10/01/2009 - Bread and Wine

Bread and Wine

Date: 10/01/2009

Issue No. 255

The New Testament speaks of Communion, based upon the Last Supper that Jesus ate with His disciples just before His crucifixion. I do not propose to teach on Communion as such, since most Christians already know a lot about it. Rather, I want to share some of the prophetic implications of Communion that are revealed in Genesis 14, when Melchizedek met Abram with bread and wine.

What is Communion?

The word means “common union.” It is usually translated “fellowship” in Scripture. Strong’s Concordance says that it means “partnership” and “participation.” In this context, it generally refers to citizenship in the Kingdom, where all citizens have faith in common and are partners, or co-heirs with Christ.

The ceremony itself is an extension of the Last Supper, where Jesus was about to give His life (body and blood) as a demonstration of love for those in common union with Him. When we take communion, we do the same with those of the fellowship. 1 Cor. 10:16, 17 tells us,

16 Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.

The bread, then, is the body of Christ, and as Paul says, we are that body. The “body of Christ” was originally Jesus’ body at the Last Supper, but communion is our participation in it—because we are the body of Christ.

It is for this reason that my wife and I break the bread of communion and give each other half. It is meant to tell each other, “Take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you.” In other words, I am willing to be broken for you, even as Jesus was willing to the same for me. This is the nature of the New Covenant. It is not only a covenant between us and God; it is a covenant between us as a body.

Though we all fall short of the love of God that Jesus had, this is our standard of measure and our goal insofar as our character and relationship is concerned. As believers, we have a partnership with Jesus Christ in attaining the goals of the Kingdom.

Those goals, whether we understand them or not, are to put all things under His feet and to draw all men to Him. It is about Universal Reconciliation, redeeming all things through Christ which were lost through Adam’s sin.

The Curse of Adam’s Sin

When Adam sinned, the curse of the law was placed upon the ground itself (Gen. 3:17). Biblical history is the story of how the curse was to be removed so that all things could be reconciled back to God.

The first major pattern of reconciliation occurred at the flood in Noah’s time, which was a type and pattern of the flood of the Holy Spirit that was to come. I have taught on this often in the past. Hab. 2:14 says,

14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

This is the real flood that is coming. The flood of water in Noah’s day removed the breath (Spirit) from all flesh (Gen. 7:22), but the flood of the Holy Spirit is designed to fill all flesh with the Spirit.

The next great type of the curse came shortly after the flood when a curse was placed upon Canaan, son of Ham. The reasons for that curse are beyond our scope here, but we read in Gen. 9:25,

25 So he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants He shall be to his brothers.”

Canaan’s descendants then settled in the land of Canaan, and this land was Israel’s “Promised Land.” In other words, the Promised Land was under the curse.

Now in the realm of types and shadows, Canaan has two primary levels of meaning. On an individual, personal level it has to do with our own bodies, wherein the flesh is under the curse of the law for sin—and has been since Adam. On this level, the solution is for us to experience Passover (Justification), Pentecost (Sanctification), and Tabernacles (Glorification) in order to fully remove the curse and to inherit that which was meant for us since the beginning of time. The warfare on this level is against the motives and works of the flesh, represented by the 39 kings of Canaan that had to be overcome.

In a corporate/fulfillment, however, where we deal with the body of Christ on a historic level, we see a progression of history through a Passover Age (Moses to Christ), followed by a Pentecostal Age (Christ’s first coming to His second appearance), and finally a Tabernacles Age.

With this in mind, let us look at the prophetic pattern of Melchizedek and how his bread and wine prophesied of greater things to come.

The Melchizedek Communion

In Genesis 14, a coalition of kings from Elam, Shinar, and others made war with Sodom and Gomorrah. When they conquered them, they took many captives, including Abram’s nephew (Lot), who had been living in Sodom.

Abram then sent his 318 men to rescue Lot, and in doing so, all the captives of Sodom were rescued. On the return trip, the king of Salem (Jeru-Salem, “City of Salem”) went to meet Abram to welcome him with bread and wine.

18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of Heaven and earth.”

The king of Salem was Shem, going by the official title of “King of Righteousness,” i..e, Melchizedek. Shem was the builder of Jerusalem and its king, and he outlived Abram. Shem was the birthright holder from Adam that had been passed down to Noah, the father of Shem.

The book of Jasher calls him Adonizedek, which is just an alternative form of Melchizedek. Adonizedek means “Lord of Righteousness.” Jasher 16:11 says,

“And Adonizedek king of Jerusalem, the same was Shem, went out with his men to meet Abram and his people, with bread and wine, and they remained together in the valley of Melech [the King].”

Many years later (Joshua 10:1) we find the king of Jerusalem appears under the name Adonizedek. We are not given any genealogical details. We do not know if the descendants of Shem had corrupted themselves, or if after Shem died, the throne was taken over by Canaanites. In either case, the title “Adonizedek” was retained as the official title of the king of Jerusalem.

But getting back to Genesis 14, we find Melchizedek having communion with Abram as he returned to the land of Canaan. This story does much more than establish a communion pattern per se. It shows a basic spiritual principle in its connection to the curse on the land of Canaan itself.

The Promised Land

From the perspective of the Canaanites, the land of Canaan was under a curse. But from the perspective of the Israelites, it was the Promised Land.

As a type of the cursed earth, the land of Canaan was a microcosm of all that had come under the curse of the law. The law had judged Adam’s sin by selling all that was his into the hands of another—call it the devil, the flesh, or whatever. The point is that this judgment of the law sold God’s land according to the level of authority that Adam enjoyed in the earth.

The law did not allow for the permanent sale of the land, but it did allow for a temporary sale until the year of Jubilee. Lev. 25:23 says,

23 The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me. 24 Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land.

According to this law, if men acquired a debt that they could not pay, either by some disaster or by a judge imposing a sentence of restitution for sin, if they could not pay the debt, their land had to be sold in payment of debt.

Adam sinned, and as a result his land was sold. In a sense, God’s creation was given into the hands of another, stripping His Kingdom of its property and citizens. God was the Judge, and being fully impartial in His judgments, He upheld the law and allowed it to be given to others. But the same law shows that such a condition was temporary. No amount of liability for sin on man’s part could result in the permanent sale of God’s property, because man’s authority could never trump God’s sovereignty.

In the short-term application of the law in the land of Canaan, the Jubilee cycle was a mere 49 years long. But in longer-term applications, such as Daniel’s 70 weeks, it was 10 Jubilees (49 x 10 years). It took 50 Jubilees from Adam to the day that Israel was supposed to enter the land of Canaan in Numbers 13. The longest cycle based upon the Jubilee appears to be 49,000 years—or so I speculate. It seems to me that this is the Creation Jubilee, at which time the whole earth is reconciled to God and all things are put under the feet of Christ. All of His property, including all flesh (“dust of the ground”) is filled with the glory of God as intended from the beginning.

This is the point where the curse (judgment) of the law fully runs its course, and there is no more sin to judge, no more men to correct, and no more hearts to teach of Him.

Melchizedek Welcomes Abram

It is a spiritual principle, based upon the authority that God gave to man in Gen. 1:26, “Let them have dominion,” that God delegated authority to man over the earth. He did not give man sovereignty, of course, but retained that for Himself. Nonetheless, man received authority along with its counterpart, responsibility or accountability.

Man’s accountability is according to his authority and no further. He has the authority to sell his property (including himself) into slavery, say, to “the devil,” but because he does not own himself, he cannot make this sale permanent. God retains eminent domain over all that He created, and so in the end, all things are put under the feet of Christ.

It has been said that it seems as if God can do nothing in the earth except that men first pray for His intervention. I do not know how true that is, but there is enough truth in it to see an important principle. God sent Shem to Canaan, led him to build Jerusalem, and made him a king with authority in Canaan, in order to give him authority to appeal to the Divine Court from within Canaan and obtain divine intervention.

Remember that Canaan is a type of the earth under the curse. Melchizedek is a type of Christ, who came into the earth in order to obtain authority as the “Son of Man” (i.e., Son of Adam) that was delegated from the beginning. Even as Christ could not do the work of redemption as long as He was a spiritual being in heaven, so also with Canaan in the lesser type and shadow. Canaan needed an intercessor from within, one who identified with Canaan as an inhabitant, in order to welcome Abram and his seed who were called to redeem Canaan from the curse.

Thus, when Abram returned to the land of Canaan, Melchizedek met him with bread and wine, foreshadowing the day when the earth would fully welcome Jesus Christ and His work of redemption.

The call of Abram (i.e., Abraham) was to be a blessing to all the families of the earth (Gen. 12:3). These families, or nations, were listed in Genesis 10 in terms of the sons of Noah: Japheth, Shem, and Ham, of whom came Canaan.

Shem received the Birthright, the lawful responsibility and calling to lead the way in this redemptive work. He is a type of the overcomers who are the first to achieve the glorified body at the First Resurrection and come into the spiritual maturity of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Secondly, Japheth represents the Church. Japheth was blessed to dwell in the tents of Shem (Gen. 9:27). Finally, the descendants of Ham, focusing particularly on Canaan, the man who was cursed, whose redemption would come last. These three groups are also typified by the barley, wheat, and grape companies, of which I spoke in my book, Creation’s Jubilee.

The barley ripens and is dedicated to God at the wave-sheaf offering during the feast of Unleavened Bread. The wheat is dedicated to God as two loaves of bread baked with leaven at the time of Pentecost. The grapes are trodden under foot to extract the new wine at the Day of Atonement to pour out as a drink offering at the Feast of Tabernacles.

These three occasions represent the three companies of mankind who are dedicated to God on three future occasions. The First Resurrection is when the overcomers, or barley company, comes into its inheritance to rule with Christ in the Age to come. Next comes the Great White Throne, when all the dead are raised, including the bulk of the Christians. Finally, when the unbelievers of the grape company have been fully trodden under foot (treated like grapes), they will receive the benefits of the Jubilee, and creation itself will be set free into the glorious liberty of the sons of God (Rom. 8:21). This will remove the last vestiges of the curse in the earth, and God will be all in all.

At that point, the prophecy of communion will be fully established, whereby God’s Table will be set with both bread and wine. He will have the unleavened bread of the overcomers, the leavened bread (but “baked” to kill the leaven, Lev. 23:17) of the Church, and the wine of creation that will fulfill the original Melchizedek pattern.

The Double Witness Principle

When God intends to intervene in the earth, He must first raise up someone on earth to bear witness to that which He wants to do. In this way all things are established by a double witness, in this case the witness of heaven and earth (Deut. 4:26).

We know that God planned from the beginning to part the Red Sea at a particular time. Did God just do this all by Himself? Yes and no. No man helped Him do it, but God also followed the lawful procedure as expressed by His mind and character—the law. He started 80 years earlier by having Moses born. He trained Moses for 80 years, first in Egypt and then in Midian, so that when He led Israel out of Egypt to the Red Sea, He would (by this time) stretch forth his rod over the sea to bear witness of the divine plan to part it.

We must view the divine law as revelation of the lawful manner by which God intends to rule and judge the earth. In a way, it is a self-imposed restriction, because God is restricted by the principles of His own character. He will never do something in a manner that goes against who He is—His personal character. So in that sense the law restricts His actions. But because He is more intelligent than we are, He is able to hide His intentions within the confines of His law so that we are actually surprised at the manner in which He intervenes in the earth.

This principle of the double witness applies also with Melchizedek and Abram. God sent Shem to Canaan for the same reason that He later caused Jesus to be born as the Son of Man in the earth. Jesus did only what the Father did, and said only what the Father said. He was the “Amen” of God (Rev. 3:14). And so His statement in John 12:32 was the Father's statement of intent, of which He bore witness on earth, and therefore it will come to pass:

32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth [i.e., crucified], will draw [drag] all men to Myself. 33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.

It was necessary that a Perfect Man be born on earth who would bear witness to ALL that the Father had planned, in order to conform the entire plan to the lawful procedure by which this plan must be fulfilled.

Three Opportunities to Remove the Curse

God sent Shem to Canaan to build Jerusalem and rule it under the title of Melchizedek, “King of Righteousness.” This was to make him an inhabitant of Canaan, from which position he had certain rights that others did not have. When he met Abram with bread and wine, he bore witness to the divine plan to set all men free—even the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah. He bore witness to the calling of Abram as the next in line for the Birthright, the one who would remove the curse and inherit the earth.

Shem only ruled one city, but in the greater type and shadow under Joshua, the Israelites were called to take the entire land of Canaan and put it under the feet of Jesus Christ, who is the Yahweh of the Old Testament. To do this, they were instructed to overthrow all “lords” that had usurped this portion of God's creation (Kingdom).

Israel was doomed to fail in their attempt to remove the curse from Canaan, because they had an insufficient anointing with which to do the job. They had a Passover anointing, because the entire nation had accepted that feast the night before leaving Egypt. But at Horeb, they ran away from God at Pentecost, when God spoke the Ten Commandments audibly (Ex. 20:18-21).

Then, because they lacked the Pentecostal anointing and refused to hear His voice, they did not have the faith to enter Canaan at the appointed time—i.e., the 50th Jubilee from Adam (Num. 13). Hence, their limited anointing was insufficient even to remove the curse from Canaan. In fact, they violated the law so much that they themselves eventually came under the curse of the law even as the Canaanites. So God removed them from the land for the same reason that He had removed the Canaanites earlier.

In the New Testament, Jesus (Joshua) came a second time to fulfill the Melchizedek type. He was the lawful King, the inheritor of the throne of Jerusalem. But He was rejected and His disciples dispersed, in order to enlarge the story and bring it into its proper world-wide setting.

The disciples of Jesus received the greater anointing of Pentecost in order to empower them to “baptize all nations.” No longer was the Kingdom pattern limited to a sliver of land, but now God was about to express Isaiah's truth, “the God of the whole earth shall He be called” (Isaiah 54:5). The people's narrow view that Yahweh was merely a local deity was shattered. The view that Yahweh was merely the God of Israel and Judah was shattered. For the first time God was seen clearly as the Creator and Owner of the entire earth.

Unfortunately, Pentecost turned out to be insufficient as well. The type of King Saul, crowned on Pentecost (1 Sam. 12:17), proved to be accurate. Paul tells us that Pentecost gave us only an “earnest” of the Spirit (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14), and this was not enough to complete the work.

But there is a third and final feast that is coming. It is the feast of Tabernacles, by which “you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19). By this greater empower-ment, the overcomers will indeed complete the work of removing the curse, not only from Canaan, but from the entire earth. The curse from Adam (Gen. 3:17) will be removed, and in the end, all things will be put back under the feet (rule) of Jesus Christ, the lawful Heir of all things.

The meek will inherit the earth as joint-heirs with Christ.