CHAPTER THREE
THE SACRIFICE AND THE SUPPER


3.1 PASCHAL CELEBRATIONS
 

3.11 FIRST PASCHA

The institution of the Lord's supper took place at the time of the celebrations of the passover festival. In order to understand the significance we need to know the historical background of the passover and the form and order of passover celebration at the time of Jesus.

Exod. 12:1-14 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt,

"This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire --head, legs and inner parts. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD's Passover. "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn --both men and animals --and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. "This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD --a lasting ordinance.
 

This is the first passover and its ordinance. It celebrated the passing over of the angel of death and of the redemption of Israel and their liberation. All first born of Egypt was under death penalty. All mankind born of Adam are under the death penalty. But God provided a covering of safe haven for those who would take it. In the same way God provided a covering from this eternal separation to those who would take it. It was a free offer. It was not limited to Israel. Even the Egyptians could take cover under it. The means of this liberation from death was the Paschal lamb. It was to be chosen properly and sacrificed in the given manner and offered in a given way. The Paschal lamb of man is Jesus who fulfilled all the requirements fully. through the blood of Jesus man will be able to avoid his condemnation.
 

The sacrifice was the beginning of a new life and ultimately the promise of entry into the promised land.

The animal chosen must be an-year old - who has reached the maturity. Jesus was 30 years old, the age prescribed by law for an adult male to enter into service. He was male. He was in the open before the eyes of every Israel for three and half years to prove his blemishlessness. The lamb in actuality stayed with the people inside their home and was endeared by the whole family. It was a painful offering. The lamb was then slain and the blood posted over the lintels of portal door in the form of a cross. The lamb itself was slain and skinned hanging from the door post producing the perfect symbol of cross. The symbolism was complete with the blood on top lintel and the side post with the lamb hanging in the middle. All the family was to gather around the table ready to leave on instant notice (to be raptured) and should eat the meat roasted, baked or boiled.
 

3.12 THE PASCHA IN THE UPPER ROOM


Jesus knew that the time for the ultimate sacrifice has come. The ordinance of the passover is going to be redundant. The ultimate liberation has come. So Jesus takes over the celebration and and changed it to the new form.This probably was the first sacrifice that Jesus ever made in his life on earth as the head of a company. An official sacrifice could be done only by a person over the age of 30. He should be sitting on a table with at least ten adults- the Company. Sacrifices are made only in Jerusalem. During the first year of his ministry he was just starting to collect his disciples and he did not have ten disciples to meet the regulation. Jesus was in Jerusalem that day, but could not celebrate the passover sacrifice.

John 2:13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

John 2:23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.

This was the first passover during his maturity and he could not celebrate since he did not meet the levitical requirements.

During the second year he was not in Jerusalem and was in the uttermost parts of Galilee around Tyre and Sidon.

So this is the only time when he met the total requirements. But then this was also his first and the last because he was the Pascha.1Cor. 5:7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast --as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

He could not give himself as a sacrifice and eat the passover too.

The story given in the Bible indicates that the passover celebration was done before the actual passover day.

Matt. 26:17 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"

[John specifically mentions that the court sessions took place on the day of the preparation of the passover:

John 18:28 Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover.

John 18:39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release `the king of the Jews'?"

John 19:14 It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews.

When discussing the day we should remember that for the Jews the day began at the morning at sunrise. But for the gentiles it began at midnight or loosely at the sunset. So when we are discussing we should be careful to distinguish between these two.]

This was necessary because Jesus knew that he being the Passover lamb could not eat this passover with his disciples. So he arranges it early. This was not completely out of tradition since many people did celebrate the festival early. Hence Jesus' prelude:

Luke 22:15 And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. So though it was the day before the passover, it was normal for the passover lamb to be cut and the passover celebrated.
 

So for Jesus this was a crucial point. For human history this was the conjunction of the Old and the New. The old symbolic sacrifice is being completed in the real sacrifice in Jesus. This brings to an end the the old requirement. No more sacrifice is required. Christ our Passover has come. Now the true feast of the unleavened bread starts .
 

Pascha was a special sacrifice. It was not part of the old covenant. It was instituted before the covenant while Israel was still in bondage in Egypt.. It was the foundation of the covenant that was ratified in Sion where the Church of Israel was constituted as a party. It was thus the cause and the foundation of all Levitical Sacrifices and the terms of the covenant. So also the cross of Calvary the real Pascha is performed before the consummation of the new covenant in the Kingdom of God. But it is the cause and the foundation of the new covenant - The new covenant in His Blood. Just as all Israel who were redeemed later were gathered around the Paschal table, so also Church, the redeemed today are gather around the Table of our Lord.

 

Luke 22:7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover." 9 "Where do you want us to prepare for it?" they asked. 10 He replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, `The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 12 He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there." 13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

The Passover feast and the first Lord's Table were set in the Upper Room. This probably was the home of John Mark. It was here the news of the resurrection was reached. It was here the first Church assemblies were held.

Here are the liturgical order of the Passover ceremony at the time of Jesus according to the Traditions:
 

The arrangement of the table for feast was around an elongated low table. Two third of the table was covered with a table cloth where the guests ate. The remaining one third is left bare where the servants are able to bring the food and keep as the feast goes along. They sat on the floor carpet raised slightly with padded cloths. They sat with their legs away from the table leaning towards the left with their left hand holding them. This left the right hand for eating.

Matt.26:20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.

People sat in a U form from the right to left. The head of the Company sat at the second place from the left most. The two seats one on the left and one on the right were special. The most prominent person sat left of the head of the Company. He is the chief guest honored above others. One on the right was actually a helper friend of the Head. Usually the servants also joined the feast. They took the free end of the U table on the other side of the Chief Guest, the Head and the main Help.

Luke22:24 Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.

This shrouded reference indicates that there was some squabble over who should sit on the left and the right hand of Jesus at the Table.

We are not told how the disciples finally settled this issue. But from the descriptions given we could derive some information about the order. John sat on the right hand. This is the only way he could lean on Jesus's breast while reclining on the left hand.

John 13:23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, "Ask him which one he means." 25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?" 26 Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. "What you are about to do, do quickly," Jesus told him, 28 but no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out.

The fact that he gave the piece of bread to Simon indicates that he was most probably sitting on the Left hand side - the chief position. This would give Jesus the opportunity to deal with Judas directly as mentioned here without other disciples knowing what Jesus said to Judas. Peter was not close to Jesus, but he could be seen by John clearly. The most likely position of Peter was therefore opposite to John. This was the lowest position on the table. This position also gives Jesus the possibility of starting his feet washing from Peter. The arrangement is somewhat like this then.
 

 

How come that Judas got the Chief position? Is it because he was the treasurer of the company? The passages clearly indicates that he contested for this position. Remember the sons of Zebedees once contested for the right and left hand of Jesus in Glory.
 

The liturgical order of the day is also indicated in the gospels without their details. The Talmudic ritual is detailed in the Tractate Pesachim. It is modified over the history but essentially remains the same even today. This is probably because it was understood by all the Jews in dispersion at that time. The order is as follows

1. THE FIRST CUP - THE CUP OF THANKSGIVING

The first cup of wine poured out by the head of the company give thanks. This is the cup of the Thanksgiving. It consists of two parts.

1.The thanksgiving over the cup and

2. a prayer for preservation till the return of the festival next year.

The wine was to be mixed with warm water to the blood temperature by tradition blessed and was passed around.

Luke 22:17-18 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."
 

Jesus gave thanks over the cup which was the simple prayer "Blessed art Thou, Yahweh God, who has created the fruit of the Vine." ; but he declined for the prayer of the return of the festival. This was to be the last Passover. The next festival to look forward to is not the passover, but the Kingdom Feast.
 

1Cor. 10:16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?
 

2. WASHING OF HANDS

This was followed by the first ceremonial washing of hands. Jesus took this occasion not to wash hands but to wash the feet of his disciples.

John 13:4-5 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Evidently he started with Peter who was obviously surprised by the interchanged position of Master and Servant at the table.
 

3. BITTER HERB DIPPED IN SALT

Then the table of food was brought. Bitter herb dipped in salt water signifying the hard time Israel had in Egypt. The the table of food is then removed without being partaken. (What does this mean? Slavery. Poverty in plenty, loss of opportunity, nonfulfillment of life)
 

4. THE SECOND CUP

The second cup of wine poured Ritual questions are asked and the answers given

The questions are asked by the children "Why is this day different from all the others?".

The elder tells the story of Israel"s redemption and freedom journey.
 

5. The table of food is then brought back The explanation of the lamb is then given The second cup is then taken
 

6. SECOND WASHING OF HANDS

The second washing of hands then takes place.
 

7. THE MYSTERY OF THE THREE WAFERS

On the table there are three wafer bread separated by white clothes. The significance of these are not known to the Jews. It signifies the Trinity Father-Son- Holy Spirit. The head of the household then takes out the middle wafer (Son) and breaks it into two parts and one piece is hidden away somewhere among the cushions. (The broken body of Christ. The other half still remains with the other two in the clothes indicating the oneness of Christ with the rest of the Godhead. Jesus is both God and man)
 

8. FEAST BEGINS

The head of the company then takes two unleavened cakes and interleaves it with bitter radish and dips it in the sop and gives it to the Chief guest which begins the supper itself. What does this two cakes interleaved with bitter radish indicate? This is the time when the following actions took place:

John 13:18-30 "I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: `He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.' "I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He. I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me."

John 13:21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me." His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, "Ask him which one he means." Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?"
 

Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. "What you are about to do, do quickly," Jesus told him, but no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
 

Matt. 26:23-25 Jesus replied, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born." Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?" Jesus answered, "Yes, it is you."
 

9. HALLEL

First part of the Hallel was sung. The Hallels are the Psalms 113 to 118. The first two psalms are sung now.
 

10. BURIED BREAD

Now the children are asked to find the hidden half of the bread which they do for which the head of the house will give a reward in cash. This retrieving of the bread symbolises the resurrection of Jesus and the appearance to the disciples and their great joy. The bread is blessed and this bread is now shared by all at the table as it is passed round.

1Cor. 11:23-24 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."

Luke 22:19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."
 

Matt. 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."
 

11. PASCHAL LAMB.

Then the paschal lamb is eaten. No food is to be taken after the paschal lamb.
 

12 WASHING OF HANDS

Hands are finally washed a third time
 

13. THE CUP OF SALVATION

A third cup of wine is now poured- The cup of the redemption or blessing is now poured

1Cor. 11:25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."

Luke 22:20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

14. HALLEL

The third cup-the cup of the Blessing is now partaken and the remaining three Hallel psalms are sung and the feast is over.

Matt. 26:30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.



 

3.20 THE SUPPER
 

A meal together is a great symbol even in modern civilization. We invite people for a dinner whenever we want to show our fellowship, friendship and care for someone. Business dinners are an extension of this concept where over a friendly cordial atmosphere the business is discussed.
 

Supper together had a greater depth of meaning among the eastern people and also among the African people. The Sudanese culture which is still similar to the ancient Jewish culture indicates many new depths in this regard. Supper among the nomads as well as among the pastoral communities were never eaten inside the house. It was served at the entrance gate where any stranger or friend may join the supper. they were gently forced to partake of the hospitality. this was the custom of the patriarchal period as can be seen from the story of entertainments offered by Abraham to strangers who turned out to be angels with a message. We have the warning in the New Testament, "Forget not your hospitality, for through this people have entertained angels." At a time when travel was tedious and long on foot or on mules or camels, the travellers needed food and rest on the way. The normal universal custom of the period was therefore the open house where strangers may join in food and shelter for the night. It indicated a wider sense of human understanding and fellowship with all mankind. It indicated an empathy with fellow beings and into their problems. This aspect was always in the supper tables of the Israelites. Meals were binding experiences; they were a common partaking of the elements of life where barriers were broken, stories were told and agreements were made on a friendly basis.
 

"Eating together is one of the simplest and the oldest acts of fellowship in the world."

William Barclay.
 

"The Lord's supper speaks the universal language of table fellowship. When you invite someone over for supper, you are telling them...that you are friends. and in the act of eating together you are reinforcing , strengthening and extending that fellowship."
 

so it is with Lord's Supper. To sit down to the Lord's table is to confess or witness to each other that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. And the act of eating together deepens the relationship."

Marlin Jeschke, Gospel Herald.
 

A person who has partaken food with salt with another person is considered a friend. Even if he is a foe, he cannot be attacked. Eating food with salt is considered as a sort of covenant of friendship. This is echoed in the mention of the term "salt of the covenant" in levitical ordinances. The Addition of the salt of the covenant in the offering meant that Yahweh should not destroy those who have partaken the offered food with the salt in it even though they are alienated from him by guilt and sin.

Lev. 2:13 Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.
 

Num. 18:19 Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the LORD I give to you and your sons and daughters as your regular share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD for both you and your offspring."
 

3.30 THE COVENANT SUPPER
 

This brings us to another important aspect of the supper - the covenant aspect. We have mentioned earlier that supper is negotiating table. The wider extended aspect of this is found in the covenants which in the broad sense of the form is an agreement between two parties. In the Old Testament we have two types of covenants.

1. The covenant between two people of equal status. Abraham makes a covenant with Abhimelek in Gen 21:25-34. It could be a treaty of Peace between two Kings or two Knights. These covenants ended up usually with a feast. Marriage ceremonies are covenants between two families and we end this us in a feast.

2. Then there is a covenant between a Superior with an Inferior. It could be a treaty between an Emperor and a King; a King and a vassal King etc. The covenants of God is made in this fashion. In this contract the document start with the declaration of the identity of the Superior Party and then goes on to grant concessions and grace to the Inferior Party.

The covenant of God with Abraham is described in Gen 15 where the covenant ceremony culminated in a sacrifice of a heifer, a she goat, a ram, a turtle and a pigeon. God himself goes between the sacrifices and makes his gracious offerings.
 

The great covenant between God and Israel as a nation is found in Ex. 19-24. The covenant document starts: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you....." Of particular importance to us is the Sinaitic covenant - a covenant between God and his people, the Israel. The new covenant is simply the renewed version of the Old covenant and its fulfillment.
 

The Sinaitic Covenant:

Exod. 24:1-12 Then he said to Moses, "Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. ..... When Moses went and told the people all the LORD's words and laws, they responded with one voice, "Everything the LORD has said we will do." Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said. He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel.

Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the LORD.

Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar.

Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, "We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey."

Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, "This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words."

Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.

The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction."

The New Covenant:

Matt. 26:26-28 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Luke 22:14-20 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

 

Both the old covenant and the new covenant are similar:

1. Both were presided over by Jesus

2. Both were culminated with a feast with the Giver (God-Jesus) and participated by the elders of the communities to whom it were given. It was with 74 elders in Mosaic Covenant and 12 elders of the New Israel in the New Covenant.

3. Both were culminated with blood of the sacrifice of the sacrificial lamb and the sprinkling or reception of this blood by the recipient. In both cases it was given with the institutional words, "This is the blood of the Covenant".

4. At the end of the covenant ratification, instructions and regulations were given through an intermediary ;Moses in the first case and the Holy Spirit in the second case.
 

What are the terms of the covenant in these cases?

Exod. 19:5-6 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."

Deut. 7:6-8 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
 

1Pet. 2:9-10 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
 

The two covenants are the same except for the condition "If you obey" in the first . There is no condition in the second. It is fully grace. Both are election based on the sovereignty o f God. In the first you will receive as far you obey and in the second you receive unconditionally. God can do it, because he is the sovereign.
 

Both speaks of blessings- one earthly and the other beginning here to eternity. Jesus promised to come and take his people to be with him eternally.
 

So when we partake the communion we are partaking a covenant ceremony. God is offering you an election. You are not fit to receive it. But he offers his salvation freely to you. When we take the bread and wine we are confessing our willingness to accept this offer. It is our declaration of the rebirth, our faith in Jesus Christ as the only way, the only truth and the only life.
 

3.40 THE SACRIFICE AND THE SACRIFICIAL FEAST
 

Unlike we normally consider, meat was not a regular part of the supper among the cattle or sheep breeders. Quite the contrary, it was an anathema to kill an animal for food. Unless an animal fall down due to weakness it was forbidden to kill from the flock even when extreme starvation set in. It was then allowed to bleed the animal's blood as a drink with a straw through one of the veins, if milk was not sufficient to sustain life. This was because the animal was the wealth and eating would be like consuming the capital. This is probably the taboo on cow slaughter in India. But the exception was when a sacrifice was offered. Sacrifices were a great event when the entire tribe was called in and shared in the festivities. Sin offering was special which required the killing of a bird, a sheep or even an ox depending on the seriousness of the sin and the persons position in society who committed the sin. When a whole community has committed unpardonable sin, a human life was often given. During these occasions there were dancing and drinking. The animals were offered to the principality or power and then ceremoniously slaughtered. In vedic India it was done by suffocating the bull by closing all nine openings. In Africa and Middle East it was done by bleeding. The meat was then divided to all families depending on their relational position with the celebrant. No portion of the meat was left over night and must be consumed the same day. If anything was left over, it must be burnt with fire or buried outside the city limits. (There were no refrigerators in those days)
 

Sharing of the sacrificial meat was in a way a communion with the principality to whom it was offered. In Rome in the period of Christian expansion all meat offered on sale in the market were were sacrificial meat. (Hence Paul's advise, 'eat what you get, if it does not bother your conscience or your brother's")
 

Sacrificial supper is a common feature in most religions. Among the Hindus daily prasadam is the sacrificial communion being offered to the deity and then distributed among the devotees. The feast of the Id-el_Kabir is celebrating the sacrifice of Ishmael ( Islam considers that Abraham was asked to sacrifice Ishamael and not Issac, being the first born) by Abraham when God provided a substitute Ram. Every first born in the family must provide severally or jointly a sacrificial ram or an oxen as a redemption very similar to pesah celebration. thus sacrificial communal supper is a common feature of all religions from the beginning of history.
 

In the pagan practice they were meant either to please or to praise. they simply expresses their joy over the deliverance from calamities, sin, suffering etc. as a community. alternately a sacrifice is provided to please or appease a power to provide something special (Rain or victory or good harvest etc) or to avert a calamity (famine, locust, sickness, death etc.) Such feasts provided a means of bondage between the members of the community making it into an organism.
 

Alternately occasions like birth, naming, initiations into adulthood, marriage, death etc. provided occasions for communal joy or bereavement where feasts were an expression of the communal harmony and solidarity.
 

Thus we notice that Lord's Supper was not anything new. It is an old custom redefined with a new meaning and a new principality. It should be clearly understood that it is not therefore a typically Christian ceremony. Even the reduction of feast into tokens of feast (like a small piece of bread or wafer and a little sip of wine) is found in other prasadam distributions which are widely cherished even in other religions.
 

3.50 REGULATIONS REGARDING SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS
 

The levitical ordinances were given to Moses by God himself from the Tabernacle. they Foreshadow the heavenly realities and final fulfillment to come in the ultimate sacrifice of the Cosmos in Christ Jesus. These Sacrifices were:

1. The burnt offerings - a submission statement

                                 - s sin offering Animal sacrifice

2. The Cereal offering - a dedication `Vegetable sacrifice

3. The Peace Offering - Animal + Vegetable sacrifice

4. The sin offering Animal Sacrifice

5. The Guilt offering Animal Sacrifice

Out of these five different types of sacrifices, four involves animal sacrifice and only one involves purely vegetable sacrifice. Notice the cereal offering also involves a burning sacrifice except that there is no blood. All other four sacrifices involves a violation of the law to be appeased when blood sacrifice was ordained.
 

With this levitical background turn to the ordinance of Jesus in the new covenant in his blood. The reference to the blood in the institution of the Lord's table indicates a redemption already achieved. It thus does not refer to a redemptive or sin offering. The only elements involved are the bread and the wine. This then is not a burnt offering, a peace offering, a sin offering or a guilt offering. The table of the the Lord comes after the sin has been paid for, peace has been made and guilt covered. Any sin uncovered must be covered before coming to the table. It is meant for the redeemed, the born again, who are at peace with God and who have things to praise for. Before coming to the table a must examine himself to see that sins are repented for and covered by Jesus' blood.

1Cor. 11:27-32 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

One thing is certain the Eucharist is not a sacrifice of blood.
 

Secondly, it is not a giving, but a receiving. If anything is sacrificed it is the receiver. In the old covenant it was God who received the offering from the devotees. Here it is God who gives and the devotees that receive. Jesus has made his sacrifice on behalf of humanity once and for all. The Lord's table therefore does not involve blood. It is only praise that remains.