The Table of Showbread—The 12 Tribes in Unity Before Elohim

Exodus 25:23, Table. On the right side of the tabernacle opposite the menorah was the table of showbread. It was constructed of acacia wood overlaid in gold, which speaks of the two-fold nature of Messiah—both human and divine, with a crown of gold, which pictures Yeshua’s being the head of the body of believers. On the table were placed twelve loaves of bread representing the twelve tribes of Israel in communion with each other and YHVH. These loaves were replaced with fresh loaves every Sabbath (Lev 25:5–9). These loaves represent the whole house of Israel fellowshipping around Yeshua, the Bread of Life. The showbread is also called the bread of presence, for the term showbread in the Hebrew literally means the bread that is “in front of, before or in the face of” Elohim.

The Table of Showbread in More Detail

A golden table with 12 loaves of unleavened bread in two-stacks baked fresh weekly and replaced on the Sabbath represents the whole house of Israel in fellowship or communion with one another and their Creator. Yeshua is the bread of life that all must eat to have relationship with him (John 6:32–35, 53–58). This is a prophetic picture of Yom Teruah (the Day of the Awakening Blast) that announces the arrival of the Bridegroom (Yeshua at his second coming) to meet his bride (the saints who have spiritually prepared themselves). This marks the moment when Israel will begin to be regathered, the two sticks of the two houses of Israel will rejoined (Ezek 37) prior to the Messianic Age or Millennium.

The table of showbread was again made of acacia wood overlaid in gold, which speaks of both the two-fold nature of Messiah Yeshua (human, yet divine) as well as the two-fold nature of redeemed man (physical, yet spiritual and in the image and righteousness of Yeshua). Upon the table were two stacks of six unleavened bread loaves each representing the two houses Israel (Judah and Ephraim) showing that both houses were equal in YHVH’s view and both will be redeemed and deleavened from the influences and effects of sin.

Scripture refers to this sanctuary furnishing in some places as the table of showbread (hashulcan lechem Panim) or literally the table of the bread of the presence and in other places as just the showbread or lechem haPanim, which literally means “bread of the presence.” Fresh bread was placed on this table each Sabbath (Lev 24:8). This speaks of intimate communion between YHVH and his people Israel—both houses united in Yeshua and meeting with him on the Sabbath where the fresh bread of the Word of Elohim is to be broken. (Consider the following Scriptures in this light: 1 Pet 2:3,5,9; John 6:32–58; Lev 23:3; 1 Tim 3:15; Heb 10:25.)

The bread, which represents the body of Yeshua, was made of fine flour and sprinkled with frankincense. Frankincense is both sweet and bitter. Yeshua’s life was bitter so that we can enjoy the sweetness of redemption and become a sweet fragrance to YHVH.

The Scriptures don’t state that the bread on the table of the presence was unleavened. However, early Jewish states that it was (see Josephus Ant. iii.6.6 [143]). 

It’s possible that could have been leavened as were the two loaves offered on Shavuot, and the bread of the peace offering (Lev 7:13). If they had been, then it is unlikely that they would be a picture of Yeshua who was the sin-free/unleveaned bread sin offering.


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