Full Text for Exodus- Volume 52 - Is the meal that the elders of Israel eat before God a type of the Lord's Supper (Exod. 24:9-11)? (Video)

ROUGHLY EDITED COPY CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY EDUCATION NETWORK EXODUS DR. DAVID ADAMS #52 Captioning Provided By: Caption First, Inc. 10 E. 22nd Street Suite 304 Lombard, IL 60148 800-825-5234 *** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. *** >> We've made several references so far to typologies and metaphors present in the text and history of the Exodus. Is the meal that the elders of Israel eat before God a type of the Lord's Supper? >> Before we can answer the question about the specific -- about a specific instance like this one, it might be good for us to pause and review what typology is and how we know a type when we see one or hopefully know it when we see it. First we need to recognize that the New Testament is very clear about the existence of types in the text. So in Romans Chapter 5 Verse 14, for example, we read "Death reigned from Adam to Moses even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam who was a type of the one who was to come." So here in Romans Paul uses the very word type. In fact, it's from this passage in Romans that we get our term typology. The question is: What does this mean? What is a type? What do we mean when we talk about typology? Well, the first thing that we have to admit is there is no clear-cut definition within the Bible itself. There's no verse that you can turn to that will explain exactly what Paul means when he says that Adam is a type of the one who is to come. But if you look at the way that the New Testament itself uses typology or types, then I think we can inductively conclude the way that we should understand what a type is. So perhaps we should start with a definition and then kind of work up that definition. A type is a person, place, thing or event that in some way points ahead to or anticipates another person, place, thing or event in the kingdom of God and is such a way that the latter is a fulfillment or completion of the former. Now, there are a couple of key elements here. First, a type is not the same as a verbal prophesy. You know, if someone says X will happen in the future, that's a verbal direct prophesy. A type is a form, if you will, of indirect prophesy where you get a person or a place or a thing or an event like the exodus that anticipates or points ahead to something that God is going to do in his kingdom at a future time. So here are some of the things that we need to remember when we ask if something is a type or not. First both the proposed type and the proposed anti-type -- by anti-type we mean the fulfillment. The type is the first thing. The anti-type is the latter thing. So both the type and the anti-type must be real historical things. It's this fact that distinguishes typology from symbolism or typology from allegory. Typology is not just symbolism and it's not allegory. Because the things referred to must always be real historical things. And on both ends of the equation. Both the original must be a real historical thing and the fulfillment must be a real historical thing. So no symbolism here. Secondly, the type -- excuse me, the anti-type, the fulfillment, must in some way be greater than the type. In other words, what we have is a development or growth or we would probably say better fulfillment of what is anticipated beforehand. And thirdly, the -- this must in some way be connected to the revelation of God's kingdom or the work of Christ in the world. And that includes the ***escaton, the final days, as well. In other words, these are just not sort of random events. But they are things that God reveals as part of revealing his plan in the world and showing us what his kingdom is. So these three elements -- and this is I realize something of a simplified definition. But it will get us enough to, you know, certainly help us understand the discussion in almost every case. Both the type and the anti-type must be historical. They must be -- that is to say, they must be real, not symbols. The anti-type must be greater than the type or fuller than the type. And they must be connected to the revelation of the kingdom of God in the world or in the escaton. So as an example that we've already seen here in the book of Exodus, the Passover lamb is used as a type of the sacrificial death of Christ. Both are real historical events. The Passover actually happened. You know, here we have a thing, a Passover lamb. The anti-type, the coming of Jesus Christ and his death, is also a real historical thing. The anti-type is greater than the type because the type -- the Passover lamb just functioned for the people of Israel and that particular family. Whereas Jesus' death and resurrection was part of God's redemptive act for the whole world. And so it's greater than the former. And of course in this case self-evidently both are part of God's revealing his kingdom or his work in the world. So that's how we understand what a type is. Now, we need to also know that there's disagreement among scholars, even conservative Lutheran scholars, about the freedom that one has to find types where the New Testament itself doesn't directly identify them. There are some who take the view that the only things that we can call types are the things that the Bible itself calls types. That's a perfectly legitimate position and one that many even in our church hold to. There are others who take the view who might go to the other extreme and sort of every time they see something in the Old Testament, they sort of find a type under every rock. You know, and so in some ways, it's hard, you know, for this sort of more -- I hate to call it a liberal view. But let's call it a freer view of typology. Sometimes it's hard to tell what the connection is between the type and the anti-type, except perhaps some kind of word association. My own view is probably somewhere between those two. I think -- and this is, you know, a personal judgement on my part. You don't have to agree with me in this case. But it's my view that we can identify types that are not specifically mentioned in the New Testament but that we must be very careful in doing so. We shouldn't just find any kind of connection in the Old Testament that reminds us of something in the New Testament and say that that's a type. That might be going just a little too far. So my view would be -- my personal view would be a little more of a restrained view. And so from that perspective of a sort of middle of the road restrained view of typology, let me try, Eric, to answer your question now about whether this particular meal in Exodus 24 is a type of the Lord's Supper or not. Well, let's walk through our criteria. First, is this specifically identified as a type in the New Testament? The answer is no, it is not. And for some scholars, that would be enough to answer the question. No, if it's not identified as one, then it's not one. So if you want to take that view, that's fine. I certainly have no problems with that. But let's go a little further and say for the moment -- at least for the sake of our academic discussion let's say we're still going to be open to considering the matter further. So let's look at some other criteria. Is it historical? Yes, both the type, this meal, and the Lord's Supper, the anti-type, are real historical events. Is the latter greater than the former? I think so. Yeah, I think we would say that the Lord's Supper by which God communicates his grace to his people is greater than this covenant meal that just involved the elders of Israel. Are both a part of the revelation of God's plan in history? Yeah, I think we would all agree that that's the case, as well. So we might be inclined to think, well, yeah, okay, we're on a roll here. It looks like evidence is pretty good. But let me offer some other considerations. First, the Lord's Supper is a redemptive meal. That is to say it actually accomplishes the salvation that God is giving his people. By giving his body and blood in, with and under the bread and wine, God communicates his grace to those who receive it. And so it is a truly redemptive act. Where this meal in Exodus 24 is merely a fellowship meal. It does not communicate God's salvation to Moses and the elders. Now, you may say, "But that's part of the way that the Lord's Supper is greater than this." And that would be a reasonable response. But I thought that I should point that out at least. By the way, there is a real redemptive meal in the book of Exodus. And we've already seen it. Remember? The Passover meal. That's part of God's redemptive activity. And so maybe we should also ask the question at the same time: Is the Passover meal a type of the Lord's Supper? Well, let's stop and think about this. The Lord's Supper has two aspects, as you will recall. It has a vertical aspect that is our relationship with God. And that's the redemptive aspect of the meal. Because in that vertical aspect we receive the grace of God for the forgiveness of our sins in, with and under the bread and wine. That's what makes the Lord's Supper a sacrament, that vertical aspect. But the Lord's Supper also has a horizontal aspect in which we rejoice with other believers in the gift that we have received. And part of that horizontal aspect is also the fact that we in receiving the Lord's Supper confess Christ's death until he comes. And so we proclaim it both to one another and to the world. So there is a confessional, public confessional, aspect to the horizontal part of the Lord's Supper, as well. When we look at the Passover meal, we see that the Passover meal has these same two aspects to it. It has the vertical redemptive aspect. Remember, it's part of the process by which God redeems Israel. And it also has a horizontal aspect. Remember the instructions that were given about teaching children in each new generation. And so the people, the family gathers together and confesses what God has done in the past and affirms their reception of God's redemptive work and proclaims it. So the same confessional aspect applies to the Passover meal, as well. And by the way, in that regard there's an interesting addition that we might note in Chapter 13. Israel is told that once they come into the land, that the only people who should participate in the Passover meal are members of the covenant community. That those who are on the outside, even those who are visiting them in their family, if they have visitors staying with them at the time or servants who are living in their household, they should not participate in the covenant meal unless they become circumcised. In other words, the Old Testament is very clear that the practice of the Passover is a closed practice. The only people who are allowed to participate in it are members of the covenant community who are able both to celebrate their reception of God's grace and, in fact, receive it and also then confess it to the world by faith. So the Passover meal has the same vertical and horizontal dimensions that the Lord's Supper does. Now, what about this meal in Exodus 24? If we look at it in detail, we would see that it seems to lack the redemptive dimension. It has the horizontal dimension, the celebration of the relationship that God has established with his people in the covenant. And so we could argue that even, you know, it has a confessional aspect. If we do this before the world, the world hears about it. But it lacks the vertical. That is to say it lacks the redemptive -- there is a vertical element here, a slight one, in the sense that they do do this in the presence of God. But it's not part of God's redemptive plan. It's not part of the way that he saves his people. So it seems to me that Exodus 24 is not quite as good a type of the Lord's Supper as the Passover meal is. It may be that the covenant meal in Exodus 24 is a better candidate as a type for that meal that occurs in the book of Revelation, the marriage feast of the lamb. There the people of God gathered in God's eternal presence to celebrate the establishment of the relationship that God has given them through Christ as they celebrate the marriage of feast of the lamb on the thrown of the lamb in eternity. So if we were going to argue that there was a type here, I might be inclined to say that this is a better type of that eschatological meal than it is of the Lord's Supper. But of course this raises an additional question: What's the relationship between the Lord's Supper and that eschatological meal? And frankly, I think that's outside the scope of this course. So you know, we'll leave that for you. And you can ask that of some other professor in a future class. I hate to equivocate, Eric, an answer to your question. But it seems to me that this is one of those things that fall into a gray area. Unless you believe that there are no types except those that are specifically identified in the Bible, then I think that I would say that there's not quite enough evidence to say categorically that this is a type of the Lord's Supper. And at the same time, there's just enough evidence to keep us from saying that categorically it is not a type of the Lord's Supper. So I'm not troubled. If you want to see this as a type of the Lord's Supper, that would be fine with me. I wouldn't object to that. As long as you can articulate why. And here I've tried in some detail to articulate -- to say, "Here is how you might articulate that answer." I would prefer to see it as a type of the marriage feast of the lamb and to see the Passover meal as a type of the Lord's Supper. But in the end, we might see both of these two, the Lord's Supper and the marriage feast of the lamb, as related. And so maybe we're talking about a very fine distinction here. So Eric, thanks for the question. I'm sorry that I haven't given you a nice black and white answer on here. But hopefully in the process of looking at this, I've helped to clarify some of the issues about typology in general. And then you can take those and use them as you evaluate other things that you encounter in the Old Testament. *** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. ***