Between the table of shewbread and the altar of incense we have many similarities. Like the table, the altar was made of “shittim” wood and covered in pure gold and had a crown of gold surrounding the top. All this spoke of Christ’s royalty.
Although I did not talk about it in the table of shewbread part, there is something in the altar and the table that speaks of one more sign toward Christ’s royalty.
And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal.
Here we have the word “rings”. The English word looks like any other we would use for a circle, or ring that something had to be held in. Nothing special. But, if you look at the Hebrew word you will see something a little deeper.
This word for rings is used multiple times, especially in Esther, in the Bible as the ring or signet of a king or Pharaoh. Back in those times, if something came from the king he would press his ring into the wax seal around the scroll. This signet was special only to the king and would show anyone who had seen it, that it was a direct order of the king. There was no denying the king’s seal.
Well, here we have the interesting part. In verse five it says:
And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.
These “staves” spoken of can also be known as branches. And, as we saw in the talk about the menorah, Christ is known as the Branch. This is very important so keep this in mind.
Now, the “staves” or, as we have seen, Christ/Branch, go through the rings, which signify royalty and authority. So, we have Christ, Branch of Jesse (father of King David), carrying the altar of incense through the signets of the Almighty. It all relates pretty well.
And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.
Aaron had to make a blood offering to the LORD on this altar every year. Here, perhaps, lays the greatest shadow of Christ in the entire tabernacle. Nowhere else does the atonement of sin take on such importance as on this altar.
And so, just as the altar is layered in pure gold, held up by rings and staves and used to atone for sin, so is Christ the pure, royal, authoritative, Branch and washer of all sins!