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


 

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). 

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.

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, Continue reading


 

Some Prophetic Implications of the Sacrifices: The Crucifixion, Sin and Communion

Leviticus 6:9, Shall be on the hearth. It took most of the day (see v. 12) and all night to burn up an animal completely. Similarly, Yeshua hung on the cross for a long time—from sometime after the third hour (9 AM) until the ninth hour (3 PM). Not only this, but from the six hour (12 PM) to the ninth hour (3 PM) when Yeshua died, darkness come over the earth (Matt 27:45; Luke 23:44). Both the burnt offering and Yeshua’s time on the cross encompassed hours of daylight and darkness.

Leviticus 6:17, No leaven. Why does YHVH stipulate this prohibition? The main Jewish commentaries are unable to answer this question. It is not until we understand the spiritual implications of leavening as revealed in the Testimony of Yeshua that this prohibition makes sense. Leavening is a Hebraism for false doctrines, hypocrisy and sin (Matt 16:1–5, 12; Luke 12:1; 1 Cor 5:1–5). Unleavened bread, on the other hand, is a metaphor for sincerity and truth (1 Cor 5:5, the last words of the verse). This is why unleavened bread is consumed at communion on Passover, for it is a symbol of Yeshua’s sinless life that he offered up on the cross for sinners (Matt 26:26), and it symbolizes what should be the heart of the saint. 

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 Continue reading