Keyboard and Mouse



Shalom Aleichem and welcome to my Shabbat blog!

Why do we celebrate the Holy Communion?

For most of us, it is to remember and proclaim the Lord’s death (1 Cor 11:26a). Here, the bread and wine represent His body and blood which was given to save us. Now, in order to fully appreciate this, we need to realise that Jesus gave us this command during His Last Supper with His disciples. This meal took place on the eve of the annual Jewish Festival of the Passover, which was to commemorate how God’s judgment passed over the Israelites the night before their exodus from Egypt 1,500 years earlier. As part of the Passover celebration, the Jews were to sacrifice and eat the Passover lamb like how their original ancestors did. This was so as to ultimately point to Jesus, our true Passover Lamb, who was sacrificed on this appointed day so that God’s eternal judgment would pass over us. He is the perfect Lamb of God who died for our sins as we saw in our last session. Jesus is also the True Bread that came down from heaven to give us eternal life, like the Manna that God sent to sustain the Israelites during their subsequent wilderness journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. In Jesus’ death, God revealed His love for us (Jn 3:16), adopting us as His children at the price of His one and only Son.

However, Jesus’ death is also the dowry and bride price to make us His Bride. As we see here, the cup of wine symbolises His blood of the New Covenant - which is essentially a marriage contract. You see, when Israel failed to keep the Law - her old marriage contract with God - the punishment was supposed to be divorce or death. We can read about this in Lev 20:10 and Deut 24:1-4. But God in His love and mercy did neither - He chose instead to die in our place to pay the price of our spiritual adultery. He then rewrote the marriage contract, this time not on tablets of stone but on our hearts, paying the bride price again with His own blood and sealing it with the Holy Spirit, so as to guarantee our eternal union with Him.

We could say that Jesus performed two miracles at two weddings, one at the start and the other at the end of His ministry - turning water into wine in Cana (His first miracle), and turning wine into blood (His last miracle, spiritually speaking); in these acts, we see why He is our Living Water that wells up to eternal life.

The Bible speaks of at least two weddings and a funeral as we see here, but of only one marriage made in Heaven - that of the Lamb and His Bride. Until that Day, until He comes (1 Cor 11:26b), we are called celebrate the Holy Communion, to share in common the bread and wine representing Jesus’ body and blood. When we do so, let us remember that salvation is not about us, our exodus from bondage to sin and journey to the Promised Land; it is about God and His sacrificial love to restore our broken relationship with Him. We are no longer slaves to sin, but children of God and Jesus’ redeemed bride.

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Shalom Aleichem and welcome to my Shabbat blog!

In our last two sessions, we saw firstly how - through the Law - Israel pointed to man’s utter sinfulness and need for Jesus, who alone could meet all its requirements so that we could be forever reconciled with God. Then we saw how God gave Israel the Tabernacle as a way for a sinful nation to serve as His priest drawing all men to worship Him. More importantly, the Tabernacle reflected God’s desire to be reconciled and dwell among us. Knowing that we are unable to find our way back to Him, God took the first step to find us - all out of Love.

Now, although God gave Israel the Tabernacle, as well as a Priesthood and Sacrificial system to carry out its mission to the world, these were all imperfect and insufficient. Otherwise, there won’t be a need for a permanent solution in Jesus and for Israel to act as God’s lesser light pointing us all to Him. We know from the Bible that God chose Moses’ elder brother Aaron to be the High Priest and Moses’ tribe - the Levites - as priests. But they, like the rest of the Israelites and indeed mankind, were sinful and fallen individuals.

The blood of the animal sacrifices were also only of symbolic value and could not really atone or serve as payment for man’s sin. The author of Hebrews tells us how “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins … [because] it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Heb 10:11, 4). Surely we do not think that an animal could take our place. We are made in the image of God and therefore only one among us - but who is perfect in God’s eyes - could properly represent and pay the price for our sins.

God had purposely made it such because His intention was for Aaron and the Levitical priests to point to Jesus, our true and perfect Great High Priest, whom we saw before was of the mysterious priestly and royal line of Melchizedek, while the inadequate animal sacrifices that had to be offered day after day, year after year, pointed to the all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus the Lamb of God, the one and only perfect and sinless man who could therefore by His one sacrifice atone for the sins of mankind for all time.

As we end this session, we can see how the Law, Tabernacle, Priesthood and Sacrifices, all point to Jesus. May He who fulfills all the Law’s requirements for us, who came as a man to tabernacle and dwell among us, our Great High Priest who now intercedes for us at the right hand of God, and the perfect Lamb of God who died for our sins - Jesus - may He bless you until we meet again in our next session.

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Shalom Aleichem and welcome to my Shabbat blog!

In our previous session, we saw how God gave Israel the Law as part of His plan for the nation to become His lesser light pointing to Jesus. God did not expect Israel to do this by keeping the Law; in fact, it was precisely by not being able to do so that Israel would point to our need for Jesus, who alone can meet all the requirements of the Law.

Because Israel was never meant to be able to uphold the Law, God also gave the nation the Tabernacle - a special place whereby they and all mankind could come before God - as well as a system of Priesthood and Sacrifices. These were to provide a way for Israel to be forgiven and cleansed so that it could serve as God’s priest drawing all nations to worship the One True God. Israel was to be God’s lesser light not by its own righteousness (in being able to keep the Law), but by reflecting God’s love, grace, mercy and forgiveness to the world.

Now, if the Law was meant to expose our sinfulness and inability to come into God’s presence by our good works, then the Tabernacle revealed how God nonetheless wanted to dwell among us by providing a way to remove this barrier of sin. If the Law spoke of how we were to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind … [and to] love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:37-40), then the Tabernacle spoke of how it was God who first loved us. For God, love was not just mere words or something demanded of us by command. Instead, the Tabernacle revealed how God Himself actively took steps to restore our broken relationship with Him.

Ultimately, the Tabernacle pointed to “God with us” - literally, physically - in the person of Jesus or Emmanuel.

We are told in the book of Hebrews that the earthly Tabernacle was patterned after the “true tabernacle” in heaven (Heb 8:1-5, 9:11,24). In other words, besides its earthly function, the Tabernacle - every section and article in it - was meant to reflect a deeper spiritual reality.

This reality can be summed up by Jesus’ words in John 14:6 - “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Let us look at this further by examining some of the articles in the Tabernacle:

First, Jesus is the (only) Way to God - we see this reflected in the single doorway into the Tabernacle. And not only that - in order for the priests to enter the covered tent proper, they had to offer burnt sacrifices on the Altar and wash themselves at the Bronze Laver or basin. These are symbolic of how we cannot enter into God’s presence without accepting Jesus’ death on the cross for us and letting our sins be cleansed and washed away by His blood.

Next, Jesus is the Truth that reveals God to us - once inside what is known as the Holy Place, the only source of light in the room comes from the Golden Lampstand - symbolic of Jesus, our True Light. Jesus is also reflected in the Table of Showbread, also known as the Bread of the Presence (or that which causes God to “show up”). In Jesus, God literally “showed up” among us - He is God's Word made flesh, the Bread of Life, the Truth that sets us free.

Finally, Jesus is Life itself - Hebrews 10:19-20 tells us that “we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place [where the Ark of the Covenant and the Glory of God resided] … by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain [or veil], that is, His body.” For when Jesus died, we are told that the curtain in the Temple that separated us from the very life-giving presence of God was torn in two. In Jesus, we can now boldly come before God to receive eternal life.

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