2019 Study Summary 22: Continue Ye in My Love
“Continue Ye in My Love”
How does Passover echo the ordinance of the sacrament?
The central issue in this lesson was foreshadowed by the Children of Israel through the Passover meal, the Seder, for almost three and a half thousand years. In fact, the substantive elements of that Seder, “fruit of the vine” (wine) and “unleavened bread” preceded the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. It is important to realize that what Latter-day Saints call the sacrament was, in fact, an ancient ordinance. The routine or performance of ordinances may be updated from time to time, yet the covenant basis is still the same. Even before the Exodus, Melchizedek king of Salem–a priest of God, brought forth bread and wine. (Genesis 14:18) “. . . Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Six 1843-44, Pg.308)
“What Makes This Night Different from All Other Nights?”
That is the title of the first song at a Passover Seder. In the following explanation of a Seder meal, let’s identify some items that were “different” at Jesus’ Passover meal than at any other. Passover is celebrated for seven-days beginning at the first full moon after the first day of spring. The beginning night and day and the ending night and day of Passover are extra Sabbaths, “High Days.” In John’s account the Passover was to happen in two days. Preparations for cleaning, removal of all leaven, yeast, or items that might sprout or rise were under way. A tradition still followed in modern Israel is that the leaven must be “sold.” The chief rabbi arranges to sell the entire country’s supply of grain, prepackaged breads, and leavened products to a non-Jew on the preparation day, before the Passover begins. In that way whatever leaven is still around does not really belong to the Jews. The deal usually includes that this Gentile will collect all the leaven (or what might rise) when his payment is complete. However, after only a token down payment the non-Jew, an “unbeliever,” never really gets around to making the final payment. So, by default ownership is “returned” to the Jews; meanwhile, the Passover is completed anyway.
What meaning does Judas’ betrayal have with selling the “livened bread?”
Sometime that evening, Judas excused himself and left. The other disciples may have thought he was going out to purchase the lamb for the Passover meal. Instead, he left to sell the Lamb of God. Metaphorically we can see it as an act of selling the “Leaven, the Bread of Life,” to unbelievers. As previously stated, on the preparation day, the “alive” bread substances are sold, however always returned. Judas selling the “Bread of Life” might parallel the ultimate return of the Savior to the Jews, and even carries the possibility that the great mercy of the Son of God will eventually “return” Judas.
What significance is the seating arrangement?
To better understand Jesus’ Last Supper, consideration of other highlights of the Passover will be helpful. In the past, the Seder table was set up in a U-shape with the participants sitting on the outside. So, looking inward, the master of the house, (usually the oldest male), would sit second from the right end. This kept available a place to his right. Nowadays, he will usually select a boy (probably the youngest), to sit at his right hand and assist him in the order (seder) of the meal and ritual customs. The boy sings that song; “What makes this night different from any other night?”
What is Elijah’s role at the Passover?
Continuing with the seating arrangement, the last seat on the other end remains empty. It is available for Elijah. His place is opposite of the youngest and the oldest. Incidentally, the imagery and symbolism are outstanding. The Passover turns the hearts of the youngest to the oldest tradition and deliverance of the past. Elijah’s mission is to announce the coming of the Deliverer.
What foods are used for the Passover?
Considering the Jewish calendar and the scriptural narrative, Jesus then led a Passover meal with his disciples when they were led to an upper room. It still was only the beginning of the preparation evening/day. The Passover really began on the following evening. Modern-day preparations include bitter herbs that are symbolic of bondage. There is a mixture of chopped fruit, nuts, cinnamon, and honey that represent deliverance. Parsley or watercress is used as a token of gratitude for the earth’s abundant goodness. Salted water or vinegar is set out for cleansing use. There are also preparations of a lamb’s shank bone, a reminder of past sacrifices. There is an egg, also reminiscent of a sacrifice and new beginning.
How can we better understand the symbolism of wine and bread?
The second item that makes the Last Supper different from any other night is the explanation of the bread taken before the wine. The only time Jews will break, bless, and eat a piece of bread – first, followed by pouring, blessing, and sipping wine – last is when children at the traditional Passover meal (Seder) find the “hidden piece of bread” (afikommen). Jesus used this meal to teach his Apostles that He was the Deliverer. He likely explained that the Passover practice of partaking of wine followed by bread (three times) was very a symbolic anticipation of a future atonement. It was henceforth changed to bread followed by wine—symbolic of the deliverance He was to carry out within the next four days.
What can we learn from the change in the order or routine?
The Bread represents the “body,” the wine represents the “blood.” One can suggest that when wine is poured before the bread is broken (the Jewish custom), it is done in anticipation of a greater deliverance than the exodus from Egypt. The “hidden piece” is found later by the children, the later generation. It is broken and eaten first, then, the cup of wine is filled completely with the instruction to “drink all of it.” There is no Jewish explanation as to the meaning of the reversed order. Could this be; wine and bread in anticipation, and bread and wine in remembrance?
Door Left Open for Elijah:
A complete meal is eaten with a door left open for Elijah who, by Jewish tradition, would announce the coming Messiah. As mentioned, after the meal, children search for the hidden piece of bread that is often wrapped in a red cloth. When found, the children receive a gift. A tradition to place the hidden piece above something may also connote the second coming of the Messiah. The first time he came in lowly circumstances, a manger. The second time he comes dressed in red and in great glory from above. It is the later generation that finds Him and “great shall be their reward.”
What is the new commandment?
The third item that makes this night different than any other Passover night is, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you . . .” (John 13:34) The old commandment came from Sinai where the children of Israel compromised themselves to the lesser law of performance, the old concept was, “Love others as you love yourself.”
What is a tool of the spirit?
A tool or gift of spirit used by ancient and modern prophets is the Urim and Thummim. “The exact meaning of the words “Urim” and “Thummim” have puzzled scholars over the generations. Both in the Greek and Latin translations of the Bible they were rendered as “revelation and truth” or “teaching and truth” and this understanding gave rise to the incorporation of the Hebrew words Urim ve- Thummim on the official seal of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How does the Urim and Thummim, a tool of revelation, work?
According to a paper given at Hebrew University by the late John Tvedtnes, then Senior Researcher at FARMS (BYU), the words Urim and Thummim may come from Egyptian words similar to “RMMM” and “TMMM,” one meaning yes or act upon it (positive), the other a more negative meaning (leave it alone). Since the Urim and Thummin were revelatory tools, it is possible that they represent or operate on a simple principle of revelation. The answer is yes or no. “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right . . .” (Doctrine & Covenants 9:8)
How does the “Star of David relate to the Urim and Thummim?
There are symbols in modern Judaism that purportedly date back to David’s and Solomon’s times. One of the most popular is known by non-Jews as The Star of David. Those of the House of Israel call it the Magen David, the sign or shield of David. The Magen David is always shown as two triangles, interwoven. One possible explanation is that the two triangles represent a characterization of the Urim and Thummim. According to statements attributed to Joseph Smith, the Urim and Thummim were two triangular stones connected by a silver bow. One pointed up and the other pointed down. Superimposed they make a fascinating Magen David! The point to consider is that the Lord’s gift of spirit reveals and teaches truth.