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VIEW FROM THE TOWER
THE PASSOVER SUPPER
As per previous appointment, the Lord’s Supper was celebrated on its anniversary on the evening of March 29. From letters and cards received before and since, we judge that the event was very generally celebrated by the deeply-interested of our readers in every quarter, and doubtless by many from whom we have not heard as yet. In some places there were about a dozen, in others two or three, and sometimes one commemorated alone. To all of these, so far as we have learned, it was as with us at Allegheny City, a very precious season.
Here about one hundred met in our usual “upper room” and celebrated and commemorated our ransom, partaking of the emblems of our Redeemer’s broken body and shed blood. Eight brethren and sisters from New York, West Virginia and various parts of Pennsylvania were present with us, and preceding the celebration, we had a pleasant social meeting, in which our hearts were refreshed by remembrances of our Father’s goodness and care and love. Among other things, it was noted that one of the evidences of our relationship to God, our sonship, was, that he was more and more revealing to us his plans. In this connection, and as a proof of it, the words of Jesus came to mind: “I have not called you servants but friends, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you. John 15:15.
When the hour of 8:30 o’clock arrived, which we judged would most closely correspond with the time at which the Supper was instituted by our Lord, we partook of the emblems: first briefly examining their significance. For the benefit of all we briefly review what we there saw.
We remembered the Master’s words concerning the bread: This is my body [Representatively] which is broken for you. This is the bread which came down from heaven, of which a man may eat and not die. Except ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, ye have no life in you. Looking from the symbolic bread to the body of Jesus, we realized that it was indeed the true bread. It came down from heaven in the sense that his being originated not on earth, but in heaven; in the sense that his being was not begotten of the will of the flesh, but that his was a transferred existence. That he who was rich became poor—became of a lower nature—was made flesh, for the special purpose of suffering death on our behalf, that we through his poverty [he gave “all that he had,” even life] might be made rich; that we might have restored to us all those blessings which Adam, our representative once possessed and lost for himself and us.
We considered afresh why it was needful for him to be broken—to be slain for us. We saw that it was because we had no life in us. Death was working in and devouring the whole race. All being of the same condemned race, none could secure his own life, nor was there one who could by any means redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him—all were condemned and dying. But man’s extremity was God’s opportunity: he provided the one who, because of the same kind or nature, could give a ransom [corresponding price], and who, because not of the condemned Adamic stock [but from heaven], was an acceptable Redeemer. We saw that whereas the race, because of Adam’s sin, was cut off from, separated from the trees of life in Eden, and hence could not live, yet now they had presented to them through Jesus a bread of life, a gift from heaven, the acceptance of which would restore the life and blessings lost.
We saw that though Jesus was this bread of life, it was needful that he should be broken, sacrificed—die for us, before any of our condemned race could partake of his merits. He being a perfect man, gave himself a corresponding price to cancel the curse of death upon all through the sin of the first representative. Now, all that remains is for each one blighted through Adam to come and partake [eat] of those perfections and rights which Jesus secured for us by his sacrifice on our behalf. We eat or appropriate Christ’s perfections by faith, i.e., by faith we realize that Jesus was our ransom, and by faith we appropriate to ourselves those merits which, as a perfect man, he possessed, and which he broke or sacrificed for us.
Here we saw the beauty of God’s arrangement that though the sacrifice was sufficient for all, none could receive life through it except by accepting and acknowledging the sacrificed one as the Life-giver. Thus seen, not only is an acknowledgment of the ransom an essential to life now, but in the next age also, it will be necessary. Forever it will be true—”Except ye eat of the flesh … ye have no life in you.” That the ransom given is the foundation of all blessing must ever be recognized. “No man cometh unto the Father”—no man has “oneness” with him, except by the broken body and shed blood of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. Who “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
We looked also at the blood shed for many for the remission OF SINS—not for ours [the Church’s] only, but also for the sins of the whole world, and we saw in the wine its symbol: “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matt. 26:28. We glanced at the three great covenants [see “FOOD,” page 148]: we saw how the Law covenant under Moses had failed to prove a real blessing and to give life to the dying race, but how the New Covenant would be superior and would accomplish the blessing [Restitution] of all the families of the earth, by reason of the Ransom. Thus we saw that his blood—his sacrificed life or human existence—was the ransom which redeemed all, and made their restitution possible, was most emphatically the Blood of the Covenant—the sealing, the ratifying, which makes the New Covenant operative. We rejoiced in the blood so freely shed which gave us access to the Father, and resolved that we should never be of those who lightly esteem the blood and count “the blood of the covenant” a common (ordinary) thing, and do despite to the spirit of God’s favor manifest in that precious sacrifice. (See Heb. 10:16-21 and 26:31.)
Having seen this, in the bread and wine as representative of Jesus, we looked further and saw through the Apostle’s words (1 Cor. 10:16,17) still another significance in the ordinance. He says: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion [sharing] of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion [or sharing in the breaking or sacrifice] of the body of Christ”? His suggestion is: As the Lord blessed and broke and passed the emblems, and thus represented his sacrifice, do not we, while recognizing that, also represent the same thing? namely, that we as members of the body of Christ are consecrated and being broken in sacrifice with our head? “For we being many are ONE LOAF and ONE BODY; for we are all partakers of that one loaf.”
Regarded thus in its fullness, the eating of the emblems had a two-fold significance—representing to us Jesus’ sacrifice which redeemed us, and our sacrifice with him. We saw that it was by reason of our now sharing with Jesus in the sealing of the New Covenant,
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that we shall in due time be permitted to share with him in bringing upon the world all the blessed provisions of that New Covenant in the “Times of Restitution of all things.” The revival of memory on this subject seemed to strengthen in us all, the resolution to “fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ,” that when his glory shall be revealed we may be glad also with exceeding joy. We remembered the two Apostles whose request was to sit in the throne with Jesus, and we recalled Jesus’ words in reply: “Are ye able to drink of the cup?” We realized our own weakness and the many besetments and allurements of the flesh, the world and the devil, which would conspire to keep us back from sharing the cup of suffering and death symbolized before us in the wine, yet realizing that we could do all things through the strength of our Head we said, Yea, Lord, we will drink it, “we are able” in thy strength; and then we heard from His Word the Lord’s answer to each of us, “Ye shall indeed drink of the cup” “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name I will do it.”
When we had partaken of the emblems, we sang a hymn, and went to our homes meditating meanwhile upon the scenes of eighteen hundred and fifty-two years ago: The garden, the betrayal, Herod’s soldiers, the crown of thorns, the scarlet kingly robe, Pilate’s endeavor to secure his release from the chief priests and great religionists of his day, how they hated him without a cause, because he exposed their false theories and hypocrisies; we saw and remembered him on the cross saying, “It is finished,” and dying. The eye of faith grasped the situation, and our hearts, while full of grateful love, cried in faith, “It is finished,” we are redeemed, our ransom price has been paid. We have life, we feed upon him, we apply and appropriate to ourselves the life and rights which he surrendered on our behalf. Thank God, “The Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us
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all; he bore [the penalty of] our sins in his own body on the tree. By his stripes has healing come to us. (Isa. 53:5.) We sang in conclusion our thanks to him as our Saviour as well as Lord:
“All hail the power of Jesus’ name;
Let angels prostrate fall:
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all.”
— April, 1885 —