Did you enjoy your holidays — Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s? If I were a betting man, I’d wager that each of your celebrations included a special meal. Food is a central part of most holiday festivities, in both Israel and the United States.
I know, I know; you’re expecting dieting advice. This isn’t about that; so stay a few minutes and consider with me the Biblical application of our celebratory meals, a short study that I believe will bring an understanding beyond the food.
The Bible includes a number of settings in which food constitutes a key element in teaching reconciliation, remembrance, and celebration. Let’s look at five of those instructive settings.
We look first at the time Jesus/Yeshua fed 5,000 men, plus women and children, with only five barley loaves and two fish — a meal for one or two at most. All four Gospels relate this miracle, but let’s consider John’s record in chapter six. John notes that, just prior to Passover, a multitude of people gathered on a hillside close to the Sea of Galilee. Jesus/Yeshua knew that the small, nearby villages could not supply enough food to feed such a large crowd; the disciples lacked the means to purchase adequate amounts even if food were available. At least Andrew went into the crowd to determine available resources. He found his answer in a young boy’s lunch and brought it to Yeshua who blessed and multiplied it. Man’s inability was conquered by Yeshua’s power.
Notice what John recorded in verse 14:
“Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said,
‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.’”
To those in the crowd who were especially observant, Yeshua’s miracle probably recalled the story of Moses feeding the people with manna and quail. This hillside crowd witnessed the promise that God made in Deuteronomy 18:15:
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren.”
Here, they were looking on the Messiah, “from their midst,” one of their very own. The miracle introducing Messiah was performed at a table the Lord had set.
A miracle at your own table could be a youngster asking, “How can I be saved?” just after grace is offered. Or, it could be the fellowship of extended family members at a special reunion, sharing memories of times past and recognizing the gracious hand of the Heavenly Father.
Next, let’s look at the Prodigal Son and at the feast his father commanded in celebration of his son’s return. After the Prodigal “came to his senses” and returned home in despair and disgrace, Luke records in 15:22–24 what the father did:
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.”
This setting describes a time when a meal provides the setting of reconciliation. It’s not about just the food. Many made-for-TV movies show families gathering at Christmas when painful feelings resurface between siblings, etc. I’m more inclined to believe that during the holiday season, hearts soften and forgiveness flows. Maybe we should specify one meal a year as a reconciliation meal. Believers (“Believers” is short for “believers in Yeshua/Jesus as Messiah.”) could really benefit.
The theme of reconciliation continues in the Upper Room, where Jesus shared the Passover seder with His disciples and instituted the Lord’s Supper. Luke 22:14–20:
“When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, ‘With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant of My blood, which is shed for you.’”
The Lord’s Supper brings the worshiper back to his or her point of need — a Savior! There are a number of components in the Passover seder, which we will discuss in future issues; but the Lord’s Supper holds only two elements of remembrance — wine and bread. Yeshua made it clear to His disciples that doing what He taught would remind them of His suffering for the sins of the world to bring reconciliation between the world and His heavenly Father.
Paul was adamant in his instructions to the church at Corinth. 1 Corinthians 11:27–29:
“Therefore whoever drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”
And what about the seaside breakfast of fish and bread that our resurrected Lord enjoyed with the disciples (John 21:1–14)? After the meal, Yeshua specifically singled out Peter in a conversation of restoration. Three times Yeshua charged Peter with “feeding His sheep” (remembering Peter had denied Him three times). John 21:15–17: “Feed My lambs,” “Tend My sheep,” “Feed My sheep.” Peter was restored to fellowship and commissioned to go and offer restoration to others who had denied the Lord. What a wonderful lesson taught over a meal!
Our list would not be complete without the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Revelation 19:9 tells us, “Blessed are they who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” This subject, covered in recent Levitt Letters, explains that the Bridegroom and Bride (Church, or assembly of Believers) will be joined together in Heaven after the rapture of the Church. At the Second Coming, the Groom will introduce His Bride, and Jews and gentiles will participate in a great celebration feast on the Earth. Don’t miss this one! And don’t let those you care about miss it either!
We have looked at five examples of valuable lessons being taught around a table set by our Lord. Physical nourishment is necessary, but so is spiritual nourishment. A question: Under whose table do you set your feet and enjoy your spiritual food? Now beginning its 40th year, Zola Levitt Ministries has been offering table settings provided by the Lord, presenting a cornucopia of spiritual food for readers like you. Everyone involved in this ministry looks forward to continuing Zola’s legacy, but we can only do it with your financial support. Please consider your best gift so that Zola’s vision continues — providing trustworthy news from on the ground in Israel and in-depth Bible teaching with a Jewish perspective.
Standing firm with Israel and ZLM,
P.S. Why not gather the family around the television, enjoy a warm meal in these cold winter months, and be spiritually fed by the newest Zola Levitt Presents series, Watch Therefore and Be Ready?
2018 will be a standout year for Zola Levitt Presents as we bring you some of the most qualified Messianic speakers in the world. Each television series of eight or more 30-minute programs will feature a different teacher, each filmed on location in Israel.
From the comfort of home, you will receive in-depth Bible teaching from Marty Waldman, Dov Schwarz, Jeffrey Seif, Eitan Shishkoff. All of them, born and raised Jewish, attended Hebrew school, graduated from seminary, and both founded and led Messianic congregations. Moreover, you’ll have weekly Hebrew lessons and boots-on-the-ground commentary from Chaim Malespin, whose parents made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) when he was 15. Have your Bible at hand for prophecy lessons from Israel. Prepare to become more intimate with our Lord and Savior by studying Christianity’s Jewish roots and deepening your understanding of the big picture.
In February, this ministry continues our brand new series, Watch Therefore and Be Ready, which encourages this generation to be aware of prophetic fulfillment, live expectantly, and be ready for Messiah’s return. David and Kirsten Hart present this eight-segment series that features teaching from theologian Dov Schwarz and guest analyst Dr. Mark Hitchcock, along with reports from Israel with Chaim Malespin, Hebrew lessons from Haifa, and music composed by Zola Levitt.
All of the teaching, the production for these programs, plus our signature dramatic reenactments are made available to viewers across the world because of your financial assistance to this ministry. We thank you. From the ministry employees who ship the monthly mailings, to the camera crew and production team for Zola Levitt Presents, we say to you, “Todah Rabah!” (Thank you very much!)
Tony mentioned one of our favorite Scriptures: “Feed My sheep.” Can you imagine the indelible taste of the bread and fish that the resurrected Savior Himself prepared on the shore of the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) for His disciples? We are amazed that the shore looks as rugged and natural as it probably did in 33 a.d.
It is a transformative experience to sit by the sea and envision our Savior serving up homemade bread and fish by a crackling campfire. By now, most ZLMers know that Kirsten is a foodie, especially in Israel. Why is the Holy Land’s food so wonderful? Because it’s the taste of fulfilled prophecy, per Ezekiel 36:35, that the land would live and bloom again.
For 35 years, Zola Tours has been the gold standard in all-inclusive Holy Land tours. Our hotels are superior (we get preferred pricing), the food is generous and unique, plus we have stellar Jewish Israeli tour guides. And 2018 celebrates 70 years of Regathered Israel.
Fall Tour 2018 options
|Deluxe (Israel only)||Oct 14–23|
|Grand Petra (Israel & Petra)||Oct 14–26|
|Grand Athens (Greece & Israel)||Oct 8–23|
|Ultra Grand (Greece & Israel & Petra)||Oct 8–26|
Please come see, taste, and experience God’s Holy Land. We’ll save a seat on the bus for you!
P.S. Zola Levitt Ministries brings profoundly pro-Israel perspectives and insights to a world starving for a relationship with our God. Your ongoing help lets us continue this insight.
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