8.2.2 Old Testament references to Holy Communion

The Old Testament not only makes frequent references to the Son of God, His suffering, and His sacrifice, but also relates many events that have a certain affiliation with Holy Communion. In retrospect, they can be understood as references to the sacrament established by Jesus Christ. From them it is clear just how closely the old and the new covenants are interrelated.


Genesis 14: 18-20 describes Abram's encounter with the royal Priest Melchizedek. Melchizedek–whom the epistle to the Hebrews interprets as a reference to Jesus Christ–blessed Abram and also brought him bread and wine (verse 18). "Bread and wine" are reminiscent of the elements of Holy Communion. This relationship becomes even clearer in Hebrews 5: 10, where Jesus Christ is called a "High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek".


Another important Old Testament reference to Holy Communion can be seen in the feeding of the Israelites with manna as they wandered in the wilderness (Exodus 16: 4-36). Manna is described as "bread from heaven" (verse 4). According to John 6: 35, Jesus Christ called Himself "the bread of life". This manna held the promise of something greater, as it were, namely a food which would not only strengthen the body, but also one's entire being, and serve for salvation.