The Lord made laws even for His Tabernacle. And like every other statute there was a purpose and a glimpse of who He is in the rules. Verses 1-4 read,
“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil from beaten olives for the lamp, that a light may be kept burning regularly. 3 Outside the veil of the testimony, in the tent of meeting, Aaron shall arrange it from evening to morning before the Lord regularly. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. 4 He shall arrange the lamps on the lampstand of pure gold before the Lord regularly.”
The lamps were to burn always. They had to be attended to. The wicks were trimmed every day and the oil that burned was pure olive oil. The work that went into making the oil for the lamps was arduous. But only pure olive oil cold light the lamps of God’s lampstand. Once in Canaan there was an abundance of olive trees (The Garden at Gethsemane was actual an olive orchard with an olive press) but on the 40 year trek through the wilderness, olives were obtained as Israel came to them and then trodden into oil for the lamps. Once in Canaan, Israel used olive mills to make the oil. Olive oil burns without smoking and produces a bright flame.
The lampstand was exquisite it is described in Exodus 25:31-40. It was hammered out of one piece of pure gold weighing a talent (about 70 pounds). It had six branches and one center bowl shaped like almond blossoms with knobs beneath them. It was kept just outside the holy of holies and it provided the light for the sanctuary.
It represented the light of God, eternal, holy, and pure. His light is all we need. And in Christ we become lights as well. If we attend to our wicks (our relationship and communion) which maintains the anointing of the Holy Spirit within us, we burn brightly without smoke. Adding impurities causes smoke and dulls the flame. Jesus, the Son of God is the Light of the world, and we like our God are lights to the world. The flame beckons people to God, it reveals God to people. God will keep it burning if we keep the fuel pure. The fuel is the fruit of the olive tree. The fruit of the Spirit which expresses itself in our behavior as we are made like Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit is Love which manifests as joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. God is Love and we demonstrate Him as lights in the world.
Also in the tabernacle was the bread, called the bread of presence or showbread. Verses 5-9 read,
“You shall take fine flour and bake twelve loaves from it; two tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. 6 And you shall set them in two piles, six in a pile, on the table of pure gold] before the Lord. 7 And you shall put pure frankincense on each pile, that it may go with the bread as a memorial portion as a food offering to the Lord. 8 Every Sabbath day Aaron shall arrange it before the Lord regularly; it is from the people of Israel as a covenant forever. 9 And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place, since it is for him a most holy portion out of the Lord's food offerings, a perpetual due.”
Two piles of 6 large loaves of bread stood on the table in the tabernacle, they were replaced each week and the old bread was eaten by the priests in fellowship with the Lord. The bread, one loaf for each tribe represented God’s fellowship with His people. It was His invitation to friendship with Him. We can look back and see that the bread represents Jesus, He is the Bread of Life and his invitation to friendship with God is open until The Day of Judgement. Only the priests could eat that holy bread under the Old Covenant. And likewise only the saved, the Royal Priesthood may have communion with Our Lord God, The Bread of Life today. Our friendship with God is a holy privilege of being His children. We are not slaves to law and ritual. We are not children of the father of lies. We are children of the Most High, royal priests, sanctified and holy, anointed and sealed. We are friends and sons of God.
We are the temple of God. He is always with us. We are the lampstands. He is the flame who burns brightly to make us lights. We are the table of the showbread. He is the bread of Life who gives us life, provision, the sustenance of His Word, and an intimate relationship with Him to enjoy all He gives.