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THE LORD’S SUPPER
Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the feast. 1 Cor. 5:7
The Passover was a Jewish feast kept annually (and is still observed by them) as a commemoration of their remarkable deliverance under the tenth plague upon Egypt—the Passing-over or sparing from death of their first-born.
The circumstances as narrated in Ex. 12—the slaying of the Lamb, the roasting of the flesh with fire, and the eating of it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread while the eaters stood, girded and shod, and with staff in hand ready to depart out of Egypt for the Land of Promise—Canaan—are doubtless familiar to most of our readers. Also, the meaning of these things which were but types: How that Jesus came—”The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world,” and “Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us”—how the door posts and lintels of the household of faith are sprinkled (typically) with the blood of our Lamb which speaketh better things, and saves in a higher sense all that are in that house—how that we are to be pilgrims and strangers, not making Egypt (the world) our home nor resting there, but with staff in hand—how that the “bitter herbs” represent the bitter experiences and trials of this life, which are needful to us and tend to sharpen our appetite for the unleavened bread, (truth in its purity; leaven being a type of corruption or error,) and for the eating of our Lamb, who said unless you eat my flesh … you have no life in you: Thus we partake of our Lamb and have Christ formed within, the hope of Glory. Thus during this night of more than 1800 years, since our Lamb was slain, the one true household has been eating—waiting for the morning of deliverance—the early dawn of which we believe has already come.
When Jesus died on the very same day, and in fulfillment of that part of the type—the Lamb—how fitting it seems that all Christians should commemorate the day on which our Lamb died. We certainly have much more interest in the day than has “Israel after the flesh,” who recognize only the type. Then, while we keep the feast daily—partaking of Christ and His word of truth, would it not be a great pleasure and a beautiful way, to commemorate our Lord’s death on its anniversary?
We understand that it was our Lord’s wish that this day be observed annually as a remembrance of Him, and that he instituted what is termed, The Lord’s Supper, of bread and wine—emblems of His body and blood, our Passover supper—as a substitute for the Jewish observance of the type.
Everything connected with it seems to show that this was His intention. He kept the Passover regularly every year, and at the last one, the night in which he was betrayed, he said: “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” What Jesus commemorated was the killing of the Passover (Lamb;) and not the “Feast of Passover,” which followed it for seven days. The Jews at that time kept both, but particularly the latter, (the feast). They do not now, and have not for a long time commemorated the killing of the Passover, but the feast only.
Jesus commemorated (the last time) the killing only and then gave Himself as the real sacrifice. When he had instituted the new supper—remembrancers, (the bread and wine) instead of the old type (the lamb) he gave to his disciples and said: “This do in remembrance of me.” (Keep no longer the type or shadow but use these new emblems to commemorate me—the anti-type.) “As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death, (not the typical lamb’s) till He come,” the kingdom be established and the type completed by the passing over, or sparing of the first-born (overcomers) and the ultimate deliverance of the entire “household of faith.”
The Passover killing—Christ’s death, can be remembered at no time so appropriately as on the regular anniversary, the fourteenth day of the first month. Jewish time which this year falls on April 14th (commencing at 6 o’clock P.M.) The feast of seven days eating unleavened bread, which followed representing in type the continuous, perfect and everlasting feast which we enjoy after and because of our ransom; (seven being typical of perfection).
We are aware that some christians observe the Lord’s supper every Sunday, and claim that their custom is based upon the oft repeated mention in Acts of the “breaking of bread,” and “upon the first day of the week when the disciples were come together to break bread.” (Acts 20:7) etc. They evidently overlook the fact that bread-breaking, was of necessity a frequent occurrence but that there is no mention of wine in any of these instances which constitute as important a feature in the ordinance as the bread, nor are any of these meetings on the first day of the week ever called the “Lord’s Supper” or by any name that should lead us to such a conclusion.
There are several reasons why “The Lord’s Day” would not be at all appropriate for the commemoration of His death, the principal one being, that “the first day,” or “Lord’s day” was instituted and used to commemorate an event the very opposite in its character, viz: The resurrection of our Lord. The one was in the “night” and called a supper, the other was observed in the day. The one was a night of weeping and sorrow, the other a morning of joy and rejoicing, saying—”The Lord is risen indeed.” The one was a type of the present night of suffering—the Gospel Age—the other a type of our gathering together and communion in the bright Millennial day—after the resurrection of the body “very early in the morning.”
When Jesus had risen from death He appeared to the disciples frequently, if not invariably on the “first day” of the week, and on several occasions made himself known to them in the breaking of bread at their ordinary meal. Upon the organization of the church what would be more reasonable, than to suppose that they would set apart that first day, as especially a day for meeting with each other and with Him, and that coming from distances as well as because He thus revealed Himself first, they would arrange for the having of their food in common on that day? But this was always a day of joy as the other was properly a night of sympathizing grief.
The proper observance of this ordinance like that of baptism, seems to have been lost sight of during Papacy’s reign: This one doubtless, was made void, to allow for the deathbed administration of the “Sacrament” to keep the dying from purgatory, etc. Protestants have not generally given the subject much attention, using the words—”As often as ye do this—”as authority for any convenient time, and not seeing that “this” referred to the Passover, as oft as ye do commemorate this event do it in remembrance—not of the type but of the anti-type—Me.
We do not say that a sin is committed by an untimely observance, nor that the non-observance, is sinful; but we do say that the observance of it as instituted is much more suggestive, appropriate and commemorative than any other.
We have so observed it here in Pittsburgh for some years and it has ever been a blessed occasion. We will celebrate it this year at the residence of Bro. W. H. Conley, No. 50, Fremont street, Allegheny City, Pa. April 14th, at 8 o’clock P.M., and cordially invite all who can do so, to be present and join with us. Brethren and sisters from a distance will be entertained by the friends here. If possible please send a postal card to “WATCH TOWER” office, No. 101 Fifth avenue, Pittsburgh, and call there on your arrival.
— April, 1881 —