All Ate the Same Spiritual Food (Paedocommunion)
The Bible is a Book of Tales (Narrative Theology)
Now wait, WHOM do you want with you at the Lord’s feast? Whom do you want to include in the table?
And he said to them, “Go, serve the LORD your God. But which ones are to go?” 9Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old. We will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, for we must hold a feast to the LORD.” 10But he said to them, “The LORD be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! Look, you have some evil purpose in mind. 11No! Go, the men among you, and serve the LORD, for that is what you are asking.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.
What a wonderful passage to bring a smile to my face! Throughout the text, there have been different definitions of the goal of getting to Sinai:
- “Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.” (Ex 5.1)
- “Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.” (Ex 5.8)
- “Let my people go, that they may serve me.” (Ex 10.3)
Go, but don’t leave! Go, but not far! Go, but not all of you! (8.25, 8.28, 10.8-11). God was never happy with Pharaoh’s restrictions:
“26But Moses said, “It would not be right to do so, for the offerings we shall sacrifice to the LORD our God are an abomination to the Egyptians. …27We must go three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as he tells us.” …Only let not Pharaoh cheat again by not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.”” (Ex 8.25-29)
The food had to be right, and the place had to be right, and the people had to be right. ALL the people MUST.
This is the build up to the first passage we saw at the top of the page (Ex 10).
All of this is the build up to Exodus 12 and the Passover requirements, which are the same… because, as Tim Gallant points out in Feed My Lambs, they only ate the Passover in Egypt because they had been refused the chance to eat, to serve, to sacrifice to God at Horeb.
If you are considering the idea of allowing your children to eat the Lord’s supper, instituted at Passover (1 Cor 5.7-8), remember that in THIS meal God required their “little ones” AND their women to feast. Remember that God required at the first passover, “all the congregation of Israel must celebrate it” (Ex 12.47).
Remember that as with Manna and with Quail, “all [who were baptized into Moses] ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink.” (1 Cor 10.1-4). Remember that it wasn’t mere food, but “they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ” (1 Cor 10.5).
THE FEAST shows the BORDERS of who is with God. That’s what Moses told Pharaoh. The people must feast!
And now WE use the SAME ANALOGY: “(1 Cor 10:) 17Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?…(1 Cor 12:) 12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”
Whatever the restriction in 1 Cor 11 are, they are NOT against the little ones (or the women). They are against IDOLATORS, and IMMORAL, and against the PROUD RICH. Those same sins caused men to fall in the wilderness.
But the humor used is NOT exaggerated to say that we paedocommunionists “have no evil purpose in mind” by “taking our young and our old, and our sons and daughters” for “the people must feast!”.
It isn’t an exaggeration because the anger of the Lord burned at Pharaoh and killed his son, because he would not “let God’s firstborn son go to serve God” (Ex 4.21-23). We know that serving God meant feasting on a sacrifice. We know that the language of God’s threat (Ex 4) is the continued language of “let all my people go,” and it is at the height of the story that the pinnacle representation of the idea of the first born is the LITTLE ONES of Israel. The Least of These My Brethren.
If we abandon allowing the little ones to have their place in the narrative, then we don’t have narrative redemption to the slaughter of the firstborn in the Nile in chapter 1.
But why did God do all these things?
“that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.” (Ex 10.1-2)
To teach their children and their children’s children.
He is, after all, a covenant keeping God.