Before Christ came and changed the world of religion on earth, pagans employed a variety of rituals, virtually all of them centered on food offered to varioius gods -- i.e., idols and gods made of stone, gold or silver. (See the angel's warning to Pergamum in the Book of Revelation).
The Hebrew religion was centered on food offered to God as well. The temple's in Jerusalem and Shiloh were constructed specifically in an architecture that facilitated the slaughter of millions of cattle and birds. The bodies of these sacrifices were immolated on great grills in the temple compound and the smoke of their burning wafted up to the skies like a scented spiritual essence, while the blood of their slaughter washed down specially built culverts that guided the flow.
The prophets had warned the Israelites that God had no use for this kind of offering or sacrifice and that He was going to change the covenants to put a stop to it. These warnings were ignored because the Hebrew leaders were obsessed with the physical aspects of their religion and had abandoned their spiritual responsibilites, justice, compassion and good faith.
"I hate and despise your feasts, I take no pleasure in your solemn festivals...Let me have no more of the din of your chanting, no more of your strumming on harps. But let justice flow like water, and integrity like an unfailing stream." (Amos 5:21-24).
"What are your endless sacrifices to me? says God. I am sick of holocausts of rams and the fat of calves. The blood of bulls and of goats revolts me. When you come to present yourselves before me, who asked you to trample over my courts? Bring me your worthless offerings no more, the smoke of them fills me with disgust. New Moons, sabbaths, assemblies-I cannot endure festival and solemnity. Your New Moons and your pilgrimages I hate with all my soul...When you stretch out your hands I turn my eyes away. You may multiply your prayers, I shall not listen. Your hands are covered with blood, wash, make yourselves clean...search for justice, help the oppressed, be just to the orphan, plead for the widow." (Is.1:11-17).
When Jesus appeared, He taught that the food of God was not physical, but philosophical. He predicted that God would destroy the Hebrew temple in Jerusalem to show the world that the food of God (the food that gives eternal life) was a certain kind of behavior, not slaughtered animals. (John 4:34).
To explain exactly what that behavior was, Jesus presented to the world the Gospel. It was a teaching, He said, that came, not from earth, but from heaven, directly from the throne of God. (John 3:31-36). And it was a food, Jesus said, that held the secret of eternal life.
His message changed the world. As Christianity stormed across the earth, all the pagan idols were torn down; the blood sacrifices eliminated; and a new kind of food appeared. Instead of man offering food to God, God offered food to man -- a spiritual food that enriched the soul and, in the case of Jesus, gave eternal life to those who 'ate' it.
In keeping with this extraodinary change from physical food to philosophical food, the dictates of the Bible took on a much deeper meaning.
Metaphorically, the philosophy of Babylon (this world) is a type of food. A food sacrificed (dedicated) to idols. The idols are the baubles which acknowledge a successful embodiment of Babylon's philosophy. They are the signet rings of a 'found life'.
This is why Jesus said, "Those who find their lives will lose it, but those who lose their lives for the sake of the Gospel will find and inherit eternal life." (Matt.16:24-25).
There are many allegories in scripture that point to this change in the sacrifice, and the divine food that would emanate from the change. Jesus, for instance, was born in Bethlehem. The name means 'House of Bread'. And He was born in a manger. A manger is a food trough.
The opposing doctrines preached by this world and God are described in the Book of Proverbs as tables of food, one set out by 'Wisdom' and the other by 'Folly':
"Dame Folly...sits at the door of her house, on a throne commanding the city, inviting the passers-by as they pass on their lawful occasions, 'Who is ignorant? Let him step this way,' To the fool she says, 'Stolen waters are sweet, and bread tastes better when eaten in secret'." (Pr.9:11-17).
This 'secret bread' is the sacrificial food of today's pagan world. It is stolen because it was taken from God without acknowledgement, and it is secret because it is dispensed, not to the world, but only to the chosen few.
Just the opposite is the fare offered by the Church:
"Wisdom has built herself a house, she has erected her seven pillars...she has laid her table. She has despatched her maidservants and proclaimed from the city's heights: 'Who is ignorant? Let him step this way.' To the fool she says, 'Come and eat my bread, drink the wine I have prepared! Leave your folly and you will live, walk in the ways of perception'." (Pr.9:1-6).
This is the food of eternal life, the food offered to us in the name of Jesus through a sacrifice so perfect it can never be matched -- a sacrifice in which God, Himself, was the victim.
He has offered us His body that was sacrificed so that we might eat it and never die. The food of His body is both spiritual and physical. It's spiritual nature is the Gospel and anyone who eats it (puts it into practice) will never die.
His physical body is represented by the communion sacrifice, a sacrifice so holy that when the beast of the end puts iniquity on it, the world will come to an abrupt end.
Paul said of this sacrifice,
"The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break is a communion with the body of Christ. The fact that there is only one loaf means that, though there are many of us, we form a single body because we all have a share in this one loaf." (1 Cor.10:16-17).
"For this is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me'."
"In the same way he took the cup afer supper, and said, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me'. Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaimng his death, and so anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be behaving unworthily towards the body and blood of the Lord. "
"Everyone is to recollect himself before eating the bread and drinking this cup; because a person who eats and drinks without recognising the Body is eating and drinking his own condemnation. In fact, that is why many of you are weak and ill and some of you have died. If only we recollected ourselves, we should not be punished like that. "
"Anyone who is hungry should eat at home, and then your meeting will not bring your condemnation." (1 Cor. 11:23-34).
1. The Temple
2. No Life in the Bread of Moses
2. Food Offered to Idols
3. The Teaching of the Nicolaitans
4. 'The Last Days of Babylon', Chapter 26, 'Fall of the City of David'
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