"Bless us our Father, all of us as one, with the light of your countenance."
-From the Amidah Prayer
"When thou said, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord will I seek."
The entire Mishkan and all of its vessels and furnishings served as teaching tools designed to assist the children of Israel to prepare their hearts to be dwelling places for the Shekhinah. There was only one piece of furniture in the Holy of Holies, the Ark of the Covenant, also called the Mercy Seat, which symbolized God's throne and Presence. Among the Mishkan's other holy furnishings was the golden table placed right outside the inner curtain of the Holy of Holies. The golden table held twelve loaves of bread to be constantly displayed before the manifest "Presence" of God. From this display "before the Presence," we have the English term "showbread." The literal meaning is "bread of faces" lechem panim, for they represented the faces of the tribes turned toward God's face, i.e. Presence. The 2002 edition of the Jewish Encyclopedia on the Biblical data of the lechem panim states that:
"Twelve cakes, with two-tenths of an ephah in each, and baked of fine flour, which were ranged in two rows (or piles) on the "pure" table that stood before L-rd and remained exposed to view for a week. A better term than "showbread" is the marginal reading of the Revised Version -"presence-bread" (Ex.25: 30), for this offering was required to be constantly before or in the presence of L-rd. Each Sabbath fresh cakes replaced the old, which then belonged to the priests, who were required to eat them in a holy place, since the bread was holy. Upon the rows of cakes cups of frankincense were placed; this frankincense constituted the "azkarah," or memorial, and was offered upon the altar to the L-rd ...(Lev.24. 4-9)."
This ritual as all rituals, represented an archetypal pattern of an inner reality to be lived out by Israel. It was externalized in the sanctuary as a concrete object lesson for all Israel. The more commonly known function of this ritual was to represent Israel's looking to God for blessings for her physical well-being. The table exemplified the support of the heavenly source of all material sustenance and wealth at all times. For this reason the lechem panim remained on the table even when the camp of Israel was traveling. It is believed that God commanded the table never to be empty since His blessings rest only on real, substantial matter, rather than on ideas and concepts.
The less commonly known purpose was to show and depict that through the fulfilling of the commandments, (as a pre-qualification for training for the national priesthood as God's firstborn); Israel would evoke God's guidance and inspiration for the priestly function of Israel. In a way, the Lechem Panim ritual represented our wills being lined up to God's will and kept that way constantly before Him, i.e. oriented toward Him and interfacing with Him day and night of every day. The lechem panim signified the principle that "man does not live without bread," and conversely, that neither "without every word of God," (Deut. 8:3). As such, the loaves represented the Twelve Tribes of Israel, i.e. "standing in" for the Eternal's spiritual provisions to enable them to be the instruments to accomplish His will within the nation of Israel and eventually as teaching priests among the nations of the world. Their prayers were symbolized by the azkarah incense which was burned every Shabbat when the breads were changed.
It is this less commonly known function that forms the core pattern for the purpose of this website: to build the Mishkan of prayers for God's Presence where the early contingent of the remnant of Israel can receive instruction to fulfill the Divine will in the resurrection process of the House of Joseph and the regathering of all the Tribes of Israel. Yached Levavenu is calling the early contingent of returnees from the exiled House of Joseph and members of any tribe of Israel to serve in the capacity of Lechem Panim in the virtual Mishkan of Prayers. The call to this service is NOT an attempt to create a new religion, but simply a call to an application of belief. Neither is it an attempt to create a pseudo priesthood to replace the Levitical priesthood or the establishment of a competing priesthood. Rather, it is a call to the early contingent of returnees, to stand in and pray for the sake of the rest of Israel and plead on a daily basis for direction, the spirit of repentance, instruction, spiritual sustenance, and intervention where needed, to be given by God through the Ruach haKodesh, his holy Spirit.
The world is facing several major crises with dark portents. Nations possessed by the spirit of Esau are stirred up by the children of Ishmael against all of Israel. In addition, major earth changes, drastic economic changes and disease epidemics are all underway to catastrophic unfoldments. As Lechem Panim in the virtual Mishkan of prayers, our obligation is to plead for a spiritual intervention: that we may be enlightened and have the spirit of repentance poured out upon us. Otherwise these prophesied apocalypses will usher in a less merciful redemption.
Suggestions on what to do:
Talk to God about the concepts in this and the other articles. Ask that He endow you to hear His answers. Stand in and pray for the rest of Israel as highlighted above. Let Yached Levavenu know what you receive.