13 August, 2007

The Two Loaves

Whilst I am yet on the subject of the bread within the Lord's Supper, let me mention the two loaves.

Lev 23:16 & 17
Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.

50 days = Pentecost. The Feast of Pentecost was a Jewish feast long before the Spirit ushered in the church on that day and revealed its meaning forever. And yet, so much of its meaning is lost when we talk about the L0rd's Supper.

There were two loaves because of the domestic and the wild olive branches. The Jews are the first loaf, and we gentiles are the second. So, when we tear the loaf, we really should remember that we are tearing both loaves at once. We are one with those who came before us in Isreal. And what's more, this is a picture of how the Lord's Supper transcends ALL time. We show ourselves one with Abraham, and with Polycarp, and with Luther and so on. The loaves, and the body of Christ, and the church are all one across every moment - because God is I AM across every moment. It could be no other way.

Note also a couple things about the loaves. They are made of fine flour, and they are baked with leaven! How many times have you heard that the Lord's Supper must be taken with unleavened bread? And of course, the Passover meal was indeed taken with unleavened bread. Pentecost came 50 days after the celebration of the firstfruits (it's been too long since I studied all this, and the night grows late, but the details can slide here) so I'll agree that unleavened bread is the star of the Lord's Supper, but give the Pentecost loaves due thought.

They are made of fine flour. This could mean wheat thoroughly crushed by life's hardships, but that would be out of character with the feast. I believe instead that this points to the sweetest and most delicate of breads. This is the church as the Lord celebrates her. These loaves are not to be eaten by man, but are instead waved unto the Lord Himself. These are given to Him (and not burnt, because burning bread is NOT a pleasant aroma to the Lord as is the burning fat of the offering.) Our Lord sees us as a fine flour, and a delicate bread. To us, the bread is unleavened and harsh. To Him it is sweet and fine.

But another word is in order regarding the leaven. In the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the leaven speaks of sin. Every seed of sin must be removed from our houses and our bodies lest it grow and ruin the whole batch. On grain of yeast is enough to make us unable to accept God in to sup with us.

But this is not the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the leavening is not that of sin, but that of Life. The little leaven that leavens the whole batch here is that of the Life of Jesus Christ born in us - and in the Jews of olden days, and in the earliest church, and in the later church, and in those yet to come. The leaven that softens those twin loaves is ONE leaven; it is the Life of the holy God born in us - that which is born of Spirit is spirit.

So, as you take the bread, remind yourself of the sweet savor you are to God. Remind yourself that He partakes of the offering even as you do, and joins Himself to you even as you do to Him. He partakes in the wave offering of our communion together forever, one with each other and with Him.

1) We declare His death until He comes
2) We embrace the breaking of His body for us.
3) We declare our willingness to join Him in suffering.
4) We declare our oneness with every one who's ever known Him.
5) We declare His pleasure with us.

No comments: