LEVITICUS 24
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2 Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.

To the south or left side stood the Lightstand which shone during the hours of darkness "from evening to morning", Exod. 27 : 2 1. [The essential contrast is that between light and darkness. At all events it is fascinating to note that the Court was illumined by the sun, the Holy Place by the Lightstand with its constantly replenished oil, and the Most Holy Place by the unfailing Shekinah glory - an ascending order of progression...]

The oil which burnt in its seven lamps to give light was a national contribution....We note that the instruction was given to the children of Israel in the mass. This signifies that the Lightstand, when its seven lamps were burning, represented Israel as a nation, serving as a light shining for God in the darkness of heathendom around - the custodians of that divine Law which would constrain the peoples around them to exclaim,

"Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people" (Deut. 4 : 6).

The light produced by the oil, then, was not a light originating in Israel proper but one that shone through them as God's witnesses on earth. In this respect the contribution of oil by the nation differed from the Shewbread piled upon the Table opposite, but the resemblance between the Shewbread and the Lightstand itself remained of the closest for all that.

Law and Grace Ch 5



5 And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake 12 cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake.

Twelve cakes - The Shewbread.

 The shewbread spoke of Christ as the bread of heaven (Jn. 6:33). The grain gives up its life, is bruised to flour and submitted to heat to produce the bread. So did Yahshua. GEM - Logos



6 And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before Yahweh.

7 And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto Yahweh.

On the right-hand side of the holy place, against the inner side of the south wall of the chamber, stood a table about 3 ft. long, 18 in. broad, and 2 ft. 3 in. high, made of hard wood covered with gold (Exod. 25:23). On it were placed two piles of cakes, of fine flour, six in a pile, twelve in all. On each pile (or row) was placed a vessel containing a quantity of frankincense in process of burning. The cakes were to be renewed every sabbath, and the old ones eaten by the priests in the holy place.

They were called the shewbread (Exod. 25:30), because always on show, "before the Lord". But what were they there to show? First, the national constitution in twelve tribe subjection to the law of Moses. We learn this from their number, which connects them with the "twelve tribes of Israel", and from the statement that the cakes were to be considered as taken from them as an offering for a memorial.

This clue unites with certain apostolic expressions in attaching an Israelitish character to the whole economy of true religion and hope and holiness, as existing in this imperfect state. The holy place figures this economy, and it is meet, therefore, that it should contain the insignia of its national association. We know who said "Salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22), "to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and giving of the law . . . and the promises" (Rom. 9:4). We are all familiar with Paul's description of the hope of the gospel as "the hope of Israel" (Acts 28:20), "unto which hope", as he further said, "our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come" (26:7).

The moderns have entirely forgotten this aspect of the salvation which the gospel discloses and offers. The twelve cakes of the shewbread may suffice to recall them to the truth in this matter. "The bread of God" (as the shew-bread is called, Lev. 21:6) "is he that cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world" (John 6:33); but the essence of it is Israelitish, not only in its historical associations, but in its future development.

Law of Moses



8 Every sabbath he shall set it in order before Yahweh continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant.

9 And it shall be Aaron's and his sons'; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire by a perpetual statute.


The eating of the cakes by Aaron and his sons (God's representatives here once more) was typical of their acceptance by God. The cakes were twelve in number, for they stood for the whole nation. They were in two piles of six, with a vessel full of frankincense above each. The frankincense was burnt upon the Altar of Incense, serving as a memorial of the whole. In the process it gave out a delightful fragrance, to indicate what pleasure the offering of the cakes gave to God.

Why should the cakes give God such delight? Once again because they were a form of Meal Offering, symbolical of the dedication by the entire nation of the fruits of its labours to God. Fittingly the day chosen for the replacement of the stale cakes by fresh was the Sabbath - the day which was a sign of the Covenant between Israel and God.


 "The children of Israel shall keep the sabbath to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed" (Exod. 31 : 16-17).

God's action in resting after the work of Creation was prophetic.

It intimated that the destiny of man (God's last creation) was the enjoyment of His Rest.

Law and Grace Ch 5


15 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his Elohim shall bear his sin.

16 And he that blasphemeth the name of Yahweh, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of Yahweh, shall be put to death.

Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh thy elohim in vain; for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Ex. 20v 7)


It is an indispensable corollary of belief in God that His name should be had in reverence, and should never escape human lips in the spirit of flippancy--not to speak of profanity. 

There are those who think that the meaning was that men should not take a false oath; that if they swore by the name of God to do a thing, there was a sacred obligation of performance that God would never release; that God would hold the man guilty who invoked His name to a covenant he did not perform.

The scope of the subject requires that something much higher than this should have been intended. God is certainly displeased with covenant-breakers and perjured persons: but His displeasure does not arise from the fact of His name having been used to pledge them to performance, but because the person promising or covenanting has failed to perform whether the promise or covenant were entered upon with the name of God on the person's lips or not.

It is the profane or flippant use of God's name that is condemned at any time, for any use in any connection. We never read of the non-performance of a covenant being described as taking the name of the Lord in vain: but we read the illustrative case of "the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian ", who blasphemed the name of the Lord and cursed, and who (being put in ward that the mind of the Lord might be shown), was condemned to death (Lev. 24: 11-15).

The spirit of unutterable reverence towards God is the spirit which every institution of the law was calculated and intended to generate. Sacrifice means nothing so much as this. The position of the tabernacle in the midst of the assembly, guarded on every side by the ranked tents of the Levites, taught no other lesson.

The first petition of "the Lord's Prayer" enforces it: "Hallowed be Thy name". How often occurs the interjection throughout the law: "I the Lord your God am holy". "Fear thy God". "He is worthy to be had in reverence of all them that come near him" "He is a great God, and a great King above all gods .... O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker... He is greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods: for all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name... O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; fear before him, all the earth" (Psa. 95-96 and other places).

The very pith of the third commandment is the spirit that moved the Psalmist to exclaim, "O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men"

This is the spirit of the truth, apart from which the system of the truth is but a skeleton of dry bones. It led him to desire the manifestation of the glory of God with an ardour that he could only compare with the fierce thirst of the hart kept a long time from water. There is a great distance between this state of mind and that which would take the name of the Lord in vain.

The latter is the more common state of mind: and, therefore, it is a matter of command that we avoid the foolish habit of taking the name of the Lord in vain; and a matter of intimation that God will hold guilty the man who indulges in it. The existence of a command with this terrible adjunct is a help against the folly when we remember it, as to which, it is never to be forgotten that the mercy of the Lord is in store for "those who remember his commandments, to do them".

Law of Moses