The people of Israel asked God, “How have we defiled you?” God replied, “With this you say, ‘The Lord’s Table is contemptible'” (Mal. 1:7). We celebrate the Lord’s Table every Lord’s Day. But with what attitude do we appear? When you come together, do you just sing your favorite songs until the time is up, say a few prayers, break the bread, and then go home? Is your heart really ready to keep the feast of the Lord, or do you come unprepared, just as you are? Are you relying on others to call out a song or on the “lead” brother to have prepared a passage from Scripture while everyone else is just waiting to see what happens next? Are you aware of what you are eating or is it simply a little piece of bread to you? This is unsatisfying for everyone involved. The Lord said to His people, “You say, ‘The Lord’s Table is contemptible,'” because the Lord’s Table had become routine for them – they had become numb and insensitive. The Lord’s Table became something ordinary, as in 1 Corinthians 11, where they took the Lord’s Supper along with their dinner and could no longer tell the difference between the two. Some were even drunk, while some did not wait for the others to eat. And what happened to them? Many became ill, and quite a few of them even died. They mixed the body of Christ with their meals, and this was very tragic.
Do we still feel the anticipation when we come to the Lord’s Table, or has it become something ordinary, a routine that we hold to every Sunday morning at 10:00? Do we have something prepared? Have we prepared our heart? We pray, “I thank You, Lord, that You died for me. Your body was broken.” You do not even thank the Lord for the cup and drink from it. You don’t realize what you are drinking and do not have the desire to experience the many blessings that this cup contains. The cup is the blood of the covenant, which brings all the blessings of the new covenant! Do you appreciate that all your sins are forgiven, as God said in the new covenant, “…and their sins I will surely remember no more” (Heb. 8:12b). Do you feel the desire for God to write His laws in your heart and mind? Do you have the confidence that you can sweep out all the leaven through the unleavened bread? And you repeat this meeting every week. Is your life permanently changed by preparation for the Lord’s Table? If not, it would be tantamount to “despising the Lord’s Table.” It does not remind you of the Lord and what He has done so that you could experience the reality of all feasts in the coming week.
Some brothers and sisters were offended when I said that singing is not the true worship that God desires from us. Of course, singing is good, although the angels can probably sing even better. But do you think God is happy and satisfied after listening to our singing for an hour? On the other hand, when you sing, do you sing it for God or do you sing it because you like the song and enjoy it yourself? Ask God what He thinks about this!
The table of the Lord is holy. It is a wonderful table that shows us all the feasts that have been fulfilled by Christ so that we may experience His riches in them. We are not only to have knowledge of the feasts and remember them, rather they serve our experience. How do we keep the Passover when we only superficially say, “Praise the Lord for the Lamb of God,” but then stay in Egypt and love the world? There are so many more aspects of the Passover that we can experience: passing through the Red Sea, entering the good land, fulfilling God’s plan. The Feast of Unleavened Bread in Chinese is called the “Feast of Leaven Sweeping”. Now, dear Chinese brothers and sisters, are you strengthened by this bread so that you can sweep out the leaven from your hearts throughout the coming week? If not, then what are you eating this piece of unleavened bread for? I like the Chinese expression for this feast because it is not just about eating the unleavened bread, but mainly about sweeping the leaven out of us. If we do not eat the unleavened bread, we are not strong enough to sweep out the leaven. Just as you cannot breathe in fresh air without first exhaling the stale air. There must be a constant exchange. The Lord dealt very harshly with the people of Israel. He told them that for seven days, a whole week, no leaven should be found in their houses. Furthermore, in whoever’s house leaven was found, he would be cut off from the people of Israel (cf. Ex. 12:18-20). But unfortunately we do not take this word seriously. That is why there is still so much leaven in us: malice, wickedness, all our religious ideas, the lust of the flesh, covetousness, and many other things that are hidden in our hearts and not yet swept out. No wonder our Christian life is often still full of difficulties!
Then there is the Feast of Firstfruits: does this feast awaken in you the desire to become a firstfruit, to experience the power of Christ’s resurrection, to overcome death and come out of the grave? When we prepare the Lord’s Table, every priest in the priesthood must have an awareness of each of these wonderful feasts.
In the transitional period before the coming of the Lord, we want to help all the saints realize how necessary it is to keep all seven feasts – from Passover to the Feast of Tabernacles. When you prepare for the coming of the Lord, do you live in tents? This does not mean that you should pitch a tent beside the road. Please do not do that. But in your heart you must live as if you were living in a tent or in a tabernacle, as Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 7:29-31: “He who has, live as if he had not; he who is married, live as if he were not married.” This does not mean that you should think, “I don’t want to be married anymore.” You can be married, but your heart should be pure and for the Lord. You are not bound by anything. You may have a beautiful home, but nothing binds you to it in your heart. You live like a person who lives in a tent – but fully satisfied in Christ. In this way, you keep the Feast of Tabernacles before the coming of the Lord. Otherwise, at our Lord’s return, you will be like Lot’s wife, whose heart was still attached to a burning city. Then the Lord will say, “You might as well go back and try to put out the fire and save what you can.” Keep the Feast of Tabernacles!
The Lord’s Table and everything related to it is holy. What the Lord has given us is precious. All the wonderful riches of Christ are contained in this Table, just as Melchizedek appeared to Abraham with bread and wine. Don’t think, “Is this all we have – a little piece of bread and a little cup?” Yes, that’s all! That’s all we need. When the Lord opens your eyes to the meaning and reality of this bread, you will realize how rich this Table is and be overcome with gratitude. In the house of God, we need nothing but the reality of this bread and this cup of blessings.
Together with the feasts at the Lord’s Table, we bring the sacrifices to the Father out of love and gratitude. The feasts are prepared for us by God through Jesus Christ for our experience and enjoyment. The sacrifices consist of the riches of Christ, which we have experienced in order to offer them to God for His pleasure and satisfaction. This is a wonderful cycle – something comes down from God to us through Christ, and something goes up from us to the Father through Christ. We cannot expect something to always come down from above while nothing goes up. God is very reasonable.