Lord's Supper, the Passover and the Marriage of the Lamb

Adamic Covenant was the proto-gospel which announced God’s plan of redemption of humans and the restoration of the Kingdom of God.
Passover evokes the story of the Exodus and God’s delivery of the Jewish people from slavery.
Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Passover, while Jesus explaining and revealing its salvific significance and its eschatological fulfilment.

The Lord’s Supper that Jesus had with His disciples is sliced between two historically important feasts, the Passover and the wedding feast of the Lamb in the Kingdom of God.
The Passover was for the salvation of an earthly nation and the Lord’s Supper was for the salvation of a spiritual nation.
The great plan of God for the restoration of humans from the slavery of sin and satan is revealed through the Passover, the Lord’s Supper and the Wedding feast of the Lamb.

Our God is a self-revealing God and His revelations are progressive.
Since He knows the end at the beginning itself, He does nothing whimsically or accidental.
All events in this universe reveal His plan of redemption and restoration.

Usually Old Testament is considered by Bible scholars as a type of the antitype that will be revealed in future.
Type is pre-figuring of events or characters that may be revealed later.
Every incident or character becomes a type when a revelation on it or a person is manifested later.

Adamic Covenant

God’s visit to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eve is not an accidental happening.
It is the shadow of the great visit of Jesus Christ to humans in order to perform a sacrifice for the atonement of their sins.
Thus God’s visit becomes a type of Christ’s first coming to this world and the sacrifice of the animal in the Garden of Eden is a type of Christ’s own sacrificial death.

The story of humans begins in the Garden of Eden, and so the type should begin there.
The promise of the death of the seed of the woman is proclaimed in Eden.
And a sacrifice of an animal occurred there and a coat with the blood of the animal to cover the shame of the sinners was prepared.
Covenant theologians call this incident as “Adamic Covenant”.

The Adamic Covenant is often referred to as “Proto-Gospel” or “First Gospel.”
In Genesis 3:15, God proclaimed an eternal enmity between satan and man and promised a seed who will destroy the enemy satan, though during the process, the seed will be wounded.
After the declaration of God’s restoration plan, an animal was killed shedding its blood in order to seal the covenant.
This is an important event in the history of humans.

The covenant relationship between God and humans started when God handed over the Garden of Eden to humans, with stipulated responsibilities and punishments.
God put humans in the garden to tend and keep it, commanding them not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
He pronounced a curse upon it that humans will die if they violated the rules and regulations of the covenant.

Covenant theologians consider it as a covenant between humans and God.
It is proposed by a higher authority, there are responsibilities, blessings and curse for the violation.

Biblical Covenants

A Biblical covenant has certain features.
It is always proposed by a higher authority, known as suzerain in the Middle East, to a vassal.
It may contain responsibilities and duties to perform for both the parties or to a single party.
Blessings for obedience and curse for disobedience is an important part of the terms and conditions of the covenant.
Both have to accept the covenant.
The affirmation of the covenant is made by killing an animal and shedding its blood.
Both the parties walk through the middle of the carcass of the animal, stepping on the blood, accepting the fate of the animal for the violator.
If no definite responsibility is demanded from any one party, he need not walk through the middle of the carcass.
After that a covenant meal is arranged with the flesh of the animal that is killed.
The covenant meal ratifies the covenant.
They may erect a memorial sign there.

To understand the covenants better, let us look into the Mosaic covenant as described in Exodus 24.
God, the higher authority initiated the covenant and proclaimed the details of the covenant.
The Ten Commandments and the Laws of the covenant were written on stone tablets, by God.
Moses came down to the valley and told the people “all the words of the LORD and all the judgments.”
Israelites are free to accept or reject; and the whole congregation said “Amen”
Moses built an altar at the foot of the mountain and offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD.
Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read to the people.
And they said, "All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient."
Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, "This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words."
Then, Moses went up the mountain with 75 leaders of Israel, ate and drank the covenant meal, at the presence of God.
The covenant meal was of course prepared by the flesh of the animal sacrificed.

All covenants may not follow all the above procedures.
But they were the standard procedures of blood covenants.
There are covenants in the Bible which do not accompany bloodshed.
But a closer study will reveal that those covenants are only a progressive revelation of a former blood covenant.
Killing an animal, shedding its blood and a covenant meal with the flesh of the animal were important to ratify the covenant. 

Long term covenants are often reaffirmed during the interim period, by performing similar ceremonies.
For reaffirmation, both the parties of the covenant must be present and both should ratify the covenant.

It is not recorded in the Bible that God asked Adam to reaffirm the covenant often; but is assumed so.
The sacrifice of Adam’s children was an act of reaffirmation of the covenant, by which they too were becoming a part of the covenant.
This explains why the sacrifice of Abel was accepted and the sacrifice of Cain was rejected by God.
God gave Adam a blood covenant and the sons of Adam were required to perform the ceremony by killing an animal and shedding its blood.
But Cain failed, because the model of ratification of the covenant followed by him was wrong.

Covenants were of two types, unilateral or unconditional and bilateral or conditional.
When both parties have duties and responsibilities to perform, it is bilateral or conditional and when one party has no responsibility, it is unilateral or unconditional.
The Covenant between Noah and God was unilateral; whether Noah and all humans by his descendants are faithful to God or not, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer and day and night shall not cease.

When we enter into a covenant with God, faith has a big role.
If the covenant was made between two people, we could demand justice from the other to perform the responsibilities mentioned in the covenant.
But, if God is on the other side and God is the suzerain or the higher authority who proposed the covenant, we cannot demand justice.
The glad news is that, God is always faithful and powerful to fulfill His responsibilities.
We need faith in Him to believe in His faithfulness.

That means, the relationship with God is solely based on faith in His faithfulness.
Adam had to believe that the animal killed is a type of the seed of the woman who will be bruised in order to atone their sin.
The blood of the animal is poured out as propitiation for the sin.
Only by faith, Adam and Eve could become a part of the covenant.
Without faith, none can please God.

The whole Bible story is a detailed record of the procedure to fulfill the Adamic Covenant.
The woman must get her seed, enmity between satan and woman’s seed is established, satan should bruise the heal of the seed and finally the seed must destroy the head of satan.
To ratify the fulfilment of this event, there must be a covenant meal.
A sign must be erected to commemorate the event.
The presence of God and humans is inevitable to reaffirm the covenant.

Abrahamic Covenant

The procedure to the fulfilment of the covenant started with the calling of Abraham to go out of his own native city, leaving behind everything and everybody.
Abraham was the first member of a special nation to Yahweh, the Lord.
The calling of Abraham and his journey to a Promised Land that was never seen before, is a type of the journey of the New Testament believers who are called to a Promised Land of rest.
Everything that happens afterwards in the life of Abraham and his descendants were real and type.
Somehow, Abraham understood this mystery; his reaction and response to every command God gave reveals his understanding of the redemptive and restorative plan of God.
He knew that he too is a type for humans who will believe in the crucifixion of Jesus.
In Abraham there were descendants as many as stars and the sand on the shore.

This is the significance of the reaffirmation of the redemptive covenant on Mt. Moriah.
On the way to the Mt. Moriah, where he was commanded by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac, Abraham assured his son, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering."
His words were clear and confident; it is faith in the Adamic Covenant.
The lamb is the seed of the woman, not the seed of a man; not the seed of Abraham.
The reaffirmation of the Adamic covenant will happen in the same manner as it happened in the Garden of Eden.
God shall provide for Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.

The Passover Meal

The whole story of Israel in Egypt, their life in slavery for a long 400 years and more, the Passover meal, the redemption, the journey through the desert, the Mosaic Covenant, the formation of a nation and finally the inheritance of the Promised Land of rest, is a type.
All the ceremonial laws concerning sacrifices and Levite priesthood were interim arrangements that were fulfilled in the High Priest, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the seed of the woman, the lamb killed in the Garden of Eden, the cross is the sign of redemption.

Let me raise a question here concerning the Passover meal.
Was it a new institution that God established or a reaffirmation of the Adamic Covenant?
In fact, all covenants are reaffirmation of Adamic Covenant.
Every time a reaffirmation happens, there is a progressive revelation about God’s restoration plan.

After fighting and defeating the Egyptians gods by 9 plagues, God declared the great exodus of Israelites.
The exodus was to begin by reaffirming the Adamic Covenant of woman’s seed destroying satan and thus redeeming the human beings.
But by calling and separating Abraham, God was electing by His sovereignty a special community who will be proclaimed as a special nation to Yahweh, the Lord.
So the salvation was limited to God’s own people, without legally denying it to other nations.

How God executed the salvation?
Salvation is legally offered to all, both Israelites and Egyptians.
But only God’s people received instructions to receive it.

We read the story of the first Passover in Exodus 12.
God chose the month of Abib as the first month of the Jewish year.
On the tenth day of the month every man shall take for himself a lamb, a lamb for a household.
The lamb should be without blemish, a male and not above 12 months old.
On the 14 th day, they should kill it; put the blood of the lamb on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the house, where they live.
At night, they should eat the flesh of the lamb, roasted in fire and in haste, ready for a long journey, with a belt on their waist, sandals on their feet, and a staff in their hand.
This is Lords Passover.
Afterwards God asked them to keep it, every year, as a feast, by an everlasting ordinance.

Passover was not a covenant, but a covenant meal by which Israelites reaffirmed the Adamic and Abrahamic Covenants.
God prophesied a 400 years exile for the descendants of Abraham in Genesis 15.
By a covenant, God promised to deliver the people from the exile and slavery.
But God did not explain the procedure of redemption of the people, because it was already revealed in the Garden of Eden.
An animal must be killed and there must be shedding of blood.

What happened on the Passover day at Egypt was a reaffirmation of the Adamic covenant so that the descendants of Abraham became partakers of it.
An animal was killed, the Israelites hid themselves behind the blood of the animal, ate the covenant meal with the roasted meat of the animal and they were freed from the slavery to the journey towards the Promised Land of rest.

And God commanded Israelites to observe the Passover meal every year.
It is to remember the first Passover, the great deliverance from the bondage to Pharaoh.
It is to reaffirm and partake in the Adamic Covenant.

The exodus was not only freedom from slavery, but also a journey towards the Kingdom of God.
It won’t be wrong to assume that an expectation of the restoration of the Kingdom of God was in the heart of all saints, from Adam.
The seed promised to the woman is the redeeming King.
This hope for a heavenly Kingdom and a King is more revealed from the time of Abraham.
So Abraham lived in the Promised Land as a stranger and a foreigner, looking forward to a city that has foundations, whose builder is God. (Hebrews 11: 9,10)
Abraham hoped for the everlasting Kingdom of God.

Passover meal was established by God.
And it is a Biblical perception that whatever God has established, no human has the authority to change or cancel.
God established the Passover for the nation of Israel and as a shadow of something better.
Every Passover meal looks forward to the Messiah and His Kingdom.

The Passover anticipated a future fulfillment of it.
When Israelites ate of the lamb, they looked forward into the future, toward the time when the lamb of God would come and would offer the sacrifice which would deliver them from the bondage.
They would be delivered not from the bondage to Pharaoh, but from the bondage to Satan, sin and the world.
So it was a memorial service of anticipation.

The Last Supper

Now let us discuss another question: what did Jesus and His disciples observe?
Surely, it was the Passover meal.

In Matthew 26:17, the disciples went to Jesus asking, "Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?"
And Jesus answered them to go to a certain man in the city and tell him, “I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples."
So there is no space for doubt that Jesus and His disciples did celebrate the Jewish Passover meal.
Passover feast was celebrated every year by the Jews, and Jesus as a Rabbi with 12 disciples with Him must have celebrated the Jewish Passover feast, at least twice before the Last Supper.

Suzerain treaty and Last Supper

As a covenant, the procedure of a suzerain treaty is not followed exactly in the Gospel.
In a suzerain treaty, the procedure of the covenant begins by proclaiming the terms and conditions of the covenant by the suzerain or the higher person.
The second step is for the second party, the people to say, “Amen”.
The third step is killing the animal and shedding its blood.
The last step of ratification of the covenant is the meal.
But in the gospel or in the life of Jesus, the chronological order is not strictly followed.
It is simply because that cannot be followed step by step, as exactly as in a suzerain treaty.
The Passover or the Lord’s Supper cannot be conducted after the death of Jesus.

Jesus and His disciples were celebrating the last authorized Passover on this earth.
What is special about the Last Passover feast of Jesus?
Jesus revealed the mystery behind the Passover meal, the type is further revealed.
The type became the anti-type.

During the first appearance of Jesus in a synagogue at Nazareth, He stood up and read from Isaiah 61: 1 & 2
In Luke the reading is recorded as follows:

Luke 4:18, 19
18   "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19   To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD."  (NKJV)

After reading the passage Jesus said: "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." (Luke 4:21)
Here Jesus was revealing Himself as the fulfilment of the prophecy.
The prophecy is fulfilled; nothing yet is to happen in the future.

But the Last Supper was different: Jesus revealed Himself as the fulfilment of the type and prophesied the final fulfilment of the same in the days to come.
Jesus is the seed of woman promised in the Garden of Eden; He is the antitype of the animal killed in the Garden of Eden.
By faith in His death as propitiation for our sins, we are delivered from the bondage of satan.
This is the New Covenant, a progressive revelation of the Mosaic Covenant.
The Last Supper reminds the story of Mt. Sinai and the ratification of the Mosaic covenant that formally established Israel as a nation. 
Jesus’ declaration that, “this is my blood of the covenant” clearly echoes the words of Moses in Exodus 24:8: “This is the blood of the covenant.”

New Testament exodus begins there.
The last Passover meal that Jesus had with his disciples reaffirms the Adamic covenant in its fulfilment.
The Adamic Covenant is fulfilled, the Passover is revealed and fulfilled, and it became the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper is a memorial of a spiritual deliverance from the bondage to sin by a penal sacrifice.

This Passover that is described here is the last authorized Passover in the word of God.
All Passovers celebrated since that time do not have authorization.
For since this time, the Passover sacrifice and all that it symbolizes has come to its fulfillment.

The Passover feast that the Israelites celebrated every year has a purpose.
It is to teach their children about the theocratic character and the redemptive nature of the Nation Israel in the world.
And it was the father’s duty, as the head of the family, to explain the significance of the Passover feast.

The last Passover of Jesus Christ was carried out in all of its details to perfection.
The traditions that were Scriptural or in harmony with Scripture were be carried out.
So Lord Jesus expounded the significance of the last Passover.
The last Passover was a fulfilment of all covenants beginning with Adam and it is a hope for the final fulfilment of it.
The Last Supper is a covenant meal that ratifies and reaffirms all covenants from Adam to Jesus.
Yet it points to a major event that yet to be fulfilled.
The last Passover, which is the first Lord’s Supper, is an “already and not yet” fulfilment of the Adamic Covenant.

Jesus told His disciples two important things:

Matthew 26:29 “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." (NKJV)

Luke 22:19  “do this in remembrance of Me." (NKJV)

That means, the final fulfilment of the covenant is yet to come and we are commanded to reaffirm the covenant that is already fulfilled in Him, until the day of the final fulfilment.
All revelations about the covenant is done, the laws of the covenant is proclaimed by the gospel of the Kingdom of God, the sacrificial lamb is killed to propitiate our sins and the covenant meal has taken place.
Still the final fulfilment of the covenant of redemption and restoration will happen only when the Kingdom of God is established forever.
That is what we read in the book of Revelation 19.

Revelation 19:7 "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready."  (NKJV)

The future meal that Jesus anticipated sharing with his disciples is the great and glorious banquet that Christ will spread before us at the end of the age when He consummates His kingdom.
It is a joyful feast and celebration of the salvation; death itself will be destroyed; and God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
There will be no more mourning or crying or pain and God will make all things new.

The Last Supper weaves together the Old Testament Passover, the New Exodus, and the New Covenant to reveal God’s amazing plan to redeem his chosen people.
Old Testament Israel looked back to the Exodus through the Passover meal and the New Testament Israel looks back to the cross and looks forward to the final fulfilment of the Passover meal.

We are told to observe the Lord’s Supper until He comes, until He comes with the Kingdom, until He sets up His kingdom, until we eat and drink the bread and wine with Him in the kingdom of God.
So it is a memorial ceremony that looks toward the past, and an anticipatory observance that looks toward the future.

We must await the return of Christ to celebrate the messianic banquet in its consummative form.
But now, we are participating in the anticipated messianic banquet by partaking in the Lord’s Supper.
This is what happens every time we celebrate the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper is a joyful meal that we celebrate with the risen Christ; it is the messianic banquet in its inaugural stage.

Let me conclude the message.
The Passover meal that Israelites had at Egypt looked back to the Adamic Covenant, which promised the seed of woman who will destroy satan for ever.
So it anticipated the sacrifice of Jesus for the human sins.
The last authorized Passover and the first Lord’s Supper looked back to the first Passover and the Adamic Covenant.
It also anticipated the glorious marriage feast of the Lamb. (Revelation 19:7)
The marriage feast of the Lamb is the consummation of the Adamic Covenant, the Passover feast and the Lord’s Supper.
When Christ returns, we will celebrate this glorious feast in its consummative form.
And there the final and last covenant meal will take place with Jesus and His people.
Until then, let us gather together, partake in the Lord’s Supper, reaffirming the Covenant in Jesus.
Those who reaffirm the covenant become a part of it and will enjoy the blessings of the covenant.

Thanks for reading.
May God bless you abundantly!

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