10 Bread Symbols In the Bible You Should Know
“And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” (Exodus 16:31)
This is food the Lord sent to the Israelites during their forty years wandering in the desert wilderness. It fell during the night in small white flakes or grains which covered the ground. These grains are described as resembling coriander seed and had a taste like “wafers with honey.” While God provided for the needs of the Israelites in a miraculous way, his caring providence is always like manna. God provides the earth to cultivate, the sun and rain to grow our food, and is entirely sovereign over our needs.
“Then you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it; two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake. You shall set them in two rows, six to a row, on the pure gold table before the LORD.” (Leviticus 24:5-6)
The twelve loaves of showbread on the table should be correlated to the manna that rained upon Israel from heaven during the wilderness sojourn. Dr. RJ Rushdoony explains,
” The table of the showbread refers literally to the bread of the face, or presence bread. It was located in the Holy of Holies, or near the Holy of Holies where the ark was. The bread was to be perpetually before the Lord, it was called holy bread, or hallowed bread as in 1 Samuel 21:3-6. It was regularly replaced on the table, and its meaning was akin to the offering of the first fruits. Because the product of the earth is God’s gift to men, it should be used by men in God’s service, and therefore, it was returned to God as a gift.”
3. Melchizedek’s Bread
“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.” (Genesis 14:18)
In this Melchizedek was a type of Christ (or even a Christophany), who comforts and refreshes his hungry and weary people with himself. Melchizedek meets the battle weary Abram with bread and this bread is to restore him. Abram’s victory is marked by the partaking of bread and wine, just as Christ’s Holy Eucharist marks Christ’s victory over sin and death.
4. Joseph and the Baker
“When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head:And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head. And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days: Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.” (Genesis 40: 16-19)
The King’s baker is in jail – the fact that the King had a baker tells us something-that bread is the food of kings! Yet he has this highly symbolic dream full of language that will be borrowed by the rest of the books in the Bible.
Flour Power (oops!): Bread on your head
The commentators waste so much time discussing what the baskets were made of or the custom of carrying baskets on your head, that they miss a royal bread provider being crucified on a tree. The bread giver must die so that Joseph’s message comes to the Pharaoh. Clearly an image that will be used for Christ. The three baskets are three days – a symbol wrapped in a symbol inside of a dream.
Like the baker, Christ gives us bread, he is taken up by the officials and crucified, yet through his death we eat new manna from above. Without our daily bread we starve, yet at the same time man cannot live by bread alone. Christ the Baker is a title we don’t often consider.