My deep mood, my spiritual contemplation continues. Do we have any New Testament scriptures to verify the “Tent Life” message the Lord’s Supper seems to connect with? Yes. Many actually. But at this moment the Apostle Paul instructing Timothy to not be entangled in the affairs of “this life” comes to my mind.
Tent Life? Does that really connect to the Lord’s Supper? I mean, aren’t we stretching things a bit? What about me living like a king?
Our modern church has such a different emphasis than the early church fathers. It is amazing to me how many ways I see the emphasis has been shifted to a different syllable of our Lord’s teaching, causing it to be slightly off from the truth. Ever so slightly, but enough. Is the Passover connected to a Tent Life? YES, it is. But how much of that emphasis have you heard on Easter Sunday? And what does it mean for us? Do we even realize the Lord’s Supper is the Passover fulfilled?
In the next few paragraphs I’m going to try and describe the way the disciples experienced the 3 days of our Lord’s crucifixion, compared to how you and I of the modern church have most likely experienced it. Some might call the changes small, but I think God would call them HUGE.
For the disciples and the early church, it all starts with a meal. It also marked the beginning of a New Year for them. The 14th of Nissan. This meal would happen on what we call “Good Friday”. Jesus had his Passover Meal on Thursday night, as a Jewish clock ran from sunset to sunset, and he would be dying on a cross later that day. But it was an intimate “meal”, with his close spiritual “family”, which then easily flowed into what we call the Communion, the bread and wine of his body and blood. Jesus establishing his body and blood as the payment for a perfect covenant with God the Father, ended that meal. This is what the disciples experienced on Good Friday, a meal full of, and overflowing with MUCH meaning.
Not only were the disciples thinking about New Years resolutions (perhaps). By this I mean perhaps they have the same desire as many of us at New Years, to do better, how can I do better this year? But the Passover Meal was the beginning of 7 Days of Unleavened Bread. In other words, their New Year began with a whole week of thinking about getting the sin out of their life for this New Year. Now does any of this compare to what we have experienced every Easter at our church?
You see, a big contention arose a little past 100 AD., and the Bishop of Rome wanted to make some small changes. Evidently, what we call “Lent” developed during this time, which includes some kind of fasting. This Lent, and this fasting, began to interfere with what the Apostle John and other Apostles had taught Bishop Polycarp to continue as the Passover meal. A Christian form of the Passover Meal I should specify. This began many years of church and doctrine battle, but around 300 AD, with the help of a heathen Emperor named Constantine, the Rome Bishops evidently finally got their way.
So after all these years, what we have today, has become something more like this: “Maybe” you are doing Lent. “Maybe” your church might do a special Friday service of some sort, possibly emphasizing prayer, and you “might” go. Or you might just have your normal Friday night at home. Or maybe you’re preparing for an Easter Egg hunt and sun worship. But for many, Friday night is really not all that different. Maybe you’re out shopping for a new dress, because a lot of people really “dress up” for Easter Sunday. But it is for sure you’re not likely having a Passover Meal as Jesus DID, and so DID the disciples, and so DID the early church fathers.
As a matter of fact, we are most likely preparing to cram everything into one big day on Sunday. And when Sunday comes we will not be thinking about 7 Days of Unleavened Bread. We will not be thinking about getting sin out of our life and the beginning of a New Year, spiritually speaking. And we will somehow give proper remembrance to the Lord’s “DEATH”, even as we somehow manage to celebrate his RESURRECTION, all in the same Sunday morning, which may include a Sunrise service you may have drug yourself out of bed for if you are the really dedicated.
Now there are many shifts of emphasis here, of which I can only target a few in any one article. But one I find very interesting, and is a perfect example of how slight these shifts seem to be in our own mind, and yet may be HUGE in the mind of God! Paul says this in I Corinthians 11: 26>
“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s DEATH till he come.”
For many many years I never thought about this small statement of emphasis. Yes, I remembered the Lord’s death on Easter even as we were also rushing to his resurrection celebration. But as I study the early church fathers, the emphasis is totally on his death and the cross! For instance, on Sunday they would have also been still into the 7 Days of Unleavened Bread. Yes, they are happy the Lord has resurrected, without which we have no hope of real salvation! But remember, the early church fathers also did not preach once saved always saved. The Unleavened Bread they were eating was a constant reminder that if they continued in a life of sin, they would not receive that resurrection! It was not a “done deal”! He that endures to the end! That Unleavened Bread was a reminder of the “Tent Life” their forefathers were rescued out of Egypt (worldliness), and delivered into the wilderness to learn to die to self! A crossing and a cross! And carry what they learned in the wilderness, into the Promised Land! Have we forgotten?
Now consider this. What DID Jesus do on Sunday? Was he celebrating his resurrection? No! He was talking about SIN! Mary Magdalene discovers him in the garden and is ready to rush into a resurrection celebration and Jesus says: “Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to my Father: but go to…”
What is he ascending to the Father to do? PUT HIS BLOOD ON THE MERCY SEAT OF THE HEAVENLY TABERNACLE!
Touch me not! For I have not yet ascended and poured the blood of my sacrifice, for the forgiveness of your SINS, on the Ark of the Covenant in heaven!
Later that same day he appears to the disciples and breathed on them to receive the Holy Spirit! And then says this >
“Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained.”
Totally different emphasis than we see today. Of course, the Lord would have also been thinking about the 7 Days of Unleavened Bread, and of course we ARE NOT. We’re thinking about some eggs, or perhaps the after church Big Mac. And we’re not even at all aware that this is how we are starting our spiritual New Year. And we no longer have “Lord Supper Meals”, also called the Lord’s Welcoming Table, as such all year long. But we have the short-form bite of bread or wafer, and a thimble of juice. And we also do not realize if the colored eggs are combined with our church, we are in sun-worship. As a matter of fact, in my opinion, after the studies I have made, having an emphasis on resurrection and not his death, may in itself be a form of sun worship. Both Winter Solstice (Christmas), and Easter were Roman heathen festivals worshiping the “Rising” and “Unconquerable sun god”. Also a Prosperity god. Hhmmm. And if you see no danger in this, then once again I recommend reading Ezekiel 8, where God leaves Jerusalem, and is with the Exiles. Wow.
There is a big time gap in the knowledge of church history for most Christians. We have the “Missing Years”, the “Void”, of how we got from the description of the early church in Acts, to the description of church by Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 11, to a big leap around the time of Constantine and the Catholic church. Wow! What happened? Then we know of the “dark days” and the Protestants revolt against the Catholic which eventually got us to 2018. And this is how we have always done things. It must be alright. And yet we have no knowledge of what happened in those very important days of the early church fathers to whom the torch was passed directly from Apostles. And we have no curiosity? We have no passion to be concerned?
I can only say, whether I was a poor student, or ALL my Pastor’s were very poor teachers, if I had been given a test on those “Missing Years”, or even on a proper Lord’s Supper and Passover, I WOULD HAVE FLUNKED! BIG FAT “F”! And my understanding now, may only be at a D+ level. But I am now doing my best to make these things the template for what I call church. For me, church is about a TABLE, that the devil managed to shift us away from and back to stone temples. That TABLE goes VERY DEEP and affects many things. I’m still discovering new affects every day.
For example, there has been a new convert to Christ I’m trying to disciple; but so far it has been rather slow and difficult. Just yesterday I suddenly realized the best way to “show” this guy what it all really means, and get him on the right track quickly, IN HIS OWN HOME, is the LORD’S WELCOMING TABLE! Of which I plan to perform my first outreach in this particular way this coming up week. And I am SO excited! I can hardly wait.
So… “What’s it all mean?” As this series continues we will look deeper and deeper as to what did Jesus do? What did the early church do? And then each of us must decide if these details, these slight shifts of emphasis, are more important than we realize? In the meantime, keep praying, keep studying, stay involved with Christian fellowship, i.e. Church, and ask yourself, W.W.J.D.. And hopefully, what you understand as what Jesus WOULD do, will be in complete harmony with what Jesus DID do. Seek and ye shall find. Ask and it shall be given. Knock and it shall opened. Is that not what God hath said?
This has been brought to you by “Fellowship of the White Path” and Grandpa White Feather. More still to come.