Sunday, January 28, 2018

This Do in Remembrance of Me

1 Corinthians 11:25 (KJV)
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

Christians will recognize that 1 Corinthians is referring to the ordinance of communion. Some churches do this every week during the church worship service, while other churches observe this practice once a month, or twice a year, or even once a year. Needless to say, Christianity has seemed to have gotten the idea down pat.

However, Christianity has forgotten the context of when Yeshua made this statement. Let's go back to Luke to find that context.

Luke 22:13-19 (KJV)
13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.
14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.
15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:
18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 

These verses were uttered at the Passover Seder just before Yeshua's death. When Yeshua commanded His disciples to "remember Him," the disciples would have realized that the next time that they would be in this situation would be a year from then at the next Passover Seder. But why would Yeshua tie communion to Passover? Why can't the churches just decide on their own when and where they want to observe communion?

The annual Passover Seder was instituted by God as a memory device.

Exodus 12:14 (KJV)
14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

What were the Israelites to remember on subsequent Passovers? They were to remember how God delivered them out of Egypt and how He redeemed them and made them His people. The Passover and the Exodus are types of the salvation that Yeshua provided in His own death and resurrection. Our remembering Yeshua and His provision of salvation by observing communion connects us to the Exodus and the Passover. This is how God works!!! The blood of a lamb kept the Israelites from death and the blood of the Lamb of God (Yeshua) keeps believers from eternal judgment and death.

Can churches do their own thing and observe communion as they want? The story of Cain and Abel, the laws in the Torah, and the history of Israel's faithlessness all point to God's desires for correct worship. At the very least we are missing out on the connections that God has provided.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Freed From The Law?

One morning, while I was listening to a Christian radio station, I heard that the hymn "Freed From The Law, Oh Happy Condition" was the next piece that would be played. I was not familiar with this hymn, but I thought the title was bizarre. What!! We're freed from the law!! I guess it is perfectly acceptable to commit murder, theft, adultery, and even idolatry now that Yeshua came and freed us from the law!

Obviously, since I am a born again believer, I know that this was not the intent of the song. I know that "the law" the hymn writer was speaking of was the dreaded Mosaic law? Let's examine this issue a little closer.

This song reminded me of the days when some parenting advice was extremely permissive. Children were left to their own devices and allowed to figure out right from wrong on their own. Obviously, these children grew up to be spoiled and damaged. They didn't respect authority, nor did they even have a sense that anyone cared enough to train and discipline them. Human beings need law and order in their lives for proper development. From this alone, I found fault with the title of the hymn. Without law, no one is in a happy condition!

Oh, but the Mosaic law has been replaced by the "law of Christ," some would say (1 Cor. 9:21). But what is the law of Christ?

Galatians 6:2 (KJV)
2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

According to Galatians, the law of Christ is to carry one another's burdens. While this sentiment is all well and good, it doesn't give us any concrete definable laws that show us how we are to bear one another's burdens. Gotquestions.org states that "most Bible teachers understand the law of Christ to be what Christ stated were the greatest commandments in Mark 12:28-31, 'Which commandment is the most important of all?' Jesus answered, 'The most important is, "'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." The second is this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." There is no other commandment greater than these.'" If the law of Christ is indeed the two commandments of loving God and loving our neighbor, these commandments existed in the Old Testament. Gotquestions.org is quoting from Deuteronomy. Therefore, it would seem that the law of Christ is not something new, but rather the same law as the Mosaic law (actually it's God's law, not Moses'). Reducing the entire Mosaic law to two commandments was to convey a summary, not a statement that there were only two commandments. Mark 12:31 even states that there are other commandments (see above).

Well, some would say that the "ceremonial law" (as opposed to the moral law that still exists) has been fulfilled by Yeshua and therefore we don't have to obey that anymore. However, searching through the Bible for a definition of "ceremonial law" is fruitless. When the law is spoken of, there is never any differentiation.

1 John 3:4 (KJV)
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

We have been conditioned into believing that part of the law is no longer applicable to us. Yet, the verse that is used to show that Yeshua fulfilled the law doesn't even mean what Christianity has come to accept.

Matthew 5:17 (KJV)
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

If the Mosaic law was fulfilled by Yeshua and no longer needs to be obeyed, then how about Galatians 6:2 (see above)? It says that if we bear one another's burdens we fulfill the law of Christ. If "fulfill" means it has been finished and no longer needs to be done, I guess that once we carry someone's burden, the law of Christ is fulfilled and we don't have to worry about doing it ever again! Oh, happy condition!

No, Yeshua did fulfill God's law. He obeyed it! That's all! That doesn't mean that we don't have to obey the law ourselves. Because otherwise, we ignore the guidance that God gave His people. We would then be a spoiled and damaged people. We would be left to our own devices to try to figure out what God wanted and what was pleasing to Him. To be in a happy condition we need concrete laws and commandments. He didn't leave us unloved; He gave us His laws (all of them)!