From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 3- The Unleavened Bread, continued
THE LORD’S SUPPER
“Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.” (Lk. 22:1). It is most significant and enlightening when we discover that Jesus used the natural observance of the Feasts of the Lord by which to explain and reveal their spiritual significance. So it was on the occasion of the last Passover that Jesus revealed its true spiritual significance. To fulfill as the righteousness of the Law on the one hand, and to establish the new Covenant on the other, the Lord kept this Feast with His disciples. “With desire,” He said, “I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.” (Lk. 22:15). He greatly desired to do this that He might introduce His disciples into a new order of worship and fellowship in the Spirit. On the eve of the Passover, when He Himself was about to be slain as the true Passover Lamb, then it was that our Lord gathered His disciples together and gave them the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. He finished the old ceremony that He might establish the new. For it is always consistent with God’s plans and purposes that He takes away the first before He establishes the second. (Heb. 10:9). And again, “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.” (1 Cor. 15:46). First the earthly, then the heavenly. First the flesh, and then the Spirit. Christ was therefore desirous to eat the last Passover with His disciples, that He might take it away and establish the new Feast, the Lord’s Supper. “And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is My body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you.” (Lk. 22:19, 20).
THIS IS THE HOUR OF RESTORATION
It is certain that God is now preparing His people for the greatest Feast of her long history–the Feast of Tabernacles. And therefore it is not without significance that in this day and hour of restoration God is stressing the spiritual significance of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, that we might be prepared to go on to the fullness of Pentecost, and then to Tabernacles. And this must be so, because it is always God’s plan to lead us from “glory to glory” and from one experience to the next in Divine order. And though it is true that the Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost, both found their fulfillment in Christ and the early Church–we have now come to the “ends of the ages” when the glory of the past must be restored and absorbed in the last great Feast of the Church. Truth having been largely lost or obscured during the Dark Ages, the Spirit is now as never before bringing forth out of God’s treasure-house things new and old, re-establishing the walls and foundations of Truth, and rebuilding the Temple of God. And so from Reformation days and until now, God has graciously been restoring lost Truth; and the Reformation is by no means finished yet.
Therefore, with the corruption and division of God’s people, the true meaning of the Lord’s Supper has been lost. That is why Paul said to the Corinthians, rent asunder as they were with strife and heresy: “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not (or, it is not possible) to eat the Lord’s Supper.” (1 Cor. 11:20). The fact is this: the Lord’s Supper, when observed in the Spirit, and in spiritual union and fellowship with the saints, is actual participation with Christ. “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of (participation with) the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of (participation with) the body of Christ?” (1 Cor. 10:16). Therefore, without that spiritual participation and fellowship, it is really not the Lord’s Supper. True, the Corinthians partook of the elements of the Communion just the same as our churches do today–but it was not really the Lord’s Supper, because in their carnality they did not understand its true meaning, and instead of appropriating Christ they became weak and sickly, and many even died. GHW
This lesson comes at such a good time for me. I recently attended an online seminar called “Eucharistic Fire” put on by Union Theological Seminary, that explored a Wesleyan look at the Eucharist from the perspective of participation rather than simply memorial. Wesleyans acknowledge the “real presence” of Christ’s body and blood in the elements of communion without getting bogged down on how that happens. What I came away with was a new paradigm for administering the sacrament as well as receiving the sacrament. What I can say is that allowing yourself to be present with Christ in the heavenlies, through the Holy Spirit, as He administers the blessed sacrament to you through the hands of the celebrant and then the eucharistic ministers, is a spiritual reliving of Christ and His disciples in the upper room on the night of the last earthly Passover. A mystery for sure…but one worth exploring together with others in the body of Christ.