The Holy Oil and the Holy Bread
One thing you can say about the Bible, is that it is always consistent. It uses things from nature consistently. It uses numbers consistently. It uses moral issues consistently. You can, for example, do a study on trees in the Bible, and you will find consistent patterns in the use of trees. Or, you can pick certain trees, and find consistent patterns in the use of those trees.
What about the number five? If you go through the Bible, a theme will develop based on the number five that is remarkable. It is the number of grace. If I didn’t tell you that, and if you just did your own thorough study, you would figure it out all by yourself eventually.
What is more amazing is that these themes weren’t all decided upon, written down, and then built upon by one person. Rather, unless you knew that God was directing these things, you would assume exactly the opposite was true. You would say, “These books were written eons apart, they were written in different countries, by various people, and yet coincidentally the patterns match. How can that be? This can’t be coincidence at all!”
You would have to come to this conclusion, because for the most part, the patterns weren’t discovered until long after they were written down. In fact, many of the patterns have only been discovered in recent years. It’s a marvel and it is amazing. But it is one of those remarkable proofs that the Bible is what it claims to be – the word of God. No random chance could have come up with these patterns, time and time again.
Text Verse: For the Lord has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His dwelling place:
14 “This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
15 I will abundantly bless her provision;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation,
And her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
17 There I will make the horn of David grow;
I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed.
18 His enemies I will clothe with shame,
But upon Himself His crown shall flourish.” Psalm 132:13-18
Today we will look at several things which form patterns in Scripture that are seen right in these six verses from the psalm. We will look at the dwelling place, rest, bread, the lamp, and quite a few others not in the psalm. All of them are found in just nine verses. And yet, if you were to do a study on any of them, you would find the same consistency running throughout Scripture.
Once something is introduced, it generally remains tied into the same concept all the way through to the end. I’m sure I’m like any one of you, in that at times I have doubts about things. Can it all be true? Can the Bible be relied upon? Am I sure about what I’ve read and what it means to my eternal future?
When I have doubts like this flicker through my mind, all I need to do is think about what I already have learned. The marvel of this book is that once you’ve really looked into it, and once you’ve really thought about all that it teaches, reveals, and details, you can once again feel confident that the doubts are all for naught. The Lord is a safe place because His word says He is.
As the psalmist said, “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.” The word reveals, and that is all I need. Thank God for this marvelous treasure. Great things are to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. Care of the Menorah (verses 1-4)
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
Words of law, and words of instruction lie ahead. Therefore, the Lord speaks only to Moses. From there, Moses will relay the commands he receives to the people. The Lord has just given the instructions for the weekly Sabbath Feast of the Lord, and the seven annual Feasts of the Lord. With that accomplished, He will now give instructions for the daily and weekly services required for the Menorah and the Table of Showbread.
The importance of this placement cannot be understated, because the Lord has just said in verse 23:3 that the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, and it is a holy convocation. Because of this, the Lord directed, explicitly to the people, “You shall do no work on it, it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.” And yet, in the next three verses, no exemption is given for performing the daily rituals on the Sabbath, and in verse 8, Aaron and his sons, meaning the priests, are explicitly told to violate the Sabbath in order to honor the Lord.
In other words, in the temple, there is in essence no earthly Sabbath, but there is rest. There is work done, but it is work which is in the presence of the Lord who is at His place of rest. God rested on the seventh day, a day on which the Genesis account recorded no evening or morning. It is an eternal day. The priests, in type, enter that place of rest. And so whatever they do there may profane the Sabbath, but it does not profane God’s rest, which the Sabbath only anticipates.
At the temple, the priests worshiped and served the Creator in a place of rest, which is exactly what man was originally created to do, and which is exactly what the final page of Scripture says man will do in heaven. In this, we can now see that the words of Jesus in Matthew 12 are referring directly to what is stated in Leviticus. There we read –
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”
3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? 6 Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. 7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:5-8).
What Jesus was saying with the words, “The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath,” is that He is the anticipated Messiah. Because of this, His authority as the Messiah is superior to the law of the Sabbath, and so no guilt can be imputed to either Him, or to His disciples who have acted under His authority, just as the priests here in Leviticus are going to be directed to profane the Sabbath under the authority of the Lord.
The adjective used in the words “One greater than the temple” is neuter. The neuter is used to give a solemn, impressive sense of what He is referring to, which is Himself, His body, it is the temple which is greater than the temple in Jerusalem. If Yehovah of the temple directed the priests to profane the Sabbath in order to conduct their duties, then such was allowed for One greater than the temple.
The temple is the sanctuary where Yehovah dwelt. In saying that He is greater than the temple, He is making an absolute claim to Deity. If the temple is God’s dwelling place, and profanation of the Sabbath is conducted there to honor the Lord, it is because the Lord, meaning Yehovah, is greater than the temple. In His claim is an implicit, but absolute, claim to being Yehovah incarnate.
The corresponding account in Mark adds in the words, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Man was created first, and only then was he given his rest. The rest was intended for man’s good, and his happiness. The laws of the Sabbath were intended to promote that state in man, not feelings of misery or unhappiness.
But more, the Sabbath was intended to honor the Lord while in that happy state. As the Lord was among them, and He was pleased with their happiness at being filled, then no wrong could be imputed. The disciples were hungry, and so out of necessity, in order to actually meet the intent of the Sabbath, they plucked grain and ate. As they were with Jesus, who is the One greater than the temple, they were fulfilling His will in the process. The One who gave the Sabbath laws could dispense with those laws because He is the place of rest which the law pointed to.
There is nothing arbitrary in Jesus’ words or actions. Rather, He is making a theological point concerning Himself, His nature, His Being, and His disciples’ relationship to Him. As the priests of Leviticus could profane the Sabbath before the Lord and yet be blameless, so could His disciples likewise be blameless in His presence when doing the same.
With this understanding, we can see why the Lord placed these verses here in Leviticus. Serving the Lord in His place of rest is more important than the Sabbath laws which He had just given to Israel. This would be true even on the Day of Atonement, the most holy day of the annual calendar, and a Sabbath day all its own as is seen in the next verse…
These words go back to Exodus 27:20 & 21. Moses is instructed to “command” the children of Israel. This is one of only two times in Leviticus that the Lord tells Moses to “command” in this way. It is more direct and forceful than the normal words, “Speak to the children of Israel.” The change is certainly given because of the obvious conflict with the Sabbath laws just presented in the Feasts of the Lord.
If the Lord gave those directives, and now He gives these commands, then there can be no contradiction between the two. His Sabbath laws are to be dispensed with according to His directives, just as any laws can be dispensed with when given by the proper authority. The US constitution may be amended according to the authority of the US constitution. Each initiator may amend or dispense with the laws which he has set forth.
2 (con’t) that they bring to you pure oil of pressed olives for the light,
The words, which have been given as a command to the people, are that they are expected to bring shemen zayit zak kalith la’maor, or “pure oil of pressed olives for the light.” Everything about this anticipates Christ. First is the shemen, or oil. That comes from shamen, a verb meaning “to grow fat.” That in turn comes from a root meaning, “to shine.”
The oil of the zayit, or “olive,” is designated. Oil can be derived from a multitude of sources, but in order to picture Christ, the olive is named. The olive is a symbol of religious privilege. It is the Spirit working through those who are included in this privilege. The olives receive their fatness from the roots. Those branches which are a part of the tree receive this fatness and produce olives which are then used to put forth light before the Lord.
The word “pure” is the adjective zak. This indicates “clean,” “clear,” or “pure.” It has only been used twice so far, in Exodus to describe this same oil, and also the frankincense used in the incense to be burned on the altar of incense. This would be the finest oil possible.
The word “pressed” is not a good translation. Rather, it should say “beaten.” It is the adjective kathith that comes from a root meaning to be crushed by beating. Rather than being pressed under heavy stones, it would probably be gently beaten in a pounding mortar, just enough to break the skin. The oil would usually come from unripe fruit. It would come out clear and without color and it would give a pure, bright light. It would have very little smoke.
After the gentle beating to break the skin, the full olives would be placed in a strainer of some sort, like a wicker basket in order to allow their juice to drip through by gravity alone. The liquid would simply run through that and into a bowl. From there, the purest oil would float to the top and be skimmed off. Out of this, the anticipated result would be oil with no impurities at all, and thus the very finest possible.
As I said, everything about this looks forward to Christ. First, He is the Source of the shemen or oil, and He is the one who makes the tree flourish through its increasing fatness. Paul speaks of this in Romans 11, using the olive tree as a metaphor for God’s religious privileges being bestowed first upon the Jews of Israel, then upon the Gentiles, and which will again return to the Jews. The Lord promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that from them would spring the messianic promises. Paul explains this in Romans 11:16-18 –
“For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.”
The religious privilege which comes forth from the roots went from Jew to Gentile, but it is Christ from whom the promises spring and to Him that they belong. His body is the tree, and His life is the fatness. That is why the word zak, or pure, is used. Christ’s purity is revealed in the olives which grow from the branches. Whether Jew or Gentile, the pure produce of the olives is what is used to cause the light to shine. For Jew, Jesus told them to, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
For Gentile, Paul writes, saying, “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). The beating of the olives is reflective of the treatment of first Christ and then those who are in Christ. Peter explains this –
For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
“Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth” 1 Peter 2:20-22
This pure oil, from the fatness of the olive, all pointing to Christ, and those in Christ who bring forth their offering, was to be used…
2 (con’t) to make the lamps burn continually.
l’haalot ner tamid – “to cause to ascend the lamp perpetually.” In other words, to have the light of the lamp rise continually. It doesn’t mean to burn as if to consume. Instead it is a word which is normally used to express an action such as the burning of a sacrifice which is offered to the Lord. It could thus be paraphrased to say, “…to cause the lamp to ascend to the Lord continually.”
There is debate as to whether the lamp was to burn continually, day and night, or if it was to burn every night continually. It appears from the Exodus 27:21, Exodus 30:8, and from the next verse that the lamp, meaning the menorah, only burnt throughout the night. The idea of a light is to illuminate, and that is only needed where there is darkness. Ultimately then, the light is reflective of the eternal nature of Christ which shines and dispels all darkness for all eternity. That is seen in Revelation 22 –
“There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light.” Revelation 22:5
This light was to shine and never go out. It is the eternal light of Christ which always shines before the Lord. But as we have seen, the olives are reflective of the produce of the people. Thus, we see the result of Christ in one’s life. In Daniel 12, for example, it says this of the faithful Jews –
Paul uses a similar theme when speaking to Gentiles in Ephesus –
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:8-14
It is Christ who is the Light, and which He imparts to and through His people. It is the same idea as the incense reflecting Christ in every detail, and yet, the burning of the incense is the prayers of the people, sanctified to God by Christ.
These words are given after mentioning the bringing of oil. It is for the lamp which is in the tabernacle of meeting. In other words, the Lord is specifying the particular lamp. Because of the abrupt change in the subject – from the feasts of the Lord to the bringing of oil – this is being made clear to Moses. It is the lamp which was previously described and which is in the tabernacle, outside the veil, and before the Testimony.
In the use of the words, “Outside the veil of the Testimony,” we can see a truth which should not be missed. The Lord could have simply said, “In the tent of meeting,” or “In the Holy Place.” But He specifically mentions the veil of the Testimony. The veil, or paroketh, signifies a fracture exists in which on one side there is rest, and on the other there is labor and rigor. The Testimony, meaning the law contained in the Ark, is where rest is found. However, man is fallen, and is kept apart from God because of violations of the law.
However, Christ is the fulfillment of the law, and in Him is rest. The deeds of the people, and their light which shines, is only acceptable because of Christ. Again, we must think of the symbolism of the olive tree, the branches, and the fruit which the branches bear. Our deeds are only acceptable because of being in Christ. Our prayers, symbolized by the incense which burns in this same room, are only acceptable because of Him. In the end, only because of Christ is there anything in us acceptable to God.
3 (con’t) Aaron shall be in charge of it from evening until morning
“Aaron” here means, “Aaron and his sons” as was explicitly stated in Exodus 27. The lamp was to be tended to throughout the night. This suggests that it was not left burning during the day, but some commentaries disagree. No matter what, the symbolism of perpetual light is not diminished by having natural sunlight because Christ is called “the Sun of Righteousness” in Malachi 4:2.
3 (con’t) before the Lord continually;
The burning of the lamp is of particular interest to the Lord. The first thing that must be brought into a house for its inhabitants to function properly is light. And for light to shine, there must be something to produce that light. In this case, it is the oil, signifying the Spirit in action, and thus life itself. It is reflective of the first command given after the creation of the universe –
“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” Genesis 1:3
Here, after the calendar-driven Feasts of the Lord, and then more calendar-driven instructions to come in the next chapter, we have this chapter which commences with the care of the lamps and the table of showbread. In this, we can see that the light here is that which burns throughout the duration of the calendar. It is a reflection of the work of Christ from beginning to end, and throughout the ages. About 1500 years after this, we will see what this light pictures as it flows from John’s pen concerning Jesus –
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:4, 5
And He is that same Light which we see shining on the last page of the Bible. It is Christ now, at all times, and throughout the ages. There is design, intent, and wisdom seen in this seemingly misplaced passage of Scripture.
3 (con’t) it shall be a statute forever in your generations.
As always, these words must be taken in their proper context. As these things only picture Christ and His work, the statute forever means “until the time when they are revealed and fulfilled in Christ.” Now, that which was once physically given, is spiritually realized in Him and in His people.
The verse is literally translated as, “Upon the menorah, the pure, he shall array the lamps before Yehovah continually.” The reason for using the definite article before “pure” is that it was made of pure gold, thus it symbolizes Christ in His Divine nature. What may also be inferred from this definite article, is that the menorah was kept pure by being cleaned from any ashes which might fall on it. It was always pure internally and externally. Thus it is reflective of Christ’s perfect purity in all ways – physical, moral, etc.
The use of the word arak, or array, is to signify that the lamps were always to be arranged as the Lord previously described in Exodus. To understand all of the symbolism of this most important article, you should go back and watch the sermon from Exodus 25. It is an astonishing lesson. As far as the arraying of the seven lamps on it, it is reflective of the letters to the seven churches in Revelation, called “the seven lampstands.” The arranging of the lamps here is reflective of Christ’s arranging of the lampstands of the church.
The purest of gold, fit for a King
Was used to make a seven-branch lampstand
Seeing its beauty makes my heart sing
The workmanship marvelous; stunning and grand
Every detail is so beautiful, each knob and flower
The glistening of the branches as they catch the light
It shines in the dark for hour after hour
Illuminating the holy place throughout the night
The glory of God is seen in each detail
Every branch speaks out a marvelous story
And in what it pictures, nothing will fail
As the Lord reveals to us His unending glory
II. The Holy Bread (verses 5-9)
5 “And you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it.
Now in Leviticus is introduced the actual bread of the Presence for the table of showbread which was first described in Exodus 25. The preparation for the bread was done by the priests as is recorded in 1 Chronicles 9, where it says –
“And some of their brethren of the sons of the Kohathites were in charge of preparing the showbread for every Sabbath.” 1 Chronicles 9:32
For the bread, solet, or “fine flour,” was to be used. This comes from an unused root meaning “to strip.” Thus it is fine flour, indicating purity. It is reflective of the purity of Christ. The word for “cake” is khallah. This comes from the word khalal, or “to pierce.” It is the word used to describe what happened to Christ when He was “pierced for our transgressions.”
From this, twelve cakes were to be made. The number twelve in Scripture denotes perfection of government, or of governmental perfection. Christ is the Bread of Life, but He has revealed Himself through His established government. First that of the twelve tribes of Israel who proclaimed His coming, and then through the twelve apostles who proclaimed His having come.
5 (con’t) Two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake.
The two-tenths of each cake reveals Him as well. The amount for each equals two omers, the amount that two men could eat in one day. But, instead of saying that, it says “two tenths.” Thus, there are 24 tenths total in the bread. Two is an indication of difference, that there is another. Ten is the perfection of Divine order. Thus we have a division of the divine order, reflected in the twelve tribes of Israel, and the twelve apostles. God’s Divine order in Christ is worked out through these divisions, and it is seen in this bread.
The translation is not correct. They were arranged in two piles. The table is not big enough to place them in two rows. The word used is a new one in Scripture which will be seen just nine times, always in connection to the bread. It signifies an arrangement, whatever that arrangement may be.
Each pile is of six loaves. Six is the number of man. We are seeing a picture develop of men, representing all men before the Lord. In each pile, there are twelve tenths. In other words, one pile signifies the twelve tribes of Israel, the other signifies the twelve apostles. Together, they form the perfection of Divine order in God’s perfection of government. It is this which led to, and which then revealed, Christ, the Bread of life. It is a picture of what is seen in Revelation 4:4 –
“Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.” Revelation 4:4
Nothing is said about whether the bread contained yeast or not. It could go either way as far as what is actually pictured. The Pentecost loaves had yeast because they reflected Jew and Gentile, acceptable to God despite their sin because of Christ’s covering. Such could be the case here. Or, it could be that they were unleavened, and thus reflect only Christ’s purity. Jewish writers, such as Josephus, state that they were unleavened. What matters is that it doesn’t matter. The Bible is silent on the matter.
6 (con’t) on the pure gold table before the Lord.
The shulkhan, or table, is a word that indicates “stretch out,” or “spread out.” It is a place of expanse. Again, the wording is precise in the Hebrew, “on the table, the pure, before the Lord.” The table was overlaid with pure gold, and it was certainly kept pure through constant maintenance. And again, it would be reflective of Christ – pure and undefiled internally and externally.
The details for this table are recorded in Exodus 25. If you didn’t hear the sermon on its makeup, you missed a lot. You have your instructions for this afternoon. This table, like the menorah, is said to be “before the Lord.” Because of its location, it is elsewhere called, lekhem ha’pannim, or literally, “Bread (of) the Faces.” Translations will then call it “the Bread of the Presence.”
What we have is the idea of the Lord’s eyes always being on those who are in Christ. He is the Bread, His people are of the same lump. As Paul says in Romans 11, “For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy.”
levonah zakah, or “frankincense pure,” was to be placed either on, or by, each pile. The word can indicate either. As there would have been room for the incense on the table, it was probably alongside of the bread. This levonah, or frankincense, comes from the word lavan, meaning “brick.” The concept of a brick in the Bible is one of human work. At the tower of Babel, the people made bricks in order to work their way to heaven. In Egypt, the people were forced to make brick without straw and were unable to perform their duties. In both instances, pictures were being made of man’s futile attempt at pleasing God through works. Their brick-making was tainted and unacceptable. This incense, however, is zakah, or pure. It is reflective of the pure works of Christ, or of those in Christ, which are deemed acceptable to God. This is then more fully explained with the words…
7 (con’t) that it may be on the bread for a memorial, an offering made by fire to the Lord.
As it is for the bread as a memorial, it is specifically speaking of the acceptable works of Christ. The bread is a bloodless offering from the children of Israel representative of the people of God who are diligent in sanctifying themselves to perform good works. It is the works of Christ, however, which makes them acceptable. Paul explains this in Romans –
“Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, 16 that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” Romans 1515, 16
As can be seen, the Gentiles, like Israel, have also become an offering to God because of the work of Christ, sanctified through what He has accomplished. It is through this great work that the Holy Spirit is available to do exactly that, the part of sanctification. This is the very heart of the work of Christ. That together, Jew and Gentile, are found acceptable through Him. It is, therefore, His work, which is offered up to God “as on offering made by fire to the Lord,” pictured by this pure frankincense.
The bread was changed out every Sabbath as prescribed here. Because of the words “before the Lord continually,” tradition says the Jews made this an exceptionally solemn service. As the old bread was being removed, the new bread was put in its place at exactly the same moment, one priest’s hands removing the old, while the other priest’s hands inserted the new.
For us, the symbolism here in Leviticus is pretty remarkable. The new bread was rested, on the day of rest, in the Lord’s presence, at His place of rest, on this table. It must be, at least partially, what David was thinking of when he wrote the 23rd Psalm –
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever. Psalm 23:5, 6
The people of God may be hemmed in by enemies, but there in the middle of it, right in the house of the Lord, a table is set where the people of God can stretch out in ease and rest. It is the promise of a return to Eden and the presence of the Lord – all because of the work of Christ which makes us acceptable to God once again.
8 (con’t) being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant.
God required it of them, and they had agreed to the covenant. Therefore, whether in substance, or in money to purchase the substance, the items for the menorah and the table of showbread were provided from the children of Israel. In other words, these things are reflective of the people, and it is Christ who establishes His people. If you are a follower of Christ, you are reflected in the very things that we are looking at here today.
The bread of this passage is one of only a very limited number of things which were required to be eaten in a holy place by the priests. Despite this being for the priests, this is the same bread which was given to David when he was escaping from Saul. That is found in 1 Samuel 21 –
So David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has ordered me on some business, and said to me, ‘Do not let anyone know anything about the business on which I send you, or what I have commanded you.’ And I have directed my young men to such and such a place. 3 Now therefore, what have you on hand? Give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or whatever can be found.”
4 And the priest answered David and said, “There is no common bread on hand; but there is holy bread, if the young men have at least kept themselves from women.”
5 Then David answered the priest, and said to him, “Truly, women have been kept from us about three days since I came out. And the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in effect common, even though it was consecrated in the vessel this day.”
6 So the priest gave him holy bread; for there was no bread there but the showbread which had been taken from before the Lord, in order to put hot bread in its place on the day when it was taken away. 1 Samuel 21:2-6
Only by a stretch of the law given here in Leviticus could this have come about. It says that the bread was only to be eaten by the priests, and only in a holy place, but the bread was given to David, and he took it with him. And yet Jesus cited this exact account in Matthew 12 indicating that the request of David, and the decision of the priests, was not unacceptable. The need of the man outweighed the precept of the law.
*9 (fin) for it is most holy to him from the offerings of the Lord made by fire, by a perpetual statute.”
The bread offering was considered most holy, and therefore it was only to be eaten by males, and only in the sanctuary. Anything deemed most holy is, in itself, a picture of Christ. The bread reflects those in Christ, and thus those considered holy to the Lord. Therefore, it was restricted to the priests alone for consumption. The words, “offerings of the Lord made by fire” is speaking of the incense, not the bread.
The incense, being connected to the Lord, was burnt on the altar, while the bread was eaten by the priests. The symbolism is that of Christ being offered up to God, and the people being acceptable to God because of Christ’s mediation.
Each thing is logically presented to show us both the Person and work of Christ, and the acceptability of those in Christ to God. What is implied here, and what is stated explicitly elsewhere, is that only those who are in Christ are acceptable to God. Even the Jews, the people of God’s choosing, who do not receive Jesus, are as branches broken off. And those Gentiles who are not of the nation of Israel, are grafted into the people of God because of faith in Christ.
In the end, all matters between God and the people of the world come down to one issue alone, do you have faith in Christ Jesus, or do you not. The difference is eternal in scope. If you have never made a commitment to Christ, who has done all of the work necessary to restore us to a right relationship with God, today would be a good day for you to do so.
Closing Verse: But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
9 I will praise You forever,
Because You have done it;
And in the presence of Your saints
I will wait on Your name, for it is good. Psalm 52:8, 9
Next Week: Leviticus 24:10-23 What will you pay with? Dollars and Cents? (Recompense for an Offense) (44th Leviticus Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if you have a lifetime of sin heaped up behind you, He can wash it away and purify you completely and wholly. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
Oil and Bread
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
These are the words He was then relaying
“Command the children of Israel
That they bring to you pure oil, so shall it be
Of pressed olives for the light
To make the lamps burn continually
Outside the veil of the Testimony, in the tabernacle of meeting
Aaron shall be in charge of it – this endeavor
From evening until morning before the Lord continually
It shall be a statute in your generations forever
He shall be in charge of the lamps, so shall it be
On the pure gold lampstand before the Lord continually
“And you shall take fine flour
And bake twelve cakes with it
Two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake
So you shall do, as to you I submit
You shall set them in two rows, six in a row
On the pure gold table before the Lord is where they shall go
And you shall put pure frankincense on each row
That it may be for a memorial on the bread
An offering made by fire to the Lord
It shall be accomplished as I have said
Every Sabbath he shall set it in order
Continually before the Lord
Being taken from the children of Israel
By an everlasting covenant, according to My word
And it shall be for Aaron and his sons
And they shall eat it in a holy place
For it is most holy to him from the offerings of the Lord made by fire
By a perpetual statute; such shall be the case
Wonderful pictures of Christ and His work for us
Are revealed in the holy oil and holy bread of Israel
Every word shows us more hints of Jesus
And of His marvelous works each does tell
Thank You, O God, for such a wonderful word
Thank You for the mysteries which are hidden there
Each that we pull out speaks of Jesus our Lord
Thank you that in His goodness we too can share
For all eternity we shall sing to You our praise
Yes, from this time forth and for eternal days
Hallelujah and Amen…