Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Sacrament for All Time

One of the most celebrated events in Judeo-Christian history is the exodus of the Israelites from slavery. The Lord had prepared and preserved the prophet Moses to be his mouthpiece as he introduced miracles and plagues to persuade the Egyptian Pharoah to free his covenant people. When none of these were effective, a tenth plague was announced that would kill the firstborn of each family.

To preserve the lives of the faithful, the Lord also introduced the ordinance of the Passover. Those that would listen to Moses were instructed to find a male lamb without blemish and kill it after three days. The meat was to be well cooked and eaten in in a hurried way with shoes on and staffs in hand as if they would need to traverse the desert regions out of Egypt immediately following their meal. The blood of the lambs was to be displayed on the doorposts of each home as a token of their covenant.

On the appointed night, the firstborn of Egypt died. After the death of the king's son, the Israelites were finally allowed to leave Egypt.

For generations, the Passover ordinance brought together the past, the present and the future in the religious observances of faithful Israelites. It was a memorial of the what the Lord had done to preserve their lives, a reminder of vigilance required to meet the demands of the Law and be saved from death, and a call to be prepared for deliverance from bondage and for the coming of the Lord.

Three thousand years later, the same Lord that taught the Israelites about the Passover sat himself at a Passover meal in an upper room in Jerusalem. He had come to fulfill the Law of Moses and to introduce a higher law. He had prepared and preserved the lives of Peter, James, John and his other apostles to perform miracles and share the gospel message that would free mankind from the bondage of sin. He knew that no other power, no other sort of spirituality, nor the philosophies and wonders of men would be enough to save us from the spiritual death destined for us all.

To preserve both the physical and spiritual lives of the faithful, the Lord introduced the ordinance of the Sacrament. That very evening, he would go as the Lamb of God, without blemish, to Gethsemane and then to Golgatha to suffer and die for the sins and inadequacies of all mankind. Now he offered bread to his apostles so the faithful could partake of his flesh and wine to display on the doorposts of our souls as a token of the covenants we have made with him.

Like the Passover, the ordinance of the Sacrament reminds us of what the Lord has already done for us, what we should do today to be saved by the blood of the Lamb and that we need to prepare for him to keep his promises and for his glorious Second Coming. Each is worthy of our reverent contemplation. If we have appropriately prepared, we can partake of the sacrament with an attitude of urgency as if our deliverance from sin and death waits only upon our final swallow.

Just as the Israelites were delivered by the death of the king of Egypt's son, so are we delivered by the death of the Son of the Living God, the King of Kings. But not by his death only, but also by his life, for he lives and he will come again in what is sure to be a great and terrible day in eternal history of heaven and earth.

See also: Exodus 12, 1 Peter 1:18-23, Alma 34:36-41.

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