The Ordination of Bread and Wine

The Ordination of Bread and Wine April 20, 2018

In Exodus 29:33, God gives instructions to the priests regarding how the sacrifices are to be performed, and by whom. In this section, God wraps it up by saying:

“They [the Priests] are to eat these offerings by which atonement was made for their ordination and consecration. But no one else may eat them, because they are sacred.”

Very simply, only the Old Covenant priests were allowed to perform the sacrifices. These offerings were specifically for atonement and they also were made for the ordination and consecration of the priests themselves. Only the priests were allowed to eat the meat that was offered there on the altar because that meat was “sacred”.

Got it? Good. Now, let’s skip over to Hebrews chapter 9 where we read about how the old covenant [the “first covenant”] was set up with rules and regulations about the tabernacle [and later the temple] and how all of those things were “copies” or symbolic of the “realities” which were found in Christ.

“It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” [Hebrews 9:23]

“The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves.”[Hebrews 10:1]

Now, I’d like you to notice something that the writer of Hebrews points out in Hebrews 13:10:

“We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.”

Wow. Do you get it?

Under the Old Covenant, the priests of that old covenant were the only one’s allowed to eat what was offered on that altar. No one else had the right to eat from it.

But now, under the New Covenant, “we have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle [those priests of the old covenant] have no right to eat.”

What is “our altar”? What is it that we have a right to eat that they, and others, do not?

It’s Christ!

Jesus is our true High Priest. He is our true sacrifice for sins and upon the cross he offered up his own life in the temple of his body as an atonement for us.

Just like in the Old Covenant, only a certain group of people had the right to eat of the meat that was sacrificed for atonement. Who were they? The priests of that old covenant.

Now, under the New Covenant, another sacrifice for atonement is made, and only a certain group of people have the right to eat of that meat that was offered. Who are they? Us! And what does that make us? It makes us priests in the Kingdom of God.

Jesus gave us His body to eat. He said that only those who eat his flesh and drink his blood have any life in them. At the last supper, Jesus said, “This is my body which is broken for you. Take and eat.” And then he took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.”

Paul says it this way:

“Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar?” [1 Cor. 9:13]

So, if we are “in Christ” then we are the only ones who have permission to eat of the flesh that was offered for atonement, and when we eat of that flesh, and partake of that sacrifice, we are also accepting our “ordination and consecration” as priests under the New Covenant of God.

“As you come to him, the living Stone…you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” [1 Peter 2:4-5]

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” [1 Peter 2:9-10]


What’s more, when the priests of the old covenant ate from the altar it was:

“… for their ordination and consecration” [Ex. 29:33]

Likewise, we also eat of the bread and drink the cup of Christ in order to affirm our own ordination and consecration into the Priesthood of Believers.

I don’t know about you, but I’d never seen this before and now that I’ve connected those dots, it unlocks many other realizations about our identity in Christ.

Can’t wait to hear what you think! If you enjoyed this, please consider sharing this post on Facebook or Twitter or on your other social networks to bless others as well.


Keith Giles is the author of several books, including “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”. He is also the co-host of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Orange, CA with their two sons.

Unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more on my Patreon page.


Please, join me at one of these upcoming events:

*Organic Church Conference with Neil Cole, Ross Rohde, Dan Notti and Keith Giles on Saturday, May 12 in Long Beach, CA. Register here>

*Jesus, the Bible and the Holy Spirit Conference with Jon Zens, Tom Atkinson, and Keith Giles, on May 18-20 in Seattle, WA. Register here>

*The Nonviolent Love of Christ: How Loving Our Enemies Saves The World
, with Joshua Lawson and Keith Giles on Saturday, June 16 in Portsmouth Ohio. Register here>

*Crucifying Our Politics with Keith Giles on June 24 in Cleveland, OH. Register here>

"The Great Commandments serve as the ethical ideal, the overarching principle from which all the ..."

Half of US Christians Have No ..."
"Christians have had 2000 years to adopt "the greatest commandment."Instead, christians gave us crusades, inquisitions, ..."

Half of US Christians Have No ..."
"They went into church because their parents made them. If they continue doing so, it ..."

Half of US Christians Have No ..."
"I agree with your last para. I think we have narratives because people read texts ..."

Half of US Christians Have No ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Thomas Loy Bumgarner

    Keith, how does this differ from the Lutheran definition of the Sacrament of the Altar?

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Nixon is lord.

  • Thomas Loy Bumgarner
  • Thomas Loy Bumgarner
  • What this article overlooks is that the “sacrifice” consumed by the priests was brought to the Temple by the people from their own supplies at home. The passage of scripture is merely providing for the people to keep the priests fed.

    There is no element of exclusion in the original. The people had their own meat at home, and they brought some of what they could spare so that the priests could eat as well.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    But why is church so boring?