The Rod of an Almond Tree: III
________THE LAST SUPPER
The Rod of an Almond Tree – The Crucifixion and the Last Supper
I’m here today to disprove an old adage. Remember the one, “the Devil is in the details”? Well, I say that that’s the Devil’s propaganda, to keep us away from the details, because that’s where we can really confirm God’s reality. See, it’s God who’s in the details! We’re going to be looking at some more of the details of the Crucifixion and the Last Supper. We’re going to find some amazing and beyond human production details.
When you dig down deep into the details of Mosaic Law and ritual, you find Christ. Every place you find Christ. And why not? God’s behind the whole thing; Christ is His Son, and going to implement all of His ideas, and why shouldn’t everything, the Ark of the Covenant, Communion, the Passover, the Crucifixion, all the things about the Bible point to Christ. They do!
Well, for 1,400 years after the first Passover out of Egypt, the Passover lambs carried a little nametag of their owners before the Passover sacrifice. See, they had to keep the lamb for four days before the sacrifice. And I don’t know where they kept the lamb, but if it got away, then everybody would know whose lamb it was and they could get it back in time for the sacrifice. And it hangs around the neck of the lamb with a red cord. Oh, I know you noticed that part – red is blood, right? But see, I don’t even know whether this is in the Mosaic Law or not, or if it’s just a tradition that started and carried through. It doesn’t say in the Bible, everybody got a nametag. But everybody was doing it. It was part of the whole process. But that is just a practical detail. If you lose your lamb, you get it back. And it seems unrelated, but it was carried forward to be manifest in the true Passover Lamb, Jesus. Because all the previous Passover lambs pointed to Christ and what He was going to do, they were types of Christ.
The book again is The Rod of the Almond Tree in God’s Master Plan by Peter A. Michas.
As the Jews prepared for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, they acquired a copper nametag bearing the family name, as I said. This tag was hung around the Passover lamb’s neck with a red rope to identify their sacrifice. So too, the Lamb of God bore the name of God for all to see. Yeshua – that’s Jesus’ name – Yeshua, is God’s Passover Lamb sacrifice for the sins of humankind, once and for all. And let me add here real quickly, you notice that there are four colors that are always used by God in different areas. There’s blue, purple, white and red. Red, we know, that’s blood. White, that’s purity, sinlessness. Purple, royalty, you know, the royal purple. And blue stands for the sky, eternity. That red rope couldn’t have been blue, couldn’t have been purple, couldn’t have been white. Because, the main message of the sacrifice of the lamb is the shedding of the blood, the red blood.
The hidden meaning in Pilate’s inscription. I’ve got to give you a little bit of background here. We usually think that there’s only one inscription over Christ at the Crucifixion. But actually, he showed us that there are two. The first three Gospels talk about a superscription, and it’s translated “inscription,” and the word “charge” is used. So that’s a very reasonable thing. They said, “This guy’s a murderer,” and they tack it up over his head, to tell everybody why he’s in trouble. And that’s what it says in the first three Gospels. But in John, it changes. It’s not that. And the one that’s listed in John is written by Pilate. It doesn’t say in any of the other ones that they were written by Pilate, but this one was written by Pilate, and it caused a very great stir among the Jewish leaders. They went to Pilate to demand that he take it down; change it! And he said, “Hey, buzz off. I wrote what I wrote. Get out of here.”
John 19:20 states that Pilate’s inscription was written in three languages, Hebrew, Latin and Greek. Because a great majority of the Jewish people were in Jerusalem for the Passover, and Yeshua was crucified in a public place, thousands must have read this inscription. The original Greek of Pilate’s inscription, as recorded in John 19:19, is Iesous O Nazaraios O Basileus Ton Ioudaion. Because the Greek language is the language in which the New Testament was preserved, we have to construct the Hebrew and Latin from the Greek. And we can do that pretty easily. We must also arrive at an accurate English translation from the Greek. Now, ultimately, understanding the Hebrew is going to be the key to unlocking the hidden meaning in the inscription. This is really neat stuff, this codifying that we’re going to talk about.
So he takes the five Greek words in the inscription and details them out here. The name Jesus, Iesous, is the English transliteration of the Greek. The English transliteration of the Hebrew name is Yeshua. (And that means “salvation,” by the way.) The second word in Greek, Nazaraios – and that’s another thing about these inscriptions – the first three inscriptions say nothing about Nazareth. They all talk about the King of the Jews. Jesus, the King of the Jews. This is Jesus, the King of the Jews. They don’t ever say anything about Nazareth. And that’s another detail that says that there were two, because John says Nazarene. Now, at least one other Gospel would say Nazarene. Sometimes things get left out in the repeated stories.
So let’s get on with Nazarene. Nazarene, in some English translations, instead of Nazareth, they say Nazarene. But the Greek word is Nazarene. The actual Hebrew word transliterated into English is Hanazri. Did you notice the “Nazri,” Nazri, that’s the Nazarene. And the “Ha” is a prefix in Hebrew that says “the.” So Hanazri isn’t Hanazri, it’s “the Nazarene.” The third original Hebrew word translated “king” seems to be the source of the great upset among the Jewish leaders. The current Hebrew text translates the Greek word as “Melech.” However, it seems unlikely that this form of the Hebrew word created a problem, since the religious leaders themselves used it to mock Yeshua. They said, “He said He was the King of the Jews,” and they used “Melech” for the word “king.” So that wasn’t what they had a problem with. And they didn’t have any problem with Yeshua, that was His name, and where He came from, Nazareth, or that he was a Nazarene, dedicated to God; they didn’t argue with that. And they called Him themselves, the King of the Jews, right?
So the key is what form of the Hebrew word “Melech” is used for king. The correct usage of the Greek letter omicron – remember, there are two of those – provides the clue. Generally, the omicron translates as “the.” However, there are other possible translations, depending on the context. The omicron appears twice in the Greek inscription. Between “Yeshua” and “Nazarene” – it says “Yeshua O Nazarene,” or “the Nazarene,” or maybe something different, and then between “Nazarene” and “king.” “Nazarene, the King of the Jews.” Note the differences in how the omicron is translated into the English translations above in the King James and the NIV. The first omicron is translated “of,” as in “Jesus of Nazareth.” The second omicron is translated “the.” “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Judging by the reaction of the Jewish leaders, the religious leaders, it seems that the translation of the second omicron is “and,” resulting in the following English translation of the inscription. “Jesus the Nazarene and King of the Jews.” See, this was His title; that wasn’t the charge against Him; that was the title. And we’ll see that in just a minute.
Given that the correct translation of the omicron before the word “king” is “and,” the correct form of the Hebrew word for “king,” “Melech,” is “Vemelech.” See, there’s another prefix going on there. The “v-e” says “and.” “H-a” says “the,” “v-e” means “and,” so they say “Vemelech,” meaning “and king.” Well, what’s the big deal? Jesus the Nazarene and King of the Jews, okay. Yeshua, Hanazri Vemelech HaYehudim. Well, it is a big difference! This is the detail we’re getting to here. This apparently minor change in both the English and the Hebrew will in fact have profound implications in the meaning of the inscription. The last two Greek words in the inscription are translated into English as “of the Jews,” “ton Ioudaion.” In Hebrew, it’s only one word. See, this inscription in Hebrew only has four words in it, because you don’t have to put “of the” and everything and add words to it; you just put “ve” on there, or “and” or whatever. In the Hebrew, the one word which transliterates into English as HaYehudim. See, Yehudim is pretty obviously Jewish, the Jews, Yehudim, Yehuda and all that, from the tribe of Judah, and we put the “ha” in front of it, it says “the” Yehudim, the Jews. The “im” is plural. So, big deal, huh? Yeah, it is.
In order to ascertain the hidden meaning of the inscription, it’s essential to comprehend certain unique aspects of Hebrew writing. In Hebrew studies, speaking or writing the first and last words of some written text implies the entire text. A good example of this is Yeshua’s words on the tree. He spoke the first and last words of Psalm 22, which referred to the entire text of Psalm 22. And, in so doing, He indicated that He was the fulfillment of its prophetic picture.
Now in the same manner, the Jewish scribes of that day used a method of interpretation whereby the first letters of a sequence of words were combined in order to discern further meanings. This is just working with an acronym, okay? Straight Talk About God is STAG. That’s easy. And if you want to emphasize that, you make the letters big, or in bold type. This was particularly true if the first letters of the words were enlarged for emphasis. The Roman Catholic church borrowed this idea when they placed the four letters, INRI, on the crucifix. These are the first letters of the four words that make up the inscription in Latin. These four words were in Latin also. There’s six or seven in English, but there’s only four in Latin. And the four in Latin are Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum. INRI. Iesus – that’s the “I,” Nazarenus, “N,” Rex, “R,” Iudaeorum starts with an “I,” so you’ve got those four letters. Now try to get that image in your mind. There’s four words there, and the first letter of each word is twice the size and in bold type, so it really stands out, and they tend to meld right together that way.
But the hidden meaning in Greek or Latin is entirely lost unless we go back to the original Hebrew. The religious leaders of the day would certainly have related to their own God-given language. And herein lies the cause of their alarm. Again, there’s four words in Hebrew, and they say, as we said before, Yeshua Hanazri Vemelech HaYehudim. But before this mystery can be revealed, we must remember that Hebrew is read from right to left. So when we see it on the page, it’s backwards. So we get the wrong first letter for the word if we don’t understand that. So, as I said, the transliteration into English is Yeshua -- that means salvation -- and Hanazri, as a matter of fact, means to guard, keep, protect. And king is next, Vemelech, and Jews. Yeshua Hanazri Vemelech HaYehudim. The first four letters are yod, hay, vav, hay, YHVH. Were you ahead of me on that one? YHVH? That’s the Tetragrammaton. That’s none other than the ineffable name of God. And it was considered too awesome back in those times and too sacred to even speak it. They just took the vowel points and put them in different places so it came out and sounded like a different word. But they wouldn’t even say the word, which is their problem.
But let us recall that the rod of God also carried the ineffable name of God. Just as the rod of the Tree of Life carried the name of God, so too – because the rod of the Tree of Life was Moses’ rod and Aaron’s rod that we talked about, the rod that goes in front of the Ark of the Covenant, that they get sprinkled with the blood of the sin sacrifice. That rod carried the name of God. That’s why Moses was able to take it away from the garden of his father-in-law, because he saw the name on there, and we don’t know how, but he knew the name, he knew it was the name of God, and that allowed him to take it. It was waiting there for him. We did a lot about that in the last couple of shows. I can’t do any more on that right now.
So it was also a sign of who Yeshua was, the Lamb of God, the Lamb prophetically promised to Abraham. To fully appreciate this symbolic importance, we must understand the Passover tradition that was practiced at this time. And here’s a repeat of the introduction: As Jews prepared for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, they acquired a copper name tag bearing the family name. This name tag hung around the Passover lamb’s neck with a red rope to identify their sacrifice. So too, the Lamb of God bore the name of God for all to see. Yeshua is God’s Passover Lamb sacrifice for the sins of humankind, once and for all time. See, so there’s this second inscription placed over the head of Jesus at the Crucifixion, which says he belongs to Yahweh. Isn’t that wonderful?!
Let’s go to the Last Supper. The Last Supper was where communion was instituted, and that’s what we’re going to take as we go through this. If you don’t have your elements together, get them together now.
The Passover meal, and the ordination of the new priesthood. Again, a bunch of details in the account here that we don’t even know about when we just read the account. Oh, Jesus took bread and He broke it, and He said eat all of this, drink all of this wine, here, I’m going to wash your feet – you know, we just pass by that and don’t even think about it.
There’s been a great controversy as to whether or not the Last Supper was a Passover meal. The synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, seem to indicate that the Last Supper was a Passover meal, but there was never any mention of a Passover lamb. In contrast, the Gospel of John clearly states that the Passover lambs were sacrificed the day after the Last Supper, and that the nation of Israel observed the Passover meal on the following evening. You see, this was Wednesday evening, Jewish time, which makes it six o’clock on Tuesday night. Wednesday starts at six o’clock Tuesday night. The Last Supper happened Tuesday night after six o’clock, which was the first part – the morning, if you will – of Wednesday.
One explanation to resolve this apparent inconsistency – what inconsistency? The inconsistency that Exodus says to do it on the 14th, not the 15th. Well now they’re doing it on the 15th. Oh, well, it wasn’t the Passover meal. It was the Passover meal, but it wasn’t, and there are a lot of questions. There’s two different dates for the observance of the Passover. A very reasonable and obvious explanation, once you see it, in support of this point of view is that while the original ordinance of the Passover, according to Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, is the 14th of Abib – that’s the month Abib – the nation of Israel observed Passover on the 15th, according to a later interpretation of Deuteronomy 16. Even so, it is possible that certain groups continued the 14th of Abib observance at the same time Israel as a whole followed the 15th of Abib observance. This was the case with the Samaritans, who followed the original date of the 14th at the time of Yeshua, as they still do this day.
Now let me put in here that we don’t mean that on the 14th some people ate the sacrificed lamb and most of the people didn’t. They did it on the 15th, because the high priest and the Levites had to be involved in all of this sacrifice stuff. And they were sacrificing on the 15th, not the 14th. So it must have been some other kind of a thing rather than the official Passover meal where they ate the lamb and drank four glasses of wine and had the bitter herbs and whatever else at the Seder. If this was the case, the apparent inconsistency of the Gospel accounts is resolved by understanding that Yeshua and His disciples ate the Passover meal on the 14th, while the nation of Israel as a whole ate the Passover meal on the 15th. Because it was a memorial, that’s all; it was just a memorial. They were remembering the true date.
Now, here’s the question: Why is the specific Greek word denoting unleavened bread not used in reference to the Last Supper bread, if the Last Supper was the Passover meal? Well, the Greek has a specific word, azumos, to denote the matzah, the unleavened bread of the Passover and of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread. See, there’s three feasts that go on, three set times – appointments, is what they are. Feasts is a bad translation. But I’ll keep using it anyway because it’s familiar. The three Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits all happened within an eight- or nine-day period in the spring. Passover happened on the first day of the three, the very next day started Unleavened Bread and went for a week, and sometime during that week, Sunday came. And when Sunday came, that was when First Fruits, another high holy day, or feast, was celebrated. But they squeezed the two of them together, as I said before. Passover and Unleavened Bread started on the same day. But the Unleavened Bread, you had to take all the leaven, all the yeast, the leaven, out of not only the bread, but the whole house. You couldn’t even have it in the house, because it symbolizes sin. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, it says.
So every time we’re talking about the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover, the word used for bread is azumos, which means in Hebrew, is matzah. Well, significantly, this particular Greek word is not used when referring to the bread that Yeshua broke at the Last Supper. It just says He broke bread, and it doesn’t even say it was unleavened. It just He broke bread, and He said, eat some of this.
In all passages referring to the bread Yeshua took and broke at the Last Supper, the Greek word is artos. That’s nothing like azumos. Artos. And it’s interesting to note that this same Greek word is also used in Scripture to refer to the showbread – that’s the consecrated bread in the Temple – and to bread in a metaphorical way to show a spiritual picture. So every time there’s a spiritual thing happening here, this artos word is used. And that’s what was broken at the Last Supper, artos, not matzos.
In regard to the Last Supper, there are at least three key elements missing from the Biblical account that are essential elements in the traditional Passover meal. See, and because Jesus is the type, and all that stuff that He does is the type and shows Christ in all that stuff, and fulfills in reality all of the types that preceded Him, like the Passover lamb and all that stuff, these details aren’t going to be passed over. It’s not going to be different. If they were really doing the Passover like we can think, they would have had matzah, it would have said matzah. There would have been a lamb there. There would have been women and children there. And none of that was happening. There was no matzah, no lamb, no women and kids. This is a family thing.
There are additional clues from the context of Scripture to show that the Last Supper was not the traditional Passover meal. One of them was that the disciples think that Judas is being sent out to purchase something for the festival, referring to the Passover after – that’s the operative word – after the meal. See, they got through, Jesus leaned over and He says, Go do what you’re going to do. And he splits. Judas goes, and then they go through with the eating the bread and drinking the wine. It was after the meal was over. But the disciples, they say in John 13:29, “For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, Buy the things we have need of for the Feast, or else that he should give something to the poor.” If the Last Supper was a Passover meal, a traditional one, Judas would not be going out to purchase something for the Passover after the meal had been eaten.
Secondly, Yeshua says that He desires to eat the Passover with them, but He will not eat it until the Kingdom comes. Well, wait a minute, I thought we were eating the Passover here. You know, we’re passing the bread around and dipping it into the sop and giving it to people, and they’re eating, and when they’re all through, then – well, how come He says – I mean, it doesn’t make sense, unless He was talking about the real traditional Passover lamb and so forth.
The most telling witness is that of the Gospel of John, which specifically states that the lambs were to be sacrificed the following day, and that the nation of Israel was to observe the Passover meal on the following evening, John 19:31. The Jews therefore, because it was the day of preparation – and this is the day of the Crucifixion, but they’re calling it the day of preparation. Preparation for what? To kill and eat the Passover. The day of preparation. So that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, because that Sabbath was a high day, they asked Pilate that their legs be broken, the people who were crucified. And that they might be taken away. In John 19:42 it says, Therefore on the account of the Jewish day of preparation – again, there is the adequate witness – because the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
Now that high Sabbath refers to the Passover high day, or the Unleavened Bread high day, not just the regular Saturday Sabbath. The day of preparation refers to Wednesday, the 14th of Abib, which started Tuesday night, when the Passover lambs were sacrificed in preparation for the Passover meal on Wednesday evening, after six o’clock, which now was Thursday, the 15th. Now, for the reason presented above, the Last Supper could not have been a traditional Passover meal. However, the Last Supper was a memorial Passover meal, meaning that it was observed in remembrance of the Exodus Passover, in accordance to the original date of the 14th of Abib. Yeshua revealed Himself to be God’s Passover Lamb, to be sacrificed for the sins of humankind at that time. Because Yeshua is the Passover Lamb, there can be no other lamb at the meal. See how that works? He was going to go to be the sacrifice. So the real thing was there now; we didn’t have to do the type of the sacrifice now.
Here are some more neat details, and it fits right in with Mosaic Law and the priesthood, and ordaining new priests, and all of that stuff. Let me put a comment in here. Jesus didn’t start His ministry until He was 30. That’s the first time that a priest could be ordained. You couldn’t be a priest before you were 30 years old. That’s what He was. Just as the priests in the Temple ate the showbread, Yeshua’s disciples ate the showbread given to them by the High Priest, Yeshua Messiah. He’s the High Priest, He gave them, and He made them priests, and they ate the showbread. Exactly what the priests in the Hebrew Temple were doing. The only priests who were in a state of spiritual cleanness could lawfully eat the showbread. Thus, Yeshua was showing that His disciples were His new priesthood of the New Covenant.
Another aspect of this ordination of the new priesthood was shown by Yeshua washing the feet of His disciples. In fact, Yeshua remarked that all the disciples were clean, except Judas -- He didn’t name Judas by name; He said all but one, and then He says He’s going to be betrayed -- whom He sent away after the meal, but before the breaking of the showbread. In a metaphorical way, Judas, as the leaven representing sin, had to be removed before Yeshua broke the consecrated bread. God commanded that the priests wash their feet, their hands and their feet, and if their feet were not perfectly clean, they were not permitted to perform divine service. You can find that in Exodus. This was the symbolic act of Yeshua washing the disciples’ feet. In referring to the one who was not clean – that’s in John 13:11 – Yeshua meant Judas, who was about to give Him up to the religious authorities. But with regard to the rest of the eleven disciples, Yeshua said that they were clean; only their feet required washing. And by washing their feet, Yeshua was symbolically preparing them for the new path that they would take in the service of God, as part of the new priesthood, to which all believers belong. In instructing the disciples to wash each other’s feet, Yeshua symbolically conveys to them that they are to serve each other and be in an equal relationship as part of His new priesthood, including all the believers.
Now with regard to the type of bread that Yeshua took and broke – a detail I’ll add on a little bit here – again, the Greek word artos was used. Why does this Greek word artos, rather than azumos, meaning unleavened bread, appear in all the passages concerning the bread that Yeshua took and broke at the Last Supper? If Yeshua had been eating the traditional Passover meal, then He would have taken the matzah. But for our discussion above, we have already seen that more than one key element of the Passover meal was missing from the Last Supper. The answer to the question about the Last Supper bread has great significance to what Yeshua was doing. To better understand the significance, let’s examine various usages of the Greek word artos to denote bread. Here’s one definition: Showbread, referring to the consecrated loaves of unleavened bread made of finely sifted flour and water.
When Yeshua told His disciples to prepare the Passover, He says – it’s in Matthew, Mark and Luke – He says, “And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare the Passover for us that we may eat it.” Luke 22. Luke 22:13 says, “And they departed and found everything” – “everything” is an important word there – “just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.” Now we know already from just a little bit ago that the lamb wasn’t part of that, because the lambs weren’t sacrificed yet. So the lamb couldn’t have been part of that. But everything else was. Everything they needed to do the Passover, except the lamb, was there. The table was probably completely set, it was all there, except this matzah.
Because Yeshua instructed Peter and John to go and prepare the place of the Passover, it’s unlikely that there would have been any leavened bread for the Passover for the Last Supper. This is because an essential part of preparing the Passover was removing all leaven from the premises, to get it out of the house. Leaven represents sin, and therefore, in a symbolic way, was to be removed prior to the Passover meal. You see how deeply buried this is in the details, and you don’t even find this out unless you go outside the Bible to find out what the showbread was, how it was made, where it was made, who could take it on, and all that. For this reason, the loaf of bread that Yeshua took and broke could not have been leavened bread of any kind. It must have been unleavened bread, but not the flat unleavened bread, matzah, used for the traditional Passover meal. The only other unleavened bread to which artos refers in Scripture is the showbread, and the showbread was baked in a loaf rather than a flat sheet, a loaf, like French bread.
From the Mishna it is known that it was lawful for the showbread to be prepared in Bethpage, or Bethphage, as it’s sometimes spelled. Bethpage was also the place where the donkey colt for Yeshua’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem was obtained. He said go prepare the meal, get me a donkey, and He comes in there. Therefore, it is very possible that the showbread was obtained from Bethpage as well. During the Passover week, Yeshua stayed with friends in Bethany. That’s where Mary Magdalene and Lazarus lived, one of their country houses. And that’s very close to Bethpage. They’re both located on the Mount of Olives, on the backside of the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple Mount. So I think it’s four or five miles from Bethany to Jerusalem. So you go up the Mount of Olives, cross over the top, go down, cross over that bridge that we talked about a couple times ago, and you go into the city. On the way, they stop at Bethpage, and they get unleavened bread, showbread.
Since John was a Levite, of the priestly tribe, and since he was with Peter preparing the room for the Passover, it was very possible that he was able to acquire the showbread from Bethpage. If Yeshua took showbread and broke it at the Last Supper, it’s highly significant for the showbread, as the capital “B” Bread of “P” Presence -- the Bread of Presence is another title of the showbread -- represented Yeshua Himself, the manifestation of God. The showbread was also an emblem of the Messiah, according to both Jewish and Christian symbolism. Being unleavened, the showbread represents Yeshua’s sinlessness. Another little detail. The showbread was always offered with great gratitude, as Yeshua offered Himself as the bread of heaven. The flour that was used to make the showbread was finely sifted many times until it was pure, without any imperfections. It was also unleavened, symbolizing spiritual perfection. Yeshua presented Himself before God and to His disciples as a pure, sinless sacrifice. And He was grateful to be able to give his body, symbolized by the bread, to be broken for the sake of humanity.
In eating the showbread, the disciples were not literally eating Yeshua’s body, nor is the believer partaking in communion eating the literal body of Yeshua. See, the meaning is entirely symbolic. And I’ve mentioned this many times. Just as it is with the wine. That’s why Yeshua says, Do this in remembrance of Me. And He gave thanks, broke it, said, This is my body, this is for you, do this in remembrance of Me. In the same way, He also took the cup, and after saying, This is the cup of the New Covenant of my blood, do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of Me. That all comes out of 1 Corinthians, where Paul writes about the communion.
Another symbolic picture is revealed in understanding that there were twelve loaves of showbread. And the twelve loaves represented the twelve tribes. It was their token validating offering to God. Every week they put a new loaf of bread up there for one of the tribes. But they can also be seen as representing the twelve disciples. And there were actually only twelve. When Judas is out of the picture, Paul is in the picture. The only true disciples are the ones that Jesus picks. The apostles are the ones Jesus picked personally. They drew lots for that guy that took Judas’s place.
So, in addition, the showbread symbolized the fellowship of God with His people. Yeshua, the High Priest, broke the showbread into pieces, giving it to His disciples to eat. And it’s notable that when Yeshua broke the showbread into pieces for the disciples, Judas was not present, again, to partake. The eleven pieces for the eleven disciples also represent the eleven tribes of Israel, and those are the ones that accepted Christ. But one tribe didn’t, and that was symbolized by Judas. Judas was the only Jew involved in this. He was the only one from the tribe of Judah. All the other tribes were okay with Christ. So his being the one that is excluded typifies the exclusion of the Jews of Jesus as the Messiah. So there’s some more symbolism all tied in together there.
But let’s stop right here, before we get to the wine, and take the bread now. But let me also tell you, that Isaiah 53 and 2 Peter also indicate that this bread has a definite objective. It’s for the healing of our bodies. It’s not for our sins. The wine is for our sins. So what’s the bread for? We have two elements. There must be a reason. And that is for healing. It’s for healing. Some people get sick and they take communion three times a day. You’re supposed to do it at home. You don’t have to have a priest; you don’t have to have wine. You don’t have to have unleavened bread. To start out with, you can use anything you’ve got there. Water and a peanut would be okay. Later on, if you want to try to honor God a little bit more and get closer to what’s outlined in the Bible, fine. But it doesn’t make any difference what exactly you take – it’s what you discern. And that’s what Paul points out very heavily. It’s what you discern that makes you either worthy or unworthy when you take communion. It’s not whether you are specifically worthy yourself. What it is, is whether you partake in a worthy manner, is what he says. You partake worthily when you discern Jesus’ blood and body in the sacrifice.
So let’s take the bread now, and put it in the past tense. Thank God for His healing. By Jesus’ stripes, I was healed. It’s a done deal. Thank you, Lord.
The communion cup – another little detail – the communion cup. A little background here. During the Passover, they ritually drank four glasses of wine, four cups of wine, during the meal. After the meal, I don’t know what they did. But remember that this bread and wine thing happened after the meal was over. So it wasn’t the same one that they would have been drinking during the Passover because they weren’t eating the real Passover.
Now, look, God is simple. God is extremely simple. I mean, He’s stuck on the number one! Right? He’s stuck on the number one! I love that. He makes this stuff. He only makes stuff to work one way, or fit one way. All the details will be the same in two different events if they both symbolize a third event. If there are symbols of the Crucifixion involved in the Temple or the Ark of the Covenant, the symbols will be the same. You won’t have different symbols for different events. So if there’s a cup, what cup is it? Because the Last Supper was not the traditional Passover meal, the Seder, the cup Yeshua took was not referring to the four cups of wine drunk during the Seder. An important clue is that the traditional four cups are drunk during the meal. But Yeshua took the cup after the meal. There was, however, Elijah’s cup. Huh? Elijah’s cup? Yeah, which was always set out in preparation for the Seder. Anyone who has ever attended a Seder, that hasn’t been changed from the original one, you’ll always see an extra place and chair set at the table. And probably the front door left open a couple of inches. That’s for Elijah. Because the tradition says that he’s going to show up and do the Passover with you. And he had his cup also. And since Yeshua had his disciples prepare the room for the Passover, Elijah’s cup would surely have been placed at the table. The cup of Elijah was placed on the Seder table with the expectation that the prophet Elijah would return at Passover to announce the coming of the Messiah and the Messianic Kingdom. That’s prophesied in Malachi 4 and in Matthew 17.
Yeshua conveyed to His disciples the understanding that the prophecy had been fulfilled in John the Baptist announcing of the coming of the Messiah. God sent the spirit of Elijah in John, meaning that John was given the same prophetic spirit that was given to Elijah, not that he was literally Elijah. See, the pattern of the deliverance of Israel at the Exodus is to be repeated again with the future deliverance of the nation of Israel and the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. This aspect of Malachi’s prophecy is to be fulfilled in regard with Messiah’s Second Coming. Therefore, it’s most likely Elijah himself who will herald the coming of the Messiah and the Messianic Kingdom on earth. And prophecy teachers and students will remember that mostly it’s considered that Elijah and Moses – some people say Enoch – are the two witnesses that show up during the Tribulation. And what else can they be telling, but what prophets all through the last 6,000 years have been telling, the Millennium is coming. God is setting up a kingdom on the earth. Repent! The end is in sight!
It was the cup of Elijah Yeshua took signifying that He was the true and expected Messiah. So He took Elijah’s cup, and that fulfills the prophecy that Elijah is going to announce the coming of Yeshua. And when He had taken the cup and given thanks, He gave it to them saying, Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
I hope you’ve got your wine there, and let’s take that wine. And again, the suffering Messiah chapter of Isaiah 53 says a couple of different times – maybe three – that Jesus took on us, by the shedding of His blood, when He died, He gave His blood, He took on all our imperfections. So the sins you’re going to do tomorrow, they’re covered. Just act in faith. God’s says it’s okay because of what Jesus did. I’ll cover you over with Christ’s spirit, and you’ll look like Him; you won’t look like you anymore. We’ll do that for a while, and then pretty soon I’ll take you home. Boy, are you grateful for that kind of a thing? And additionally, taking communion is a faith act, because it’s an action that we can see people doing, and it’s based on something God has said in the Bible. That’s the definition of a faith act. It’s an action based on a belief in God’s word, carried out to the end of it by the confidence that the word is true.
So let’s take the wine now and thank God for His grace, and ask Him for some continued mercy. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, have mercy on me.
Well, don’t you believe that the Devil is in the details. It’s really God down there! There seems to be no end to knowing God’s details. I mean, I’ve been at it for 23 years, and it’s just in the last year that I found this stuff out. It’s all there. It’s like the Bible is a huge, huge code that has – I don’t know – a hundred different aspects to it. There’s how many words are in a sentence, you can do that kind of a code. You can take the first letters of words. You can say every 50th letter and see if it spells out words, and it does. The names, all the names that are included in the Bible have specific meaning to the context. For instance, the first ten names, the first ten Patriarchs, tell the whole story of redemption of Christ, up to and including the rest -- which is Noah’s name, rest -- that we find when we’re in God. It just goes on and on and on and on. It’s God there in the details!
You know, a day doesn’t go by without someone trying to claim that God doesn’t exist. But mostly those folks would just have nothing but their opinion or feeling to show that some supernatural design is just a coincidence. It seems like if God walked in the front door and sat down on the couch next to them, they’d still try to claim He wasn’t real and keeps His word!