The Bread of Life (Are You Hungry?)
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Revelation 3:20).
Undoubtedly, the most quoted verse in the Bible is John 3:16 and understandably so because it conveys God’s powerful and precious plan of salvation in just one sentence.
Revelation 3:20 is right up there, as one of the most well-known verses in all of Scripture. It is often quoted as an invitation to those who don’t know Messiah Jesus as personal Savior; to open their heart’s door to him for redemption.
The New American Standard Bible reads: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with me.” (Italics to emphasize that everyone is included in the invitation).
However, the immediate context of this verse in the last part of Revelation Chapter 3 is Jesus’s words to the church in Laodicea, the last of seven letters to the seven churches in Asia that he gave to John in the final “revelation from Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:1). Of the seven messages, the one to Laodicea was the harshest warning to a local church that had become complacent and apathetic. To the point where their love and living for the Lord was, “…neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! (Revelation 3:15-16).
Then Jesus said, “I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference” (Verse 19).
Followed immediately by his loving invitation to self-sufficient believers to open the door of their heart to him.
We read about some of the first believers in the 1st century who had done exactly what Jesus had invited the church at Laodicea to do:
“They worshipped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47).
Just two days after Jesus had miraculously fed five thousand men and thousands more women and children with just five loaves of barley and two fish, some of those who had witnessed or heard first-hand about this miracle wanted more proof that Jesus was the Son of God.
“They replied, ‘We want to perform God’s works too. What should we do?’ Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you. Believe in the one he has sent.’”
“They answered, ‘Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’
“Jesus said: ‘I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’
“Sir, they said, give us that bread every day” John 6:28-34).
In this week’s Eye of Prophecy article, we’re going to get a taste of five memorial meals identified in Scripture around which God’s plans for the human race has been and will be accomplished.
Number One: The Meal of Promise
“The Lord appeared again to Abraham near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. One day Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up and noticed three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing low to the ground” (Genesis 18:1-2).
Abraham offered to feed the three men, and they accepted his hospitality.
God had appeared to Abraham several times, but normally in a dream or vision or voice. This was the second time that the Lord, in human form, met with Abraham … the first was Abraham’s marvelous meeting with Melchizedek. Both of these visitations were the first of several spectacular Old Testament Pre-Incarnate appearances of the Son of God, Messiah Jesus.
Do you remember the main reason why the Lord visited Abraham that day? Yes, it was to remind Abraham that it was not Ishmael (offspring of Abraham and Hagar because Sarah convinced Abraham she could not bear a child in her old age) who would be the progenitor of Messiah. Instead, Sarah would conceive and give birth to the child promised to them by the Lord, himself.
Do you recall Sarah’s reaction? Correct again … she laughed at such an impossible thing to happen.
The Lord’s response includes one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture, which will be italicized for emphasis.
“Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son’” (Genesis 18:13-14).
That’s exactly what happened. A year later, Sarah gave birth to a son whom God named Isaac. He would be the chosen seed of Abraham; the ancestor of the ultimate Child of Promise, Messiah Jesus. (See Eye of Prophecy articles, The Child of Promise, Part I & II, posted 8-23 & 8-30-14).
Hundreds of years later prophets announced the coming birth of the Child of Promise, a birth even more miraculous than Isaac’s.
“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’) Isaiah 7:14 (parenthesis in the text)
We know there’s more to this amazing scene in Genesis. The Lord also confided in Abraham that he would personally (as the Pre-Incarnate Messiah) examine Sodom and Gomorrah, “…to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard…” (Genesis 18:21).
Just before that we read: “Should I hide my plan from Abraham? The Lord asked. For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him” (Genesis 18:17-18, which was a reaffirmation of what God had already promised to Abraham in Chapters 12 & 15).
God’s plan that would not be hidden from Abraham was his destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which became a prototype preview of God’s ultimate judgment of the earth a second time—this time by fire. With the first universal judgment that of the Great Flood. Just as Noah and his family were taken out of harm’s way, so were Lot and his family removed from Sodom. Both were representative of the magnificent Rapture of believers who will be snatched from the earth to spare them from God’s final judgment during the Great Tribulation. (See II Peter Chapters 2 & 3).
In this visitation centered on a meal, the Lord again announced his promise to bless both his chosen people and the nations (Gentiles), this time narrowing the source of this blessing to the ultimate Child of Promise.
Thus, I’m thinking it would be appropriate to call this breaking of bread between the Lord and Abraham, The Meal of Promise.
Four more extraordinarily significant meals would follow; all of them focused on God’s magnificent plan of salvation to the Jew first, then to the Gentiles.
Number Two: The Meal of Passover
As indicated, some years before this remarkable appearance of the Triune God (Messiah, God the Son) to Abraham, the Lord had promised an heir, a son born directly from Abraham and Sarah’s union. Neither Ishmael nor Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, would qualify … only the natural child of Abraham and Sarah conceived through God’s divine supernatural intervention for a woman long past child-bearing.
“Then the Lord said to him, ‘No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.’ Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, ‘Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!’
“And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith” (Genesis 15:4-6).
*Note: This verse is the first amazing announcement that trust in God’s plan and provision for Biblical salvation of mankind—stated again and again through the Old Testament prophets, by Jesus himself in the New Testament Gospels, and subsequently by the Apostles—is the bedrock foundation for righteousness (right standing with God). God’s plan is both simple and profound: God doing for us what we could not possibly do for ourselves. Which is forever forgiveness of our sins and perpetual pardon of the penalty for those sins.
Later that night in a dream, the Lord provided Abram with another astonishing prophecy:
“Then the Lord said to Abram, ‘You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. (As for you, you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) After four generations your descendants will return here to this land…” (Genesis 15:13-16 parenthesis in the text).
And return they did! Who has not heard of Moses and Aaron speaking the very word of God to Pharaoh. Virtually all Jews, born-again believers in Messiah Jesus, and even millions upon millions of unbelievers know at least something about, The Exodus. The second book of the Bible even bears that name.
And what was it that Moses said to Pharaoh? Easy answer:
Nine times the mighty hand of God inflicted terrible judgments against the Egyptians. Nine times Pharaoh refused to let God’s people go. God predicted that would happen; he also foretold what would happen when he levied the tenth and most disastrous plague.
“On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgement against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the Lord! But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.
“This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the Lord. This is a law for all time” (Exodus 12:12-13).
In this second significant event in Israel’s and world history we see that partaking of a meal was also the focal point of God’s redemptive plan for his people alongside of his justified judgment of Pharaoh and Egypt.
Said God to Moses: “…Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb or young goat at twilight. They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the animal. That same night they must roast the meat over a fire and eat it along with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast” (Exodus 12:6-8).
To this very day, the Passover Meal—mostly called Passover or Passover Seder—is celebrated as the most momentous Holy Day (holiday) in Israel and by the Jews world-wide.
Please see Eye of Prophecy articles, Passover … An Enduring Legacy, posted 4-12-14; and Passover & Messiah Are Inseparable! Published 10-1-16.
Here is an excerpt from the more recent of those two articles:
Jewish celebration of Passover since the 2nd Temple was destroyed (70AD) is much more focused on deliverance from Egypt which was designed by God to be remembered primarily by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. With the true meaning and commemoration of the Feast of Passover relating specifically to God’s passing over (sparing) the Israelites during the tenth plague of Egypt. This Pass Over was made possible by the sacrifice of innocent lambs.
Yes, God passed over the Hebrews. This stunningly significant event in Israel’s history was God’s first disclosure to them as a nation that the shedding of innocent blood was necessary to spare them from God’s judgment of the wrong things they had done. Later, this universal precept would be graphically portrayed in the Levitical Sacrificial System, an integral part of the Mosaic Covenant. Yet that revelation was only a prelude to a much greater, longer-lasting (as in permanent) solution to the problem of sin that separates all people from God and leads to God’s wrath, so vividly exemplified by the Egyptian plagues, especially the last one.
Since this wonderful meal already bears the well-known name of Passover, there is no need to describe it with another appellation, as was done with the Meal of Promise and for the next three commemorative meals. All I’ve done is to switch the words around to be consistent with the others. In this case: Meal of Passover.
Passover was the first of seven Jewish Festivals ordained by the Lord. All of them involve a meal or meals around which the Jews were to remember and rejoice in God’s protection, provision, promises, and presence. Accordingly, most of them are also called feasts; such as the Feast of Tabernacles. Feast, festival … they’re one and the same. How can you have a festival without a really good meal?!
Number Three: Meal of Precepts
Before we examine this meal that is not that well-known in Scripture, nevertheless one that was absolutely phenomenal in its setting and significance; and to give you a hint why I’ve called it the Meal of Precepts, here are some synonyms of precepts: teachings, rules, instructions, and law.
Law … The Law … The Law of Moses … The Mosaic Law. Those are pretty strong clues to where we’re heading.
This meal took place soon after God’s Covenant of the Law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai.
How often in the course of history have contracts, covenants, agreements, pacts, and deals been made over meals? Obvious answer: many times. That’s exactly what happened when God sealed the deal with his people.
The setting is Mount Sinai after Moses had written down much of God’s law for the people. Before that the Lord had given solemn instructions that only Moses was allowed to ascend the full heights of the mountain. Joshua had been an exception but he could only go so far up the mountain with Moses. If any of the people even touched the mountain—shrouded by God’s holy presence—they would die.
But then the Lord made an extraordinary exception and extended a personal invitation (in addition to Moses) for Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and seventy of Israel’s elders to ascend the mountain. The purpose of this startling summons was twofold: to reward, but also remind the people that they had accepted God’s covenant with them. It was also a prophetic picture of God’s grace to allow those whom he would redeem—through the once for all sacrifice of God’s very Son—to directly enter his presence because their sins had been forgiven and God’s righteousness had been imputed to them.
Just before the Lord’s royal invitation to these select men of Israel, we read:
“Then Moses went down to the people and repeated all the instructions and regulations the Lord had given him. All the people answered with one voice, ‘We will do everything the Lord has commanded’” (Exodus 24:3).
In fact, the morning of this stunning event began with sacrifices and peace offerings to the Lord that would later be an integral part of the Levitical Sacrificial System, which ended when the 2nd Temple was destroyed not long after Messiah Jesus—the once for all sacrificial Lamb of God—arose from the dead and ascended back to heaven.
What happened next was simply incredible.
“Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel climbed up the mountain. There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence!” (Exodus 24:9-11).
We’ve already read about the Lord’s visitation to Abraham in human form. Thus his appearance on Mount Sinai was not the first nor the last time that he would appear as the Pre-Incarnate Messiah. Among other examples: the man who wrestled with Jacob (Genesis Chapter 32) and, after Moses’s time, the man who appeared to Joshua just before the battle of Jericho (Joshua Chapter 5). However, this was the first and only time that the Lord (Messiah) made an Old Testament appearance to so many people at once.
Time and space does not permit further explanation why the person standing (we know he was in the form of a man because the text says, “under his feet”) was God the Son, instead of God the Father. Except to say: When God the Father met with Moses, it was always through a dense cloud to shield Moses from God’s lethal glory.
Scripture tells us that no one can look directly at (the glory of) God and live. Jews in Old Testament times knew this all too well, which is why those who actually saw the Lord were grateful that they didn’t die. What they didn’t realize is that they were looking at the Son of God, who took on human form before he came to earth in his permanent human body … a body now resurrected and glorified.
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation” (Colossians 1:15).
Actually I did devote part of an Eye Prophecy article to the Old Testament physical appearances of Messiah. Please see: Does God Really Have a Son? Part II. Posted 11-7-15. Might as well read Part I while you’re at it!
In keeping with the theme of today’s post, this stunning event in which the Lord appeared to seventy-four men took place over a “covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence!” A meal I’m sure they would never forgot; even though some, if not all, of them undoubtedly broke the covenant when they refused to trust the Lord to give them victory over the inhabitants of the Promised Land. All those older than 20 years died before their children entered the Promised Land, forty years later.
Thus, I think the Meal of Precepts, is an appropriate designation to affirm God’s Covenant of the Law had been given to the people through Moses.
Number Four: Meal of Preparation
Another enormous event of history and His Story began with a meal. It is the subject of numerous sermons, books, articles, commentaries, and paintings.
Have you ever heard of The Last Supper?
In one of the most poignant scenes in all of Scripture, Messiah Jesus prepared for his excruciating death by crucifixion; however, with the expectant joy of knowing that he would rise from the dead. In John’s Gospel, five entire chapters (13 through 17) contain wonderful words of truth that Jesus gave to his disciples (to all future believers) only hours before being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was no coincidence that this Last Supper was a Passover Seder, in preparation for an experience that would change the course of human history—the death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God to bring the New Covenant of Grace to Planet Earth.
Read with me:
“Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper … So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet…” (John 13:1-5).
This stirring act of humble service demonstrated what Jesus had previously said: Even though he was the Son of God, he came to serve not to be served. Jesus had also told them that he (Son of Man) would be handed over to the Jewish religious leaders and Romans to be crucified; but that he would rise from the dead three days later!
During this Last Supper, Messiah also told them he would be going away. He explained the reasons for his return to heaven. Despite the sadness of his departure, it would be of tremendous benefit to the disciples and all future believers.
He said: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.
‘No, we don’t know, Lord,’ Thomas said. ‘We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?’
“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me’” (John 14:1-6).
He introduced them to the Holy Spirit and lovingly told them what the Holy Spirit would do for them and for the unbelieving world after Jesus ascended back to heaven. He explained that he was the True Vine and they were the branches. If they abided in him, they could ask what they would and God would grant it to them. He offered a magnificent prayer of protection and unity on their behalf and on behalf of all who would later believe and receive him as Savior.
The Lord even dipped his bread in the bowl with Judas, the disciple turned traitor, knowing that this betrayal was part of God’s sovereign all-encompassing plan to reconcile everyone who would believe and receive God’s Son as Savior.
Then Luke and later the Apostle Paul recorded for us these life-changing words of Messiah Jesus who plainly told his disciples (and all people) that the New Covenant foretold by Isaiah and Jeremiah had arrived. The very elements they partook of during this meal of preparation represented his broken body and shed blood for the remission of sin.
To this day through Holy Communion, Christians the world over remember the once for all supreme sacrifice of our great God and Savior, Messiah Jesus. As I’ve said in a few prior Eye of Prophecy articles: It is the greatest sacrifice ever made, by the highest price ever paid.
As believers take communion to remember what Jesus did for us, we also continue our preparation for ultimate deliverance from the very presence of sin and evil. Even though we have been permanently pardoned by God, our redemption is not yet complete. It will be finished only at the Rapture, when the bodies of the dead in Christ will be transformed along with those still alive at the Rapture. Then, the Lord will take us to our true home in heaven. (I Thessalonians 4).
Not long thereafter, we will participate in the greatest feast of all time. It will be a meal shared by millions upon millions—all those in right standing with God, because of their faith in the Promised Messiah before he came to earth, while he was on earth, and after he left the earth. A victorious banquet to consolidate and consummate the four covenant Meals of Promise, Passover, Precepts, and Preparation.
Number Five: The Meal of Perfection
Whenever someone makes that all-important, life-changing, destiny-altering decision to, “…confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9-10), they will receive a spiritual passport to heaven stamped by God himself. They will also be given an irrevocable VIP invitation to attend a fabulous feast with the host of heaven in attendance and our Lord sitting in the seat of honor.
“Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: ‘Praise the Lord! For the Lord our God, the Almighty reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.’ For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.
“And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.’ And he added, ‘These are true words that come from God’” (Revelation 19:6-9).
Yes, believers in Messiah Jesus are his bride. Once we were lost but now we are saved from the judgment of God and eternal separation from God. Scripture employs the analogy of marriage to describe this relationship with God’s Son. After all, that exactly what the Christian faith is all about, as opposed to religion(s). It is a personal relationship and union with mankind’s Redeemer.
“Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault” (Colossians 1:22).
Sadly, most people, even many of God’s chosen people the Jews, will miss this beautiful banquet and heaven itself, because they refused to accept God’s invitation of salvation.
“…Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out (from your apathy and unbelief) and meet him!” (Matthew 25:6, parenthesis obviously mine, but that’s what this parable of Jesus is saying, just as we read in Revelation 3:20).
Jesus presented a preview of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (the meal of perfection), in another illustration:
“Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, ‘What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!’
Jesus then replied:
“…A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me” (Luke 14:15-18).
Jesus continued the story by giving examples of other excuses. Then he said:
“The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame’” (Verse 21).
*Note: Think not only physically, but spiritually poor, crippled, blind, and lame.
The story continues:
“After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges, and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet’” (Luke 14:22-24).
In Biblical times, the Jewish custom was to send two invitations to a party. In this story, the “many invitations” was God’s first invitation, with the recipients representing Israel—primarily the Jewish religious leaders who had received the invitation to (try to) follow the Old Covenant Law as Moses commanded them to do. Most Jews believed (still do) that God called them to be his people and, in principle, they accepted that first invitation. We covered that in the, Meal of Precepts.
The second invitation announced that the banquet meal was actually ready. This time the guests turned it down … coming up with all kinds of excuses. In this case, God’s invitation came directly from His Son Jesus who had already told many in Israel that he had come to deliver them from their sins, as the Old Testament prophets said Messiah would do (Among other passages, see Isaiah 53).
Some Jews in Jesus’s time accepted the second invitation, but most did not; which was and still is an insult and a reproach to God the Father who loved them so much that he gave his one and only Son to die for them. Consequently, the invitation was given to others not so privileged—meaning the Gentiles—who desperately needed the life-giving food that would be served at this banquet.
In the 20th and now the 21st century, we are living in the end-times. Praise God, thousands of Jews world-wide have accepted the report that the banquet is ready. The bread of life and the well of living water can be found in their Messiah … Jesus! They have accepted God’s invitation to eat and drink at the table of Messiah.
The final invitation to the greatest wedding feast of all time will be given only to those who have been redeemed through their personal trust in Messiah Jesus.
It will be a perfect meal prepared by our perfect God, for a people made perfect by Messiah’s perfect sacrifice. It will be a: Meal of Perfection.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8).
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Revelation 3:20).
Things to Ponder
Meal time can be a pleasant experience of gratifying fellowship, comfortable companionship, hearty discussions, and satisfied appetites. God places great value on the breaking of bread among families, friends, and peoples. So much so that five of the greatest events in human history have been and will be (the fifth and final feast) set in motion by a meal.
The Meal of Promise
The Meal of Passover
The Meal of Precepts
The Meal of Preparation
The Meal of Perfection
I can’t wait to sit down at the table of plenty prepared by the Lord himself. I’m already getting hungry to see visually with my own eyes and hear audibly with my own ears our Savior and King. To satisfy my hunger with the physical and spiritual food he will share with us throughout eternity beginning with the awesome Wedding Feast in heaven.
While we wait for that great and glorious Day of the Lord, we say with the Apostle Paul:
“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity… (I Corinthians 13:12).
With new spiritual bodies and minds, we will be able to digest and process everything Jesus says and does. We will dine with him, praise him, worship him, and serve him undefiled.
“…Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb…” (Revelation 19:9).