The Furniture of the Temple
Exodus 25:10-6; “And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it. And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them. The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it. And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.”
Exodus 25:23-30; “Thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood: two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about. And thou shalt make unto it a border of an hand breadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden crown to the border thereof round about. And thou shalt make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet thereof. Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table. And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them. And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them. And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway.”
The last time we looked at the furniture of the temple we briefly read about the molten sea and the mercy seat. In no way could I ever do justice to the full explanation of either of those two things let alone the latter, so I trust that it will prompt the reader to do more study! Today we’re going to be looking at two other significant items; The Ark of the Covenant and The Table of Showbread.
In Exodus chapter 25 we can see where God began giving Moses instructions on how to build the sanctuary for Him and what He wanted inside from the curtains and candlesticks to the robes, head coverings and aprons. God was so precise there was no room to have to question Him at all; the colors of each item held its own significance as they also pointed to the Anointed One who would one day come to fulfill the Law. Without a doubt the most important piece of furniture in the temple was the Ark of the Covenant. It was where the glory of God rested (Ps. 99:1). Before you continue reading, rest here for a moment and think upon that. The glory of God resting above the mercy seat – what an awesome thing to have witnessed! It provided the Israelites with a constant reminder of their covenant they made with God as it also served as His footstool (Jer. 3:16-7).
In Exodus 25:10-22 we read that the ark was to be built with acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. It was to be built with three compartments which would hold the tables of commandments that God gave to Moses (God’s testimony), the rod of Aaron and a pot of manna. Each of these three things was in their own way connected to man’s rebellion towards God. Aaron’s worship of the golden calf while Moses was on Mt.Sinai receiving the plates, Aaron’s rod with the rebellion of Korah and the manna reminds us of the Israelite’s whining ways while in the wilderness. Notice how the Mercy Seat was placed above these things and the Mercy Seat was where the atoning blood sacrifices were sprinkled for the redemption of Israel!
The ark was to be kept behind the veil in the holy of the holies; the very heart of the Tabernacle. During the times of their journeys, only the priests from the tribe of Levi could carry the ark and in the battle of Jericho it actually preceded the army. Because of the many references to it throughout scripture we understand the prominence it holds for us and the Israelites. It was carried about by the use of two poles, one on either side, each made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. No one at all was to ever touch the Ark of the Covenant.
In Hebrew the word “ark” is “aòroòn “. The transliteration is box, ark, chest or coffin. The ark may have just looked like an ordinary box, but inside as it held the testimony of the Lord God, it also served as a symbolic measure that they and we hold the Lord’s testimony in our hearts and minds as prophesied in Jeremiah 31:33. Matthew Henry said this about the ark; “That this ark was the chief token of God’s presence, which teaches us that the first and great evidence and assurance of God’s favour is the putting of his law in the heart. God dwells where that rules, Heb. 8:10.”
The next thing I discovered about the ark was so cool that I know you will be blessed by learning about it too. The type of wood the ark was to be made from played a symbolic part pointing to our Lord Jesus. Acacia wood is a dry wood found in the desert. In the Hebrew the word is “shittaòh”. It means “the acacia from its scourging thorns”. It is plentiful throughout the SinaiticPeninsula and is referred to as a “gnarled and thorny tree” in Easton’s Bible Dictionary.
But the most amazing and significant thing (in my humble opinion) about acacia wood is that it is the same tree that the crown of thorns was made from – John 19:5; “Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe.” Oh the significance is so rich!
God commanded that right outside the veil that shielded the holy of the holies they were to erect the Table of the Showbread. It was to be crafted from the acacia tree and overlaid with gold just as the Ark of the Covenant. God once again gave specific instructions for what items were to be placed on this table and how often the items were to be attended to.
The Table of Showbread (or Bread of the Presence) was a type of Christ and was meant to be set at all times just as the king’s table is always set and prepared awaiting the Presence of Royalty. The Lord commanded that on this table there were to be twelve loaves of bread displayed in two rows of six each. They were to be made as God directed with the finest flour; they were to be flat (or unleavened) and eaten by the priests only and only in the Tabernacle. The literal translation of Showbread is “bread of the face”, meaning they were before the face of the Lord always as He prepared their manna and supplied them with their every need.
Each of the twelve tribes were dear to the Lord and the loaves served the tribes as a reminder that God was the One who supplied these needs, but also that they needed to “feed” on His words. Also see in Matt. 4:4; “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
The showbread also typifies Christ as a grain of wheat which is milled in our stead (John 12:24, 27, 31-3 & Heb. 12:2-3.)
As stated before it was also known as the Bread of the Presence; the tribes were in the presence of God and for us in the gospel times, Jesus gave the broken bread to His followers signifying the presence of His broken body that He gave for us. 1 Cor. 11:17-32. The priests were the only ones allowed to eat the bread when they replaced it each Sabbath – Lev. 24:5-9. The only other time people other than priests could eat of the Showbread was when people’s health was at risk such as David’s – 1 Sam. 21:1-6. Jesus tells us of God’s mercy towards David in Matthew 12:3-4 for two reasons; how God is more concerned with our needs than He is of any “religious sacrifice” and to teach about the legalism the Pharisees were showing in regards to the Sabbath. The believers are made to be “priests unto God” and as Matthew Henry points out “In our Father’s house, there is bread enough to spare”.
The list of things to study and share are innumerable as you can imagine. I hope that sharing a few of the significant meanings of the Showbread and the reason for the Table of the Showbread, it will inspire you to investigate more of what God has to show you! This example didn’t include the plates, the covers, or spoons. For instance the Hebrew word for spoons is “kaph” and it means “the hollow hand” or figuratively speaking, power. How cool is that?!
Some questions for the Mormon:
What is there in your temples that contain things like this that point to Jesus without containing anything that has to do with your good works for the dead?
What does it mean when the LDSChurch tells you that the stakes in the Church serve as a curtain around God’s presence? D&C 115:6.
Be honest with yourself – before reading this article were you aware of what was inside the temple of the Old Testament and what the items inside were for?
Why wouldn’t God want for everyone to know about His promises and allow all to come to Him? Why is it that only the “worthy” are allowed in the Mormon temples?
Why is it that you need to be near perfect to enter the temple if you’re going there to earn your way to heaven?
Are you not good enough right this minute to be in God’s presence?
Why would you need to be worthy to be in God’s presence if He died for you already? Jesus said; “Let the children come”.
We so want the Mormon people to see the truth! We aren’t here to be argumentative or because we have a spirit of contention. We write these things and share them with you because of our love for you all. You deserve to know and hear the truth! There is no harm in studying historical documents and finding out what the Israelites did in their temples. You can do this by going to a library that doesn’t take sides or show partiality towards any “religion” if you don’t believe what we’ve written here. Go, find out what they were really for and find out why they don’t have any temple now!