December 12, 2013
For those of you who have been calling in to our Monday, Wednesday or Friday healing calls each week at 7:00 PM Eastern, Monday the 16th of December will be the break point for the Christmas and New Years period. We will have our call on Monday the 16th, take a break, and resume on Monday, January 6th, 2014. Once again, the number to call is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#.
We have a fistful of ground to cover today, so without any ado let's get started.
Beginning in 2008 and into 2009 Holy Spirit instructed me to begin sharing Sunday after Sunday after Sunday after Sunday on the Table of the Lord. Just when I thought we'd about gotten the full revelation of what takes place, the Holy Spirit would download a whole new picture. Hence, for some 40 weeks or so in succession, the Lord peeled layer after layer after layer away so that we began seeing and hearing an entirely new and expanded dimension of this covenant act.
If you've grown up in and around the church, you've likely had pretty much the same routine I've had where we would take Communion the first Sunday of every month. Frequently you will hear the pastor or church leader say something like the following -- particularly after reading the passage of Scripture from I Corinthians 11 that reads like this:
"Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."(I Corinthians 11:27-30)
You've likely heard something like this: "Now be careful! Examine yourself! If you have sin in your life, don't partake of Communion -- not until you repent and make things right with God. If you do, you could be eating sickness and death to yourself."
What gets missed in the translation is the last phrase of Paul's admonition, "not discerning the Lord's body."
If you were part of the Charismatic Renewal, you likely did something like I did. I would try to discipline my thoughts and imagination and try to imagine Jesus' body hanging on the Cross; and I would say, "Oh, Lord, I see you. I see you hanging on the Cross. I see your body. I see what you did for me."
Nice.......but stupid! That was NOT the body Paul was speaking of! He didn't expect us to screw up our willpower and try to imagine Jesus hanging on the Cross. That word "discerning" in the Greek text is diakrino, which means: to make a distinction, to discriminate, to separate thoroughly.
But Paul uses an interesting Greek word in the statement, "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord."That word "unworthily" is translated from the Greek anaxios, which literally means: to treat irreverently, to treat as commonplace.
The use of those two words greatly affects how we understand this command. Let me explain.
When we treat the Table of the Lord as a ritual, a once-a-month event we are required to keep (and we do it as a religious duty), we've totally lost sight of what Jesus commanded, and we are treating this as "commonplace," as "ordinary." Once the Table of the Lord, or partaking of Communion becomes a religious duty and not a covenant act with revelation and understanding of what is taking place, it simply becomes "another thing to do" for us as Christians.
We waste our time, we waste God's time, and....worse....our treating this Table so cavalierly results in our opening a door of opportunity to Satan to afflict us with disease, steal from us and even take our lives prematurely. It is critically important for us to remember that Jesus paid the TOTAL PRICE for our wholeness. He erased, He eradicated from existence, He remitted (aphiémi) every single sin and ever single cause for disease, sickness, infirmity, affliction, poverty and death -- everything that came into being as a result of Adam and Eve eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
When He rose from the dead He made available to all who received Him, redemption from the curse of sin and partaking of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It is intrinsic to His body, and every member of His body has access to the totality of what Jesus paid for!
The "discernment" Paul is speaking of refers to discerning -- understanding with true revelation -- all that Jesus' body represents at the Table. This is not eating of a wafer and drinking an ounce of grape juice. This is not crackers and juice, or a piece of bread and wine. This is the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, it is!
That said; let me take you to a few foundation scriptures that will unfold the covenant nature of the Table of the Lord.
Before I do, however, let me say something that might surprise you. Literally everything that Jesus said, every miracle He performed (that we have recorded in the Gospels), everything He demonstrated to the disciples was rooted and founded in His Table. In the coming weeks, my objective is to help you see this unfold and radically change your understanding of what takes place each time you break bread and drink of the cup.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made." (John 1:1-3)
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:12-14)
"This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. ....
“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. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever." (John 6:50-51, 53-58)
You may not see the foundational aspect of these Scriptures, yet, but stand by. It will become clear as we progress.
Jesus' statement caused a great stir -- both in the Jews generally, and amongst those that considered themselves His disciples (not the twelve) and followed Him. It was a statement that was designed to separate those who could only see and hear in the natural realm from those who understood the spiritual significance of what He was revealing. For those whose reference point was the Law of Moses, it created consternation and even nausea.
John tells us (see John 6:66), "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." It was simply more than they could handle.
They were only seeing things through legalistic eyes. God had made some very specific and direct commands concerning the drinking of blood as we see in the following references.
"Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat." (Genesis 9:3-4)
"Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings. Whatsoever soul it be that eateth any manner of blood, even that soul shall be cut off from his people." (Leviticus 7:26-27)
"And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood." (Leviticus 17:10-12)
And that's just a drop in the bucket. There are a host of Scriptures which emphasize the fact that one does not eat (or drink) blood because all life is in the blood. But Jesus wasn't talking about eating His literal flesh or drinking His literal blood. He was referring back to the prophecy all Jews should have been well aware of -- the prophecy of Passover.
I won't recount the entire portion of Scripture here that relates to the Passover (you can read it in Exodus 12), but to summarize, God was preparing to bring Israel out of centuries of bondage in Egypt and take them to the Land of Promise He had covenanted to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Egyptian Pharaoh wouldn't release the Israelites, despite the fact that God had given him sign after sign after sign, so God was going to send the Angel of Death across the land.
For Israel (living in Goshen) to be free from the death angel's power enabling him to "pass over" them, they needed to eat from a Table that God was going to prepare especially for this event. They were commanded to take a yearling lamb from their flocks, kill it, collect its blood and apply it to the lintels and doorposts of their dwelling places, roast the lamb and eat it along with cakes of unleavened bread. Once again, they were not to drink of the blood; they were to apply it to the lintels and doorposts of their homes.
God's promise to Israel was, "And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt." (Exodus 12:13) But it didn't stop there.
"And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever. Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
“And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance forever." (Exodus 12:14-17)
I can see the wheels turning for some of you. OK, so where is there a prophecy in this? you ask. Glad you asked. I can't take the time in this series to deal with all of the feasts Israel was commanded to keep, but each of these feasts -- beginning with Passover -- was a prophecy, a picture of a future event in time -- to be fulfilled by and for the coming Messiah.
Notice that this very first feast (as was every feast Israel kept) began with the eating of a specific meal. They didn't have a drink specified at this meal/table (that came later as God spelled out the various offerings to Moses) because of the specific application of the blood. However, wine was later specified in the place of blood as an offering to the Lord (Exodus 29:40) and whenever the covenant Table was kept in Israel, wine became the substitute for, and symbol of, blood.
Israel would have the picture of the Table of the Lord continually before them once the Tabernacle of Moses was established. What we know as the "Table of Shewbread" was established as a permanent part of the furnishings of Moses' Tabernacle, and God's promised provision was constantly on display as twelve prophetic loaves.
Passover was the promise of what was to come. Jesus fulfilled that promise. And just as Jesus ate of the Passover meal with the disciples on the night He was betrayed -- becoming the once-and-for-all sacrificial "Lamb that was slain before the foundations of the world" (and forever completing the prophecy and picture of Passover) -- He also became the bread of provision displayed on the Table of Shewbread.
Take a quick look at Matthew 26 where we have a picture of the Last Supper. In verses 17-20 we see them eating of the unleavened bread. The Greek word which describes unleavened bread is azumos. But following the final celebration of Passover, Jesus again takes bread, and as He did when feeding the 5000 (and the 4000), he breaks it and begins to serve the disciples. (See verse 26.)
The Greek word in this instance is not azumos, but artos: raised bread. These two Greek words exactly parallel the two Hebrew words which describe both the unleavened bread (matstsah) of Passover, and the raised bread that was on display on the Table of Shewbread (lechem). Jesus became the bread of Passover, fulfilling its purpose, and the bread of provision -- the Table of Shewbread -- that He promised in Matthew 6:33 and Philippians 4:19.
Yet the Table of the Lord was actually manifested centuries before with Abraham. Remember when Melchizedek came out to greet Abraham after the slaughter of the kings' armies when he went to retrieve Lot following his capture? He came out with bread (lechem) and wine, and declared the Blessing upon Abraham.
This may seem a bit heavy, but I wanted to get these foundations laid in your understanding before we really begin to see and understand just how significant was the Table of the Lord. Let me say something here before we get back to Jesus' very controversial statement.
The only way true change will come to us, then to the body of Christ and finally to the world, is when we stop setting our own agendas and begin to agree with everything God says. We must respond to what He desires to do in us -- no matter whether it crosses our doctrinal understanding or not.
Hmmmmm..... I think I need to stop here and pick it up at this point next week. We're getting ready to open up a very large discussion, so this is a perfect place to pause.
Blessings on you!
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