The Gospel and the Church: 34. The Church

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1The Passover, the supper of the Old Testament, being over, Jesus then institutes for His disciples, and for us, the supper of the New Testament.2: He takes the “unleavened bread,” which formed part of the Old Testament supper, and says, “This is my body, which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
Seven days during the feast of the Passover, from the fourteenth until the twenty-first day of the month of Abib, no leavened bread must be found in any house of the Israelites. The lamb was to be eaten with “bitter herbs” and “unleavened bread.” Whosoever did eat leavened bread during that time, his soul should be cut off. “Leaven,” both in the Old and New Testament, signifies that which is evil. The Lord enjoined His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, that is, hypocrisy. The apostle Paul warns the Galatians against the leaven of evil doctrine. “Know ye not,” says he, “that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump”? In the same sense the apostle applies the word to the Corinthians, whom he exhorts to “purge out the old leaven; for even Christ, our passover, was sacrificed for us.” Therefore they were “to keep the feast not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:7, 87Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7‑8)).
Just as in the bread eaten with the paschal-lamb, not a trace of leaven must exist, so it was with Him, of Whom all this was but a foreshadowing type. To Him God Himself had “prepared a body,” even the body of the Lamb of God, without blemish and without spot, Who not only had committed no sins, but “knew no sin.” Otherwise He could not have taken our place upon the cross as our substitute, as an atoning sacrifice for sin; He could not have been “made sin” for us, nor could He have “ borne our sins in His own body on the tree.”
It was this “unleavened bread,” connected with the supper of the Old Testament, which the Lord took, to show to His apostles its new meaning, saying: “This is my body, which is given for you.” But one chief element had to be added. It was the cup containing the wine. The eating of the roast lamb supposed the shedding of the blood of the Lamb, without which the lamb could not have been eaten. The Lord now takes the cup of the new covenant. At the institution of the supper in Luke 22, the “cup” appears twice; the first time (vers. 17, 18) in connection with Israel's blessing in the millennial kingdom, when they will dwell every one under his vine and his fig tree, when the Lord will say unto them: “Eat, O friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved” (Song of Solomon, chap. 5:1).
Then, after the bread, the Lord takes the cup the second time, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is shed for you.”
This is the cup of the Christian supper, “the cup of blessing, which we bless.”
We now come to a point of great importance, greater than it may appear to some at the first glance, I mean the difference between
“THE LORD'S SUPPER” AND “THE LORD'S TABLE.”
I need scarcely say, that both expressions mean one and the same thing, only under different aspects. It is well to be clear about this.
In the eleventh chapter of the first Epistle of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians, we have the “Lord's supper” in connection with “Jesus;” whereas in the preceding chapter, it is called the “Lord's table” in connection with “Christ.” Why this difference of expression?
Substantially indeed, both terms mean the same thing; just as the two words “Jesus,” “Christ” signify the same person under different aspects. That blessed name, “Jesus,” expresses the person and character of our adorable Savior and Redeemer; whilst the word “Christ” expresses His position, be it in an earthly aspect as Israel's Messiah, or in a Christian sense as the glorified Head of the Church.
The very first word in the first gospel at Pentecost was that ever blessed Name of our precious Savior,
“JESUS.”
It concludes with the words, “God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ,”3 i.e., the head of His body, the church, consisting of all believers, though at Pentecost it referred to His Messianic character also.
Throughout the four Gospels it is “Jesus,” and when He is called “Christ,” it is in His character as the Messiah of the Jews, as in Matt. 16, John 1, and in other places.
When in that night the Lord instituted the Lord's supper, He did so in His character as the personal Savior of every individual believer, being not yet exalted at that time as the Christ, and the Holy Ghost not yet having been sent, by Whom the believers are baptized into one body. And as the Lord, in His special commandment given to His apostle, referred to that night, when He was still on earth and when there was no church yet but only individual believers, the Holy Spirit in 1 Cor. 11 consequently speaks of the “Lord Jesus.” But in the tenth chap. we have the “Lord's table” in connection with “Christ,"4 our glorified Head, His table being the expression of the communion of the members of His body (ver. 17). So we read then in vv. 15-17, “I speak as to wise men, judge ye what I say: The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread, which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, being many, are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread.” In the same chapter we find the expression, “the Lord's table,” in connection with Christ; whereas in the following chap. x., we have “The Lord's supper” in connection with “Jesus.”