|...the celebration of a covenant relationship|
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"Now as they were eating, Yeshua took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, 'Take, eat, this is my body.' And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, 'Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant , which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins'." Matthew 26:26-29
"And when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. And He said unto them, 'With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of YHVH.' And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, 'Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of YHVH shall come.' And He took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave unto them, saying, 'This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me '." Luke 22:14-19
"I speak as to wise men; judge what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Yeshua? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Yeshua? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread ."1Corinthians 10:15-17
"In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:4-5
What is the purpose of Communion? For most of us, having been taught in the tradition of men, communion has become symbolized into the ritual of the taking of the wafer and the small cup of grape juice (or some variation thereof). If we are really "spiritual", that ritual becomes traditionalized in an actual cup of wine and some fresh-baked homemade bread. In most scenerios, those elements are administered by someone in a position of religious authority as a solemn means of reflection over our sins that "the Christ took away" by His suffering for us on the cross. What we have been told is that the ritualized taking of these elements (commonly referred to as "Eucharist") was what Yeshua was instructing us to do to remember His sacrificial atonement for the sins of mankind on the cross. This ritual is what has come to be known as "Communion". However, words mean things and if we simply read the words given to us in the context they are presented in and with an appreciation of the Hebrew mindset they were written from, it might surprise you to know that communion was never meant to be anything like the ritualized tradition that has been handed down to us (see the Evolution of Eucharist - this is an important read in understanding the rest of this article - click on highlighted words to see content).
As was noted in previous articles, what has been embraced through traditional religious teachings handed down to us as "truth" are not necessarily aligned with what the words of scripture actually say and mean. There are some facts to note in the passages above which will be explored in this article. The first fact is that what has come to be known as the "Last Supper" was actually a Hebrew Feast. As a Torah observant Hebrew, Yeshua and His Hebrew disciples were celebrating the Hebrew Feast of Pesach - what the English translations have overwritten as "the Passover". The use of the unleavened bread (Hebrew matzah) and wine did not originate with the Master at the Last Supper. Hebrews have been celebrating Pesach in this manner for thousands of years as a remembrance of their deliverance from their bondage in Egypt by the Grace of YHVH. That's right, Grace - they did nothing to earn that redemption (see the Law of Grace for an expanded look). Secondly, Yeshua said the bread IS His Body (see the difference between His Body and the Church) and to divide the wine among them which IS His Blood (see the distinction given His Blood to His Body in the Inheritance). Third, this is the ONLY place in scripture where He gives a NEW commandment (that really wasn't "new" at all). But, the only ones in attendance at this final Pesach Seder were the disciples, so this commandment was given only to them - not to the world. Finally, although they could not yet recognize it, Yeshua was showing His disciples the fulfillment of His Father's covenant - not initiating a "new covenant".
There are only two places where scripture tells us that the Spirit of Elohiem (changed to "God" in English versions, see Genesis 1:1 in the Interlinear Version) was breathed into men. The first time is in Genesis 2:7 where YHVH breathed into Adam - and, in so doing, imparted Life. The second time is in John 20:19-22 where Yeshua breathed ruach hakodesh (the spirit of holiness) into the disciples - again, imparting Life. From reading both Leviticus 17:11 and Acts 15:20, we can see that these Hebrews understood that the Life is in the Blood. Communion is a recognition of the Life flowing in and through those who have received YHVH's Spirit of Holiness that is celebrated every time two or more of those members are joined together.
|...Pesach - the fulfillment of the covenant|
In Acts 1:8, Yeshua says the Power of the Source of Life becomes resident within those who receive the gift of ruach hakodesh. The Greek word used for Power in this verse is dynamis and means inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature. It is from this Greek word dynamis are derived the English words dynamic and dynamo. It is the same Greek word we see used in several places of scripture describing the Power flowing from Yeshua's Life that healed and delivered from bondage and was credited to the Virtue, the purity, the excellence of Spirit that dynamo within Him produced (Mark 5:30, Luke 6:19). When we are filled, baptized, empowered with ruach hakodesh, what we are empowered with is the Virtue of His DNA - His Blood. It begins to course through our veins. This is not some wispy, mystical, ethereal occurrence to be had somewhere in the future - it is the Life He said would occur right now (see what it means to be In Perpetuity with the Spirit of Life right now). So, where is that Power found today?
If what Yeshua bequeathed to those who would come after Him was the Power to do the Works He did and greater than the works He did (John 14:12) - then what are we celebrating? Could it be that the words of Yeshua are true? Could it be that the only thing He ever pointed to as having the power to nullify, make void, bring to "none effect" the Power of the Living Word in our lives - the tradition of men (Mark 7:13) - is actually doing what He said it could do because we have ritualized the Power right out of our lives? Where is the Power evidenced in the lives of those early believers, those who were the most recent to witness the Source of that Power? A Power so vibrant, so real that Acts 5:16 describes how all who were sick and possessed of demon spirits were simply brought into the city where these witnesses had accumulated - and they were all healed. The scripture does not say they were brought to an individual, not to Peter, not to John - just into the place where the Body of Yeshua gathered. What was it about their gathering that was so inherently powerful? Could it be the greater works He spoke of is that, while He was one individual imbued with the Power of the Life, with ruach hakodesh that Power now resides in many - a greater working of the same Power? The "one bread" the apostle Sha'ul speaks of in the verse from Corinthians at the top of this article?
We have lost something. Because of the tradition of men that has been handed down to us, because of the manner, the WAY we approach these words - we have lost something. That something is the Power that accompanied the lives of those written about in the book of the Acts of the disciples. The dynamo, the inherent Power, given to us has ceased to function - why? Could it be we have intellectualized ourselves into impotence? Yeshua always pointed to the works that flowed from Him as a validation of the words He spoke (John 10:36-38) - not the other way around. And, according to scripture, those works came from the Virtue that flowed from Him. He gives that same Power JUST AS He had to all who embrace His manner of Life.
|...the mystery of Yeshua's Body|
What Sha'ul was saying to the Body of Believers in 1Corinthians 11:16-34 was when they came together for this "intercourse", this "mingling" of Spirit, they were not discerning the Body properly and, as a result, many lay sick and were dying. He said this was a result of "divisions" among them. Sha'ul knew full well the implications of Yeshua's words of John 3:19-21, that the judgment of condemnation that has come into the world was that men loved darkness more than they loved to bring their deeds into the Light for reproof, to see if those deeds are wrought in YHVH - or not. Divisions occur when we are unwilling to allow the Light of His Life contained in the other members of His Body to shine upon our deeds - to voluntarily bring our deeds into the Light of judgment for reproof. Now, if the words of scripture are true and the Life within His Body is the Light of men, then we can visualize a gathering of Believers as the embodiment of the most Brilliant of Light - the Presence of the Father now tabernacled in the hearts of Believers. Since Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time, when just a small amount of darkness is brought into that Light, just as it had in the wilderness - there are consequences (Numbers 16:27-33). When we come together for fellowship, there is a mingling of Life, of this Dynamo that flows between us. We become One Flesh. Just as Yeshua is One in the Father, so we become One in Him - and in each other (John 17:21-23). Yes, one Spirit - but, also, One Flesh.
Just as when the children of Israel in the wilderness brought even a small amount of darkness into the camp where the Presence of the Father resided and as Ananias and Sapphira brought just a little darkness into the camp of Believers where, since Pentecost, the Presence of the Father now resides - consequences befell them. Just as with your body, when a miniscule bit of virus is interjected, the whole body suffers as a consequence. The more brilliant the Light becomes, the more defined becomes the line between Light and dark (see the Law of Grace). As a result of seeing the cleansing Power of Yeshua's Blood manifesting in their midst, great fear and respect came upon them (Acts 5:11). This is the effect Sha'ul was describing in 1Corinthians 11:28-30. It is an awesome thing to come into the Presence of the Holy One of Israel for He is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). What does this tell us about our congregating, our "gathering", our "intercourse", our fellowship, our communion today? Could it be we have lost sight of what Virtue really means? How do we come by that Virtue?
Interestingly, the Hebrew word for "glory" used in Exodus 33:18 when Moshe (Moses) asked the Father to "show me your glory", is kavod and has as one of its definitions "liver" which is then applied figuratively as "soul". What is the function of the liver in our bodies? It cleanses the Blood. YHVH then answered Moshe's request and revealed His Glory beginning in the first verses of Exodus 34. The first thing He did was to hand Moshe the Commandments of Virtue written on tablets of stone. His Essence, the Brilliance of His Presence, is then described as He proceeded to pass before Moshe, but a clear definition of His Essence, what that Virtue is, began with the Ten Commandments. Today, because of Ruach haKodesh dwelling within us, those words are now written upon our hearts - but THEY ARE THE SAME WORDS. This is what Yeshua was explaining to these eleven Hebrews gathered with Him in that upper room. His Blood is the fulfillment of the same words of the New Covenant described in Jeremiah 31:31-34. The tradition of men handed down to us in the form of Westernized Christianity and the New Pauline Religion want to convince us these commandments don't apply to us anymore; that "Jesus" came to do away with them in spite of the fact that Yeshua Himself stated otherwise (Matthew 5:17-20). Each time in the gospels He was asked about how to obtain this Life, He responded by saying to keep the Commandments given to Moses in the Torah (Matthew 19:16-22, Mark 10:17-21, Luke 10:25-28, Luke 18:18-22). He even repeated them to be sure there was no misunderstanding as to what He was referring to. And these are NOT the NINE commandments - they are all ten of them He gave all at once. How does anyone read these words and think He meant something else? Only with an agenda of keeping the tradition of men.
Virtue is synonymous with Righteousness. Virtue is what makes possible the arena of faith whereby the Presence of the Father can only abide in this collective tabernacle not made with hands. Where previously the weakness of the flesh prevented us from maintaining the righteousness necessary to remain in His Presence, now He has given us the means, the wherewithal, the Power to accomplish that righteousness. Words mean things. The Power we are given in John 1:12 is the Greek word eckousia and means "the power of choice". This is not made up, read it for yourself - it's Strong's G1849. Yeshua said in Matthew 16:24 there are some things we must DO to exercise that power of choice. How can that be if His purpose was to "do away" with the commandments of the law as has been drummed into us (see the Law of 100%)? Apparently, Yeshua thought there is something we must actually DO to conform ourselves to, in order to obtain, lay hold of the Power of this Life He spoke about. Could it be, could the correlation be made, that these things spoken of in the Ten Commandments are the things of Spirit - of Life?
|...the Words of LIFE|
By divorcing ourselves from Yeshua's Hebrew lineage, and consequently, His Hebrew teaching, we have lost our bearings (1John 3:24). We have lost our benchmark to measure what Virtue is. We no longer possess the fear of what it means to bring just a little darkness into the Brilliance of the Presence of the Father now occupying a seat at the table of our "love feasts". We no longer possess the fear those early believers had because we have so diluted the Virtue of His Presence in our midst. By saying that Virtue no longer applies, we have sick and dying among us as a result - the physical being the manifestation of the spiritual. We no longer have any markers by which to measure Light. By settling for mere symbols of that Life, we have diminished the Power of the Life among us.
We don't comprehend or understand what it means to have the Power of Virtue, the Power of Light resident within us (Romans 8:11). Concentrated into a laser, Light will penetrate any substance. Concentrated among a serious set of Believers who refuse to settle for anything less than the Excellence of Spirit He has shown us to be, that Light will penetrate the world. There will actually be something there to affect people, to attract them as people were attracted those first few days of Pentecost and thereafter, to cause them to sit up and take notice that we disciples, followers, practitioners of haDerek Notzerim (the Way of the Nazarene, see the Power In His Name for more).
An observation about the Life of Yeshua was that He never told anyone to quit participating in any religious ritual they felt would bring them nearer to the Presence of the Father. What He tried to point them to was to focus beyond the rituals which only speak of the Power inherent in the Essence of the Father and, instead, to the Life acquired by LIVING that Essence. So, when my friend, Marty, asked me, "Then, should I continue to ritually take the sacraments?" my response was simply, "Is there any Power in it?"
Part One: Marriage...
Part Two: ...Divorce...
Part Three: ...Remarriage?
Part Four: Communion
Part Five: Flesh and Blood
|"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35|
Please feel free to email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to share with you what the Spirit is uncovering.