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The Christian Seder Meal as Sacrament and Precursor to the Fulfillment of Romans 11

Although we cannot presume to fully understand God’s ultimate plans, it seems that the Holy Spirit has been moving the Church out of its Hellenistic period and into a renewal of its Hebraic heritage that will make Jews feel “at home” in the end times Church. This means that unnecessary cultural and historical barriers, such as its anti-Semitic supersessionist theology, and excessive Hellenism that would obstruct a Jew from accepting Jesus as Messiah are vanishing.

 

The Christian Seder Meal as token of Jewish/Christian reconciliation

From Paul’s prophetic passages in Romans and Ephesians we can frame the present Christian recovery of the Seder meal as Holy Spirit driven. It is another step to bring forward Jesus’ desire for love and reconciliation between Jew and Christian.  The present form of the Christian Seder meal may not be its final end-time form. Who knows what the Spirit has in store?  I imagine that the rabies who worked out female conversion baptism had no idea that it would develop much further.

Presently, there are multiple ways that Christian churches celebrate the Seder meal. Some do it on Good Friday; others time it to concur with the Jewish Passover. Some churches do a strictly Jewish service and invite Jewish neighbors to participate. Most Christian churches seem to prefer a Christianized form where the prayers are modified to recognize Jesus as Messiah. All seem to work well.

But I do have one (mild) criticism of the Christianized services. That is, that these services try to educate while they carry out the Seder. This makes it somewhat clumsy, and time consuming, as if a minister or priest had to stop and explain that the bread and wine represent (or become) the body and blood of Christ each time he does a communion service. Teaching about the Seder should be done in adult Sunday school or in a preaching sermon before the actual service. This would make the Seder sacrament service run more smoothly.

 

Notes

[1](Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003).

[2] I discuss this with more detail in Forgotten Power, chapter 3.

[3]F. Gavin, The Jewish Antecedents of the Christian Sacraments. (London: SPCK, 1928). A classic in its field.

[4] Forgotten Power, chapter 13.

[5] Anti-Semitism is found in Church documents as early as the Shepherd of Hermes, written in the late 1st Century, and may be erroneously read into the Gospel of John.

[6] On the other hand, several mainline denominations that have drifted leftward politically and into theological heresy, such as the Episcopal Church, now regularly lambast Israel as an imperialist state and side with the Palestinians.

[7] See the key twin articles by Daniel R. Langton in the Journal of the Study of the New Testament, “The Myth of the “Traditional View of Paul and the Role of the Apostle in Modern Jewish-Christian Polemics, (28, #1 summer 2005, 69-104), and “Modern Jewish Identity and the Apostle Paul,” (28 #2 December 2005, 217-258.

[8] Dale C. Allison “Romans 11:11-15: A suggestion,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 12 #1 (Spring 1985), 23-30.

[9] They find their righteousness in following Jesus Christ not in the Law Moses, but have their joy in affirming that many of the aspects of the Law are good to observe. On the importance of these Messianic congregation to the entire body of Christ see the works of Peter Hocken, beginning with his classic, The Glory and the Shame (London: Eagle, 1993).

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2016

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include Quenching the Spirit: Discover the Real Spirit Behind the Charismatic Controversy (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015), and The Public Prayer Station: Taking Healing Prayer to the Streets and Evangelizing the Nones (Emeth Press, 2018). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He continues in his healing, teaching and writing ministry and is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook

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