Back Home

THE LORD'S SUPPER IS OUR PASSOVER

On the night before He was to die on the cross Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper.  He was celebrating the Passover Feast with His disciples, And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:15-16)

Jesus then took the cup and gave thanks and told them to share it and He told them that He would not drink of the fruit of the vine from then until the kingdom of God had come.  

Scripture says, “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” (Luke 22:19-20)

He and His disciples were observing the last Passover Feast under the Law of Moses.  It would be the last Passover Feast under that Law because that Law would end the next day when Jesus died on the cross. 

The Jews would continue to observe the Passover in Jerusalem until the temple was destroyed in 70 AD but those Feasts would not comply with the Law of Moses because that temple structure was no longer God’s dwelling place on earth.   

It did not comply after Christ’s death because they were to celebrate all of their feasts before the LORD at His house in Jerusalem and God vacated that house when Jesus died on the cross.  Remember, when He died the inner veil was torn apart (Mark 15:38).  God’s Spirit had vacated that house. 

That old covenant Law of Moses was removed because it only had a shadow of what was to come.  Scripture says, “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.” (Hebrews 10:1)

God’s requires perfection of those who would draw near to Him and those old covenant sacrifices could not make them perfect.  Only Christ’s new covenant sacrifice can make one perfect. 

The Hebrew writer says that God did not desire or take pleasure in those sacrifices and “- - - He takes away the first in order to establish the second.  By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Verses 9-10) 

Worship was changed so that Christ could sanctify God’s people by offering His own body for their sins.  Jesus told the woman at the well about that change.  She wanted to know about the place for worship.  Jesus told her that the time had come to no longer worship the Father in Jerusalem. 

He told her, "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.  "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."   (John 4:23-24). 

That old covenant earthly worship was not true worship but it does show us an earthly copy of our spiritual worship.  Was it made to happen for our instruction like Christ spoke in parables for our instruction?  

Peter said that when the prophets spoke ahead of our salvation they were, “seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” (1 Peter 1:11)

The Spirit of Christ is speaking to us through what the prophets wrote.  He spoke through one prophet and said, “I have also spoken to the prophets, And I gave numerous visions, And through the prophets I gave parables.” (Hosea 12:10) 

The Spirit of Christ is speaking through Moses when he directs those Israelites in their worship.  Is He speaking through Moses in parables?  We did hear the Hebrew writer say that the Law had only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things.  A shadow is just a dark image of what is the reality. 

If that old earthly worship was intended to be like a parable copy of our worship then it was like a true story parable because it really happened.  It actually happened at an earthly tabernacle (And later at the temple). 

Our spiritual worship is to be offered at God’s true tabernacle.  Our High Priest now serves in that true tabernacle.  Scripture says, “Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.” (Hebrews 8:1-2)

Jesus is now serving as our mediator with the Father in the Most Holy Place of God’s true tabernacle as we serve in the outer tabernacle room of the church on earth.  Speaking of our service in the church, Peter says that we are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).

That old Passover Feast was a part of their worship that was a shadow of the things to come.  Can we see a parallel earthly copy of our spiritual feast in that old earthly Passover feast?   

Just before the LORD was to strike down all of the firstborn of Egypt and bring them out of slavery on that Passover night God told His people, “Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. (Exodus 12:14-15)

God told them, “You shall also observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent ordinance.” (Exodus 12:17)

Forty years later God told that next generation (Through Moses), You are not allowed to sacrifice the Passover in any of your towns which the LORD your God is giving you; but at the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name, you shall sacrifice the Passover in the evening at sunset, at the time that you came out of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 16:5-6) 

We heard Jesus tell His disciples how He desired to eat that Passover with them before He suffered.  He told them, “for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

He was instituting the Lord’s Supper as they were observing that old Law Passover but He said that He would eat the Passover with them again in the kingdom of God.  If He would eat the Passover in the kingdom of God after He died on the cross then it would be the new covenant Passover, meaning the Lord’s Supper. 

That was the Passover that God was speaking of when He told Israel that they were to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.  Jesus would eat of that new covenant Passover with His disciples in the kingdom of God.  That kingdom is found in Christ’s church body.  He is meeting with us and partaking of that Passover with us when we observe the Lord’s Supper together in our assembly. 

Remember, He once told His disciples, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” (Matthew 18:20) 

Some have asked the question “is there a set day for us to observe the Lord’s Supper?”  Can we see it in what God told those Israelites?  He told them that they were to observe their Passover Feast as a memorial.  They were to celebrate it on the very day that God brought their hosts out of the land of Egypt, the land of slavery. 

Are we to observe our Passover on the very day when God brought us out of slavery to sin?  Jesus said that anyone who sins is a slave of sin but if the Son makes you free you will be free indeed (John 8:34-36)  

Jesus is leading God’s people out of slavery to sin in this world to take them to their heavenly land just as Moses led God’s earthly Israel out of Egyptian slavery to take them to their earthly land.  For those who have followed Jesus out of slavery to sin, they are to remember what He did to set them free and observe the very day that He led them out. 

When did Jesus bring His people out of that slavery?  We know that He had to offer Himself on the cross to redeem us from sin.  We have been commanded to partake of that feast to remember the offering of His body and His blood.  Not long after He made that sacrifice He began to lead His people out of slavery.

He is bringing His spiritual Israel out of slavery to sin every day as each one becomes obedient to the gospel but it began to happen on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit was first given and the gospel was first preached.  It happened on a Sunday, the first day of the week.  Remember, about three thousand souls were saved that day (Acts 2:38-41). 

Justin Martyr, one of the early church fathers, said that the Lord’s Supper was observed on Sunday.  In his First Apology (Written about 150AD), he tells how they came together in a common assembly on Sunday and partook of bread and wine and water. 

He says, “And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things.  Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.”

The last living apostle (John) lived and served in the church at Ephesus less than fifty years before Justin Martyr wrote those words and John was guided by the Holy Spirit.  It appears that the “Lord’s Day” that John spoke of in Revelation 1:10, was Sunday.  It seems unlikely that the day for worship assembly would have changed in fifty years. 

It appears that the first day of the week, Sunday, is the Lord’s Day and it is the day for us to assemble and partake of our new covenant Passover to remember Christ and what He had to do to bring us out of slavery to sin in this world. 

What Justin Martyr wrote was also written less than one hundred years after Paul was with the church assembled in Troas on the first day of the week.  Luke says that, “We sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at Troas within five days; and there we stayed seven days.  On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.” (Acts 20:6-7)

Scripture says that on the first day of the week, “when we were gathered together to break bread”, which infers that was the set time.  It appears that day was the set day for them to meet together to break bread and worship because Paul was there seven days and no mention is made of them meeting together during the previous six days. 

They came together on the first day of the week to break bread at Troas.  In another place Paul spoke of how the Corinthians came together to eat the Lord’s Supper.  He did not say on what day they met but they gathered for that purpose.  They gathered for that purpose but they had changed its meaning from spiritual to earthly and it did not meet God’s requirements. 

Paul told them, “Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk.” (1 Corinthians 11:20-21) 

He told them that they had houses where they could eat and drink.  Instead, they were making the Lord’s Supper into an earthly feast and those who had wealth ignored their poor brethren who had nothing.  The poor were hungry while the wealthy feasted.  They observed a divided earthly feast when they should have been observing a united spiritual feast.

Paul reminded them of what Jesus told His disciples when He instituted that feast.  He told them how Jesus took the bread and gave thanks and broke it and told His disciples, This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  He took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:24-26) 

When we partake of that feast we are spiritually partaking of His body and His blood.  We must remember Him when we partake.  We will be proclaiming His death to redeem us from sin.  The bread represents His body and the cup is the new covenant in His blood. 

Paul told them that whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.  He told them to examine themselves when they partake; For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.” (Verse 29)

We are Christ’s body.  We must judge the body rightly before we partake lest we partake in an unworthy manner.  Dare that we should partake in an unworthy manner lest we become guilty of His body and His blood.  We bring judgment to ourselves if we have not judged the body rightly. 

Paul tells them (And us), “So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.  If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment.” (1 Corinthians 11:33) 

Did that old Law Passover have an example of some being judged because they partook of that feast in an unworthy manner?  We know that God told His people they were not to eat of any peace offering if they were unclean.  One could become unclean if they had recently touched a dead body. 

Anyone who had become unclean because they had touched a dead person was not to partake of that old Law Passover Feast (Numbers 9:6).  They could partake at a later time (After having been made clean) but if they disobeyed and partook in an unclean condition, they brought judgment upon themselves.  They were to be cut off from Israel. 

They would also be cut off from Israel if they partook of leavened bread during their feast.  There was to be no leaven in their houses during the seven days of that feast. 

Why such harsh punishment for eating bread with leaven in it?  They ate bread with leaven at other times but not during that feast.  It sounds harsh unless God made it happen for our instruction.  Was it because God was speaking ahead of how we are to avoid leaven in our new covenant spiritual feast?  Does scripture say anything about our spiritual leaven? 

Remember, Jesus told the Jews that He was the bread of life and that bread is His flesh.  He also said that that anyone who eats of that bread will live forever (John 6:48-51). 

Christ’s disciples have become a part of His church body and they are the bread.  The bread must be kept free of leaven.

Paul spoke of the leaven we must avoid in our bread when he told the church at Corinth, “- - Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?  Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:6-8) 

Paul had just given them an example of the leaven of wickedness.  He was speaking of that church member who had taken his father’s wife and made no attempt to keep it hidden.  They were still accepting him in their church fellowship.  He said, “You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.” (1 Corinthians 5:3)  

No leaven is to be in the bread of His body during our feast, especially the leaven of immorality.  Paul says,Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)

Any man who lives an immoral life sins against his own body and if he is a member of the church, he sins against the church body.  If his sin is open and known within the church and the community, he not only sins against himself he causes all members who accept fellowship with Him to sin. 

We must consider the body of Christ and not allow leaven in our bread.  Not every sin is leaven but any so called brother or sister who is living a life of open wickedness is causing leaven to be in the bread. 

Paul is speaking of Christians avoiding fellowship with those who live wicked lifestyles while professing to be church members and trying to keep fellowship within the church.  He says, “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.  But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one.” (Verses 9-11)

Those church members who are leaven have been cut off by God and they are no longer heirs to that heavenly land but for the other members who continue to fellowship with them, the same thing will happen to them.  If we continue to fellowship with those who have become leaven in the body of Christ, we will be cut off from God’s people and lose our heavenly land. 

God’s people were not to partake of any leavened bread during the full seven days of that Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The Passover was the first day of that seven day feast.  If their feast lasted for seven days, then our feast lasts for seven days. 

Our seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread begins with our Passover on the first day and lasts for a full seven days.  We celebrate our Passover on Sunday and continue our feast for the rest of the week. 

After that seven day feast ends, the next week begins with another Passover and another seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread.  We must avoid leaven in our bread every day while we live on this earth. 

If we overlook obvious leaven in the body, we will answer for it.  Anyone who partakes of leaven during our feast and does not repent and change will be cut off from God’s people. 

Any brother or sister who would begin to live a life of open sinful rebellion so as to cause leaven to be in the body by trying to continue to worship and fellowship with the brotherhood will have become a stumbling block for the brethren.  For anyone who would cause God’s children to fall, their condemnation will likely be beyond anything outsiders will face.   

God forbid that we would ever cause a brother or sister to stumble and fall and be lost by tempting them to partake of our leaven.  If we should ever begin to live a life of open wickedness we should remove ourselves from the church fellowship.  A person who has left the church and has gone back into the world has removed that leaven from the bread. 

The church elders should do their best to keep leaven from the bread but the commandment is not just to elders, it is to each member of the body.  Each one of us will answer for how we have helped to avoid leaven.  I must avoid leaven even if some others fail to do that. 

We must make every effort to be with the assembly on the first day of the week to worship and partake of the Passover.  Scripture says that any man who was clean (Under the Law) and was not on a journey but failed to partake of the Passover was to be cut off from God’s people.  We must not neglect to observe our Passover Feast (Without a valid reason) lest we be cut off from God’s people and lose our inheritance.

For those who might be unclean, however, the reverse is true.  If it should happen that we made a mistake during the week and caused ourselves to become spiritually unclean (Like touching a spiritually dead body?), we must not partake of that feast. 

Under that old Law an unclean person would remain unclean for seven days.  If we must avoid eating of our Passover because we are unclean, it appears that we can partake of the next Passover if we have repented and remain clean until that next appointed time. 

God caused that old Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread to happen for our instruction.  We need to hear the message.  We must not forsake partaking of our Passover lest we be cut off from God’s people.  Before we partake we must consider the body and remove leaven from the bread. 

If it should ever happen that we become leaven, then we need to be careful to avoid that Passover and the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread at all costs because if we cause some of God’s children to be cut off it would make God very unhappy.  

 

Johnny Rogers 7-14-14                                                                                                     

Revised 7-4-16  



                                                                                       

Image of the cross is from FreeFoto.com

Link For cross - http://www.freefoto.com/preview/05-08-10?ffid=
05-08-10&k=Cross+at+Sunset

 

"Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973,
1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org )