Posts Tagged ‘Lord’s Supper’

‘Communion’ or Passover

During one of our Shabbat studies, my young daughter asked, “Why do some churches drink wine first and then give you bread while others offer the bread first and then drink the wine?” What an interesting question from an eight-year-old child.  We read Luke 22 and the account of Yeshua and ‘communion’ to answer her question.  

“Then, taking a cup of wine, he [Yeshua] made the blessing and said, ‘Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on, I will not drink the ‘fruit of the vine’ until the Kingdom of God comes.’ Also, taking a piece of matzah [unleavened bread], he made the blessing, broke it, gave it to them and said, ‘This is my body, which is being given for you; do this in memory of me.’  He did the same with the cup after the meal, saying, ‘This cup is the New Covenant, ratified by my blood, which is being poured out for you’ (Luke 22:17-20, Complete Jewish Bible).

After reading Luke’s account of Yeshua’s ‘last supper,’ we saw there were two cups of wine: one before eating the bread and one after. Reading the verses in context:

“Then came the day of matzah [unleavened bread], on which the Passover lamb had to be killed. Yeshua sent Peter and John, instructing them, “Go and prepare our Seder, so we can eat.” They asked him, “Where do you want us to prepare it?” He told them, “As you’re going into the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house he enters, and say to its owner, ‘The Rabbi says to you, “Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the Pesach [Passover] meal with my disciples?” ‘He will show you a large room upstairs already furnished; make the preparations there.”  They went and found things just as Yeshua had told them they would be, and they prepared for the Seder.  When the time came, Yeshua and the emissaries reclined at the table, and he said to them, “I have really wanted so much to celebrate this Seder with you before I die! For I tell you, it is certain that I will not celebrate it again until it is given its full meaning in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 22:7-16). 

Yeshua and his disciples
Yeshua’s Passover Seder

By reading about the two cups of wine and bread in context, we noticed more details. Yeshua was celebrating a Passover with all of its traditions.  It was a special Passover and Yeshua desired to celebrate it with his disciples. He knew he would not celebrate the Feast again until it was fulfilled in the Kingdom.  Yeshua wasn’t instituting ‘communion;’ he was leading a traditional Passover seder.

The Hebrew word seder means ‘order.’   A Passover seder includes an order to telling the account of the Hebrews’ exodus from Egypt.  It remembers the judgments, the blood of the lamb, and the death of the firstborn.  While leading this memorial, Yeshua instituted the new covenant.   Since our family celebrated the annual Passover, we immediately understood the significance of the two cups of wine and bread.

The first cup of wine, called the Cup of Sanctification, was shared among the disciples which unified them and set them apart as Yeshua’s beloved Bride.  Along with unleavened bread or matzah, a second cup of wine, the Cup of Redemption, is consumed after the meal.  It is Yeshua’s broken body, the matzah of affliction, and his blood of redemption in the wine that are the ‘cup’ and ‘bread’ used for ‘communion.’

Why doesn’t ‘communion’ include two cups of wine when Yeshua used two cups of wine? Where did the ‘last supper’ come from when Yeshua was celebrating a Passover seder?

Origins of Communion and the Last Supper

“Because Christ himself is present in the sacrament of the altar, he is to be honored with the worship of adoration. “To visit the Blessed Sacrament is … a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, and a duty of adoration toward Christ our Lord” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1418). 

The ‘Blessed Sacrament’ is a term used in the Roman catholic church for ‘communion.’  It is also called the ‘eucharist’ which means the ‘bread’ and ‘wine’ transubstantiates or literally turns into the body and blood of Christ. According to the catholic church, the ‘eucharist’ or ‘communion’ is not a memorial to Jesus’ work on the cross, but a repeat of his sacrifice every time the ‘eucharist’ is taken. There is no Scriptural basis that Yeshua’s sacrifice was a repetitive act, it was not. It was a sacrifice once and for all time.

“This is the kind of cohen gadol (high priest) that meets our need — holy, without evil, without stain, set apart from sinners and raised higher than the heavens; one who does not have the daily necessity, like the other cohanim g’dolim, of offering up sacrifices first for their own sins and only then for those of the people; because he offered one sacrifice, once and for all, by offering up himself” (Hebrews 7:26-27).

‘Communion,’ one of the church’s deeply-held traditions is not found in the Bible. It is rooted in the catholic ‘eucharist’ developed by Rome and embraced for centuries by the institutional church. Neither Yeshua, his disciples nor the first-century church celebrated ‘communion.’  There is also no Scriptural basis for ‘The Lord’s Supper’ when describing Yeshua’s last meal with his disciples.  He celebrated the Passover, the ‘appointed time’ of his Father for him to die as the Lamb for the sins of all.

Therefore, whoever eats the Lord’s bread or drinks the Lord’s cup in an unworthy manner will be guilty of desecrating the body and blood of the Lord!” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Drinking the ‘cup’ in an unworthy manner desecrates the body and blood of Yeshua. Could it be that the ‘eucharist’ is really about “trampling underfoot the blood of Messiah and insulting the grace of God” and holds  great punishment? (Hebrews 10:29).

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:25).

Every time we drink wine and unleavened bread, we are not only to be proclaiming Yeshua’s death until he returns, but we are to be participating in the Passover memorial.  Not once in all the years I attended church was I taught this.  Not once.  This is because ‘communion’ has catholic roots and all church denominations have embraced those roots. The catholic mass is always about sacrifice and death, not the hope in the resurrection and proclaiming Yeshua until he returns.  

So let a person examine himself first, and then he may eat of the bread and drink from the cup; for a person who eats and drinks without recognizing the body [of Messiah] eats and drinks judgment upon himself. This is why many among you are weak and sick, and some have died! If we would examine ourselves, we would not come under judgment” (1 Corinthians 11:27-31).

In church ‘communion,’ there is only one cup, the Cup of Redemption, that is poured. Becoming sanctified and set apart for God through introspection, repentance, and forgiveness has become lost in the catholic.  They drink one cup and eat the bread to be justified,  but they do not share in the Cup of Sanctification.

Sha’ul understood the significance of the Cup of Sanctification. It is the cup that sets us apart as God’s holy people in the community of believers. He states that how we treat our brothers and sisters in the Body of Messiah has a direct effect on how weak and sick we become; how we may even die an early death!  We receive judgment because we don’t examine our motives and actions within the Body of Messiah. Even Yeshua said that when you offer a gift at the altar you need to be at peace with your brother. This sanctifies our bodies, His Body.

So if you are offering your gift at the Temple altar and you remember there that your brother has something against you, leave your gift where it is by the altar, and go, make peace with your brother. Then come back and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).   

The Corinthians had already begun to dismantle God’s ‘appointed time’ of Passover into a ‘communion’ food fest at their weekly gatherings.  They were to ‘keep the Passover’ as Yeshua did with two cups of wine. They were to ‘keep the Passover’ with the unleavened bread of truth and sincereity while proclaiming the Yeshua’s death until he returned.  They were to ‘keep the Passover’ with the matzah of purity in the unity of faith and honoring one another as co-heirs in the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 5:8).

The Answer to My Daughter’s Question

Yeshua never meant for the ‘appointed time’ of his Father –– Passover –– to be relegated into a few minutes of eating a wafer and a sip of wine on a daily, weekly or bi-weekly basis. He never meant for one cup of wine, the Cup of Sanctification, to be dismissed as unimportant because the focus would become Redemption only. Because churches celebrate a catholic ‘communion,’ the bread and wine have have lost their entrinsic purpose. Yeshua celebrated Passover with his disciples on the night he instituted the new covenant, setting apart his disciples as his Bride with the Cup of Sanctification and paying the Bride price to redeem them with his body and blood, the Cup of Justification.

The reason the wine might come first and then the bread or vice versa is because the seder of Passover has been lost.

©2016 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.  

A How To – Celebrate Passover!

Haggadah

The most important part of celebrating Passover is having a ‘guide’ that explains not only what to do, but what you are doing.   When our family began celebrating the Passover many years ago, we used a Messianic Haggadah (a telling of the account)  put out by a well-known Messianic Jewish ministry.  It was simple and exactly what we wanted and needed.

As the years passed and we learned more about Yeshua in the Passover, we found there was a depth that was missing in the traditional-based Haggadah.  We decided that we should write our own.   We incorporated significant traditions that Yeshua used at his last seder into our Passover Haggadah as well as Scriptures that highlighted the shadows that became reality through Him.

Everyone at the seder or at least every two people will need a Haggadah. If you would like to use ours, it can be purchased on amazon.com. We have kept the price minimal with no profit to us so that anyone can afford to buy several or, in the case of a church,  purchase them for their guests and pass the cost on. As hosts, we provide Haggadahs for each of our guests who come celebrate in our home so they have a way to continue the celebration in their home the next year.  

If you’re thinking of having a seder with family, friends or even a church celebration, remember this is to be a FEAST.   Make sure you include a main dish of beef, chicken or even lamb that will serve everyone.  I suggest a main course per each 6-10 people.  You can have a small group prepare all the food or invite each family to bring a dish of something to share like a fruit salad, green salad, vegetable or dessert.   Ask that they do not bring anything that is leavened (with yeast or soured dough) or made with anything found in Leviticus 11 – especially pig products (ham, pork, bacon, sausage) and seafood.  I have linked some recipes for your convenience that we use for our seder dinners that include a main course, side dishes and unleavened desserts and cookies.

Traditional Food and Recipes

There are some traditional foods that can be served during the seder meal. Carrot tzimmesmatzah ball soup,  kugels: sweetbananamushroom, and  sponge cake or macaroons are all wonderful ways to include others in planning your meal.   Fresh fruit salads and green salads are welcome at a seder.   I always serve lamb though it is not tradition to do so.  Some people serve Gefilte Fish, Roast Chicken or Brisket.

Setting the Table

When setting the table, use some white table clothes (plastic, paper or even white sheets)  to make your table look like a ‘set apart’ dinner because it is!   It is a ‘Feast of the LORD’ – a memorial not just to the Passover found in the book of Exodus, but a rehearsal dinner for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

Everyone will need a plate, soup bowl, forks, knives, spoons, napkin and 2 cups.   Paper and plastic products are fine to use, and with a large group makes clean-up much easier.   One cup is for drinking water; the other is for the wine or grape juice that will be consumed during the seder.  If you can, use wine glasses.  Plastic ones can be found in most party stores.   If you have a smaller group, feel free to use dinnerware and silverware.

Seder Plate

Seder Plate
Seder Plate

The seder plate will be the centerpiece on the table(s) along with the matzah, unleavened bread.  If you have more than one table, you will need one seder plate for each table to make it easier for people to share the items.  Special foods will put on each plate: charoset (apple mixture), bitter herbs (generally horseradish), sprigs of parsley (one for each person)  and a cup of salt water for dipping.

Seder Plate
Lamb Shank Bone

You will also need one lamb shank bone that you can get from a butcher. Wash it well and then roast it in the oven an hour or so to ‘seal’ it and you can use it year after year on your seder plate.  You only need ONE lamb shank bone, not one for each individual plate.  This is because we all share in the same ‘sacrificed lamb.’

NOTE: We do not use an egg on our plate to remember the destruction of the Temple as it too much resembles the spring ritual of Easter. We place a rock on our plate as Yeshua prophesied the destruction of the Temple in Matthew 24:1-3 and we still await its restoration.

Elijah’s Seat

When you are setting your table, set one extra place for Elijah.  With a large group, this setting could be at the leader’s table keeping it separate from the guests.  This is a tradition based on the Scripture that Elijah will come before the Messiah.  Traditionally, a child participates at the end of the seder by going to the door to see if Elijah has come.  We put our ‘check for Elijah’ at the beginning of our seder because our children were concerned that if he was at the door, we had already eaten and he would have no food!

Wine

There are four cups of wine consumed during the seder.  This means you should have enough wine (or grape juice if you want to avoid alcohol)  for everyone who is coming.  You will need one wine glass/cup for each person to fill four different times. 

Matzah

Matazh or unleavened bread  is central to a seder dinner.  You can buy it at a local store (Costco sells it in huge cases for large groups) or make it at home.  There is no substitute for matzah at a seder so be prepared with a lot as you will also eat it during the next week of Unleavened Bread.

Matzah Tosh Pillow

At each table you will need plates of matzah. Next to the leader of the seder there will be another plate of matazh for the ‘unity of matzah’ called a ‘matzah tosh pillow’.   This pillow can be created with a plate and four napkins. Place an opened napkin on the plate, then place one matzah on top.  Open another napkin and place it on top of the matzah, then add another matzah.  Top that matzah with another napkin and a matzah. Cover the last matzah with the fourth opened napkin.  You should have a ‘unity’ of three matzahs and four napkins when you’re done.  During the seder, the leader will reach into the middle of the matzah tosh and remove the center piece.  It will be broken in half. One of the halves is wrapped in a fifth napkin and set aside.  If you find that you celebrate the Passover year after year, you can also make or buy a matzah tosh.

Afikomen Prize

The word afikomen means ‘dessert.’  It is the piece of matzah that was wrapped in the fifth napkin.  It will be the last food eaten at the seder.  All other desserts will be eaten before finishing the seder so the taste of the afikomen is allowed to ‘linger’ in the mouth. The afikomen is part of the bread and wine that Yeshua shares with the disciples at his last seder.

There are special instructions for the afikomen after the meal has been eaten.   It becomes a game that includes the participation of the children. The afikomen can either be hidden or stolen by the children and redeemed for a price.  In our family, my husband hides the afikomen while everyone is eating the seder dinner.  Before sitting down to finish the seder, he asks the children to find it.  It is ‘redeemed’ for a prize.  Over the years our prize has changed depending on the ages of our children.  We have given stuffed animals, little trinkets and money.  If we know there will be small children at our seder, we try to have an appropriately aged gift.

Pillows

Pillows are an essential item during a seder.  Yeshua and his disciples reclined at the table and pillows are a way to emulate this behavior.  Our family actually sets a low table made of a piece of drywall sitting on plastic tubs and covered in white table cloths.  In this way, we actually do sit on the floor and recline with pillows by the table.  If you have a larger setting, it may not be possible for everyone to bring a pillow, so just make sure that someone at each table has one, especially the leader of the seder.

Foot Washing

In a traditional seder, there is a time for hand washing. Since Yeshua washed his disciples feet at the Passover, we have made the hand washing ceremony into a foot washing fellowship time.   You will need a basin, pitcher of water and some towels.  Explain to your guests before they come that you will be doing a foot washing as Yeshua/Jesus did so they come prepared to remove their socks and shoes.  If someone comes who cannot remove their shoes, their feet can be massaged.

During the foot washing time,  play quiet music while everyone blesses each other by washing feet.  Generally, we have husbands and wives wash each other’s feet while children and parents wash one another.   It is a wonderful time to watch servanthood in the lives of children!  At some Passover celebrations, the time of foot washing is a time to promise to pray for one year (until the next Passover)  for the person washing your feet.   If you are in a church setting and want to incorporate the prayer, men may wash men’s feet and women wash women’s and boys and girls divide between the men and women.

Music

Feel free to incorporate music during your seder.   You can choose to sing, dance, play instruments or just listen to songs – recorded or live –  about the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, your part in the Commonwealth of Israel, or just praise and worship for the God of Israel and what He has done for us through His Son.  We generally begin our seders by dancing the hora, the Israeli national dance,  to bring people into the joy of the celebration.

There are songs that are traditional to the seder dinner.  You will be singing “Dayenu”meaning “It Would Have Been Enough.”  The words are simple and the tune very catching.  You’ll find yourself singing “Dayenu” throughout the week of Unleavened Bread.  Video with music. 

At the very end of your seder, it is traditional to sing or say “Lashana Haba bi Yerushalayim” which means Next Year in Jerusalem!  May it be so … and may we  celebrate next year in Jerusalem with the Messiah, the King of the Kings at His Wedding Feast!  Video with music.

Here is a basic Passover Checklist as you prepare to celebrate your seder. Feel free to print it and use it along with the other recipes and links on this page.  If you are preparing your own seder or if you’re just wanting to learn more about Yeshua (Jesus) in the Passover, don’t hesitate to ask.

May you be blessed as you celebrate the memorial of the Passover as Yeshua did with his disciples.  May you not only see your deliverance from slavery in Egypt as part of the commonwealth of Israel, but your redemption from death to life  through the blood of the Lamb.  May the seder you celebrate prepare you for the week of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Firstfruits of Yeshua’s resurrection from the dead! HalleluYAH!

©2012 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.