The Passover and the Lord's Supper.

1884 66 The cross is the centre of the moral glory of God, the righteous foundation for the display of grace. Truly the cross is "by grace," but the display of grace is by the cross, and grace is God's greatest moral glory. All other revealed glories are subservient to it. There is a glory of creation; but creation, "when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy," was only the separation of a sphere for the display of the glory of grace, There were manifestations of glory all through from creation to the cross: the glory of judgment sometimes with warning, as the deluge, and Egypt; sometimes sudden like lightning flash, as Sodom and Gomorrah; the glories of patient long-suffering and government as in Israel. But whether we look at the glory of mercy or of judgment, the cross possesses both, and in each outshines all that went before. There was no outlet in heaven, so far as we know, for such a glory as this seen in the cross of Christ. Grace came by Him; when He came into the world, then grace came and was seen in all His words and works while here, yet was He straitened till the work of atonement was wrought. "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! "So that not His coming into the world but the manner of His departure is the brightest and fullest display of the glory of grace and truth. The cross removed every righteous hindrance to its shining. By the cross a rebellious creation will be reconciled to God, and believers now are made the righteousness of God. It is the greatest proof of God's love; it magnifies His truth, and exalts His majesty also.

God did not wait for the cross without giving some typical information of the grace to be revealed — only shadows, dark and partial, even illegible till the true Light shone. Now all is clear and distinct. From Abel's lamb and onward every sacrifice previous to the cross contained the idea of life forfeited; even the burnt offerings in worship embodied the fact that man was a sinner and incurred the penalty of death. Otherwise Cain's offering would have been accepted. There was neither blood nor death in his offering; therefore he and his offering were rejected. Also in the offerings with blood there was a foreshadowing of the atonement made by the blood of Christ. But it was only at the passover that the initiatory truth and starting-point of all God's gracious dealings with man was set forth.

It was a question between a righteous God and a sinful man; and the first point was — If God wills not the death of the sinner, how are the demands of the Righteous Judge to be met? Mercy pleaded for the sinner's life; but there was a preferential claim, and the Judge was inexorable and would have the uttermost farthing, before any consideration of mercy could be entertained towards the guilty sinner. We know that the inexorability of the Judge affords the greatest proof of the infinite mercy of God. He gave the Son of His love that those who hated Him might live. And God commends His love to us (Rom. 5:8) in Christ's dying for us while yet sinners.

But it is God as Judge which is the prominent idea in the passover. Every blessing flows from it. Still on that night the word was "I will pass over:" not communion with God, but barring out judgment; God as Judge was going through the land, searching for sinners, not to save but to slay. Blood by His own appointment turns away His eye from the sinner, and the Judge passes on as if there were no sinners in the house. "When I see the blood, I will pass over." While the blood upon the door-post prevented the entrance of judgment, other truths were typified in the house, truth beyond the intelligence of the Israelite. But God was setting forth truth for us as well as for Israel. Eating the lamb was a symbolic owning that the blood on the door-post was a substitute for their own. In some measure this is identification with the lamb; not the truth brought out after the cross, that we have with Christ died to sin and law, which goes with assurance of life (Rom. 6 and 7); but that they as sinners were deserving of death, yet were sheltered by the blood of the typical lamb. This confession of having deserved death was not to be lightly made; there must be with it a realizing the bitterness of sin, "with bitter herbs" (that is, genuine repentance, a turning to God) to be eaten with unleavened bread. No allowance or excuse for sin can be: those who eat the roast lamb eat it with bitter herbs and under the shelter of the blood. With all this there is no assurance of life nor sense of justification. It is the moral and necessary preparation, typically, for God righteously to lead out His chosen people from the land of bondage. As there must be a divine and adequate reason why the sinner should live — the sprinkled blood, so there must be a moral preparation of the soul. The divine ground of deliverance was outside for the eye of God, the moral preparation was inside. Therefore not only the unleavened bread and bitter herbs, but they eat in haste, standing staff in hand and their feet shod. They were thus ready and fitted by grace to be led out of the land of bondage — of sin — by the mighty hand of God who had found a ransom. This moral preparation however would have been vain, had it not been for the blood sprinkled on the door-post. For if the Avenger entered, neither the bitter herbs nor the unleavened bread could save them: God is Judge first, then is Saviour.

This marks the order of God's dealings with every soul brought to Him and it is seen in the word, Repent and believe. For what is repentance if not the unfeigned judgment of self in the presence of God? The repentance which does not turn to God is like the mere remorse of Judas. He hanged himself. His real state was the terror and despair of the lost, not God-given; for when God gives repentance, He also gives faith in His mercy through Christ. Where genuine, these are never separated though distinct. But in the order of thought is repentance, then faith, and so the word, — Repent and believe.

Many preach faith and put repentance in the background. No doubt the judgment of sin in our nature is far deeper after the knowledge of forgiveness; but this does not set aside repentance as faith's first step in coming to God. Faith in the Saviour is impossible unless there be a sense of condemnation. Faith (so called) if preached alone may produce joyful happiness; but there will be no deepness of earth, and what appears will soon wither away. Many sad proofs we know.

The passover is the key to all God's ways with Israel. While they were simply under the blood (i.e. from Egypt to Sinai), there is not even a reproach from God for their sins. It was only after they put themselves under law that judgment appeared. But the blood of the passover, which God had seen, was still efficacious, although its full effect as to display was hindered by law. At the second giving of the law when mercy and its provisions for the involuntary transgressor are so largely blended with the requirements of righteousness, its sheltering power is seen. And its importance as the ground of forbearance and grace is such that the law, whose full effect upon the transgressor is restrained by it, nevertheless makes room for it, and enforces its observance with a penalty. Any soul not keeping it was cut off. The Israelite whether at home or on a journey was bound to keep it. Even in some cases when ceremonially unclean one could not neglect it (see Num. 9:10).

In the passover as well as in all the sacrifices enjoined by law there was the constant remembrance of sins. The blood of bulls and of goats was ever unable to give a purged conscience (Heb. x); God waited for the cross to bestow this. There was an outward purifying of the flesh; but rites could not purge the conscience nor make the comers thereunto perfect. These sacrifices were only types and in themselves nothing. Hence men, though keeping the passover, were always subject to bondage through fear of death. David speaks of the blessedness of forgiveness (Psalm 32), but its presence was not known till Christ died. It was a new thing when the Son of man came with power to forgive sins on the earth, to give its assurance by His death. This was unknown to the saints of old. Nor can we say that they more than hoped for the knowledge of forgiveness. The Passover gives hoped for security from judgment, but not the peace flowing from justification. "There is forgiveness with Thee that Thou mayest be feared" (Ps. 130:4); even this was prophetic. After the cross deeper knowledge of His love flows freely, though the fear of God be ever right.

The passover is the initiatory step for a forgiveness founded upon righteousness; it also marks the beginning of a new life. For since it is the ransom for their deliverance from judgment, they could not be left in the land where death reigned. And so God said, "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months, it shall be the first month of the year to you." No more Egyptian slavery; henceforward they were free. The power of Egypt was virtually annulled, and the proof was given at the Red Sea which is the necessary complement of the passover. The Egyptian foe lay dead upon the shore never to be seen again. This full result of the passover was before the mind of God when He said, "This month shall be the beginning of months." The passover was not a solitary act beginning and ending with itself; doubtless the first and most important truth in the work of redemption was there signified, but necessarily followed by other truth, and a new start for the ransomed is the consequent truth here. "The first month of the year to you."

This comprehensive word was given to Moses and Aaron (Ex. xii. 1); to the congregation the detail is given for the first observance, and afterwards as a memorial. Israel was slow to enter into the meaning of the sprinkled blood, and consequently did not apprehend the beginning of new life save in a carnal way. Believers now know it in its spiritual power; for we look not at a mere type but rejoice in the knowledge of the finished work of Christ, and therefore if any man be in Him he is a new creation. Nor does a soul when first apprehended by God learn this truth; it is after deliverance is realized and consciously out of Egypt, the Red Sea passed through — death and resurrection — that this new portion is known experimentally.

The realized efficacy of the sprinkled blood was on that night limited to their condition. How could they take in all the passover foreshadowed while yet in Egypt? All then known was that the blood upon the door-post, barred the entrance of death, and preserved their first-born alone. They were not yet delivered, though they had the pledge for every one that looked beyond that night. This partial apprehension of the truth contained in the passover is indicated by "every man according to his eating shall make your count of the lamb."

Many who are truly born of God are as to spiritual condition and intelligence yet in Egypt, having a hope not unmingled with fear that God will pass over their sins and judge mildly. Assurance and settled peace are lacking. God as Father is unknown; and there is no communion so long as they are in this Egypt condition. There is faith in the blood as interposing between themselves and judgment, but even this often disturbed by doubt. Much of the teaching of the present day does not go beyond this, for the teacher has not advanced farther. How can he lead others? Not that those in this condition have no seasons of joy, for God is very gracious and draws them with the cords of love; but a full redemption is not enjoyed and their peace is according to their eating.

This lack of intelligence and of faith cannot impair the intrinsic worth of Christ as set forth by the paschal lamb. If man failed to apprehend, it was all there before God; and a fitting type is chosen to express the holy nature and immaculate purity of the person of Christ: "A lamb without blemish, a male of the first year." Israel afterwards was reproached with offering the lame and that which was torn by beasts. God selected that which was in nature the purest as the emblem of Him who was absolutely without sin. The angel said to Mary, "That holy thing;" and Christ, whose holy human nature was but imperfectly shadowed by the innocent lamb, lived apart from sinners though among them, and from nature's relationships (a lamb of the first year) though in truest sympathy with. those whose hearts were wrung with nature's sorrows.

Then comes the order and manner of eating the passover. But it was not enough to eat, the flesh of a slain lamb: God orders how it must be eaten. "Eat not of it raw nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs and the purtenance thereof." Fire is symbolic of the judgment of God. Christ was made sin, and as such bore the judgment of sin. Now that all is done, we know that He is more than the roast lamb. He is also the bread which came down from heaven; but first for every soul brought to God He is the lamb roast with fire. So it is not merely a slain lamb that meets the sinner's need, but also roast with fire. "Eat not of it raw or sodden at all with water."

Yet there are those who make the incarnation of Christ of all importance rather than His death. But Christ came to die, to be sin-bearer, and as such to glorify God: how can His life or His coming into the world be the turning-point, and not His death? Can such teachers have ever realised their condition as lost and under condemnation? Surely the words "sin" and "atonement" are to them without meaning. They would feed upon an unslain Lamb. Christ in this world and not dying would only make man more guilty and hopelessly under condemnation and the law. It is the sentimentality of nature and nothing more to talk about the incarnation and life of Christ apart from the object for which He became incarnate. His life is truly the pattern, the model of holy living, obedience, and self-abnegation; but not to man until he has been under the sprinkled blood, and has "redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins." To die as an offering for sin was His purpose: otherwise there would have been no incarnation. Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him, said our Lord with His death in view.

The preciousness of the worth of Christ is indicated by the command to burn all that remained of the lamb uneaten. On that night each fed upon it "according to his eating." There was much more than any Israelite could then apprehend, for it was a whole Christ there typified. Was that to be vain which man in Egypt could not understand? Nay — gather up the fragments that nothing be lost. What remained until the morning was returned to God who knew its priceless worth. That lamb was God's feast, and what man could not cat went up to Him in fire. But "burnt with fire" tells too of the unsparing judgment of God; the whole lamb was roast with fire and all that remained was burnt in the morning. All that Christ was was offered to God, for nothing less than a whole Christ could hear all God's judgment.

Next comes the ordinance of the passover as a memorial. God is looking to the future: as each year rolled on, this self-same day was to be observed as a memorial of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. it is called a feast to the Lord. Why is mention only made of unleavened bread for the seven days that follow? God was looking onward and beyond Israel to the church when the Israelitish branches of the olive-tree of testimony would be broken off. There is rest from the exercises represented by bitter herbs for a soul that has intelligence and faith in the already finished work of Christ. He bore our sins and judgment; this purges the conscience and there is no room for bitter herbs. And a purged conscience is so much the greater reason why we should purge ourselves from all the contamination of leaven. Our whole life here below, typified by the seven days, is characterized by unleavened bread. In Lev. xxiii. where we have the feasts of the Lord, the seven days of unleavened bread are called a feast, and distinctly separated from the fourteenth day at, even when the passover is eaten. From the fifteenth to the twenty-first day inclusive is the feast of unleavened bread, during which all servile work is forgotten. Ex. xii. prohibits leaven under the penalty of death. It is in keeping with the righteousness of God, that God's wrath is also revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. Lev. xxiii. 4-8, though after Israel had broken the law which they promised to obey, yet as being a feast to the Lord, omits the failure of man and its consequences. It is the Lord's passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even, and on the fifteenth the seven days' feast of unleavened bread begins.

It is to this scripture that Paul refers in 1 Cor. 5:7, 8. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast. The feast here is not the Lord's Supper, but the life-long feast of unleavened bread which begins when consciously under the shelter of the sprinkled blood, and continues to the end: the old leaven, and the leaven of malice and wickedness, all put away, and, in place thereof, the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. This clear reference of the apostle to Lev. xxiii. makes abundantly plain that God had the church in view and not a mere ordinance for Israel. The church was always in the mind of God and has its own peculiar part in the ordinances given to Israel. Separation from evil is our feast of unleavened bread and the memorial of Christ our passover sacrificed for us. In Israel, the memorial of the passover was to be observed in all their generations after the manner of its institution. This which is for Israel alone is separated from that which has its present fulfilment in the church. Accordingly in Ex. xii. where the memorial is given (and in spirit to be observed by every saint of whatever dispensation) and Israel's manner of observing it, the former is in the words of God to Moses and the latter in the words of Moses to the people, And it is according to the wisdom of God that he who was the mediator of the old covenant should be God's mouthpiece to Israel; as also when the church and its special privileges are my view, we have the words direct from God Himself.

Israel must keep the anniversary of their deliverance in the same way as they did eat the passover in Egypt, with loins girded, feet shod, staff in hand, and in haste. "And it shall come to pass when your children shall say to you, What mean you by this service, that ye shall say, It is the Lord's passover." It was truly an unwonted way of keeping a feast, standing and eating in haste. No wonder if the children should ask the meaning. Brit it was God's way of bringing vividly to their remembrance their previous bondage and His most marvellous way of delivering. Type too of a far greater deliverance, it was fitting to have a perpetual memorial; which the Red Sea had not, although it was there that power was openly displayed. The nations heard of the signal judgment upon Pharaoh and his host; but did they hear of blood sprinkled upon the door-post, of the way in which a sin-judging God interposed to save His people from judgment? The blood on the door-post is the foundation of all; the passover is God's feast, its memorial is for ever.

1884 82 Israel has not yet kept the feast of unleavened bread in the spirit of Ex. xii. or Lev. xxiii. They quickly fell into the condition given in Num. ix. 6, of the men who were defiled by the dead body of a man. It is expressive of their condition at that very moment. They had touched sin which brings death and were defiled. Historically it was a new question for Moses, and he enquires of the Lord. God in answer meets the present case and provides for another. The man that was on a journey as well as the unclean by reason of a dead body, both shall keep the passover unto the Lord. God marks their want of care in keeping the passover while proving His mercy to them. The man who could not eat the passover at the appointed season, because he was defiled or on a journey, was to eat it on the fourteenth day of the second month. He might have to eat it alone; at all events he was not in fellowship with Israel eating it in the first month. But see 2 Chron. xxx. where a nation eats the Passover in the second month. As to the particular meaning of eating the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month instead of the first month, I wait for further light, unless it be an intimation of their state as then nationally defiled. But two things are evident that sin brought in disorder, and that God in sovereign grace provides a remedy — a remedy which, while meeting the need of His failing people, declares more fully the riches of grace.

The Lord's supper contains more than the passover. As presented in the Gospels it is the continuation of the passover but under a new aspect, and the outward form of memorial changed. The broken bread is the symbol of His body given for us, the wine of His blood which does not merely screen from judgment, but was shed for the remission of sins. The supper has two aspects which we may be permitted to distinguish as the kingdom aspect and the church aspect. In the three Synoptic Gospels the Lord's supper is given in its connection with the kingdom, save that in Luke we have its character of grace beside, but not quite so fully as in 1 Cor. xi. where we have the distinctive and special church characteristics of the Lord's supper — in remembrance of the Lord, and until He come. Like the passover it is a memorial, but rather of the Lord than of His work, but unlike the passover which is an ordinance for ever, as long as time endures, the supper in its church aspect ceases when the Lord comes. "Until He come."

At the last supper, i.e. the last in its original character, the Lord instituted the new thing, and as recorded in Matt. solely in view of the gathered remnant. The Lord looked onward to this last passover when, in virtue of His atoning work on the cross, He would set aside the old form; and He said "with desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer." But this in Luke (where the Lord joins the supper with the remembrance of His person) is not merely the body given and the blood, the seal of the new covenant and the sure foundation of every blessing, but His person, Himself rather than what we have through Him. Nor need we wonder that He who has proved His love to us personally, when about to give a constantly recurring memorial of Himself as dying for us . . . "Do this in remembrance of me" — should say "with desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer." As the disciples were constantly in His thoughts, so He would be ever in ours.

The linking on of the new thing to the old is evident. "As they were eating" the old passover "Jesus took bread and blessed it and broke it and gave to the disciples and said, Take, eat: this is my body." This, not the lamb but the bread broken, is to be the symbol of His body. And now that He was come, bread (which is connected with the thought of Himself as the true bread from heaven) is the most suited symbol. Only here the bread is broken and means death, as well as the blood separate from the body. Death was prefigured in the passover, but in the supper there is more. It is communion with Him as the One that died in our stead and for us. Eating, is always the expression of fellowship. Those who partook of thing's sacrificed to idols had fellowship with demons, and we in partaking of the bread and wine have communion with the body and the blood of Christ (1 Cor. x. 16). On the passover night the blood was to be sprinkled on the doorpost; but now under the symbol — wine — we drink it, and by faith realise its power for the remission of sins. Thus eating the bread and drinking the wine is the outward expression that we eat His flesh and drink His blood, without which none can have life.

The gathered remnant on that night were the representatives of all who have since believed in Christ. On the day of Pentecost they were formed into the church of God. This was a new thing, a new position for the believing remnant, and the Lord added daily and soon brought in Gentiles. The church was formed before Gentiles were added to it, and when they were brought in, they did not change the character of the saints as a remnant, of being the continuation of the unbroken line of grace from the beginning. So Paul in Gal. iv. does not sever the Jerusalem which is, from the Jerusalem which is in bondage, though he shows how widely distinctive they are. The first in bondage, the second free, still Jerusalem, the two being so far identified that the promise to the first is enjoyed by the second. The prophet who has bewailed the calamities of the earthly Jerusalem looked onward to millennial blessedness (Isa. liv.) But the millennial is not yet come. Meantime the apostle, that is the Spirit of God, takes the promise and endows the church with it. Jerusalem is called the holy city, the city of solemnities, the place where God rests. This will be manifestly so in the millennium, but now for a time the earthly character of the holy city is in abeyance, and the heavenly Jerusalem, from above, is now our mother. Saints were always a remnant, and will be until the reign of peace, when the power and the rule shall be with them and not with the wicked (Dan. vii. 18). As a remnant the line of saints is continuous whatever the dispensation, or the name by which God was specially known, whether El Shaddai, Jehovah or Father; and there never was a moment when God had no saint upon the earth.

The church position, unknown till Pentecost, is beyond the remnant character of saints. Not as a remnant are we joint-heirs with Christ, not as children of the Jerusalem which is from above are we the members of the body of Christ, but because we are made the church of God by the indwelling Spirit, therefore are we joint-heirs with Christ and members of His body. The characteristic and distinguishing work of the church from every other family of heaven is the being baptized into one body by the Spirit. As the Spirit is one, so is the body. This unity is not predicated of any number of saints save of the church, and it ever subsists — though we may have failed to keep it in the bond of peace. Thus, while the saints of the church have not lost one of the privileges possessed by those of the former dispensation, they have besides unspeakably greater. And the Lord's supper, which in one aspect is a continuation of the passover, is also connected with new truth and higher blessing which the passover never could convey.

The Lord's supper is not properly a type of His death as was the passover. It is truly a memorial. Types in scripture are the shadows of things to come; and when the true Lamb was come, there was no more room for the type. The eating and drinking of the bread and the wine are commemorative of the body and of the blood. and was so ordained by the Lord. For He was going away and leaves it memorial of His dying love, though in Matthew and in Mark the prominent thought is not "do this in remembrance of me," but that the blood is shed "for the remission of sins." This would be their joy, the time was coming when He would share it with them again — "drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." it is evident from this that Matthew does not give the church aspect of the supper, while equally plain that it is an advance upon the original passover. For the Lord's supper as enjoyed by the church will cease before we enter the Father's kingdom. But we, beside being the house of God and Christ's one body, — we follow in the wake of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. We share with them in the Father's kingdom, not in the kingdom of the Son of man, i.e. the millennial earth, but as risen and in bodies of glory. Then the Lord as the risen man in His body of glory, the model after which ours shall be fashioned, will partake with all the risen saints of this new wine, "which cheereth God and man." They will rejoice in the presence of the risen Lord, and He will rejoice over and with them.

This is the Father's kingdom, which does not mean eternity but the heavenly portion of the glorified saints, during the time that man upon the earth is enjoying the blessings of Christ's millennial reign:

For the present the Lord would no more drink of the fruit of the vine. He waits to drink new wine with them in a new scene. Clearly the Lord here is not speaking of the joy of the church while here below; for the church of God is never called the Father's kingdom. Nor is the earthly remnant so called, who will again have their feast of the passover, and after a fuller sort (Ezek. xlv. 21). Not a lamb, but a bullock, to be followed by sacrifices on each of the following seven days. For then even the earthly remnant will know remission of sins; then will be the new covenant in contrast with the old which sealed death upon the transgressor.

Mark gives the supper from the same standpoint as Matthew, in connection with the kingdom, but with the differences characteristic of each Gospel. In Matthew we see the rejected Messiah with the gathered but despised remnant. In Mark the Lord speaks as Servant. He does not say "with you" when looking onward to the drinking wine in the kingdom. It is not His association with the disciples but His own reward as having perfectly done the will of God that sent Him. When the kingdom of God is come, then the Servant will again drink of the fruit of the vine, but then it will be new. As Servant He does not say "kingdom of my Father," but "kingdom of God." This change and the omission of "with you" are in harmony with the character of Mark's gospel which presents the Lord as a Servant. Kingdom of God has a wider significance than "kingdom of my Father." Wherever righteousness, peace, and joy are found, there is the kingdom of God. These marks will be found among the saints of the millennium in the kingdom of the Son of man, and therefore the kingdom of the heavens is also called the kingdom of God. But the moral marks of the kingdom of God are to be found now, and perhaps with deeper significance, for it is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. The present time marked by faith and patience is with these moral and spiritual characteristics pre-eminently the kingdom of God. And the Lord drinks of the fruit of the vine now, the new vine of the kingdom, in gathering disciples to His Name and Person. The shame and reproach of the world are joy to those who are thus gathered. The blood here as in Matthew is shed for the remission of the sins of many, both Jews and Gentiles, the "nigh" and the "far off." It is the supper, but not the Lord's supper with its church privileges common to all. The church as such is not in view here, but the kingdom of God which is founded upon the blood of the new covenant. This new covenant is with God's Israel and always gives them the prominent place. They had this pre-eminency during the old covenant until the middle wall of partition was broken down. They will have it again when the saints of the past, and those who now share in the Lord's rejection, drink wine with Him in the Father's kingdom. The old covenant which has vanished away will then be replaced by the new covenant. But whether old or new both are with Israel. No covenant was ever made with the Gentile. Nor is Hebrews viii. a covenant with the church, but it declares that all the blessings it will bring to Israel by-and-bye are for the saints now.

In Luke as in Mark it is the "kingdom of God" and morally now as well as in the future glory. Also in Luke the far-reaching of grace is more prominent than in the previous Gospels. For Christ is in this Gospel not so much presented in His official relationship to the Jew as in Matthew, or in His service to God as in Mark, but in His connection with man whether Jew or Gentile — Christ The MAN in the activities of grace toward all men. Luke xv. gives the key note to Luke's Gospel, as Matt. xiii. to Matthew's. As regards the disciples this grace takes the form of intense personal affection. What more expressive of His love than when He said "with desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer?" This last passover was the right moment for setting aside the old observance of the passover, and instituting the new thing, but it surely tells of His love when He speaks of His intense desire for it. In Luke, as in the others, the supper is the pledge of the coming kingdom, and the Lord tells of His joy in it; and that because the true Lamb was offered to God. It was not and could not any longer remain a mere shelter from judgment but a full remission of sins through His blood. But Luke gives more and for the first time we have the Lord's supper in its special character of grace. The two other evangelists record "take eat this is my body." Here in Luke "This is my body given for you:" also the cup after supper, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is shed for you." The "for you" brings His love home to our hearts, and makes us recognise our interest in the blood. And what an appeal to our hearts "Do this in remembrance of me." This personal remembrance was not in the passover. Now, all that it contained, and all presented in the kingdom aspect of the Supper is merged in that personal and loving remembrance peculiar to the church of God, where we have the enjoyment of a closer intimacy with the Lord.

How suited to this feast it may be added, is the title "the Lord's supper." For it embodies all that He suffered, all that He is in giving Himself for us. All the shame and sorrow of the cross, all the judgment He bore is "for you." Yea all the blessing which the shed blood bestows now, all the glory it will bring soon, all is "for you." The cruel mockings, the bitter scorn, the being forsaken of God, and the triumphant rising, the glorious victory over death, His exaltation as Man at the right hand of God, all are "for you." Why all this "for you?" Because it is not a question so much of our blessing and future glory as of the work of Christ to God. And the church will be God's proof to the world how highly He estimates the person and work of Him who died and rose again. The church in glory is the precious consequence of Christ on the cross. The pledge to us of the glory is the Lord's supper; a token, not for some more favoured company, but "for you." O how slow of heart to believe all that His death and resurrection pledge to us. How small our enjoyment compared with what simple faith would lead us into.

There is yet another feature of the Lord's supper which we find in 1 Cor. xi. 26 "For as often as ye eat this broad and drink this cup ye do show the Lord's death till He cone." Not less in connection with the kingdom, but with His coming. And when He comes, it is to take us to the many mansions in the Father's house; a higher place than the Father's kingdom. "Until He come" — this to those who look for Him is the sweetest of all; for then we shall see Him. We shall not see Him, nay, we cannot, without being like Him. But if it were possible to see Him without being like Him, or to be like Him without seeing Him, which would we desire most? Let love answer. But the counsels of grace have indissolubly joined the two. We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

Paul as the apostle of the church gives the Lord's supper in its full church character. He received a direct revelation from the Lord concerning it, and links together the two greatest events that were or can be: Christ's coming to die, and His coming again. The Lord's supper is the memorial of the past, and the pledge of the future.

But there is one thing said of the blood which is common to the Gospels and to the Epistle; the blood is that of the new covenant. Since the new covenant is with Israel we may inquire why it is mentioned here where the church alone is contemplated. The answer is, first, that the blood of the new covenant ensures every blessing to Israel, not on the ground of obedience but by sovereign grace, and therefore Israel and the church are so far on the same ground. Israel's covenanted blessings rest upon the blood, and the people, now down-trodden, scattered and peeled by the judgment of God, will be brought back to their own land with clean water sprinkled upon them and be made the head of the nations under the rule of their own Messiah whose blood has secured both their blessing and ours. Secondly, it is the blood of the new covenant to us because we with whom no such covenant is made, yet enter into the enjoyment of all they will have, and that long before their time of blessing comes, possessed and known in a much higher way and more blessed too. All their earthly blessings are recast for us in a heavenly mould. The Lord will create new heavens and a new earth, and Israel restored will be a part of the new creation then. Now we as being in Christ are individually a new creation; a part of the new creation before the earth feels its power. It will be said to Israel "Ye are the sons of the living God" (Hosea i). We are now sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. iii. 26). So also Rom. ix. 24–26 where the words of Hosea for Israel are applied to the church "even us whom He hath called, not of the Jews only but also of the Gentiles." So we have all and more than all the blessing given to them by the new covenant. But it is through the same blood, that of the new covenant, that shed for many, which has provided for us some better thing.

If the church's position be that of joyful expectancy, it is also solemn. Showing the Lord's death till He come is not only a memorial; it is a testimony to the world that they crucified the Lord. The church partaking of the Lord's supper is a public witness of the world's sin, and of its condemnation. This solemn testimony has been going on for more than eighteen centuries, an unbroken line of witnesses maintained by the power of God; who for the purposes of righteous judgment as well as of grace has not permitted the rage of man, or the power of Satan, to destroy it. For it is no less a witness of the long-suffering of God as of the world's sin. So long as the church remains here, the remission of sins through His blood is preached. When the Lord comes, the Supper ceases, the saints are gathered up, and the judgment of the world begins. Meantime we at the Lord's table have by faith both His dying and His coming again present to our hearts, the foundation and the top-stone of grace.

Such is the feast of the Lord's supper, present blessedness and the assurance of future glory with the Lord. We do not forget what we were; we do not forget that it was our sin that brought the Lord Jesus to the cross. And if we had not a purged conscience, the Lord's supper would be the right time when to afflict our souls. It was in connection with the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread that Israel were told to eat the bread of affliction (Deut. xvi. 3). There is nothing in the Lord's supper that answers to the bread of affliction. Cleansed by the blood, we gather round His table, and in gladness of heart partake of that which reminds us of what the Lord Jesus had to suffer in order to deliver us from judgment and death; and when we look not only at the bare deliverance but at the blessing and the position which redemption gives us, then we can understand the apostle when he said "God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin." There is no "bread of affliction" for the new creation.

Saints now are not only heirs of the kingdom, but also the church of God. As church, their position is higher than as inheritors of the kingdom, though still possessing every kingdom privilege and honour. The Supper in the Gospels is in connection both with the kingdom and the church, and in both aspects linked on to the original passover. Even in the Epistle, "Christ is our Passover." In Matthew and Mark the original paschal lamb gives way to the Supper, but in connection with the kingdom. In Luke both the kingdom and the saints aspect are given. The highest joy of the kingdom aspect will be when we drink wine with Him in the kingdom of the Father. Waiting for an absent Lord is the special feature of the saintly aspect, "Until He come." Paul writing to the church gives this alone. We shall drink with Him then, not in remembrance of an absent Lord, but new wine in the full and perfect joy of seeing Him. R. Beacon.