Daily Torah Meditation of 31 July 2021 (Part 1) (Audio)

Aruchat Adonai - The Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion) comes from Jewish Traditions

“Do this in remembrance of Me.”  (Luke 22:19)

In the Torah, Hashem (G-d) gives us opportunities to fellowship with Him over meals, when we are to remember and celebrate the good works He has done.

We saw this after Hashem (G-d) made a covenant with the People of Israel at Mount Sinai.  Moses and the 70 leaders of Israel  “saw God, and they ate and drank.”  (Exodus 24:11)

The twelve talmidim (disciples) of Yeshua HaMashiach didn’t know it yet, but they too were seeing Hashem (G-d) in flesh as they ate with Him the night before He inaugurated a New Covenant (Testament).

On the first night of Pesach (Jewish Passover), Believers in Hashem (G-d) who participate in the traditional Pesach (Jewish Passover) meal (known as a Seder) have the opportunity to celebrate and enter into fellowship with Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus The Messiah) as He instructed His talmidim (disciples) to do, the night He was betrayed and arrested.

The Pesach (Jewish Passover) Meal

Perhaps the most significant meal in the Tanakh (Old Testament) that Hashem (G-d) required the People to eat is the Pesach (Jewish Passover) Meal (Exodus 12:14–16).

Hashem (G-d) instituted this meal as a mitzvah (command) so that every generation would remember how He alone arranged for their deliverance out of slavery in Egypt.

On this Pesach (Jewish Passover) Passover night, the angel of death “passed over” the homes that displayed the blood of the sacrificial lamb on its doorposts.

In every home that did not display the blood, someone perished, which convinced Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave Egypt.  This is why another name for Pesach (Jewish Passover) Passover is Hag ha-Herut (The Holiday of Freedom).

Over the centuries, this Pesach (Jewish Passover) meal evolved into a lengthy ritual.  Many scholars believe that several aspects of the Seder practiced today were introduced in the centuries following the destruction of the Temple in AD 70.

However, we do know that Messiah’s last meal with His talmidim (disciples) included the breaking of bread and drinking of wine, as do Jewish meals to this day, and that is the part Yeshua wants us to remember the most.

So let’s look at what the bread and wine truly mean to Believers in Yeshua

This Is My Body

As Yeshua’s talmidim (disciples) gathered together for their final meal with Him, Yeshua blessed the bread, broke it, and said, “This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me”  (Luke 22:19).

Over 1.2 billion Christians or Gentiles have been taught that through a mysterious process the bread itself changes into Yeshua Himself. This is called transubstantiation and is practiced by Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox Christians among other denominations.

However, in the ancient Jewish practice of sacrificial offerings that Hashem (G-d) instituted, nothing ever transformed from one substance into another substance.  Rather, most of the animal offerings were killed and eaten.

So, we must ask ourselves from a Jewish Hebraic perspective, what did Yeshua want us to understand when He said, “This is my body”?

Yeshua often spoke about Himself in metaphors, especially in terms of bread and life.

He said, “I am the bread of life” and “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.”  (Yochanan (John) 6:35, 51)

He explained to His talmidim (disciples), “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”  Yochanan (John 6:63)

Yeshua’s words are spirit and life because He is the Torah (Word of Hashem (G-d) in flesh Yochanan ((John) 1:1,14).  Since this is true, every time Yeshua speaks, we can replace “I” with “Spirit” and “the Word.”

We can, therefore, understand His teaching about eating His body and drinking His blood this way:

“Unless you eat the flesh [Spirit / Word] of the Son of Man and drink His blood [Spirit / Word], you have no life in yourselves.

“He who eats My flesh [Spirit / Word] and drinks My blood [Spirit / Word] has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. . .  This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread [Spirit / Word], will live forever.”  Yochanan ((John) 6:53–58)

Symbolically consuming the Torah (Word of Hashem (God)) is not a foreign concept in Judaism.

In His book, Hashem (G-d) In Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism, Rabbi Abraham Herschel says that “the goal is for man to be an incarnation of the Torah; for the Torah to be in man, in his soul and in his deeds” (p. 311).

But there is another significant meaning attached to Yeshua’s instruction:  “Take and eat.  This is My body”  (Matthew 26:26).

“Then he took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’”  (Matthew 26:27–28; see also Exodus 24:8)

Yeshua Is Our Prophesied Guilt and Sin Offering

In the covenant that Hashem (G-d) made with Moses and the Israelites, the priests ate the sin and guilt offerings (such as lambs and goats) that the Israelites brought to the Temple as sacrifices for their sins.

Now, in the New Covenant (New Testament), Yeshua Himself became our offering for guilt (Isaiah 53:10) and sin (Romans 8:3).  He took upon Himself all of our sins.  (However, as we will soon see, we have a vital responsibility in this forgiveness process.)

It is only natural, then, that Yeshua would ask His talmidim (disciples), the priests of His kingdom, to eat the sacrifice, metaphorically speaking of course.

When we eat the bread and drink the wine at Pesach (the Jewish Passover) meal, we must remember how we have been delivered from an eternal spiritual death that Hashem (G-d) provided through the sacrifice of Yeshua, “the Lamb of Hashem (G-d) who takes away the sins of the world”  Yochanan (John 1:29).

With our sins paid for, His sacrifice heals any broken fellowship we had with Hashem (G-d) so we can freely commune with Him.

This is why many call this time of remembrance communion.  However, in reality, it is an integral part of Pesach (the Jewish Passover) meal.

Preparing to Fellowship With Hashem (G-d)

Rabbi Sha’ul (the Jewish Apostle whose name changed to Paul) spent much of his ministry teaching Gentiles.  As Pesach (Jewish Passover) approached in Corinth, Greece Rabbi Shaul (Paul) instructed the Believers there how to handle the sexual immorality within their congregation:

“Don’t you know that a little yeast [representing sin] leavens the whole batch of dough?  Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are.  For Messiah, our Pesach (Jewish Passover) lamb, has been sacrificed.

“Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  (1 Corinthians 5:6–8)

Rabbi Shaul (Paul) also tells them:

“Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord (Third cup or Cup of Redemption) in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Each one must examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.”  (1 Corinthians 11:27–28)

Examining ourselves is a Jewish concept.

Imagine an Israelite going through the trouble of buying a lamb at the Temple, slaughtering it for a sin offering, and not even knowing what his sin is.

Before coming to the Pesach (Jewish Passover) meal to remember the sacrifice of Yeshua for our sins, we need to examine our hearts to discover how we have disobeyed Hashem (G-d).  We can do this by praying the words that David wrote:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”  (Psalm 139:23–24)

We need to be completely open to hearing what the Ruach Hakodesh (Spirit) has to say because He knows it all anyway:  “Where can I go from Your Ruach Hakodesh (Spirit)?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?”  asked David (verse 7).

Once we become aware of what sin needs to be cleansed, we must confess it just as the Israelites confessed their sins at the Temple.

When an Israelite brought his offering to the priest, he laid his hands on the animal and confessed his own sins and that of his family (since only men were permitted to enter the Temple courtyard).

In a similar way, when we confess our sins to God, we might imagine laying our hands over Yeshua, our final sacrifice.

Yochanan (The Apostle John) assures us that  “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Yochanan (1 (John) 1:9)

Once the confession has been made, we can offer our sacrifice.

After confession, the Israelite personally experienced the magnitude of his sin, as he killed the sacrifice:  a life had to die as a substitute for his own sin.  (Leviticus 4:27–33).

The priest then sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the altar, which made atonement for the sin.

And that is what Yeshua did for us!

This is why Rav Shaul (Paul) wrote:  “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes”  (1 Corinthians 11:26).

Like the Israelites, with atonement made, we are now free to serve our Creator, holy and set apart for His service.

But freedom is not without responsibility. Hashem (G-d) requires from us teshuvah, which in Hebrew means to walk with Him and turn away from our former ways.

In early Jewish tradition, it is written that the one who says, “I will sin and repent, I will sin and repent” …  [does not depart from this practice easily and convinces himself that he really did not sin thus] an opportunity to repent is not given to him” (Yoma 8, 9; AD 10–200).

True repentance means that once we have acknowledged the sin we committed, confessed it before Hashem (G-d), and made the sacrifice, we then change our behavior and attitude in a long-term way.

That is repentance and that is Yeshua’s first command recorded in the Book of Matthew:

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near”  (verse 3:2).

With the leaven (sin) in us repented of and our attitude reflecting Hashem (G-d)’s attitude, we can enter into true fellowship with Him — a restored relationship where communication and love flow without hindrance.

That is the kind of freedom Yeshua came to give us.


Notes from the Author:

Pesach Meal and the Four Cups: Each cup is imbibed at a specific point in the Seder. The first is for Kiddush, the second is for 'Maggid', the third is for Birkat Hamazon or Cup of Redemption and the fourth is for Hallel or Praise.

The Cup of Redemption is the third cup of the Pesach (Jewish Passover) Seder and is the first cup to be drunk after the meal. It is believed that it is the Cup of Redemption that Yeshua (Jesus) instructed the talmidim (disciples) to partake of in the last supper, since both accounts in Matthew 26:27 and Luke 22:19 describe the cup being taken after the meal. Luke’s account even refers to the last meal Yeshua (Jesus) had with his talmidim (disciples) as “Passover” (Luke 22:15). In this verse specifically, Yeshua (Jesus) tells His talmidim (disciples): “I have earnestly desired to eat this Pesach (Jewish Passover) with you before I suffer.” The Cup of Redemption traditionally signifies the slaying of the Pesach (Passover) lamb that spared the Israelites from the 10th plague of the slaying of the first born. This cup traditionally remembers how the Lord redeems Israel with an outstretched arm.

Therefore, it is so very poignant when Yeshua (Jesus) tells His talmidim (disciples) that the wine in this cup is “My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” As the blood of the Passover Lamb covered the believing Israelites and Egyptians back in Egypt, so the blood of Yeshua (Jesus) covers Jewish and Gentile believers today!


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