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Biblical Nom Noms

February 17, 2011

So what is the point of this little nom nom that Melchizedek shares with Abram as the later is returning from winning a war?

It has been suggested that this meal,

“later takes the form of the Passover for Jews, the Eucharist for Christians, and Eid ul-Adha or Eid ul-Fitr for Muslims” (page 26).

I don’t know a thing about the Muslim sacred meal, but I wonder about the connection to the Jewish Passover. Both meals, of course, share the same elements, but (correct me if I’m wrong) the Passover meal was not inspired by Abram and Melchizedek.

The Passover meal was ordained of God as the Jewish people left Egypt. It was established to remind them of God’s miraculous salvation – the unleavened bread to remember how quickly they left Egypt and the wine as the blood of the Passover lamb – and at His specific instruction with no reference to Melchizedek (Exodus 12).

Finding Our Way Again continues,

“The sacred meal in this light becomes a celebration of hospitality, of community, of inclusion, and of reconciliation” (page 26).

And it’s the same as the Passover meal? Because Passover was about a slaughter. Passover was about God separating His people from their oppressors.

Exodus 12 is where we see the namesake exodus, and the instructions for keeping the Passover. It ends thus,

And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it. … A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat it. … And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to 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 a native of the land. For no uncircumcised personal shall eat it.”

That doesn’t really sound like hospitality, community, inclusion or reconciliation.

Let me be clear: I’m not against hospitality, community, inclusion or reconciliation. I’m a huge fan of all of those things. But we also have to call an apple and apple. To say that any of those things is celebrated in the Passover meal is ridiculous.

It’s similarly ridiculous to draw the same parallels to the Christian celebration of the Lord’s Super, or “Eucharist.”

We know how the Passover became the Eucharist. The depth of the symbolism and foreshadow is breathtaking. In  many ways, Communion redefines the Passover.

The rite isn’t completely rewritten, however. Paul wrote, in 1 Corinthians 11, that,

“… whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”

There’s a whole sermon in there, but it’s not a sermon about hospitality, community, inclusion or reconciliation between people.

While Abram’s meal with Melchizedek is similar to the Passover and the Eucharist, it does not become either one. As such, we cannot teach that sharing Communion is about hospitality, community, inclusion and reconciliation. It’s not. It’s about remembering the cross, the empty tomb, and the promise of His coming. That means it’s also about excluding non-Christians, for a moment, for their own sakes.

Back to Abram and Melchizedek next.

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