The Lords Supper and The Passover

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The Lord’s Supper and The Passover

March 18, 2002

According to Christ, His last supper (what Paul calls “the Lord’s supper” – 1Co 11:20) was “the Passover” (Mat 26:18) and “as oft as (he) kept it” was once a year.

The sum of your word is truth (Psa 119:160 ESV); How precious are your thoughts to me God! How great is the sum of them (Psa 139:17 New KJV).

It is the SUM of God’s word that is the truth. It is not the “signs” or the rituals, but the “sum of thy word is truth.”

Let me demonstrate this point:

Gen 17:13 He that is born in thy house and he that is bought with money must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

There it is. The Lord Himself is calling circumcision “in your flesh” an “everlasting covenant.”

This is not the sum of the word of God on this subject, however.

Gal 5:1 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

Php 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in spirit; And have no confidence in the flesh.

Rom 2:29 He is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter.

Both of these are the word of God (Moses and Paul), but the sum of God’s word says the spirit (spiritual circumcision) has replaced the outward sign. “Outward circumcision” (Rom 2:28) is not real circumcision now. Real circumcision “is that of the heart in the spirit.”

Now what is the “sum” of the word on the subject of what Christ called the Passover and what Paul called the Lord’s supper? Is outward ritual now being reinstituted in this case?

It almost appears to be that way. Christ does say:

1Co 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
1Co 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
1Co 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

It is obvious that the Corinthians, as were the Galatians, as were the other apostles, were all “observing days, months, times and years” (Gal 4:10). This brings us back to the “sum of your word.”

The “days, months, times and years” are “weak and beggarly elements” that bring us into “bondage” (Gal 4:9). We remain “a child” (Greek – nepios – a toddler, an infant, or even a fetus) as long as we remain attached to these outward “letter” signs and do not, in fact cannot, become huios or huiothesia, mature spiritual sons, as long as we cling to outward rituals and signs.

The point of 1 Corinthians 11 is not Paul encouraging the Corinthians to participate in a ritual or to esteem the Passover over other days, but to “shew the Lord’s death till he come.” This is accomplished by “eating his body and drinking his blood worthily.”

In Joh 6:51, Christ says:

Joh 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Joh 6:52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?
Joh 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

Obviously Christ was not talking about the physical flesh of His physical body. Here is what he meant by His flesh and His blood:

Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.

This is in the same 6th chapter of John. Christ is explaining to his disciples what it really means to eat His flesh and drink His blood.

If we have His word in us, we have Christ in us, and we are eating His flesh and drinking His blood. If we “mortify” the flesh (Rom 8:13) we “shew his death till he come.”

Eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood is not a once-a-year event anymore to a huios (mature son). It is now 24/7. That’s why Paul says let us keep the feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Christ Himself made it clear that “eating this bread and drinking this cup” is not to be taken literally: Except you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you – It is the spirit that gives life; the words that I have spoken unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (Joh 6:53 and 63).

It is the words of Christ that are spirit and life, “meat indeed and drink indeed” (vs 55).

The reasoning of the immature Christian is “Christ said to do it, so I’m going to do it.” With this reasoning, we should “tithe the tithe of anise, mint and cumin” and “offer the offering commanded by Moses.” But these are not the “sum” of the words of Christ.

The sum of Christ’s words did not come to us while He was here in the flesh. Christ’s disciples were in no condition to receive the sum of His word, not even they who later became His apostles. Here is what Christ said to them while He had only 24 hours or less left in the flesh: I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now (Joh 16:12). So there were many things that were revealed after Christ’s death and resurrection which his disciples both then and some even now “cannot bear.”

We have a hard time thinking of the twelve apostles as being immature babes, but that is exactly what they were at the start. Being with Christ 3 1/2 years, casting out demons and healing the sick does not make one a mature son. It was close to two decades after the death and resurrection of Christ that “Peter…Barnabas and the other Jews” (Gal 2:11-13) separated themselves from the Gentile believers. They were still, at that late date, unable “to bear” some of the things Christ was “saying unto them.”

How would it have been received by the twelve if, while Christ was still in the flesh, He had told them Israel according to the flesh will be broken off and replaced by the son of the freewoman, the Israel of God (Romans 9 and 11 and Galatians 4, 5 and 6).

According to Joh 16:12, they wouldn’t have been able to bear it. Were the Corinthians mature?

1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

This was not the time for Gal 4:10 and 11: ye observe days, months, times and year, I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed labor upon you in vain.

Instead Paul says:

1Co 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

This statement was made in regards to putting the incestuous man out of the congregation away from fellowship with those who were living “sincere and truthful” lives. This was Paul’s concept of “keeping the feast.” This is how Paul perceived purging out “the old leaven.” This is what Paul called “Christ our Passover.” I seriously doubt Paul meant for the Corinthians to wait until the Passover to put this man out of their midst. We should “keep the feasts” in their true meaning 24/7.

This is a demonstration of what is truly the sum of God’s word on this or any other subject. Paul doesn’t kick their first-grade desk out from under them and rail at them for their lack of maturity. The law of love does not permit that. The law of love becomes “all things to all men that (it) might by all means save some” (1Co 9:22).

One of the most telling features of those who are still under the law is they allow knowledge to puff them up. Consequently, they place great stress on outward shows of righteousness; days, months, times and years; water baptism; the Lord’s supper; etc. A mature son can cope with any stage of development in other Christians because he is aware that sin is not defined by letter any more that righteousness is. The “sum” of the word of God on the subject of sin is not only “sin is lawlessness”, but also “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Understanding this fact enables the mature huios to truly become “all things to all men” (1Co 9:19-22). Proving himself right becomes secondary to “making [him] self servant unto all, that [he] might gain the more” (1Co 9:19).

Yes, Gal 4:10 is still there. Observing days is still for babes in Christ. 1Co 9:19-20 doesn’t change Galatians 4. It should, however, change our actions when in the midst of a group that still observes days, months, times and years.

Heb 8:13 is still true. The old covenant with all its laws, rituals and Holy Days is still waxing old and vanishing away.

Heb 10:1 is still true. The “shadows” of the law (sacrifices, Holy Days, etc.) still make nothing perfect.

Col 2:14-22 is still true for the mature Christian. “Ordinances” have been “taken out of the way,” and “nailed to his cross” (vs. 14). The shadows of “meats, drinks, Holy Days, new moons and Sabbath days” are replaced by the “body of Christ.” Shadows disappear at noon when the undiluted light of the truth shines straight down on the body of Christ. This is what was casting all those old covenant shadows. Now that we have the body, why would we ever return to living in the shadows as immature sons?

Those who have the knowledge of what Christ has accomplished would never do that. “Howbeit there is not in every man (this more mature) knowledge” (1Co 8:7).

There are two chapters in scripture dealing with those who are “weak in the faith”. The first is:

Rom 14: Him that is weak in the faith, receive ye, but NOT TO DOUBTFUL DISPUTATIONS.

Most of this chapter is addressed to the huios, the mature son, who is admonished to bear with his less mature brothers: “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not…” The less mature Christians are also admonished:

Rom 14:3 And let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

How can an older brother condemn a younger brother for being exactly what and where he himself was earlier in life? We are all where we are in our spiritual development and growth only by the grace of God.

Paul clearly states in 1Co 8:4-8 that an idol is nothing and eating meat offered to an idol neither makes us “better” nor “worse.”

1Co 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

Paul made it clear that sinning against a brother is sinning against Christ.

1Co 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
1Co 8:13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

I seriously doubt that Paul became a vegetarian. After all, he admonished the weak brother not to “judge him that eateth” (Rom 14:3). “I will eat no flesh” has to do with meats “offered to idols” in 1 Corinthians 8.

Romans 14 has more to do with vegetarians (vs 2) and those who still observe Holy Days (vs 5). However, the message of both chapters is the same: We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

This is Rom 15:1, but it is the conclusion of what has been said in Rom 14.

Rom 15:2 Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.

These are not matters of morality under discussion in these two chapters. Paul doesn’t say “we that are strong ought to fornicate with the weak.” We separate ourselves from brothers who are turning grace into lasciviousness, but we “bear with” brothers who are simply “weak in the faith” or less mature in Christ.

If anyone in your congregation sincerely felt they should wash each other’s feet, I would be the first to wash them, were it my choice. I would never encourage a weak brother to remain weak and immature, however. Older brothers should “bear with” younger brothers, but they should always encourage them to grow in Christ.

Joh 13:14 If I then your Lord and master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

This is not a commandment to wash feet any more than “eat my flesh” is an encouragement for cannibalism. Christ was not replacing one ritual with another one. The whole point of this exercise by Christ is not verse 14, but verse 15: For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done unto you (vs 15). Spiritual maturity reveals this has nothing to do with washing feet that don’t even need washing. It has everything to do with simply serving one another.

As is always the case, a babe will prefer the type over the reality. Washing someone’s already clean feet is not a foot-washing at all. Helping a brother in need, serving in any way needed, is truly “washing one another’s feet.”

I hope this is of some use to you. I’ll close with the prayer that Paul had for the Romans after expressing his thoughts on this subject: Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus (Rom 15:5).

Your brother in Christ,

Mike Vinson

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