Brent Niedergall

A FEATHER IN YOUR THEOLOGICAL CAP

Two chicken-fried steaks with gravy and sliced onions. 

A triple-patty bacon cheeseburger. 

Cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and jalapenos.

A bowl of fried okra and ketchup.

One pound of barbecued meat with half a loaf of white bread.

Three fajitas. 

A meat lovers pizza. 

One pint of ice cream. 

A slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts.

And three root beers. 

Enough food to feed a small army. But this was a single meal for a single person—a real-life “last meal” request from an inmate sitting on Death Row. And it was a request that was granted. Whatever your thoughts might be on giving convicted criminals a good meal before executing them, that is a substantial meal. What would you choose for your last meal if you had to craft a menu for such an event? Mine would be sushi and buffalo wings all the way. And maybe some ribs. 

I don’t know what would make a good meal in your book, but I know what makes a good meal in the Bible. I’ve been thinking about three specific meals and what ties them all together. These are three meals of substance from the Bible. 

Meal #1: Exodus 24:9–11

I had the best third-grade teacher. She planned this “Bible times’ meal. (It was a Christian school.) And we had pomegranates and dates and all kinds of other stuff I can’t remember. It was a good meal. But in Exodus 24, we read about a meal like no other. Moses and the elders of Israel sealed the Old Covenant with God by partaking of a meal. They entered into an agreement with God. By sacrificing animals and splattering blood, they put themselves under the responsibility to keep the law. God in turn would make them his “treasured possession among all peoples” (Exod. 19:5). Not a bad deal. And this was a landmark meal to seal said deal. They ate in the presence of God. 

But the Old Covenant was temporary, ineffectual, and anticipatory of a permanent and effectual covenant. It was intended to be the “needle that pierced the conscience so that the thread of the gospel could follow and heal” (81) It could not provide justification, otherwise there would have been no need for Christ to die (Gal. 2:21). And this leads directly to our next meal. Despite the monumental status of this meal, there was an even more significant meal to come. 

Meal #2: Mark 14:22–25

The Old Covenant came with a meal. The New Covenant also gets a meal: the Last Supper. It was at this meal Jesus said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” Another amazing meal. Moses and the elders ate with God in Exodus 24. Here the disciples ate with God. This time, God the Son. And, just as the Old Covenant was sealed with blood, the New Covenant was sealed with blood. The prophet Jeremiah prophesied of a New Covenant God would make with Israel. This covenant would bring inward transformation, a relationship with the Lord, and forgiveness of sin. And Jesus said His blood, the blood He shed on the cross, is the seal for this covenant. Christ’s blood is foundational for all the blessings of the covenant (118). This covenant will be realized in the Millennial Kingdom. Although it is yet unfulfilled, the church presently receives blessings from this covenant. But the Lord Jesus points towards a future meal when at the Last Supper He said, “Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” What will that meal be like?

Meal #3: Isaiah 25:6

The prophet Isaiah looked forward to this same meal Jesus spoke. It’s the kingdom. And this meal remains in the future. It will be on Mount Zion—Jerusalem. And the guest list will not involve only Israel, but Jew and Gentile. And hot diggity, this will be a feast to behold. It’s the Millennial Kingdom where Christ will rule and meet the needs of all His people. And the blessings extend beyond just good food. There will be peace and prosperity. Death will be no more. No more oppression. No more sickness, pain, disappointment, or loss. Christ will rule. Death and sin will have no power. And I’m happy to believe there will be actual eating and drinking since Jesus himself said He would be drinking of the fruit of the vine. 

Conclusion

These three meals form an arc. The Old Covenant was the context for the first. And the Old Covenant looked forward to a better covenant. That covenant—the New Covenant—is still in the future. But the church benefits from its basis (the shed blood of Christ) in the present. And a future meal still remains for all of God’s people, who will partake of His blessings for eternity. There is anticipation as we look forward to the culmination of God’s plan. Man’s fellowship with God steadily builds. Moses and the elders ate in the presence of the Lord. The disciples ate with the incarnate Lord. And Isaiah describes the Lord serving us a feast. We should look forward to enjoying His presence forever. 

My only question is: Will there be sushi and buffalo wings?

Image Credit: Spencer Davis on Unsplash

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