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THE LORD’S SUPPER
The anniversary of the Lord’s Supper will this year fall upon Thursday evening, April 7th; and in harmony with a custom among the early Christians, we esteem it as they did, a blessed privilege to commemorate our Lord’s death in the manner which he requested us to observe, and at the time observed by him. Though he has made free from the Law all believers in him who were under it (Israelites), yet he was “under the Law” and was limited by it. Accordingly he could be crucified only upon the fourteenth day of the Jewish month Nisan (which this year commences Thursday evening, April 7th, and ends at 6 P.M. on Friday, the 8th), because his death was the antitype of the death of the lamb whose blood sprinkled upon their door-posts covered or protected the firstborn of Israel. And these firstborn in turn were exchanged for the tribe of Levi (Num. 3:12,13), of whom came the priests through whose sacrificial ministrations all the
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people were justified.
The lamb typified Christ Jesus our Lord; its death represented his death. And, in exact correspondence with the type, his sacrificial death, must and did occur at the same date. The firstborn saved by the blood of the typical lamb, typified “the church of the firstborn, which he (Jesus) hath purchased with his own blood.” Those firstborn Israelites, afterward the priests, typified the “Royal Priesthood” of whom the Lord himself is Chief Priest; and this anointed company is to be God’s instrumentality for blessing all people who will come into harmony with him, typified by all Israel. Thus seen, the blood of the typical lamb cleansed and preserved all Israel, though applied at first and directly only to the firstborn. For if the firstborn ones had not been preserved, there would have been no priesthood; and if no priesthood, no reconciliation. So also in the antitype, the merit of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, is applied during the gospel night only to the firstborn, the church, the select little flock, the Royal Priesthood, who under the direction of the High Priest, shall soon in the incoming age, bring all of honest hearts (Israelites indeed) into full harmony with God.
Let all of the Church of Firstborns then intelligently and reverently commemorate, not the typical lamb, nor eat it as did the typical people (Israel), but let them celebrate the death of our Paschal Lamb, the Lamb of God. Let us as often as its anniversary recurs, keep it in remembrance of him; for even Christ our Passover [lamb] is slain, therefore (let us not only commemorate his death) but let us joyfully afterward keep the antitype of the Feast of Passover.*
*The “Feast” is not the “supper,” but follows it and has a totally different significance. The “Feast” with the Jews lasted a week, and commenced after the lamb had been killed and eaten. Its observance was marked by joy of heart, separation from all carnality and from leaven. It represents the life of joy and purity and separation from sin [leaven] which all who recognize the value of the lamb, etc., are to enjoy.
We do not celebrate the “Feast of Passover” on the night of April 7th. It is celebrated throughout the remainder of our lives which the seven days of its continuance represented; but we will celebrate the Supper, whose elements (bread and wine) symbolize the flesh and the blood of our Redeemer.
And yet the bread and wine are only symbols, and to appreciate what we do we must see deeper than these while using them as our Lord directed, saying, “Do this, in remembrance of me.” The partaking of the bread representing his flesh, to us means a partaking of those perfections which were in him as a perfect man, which we and all, lost through Adam. In partaking of the wine representing his blood, his life, we accept from God again through him, the right to live, lost in Adam. Thus the eating and drinking of the bread and wine, emblematic of his flesh and blood, signifies our complete justification. All of the Redeemer’s human perfections and his right to life—given for us—are thus accepted by us, in this symbol. All believers in the ransom are thus privileged to celebrate or commemorate it, and the blessings it brings.
But among those “believers” there is a class, a “little flock,” to whom it means all this and more. These are those who have consecrated themselves as the under priests, under their great Chief. To these the emblems not only signify the Lord’s sacrifice by which they are justified to human life and all its rights, but also their own consecration to be joined in sacrifice with him, to suffer with him, to be dead with him; to sacrifice all the rights to human perfection and life to which their justification through acceptance of his sacrifice had entitled them. To these the emblems (bread and wine) are not only remembrancers of the Lord’s sacrifice, but also of their own covenant to share the sacrifice with him, if by any means they might fulfill the conditions and be accounted worthy to be “made partakers of the divine nature,” and to be with him, his “joint-heirs” and co-workers in blessing all the people.
Paul calls our attention to this feature of the commemoration, saying: “The loaf which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ [the “little flock,” the Church, of which our Lord is the head]? the cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ [the entire anointed company]? For we, though many, [members] are one loaf and one body, for we are all partakers of that one loaf.—1 Cor. 10:15-17.
All must eat of the flesh and blood of our Lord Jesus: i.e., they must partake of those human rights and privileges which his sacrifice secured for all, either in this age by faith, or in the next age actually, else they will have no life rights, either to make sacrifice of now, or to enjoy (without the privilege of sacrificing them) hereafter. So then we urge all believers to “do this” intelligently, and while using the emblems, to accept and apply and appropriate fully the justification from all sin and the right to life which God holds out through the Lamb of God, and in no other name or way. And especially let all believers who have been immersed with Christ into his death, and thus into membership in his “body” (Rom. 6:3,4), do this, remembering their justification through his blood and renewing their covenant to be dead with him as human beings, that they may live with him as partakers of the new, the divine nature.
So far as possible meet with such as you can recognize as fellow-members of the same body, and exclude no believer in the ransom. Arrange for the meeting long enough beforehand. It matters not who shall pass the emblems, even Judas may have assisted at the first celebration.
All who can do so are cordially invited to be present and celebrate with the church that is at Pittsburgh. If possible arrange your affairs to stay over the following Lord’s day, which will be the anniversary of our Lord’s resurrection. Turn aside—let us devote a few days to the pursuit of our spiritual interests exclusively. It will help possibly to break some of the cords by which the world, the flesh and the devil would bind us down to “diligence in business,” to the dwarfing of the fervency of spirit in serving the Lord, so indispensable to every crown-winner.
Quite a number were present from a distance last year, and many more have expressed the intention of attending the coming celebration. Especially those whose labors are of a public character, will do well to come. Make a memorandum of questions which you would like to discuss, so that our communings together may be the more profitable. So far as possible all of our readers will be provided with board and lodging free during the meetings. Let us know of your coming a day or two ahead. Notice the date and get here some time before 6 P.M., of April 7th, that you may be in time for the celebration of the “supper.” Come to the Z.W. TOWER business office.
— February, 1887 —