Lord.”  Leviticus 24:7, “It’s an offering by fire.  The incense is burned before the Lord.”  “Incense from the table was set on fire at that altar of incense, and then the pouring out is an offering.  It’s a pouring out.  It’s all a big picture.”

I asked Ezekiel, “If it’s an offering, and I can see with the frankincense that it’s an offering, and I can see with the pouring out of the wine it’s an offering, what was offered?  Was it a lamb?  Was it a bull?  Was it a bird?  Was it a goat?  Was it gold?  Was it silver?  Was it some material to help build this tabernacle?  Was it crops?  If it’s an offering, what’s offered?”  Ezekiel called attention to two rows, six in a row, of the bread that was on the table.  Each loaf represented a tribe, in other words, all the people of God.  This is the great ceremony of the offering of the people.  They are offering themselves.  They are offering the bread.  Everything is an offering, and they’re offering themselves, and it’s a sweet smell.  It’s, ‘Take me, Lord.’  It’s rooted in the blood of Christ, because they had to go to the outer court and get from the altar and put it on the altar of incense.  It’s a sweet smell on the golden altar of incense.  It’s poured out.  The table would say, ‘We’re yours, Lord, the whole loaf, and not a slice here and there, but the whole loaf.  We give ourselves to you.  We’re pouring ourselves out before you as a drink offering, not to be consumed by ourselves.  This is for You.’”

“This is very much like David did when his mighty men brought him water.  Remember that he sighed, ‘Oh, that I would have water from the well of Bethlehem.’”  2 Samuel 23:16, “So, the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, and drew water from the well of Bethlehem, which was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David.  Nevertheless, he would not drink it.  He poured it out to the Lord.  He said, ‘Be it far from me, oh Lord, that I should do this.  Shall I drink the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?  Therefore, he would not drink it.’”  He said, “This offering was purchased by too great a price for me to consume for myself.  I’ve got to give it to You.”  And you know that you were bought with too great a price to live for yourself.  You better pour it out to the Lord.

The Apostle Paul had that same vision in his mind in Philippians 2.  He said, “Even if I’m being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.”  Paul considered himself.  He said, “I’ve been purchased.  I can’t live for me.  I’ve got to live for the purpose of God, and I’ll pour myself out for others.”  That’s the drink offering.”  And then Ezekiel said, “From the point of man you’ve only got half the truth.  It’s an offering, it’s a pouring out, it’s a dedication of the entire body, it’s a corporate picture of dedication to the Lord.”

Ezekiel said, “What is this table from the viewpoint of the Lord?  He’s the One that ordained this.  Let me tell you about the real glory of the table, and I’ll tell you that the glory of the table is not the gold that’s all around.  The glory of the table is not even the offering, precious as it was.  That’s not the glory of the table.”  Ezekiel asked if we knew what this table was called.  We said, “We heard it was called the table of shewbread.”  He said, “Where did you get that information?”  I said, “KJV.”  So, that educated Ezekiel.  Anyway, He said, “That’s true.”  KJV Exodus 25:30, “Thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before Me always.”  He said, “You’ve got the right idea, but technically,” and now let’s read it again from the NAS, Exodus 25:30, “You shall set the bread of the presence on the table before Me at all times.”  That bread is called several things in the Bible.  In Matthew it’s called the consecrated bread.  In the book of Hebrews, its called sacred bread.  Literally, the Hebrew is bread of the presence, or bread of the face.  That’s the way it’s pictured in the original language. 

Exodus 25:30, “You shall set the bread of the presence on the table before me at all times.” Ezekiel said, “Do you know why it’s called shewbread?  It’s because that was its purpose, to be shown.  Primarily when we think of bread we think of provision.  This is not provision.  This is display.  Something is on display before His face, something is on display before His presence.  It’s true Messiah will be the bread of life, but that’s not pictured here.  The picture here is vision, focus, display.  The loaves and everything pictured here is constantly under the gaze of the Lord.”

Let me leave Ezekiel and get personal. Brothers and sisters in Christ, He can’t get His eyes off you.  He can’t.  He’s constantly looking at the loaves on the table.  You are ever before His face, ever before His presence, ever before His eyes.  You are on exhibit to Him.  He can’t stop looking at you.  Ordinary bread is for consumption.  This bread is designed to be shewbread, to be looked at, to be gazed upon.  We’re ever under the watchful eye of the Lord.  Do you know how I delight to tell you that the Lord delights in you?  Before I could draw my pistol today, many people told me the Lord delights in me.  Isaiah 49:16 is the same truth, “Behold, I’ve inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.”  Twenty-four seven you are the bread of His presence, the bread in His face.

Last week I had the great privilege of sharing a little fellowship.  I used to call them gatherings.  I tend to call them flockings now, for another reason, but it was a wonderful flocking of remnant hearts.  Just before one of the messages they stopped and a brother came up and he had a gift, and it was all wrapped up.  I thought it was a big picture.  It was a frame bigger than that.  If I stood it up it would come up maybe to the top of my thighs.  It was framed and all wrapped up.  I opened it up, and it was a most precious gift.  It was a mirror.  Just what I need!  Underneath the mirror were inscribed the words, “This is My Son in whom I am well-pleased,” so that every time I look in that mirror, I remember how He sees me, the bread of His presence.  “This is My Beloved Son.”  I know that applies to Christ, but I’m in Christ, so that mirror is very precious.  Where shall we hang it?  Lillian suggested, so that others might enjoy it, to hang it in the guest bathroom.  So, that’s where it hangs this day.

Anyway, from man’s point of view it’s an offering; from God’s point of view it’s a display.  It’s an attraction, and He can’t get His eyes off of it.  Ezekiel said, “Let me explain a little bit more what God sees when He focuses on those loaves.  The first thing He sees, Leviticus 24:6, ‘Set them in two rows, six to a row, on the pure gold table before the Lord.’  He sees all of God’s people at the same time, twelve loaves, all the tribes, all God’s people, and Ezekiel said, “Did you notice each loaf of bread is exactly the same size?  They’re the same height, the same width, probably the same weight, because God is not a respecter of persons, and He sees all of His children in Christ Jesus.  They’re all protected by the same golden crown on the golden table.  When I look at the tribes, not when I look at the bread, I say that Dan was an idiot, because he wanted his own will.  I would have made him a smaller loaf.  I would have made him even a crouton probably.  Then you look at the carnal tribe of Reuben, and they sinned away their inheritance in one night, and Manasseh was so proud and selfish, but in God’s eyes, now He sees them in Christ.  The Messianic tribe of Judah was no larger than the tribe of Reuben or the tribe of Dan or the stubborn tribe of Benjamin, because these have all been through the altar, through the laver, and these are redeemed loaves.  These are loaves that are in Christ Jesus.

It was unleavened bread.  How do I know it was unleavened?  Does it say that?  No, but it says that leavened cannot be offered as a burnt offering, so we know that it was unleavened bread.  Leviticus 2:11. So, when the King looks at the holy bread, He’s looking at the redeemed as He sees them in Christ Jesus.  They’re all the same size.  Do you remember the parable our Lord Jesus spoke recorded in Matthew 22, the parable of the marriage feast?  There’s something very interesting in that parable, Matthew 22:11, “When the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there that was not dressed in wedding clothes.”  When the king came in to look over the wedding guests, he was looking over the wedding guests, who are properly clothed in the righteousness of Christ and when he saw one, “You don’t belong here; you don’t have the righteousness of Christ,” and you can read the parable to see what happened to that.  Every wedding garment looks the same.  You are clothed in the same righteousness I am clothed in. No Christian has more of Christ than any other Christian.  We are all equal in the eyes of God, redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus, and clothed in the righteousness of Christ.  Every Christian is kept on that golden table by that golden fortress, as it’s called in Micah, and also in the Psalms.

Ezekiel asked, “When you look at the bread, what do you see?”  I say, “Twelve loaves with frankincense sprinkled on it.” He said, “Yeah, but when God looks, He sees more than that.  You see, Leviticus 24:5, ‘You shall take fine flour, bake twelve cakes with it, two tenths of a ephah shall be in each cake.’  You just see the outside; the Lord also sees the inside.  He sees the inside of the loaf.  He knows the ingredients that are in every loaf of bread.  If fact, He determines the ingredients.  He knows the measurement of flour.  He knows every grain of salt that is in every loaf of bread.  He knows the temperature at which each one was baked.  The Lord gazes at the bread, you see the loaf, He sees every crumb that’s in that loaf.”  Hebrews 4:13, “There’s no creature hidden from His sight.  All things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” 

Ezekiel said, “Let me call attention to one other thing He sees when He looks at the bread, when He looks at those loaves.  He sees the spirit of the table, and not just the letter of the table.”  I say, “Well, explain that a little bit, that He sees the spirit and not just the letter.”  Ezekiel says, “There’s always the letter that kills, and there’s always the spirit that makes alive.  The spiritual principle in every ceremony is necessary.  If you just have the letter, it’s a worthless ceremony.  The spirit of the table, the heart of it, is that God sees all Christians in His Son. A ceremony that takes place without that reality is sort of worthless.  For example, the altar of sacrifice, the great spiritual truth is substitution.  The cleansing of the laver, the great principle is cleansing.  Let’s just suppose that a priest is out there at the altar sacrifice, and he’s got the fire going, and let’s say that since he ministered in a robe, let’s say a spark came off the altar and set his robe on fire.  Now he’s in trouble.  That priest is on fire.  He looks around and he sees the laver and he jumps into the laver.  Is God going to get angry at him now because the laver was not made for the purpose of putting out fires.  The laver had a special purpose and you have no…. No, it’s the spirit of the thing.  God sees the heart.  An extra grain of salt in this bread won’t ruin the great principle.  These loaves are equal. 

Anybody can take a glass of wine and pour it out.  That doesn’t mean that you’ve poured out your life, your heart.  You can pour out the wine, and eat the bread, and anybody can burn incense, but that doesn’t mean that’s the spiritual reality.  The Lord not only looks at the bread, not only looks at the outside, not only looks at the inside, but He’s looking at the motive, the heart.  He’s looking at the inward reality, the principle.  That helped me sort of with Matthew 12.  I often was confused.  So thankful for Ezekiel.  He’s helped me out a lot.  When the Pharisees objected to Jesus walking on the Sabbath day in the grainfields, Matthew 12:3, He said, “Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those with him, but for the priest alone.”  And then verse 7, “If you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, not sacrifice,’ you wouldn’t have condemned the innocent.”  Why was it okay for David to eat that?  It’s because of the spirit of the thing.  He’s hungry.  Don’t get so wrapped up in the ceremony that you miss the spiritual reality.  They embraced the letter of the Sabbath, but they didn’t understand rest at all.

So, we asked, “Okay, Ezekiel, we see that God is always looking at the bread, He always sees every Christian on the same level.  He sees the inside, He sees the spirit, the motive of the thing.  Does He see anything else?”  He said, “Yeah, He sees something else.  He’s looking at the offering.  From man’s point of view, they were offering themselves to Him, and He’s looking at the offering, the bread, the frankincense, the burning of the incense, the pouring out of wine, the offering by fire.  To keep to the allegory of bread and eating, the Lord is feasting His eyes on His people, and His people are offering themselves to Him.  They are saying, “Lord, we’re Yours, we belong to You, we’re pouring ourselves out,” and He looks at them redeemed in the righteousness of Christ, they’ve been washed in the blood, and that offering is blessing His heart.”

Ezekiel said, “Before we leave the table and go to the altar of incense, I want to call attention to one other fact.  Leviticus 24:6-9, ‘You shall set them in two rows, six to a row on the pure gold table before the Lord.  You shall put pure incense on each row that it may be a memorial portion for the bread, even an offering by fire to the Lord.  Every Sabbath day he shall set it in order before the Lord continueth.  It’s an everlasting covenant for the sons of Israel.  It shall be for Aaron and his sons.  They shall eat it in a Holy Place, for it’s most holy to Him from the Lord’s offerings by fire, His portion forever.’  The bread was to be consumed by the priests every Sabbath day.  Sometimes when you read Leviticus and so on, in some offerings they could take part of the offering home to their families.  They could not take this bread home to their families.  They had to eat the bread in the Holy Place.  They had to stay in that room and eat the bread.  And the renewal of the loaves had to take place every Sabbath, every rest day.  It’s important that you understand Sabbath and rest.” 

“When you pour yourself out to the Lord, it’s not once for all.  Dear friends in Christ, and I’m not saying once a week either, I’m saying every day that to you is a day of rest is a day of offering.  It’s a day of pouring out.”  Ezekiel tried to explain this.  He said, “The Sabbath is, first of all, you know that the priests represent all of the people.  The priests aren’t special; they aren’t raised up.  They represent all the people.  So, there are priests in the Holy Place representing all the people, but these priests representing all the people are also Sabbath day priests.  They are priests who have entered in rest, and now it’s a resting priest who needs to eat the bread from the table.  The principle is this.”  The question I had was, “If the bread pictures the people of God, in what sense do I feed on the people of God?”  I could do some spins and make that fit, but Ezekiel checked me on that and said, “They aren’t feeding on the people of God.  From man’s viewpoint it’s an offering.  From God’s viewpoint it’s display, it’s attraction.  He can’t get His eyes off God’s people.  That sweet smell, that offering, that gaze, that looking at His people redeemed was so pleasant to Him.  That was His joy, that was His pleasure.  The priests were to feed on that which pleased the Lord.  That’s what they’re feasting on.  They’re feasting on what pleased the Lord.”

Our Lord Jesus in John 4:34, remember the woman at the well when the disciples came and returned, and Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him that sent Me.”  That was His diet.  That was His food.  He said, “I have meat to eat you know not of.  I have food to eat and My food, whatever pleases Him, I want to feed on that, and when I feed on that, that’s my health, that’s my strength, that’s my nourishment.”  These Sabbath priests picturing the Christian at rest was able to say, “Lord, You are satisfied with this; I feed on what satisfies You.”  Precious, precious table.  From man’s point of view, “I gave you everything, Lord.  I poured it out.”  God’s point of view, “I’m looking at that right down to the core.  I’m looking at that, and I’m blessed.  It’s a sweet smell to My nostrils.  I accept that.”  And the priests say, “We’re so happy You accept that.  We’re going to feed on what pleases you and start all over, and spread out new bread.  We will offer ourselves over and over and over again.”

As we close, let me just home in on the picture and the reality.  We’ve been focusing on that all the time.  Like I said, anybody can pour wine on the ground.  Don’t answer me; is your life poured out before Him.  We sing, “I am an offering,” but are you an offering?  Is your life really poured out?  Anyone can eat bread.  Are you feeding on what pleases Him?  Has He allowed something in your life that’s a little hard to swallow?  It’s a little tough to feed on.  Boy, that’s your strength, that’s your nourishment to feed on the will of God.  Anyone can burn incense.  God says in Isaiah, “I’m sick of your incense,” because it wasn’t real, this adoration.  When we look next time, we’ll get a little closer to the heart of the altar of incense, and we’ll see this adoration, this pouring out.  But let’s not play games.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and we’re going to thank the Lord, and all, but let’s make it real.  This table is so precious.  It’s a pouring out, it’s God drinking in, it’s us feeding off that which blesses Him.  That’s what this table is. 

We’re not quite finished, because I want to show you how it ties in with the Lord’s Table.  There’s a wonderful connection here between this and the Lord’s table and the Lord wants to show that, and then how it’s related to the altar of incense, and then we’ll look at the altar of incense. 

Father, thank You for Your word, not what we think it means, but what You’ve inspired it to mean.  Work that in our hearts we pray.  We thank You for the privilege we have to look into Your word, everything that was from You, I pray that You would make real.  If anything was flesh and blood, root it out.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”