Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life”

We have been on an eating journey through the Old Testament. (Later we will take a NT journey.) Jesus Christ, the bread of life (John 6:35) and the passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), is the reality of many kinds of physical food given by God to His OT people. All these pictures of our spiritual eating will culminate in New Jerusalem with “the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.” Each paragraph below links to one post in this eating journey.

Boston, David Kan

The tree of life was in the garden of Eden as a picture of Jesus Christ as our life and as the life supply for our daily living. In John 6:57 our Lord Jesus told us, “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.”

The first commandment from God to man concerned eating. This command was given in the garden of Eden. God’s desire was (and is) that man receive Him as man’s life, as pictured by “the tree of life in the middle of the garden” (Genesis 2:9).

Eating the lamb is the focus of the passover feast. Exodus 12:4 says “according to each man’s eating you shall make your count for the lamb.” Christ is the real lamb (John 1:29) and the reality of this feast (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

The passover lamb was eaten “with unleavened bread with bitter herbs” (Exodus 12:8). This is to take Christ as our sinless (unleavened) life and thereby to have a bitter feeling about sin.

We should eat unleavened bread seven days. Seven is a number of completion, indicating that we should eat Jesus as our unleavened bread through our whole Christian life. This is  to “keep the feast…with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8).

Manna is bread from heaven (Exodus 16:4). Exodus 16 and Numbers 11:7-9 give a detailed description of manna. These details portray the richness of Christ as the bread of life in our Christian experience.

Israel was instructed to gather manna each day. Through Deuteronomy 8:3 and Matthew 4:4 we learn that manna shows us “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.” Let us be people Eating the Word of God.

The priests eat the offerings in Leviticus 1–7. In the New Testament we are the priests (Revelation 1:5-6), Jesus Christ is the reality of the offerings (see verses in the post), and we mainly eat by thanking and praising the Lord for all that He has done and all that He is to us.

Exodus 40 and Leviticus 24 speak of the bread of the presence on the table in the tabernacle. This table and the lampstand are closely related. When we, the NT priests, eat the bread, we experience Jesus as the “light of life” (John 8:12).

The bread of the presence multiplied from tabernacle to temple (as did the lampstand). We expect much more multiplication from temple to New Jerusalem. This multiplication portrays the unsearchable/exhaustless riches of Jesus Christ.

Deuteronomy 12:7 tells Israel to eat and rejoice before their God when they gather in Jerusalem. This is a picture of a New Testament feast with Christ as the reality of our sacrifices and offerings, as the real firstborn, and as the content of our vows and freewill offerings.

In Leviticus 23 the Lord spoke about “My appointed feasts.” The introduction to these feasts is the sabbath rest. This shows that we should rest in Jesus Christ and His accomplishments in order to have proper Christian feasts.

Israel began to eat the produce of the land after they crossed the river Jordan. The variety and abundance of this produce again points us to the Christ who is unsearchably, immeasurably rich (Ephesians 3:8).

A feast of the passover and a seven-day feast of unleavened bread are recorded in 2 Chronicles 30. This feast was held “with great rejoicing” which caused them to continue for another seven days. The key was preparing their heart to seek God.

First Kings 8 records a feast after dedication of the temple and Ezra 6 records a feast after the dedication of the second temple. As we offer ourselves to the Lord and participate in the NT building work, we are preparing and entering into a feast.

Second Kings 23 and 2 Chronicles 35 record a marvelous passover feast following the cleansing of the temple, of Jerusalem, and of the whole land. The more we cleanse our hearts from desiring and working for goals other than the Lord, the more we will feast.

Photo of Boston harbor, courtesy of David Kan.

Related post: Is Your Spiritual Eating Advancing by Tom at Holding to Truth in Love

We Turn Our Heart to the Lord and Feast

New JerusalemHere is one more OT picture of our NT spiritual eating. Second Kings 23 records the cleansing of the temple, Jerusalem, and the land of Israel (v. 4-20, 24). The cleansing removed all that was related to idols. This was based on reading the words of the Bible and having a heart for these words (v. 2-3, 25).

After the cleansing, they had the feast of the passover and the seven days of unleavened bread (v. 21-22, plus 2 Chronicles 35:17). Second Chronicles 35:18 tells us, “a Passover like that had never been held in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet.”

Such a marvelous feast apparently had its roots in the cleansing. We also might need cleansing. Today idols are unlikely to be physical objects, but they could be any thing or any accomplishment we envy, desire, or pursue. Colossians 3:5 tells us that greediness is idolatry.

First John 2:15 tells us, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.” The Greek words translated “love for the Father” are literally “love of the Father.” English translations are split between “for” and “of” (see *). The RecV note** on “love for the Father” says,

Lit., the love of the Father; referring to the Father’s love within us, which becomes our love toward Him. To love Him with such a love is to love Him with the love with which He has loved us and which is enjoyed by us.

This is the key: we ask the Father for more of His love to be realized by us so that it may respond as more love from us to Him, thereby replacing our love for things (idols) in the world. Father, fill us with Your love so that we may love you more and hold a feast to You.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

* “Of” is in KJV, Darby, ASV, NASB, ESV, and others. “For” is in Weymouth, NIV, HCSB. Thanks to Bible Hub for displaying these.

** Note 3 on 1 John 2:15 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version published and © by Living Stream Ministry

We Consecrate, Build, and Feast

New JerusalemWe continue looking at Old Testament pictures of our New Testament spiritual eating. In 1 Kings 8 Solomon led all Israel in bringing the ark into the new temple. He then spoke to Israel and prayed to God. They concluded dedication of the temple with sacrifices (v. 62-64) and a feast. Verse 65 says, “And Solomon held a feast at that time and all Israel with him…before Jehovah our God, seven days and seven more days, fourteen days in all.”

Ezra records the effort, by Jews who returned to Jerusalem, to rebuild the temple. In Ezra 6 the work was completed and they had a dedication with sacrifices (v. 16-17) and with the feast of Passover (v. 19-22). Verses 21-22 say that they “…ate the passover and held the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for Jehovah had made them joyful…”

In both of these records the feasting follows the sacrifices and celebrates the completion of the building. No doubt there will also be a feast celebrating the completion of the New Testament building. But let’s not wait until then.

Let us thank the Lord that He sacrificed Himself for us (as the reality of the Old Testament sacrifices) and consecrate ourselves again (1 John 3:16). Then we pursue the building up with one another. As the issue of our consecration and building, we will have a spiritual feast. Eventually New Jerusalem will be completed and we will have an eternal feast.

Here, very briefly, are ways to participate in the New Testament building work:
• coming to the Lord (in prayer, praise, thanksgiving, consecration, etc.) – 1 Peter 2:4-5
• taking Christ as our foundation and cornerstone – Ephesians 2:20
• speaking the Lord to one another (prophesying) – 1 Corinthians 14:3-4
• holding to Christ as the truth in an atmosphere of love – Ephesians 4:15-16
• receiving from Him through both the gifted members and each one – Ephesians 4:15-16
• praying with others – Jude 20

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Prepare Your Heart and Rejoice

New JerusalemIn Genesis 2 God placed man in front of the tree of life. The tree is a picture of Jesus Christ as our spiritual food (John 6). The Old Testament symbols of our spiritual food continue from Exodus through Deuteronomy with the Passover, unleavened bread, manna, the bread of the presence, the offerings, the produce of Canaan, and the feasts.

After Deuteronomy there are records of the practice of the feasts. One that sticks with me is in 2 Chronicles 30, a Passover and feast of unleavened bread held during the reign of king Hezekiah. The hand of God was on the people of Judah (v. 12) giving them one heart to do this. Some from other tribes joined them, but many did not cleanse themselves according to the rituals in the law.

Nevertheless, “Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, May Jehovah the Good expiate for everyone who has prepared his heart to seek after God, after Jehovah, the God of his fathers, even though he is not according to the rules of purification for the sanctuary. And Jehovah heard Hezekiah and healed the people” (v. 18b-20). God cares much more for the condition of our heart than for our conduct by outward rules (for example, Matthew 15:1-20, where our heart in mentioned in v. 8, 18, 19).

So, they killed the Passover and ate and then they “held the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great rejoicing” (v. 21). Then ” the whole congregation took counsel to hold the feast another seven days, and they held the feast those seven days with rejoicing” (v. 23). “And there was great rejoicing in Jerusalem” (v. 26).

The example of this feast indicates that the more we prepare and turn our hearts to seek the Lord, gather with other believers, and open to His word as our bread, the more we will rejoice.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The Unsearchable, Exhaustless Life Supply

New JerusalemThe “bread of God’s presence” was twelve cakes/loaves on the table in the tabernacle. Later the tabernacle was replaced by the temple. For the temple, “Solomon made all the vessels that were in the house of Jehovah…the golden table upon which the bread of the Presence was put” (1 Kings 7:48).

Although 1 Kings mentions one table, 2 Chronicles 4:8 says Solomon “made ten tables and placed them in the temple, five on the right and five on the left” and verse 19 speaks of “the tables upon which the bread of the Presence was put.” The one table with its nourishing bread has been multiplied tenfold!

The life supply from the bread brings us the light. Jesus, as the “light of life” (John 8:12) is both our life and our light. Similarly, in the tabernacle and temple the table for the bread is closely related to the lampstand with its shining. Therefore, in the temple the lampstand is also multiplied tenfold (2 Chronicles 4:7, 20).

The multiplication of the table and the lampstand parallels the expanding holy of holies. Its dimensions are 10 cubits in the tabernacle and 20 cubits in the temple. Ultimately, the entire New Jerusalem is the eternal holy of holies of an immensely greater size.

Three facts:
• There are twelve loaves, and twelve is a number related to New Jerusalem.
• The multiplication of both the table and lampstand from tabernacle to temple.
• The enlargement of the holy of holies from tabernacle to New Jerusalem.
Together these suggest that the life supply signified by the loaves will be tremendously increased in New Jerusalem.

This marvelous increase shows that we will fully partake of the unsearchable/exhaustless/ untraceable/incalculable/unfathomable* riches of Jesus Christ as our eternal life supply in New Jerusalem.

* These five words are from various translations of Ephesians 3:8, “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Thanks to Bible Hub.

Photo courtesy of NASA GSFC-METI-ERSDAC-JAROS and U.S.-Japan ASTER Science Team.

Eat the Bread

New JerusalemWe are on a journey through the Old Testament, looking at physical pictures of our spiritual eating. In 1 Corinthians 10:3, Paul, speaking about Israel eating manna, said, “all ate the same spiritual food.” Today we New Testament believers should daily eat our spiritual food.

In my sequence of posts I forgot to include the table in the tabernacle on which the “bread of the presence” (or “showbread”) was placed. The table is described in Exodus 25:23-30. The designation of this bread (v. 30) indicates that it is related to God’s presence with us.

Leviticus 24:5-9 speaks about preparation of the bread and placement of twelve cakes/loaves on the table. Twelve is a sign of eternal fullness; the twelve loaves signify the Triune God as our eternal nourishment and satisfaction.

Leviticus 24:9 says that the priests should eat this bread. In this age, Jesus Christ has made us priests (Revelation 1:5-6) and we will be priests both in the kingdom age (20:6) and in New Jerusalem (22:3 + God’s Slaves Serve in New Jerusalem). Therefore, we are qualified to eat and we should eat this bread. The best way is to take the Lord’s word as food for our life supply.

In the tabernacle the table and the lampstand are closely related (Exodus 40:22-25; Leviticus 24:2-9). The more we eat the word of God as our bread of the presence, the more we have His presence and the more we have the divine light portrayed by the lampstand in the tabernacle. The reality is in John 1:1, 4 – “In the beginning was the Word…In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” The Word is a living Person whom we contact through the Bible. He gives us life, nourishes us and enlightens us. Let us be people Eating the Word of God.

More about the lampstand and the bread in Leviticus 24 may be read online in Life-Study of Leviticus chapter 55.

Rest and Be Satisfied in Jesus Christ

New JerusalemLeviticus 23:1-2 says, “Then Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, speak to the children of Israel…these are My appointed feasts.” Verse 3 is about the sabbath rest. The chapter then goes on to describe seven feasts to be held during the year.

The sabbath rest sets the principle for the seven feasts: we should not do something by our own effort. Rather, we should receive, rest in, and be satisfied by and thankful for what God in Christ Jesus has accomplished and has given us.

The seasons appointed by Jehovah as holy convocations signify the gathering of God’s redeemed people to have a festival with God for His joy and enjoyment that the redeemed may participate in it with Him and with one another. A festival, therefore, was for nothing except rest and enjoyment. This rest and enjoyment were not individual but corporate.

There were seven annual seasons (feasts). Seven is the number of fullness. The seven annual feasts were in the fullness of God’s riches.*

All the offerings at these feasts portray Christ, what Christ has accomplished, and what we experience of Christ. He is the focal point of each of these feasts. Our singing focuses on Him. Our prayers, thanksgivings, and praises focus on Him. He is the content of what we speak to one another.

In the transition from Leviticus through the New Testament to New Jerusalem there are many changes. All the forms/symbols have been replaced by Jesus Christ. All the ritual behavior has been replaced by Him living Himself through us. Despite these changes, Leviticus 23 suggests that in New Jerusalem we will have a continual feast full of rest and satisfaction.

* Witness LeeLife-study of Leviticus, published and © by Living Stream Ministry. This excerpt is from message 52, the first of three messages about the feasts in Leviticus 23.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and copyrighted by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is copyrighted by Living Stream Ministry.

Eat and Rejoice

New JerusalemIn the Bible, God’s first command to man was about eating. The first few books of the Bible present the tree of life, the Passover lamb and bread, manna, and eating the produce of the good land. The Bible concludes with the tree of life for our eternal eating.

Deuteronomy 12 has instructions about eating at home and eating at the place which God chose to put His name [Jerusalem]. Verses 5b-7 say,

to His habitation, shall you seek, and there shall you go. And there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices and your tithes and the heave offering of your hand and your vows and your freewill offerings and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock; and there you shall eat before Jehovah your God, and you and your households shall rejoice in all your undertakings, in which Jehovah your God has blessed you.”

Israel gathered in Jerusalem for their feasts. The place for Christians to gather is not a physical location but is in spirit and in truth (John 4:20-24). We gather rejoicing that we are one in Christ. In Christ are no nationalities and no social ranks because we “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Jesus Christ Himself is the basis for our coming together.

We come together in Him and praise Him for all that He is and has done. Jesus Christ is our offerings and sacrifices. He is the one we offer up as the content of our praises. He is our vows—our consecrations. He is our freewill offerings—whatever we voluntarily pour out in our thanksgiving and praising. He is also the real “Firstborn,” both in creation (Colossians 1:15) and in resurrection (Revelation 1:5). When we come together appreciating, enjoying, and thanking for all that He is, we are in a feast. I expect that New Jerusalem will be like this only much richer, much stronger, much more constant.

Eat and Be Satisfied

New JerusalemIn the Bible pictures of our spiritual eating began with the tree of life in the garden of Eden. They continued with the Passover lamb and bread, and then the daily manna in the wilderness. Joshua 5:11-12 presents the transition after crossing the river Jordan:

“And on the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. And the manna ceased on that day, when they ate of the produce of the land; and there was no longer manna for the children of Israel, but they ate of the yield of the land of Canaan that year.”

Deuteronomy 8:7-10 describes the land with its produce:

“For Jehovah your God is bringing you to a good land, a land of waterbrooks, of springs and of fountains, flowing forth in valleys and in mountains; a land of wheat and barley and vines and fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olive trees with oil and of honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity; you will not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron, and from whose mountains you can mine copper. And you shall eat and be satisfied, and you shall bless Jehovah your God for the good land which He has given you.”

Deuteronomy presents the flowing waters as a picture of the Spirit as our spiritual drink, the food as a picture of Christ as our spiritual nourishment, and the metals as a picture of Christ empowering us to fight the spiritual battles. Thank Him for His abundance!

The emphasis in these verses is on eating. When we eat Jesus, we live because of Him. The variety and quantity of food (see also Numbers 13:23) portray the richness of Christ. These riches are proclaimed as the gospel (Ephesians 3:8). To partake, call upon the Lord who is “rich to all who call upon Him” (Romans 10:12-13). We may simply call, O Lord Jesus or we may call and declare, Lord Jesus, You are my food, or Lord Jesus, thank You for being the vine and fig tree to me.

The riches of Christ are for us now and in New Jerusalem, where the twelve fruits of the tree of life indicate eternal fullness and eternal richness.

An Invitation to Eat

We are on an eating journey through the Bible. The culmination is eating the twelve fruits of the tree of life in New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1-2). Now we come to Leviticus.

Christ the realityLeviticus 1–7 presents the five basic offerings. Christ is the reality of all five.
• Christ is the burnt offering: He is the one who lived wholly for God (Philippians 2:5-8).
• Christ is the meal offering: He is the one who has the fine humanity mingled with divinity (Matthew 3:16-17).
• Christ is the peace offering: He is our peace with God (Romans 5:1) and with man (Ephesians 2:14-15).
• Christ is the sin offering: He was made sin for us so that we could become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
• Christ is the trespass offering: in Him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7).

Revelation 1:5-6 speaks of “Jesus Christ” who “released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.” Revelation 5:10 also speaks of this. Revelation 22:3 says that in New Jerusalem we will “serve Him” for eternity; serve here means to serve as a priest.

Leviticus 6–7 has many verses (e.g. 6:16-18, 26, 29; 7:6, 15-16) about the priests eating the physical offerings. Today we are the New Testament priests who, in spirit, eat Christ as the spiritual reality of all the offerings.

The main way we may partake of the offerings is by thanksgivings and petitions. We can thank and praise the Lord for all that He is to us. We also can open to Him about these specific blessings that He is to us and ask Him to give us more experience of them.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Let Us Keep the Feast

We continue looking eating through the Bible from the garden of Eden to New Jerusalem. Exodus 12:14-15 say, “And this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall keep it as a feast to Jehovah; throughout your generations as a perpetual statute you shall keep it as a feast. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread…”

Christ is our feastFirst Corinthians 5:8, referring to the Passover feast says, “let us keep the feast…with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” To keep the feast for seven days is not only an Old Testament practice; it is also something for us in the New Testament.

In the Bible seven indicates completion. In regard to the feast of Passover, seven days indicates our entire life. For our whole Christian life we should feast on Jesus Christ, who is the unleavened bread for us to live a sinless life. He is the one without sin (Hebrews 4:15) and who committed no sin (1 Peter 2:22). He is the one who supplies us to overcome sin.

In Romans 7 we are trapped under sin but in Romans 8:2, “the law of the Spirit of life has freed me in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and of death.” This freeing law of the Spirit is not outside us but rather is a innate property of the Spirit who is in us (v. 9-11).

Romans 8:9 and 8:11 both say, “if the Spirit dwells in us.” The Spirit in us is a fact; this same Spirit dwelling, living, being at home in us is conditional. When we feast on the Lord Jesus as our heavenly manna every day, we cooperate with the Spirit’s desire to live in us and are empowered to overcome sin.

Let us keep the feast! In New Jerusalem we will not have the problem of sin but we will keep the feast there for eternity.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Gather a Portion Every Day

In the Bible, the path of eating goes through Exodus 16 where manna is revealed. Verse 4 includes the instruction, “the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day.” How can we apply this to our daily Christian life?

All Scripture is god breathedIn Deuteronomy 8:3, Moses, while reviewing the heavenly supply of manna, said, “He humbled you and let you go hungry and fed you the manna…so that He might make you know that man lives not by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out from the mouth of Jehovah.”

In Matthew 4:4 the Lord Jesus quoted this, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.’ ”

We should “gather a day’s portion every day” of  “every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.” The Bible certainly has proceeded out of the mouth of God—“All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, one aspect of our gathering is that we come to the Bible each day to read.

However, “word” in Matthew 4:4 is rhema (ρημα) in Greek. This is not the printed word of the Bible but the living word which the Lord speaks to us as we read the Bible. Therefore, as we begin to read we can ask the Lord to speak to us through the passage that we will read. This speaking through the written word is the Spirit who gives life (John 6:63, 2 Corinthians 3:6).

Thank God that His word is living and operative (Hebrews 4:12). We can experience it daily now and surely we will experience this eternally to a much greater degree in New Jerusalem.

Please see Andrea’s post about “gathering every day”: The Habit of Daily Bible Reading;
also check her related posts at the end.

Other posts about rhema: Preparing the Bride by Washing (1) (2) (3) (4).

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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