For there was a tabernacle made, the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shew-bread, which is called the sanctuary.—Heb. 9:2.
It is blessed to see how Christ was set forth in every thing, and by every way, in the ordinances of God, in the first ages of the Church. Surely they had the gospel preached to them in type and shadow, as we have now in sum and substance. My soul, take thine evening meditation among the furniture of the outer sanctuary, and see what emblems they afford of Christ. The tabernacle, which Moses made in the wilderness, contained, in the first apartment, the things here spoken of. The candlestick, if without a light, strikingly set forth the darkness of that dispensation; and if with a light, (which seems the most probable, for the lamps were to be always burning,) it showed that the Lord himself, who walketh in the midst of the golden candlesticks, is the light of his people, and the glory of the temple. The next article noticed is the table, which was probably placed in such a direction, that the light of the candlestick might shine upon it; and here we may learn, that in going to the table of the Lord, we must be directed by his light; for none cometh to the Father but by him, who is “the way, and the truth, and the life.” The table itself, which was of pure gold, became a most lively type of the ever-blessed Jesus. The infinite worth and glory of his person, and the eternal merit and efficacy of his blood and righteousness, may be supposed to be set forth, by golden representations, as the richest and most valuable treasure we are acquainted with. And when we add to these, that Jesus feeds, entertains, supports, nourisheth, and preserves his Church and people, what could so well set forth the royal bounties of his grace, and the fulness and richness of his house, as that of a golden table, around which the poor, and the needy, the hungry, and the faint, might be received and feasted? But the first sanctuary had not only the candlestick to guide to the Lord, and the golden table to receive the followers of the Lord, but the shew-bread, also, to supply them. This shew-bread was a beautiful representation of him who is the bread of life. Twelve loaves, in allusion to the twelve tribes of Israel, were to be always standing upon it, to intimate the perpetual appearing of Jesus in the presence of God for his people. They were of the finest flour and frankincense, thereby shadowing the purity of his nature, and the fragrancy of his sacrifice before God. They were to be renewed every Sabbath, to show that Christ is not only exhibited in the gospel every day, and all the day, but to be renewed every Sabbath, when his ministers bring forth to the people, out of his treasury, “things new and old.” Those taken away when the new loaves were brought, were to be eaten by the priests alone, under this Jewish dispensation; and the same is observed under the new, for the Lord Jesus hath made all his people “kings and priests to God and the Father;” and if any that are not his, by his Spirit given to them, eat at his table, they make the table of the Lord contemptible. Are these some of the delightful subjects—the furniture of the tabernacle in the first court? Dost thou behold, my soul, these things, and through the veil and covering, discover Jesus? Oh! then, consider the vast infinite importance of redemption by his blood, whom God the Spirit thus set forth to the Church by types and shadows; and see the privilege and the happiness to which thou art called, when in reading the Old Testament, “the veil is done away in Christ.”