ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: THE TABLE OF THE LORD III
Sept 7, '09 1:05 PM
By Regner Capener
And a Great Gettin' Up Mornin' to you this fine day! I may sound like a broken record sometimes, but this IS the Best Day of Your Life!
Yup! It really is!
As we've already commented in the previous posts, Della and I have been actively praying and interceding over the nation with other brothers and sisters in the Lord each morning, and of course, over this region in which we live. During the past week, the emphasis in prayer has been in the nation's educational system. We have been lifting educators (school principals, superintendents, teachers, college and university professors, school boards, etc.) before the Lord in prayer, asking God to move with the wind of His Spirit to bring change -- real change, Godly change! Twice during the past week, we have received visions of remarkable events happening in our schools.
As many of you well know, the ACLU has been actively warring in our courts against educators and schools where the name of the Lord Jesus Christ -- or even simply Scriptures -- are mentioned or named. This is a spiritual battle that has been being waged. We don't waste our time praying against individuals or naming them in our prayers. Rather, we target the demonic forces and principalities, the rulers of the darkness that pervades our education system. When attorneys who work for the ACLU or other similar organizations become involved in lawsuits against teachers -- and even more recently some students -- these attorneys are nothing more than puppets whose strings are being pulled by wicked spirits out to remove every vestige of the Word of God or the name of Jesus from public education and the public conversation.
It is silliness run amuck to pray against these attorneys because they are not the driving force behind this effort. If you want to deal with a problem you go to the causal force and remove it. The rest of the problem will go away when you deal with the cause. Our problems are not with people: they are with demonic forces that deceive people, making those people nothing more than pawns.
That said, I had a waking vision one morning last week in which I saw a group of young children -- perhaps second or third-graders -- in a courtroom sitting behind their teacher who was on trial for quoting Scripture and mentioning the name of the Lord Jesus in class. The ACLU attorney who was pushing this case was standing behind his desk ranting and raving about the "unconstitutionality" and the "danger to the minds" of the young students. This attorney was really worked up, in a sweat, and waving his hands. A young girl of perhaps seven or eight years of age quietly got up out of her seat some two or three rows back and walked through the swinging doors of the barrier between the attorneys and the folks in the courtroom. This young girl was so filled with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit that she carried the peace of God with each step.
The attorney was oblivious to her and didn't realize what was happening until she quietly touched him on the back. The power of God hit that man and he stopped mid-sentence and began to weep. The young girl just looked up at him and said, "It's OK, Sir. You just didn't know Jesus!" The court proceedings stopped instantly, and within short order the case was dismissed.
This morning a second vision took place. This time I was given a peek into different public schools -- primary, middle, secondary and even post-secondary institutions -- where students filled the halls. They were praying for each other, miracles of healing and deliverance were taking place, teachers were being saved and the Holy Spirit was literally blowing through the classrooms and hallways with the winds of change and deliverance.
These were visions, of course, but they gave real impetus and direction to our intercession. The Holy Spirit gives us these visions in order to direct our prayers and intercession. If God's people will wake up and begin to pray in agreement with the heart of the Lord as the Holy Spirit is showing us, the day will shortly come when we won't have to fight battles in courtrooms. We won't have to face off against specious arguments that are spiritual at their core. The catch is that believers are going to have to understand that -- as Jesus made clear -- "All authority in heaven and in earth" has been given to us by the commissioning from the Lord. We simply have to use that authority in agreement with what the Holy Spirit is directing at the moment. When Jesus commanded us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven," this is exactly what He meant.
Understand? Good! Then let's refocus our prayers and begin to target the real enemy -- NOT people!
Coffee's on. Pour yourself a cup and pull up a chair. Della made some cinnamon buns (vitamins, you know!) on Saturday, and they go great with this dark-roasted Columbian.
In Part 1 of this series we mentioned Melchizedek's visit to Abraham following his spectacular military victory over the armies of Chedorlaomer, Amraphel, Arioch and Tidal. It is recorded like this in Genesis 14:
"And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all."
Ever wonder why Melchizedek came out with bread and wine? Why do we not see this picture earlier in Scripture? The quick and simple answer is that this is the first time we see God making a covenant with a man. We do have an earlier covenant mentioned, but it was a covenant with the human race (See Genesis 9:8-17) not to ever destroy the earth again by a flood. That was different entirely in nature. Whenever a covenant was struck or "cut" (as the term goes in Hebrew: beriyth) that term -- to "cut covenant" -- always denoted a cutting of the flesh (almost always the right hand) so that blood would run. It therefore became a "blood covenant." The blood of both parties to the covenant would be mingled together making them "blood brothers."
Not until the Nephilim appeared on the earth (the seed of the fallen angels mingled with the human race) (This is a topic for future discussion, but one we won't get into in this series.) contaminating the Law of God, which was written in the hearts of men, do we see any evidence of covenants where men would drink each other's blood mingled with wine. God's people were forever forbidden to drink blood. Consider first the command given to Israel under the Mosaic Law, and then we will look a a prophetic word that Jacob gave concerning the coming Messiah.
"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. And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off." (Leviticus 17:10-14)
Notice two things in this passage: First, the command NOT to eat (or drink) blood is based on the fact that "the life of the flesh is in the blood." Secondly, the command is predicated on the Law of God that "it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." We'll come back to this picture in a minute, but let's take a look at Jacob's prophecy.
"The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk." (Genesis 49:10-12)
Because of the way the Hebrew often translates into English, it isn't immediately apparent -- at least in the KJV -- but this is a prophecy concerning Jesus shedding His blood. The very fact that the cup at Jesus' table (when He ate the Last Supper with His disciples) was wine became a fulfillment of prophecy. Jesus fulfilled every single element of Jacob's prophecy. The part, however, that I'm focusing on in this instance is the wine, and the covenant nature of the cup.
There are two things we should remember concerning Melchizedek's visit to Abraham. The first is that a divine covenant was being established. The seed of Abraham would be the people of covenant. God would establish His covenant with Abraham, then make that same covenant with Isaac, and then repeat it for the third time with Jacob. This was the "threefold cord" Solomon describes in Ecclesiastes 4:12. The picture Solomon draws in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 is that of covenant, and that was the covenant God was establishing with Abraham.
The second is that which Paul describes in writing to the Hebrews. "For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." (Hebrews 6:13-20)
If Jesus was a High Priest forever after the order and succession (taxis in the Greek text) of Melchizedek, then He was following the same pattern that Melchizedek established when he brought bread and wine to Abraham to signify the covenant God was making with him. Let's not forget that the apostle Paul also reminds us that,
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise." (Galatians 3:13-18)
One more Scripture will fill in the missing link to these passages.
"And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes." (I Corinthians 11:24-26 NASB)
Now are you seeing it? The Covenant was established with Abraham, confirmed in Isaac, and tripled in Jacob. The Covenant began with bread and wine through Melchizedek. Although natural Israel broke the Covenant, Jesus reinstated it, but made it available to the whole human race for "whosoever will." Paul makes abundantly clear that Jesus took the curse that came with the breaking of the Covenant so that the blessing of Abraham could be restored. Jesus became our High Priest after the arrangement and succession of Melchizedek, and at the same time offered the Covenant bread and wine as the proof that the Blessing and Covenant were again available to those who would enter into that Covenant with Jesus.
This picture gets even larger and more amplified when you see just what happened in the context of the Abrahamic Covenant through Jesus' death and resurrection, and how specifically it relates to the Table of the Lord. That'll wait for our next Coffee Break.
Before we wrap up today, however, there is one more thing you need to see. This is the primary connection between the Covenant and the Cup.
Luke 24:39 tells us what Jesus said when He appeared before His disciples following His resurrection. Pay close attention to the precise wording of what Jesus says. "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." Think about this!
What was Jesus when He went to the Cross? He was flesh and blood. We know from Leviticus 17:11, "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:"
When Jesus rose from the dead, the life that was in Him was not blood: it was Spirit -- that same Spirit that God initially breathed into Adam when he became a living, speaking spirit. What was it that Paul said to the Galatians about Jesus' taking the curse?
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: ......... that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
See it? The Cup was the promise of the Spirit. The wine was representative of the life of the Spirit. Paul says that as often as we "eat this bread and drink this cup" we demonstrate, declare, show and preach Jesus' death -- and thereby new life in the Spirit -- until He comes.
That's where I have to stop today. Meditate on this picture. Cogitate. And wait until you see what else Jesus accomplished and why the Table is so important to us as believers.
See you soon.
The Lord has set a table before us that is fit for kings and priests -- and we are both in Him! We have a feast set before us designed to help us function as kings who rule and reign, and priests who worship and come before God's presence in boldness and joy.
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