The Bread and Wine Come Alive At The Supper (9.30.14)
"Yahweh said to Aaron: "I myself have put you in charge of everything set aside for me. Everything consecrated by the Israelites I give to you and your sons as your portion by perpetual decree." Numbers18,8
"The manna stopped the day after they had eaten the produce of the land. The Israelites from that year onwards ate the produce of Canaan and had no more manna." Joshua5,12
"But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle , that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent." Revelation12,14
"You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God [such as the Lord's memorial supper, acceptible if done in saving faith] through Jesus Christ." 1Peter2,5
"The cup of blessing which we [all of the congregation that is baptized in the Holy Spirit, the new covenant priesthood, men and women] bless, is it not the communion [an actual faith-Spiritual fact, actual fellowship with our risen Jesus through faithful participation at the table] with the blood [risen blood, John 19,34, the sprinkled blood prophesied at Isaiah52,15] of Christ [this blood must be Spiritual in that he has no more perishable or physical or earthly blood, and Jews were forbidden to eat meats with blood still in them]. 1Corinthians10,16
There came a time in Israel's desert wandering that the people fiercely resented the sacrificial perogatives and leadership of the Aaronic priestly class.
Who wants to be ruled by a-holier-than-thou priestly class? This status was a literal fact based on their priestly ordination according to the mandates of God (Leviticus8).
So the Sons of Korah led a rebellion whereby they turned the whole people against Moses and Aaron. They were rabble rousers and it wasn't going to be a pretty end for Moses and Aaron if Korah's rebellion was successful (Numbers17,9-10).
God was going to spare Moses and Aaron and destroy the rest of the community (Ibid).
What had the sons of Korah done to earn this wrath?
They presumed to fashion their own incense plates, and thus to make valid offerings, just as holy, in their own minds, as the High Priests ordained by God.
This rebellion would be like a bunch of tip top Christian executives buying up pulpits and ousting the pious men of God pastors in favor of money managers who will deliver a better return on investment.
But then and now God will not favor anyone who presumes any status not given by Him.
In fact, he struck down fourteen thousand seven hundred folks for following the Sons of Korah, until Moses interceded (Numbers17,14).
The Whose Tribal Staff Will Rule Contest
But His mercy was fleshed out with a correction plan which included a budding branch competition. This demonstration for all to see would settle the matter and restore th necessay order and leadership needed by God's people. Later, Elijah and the prophets of Baal had a Spiritual fire competition (1Kings18,25ff). Apparently, our mutual and great and one and only God of Israel likes these Spiritual contests that reveal His power from above and His favor here below.
The competition here in Numbers 17 was that each of the twelve tribes, and also the thirteenth tribe of Levi (consisting of the junior varsity Levites and the High Priests), brings a branch before the ark of the covenant, before the all knowing and powerful presence of the Lord. These branches were leadership staffs, tribal staffs, each placed before the Ark of the covenant, before and amidst the presence, and the one that budded, came alive, from dead and physical, to also living and fruitful, would be the tribe that God wanted to lead.
Of course the branch that budded was Aaron's, the same 13th tribe God had picked to lead all along.
As Aaron's branch budded when offerred before the ark, before the living presence, so the bread and wine we offer (he gave thanks and blessed and broke it, and shared it) becomes living, by our faithful blessing, and becomes Jesus' risen body and blood.
We Christians are not ruled by a hierarchical priesthood of old, but by a cooperative team of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor-teachers, and deacons, and God's gift bearers one and all, by the choice of Jesus himself (cf Ephesians4,10-11, 1Corinthians12,7).
But there are still sacred things consecrated to God (reconcile Numbers 18,8 and 1Peter2,5 and9), so there needs also to be a new universal priesthood given by Christ. One of these consecrations is the offering and blessing of the bread and wine, the Spiritual sacrifice of the Lord's supper, which is now the portion of all God's holy people, "ordained" not by man, by the symbolic imposition of hands, but the actual baptism in the Spirit which makes all of us what the Holy Priesthood that 1Peter2,5 and 9 says we are.
Not only did Aaron's branch bud, but it also bore fruit, real almonds, real food, miraculous food (Numbers7,23).
The manna in the desert given by God from heaven for forty years was real and miraculous food.
The drink in the desert was real spiritual and miraculous drink (1Corinthians10,3-4).
Revelation12,14 says that shortly after the initial body of Christ was born in faith, after Jesus rose, Satan tried to devour it, and history shows he was almost successful. But God took the real and true church to a "desert" or "wilderness" place, where the word says He Himself protects and nourishes, as he did for his first people.
So if God Himself fed the Israelites real miraculous manna every day for forty years of desert wandering (Joshua5,12), why not something real and miraclous at the table of the Lord for the little flock church, still faithful, and still around His table?
Wouldn't be odd to believe that the same Supernatural and miraculous God who miraculously fed his meandering and rebellious people in the physical desert after Egypt, with real food and drink, would now only feed his faithful people in the Spiritual desert with non miraculous and symbols?
(As I have said before in these meditations. I am not hungry for symbols. And neither are you.)
Revelation2,17 also promises those who faithfully overcome, who maintain a saving faith amidst the fallen world and church, "hidden manna", as if the jar of manna that disappeared with the ark before Babylon destroyed the Jerusalem Temple in 586BC is still preserved somewhere, still alive so to speak, still blessed, still to be discovered, still has the presence of God on it and in it!
Like perhaps at the table of the Lord?
Or, this hidden manna, while the ark has dissapeared (2Maccabees2,1-8, rescued by Jeremiah to Mt. Nebo), will be "found' and eaten during the millenial reign.
Or given afresh in some form by Jesus in the millenial, at table fellowship with him, as we rule.
Either way- found at the table on earth- or eaten during millenial- or even perhaps as a reward in heaven- bread-manna is always something alive, real, and nourishing, and promised.
So we know some things that are still "alive", still living from and in the presence of God:
1. The manna in the Ark of the Covenant, this hidden manna at the table or in the millenial manna, or perhaps in heaven;
2. The word is still alive, living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even to dividing soul and spirit, bone and marrow, judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (and our faith, cf Hebrews4,12).
This active and living word surely applies to the way we consciously come to the table in that 1Corinthians11,29 relates that some are sick and dying because they come to it without repentant faith, and the proper holiness.
This word also includes Jesus' command to "Do this [spiritual memorial] in memory of me.
This living word also includes the prophecy "This is my body..."
[as in "this will be my risen body" when you do this living sacrifce as a memorial to me and my resurrection] and
"this is my blood.." [as in "this will be my sprinkled "blood", my Spiritual blood" John19,34, what my physical blood will purchase];"
This living word also includes John 6,51, in the Lord's Supper context of John 6: "I am the living bread come down from heaven."
3. Aaron's branch, Aaron's high Priesthood, still in the ark, still alive in the New Testament royal priesthood of all the faithful (1Peter2,5and 9);
4. Jesus Himself, who was always eternal, and rose from the dead, now to remain always alive.
This Jesus in front of whom the woman with the issue of blood said faithfully,
"if I could just just touch the hem of his garment" (Matthew9,20-21 and Mark 5,20 and Luke8,44) and other sick folks who wanted to do the same. Matthew14,36.
This physical garment, from the presence of Jesus, also had His real Spiritual presence.
So Much Alive And The Blessed Bread and Wine Too
If all these four things are really are alive from the presence of the Lord, and the branch budded from his acceptance of it before HisTemple presence, how much more the bread and wine that we, as temples of the Holy Ghost, obediently offer and then bless?
This Spiritual offering (offering being part of our giving thanks at the supper, Luke22,18 and Matthew26,26) and our actual communion is distinct, as the Apostle Paul makes clear, from the offerings to and communion with the false gods of Corinth (1Corinthians10,19).
Our faithful offering, our faithful blessing, our faithful sharing in the provision of the risen Jesus, with the risen Jesus, and our faithful sharing with each other, and His consecratory blessing- if our faith is acceptable. These are the living stones of our Lord's table fellowship (it would be an "altar" only if physical blood was present), done by Jesus' holy and royal Priesthood.
For a short video on the supper: http://vimeo.com/63572579
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...