Wednesday, 4 August 2021
Aren't you worn out from products that make the claim to be "new and improved?" That's what we sound like when describing the New Covenant. Yet Holy Communion is a celebration of what is "NEW" in the New Covenant. But that which is "new" is not properly understood as a replacement of that which is "old," but rather a completion or fulfillment of the previous covenants.
Let's talk about the Passover Seder where the first communion (and Last Supper) took place. There are 4 cups in the order of the Seder that represent 4 covenants (or better, 4 parts of the Covenant of God).
- The cup of Sanctification, the Abrahamic Covenant.
- The cup of Judgment, the Mosaic Covenant.
- The cup of Salvation, the Covenant of Yeshua's first coming.
- The cup of Victory, the Covenant of Yeshua's second coming.
Rabbi Trail: The Hebrew word "Seder" comes from the word for "order." Depending on how you count (some people couple some steps), step 10 or 11 is called "Shulchan Orech," or "set table." That is the term we use to describe the festive meal. The term is similar to the title of the book "Shulchan Aruch", which was a codification of Jewish law written by Joseph Karo (aka Yoseph Caro or Qaro) in 1563 in Safed. The manuscript was then first published in Venice 2 years later.
The City of Safed is one of the four holy cities of Judaism. It is known as "the city on a hill," in Northern Israel. The city didn't move, it is where it always was, but Israel wasn't always there. It became part of Israel as a result of intense fighting just before the battle for independence in 1948. Prior to that, the city was almost entirely populated by Arab Muslims. The Arab armies surrounded the Jewish Quarter and began blowing up Jewish houses as they worked their way to the center of the Jewish Quarter. The Jewish resistance, Palmach, organized a counter attack. All of the Arab Muslim families fled the city until the Jews would be destroyed, including Mahmoud Abbas' family. That never happened. The city is still almost entirely Jewish. Wow, that was the mother of all Rabbi Trails. End RT.
At the original Last Supper Seder, the Bible records the words of Yeshua ... Luke 22:19-20 And when He had taken matzah and offered the bracha, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body, given for you. Do this in memory of Me." In the same way, He took the cup after the meal, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you."
There you have it; a body given and blood poured out. The body and blood of Yeshua is what's new. Let me ask you a question (especially those who took exception to my mention above that the New Covenant is not altogether new), "The Abrahamic Covenant, is it a covenant of works or a covenant of grace?" You would correctly answer, "A covenant of grace." Abraham was asleep when the Lord cut covenant and walked in the form of an oven and a torch between the pieces. How could it be works if Abraham was sleeping?
Both Yeshua's first coming and His second coming are acknowledged during Holy Communion. His first coming completes the Abrahamic Covenant, but it is not an end in itself. The first coming only makes sense in the light of our anticipation of the second coming. Mashiach Ben Yoseph, the suffering servant, had to die and be resurrected so that He can return as Mashiach ben David, the reigning King. The Lord will return and take up His holy throne in Jerusalem, and the whole world will know it, because every eye will see Him. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Yeshua HaMashich Hu Adonai (He is Lord). And that's both old and new. We look forward to the reality of what we have always known. Blessings.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,