Old Testament Shadows of the Lord’s Supper (1)

We’ve taken a fairly in-depth look at the Bible’s teaching on baptism. Now, we want to begin to dive into the second ordinance left for us by our Lord, His Supper. We’ll look first at some Old Testament shadows of the Lord’s Supper. Then, we’ll try to tackle the teaching of the New Testament. Third, we’ll tie the two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, together. And finally, we’ll speak to our practice of the Lord’s Supper as a church. So off we go.

Genesis 3:8

Prior to the Fall, it would seem that God commonly ‘walked’ about the garden sanctuary, so that Adam and Eve abided in the presence of God. It follows, then, that they ate in community with Him. At His hospitality, they sat at His table in the joy of unbroken fellowship.

Exodus 24:9-11

After the Fall, this table-fellowship, an expression of their more summary fellowship with God, was broken. But not beyond the hope of restoration in a promised Christ (Genesis 3:15). At this point in redemptive history, God’s plan of redemption circles around Moses and the Mosaic covenant. And as that covenant points us ahead to the New Covenant in Christ, it also prefigures the meal that’s emblematic of it.

In the text listed above, that covenant of works, again, pointing to the grace climaxed in the New Covenant, is set in place and put into play for the people through the sprinkling of blood (Exodus 24:8). In it’s own way, it at least outwardly reconstituted an uneasy relationship with God. The immediate expression of this relationship is an invitation extended by God to Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy elders (note, not every member of the community) to see the God of Israel and to worshipfully eat and drink in His heavenly presence. It’s a foretaste of the Supper that signifies a far greater reconciliation to God through the grace of Christ.

2 Samuel 9

In this chapter, King David, a type of Christ, shows kindness to the grandson of an enemy, Saul, the son of a beloved friend, Jonathan. So explicit in the text is a kind of steadfast love and mercy on Mephibosheth. The expression of this kindness, this steadfast love and mercy? An indefinite invitation to eat at the King’s table! More compelling here, Mephibosheth is crippled, something that likely made him something of an outcast and, in response to David’s invitation, counts himself no victim of circumstance, but as a ‘dead dog’ who is undeserving of such mercy. So David ups the mercy! Point being, we have a figure of Christ extending indefinite table-fellowship to a ‘dead dog’ on the basis of covenant love and steadfast mercy. Mephibosheth’s eating and drinking the rest of his life will be a reminder of the lavish and ‘redemptive’ grace of Israel’s King. Mercy will nourish as much as food.

Tomorrow, we will continue with two more ‘shadows’ leading us towards a proper understanding of the Supper. Until then, continuing to aim for fully-informed minds begetting fully rejoicing hearts as we, in spiritual unity and with holy accountability, come to remember the Lord’s death until He comes again.

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