Brant Pitre, in his new book, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper, examines what Jews were expecting when it came to the Messiah. This may seem like an odd place to begin in understanding Eucharist, but if you are a 1st Century Jew it is the only place one could have begun. I said this very thing but repeat it because we are looking at points 3 and 4.
1. The coming of a New Moses.
2. The making of a New Covenant.
3. The building of a New Temple.
4. The journey to a New Promised Land.
Last week we looked at #1 and 2, this week at #3 and 4.
The original Exodus involved the Tabernacle, that developed eventually into the Temple. The New Exodus also involves a New Temple. This sacred place is the place where God meets his people, cures their sins, and evokes gratitudinal worship. Micah 4:1-2 and Isaiah 56:6-7 and 60:1-7 anticipate the New Temple in the final days. And here again the rabbis, and he appeals to Numbers Rabbah 13:2, touch on the same theme.
The fourth theme concerns the New Promised Land. The exodus led to the Promised Land; so the final days would be a new promised land. The Land figures prominently in the Bible and in Judaism, and you can’t talk about kingdom or anything important in the 1st Century and neglect Land. So esp Isaiah but also Ezekiel 36:33-35 says,
33 “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. 35 They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.”
So here it is: the anticipation of an Eden-like Land. Non-biblical sources touch on this same anticipation. The hope was for God to make all things new.
Jesus too expected and enacted New Exodus themes: baptism, wilderness temptations, making water into blood (Moses in Egypt theme), new covenant, etc.
In Eucharist, we celebrate Jesus as building a new temple and configuring a new land. The word “exodus” is actually used at Luke 9:31.