Resurrection From the Dead, Part 9
August 24, 2018
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 are wondering what all this has to do with Resurrection Life and resurrection from the dead, buckle your seatbelt! We are on a fresh journey through our understanding of what we commonly call the Table of the Lord, or the Communion Table.
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.
I’m sure that I’ve mentioned this before, but consider the fact that Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem. We’ve anglicized this name, but in Hebrew it comes out a Beit-Lechem. That translates to: the House of Whole Bread. Get it? Jesus was the end of Passover. He was the full provision. He was the whole bread of Heaven with all of its nourishment. There was nothing missing in Him. He came to restore the wholeness that Adam and Eve once had in the Garden.
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.
Jesus' statement caused such great consternation among the people who heard him. They only saw his comments within the framework of the Law of Moses, or from a purely physical standpoint, and because they treated His Word that way they were repulsed by them.
"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)
Then we have John's observation of Jesus:
"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 1:14)
Ever wonder how "the Word was made flesh" as John declares? Consider the picture that unfolds in Luke 1:26-38. The angel Gabriel appears to Mary and tells her that she is blessed and highly favored of God, and that she will conceive and bear a son who in fact will be the long-promised and prophesied Messiah.
Mary does not doubt the word that she is hearing but asks, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?"
The angel Gabriel responds, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
Bear in mind that the angel is simply a messenger of God sent with God's Word to her. Here is how -- and when -- the Word is made flesh. "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." (Luke 1:38)
Get it? Mary agrees with the Word of the Lord and speaks that agreement by saying "Be it unto me according to thy Word:" the Word of the Lord. She is effectively speaking the same creative Word that God spoke when He decreed in Genesis 1:3, "Light be" (or as the KJV reads, "Let there be light!")
Thus the Word came into being instantly within her womb. Sure, she had to carry Jesus for the normal nine-month term before He was actually born but He was instantly conceived when she spoke the Word herself.
Are you beginning to get the picture? The Word, spoken by Mary in agreement with the Word of the Lord which had been delivered to her, became flesh in her womb. It was living. It was eternity, invading time and space with the reality of God Himself! Thus, the Word -- Jesus -- became flesh.
And John witnesses, "and dwelt among us (and we beheld His Glory, the Glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
Jesus walked and talked with His disciples. He preached to the multitudes. He broke bread with them, and He did it in a manner that would testify to them (and they would also be witness to) that He was the Word!
Consider the event that had unfolded (see John 6) just prior to Jesus' statement "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you."
"After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh."
(This is an important point in view of what Jesus is about to do.)
"When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
(Note: this is roughly equivalent to seven months' wages in those days)
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand."
(Note: By Hebrew tradition this number represents the married men only, not counting the unmarried men, all the wives, the women and children. The actual number of those gathered on the hillsides would have been more on the order of 20,000 - 30,000.)
"And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world."
Before we continue with the rest of this picture, let's consider some of the issues that have already been presented.
First, John makes note of the fact that the Passover was "eggus": "ready to begin, at hand." Folks were ready for the seven day period in which they would eat of the unleavened bread. They would break this bread and eat of it only -- no leavened bread at all. (Both Orthodox and Messianic Jews keep this ordinance yet today. They often refer to it as a "Seder" meal.)
With the Passover meal, they would drink water -- not wine. The practice of wine with the Table of the Lord did not really commence until after Jesus turned the water into wine at the marriage of Cana in Galilee, although we see this covenant practice long before the days of Moses.
The point I'm making is that the Jews were ready to begin Passover with its unleavened flatbread (matstsah) -- symbolic of the fact that there was no leaven of Egypt in what they were eating.
In a parable that Jesus later shared, He likened the Kingdom of God to leaven and said, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened." (Matthew 13:33)
In so sharing, Jesus was clarifying the fact that the picture of leaven is that of a spiritual force -- whether for evil or for good.
I realize that the entire picture of the Table of the Lord may be a bit of a stretch for some folks trying to associate it with Resurrection from the Dead, but bear with me, folks! Jesus came to deliver us from the curse of death and everything associated with it, including the Law of Sin and Death.
In the miracle that unfolded in John 6 where Jesus fed the 5,000, as already noted, the loaves that Jesus broke and distributed were artos: raised bread, whole bread -- leavened bread. There was an impartation of His life that took place which He was demonstrating. There is a multiplying factor in His life; it is the leaven of the Kingdom of God which multiplies and causes the Word to grow and expand within us until we reach the place of being fully "raised" in Him.
Thus as the miracle of the loaves unfolded, Jesus was demonstrating what He would say to the people shortly thereafter, “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."
Do you see the significance of what Jesus is saying? He is trading His life in order to cancel the sentence of death resident in the human race. As One unworthy of death because He had never sinned, His coming death and crucifixion on the Cross would — by proxy — suffice to cancel the sentence of death for all those who would accept and acknowledge His sacrifice.
He was willingly giving up His natural life as a human being in order to restore eternity-based and immortal living for those who would walk in Him!
We still have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s pause for today and pick it up next week.
In case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (712) 770-4160, and the access code is 308640#. We are now making these gatherings available by Skype. If you wish to participate by video on Skype, my Skype ID is regner.capener. If you miss the live voice call, you can dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later. The video call, of course, is not recorded – not yet, anyway.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76504
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