Again we come to the Memorial of Him who perished on the cross, the time this year 2011 will be any time after six p.m. the evening of Friday, April 15.
The time is determined as follows: The moon becomes new this year nearest the Spring Equinox (using Jerusalem as the proper location) at 2:33 p.m., April 3, making Nisan 1 at 6 p.m., April 2; and counting from that time, we arrive at six p.m., April 15. We have offered much more detail on this calculation in some of our previous Memorial papers.
“THIS do in remembrance of me.” These are among the last words of Jesus to His Disciples on the evening before He died on the cross; and we believe a clear understanding of these words will dissipate much of the cobweb of error that now appears in so many sections regarding the Lord’s Supper. When Jesus made this statement they had just finished eating the Memorial of the great Passover that occurred in Egypt just 3,626 years before this Nisan 14 (April 15, 2011). When Jesus said “this do,” He was telling them that from then on they were to partake of the bread and wine instead of the Jewish Passover Memorial. And how often did the Jews keep that Memorial? Why, of course, once each year! And, if that Memorial was to be replaced with the bread and the wine, then it should be used just once each year.
It is our understanding that there are now about 200 different views in Christendom concerning this ceremony; but, if we accept the clear and concise words of Jesus, there can be but one date on which we should keep it ─ namely, on the same date that the Jews keep the memory of the Passover in Egypt. And the Bible is very clear about this date: “Ye shall keep it [the lamb] up until the fourteenth day of the same month [Nisan]: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.” (Ex. 12:6) Jesus and the Disciples followed this command by the Lord to the Jews that night in Egypt; and He then told them very clearly that the bread and wine should henceforth be substituted for the Passover lamb. “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” (1 Cor. 5:7)
THE BEGINNING OF MONTHS
“The Lord spake unto Moses... This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.” (Ex. 12:2) In Ex. 13:4 we are told that the name of that month was Abib, meaning “an ear of corn.” The harvest began in it; and the Jewish people began in that month to be a nation separate and distinct ─ set apart ─ from all the nations of the earth. It was not until after the return from the captivity in Babylon, after the Jews had come under Gentile rule, and the Gentile Times had begun, that Abib became known as Nisan (Neh. 2:1); and its meaning is also very suggestive ─ opening, or beginning. It approximates our month of March; and is identified by some as the beginning of the Jewish religious year, as opposed to the beginning of the business year, which is about our October 10. To this day the Jews still take some recognition of the month of Tishri, which was the beginning of their year until the time they left Egypt, and the Lord then told them to observe Nisan as the beginning of months.
The feast of unleavened bread ─ or the feast of the Passover ─ began in Nisan; but the Passover itself and the feast of the Passover should not be confused. The entire service lasted eight days; but the real Passover was only the first of those eight days. At the Passover Memorial the roasted lamb was the thing emphasized; whereas, in the following seven days ─ the feast of unleavened bread ─ the unleavened bread was emphasized. During those seven days the Jews were permitted to eat any kind of meat not forbidden by the Law; but it was a grave offense to eat any leavened bread during those seven days.
At one time it was believed that Jesus and the Apostles ate the Passover a day ahead of the Jews in general ─ based upon John 18:28; but the passover mentioned in that text refers to the feast of the passover, and not the actual eating of the Passover lamb.
It is probably well here to mention also that each Jewish month began with the coming of the new moon. Thus, the Jewish year is properly styled a lunar year; whereas, our year is known as a solar year, which makes a difference of five days or so between the two years. This has been reconciled by the adoption of the Metonic cycle, which the Pagan philosopher Meton devised about A.D. 360. In his calculation he has seven intercalated months in every nineteen years. This twelfth month of the Jewish year is Adar; and the added month in those seven years of the Metonic cycle is Ve‑Adar. This has reconciled the two methods so closely that the difference between when Jesus was on earth until now is only a few weeks ─ not enough to cause any heated argument.
It might fit in here, also, to state that the Day of Atonement occurs on the tenth day of the seventh month, the month Tishri; although we should bear in mind that the Jews had no Day of Atonement at all until they left Egypt and the ceremony was given to them by God through Moses at Mount Sinai. With this so clearly marked in Bible and secular history, we have a very delicate sympathy with the Jews for not wanting to give up their land in their altercations with the Arabs. The whole foundation for their religion was given to them at Sinai. The same applies to Christians, also, except that we have built upon the Law and the prophets to form the superstructure of the Christian religion. Without the inspired writings of the Old Testament, Jesus’ disciples could not have recognized Him as the Messiah. Jesus Himself said of the Old Testament Scriptures: “They are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39)
As stated foregoing, each Jewish month began when the moon became new; and it was from that new moon that they began the reckoning of the various days. But when the clear command is given that the Passover was to be on the fourteenth day of Nisan, the moon is not even mentioned there. The Jews and some Christians think the moon must be full before the Passover is kept, but the moon does not become full on occasion until two or three days after Nisan 14; but this should not influence us because the record is very clear that the 14th of Nisan is the proper date for the Memorial. And this we ourselves try to follow; and the only way we will go wrong on it is if we fail properly to calculate when Nisan arrives. Since all of this reckoning was given the Jews right there in Israel, it makes no allowance at all for any one to use some other locality for the exact beginning of Nisan 1 and Nisan 14.
REMEMBER THIS DAY (EX. 13:3)
It is not necessary that we strain our imaginations to ponder the great grip that the Passover had upon the Jewish mind. The miracle of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage was indeed a living thing to almost all of them ─ after their entry into Canaan and up until their dispersion from that land in the year A.D. 70. And to this day it is a very solemn occasion with the orthodox Jews. When Jesus said to them, “Your house is left unto you desolate” (Matt. 23:38), none of them then realized how far‑reaching and absolute this sentence would eventually become. But their High Priest had to come from the Tribe of Levi; and that tribe was so completely lost in the dispersion that they no longer know which of them are of that tribe. Their house is now indeed “desolate.”
Nevertheless, those Jews who still try to keep the Law make strenuous effort to observe the Passover in every intricate detail. “This day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations.” (Ex. 12:14) “And when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? Then shall ye say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover.” (Ex. 12:26, 27) And to be sure that this injunction was scrupulously observed, the oldest son of each family ─ if he were thirteen years of age or older ─ was required to fast on the day leading up to the Passover table.
And when all were seated at that table, with the food carefully arranged, with the cups or glasses set for wine for each one present, there would be one extra cup “for Elias.” Had not the last lines of inspired Jewish Scripture warned them, “I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord?” (Mal. 4:5, 6) And not realizing that this was one of those “dark sayings,” every serious‑minded Jew was alerted to the possibility of Elijah’s visitation “in an hour when ye think not” ─ possibly into his own house. Thus, he would not be overtaken unawares.
Then to be sure the question would be asked, “What mean ye by this service?” the eldest son would ask the father the question, at which the father would explain in considerable detail those awesome happenings that night in Egypt. And by repeating this ceremony every year, the lesson would be indelibly impressed upon all present that a great miracle from on high had been performed for them that night. And we may be sure of the promise that those faithful orthodox Jews will eventually accept Jesus as their Messiah and be the “first” to receive the blessings of the New Covenant.
But one outstanding difference should here be emphasized between the actual performance in Egypt and the subsequent memorials. There is nothing said in the Bible about anything to drink that night as they feasted upon the lamb, although they would almost certainly need some liquid ─ not only for that night during the eating, but for the day following when they would be travelling afoot in the desert sun. If they drank any wine that night, it is not recorded. But the subsequent memorials were not to be observed with doleful face; it was to be a time of rejoicing in memory of their great delivery from bondage.
And the Jewish fathers reasoned, What could cheer them better than wine? Thus, four cups of wine entered into that memorial ─ one before any food was taken, and the fourth after the entire meal had been completed. If any Jews were too poor to bear such expense, the wine was supplied to them out of the public funds. Thus there would be measurably identical ritual in every house; each would rest in the assurance that his brethren throughout Jewry were in physical and heart accord with him that momentous night.
Nor was this arrangement without purpose. After the first cup ─ and before any food ─ the Small Hallel was chanted or sung, after which the meal itself was consumed, with two more cups of wine during the eating. When the eating was done, the fourth cup was had, with the chanting of the Great Hallel. Here it may be well to define the Hallel: It was composed of the 113‑118 Psalms. The first two ─ Psalms 113 and 114 ─ are the Small Hallel; and 115 thru 118 the Great Hallel. The word itself is of great significance: Hal means praise, and El means God ─ the whole meaning being praise to God. It is the root of our English word hallelujah, which, according to Webster, means Praise ye the Lord.
It is also probable that the Jews at the Passover in Egypt ate it standing up ─ “your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste.” (Ex. 12:11) But when Jesus ate it with them the night before He was crucified, they were reclining on couches, or the like, about the table as becometh free men. Note the record in John 13:23: “There was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples.” This could not have occurred if they were standing up, or sitting.
In medieval times King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table often set forth in quest of the Holy Grail, the same being that mythical golden cup which Jesus supposedly used as He said to the Disciples: “This cup is the New Testament in my blood.” (Luke 22:20) That Holy Grail was never found, of course; and there exists no real proof that there ever was one. Certainly Jesus used a cup that night, but no place does it say that it was a golden cup. Could that cup be produced with sufficient proof, it would be the most priceless treasure in Christendom. But God did provide that we should be heir to the exact words in Psalms 113‑118; and we do well to include some parts of that Scripture in our Memorial service.
“GO TO HIM WITHOUT THE CAMP”
In Ex. 33:7 we read, “And Moses proceeded to take a tent and pitch it by itself outside the camp afar off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting ─ and so it came to pass that whosoever was seeking Yahweh went out unto the tent of meeting, which was on the outside of the camp.” (Rotherham) Moses in this instance types our Lord as He arranged to remove the Star Members and His fully faithful people from the midst of the measurably faithful and the tare class, beginning in the Pergamos epoch of the Gospel‑Age church, which began in the fourth century A.D. It was early in that century that Roman Emperor Constantine the Great embraced Christianity because he thought it would help him politically; and it was he who called the Council of Nice in A.D. 325 at which time the Apostles Creed was formulated, and Arius (who held the Truth that there is but one God as opposed to the then growing belief in the Trinity error) was banished from the Roman Empire ─ “afar off from the Camp.”
The stinging charge is recorded against that Pergamos Church (Pergamos means earthly elevation ─ and the church then was certainly elevated when the Roman Emperor himself openly embraced the Christian religion) is this: “Where Satan’s seat is...thou hast them there that hold the doctrine of Balaam.” (Rev. 2:13, 14) In Num. 22:5‑41 we are told of the mercenary Balaam; and in that episode he was a type of those who teach error for profit in this Gospel Age. This odious practice came very much into evidence during the Pergamos period of the church; and developed very noticeably during the following years ─ until A.D. 799, when Charlemagne relinquished his regal power to the Pope of Rome which was the beginning of the real Holy Roman Empire.
It was during the fourth epoch of the church, beginning in 799 that the charge is recorded against them: “Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel [the Roman Church]...to teach and to seduce my servants... to eat things sacrificed unto idols” (Rev. 2:20) on the outside of the Camp (apostate Christendom). Following is a quotation from Epiphany Volume 11, p. 430:
“God had our Lord do another thing indicative of His displeasure with His nominal people, i.e., remove the faithful servants of the Truth and its spirit from places of prominence and influence in the nominal Church ─ caused the symbolic woman, the Covenant promises and the servants who apply them to the brethren to go into the wilderness condition (Rev. 12:6) ─ to the Tent of Meeting (not the Tabernacle, but Moses’ official residence) – and that but not slightly away from erroneous doctrines, organization and disciplines of the nominal church, but very far from these, and made the Truth and the servants who applied it to the brethren, as well as these last, the place where God resided, met with His people and blessed them.
Henceforth everyone who in heart’s loyalty sought fellowship with the Lord in spirit, truth, righteousness and holiness went forth from the nominal church to such truth, its applying servants and the others of His real people, apart from the nominal church (without the camp)... When our Lord busied Himself with Truth matters, its applying servants, etc., the Truth and its spirit as due became manifest (the cloudy pillar descended ─ Ex. 33:9), and remained at the entrance, consecration, where God revealed truths to Jesus in the star members.”
The foregoing dovetails so very beautifully with St. Paul’s admonition in Hebrews 13:13 “Let us, then, now go forth to him outside of the Camp, bearing reproach for him.” (Diaglott) And it is such a very clear‑cut and definite course of procedure for all elect “to follow in his steps.” (1 Pet. 2:21) Such indeed is one very appropriate thought for the Memorial. In principle, this arrangement is as true today as it ever was.
"WHAT MEAN YE BY THIS SERVICE?"
As previously stated, all the details of the original Passover in Egypt were prearranged with meticulous care and execution, even to its future remembrance “throughout your generations,” and the instruction of the Jewish children during future observances. It was properly anticipated that inquiring and curious children would ask, “What mean ye by this service?” (Ex. 12:26), thus providing the opportunity to instruct them in the niceties and the solemn responsibility of every Jew participating in it. And this exaction so thoroughly gripped the Jewish conscience and imagination that the Passover observance today is almost identical to what it was in the day of Christ, excepting only the temple sacrifices which can no longer be performed. However, they yet make very elaborate preparations for the festival. After minute search for all leaven in each house was completed into the napkin or cloth, the whole was then cast into the fire, and the master of the house declared in Aramaic that any further leaven that may have been in his house, and of which he was unaware, was to him no more than dust.
As stated, the eldest son of each family (thirteen years old, or more) was required to fast on the day leading to the evening service. Then on the evening of the 14th before partaking of the Passover meal and ceremony all the male members of the house betook themselves to the synagogue, attired in their best apparel. On their return they would find the house lit up, and the “Seder” or paschal table in readiness for all to partake. The master of the house took his place at the head of the table, to partake of the Seder, or Haggadah, as some Jews designate it.
As stated, to be sure the question would properly arise, the oldest son was previously coached to ask, after they were seated at the table, why on this night above all other nights do they eat bitter herbs, unleavened bread, etc., at which the head of the house would relate the story of the original Passover and the deliverance of the Jewish firstborn on that fateful night in Egypt.
Then proceeded the feast, which had been elaborately and meticulously prepared ─ the bitter herbs such as parsley and horseradish, and a kind of sop with charoseth consisting of various fruits compounded into a sort of mucilage and mixed with vinegar and salt water ─ each arranged in its own vessel. At the outset the master took some of the bitter herbs, dipped them into the charoseth, and gave to each one present to be eaten along with the first cup of wine. Thus the feast continued throughout the evening until the fourth cup of wine and the recitation of the Great Hallel ─ after which, in the case of Jesus and the Disciples, “they went out into the Mount of Olives.” (Matt. 26:30)
Many of the requirements of the original Passover were subsequently ignored, and properly so. The Lord had told them in Egypt, “Thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand ─ so shall ye eat it in haste, it is Yahweh’s passing over.” Every minute detail in these instructions is fraught with grave significance to those who would commemorate the memorial of “Christ our Passover who is sacrificed for us.” The girdle in the Bible symbols represents the serving features of those who would be servants in God’s Household. “He that is chief among you, let him be your servant.” (Matt. 20:27) Jesus Himself illustrated this on His last night by “girding” Himself, taking a towel and washing the Apostles’ feet. “I am among you as one that serveth,”
He had told them. Then, the sandals on their feet were a representation of the Gospel‑Age fact that “we have here no abiding city”; always should God’s people be alert to “move on” as occasion dictated, ever willing to follow the fiery‑cloudy pillar ─ the Truth as due; and to remember always that “The king’s business requires haste” ─ no time to linger and “change clothes” when the occasion should arise to journey on. And all this should be done with “your staff in your hand,” the staff typifying God’s precious promises. Without leaning on those promises no one could ever make the journey from antitypical Egypt (the world of sin) to the Heavenly Canaan.
It is in order here to mention that some things in the original Passover were not followed by the Jews in their memorial, nor do we follow them in ours. In the Jewish celebration the lamb was chosen on the tenth day, nor do we now set aside the bread and the wine on the tenth day in readiness for the evening of the fourteenth. It would seem in the original that the Jews were told to do this to bring them into the proper mental attitude for that great miracle that would be performed for them on that awesome night. But we believe it is in order for us to “think on these things” for some days before our Nisan 14 ─ not only thinking, but also reading pertinent scripture on the subject in the days preceding the participation.
Also, in the Jewish memorial the lamb’s blood was not sprinkled on the lintels and door posts, even as in the Lord’s Supper we do nothing to correspond to this. Nor did the Jews “eat it in haste” as we have shown foregoing; they reclined leisurely, but with full mental concentration of the thing they were remembering ─ as we also do as we partake of the bread and the wine. Thus, “this thing” has special reference to the delivery of the firstborn through the slain lamb, the eating of his flesh, and the sprinkled blood. Hence, the death of the lamb, the feasting on its flesh and the deliverance of the firstborn, were the things to celebrate in the annual antitypical feast, and the Gospel‑Age antitypes of these by the bread and the wine. It also bespeaks our participation with Him in His sufferings ─ with some a part of the sin offering, and with others a representation of this solemn event. Of course, this is not at all portrayed in the annual Jewish celebration; it has exclusively a Christian meaning; and thus we consider it. However, it is implied in minor degree by the eating of the bitters along with the Jewish meal. And here is solid proof that the lamb typed Jesus only, and not the participants during the Jewish or this Gospel Age. Jesus only is the “Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”
And, not only was Israel to observe the annual Passover during their wilderness journey (Num. 9:1‑15), but they were to observe it after entering Canaan, which they scrupulously did ─ in like manner as did Jesus and the Apostles on the night before He died. And this we also do in our annual Memorial of “Christ our Passover.” And in our annual celebration we portray our journey from the wilderness of sin to our antitypical heavenly Canaan. This is very much emphasized in Parousia Volume 6, and we commend it to all our readers. The annual Passover supper of the Jews thus types our annual participation in the bread and the wine.
THE TRUE AND THE FALSE
As most of us know, so many features of the true religion have been counterfeited by Satan, which prompted the Apostle to write, “the whole world lieth in wickedness.” (1 John 5:19) This was even true of Jesus’ death and resurrection. In Ezek. 8:14 it is stated, “There sat women weeping for Tammuz.” Tammuz was the sun god of the Babylonians, consort of Ishtar. He was identical with Adonis, the same as Baal of the Canaanites. Tammuz supposedly died each year, descended into the lower world, and was brought back to life by the weeping and lamentation of Ishtar, who was joined in her weeping by the women of Babylon. Thus, as Jesus was being led to the cross and He saw women weeping along His journey, He mildly admonished them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.” (Luke 23:28) It is also related in Ezekiel 8:17 that the Jews “put the branch to their nose,” in keeping with the custom of the Persian sun worshipers holding before them a branch of date, pomegranate or tamarisk that their breath might not contaminate the risen deity. All of these sacrilegious practices by the Jews brought forth the scathing denunciation of God by the mouth of His prophets; and is a warning to all God’s people to “have no other Gods before thee.”
Moses charging Israel to remember Nisan 15 (the first day of the Passover Festival) as the day that they went forth from Egypt from the house of servants, types our Lord’s charging the Gospel‑Age Church in general ─ and the Church here in the end of the Age in particular ─ to remember antitypical Nisan 15 as their deliverance time from the house of the servants to sin, and our instruction into the Present Truth. Israel in general remembered their typical deliverance at all times, but especially so in their keeping of the Passover Memorial.
So we, as antitypical Israel, remember our deliverance from the bondage of sin at all times, but especially so as we keep the Memorial of Christ our Passover.
That Wise and Faithful Servant had charge of the gathering “My saints together unto Me, those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice” (Psa. 50:5); and with the help of faithful brethren, we believe that work was completed with his ministry. However, he taught there would be an unbegotten class [which we call Youthful Worthies] gathered “between the ages,” and his teaching to the saints has a secondary application to them ─ edifying and strengthening their faith. Such consecrators who have the faith of Abraham and faithfully serve God while sin is in the ascendancy, will be rewarded in honor and service in the earthly phase of the Kingdom with the Ancient Worthies (Hebrews, Chapter 11) ─ made “Princes in all the earth.” (Psa. 45:16)
Do they partake of the Lord’s Supper? Most certainly they do ─ but with some reservations. They are not “suffering with Christ,” nor will they “reign with Christ”; therefore, they partake of the wine and bread symbolizing our Lord’s death as the Lamb of God, as well as symbolizing their tentative justification. Although their trial is for faith and obedience, and not for life, they make the same kind of consecration as did the spirit-begotten. “Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger [the unbegotten], as for one of your own country [the spirit-begotten]. (Lev. 24:22)
Much more could be included here, but we believe the foregoing will suffice to bring forcefully to mind once more our obligations to “do this in remembrance of Me”; and it is our hope and prayer that all our readers may be richly blessed in their preparation for and participation in this year’s Memorial as they “consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself.” (Heb 12:3)
This year we shall observe the Memorial at 2501 Morningside Drive, Mount Dora, FL, at 7:00 p.m., Friday, April 15, 2011; and we invite all of “like mind”, who may be in our vicinity, to join with us in this service.
(Brother John J. Hoefle, Reprint No.452, March 1994)
PRIMARY SIGNIFICATION OF THE BREAD AND THE CUP
We recall the circumstances of the first Memorial ─ the blessing of the bread and of the cup, the fruit of the vine; and our Lord’s declaration that these represented his broken body and shed blood, and that all his followers should participate, not only feeding upon him, but being broken with him; not only partaking of the merit of his blood, his sacrifice, but also laying down their lives in his service, in co-operating with him in every and any manner, that they might later share all his honor and glory in the Kingdom. How precious are these thoughts to those who are rightly in tune with our Lord!
In presenting to the disciples the unleavened bread as a memorial Jesus said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” The evident meaning of his words is, This symbolizes or represents, my body. The bread was not actually his body; for in no sense had his body yet been broken. In no sense would it then have been possible for them to have partaken of him actually or antitypically, the sacrifice not being as yet finished. But the picture is complete when we recognize that the unleavened (pure, unfermented) bread represented our Lord’s sinless flesh ─ leaven being a symbol of sin under the law, and especially commanded to be put away at the Passover season. On another occasion Jesus gave a lesson which interprets to us this symbol. He said, “The bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” “I am the bread of life.” “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:33, 35,51)
In order to appreciate how we are to eat, or appropriate, this living bread, it is necessary for us to understand just what the bread signifies. According to our Lord’s explanation of the matter, it was his flesh which he sacrificed for us. It was not his prehuman existence as a spirit being that was sacrificed, although that was laid down and its glory laid aside, in order that he might take our human nature. It was the fact that our Lord Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners ─ without any contamination from Father Adam, and hence free from sin ─ that enabled him to become the Redeemer of Adam and his race, that permitted him to give his life “a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (l Timothy 2:3-6)
When we see that it was the pure, spotless nature of our Lord Jesus that was laid down on behalf of sinners, we see what it is that we are privileged to appropriate. The very thing that he laid down for us we are to “eat,” appropriate to ourselves; that is to say, his perfect human life was given to redeem all the race of man from condemnation to death, to enable them to return to human perfection and everlasting life, if they would; and we are to realize this and accept him as our Savior from death. The Scriptures show us, however, that if God would consider all past sins canceled, and should recognize us as having a right to human perfection, this still would not make us perfect, nor give us the right to eternal life.
In order that any of the race of Adam might profit by the sacrifice of Jesus, it was necessary that he should rise from the tomb on the Divine plane of life, that he should ascend to the Father and deposit the sacrificial merit of his death in the hands of justice, and receive from the Father “all power in heaven and in earth.”
As relates to the world it was necessary also that in the Father’s due time he should come again to earth, a glorious Divine Being, then to be to the whole world a Mediator, Prophet, Priest and King, to assist back to perfection and to harmony with God all who will avail themselves of the wonderful privileges then to be offered. It is this same blessing that the Gospel Church of this Age receive by faith in their Redeemer; namely, nature, which we never had and never lost, and which justification by faith ─ not justification to a spirit Christ did not redeem; but justification to human nature, which Father Adam possessed and lost, and which Christ redeemed by giving his own sinless flesh, his perfect human life, as our ransom-sacrifice.
The partaking of the unleavened bread at the Memorial season, then, means to us primarily the appropriation to ourselves, by faith, of justification to human life-right ─ a right to human life ─ with all its privileges, which our Lord at his own cost procured for us. Likewise the fruit of the vine symbolized primarily our Savior’s life given for us, his human life, his being, his soul, poured out unto death on our behalf; and the appropriation of this by us also signifies, primarily, our acceptance of restitution rights and privileges secured by our Lord’s sacrifice of these.
(Pastor Russell, Reprint 5870, 5871, March 15, 1916)
THE MEMORIAL SUPPER
In the Lord’s arrangement the moon symbolized the Jewish prospects, while the sun symbolized the prospects of the Gospel Age. The Law Dispensation was a shadow, or reflection, of the things future, as the moon’s light is the reflection of the rays of the sun.
We are near the time of the rising of the Sun of Righteousness with healing in his beams, to flood the world with the light of the knowledge of God. Seeing this, we lift up our heads and rejoice, as the Master directed. Since all the overcoming members of the Church are included in that Sun of Righteousness, according to our Lord’s parable (Matthew 13:43), it follows that the elect Church must all be gathered, and her glorification must be completed before the full light of the Millennial glory will shine forth upon the world.
In partaking of the Memorial we may look forward with the eye of faith to the rising of the Sun of Righteousness, in contrast with the conditions which prevailed at the time when the first Memorial was observed.
Then, the Moon (the Law Covenant) was at its full; and immediately after the rejection of Jesus and his crucifixion the Jewish polity began to wane. It is worthy of note that the very day on which Jesus was crucified the moon was at its full, and the waning began at once.
EATING AND DRINKING IT WORTHiLY
As from the intelligent appreciation of the fact symbolized by the Memorial Supper a great blessing comes and a joy proportionate to the participator’s faith and obedience, so also a condemnation attaches to an unworthy, improper participation in the Memorial. None are to participate except those who have come into relationship with the Lord by consecration of their hearts – their all – to him and his service. None can come into this consecrated condition except as they have recognized themselves as sinners and the Savior as the Redeemer from sin, whose merit is sufficient to compensate for the defects of all those who would come unto the Father through him. All such should partake with a great deal of joy. Remembering the sufferings of the Master, they are to rejoice in those sufferings and in the blessings that these have brought to their hearts and lives.
None are to drink of the fruit of the vine on such occasions except those who have appropriated the merit of the sacrifice of Christ and who fully realize that all their blessings are through him. None are to drink of the cup except those who have given up their all to the Lord, for this is what the cup signifies – it is the cup of suffering the cup of death – a full submission to the will of God “Thy will, O God, not mine be done,” was the prayer of the Master, and is to be the sentiment and petition of those who partake of the Memorial Supper.
For other’s to participate in this Memorial Supper would be a farce, would be wrong and would bring more or less of condemnation, disapproval, from God and from their own consciences – and that in proportion as they realize the impropriety of their course.
But let none think that they should remain away from the Memorial because of imperfections of the flesh. This is a great stumbling block to many. So long as we are in the flesh, imperfection of word, deed and thought are possible – yea, unavoidable. St. Paul says that we cannot do the things that we would. It is because we need divine grace to forgive our daily, unintentional, unwilling trespasses that all whose sins have been forgiven and who have been accepted into fellowship with Christ are encouraged to come to the throne of heavenly grace in prayer, The Apostle says, “Let us come with courage to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) It was because of our needs that God opened up the way and made this arrangement for us.
By God’s provision for the forgiveness of our sins, of which we have repented and for which we have asked forgiveness in Jesus’ name, we may realize ourselves as no longer sinners under condemnation, but as clothed with the robe of Christ’s righteousness. This is the thought behind St. Paul’s expression, which, applies to every day: “I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)
All Christians should keep their accounts squared with the Lord. If they come short, they should lose no time in getting the account squared, in obtaining forgiveness through the merit of the Savior’s sacrifice. Such accounts with the Lord should be settled promptly at the time of their occurrence, or not later than the day of their occurrence. They should not be allowed to accumulate; for they will rise as a wall between the soul and the heavenly Father. But whatever has been the condition in the past, the Memorial season, above all others, is the time for making sure that no cloud remains between the Lord and us, to hide us from his eyes.
Thus forgiven, let us keep the feast – the Memorial of our Lord’s death. In it let us afresh acknowledge and impress upon our minds the importance of the merit of his sacrifice and death, and how it represents the grace of God to us, as it will by and by represent the same grace extending through the Millennial Kingdom to the whole world. Let us remember also our devotion of ourselves, our consecration to be dead with our Lord and to participate in partaking of the loaf and the drinking of the cup.
We trust that the celebration of the Memorial this year may be a very deeply impressive one, an occasion of rich blessings to all of the Lord’s consecrated people everywhere. “For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast.” (1 Cor. 5:7, 8)
We trust that each little class, or group of Bible students celebrating the Memorial together will appoint one of their number to write at least a post-card to us stating briefly the interesting facts connected with the celebration, the number present, and the number participating so far as can reasonably be estimated.
(Pastor Russell, Reprint 5420, March 15, 1914)