How to Conduct a Communion Service the Way Yeshua Instructed

Communion or the Lord’s Supper Explained in Its Hebraic Context

The Importance of Memorials and Symbols

Obedient and truth-seeking disciples of Yeshua will want to love him by keeping his commandments (John 14:12), and by teaching and doing everything he commanded (Matt 28:20). They will be following Paul’s example to imitate Yeshua the Messiah (1 Cor 11:1) as well heeding John’s admonition “to walk just as [Yeshua] walked” (1 John 2:6). This applies to the important biblical ritual of communion as well. How can we celebrate communion just as Yeshua did it? How closely is your typical mainstream Christian church following Yeshua’s commandments when it conducts a communion or the Lord’s supper? We shall discover the answer below.

With regard to obeying YHVH’s commands, symbols and memorializations figure prominently in YHVH Elohim’s spiritual economy. Why is this? They are teaching aids. Physical humans need physical things to help them to comprehend spiritual truths and ideals. Using symbols, commemorations and memorializations is a method of teaching and relates to pedagogy, which is “the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept.” A effective teacher endeavors to build bridges of understanding between what the student knows and what the teacher wants to teach the student— between the known and the unknown, between what the student understands now and what the teacher wants his students to learn. A successful teacher learns the skill of building bridges of understanding with his students to bring them to a higher level of understanding. The same is true of YHVH Elohim as we works with humans to teach them about spiritual things.

On a spiritual level, YHVH Elohim, our Heavenly Teacher, employes similar pedagogic or teaching techniques as he endeavors to bring men to a higher level of understanding heaven’s spiritual truths and realities. The use of symbols and memorials as teaching tools is essential to this process of teaching and learning.

The Bible is full of symbols and memorials that represent or point to something else and act as teaching aids to assist humans in learning about Elohim and what he requires of us. For example, the very name of the Creator, YHVH (Yehovah), is a memorial, symbol or remembrance (Heb. zeker from zakar) of who Elohim really is (Exod 3:15). His name is a way for humans to connect with him. The same is true of each of our names. Our name is a label, a pointer, a symbol of who we are, but it’s not really us. Similarly, eating unleavened bread during the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a memorial (Heb. zikrown from zakar) of coming out of Egypt and putting sin out of one’s life (Exod 13:9). The twelve stones on the high priest’s breastplate were memorials (Heb. zikrown from zakar) of the twelve tribes of Israel (Exod 28:12). The grain offering that was made on the altar of sacrifice in the Tabernacle of Moses was a memorial (Heb. azkarah from zakar) or remembrance that prophetically pointed to Yeshua the Messiah’s death on the cross and the fact that he is the bread of life (Lev 2:2). Blowing shofars on the Day of Trumpets is a memorial (Heb. zikrown from zakar) of many things past, present and prophetically including the second coming of Yeshua and the firstfruits resurrection (Lev 23:24). In fact, the whole Tabernacle of Moses, the Levitical priesthood, the sacrificial system, the Sabbath and biblical feasts is a complex system of memorials, remembrances and symbols to point humanity to the higher, upward spiritual path, which eventually brings him to Yeshua the Messiah. This is so abundantly clear in the Bible. Why don’t more people see this? Why do so many Christians and their leaders have such an apathy, even antipathy for these things? It’s mind boggling, especially in view of the fact that these teaching aid memorial and symbols were ordained of Elohim himself!

The overarching purpose and meaning of the Hebrew word zakar and its derivatives is something that “gets men to think about something, to meditate upon something, to pay attention to something, to remember something, to mention something, to declare or proclaim something or to commemorate something” (see The TWOT on the meaning of zakar). 

Why do people need to remember something or to stop and think about something? Simply this. In the busyness of life, people forget a lot of things that they should remember, meditate on, ponder, be thankful for and learn from. The fact that people tend to forget important things is the whole reason we have national holidays, statues, gravestones, war medals, a national flag and anthem, birthdays and anniversaries, photo albums and other manmade traditions. Biblically, the same can be said of a Torah scroll, the Bible itself, the Sabbath, the biblical feasts, the cross as a symbol of something, the ritual of baptism and Passover, which had embedded in its observance the Lord’s supper (1 Cor 11:20), communion (1 Cor 10:16) or the Lord’s table (1 Cor 10:21). All of these remembrances or memorials are designed to cause us to pause and stop and to reflect on something that is beyond us (in the past or future) or above us. The memorialization of past events should cause us to better appreciate those who have gone before us and be thankful for our present blessings.  Such reflections can help us not to repeat the mistakes of past generations and at the same time learn from their wisdom. Simultaneously, things that memorialize future events (like the Sabbath and the biblical feasts) should encourage us onward and upward in our spiritual journey. They strengthen our faith and give us hope for tomorrow. Symbolic rituals like baptism and communion can help us to connect to present realities that relate to our upward spiritual walk and our relationship to Yeshua the Messiah—our Master and Savior.

What Does Communion Memorialize?

So what does the Christian sacrament of communion or the Lord’s supper memorialize? To its credit, the mainstream Christian church understands the basic meaning of communion quite well. But let’s review this basic understanding, while, at the same time, adding some Hebraic or whole Bible background information. This will hopefully help us to appreciate more fully this glorious sacrament, which, sadly, due to its frequent occurrence in many churches, can become banal ritual that is easily taken for granted.

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Leviticus Chapter Seven—Natan’s Commentary Notes

Leviticus 7:6, Every male…may eat it. 

The Torah Origins of the Communion Ritual and the Priesthood of All Believers

Why were the priests allowed to eat some of the offerings? What’s this all about? Let’s answer this question with a question. Why do believers in Yeshua eat the communion elements, and what do they represent? Is there a connection between the Levitical priests eating of the sacrifice and the saints eating the communion elements? Now let’s explore this idea. 

In Leviticus 6:26 and 29, only the male priests were allowed to eat of the sin offering. Likewise, YHVH commanded the male priests to eat the baked unleavened bread of the minchah offering (Lev 6:16, 18). Yeshua himself not only continued this Levitical practice, but expanded and elevated it to a higher level at his last supper. 

When Yeshua initiated communion among his disciples, what in essence was he saying? Simply this. His disciples were all now his holy or set-apart priests. This is the origination of the concept of the priesthood of all believers, or the royal priesthood as Peter terms it (1 Pet 2:9), or a kingdom of priests John calls it who will rule with King Yeshua in his millennial kingdom (Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). 

It was YHVH’s desire that the children of Israel would become such a priesthood even before he called the Levites to be his set-apart priests (Exod 19:6). However, they failed in this mission when they chose to worship the golden calf instead of YHVH (Exod 32). At that time, YHVH chose the faithful Levites to be his priests instead of the firstborn male leaders from all the tribes of Israel (Exod 32:26, 29; Num 3:11–13, 44). 

Moreover, Isaiah prophesied about the priesthood of all believers—a priesthood that would extend beyond the confines of the Aaronic priesthood (Isa 66:21 cp. Dan 7:18). This higher level priesthood would extend beyond the patriarchal male leaders, who were the original priests in Israel (Exod 19:22, 24), to include all the Israelites, both male and female (Exod 19:6), as well as Gentiles who have been grafted into Israel through Yeshua the Messiah (Gal 3:28–29; Eph 2:11–19; Rom 11:11–32), which Paul refers to as the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16).

Being a kingdom of priests who will teach the inhabitants of planet earth the ways of Elohim is the role and destiny of all the modern day saints of Elohim who have been washed of their sins (i.e. Torahlessness, 1 John 3:4) in the blood of Yeshua (Rev 1:6), for they will reign with Yeshua on this earth (Rev 5:10) for a thousand years as Elohim’s resurrected and glorified adopted sons and daughters (Rev 20:6; John 1:12 cp. Rom 8:14–15, 23; 9:4; 2 Cor 6:18; Gal 4:5–6; Eph 1:5; 1 Jhn 3:1–2; Rev 21:7). 

So saints of the YHVH Elohim, encourage yourself with these immutable promises from the Word of Elohim! Are you presently preparing yourselves now for auspicious and lofty role?

Leviticus 7:13, Leavened bread. The Torah prohibited the offering of leavened bread on the altar (Lev 2:11). There are only two instances where leavening in bread was permitted in the tabernacle service. In this verse, leavened bread was offered in conjunction with the peace offering (Lev 2:13), where it was eaten as part of the sacrificial meal. This was not a sin offering, but the peace offering. Therefore the bread of this offering didn’t represent the body of Yeshua. It was merely part of the fellowship meal representing a peaceful and loving relationship between the offerer and the Creator, and was similar to a family picnic, dinner or barbecue. But it wasn’t placed on the altar, nor was it a part of the sacrifice, therefore, it wasn’t a prophetic picture of the sinless Yeshua dying on the cross.

The second instance of leavened bread being offered in a tabernacle service occurred when the Torah instructs the priests to wave two loaves of leavened bread on Shavuot or Pentecost before YHVH (Lev 23:17). These two loaves prophetic and symbolic metaphors for the two houses of Israel (the northern kingdom and southern kingdom)—a spiritual picture of Jews and Christians. In this ceremony, the gracious and merciful Creator was demonstrating his acceptance of his people despite their sin.

Leviticus 7:23, Not eat any fat. All the organ fat of the ox, sheep and goats was used as part of the sacrificial service (Lev 7:30–31).The organ fat was given to YHVH as part of the burnt offering (Lev 1:3), the peace offering (Lev 3:3–4), the sin offering (Lev 4:8–10, 19). Fat is the Hebrew word cheleb/CKJ meaning “fat of humans or animals” or metaphorically, “the choicest, best part, or abundance of the land.” Therefore, the fat as one of the choicest parts of the animal was reserved for sacrifice to YHVH on the altar. But not eating fat, the Israelites in their minds preserved a reverence for YHVH’s altar upon which the fat or the best part was offered to YHVH. To eat the fat was to show irreverence for that best part that belonged to Elohim, which is why the offender was cut off from the nation of Israel. As living sacrifices who have been redeemed or bought with the blood of Yeshua, are we giving YHVH the best part of our lives? After all, he so loved us that he gave us Yeshua, which was the best he had to offer.

Leviticus 7:26, Not eat any blood. 

The Supreme Significance of Blood

YHVH revealed in the Torah that the life of flesh is in the blood (Lev 17:11). Therefore, the blood symbolizes the whole life of the living being. This is why the blood being poured upon the altar made atonement for the souls of men (Lev 17:11–12), since it represented and pointed to the shedding of Yeshua’s blood when he sacrificed his life on the cross in atoning for men’s sins. Respecting the blood is necessary not only because it symbolizes the sanctity of the life of man who was made in the Creator’s image (Gen 1:26 cp. 9:6), but more importantly, because of the blood of Elohim’s Son that was shed for man’s redemption (Lev 17:11). For one to eat the blood showed disdain for what the blood typifies. In times past, this was so important to YHVH that a violation of this prohibition resulted in banishment from the nation of Israel.

The blood was to be reserved for the sacrificial service, where it was used symbolically to represent Yeshua’s shedding his blood on the cross. The blood of a lamb was put on the door posts to protect men from YHVH’s judgment against sin (Exod 12:7, 13). Moses sprinkled the blood of oxen on the people symbolizing their coming into covenantal relationship with YHVH (Exod 24:5–8). Additionally, the blood of sacrificed animals was sprinkled throughout the tabernacle, on Aaron and his sons, and all around the altar to sanctify it. All these acts and uses of the blood were illustrative of the unrestricted cleansing power of the blood of Yeshua (Rev 1:5; 7:14; 12:11; 1 Pet 1:2, 19; Heb 9:12; 10:19–22; 12:24; 1 John 1:7; Matt 26:28), which is why YHVH expected his people to treat the blood with a reverence. Those who didn’t evidenced a heart of indifference for the set-apart or kadosh things of Elohim—an intolerable offence in the Creator’s eyes.

On the dark and satanic side, the blood of humans and animals is profaned through demonic rituals involving drinking it and even cannibalism. This is an abominable perversion of holy communion and was an aspect of ancient heathen religions (Ps 16:4; Ezek 39:17, 19 cp. Num 13:32), and is a practice in which the end time antichrist heathens of the Babylonian whore system will engage (Rev 17:6; 18:13, 24).

 

The Torah Origins of the Communion Ritual and the Priesthood of All Believers

Leviticus 7:6, Every male…may eat it. 

Why were the priests allowed to eat some of the offerings? What’s this all about? Let’s answer this question with a question. Why do believers in Yeshua eat the communion elements, and what do they represent? Is there a connection between the Levitical priests eating of the sacrifice and the saints eating the communion elements? Now let’s explore this idea. 

In Leviticus 6:26 and 29, only the male priests were allowed to eat of the sin offering. Likewise, YHVH commanded the male priests to eat the baked unleavened bread of the minchah offering (Lev 6:16, 18). Yeshua himself not only continued this Levitical practice, but expanded and elevated it to a higher level at his last supper. 

When Yeshua initiated communion among his disciples, what in essence was he saying? Simply this. His disciples were all now his holy or set-apart priests. This is the origination of the concept of the priesthood of all believers, or the royal priesthood as Peter terms it (1 Pet 2:9), or a kingdom of priests John calls it who will rule with King Yeshua in his millennial kingdom (Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). 

It was YHVH’s desire that the children of Israel would become such a priesthood even before he called the Levites to be his set-apart priests (Exod 19:6). However, they failed in this mission when they chose to worship the golden calf instead of YHVH (Exod 32). At that time, YHVH chose the faithful Levites to be his priests instead of the firstborn male leaders from all the tribes of Israel (Exod 32:26, 29; Num 3:11–13, 44). 

Moreover, Isaiah prophesied about the priesthood of all believers—a priesthood that would extend beyond the confines of the Aaronic priesthood (Isa 66:21 cp. Dan 7:18). This higher level priesthood would extend beyond the patriarchal male leaders, who were the original priests in Israel (Exod 19:22, 24), to include all the Israelites, both male and female (Exod 19:6), as well as Gentiles who have been grafted into Israel through Yeshua the Messiah (Gal 3:28–29; Eph 2:11–19; Rom 11:11–32), which Paul refers to as the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16).

Being a kingdom of priests who will teach the inhabitants of planet earth the ways of Elohim is the role and destiny of all the modern day saints of Elohim who have been washed of their sins (i.e. Torahlessness, 1 John 3:4) in the blood of Yeshua (Rev 1:6), for they will reign with Yeshua on this earth (Rev 5:10) for a thousand years as Elohim’s resurrected and glorified adopted sons and daughters (Rev 20:6; John 1:12 cp. Rom 8:14–15, 23; 9:4; 2 Cor 6:18; Gal 4:5–6; Eph 1:5; 1 Jhn 3:1–2; Rev 21:7). 

So saints of the YHVH Elohim, encourage yourself with these immutable promises from the Word of Elohim! Are you presently preparing yourselves now for auspicious and lofty role?

 

“Eat my flesh and drink my blood” Meaning

John 6:54, Flesh…blood. “Eats flesh and drinks my blood” is not some ribald admonition on the part of Yeshua to involve themselves in cannibalism, as I have heard some biblically naive and ignorant people claim. What did Yeshua really mean when he made this statement? 

This phrase, in fact, is merely a Hebrew idiom or metaphor meaning “the whole person” (see Matt 16:17; 1 Cor 15:50; Gal 1:6; Eph 6:12; Heb 2:14). This relates to Moses’ instructions that “man shall not live by bread alone…but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of YHVH” (Deut 8:3). This applies to Yeshua who was that Word of Elohim who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1 and 14).

When one puts their faith in Yeshua (John 6:29 and 5:24), then one must also believe him—that is, not only accept him as the Son of Elohim and one’s Savior, but also follow and obey (or “eat”) him who is the Living Manna-Word of Elohim from heaven.

This involves believing his words by loving him and keeping his Torah-commands (John 14:15, 23 cp. Exod 20:6), which are his literal words.

This is why YHVH instructed the Israelites to eat the whole Passover lamb, and to leave nothing left over (Exod 12:10).

This teaches us that we are to “eat” all of Yeshua—his whole Person as represented by the bread and the wine at communion on Passover. We are to accept the totality of his Word, not just the parts that suit us, or fit with our conventional religious viewpoints as per the traditions of men.

Many believers claim “to eat” all of Yeshua’s flesh and drink all of his blood, yet through their anti-Torah theologies they rip pages out of their Bibles and toss many of YHVH’s biblical instructions and commands into the spiritual trash can claiming these were for the Jews and not for Christians.

Sadly, this is exactly what Adam and Eve did when they listened to the serpent’s lies at the tree of knowledge and rebelled against YHVH’s clear commands. The devil deceived them into take a pick-and-choose approach to the Word of Elohim. This was the first sin that humans committed.

The Bible defines sin as violating the words, commands or Torah of Elohim (1 John 3:4). It is also a sin not to believe in Yeshua (John 16:9; 3:18–19) who is the Living Torah-Word of Elohim incarnate. It is also sin to act in unrighteousness (1 John 5:17). The Bible defines unrighteousness as violating YHVH’s Torah commands (Ps 119:172), which are the words of Yeshua.

In summary, when we accept all of Yeshua by eating his flesh and drinking his blood, (i.e. partaking of the bread and wine at communion) we are confessing that we accept the totality of who he was and is. If we fail to believe and obey all of his words, then to the degree that we do so we are walking in sin, don’t love him and don’t even know him (1 John 2:3–4). 

 

Communion or the Lord’s Supper Explained in Its Hebraic Context

The Importance of Memorials and Symbols

Obedient and truth-seeking disciples of Yeshua will want to love him by keeping his commandments (John 14:12), and by teaching and doing everything he commanded (Matt 28:20). They will be following Paul’s example to imitate Yeshua (1 Cor 11:1) as well heeding John’s admonition “to walk just as [Yeshua] walked” (1 John 2:6). The Passover communion service is an example of doing what Yeshua and his disciples did. How and when did he do it, so that we can follow his example? Let’s now explore this subject from a whole-Bible, Hebraic perspective.

With regard to obeying YHVH’s commands, symbols and memorials figure prominently in YHVH Elohim’s spiritual economy. Why is this? They are teaching aids. Physical humans need physical things to help them to comprehend spiritual truths and ideals. Using symbols, commemorations and memorials is a method of teaching and relates to pedagogy, which is “the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept.” A effective teacher endeavors to build bridges of understanding between what the student knows and what the teacher wants to teach the student— between the known and the unknown, between what the student understands now and what the teacher wants his students to learn. A successful teacher learns the skill of building bridges of understanding with his students to bring them to a higher level of understanding. The same is true of YHVH Elohim as we works with humans to teach them about spiritual things.

On a spiritual level, YHVH Elohim, our Heavenly Teacher, employes similar pedagogic or teaching techniques as he endeavors to bring men to a higher level of understanding heaven’s spiritual truths and realities. The use of symbols and memorials as teaching tools is essential to this process of teaching and learning.

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Paul’s Instructions and Insights on Communion

1 Corinthians 11:23, This is my body.We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Yeshua (Heb 10:10).When we eat the bread of communion, we are “eating” Yeshua who is the incarnate and Living Torah Word of Elohim (John 1:14). We are announcing that Yeshua is the spiritual bread of life from heaven that leads to eternal life (John 6:48–51), and we are announcing our desire to live by the totality of his Word (Matt 4:4). 

The bread symbolizing the body of Yeshua was unleavened, which is a picture of Yeshua’s sinless life. By eating this bread, we declare our faith in his sinless life by which he was able to pay for our sins. We also declare our identification with his sinlessness as an example for us to follow.

Yeshua took the unleavened bread and broke it signifying our deliverance from our sin nature by the breaking or death of his sinless body. The unleavened bread broken during the Passover meal speaks of our deliverance from the power of sin by the death of our old man. The rite of baptism is a picture of this (Rom 6:4–13). This paves the way for us to live a sanctified (sin-free) life.

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Examine Yourself Before Taking Communion at Passover

1 Corinthians 11:23, This is my body. We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Yeshua (Heb 10:10).When we eat the bread of communion, we are “eating” Yeshua who is the incarnate and Living Torah Word of Elohim (John 1:14). We are announcing that Yeshua is the spiritual bread of life from heaven that leads to eternal life (John 6:48–51), and we are announcing our desire to live by the totality of his Word (Matt 4:4). 

The bread symbolizing the body of Yeshua was unleavened, which is a picture of Yeshua’s sinless life. By eating this bread, we declare our faith in his sinless life by which he was able to pay for our sins. We also declare our identification with his sinlessness as an example for us to follow.

Yeshua took the unleavened bread and broke it signifying our deliverance from our sin nature by the breaking or death of his sinless body. The unleavened bread broken during the Passover meal speaks of our deliverance from the power of sin by the death of our old man. The rite of baptism is a picture of this (Rom 6:4–13). This paves the way for us to live a sanctified (sin-free) life.

We become unleavened or sinless (known as sanctification) because Yeshua our Passover Lamb was sacrificed for us (1 Cor 5:7). Our body of sin died with Yeshua when we were baptized making us unleavened (or sanctified, Rom 6:6). Let us therefore live in accordance with the new man, or new spiritual creation we have become through Yeshua (1 Cor 5:8; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 2:20). When we eat the unleavened bread at the communion part of the Passover service, we remember that we are sanctified by grace and that the power of sin (or Torahlessness, see 1 John 3:4 cp. John 14:15) has been broken in our lives.

In the first Passover, the children of Israel were delivered from the penalty of their sins by the blood of the lamb on the door, which pointed forward prophetically to Yeshua’s sin-atoning death on the cross. But when they ate the unleavened bread, this speaks of their being delivered from their slavery to sin and oppression in Egypt. They were now to leave Egypt (a spiritual picture of the old man and life) and go toward the Promised Land (a spiritual picture of the new man) taking with them, on their knees, the dough of the unleavened bread. This points to the fact that the redeemed saints are to walk in the newness of a spiritually unleavened or sanctified life as pictured by their eating the communion bread. When we eat the bread of communion, we memorialize the events surrounding the Exodus, and recognize the present reality of freedom from sin in our own lives.

1 Corinthians 11:25, My blood. By the blood of Yeshua we are redeemed, liberated or released from the bondage of sin (Matt 26:28; Rom 3:25; Eph 1:17; Col 1:14; Heb 9:22; 1 Pet 1:18; Rev 5:9) and from sin’s death penalty claim on us (Rom 6:23; Ezek 18:4) brought on by our disobedience to YHVH’s instructions in righteousness, the Torah (which defines sin, 1 John 3:4). His blood also sanctifies (or separates, Heb 9:13–14; 13:12) us from past sin (Rom 3:25) or Continue reading