Wednesday, January 25, 2017
The "fencing" of the Passover and the Lord's Supper
We have been consecutively reading a chapter from the book of Exodus in each Lord’s Day afternoon worship service at CRBC. Last Sunday we read Exodus 12, the record of the establishment of the Passover. It was particularly meaningful to hear that chapter given that we also participated in the Lord’s Supper, as is our usual practice, during that afternoon service.
I was especially struck by that part of the reading which might be called “the fencing” of the Passover table:
Exodus 12:43 And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof: 44 But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. 45 A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof. 46 In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof. 47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. 48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.
The “stranger” was forbidden from partaking of the meal, until and unless he had submitted to the ordinance of circumcision.
This made me consider points of continuity with the Lord’s Supper in the New Covenant. Paul sets the proper context for the observance of the Lord’s Supper when he says, “when ye come together in the church” (1 Corinthians 11:18). It is limited to those who are part of the visible church. The church is necessarily overseen by its officers. As “strangers” were excluded from the Passover, so non-Christians are excluded from the Lord’s Supper. The litmus test for participation in the Passover was submission to the ordinance of circumcision, the outward and visible sign of the covenant in the Old Testament. The litmus test for participation in the Lord’s Supper is submission to baptism, the outward and visible sign of the covenant in the New Testament. See Colossians 2:11-12 where baptism is described as “the circumcision made without hands.”
The New Covenant table is “fenced” as was the Old Covenant table.