Welcome to Church of God Sharing Village!
- Category: Meditations
- Created on 27 April 2014
- Last Updated on 27 April 2014
- Written by Ofelia Limpoco-Magat
GREAT ART THOU
Great art thou who made my eyes to see
The wondrous works thou have designed for me—
--the kaleidoscopic sky at dawn
--the iridescent hues of the rainbow
--the impressive tail feathers of a peacock
--the artistic array of flowers
--the magnificent panorama of the sunset
Great art thou who made my ears to hear
The various sounds thou had created for me—
--the chirps of the birds on a tree
--the murmur of the brook rushing to the sea
--the roar of thunder on a stormy day
--the laughter of the children at play
Great art thou who made my hands to write
--what my eyes could see
--what my ears could hear
--what my mind could tell
- Category: Feasts and Holy Days
- Created on 22 April 2014
- Last Updated on 22 April 2014
- Written by Raul Hipe
One of the most uplifting and promising words Jesus Christ gave during His last Passover was recorded in John 16: 33, to quote: “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
While these words of Jesus are very reassuring enough for anyone to hear, it seems most of the disciples did not take His words seriously. For we find a few verses later and during that same night that most of Christ’s followers were gone and scattered! They have abandoned Jesus in fear and defeat. The Gospels told us that the most ardent and loyal of Christ’s follower, Peter, denied Him three times, another fled without cloth or garment with him (Mark), Judas conspired with authorities and had Jesus arrested, and the rest of the disciples had either deserted, run away or were in hiding.
So the question for us to reflect on the 7th day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread: Are we of “good cheer”?
Are we still “overcoming the world”?
The word “overcome” in the Greek is nikao (Strongs #3528) it means “to conquer, prevail, get the victory” In fact, the word “Nike” which a popular brand today comes from this same root word.
Nowadays, overcoming is such a big word to Christians who are helpless and powerless in the midst of all the troubles and the temptations and pulls of life. Just like during the time of the disciples, it can be outright confusing and overwhelming. But where do we find our help, how can Jesus Christ provide us the strength so we can be an overcomer?
First, we need to realize that the death of Jesus Christ made possible our deliverance and forgiveness from sins. The following Bible verses make it clear:
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” 1 Corinthians 15:3, (NKJV throughout, unless noted)
“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Galatians 1:3-5
Our keeping of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread should help us realize the heavy price of sin through Jesus’ sacrifice, the pervasiveness of sin in the world, and the necessity of putting sin out of our lives. This means that we are called to a life of overcoming.
Accordingly, overcoming is not simply a one time triumph over sin but we need to be constantly on guard as it is pervasive and persistent. That’s what the symbol of unleavened bread teaches us—the putting out of sins daily in life. Just like the children of Israel who had to leave the physical bondage of Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:6), Christians need to leave from the “spiritual Egypt” (Revelation 11:8) of this present evil world (Galatians 1:4).
This is a serious matter. Christians need to come out of sin, but they need God's help in overcoming sin.
The words of the apostle Paul, gave a full glimpse of what everyone should be learning and doing as we grapple with our uncertainties over sins:
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:1-13)
We have the experience of the children of Israel as our continual reminder and learning. There are at least five manners or attitudes we are forewarned about in order for us not to follow in their examples of disobedience and defeat: lusting after evil things, immorality, idolaters, tempters, and complainers. Think about it as you root out every appearance or vestige of these in your life.
Moreover, we are also forewarned about the activity of the wicked one working behind all these in order for us to lose our battle:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
How did Jesus Christ provide a way of escape so we can bear it?
- Category: Scriptures With Songs
- Created on 18 April 2014
- Last Updated on 19 April 2014
- Written by Vivian Hipe
Thank you, Mr._________________. Let us open our hymnals on:
HYMN 1: Praise the Eternal with a Psalm, (page 2)
HYMN 2: Guide Us, O Thou Great Redeemer (page 60)
HYMN 3: The Battle Belongs to the Lord (page 170)
In today’s Passover celebration, the first Day of Unleavened Bread, we will focus our hymn singing and scriptural readings on the lessons that we can learn from the Ten Plagues of Egypt.
The 10 Plagues of Egypt from the Book of Exodus is one of the most well known events from the Bible. Some people are familiar with the details of the plagues themselves, but not everyone understands their full impact on ancient Egypt.
At the time the Egyptians did not recognised the Holy One of Israel, the God that sent Moses back to the Pharaoh, the Egyptians believed and worshipped many gods and idols. There were gods of the sky, gods of the waters, gods of the land, gods for just about everything. Each one of the ten plagues that God sent through Moses were not just random plagues. These ten plagues are a direct attack against the Egyptian gods and idols.
In the end, the plagues did not only devastate Egypt both physically and economically, but more importantly their gods were proven powerless to help Egypt and the Pharaoh from the true God of Israel. Each of the ten plagues targeted a specific one or combination of the Egyptian gods or goddesses whose attributes or activities as described in Egyptian religion and mythology are specific characteristics of the One True God.
So, why did God send the plagues? Our first Bible reader _______________will be reading pertinent verses that show the reasons why God send the plagues to Egypt.
The nine (9) Bible readers to follow will be reading the 10 plagues that struck Egypt. They will also be reading a short commentary and description of the idol or god or goddess that the particular plague brought by God the Almighty is attacking.
Bible readers 2 to 4 will be reading the verses pertaining to the first set of plagues that struck Egypt.
BIBLE READER 2: will be reading the story of how God through Moses and Aaron turned the Nile River into Blood. Exodus 7:14-25
Commentary : This plague targeted Egyptian triune gods, Hapi, Anquet and Khnum.
As a water god, Hapi was a deity of fertility - he provided water, food and the yearly flooding of the Nile. The Egyptians believed that without Hapi, Egypt would have died, and so he was sometimes revered even above Ra, the sun god. As a result he was held the father of all beings and things.
Anqet was a goddess of the waters of the Nile, a goddess of fertility, who was thought to embrace the river. She was believed to be a protective deity, one who gave life to the pharaoh and the whole land of Egypt itself.
Khnum was originally a water god who was thought to rule over all water, including the rivers and lakes of the underworld. He was believed to make sure that there is enough precious black silt onto the river banks to make them fertile. The silt also formed the clay, the raw material required to make pottery. As a result he was closely associated with the art of pottery. According to one creation myth, Khnum molded everything on his potter’s wheel, including both the people and the other gods.
When God turns the Nile River into blood, it is to show that God is more powerful than these three gods combined. God alone is the Creator of lands, rivers and sea and He is our only Master Potter.
BIBLE READER 3: will be reading the plague about frogs—Exodus 8:1-15
Commentary : Heqet (Heket) was a goddess of childbirth and fertility in ancient Egypt. She was depicted as a frog, or a woman with the head of a frog. Frogs symbolized fruitfulness and new life.
According to one tradition, she was the wife of Khnum. He created each person on his potter's wheel, and she breathed life into them before they were placed in their mother's womb.
Pregnant women wore amulets depicting Heqet for protection during pregnancy and childbirth. She was also believed to have the power in resurrecting the dead. Frogs also symbolized filthiness and impurities. When God brought the plagues of the frogs, this is to remind the Egyptians of their filthiness and that only God can cleanse them of their impurity.
The plague of the frogs depicted God as having the control over His creatures, including frogs. God alone brings about resurrection and new life.
BIBLE READER 4 : will be reading the plagues about lice and flies—Exodus 8:16-19; 8:20-32
Commentary : Khepri or Kheper (who had the head of a fly)was associated with the scarab or dung beetle. The Egyptians, however, believed that the young scarab emerged spontaneously from the burrow as if created from nothing. Thus, Kheper was a self-created god. The scarab beetle also lays its eggs in decaying flesh of animals, leading the ancient Egyptians to speculate that those scarab beetles were created from dead matter. As a result, Khepri was strongly associated with rebirth, renewal, and resurrection.
The plagues of the lice and flies showed God that he has the power over insects like lice and flies. He is the only God who has no beginning and no end. He is the true source of birth, renewal and resurrection.
Thank you Bible readers. Brethren, please all stand as we responsively offer our next hymns:
HYMN 4: Give Thanks and Offer Praise (page 41)
The next bible readers will continue to tell us the story about the plagues that afflicted Egypt.
- Category: Scripture Studies
- Created on 17 April 2014
- Last Updated on 17 April 2014
- Written by Raul Hipe
Why do most people think that if you live a life that is dedicated to God, it means giving up all the fun and enjoyment of living? They feel that in order to please God, they must renounce all happiness and endure a life of penance and gloom!
To these people, the word “worldly” means everything that is desirable in this life. To them sin is anything that is tied up to pleasure, anything physical and material. To sin is to commit a number of “don’ts” which are primarily based on personal and imagined standards—“don’t party”, don’t drink !”, “do not watch movies”, etc. As a result, they tended to accept a life that that is full of labors and sorrows.
But is this what our Creator God, the author of all life wanted us to live?
Is it part of His plan to deny us of anything that will make our life happy, satisfied and fulfilled? Does God want us to live an unhappy, empty and depressing state of life?
During a period called “Lent” (or Lenten season), most Filipinos were reminded by their religious upbringing to dedicate a life of penance for forty days (beginning with “Ash Wednesday” leading to Easter Sunday). Based on this belief, devotees and believers alike are encouraged to abstain themselves from certain flesh meat, fast, deny the self for some pleasurable activities—it is even thought as wrong to take a bath during some of these days! Others may even go so far as to “self- flagellate” their bodies so they can please God or somehow receive answer for some of their personal petitions and prayers. Apparently, these practices impress upon them that such is a religious life—to dedicate yearly, especially during “holy week”, a life that seems to deny the self from joy and happiness. To do otherwise is to become worldly.
But strangely, it seems that none of these people knew that the same Jesus of Nazareth whom they imitate and follow through their acts of penance during these periods, declared that His coming and eventual death and resurrection will bring about real and abundant life!
“I come” Jesus said, “that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) That’s the purpose of Jesus’ first coming, the reason why He needed to die is for us to live a life that will be full—to have an “abundant life”!
But why do people think otherwise? What’s wrong with our life and beliefs?
Biblically speaking, real Christian life should be based on how we submit our life to God as Christ “lives in us”. This is what the apostle Paul meant when he declared:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NKJV all throughout, otherwise noted)
Does the above verse mean that we need to hang ourselves on the cross and be crucified along with Christ physically? Of course not. To be “crucified” with Christ means that our life should be geared toward dedication and surrender as we allow Christ to mold us. To live by the faith means that all we need to do is to trust on His redemptive works. No amount of our self-penance will satisfy or even earn us some “forgiveness points” with God so that our personal wishes or prayers can be granted.
Paul further tells us in Romans 8:10-11, the following:
"And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."
Thus, in order for Christ to live in us requires more than just an avowed belief and relying to some folk-“religious” practices that mimic Jesus’ suffering, like resorting to public lashing and even getting oneself crucified in order to show to the world one’s resentment towards worldly life. It means living through “His Spirit who dwells in you” which is able to provide us new life.
But how can we receive this new and abundant life?
First we need to understand that most of the customs and practices observed during “holy week” and Easter are nothing more than man-made replacements of God’s ordained holy days and biblical observances that fall on the same period like Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread (Refs: Exodus 12:1-28, Leviticus 23:4-8, Numbers 9:1-14, Deuteronomy 16:1-8, Matt. 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, Acts 12:1-4, Acts 18:21, 1 Cor. 11:23-26). In the New Testament, the apostle Paul continued to enjoin believers to observe these in the correct and proper manner (1 Corinthians. 5:6-8). Moreover, the Bible cautions not to follow religious customs that are based on “heathens” or “traditions of men” (Deuteronomy 12:29-32; Jeremiah 10:2; Mark7:6-9; 2 Corinthians 6:14–18; 7:1 ).
Second, the Bible says that we can only be set-apart, purified, cleansed, and made pure in God’s sight—by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The epistle to the Hebrews plainly tells us about this:
“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? … Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.” Hebrews 9:11-14; 13:12
This, along with new and living faith (Hebrews 11:1, 1 Peter 1:21, 2 Corinthians 5:7), humbly submitting to God’s will daily in life (James 4:7-10), seeking His truth always and prayers (John 17:17; I Tim. 4:5), makes us clean in the sight of God. Thus, as noted earlier, no amount of fasting, denial of self from momentary pleasures, or even self-flogging can purify us.
Third, you cannot, of and by yourself, create within you “the desire to do God’s will.” Paul in Romans 8:5-7 explains:
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be."
Only through a life that is in full submission to God’s will and actively led by the Holy Spirit can God work “in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure”:
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13.
Thus having repented and obtained our faith through the shed blood of Christ, we can then receive the benefit of a good and abundant life leading to life eternal!
"The Spirit however, produces in human life fruits such as these: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, tolerance and self-control—and no law exists against any of them." Galatians 5:22-25 (J.B. Phillips New Testament)
- Category: Feasts and Holy Days
- Created on 13 April 2014
- Last Updated on 13 April 2014
- Written by Administrator
Order of Service (Hebrew: seder) of the Passover meal:
The following are suggested order for Seder meal for Christian believers, while this is not an exhaustive outline, every head of the family/host can make an improvisation based on the need of participants.
- Opening Remarks: The Seder begins with Lighting of Candle by a woman/mother. Scriptures to be read: Psalm 27:1; 1 Cor. 5:7-8 or Romans 5:6-10
Comment: As we kindle the festival lights, we ask God to bring great personal meaning to this, our Passover celebration...
- Opening Prayer; Singing of Hymn: Behold the Glories of the Lamb, p. 133 (or other fitting hymns—you can improvise on this)
Blessed are you, O Lord God Almighty, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us through your Holy Spirit and by your commandments we can be the light of the world. We humbly ask for the blessing upon this service as we remember the great acts of our Redeemer, the promised seed of a woman. We ask you Holy Father, to open our understanding, so that we may fully comprehend the significance of this celebration…
Blessing of first Cup of Wine
- Blessing (Prayer) over the first cup of wine by the head (host): Read Luke 22:14-18
Let us pray and lift our cup which is the cup of Sanctification together and bless the name of the Lord…
(Blessed are you, O Lord, Our Creator God and King of the Universe, who created the fruit of the vine. We thank you upon this cup…in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, amen.)
- Reading of verses (Luke 22:25-27; John 13:1-17) as participants prepares for the ceremonial foot washing.
- Eating of the Bitter Herbs:
We may now dip the bitter herb into salt water and eat it…
- Second cup of wine poured on glass (do not drink yet)
- Asking questions by the youngest son ("why is this night different?" etc. read Exodus 10:2; Exodus 12:26-27; Exo. 13:14; Deut. 6:20-21; )
- Reading of Hallel, Psalms 113, 114, and drinking of second cup of wine
Eating of Unleavened Bread
- Scripture reading before eating of bread: Isaiah 53:3-10; I Cor. 11:24
Blessings (Prayer) over the Unleavened bread
Eating of the Unleavened bread (orig. dipped in bitter herbs)
- Eating of Main Supper Meal: Before meal, reading of the Scriptures: Exodus 12:14-18; and a Prayer-
Eating of the lamb/meat firstly to be followed by other foods on the table
- After supper, the host will pour the third cup of wine, after the blessing (prayer), everyone drank it
- Passover Saga/Final Hallel Reading: Reading from Scriptures—Exo 12:3-13; Exodus 14:1-31; Deut. 6:1-9; John 1:1-18; John 1:29-34;Matthew 11:25-30; Reading of the second (final) portion of the Hallel, Psalms 115-118 read/recited alternately by participants
- Drinking of fourth cup
- Closing Hymn and/or Prayer.
Reference: Christ in the Passover by Ceil and Moishe Rosen, pages 50-59
- Category: Recipe Box
- Created on 11 April 2014
- Last Updated on 11 April 2014
- Written by Vivian Hipe
The following is a simple do-it-yourself recipe that can be used for Passover meal/Feast of Unleavened Bread. This recipe is similar to Mrs. Armstrong's Passover bread recipe from "Savoring the Sabbaths" cookbook, p380.
1 Cup Flour
½ Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoon Butter
1/8 Teaspoon Butter
1-1/2 Teaspoon Olive Oil
¼ Cup Water
1. Add salt to flour and sift into bowl
2. Add butter and cut into bowl
3. Mix oil and water and add to bowl
4. Stir all ingredients
5. Knead dough lightly
6. Split dough in half and roll thin
7. Place on cookie sheet
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
9. Place in oven for 8-10 minutes
10. Let it cool for 5 minutes
Serve and enjoy!
Note: Instead of oven, you can also use oven toaster or non-stick frying pan.
In making for unleavened bread, be sure all utensils and work surfaces are cleaned after each batch to avoid naturally occurring yeasts.
- Category: Scripture Studies
- Created on 11 April 2014
- Last Updated on 11 April 2014
- Written by Raul Hipe
Over two thousand years since Jesus of Nazareth lived on this earth, Christians have celebrated a meal with bread and wine. This tradition is based on the account of each of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), recorded in the book of Acts, and in First Corinthians. At the very least, this meal reminds every believer of the body and blood of Jesus, but there is much more to contemplate about this simple practice…
The Church of God Sharing Village believe in the partaking of the “bread and wine” as Jesus Christ taught his early disciples and as He had expanded and fulfilled its meaning and symbolism. We have regularly taken up its emblem every first Sabbath of the month. And with the knowledge and the value that it benefited us over the years, we deem it necessary to share to you some of its understanding.
It has not been an easy task of course, as we made this addition as most of us have traditionally kept a rather similar observance annually during Passover. Nor do we want our practice identified with the “Eucharist” as it has evolved among Catholics or the “Communion” of the Protestants or even “Kiddush” of the Jewish. We just felt and believed that this practice has been in existence long before those practices developed—from its simple act of hospitality and thanksgiving to our Creator, acknowledging His provisions and deliverances, to the future redeeming sacrifice of His Son. So we called it, as it has commonly been called, the “bread and wine” in Scriptures.
But why bread and wine?
First, we have this somewhat overlooked but very significant example that Abraham showed as he met a priest named Melchizedek:
“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth.’” Gen 14:18-19
Notice how the bread and wine were used as a symbolic act in the context of “blessing” from a priest “of God Most High”. The Scripture does not say when Abraham learned this practice but the spontaneity of this incidence showed that it was a regular act or symbol expressed during ancient times as they acknowledged and worshipped their Creator God. Melchizedek, though identified as a “priest,” was a mysterious personage that lent credence to his figurative preeminence, especially when he was identified in the New Testament as:
“’…king of righteousness’, and then also king of Salem, meaning ‘king of peace,’ without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.” Hebrews 7:2-3
Whatever we perceived from this puzzling biographical sketch, his coming forth with bread and wine were very prophetic in itself when we think of its fulfillment and significance today.
Quite almost unnoticed nowadays, but bread and wine were customary accepted offerings in the Temple. Exo. 29:38-45 showed that it is part of the daily “evening and morning sacrifice.” Note that the LORD says that it has to be done whenever “I will meet you to speak with you” (verse 42). So that bread and wine has become a symbol when the LORD would like to meet and speak with his people.
Again, in Exo. 25:23-30, in the instructions to make the table for the Showbread—a stand to which offerings were placed, God commands, “And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always” (verse 30). The showbread itself is described fully in Lev. 24: 5-9.
Twelve “loaves” representing the twelve tribe of Israel were placed in two rows with six loaves in each row. It was called showbread because it was placed symbolically before the presence or “face” of God. In other words, the showbread was again symbolically used as our link or communication whenever we approach God.
Num. 15: 1-16, with the law of grain and drink offerings, it again showed that a combination of bread and wine was required for most of the sacrifices in the Temple. Fine flour mixed with olive oil as “grain offering” showed that only the best could be used in the offerings and worship of God. Wine was used (verses 7,10) as accompaniment to the burnt offerings of lamb, goat, ram, and bull.
During Feast Days, more particularly the three “Pilgrimage Feasts”, bread and wine also played a central role – the “unleavened” during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Lev. 23:6), the two “wave loaves” during the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (Lev. 23:17), and the daily “grain and drink offerings” for seven days, during the Feast of Tabernacles (Deut. 16:13; Num.29:12-38).
The lesson of the manna as the LORD taught the Israelites was also important as it shows these development and understanding. Exodus 16, recorded:
“’…in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the LORD your God.’” Verse 11.
Notice how the bread was associated with knowing God. Again in verse 15, we read:
“And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat. This is the thing which the LORD commanded…” verses 15-16a
Again, observe how the giving of bread juxtaposed with the keeping of the instruction.
“Then Moses said, ‘This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: fill an omer with it to be kept for your generations, that they may see the bread which I fed you in the wilderness…” verse 32
Following it up, the author of the letter to the Hebrews listed a golden jar of manna among the contents of the Ark of the Covenant. So this is worth thinking about: Bread has its ‘eternal’ or regular place [not just once every year] in the Holy of Holies.
Did the Israelites understand the significance of all these? Did they know that these somehow looked forward to their Messiah? The Scriptures does not directly say so, not even Christ’s own disciples until He personally taught them.
But what we do know is that bread and wine are basic stuff among Middle Eastern people, and it is undeniable how this has become inextricably linked to their lives and well-being. It has served as expressions to various acts such as giving of offerings or thanksgiving, ratification of a covenant, act of hospitality or friendship, and in purging alliances, etc. Most Jews today continue some shades of these practices and still recite blessings over bread and wine in their services, at their Sabbath meals, on holy days, and other special and intimate gatherings.
It is not surprising, therefore, that when Jesus Christ appeared on the scene, the Jews and the deciples should know what Jesus was referring to when He alluded to all these symbolisms.
So what did Jesus Christ say?
Move forward now to the time when Jesus finally revealed Himself in John 6. You may read the whole of John chapter 6, but it would suffice here to repeat the following verses as focus of this study. Christ declared the following:
“…”Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world…
“Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.
“I am the bread of life…
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
“Then Jesus said, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.
“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
“For my flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
“As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.
“This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” John 6:32-33,47-48,51,53-58.
- Category: Feasts and Holy Days
- Created on 08 April 2014
- Last Updated on 08 April 2014
- Written by Raul Hipe
Passover season is upon us, brethren. We have barely a week to prepare! Preparations like these are always a good thing so we can reflect on the importance of why we are keeping the Passover feast in contrast to what most people are doing during this period who are oblivious to the season.
Probably, most families are already thinking and preparing for some summer getaway. Maybe an outing at the beach, which is a necessary respite after school, anyway it is also a break.
But why think of Passover firstly? What are some of the necessary preparations we need?
What is the important lesson that we still need to be rehearsing?
With the continuing advance of technology, the internet, social media, and tons of smart gadgets available for ourselves and even as we pamper our children, a stark observation and reality emerge.
For one thing, the idea of “self-promotion” is becoming the in thing among many people and in the most convenient way. Thanks to our favorite social media-- today, there is no denying that we are fast becoming a self-promoting society. The “Me” generations or millennials is almost over and we are seeing the emerging of the “Selfie” pandemic!
Who are the “selfies” and what drives them? And why is it necessary to mention them in connection with Passover?
Sociologists categorize the selfies as young, spoiled, self-centered brats but armed with the latest innovations of technology. They are geeks but it seems the only thing they love to do is expose their egos for all to see. There may be some fun in what they are doing, but the trouble with the selfies is they do not know how to draw the line between being self-confident and becoming a pain in the neck with their social friends “tagged” in their favorite pose.
And for the Guinness, according to the survey, the Philippines, in particular, Makati and Pasig, is touted as the world’s selfie capital. New York landed second, while Cebu posted number 9.
While the impact of these sociological trends among selfies, is still up for debate, too much emphasis on self, personal appearance, beautification, and self indulgence is already disturbing. While these self proclivities are not new in itself, this too much pleasing of the self (self-focused), and the ever growing self-centeredness among many will continue to rob everyone of the most salient and important values. Could this scenario lead people into what Jesus Christ prophetically described when referring to the latter days: “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:22)?
How can a love grow cold in a “generation of selfies”?
The apostle Paul has the following admonition for young Timothy: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy…” (2 Timothy 3:1)
So observe, and ask yourself: When we are so focused on ourselves and on what pleases us, can we really be able to develop that outgoing love and concern for others?
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