In Part 1, I tried to link the idea of UNION of the body with the celebrated union of FEASTING. This is the pattern of union and communion we see in baptism and the Eucharist, or in the Old Testament, in circumcision and the peace offerings (culminating in the Passover peace offering).
In Part 2, I want to show that the household unity is crucial to the whole idea of sacramental feasting in the Old Testamant.
Here are four verses out of two texts that are referring to the peace offerings (sh’lamim):
And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the LORD your God has blessed you.
And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male servants and your female servants, and the Levite that is within your towns, since he has no portion or inheritance with you.
…but you shall eat them before the LORD your God in the place that the LORD your God will choose, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, and the Levite who is within your towns. And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God in all that you undertake. Take care that you do not neglect the Levite as long as you live in your land.
And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household. And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you.
The Peace Offering was also called the fellowship offering, the free will offering, the vow offering, the votive offering, the Sacrifices, the sacrifice of thanksgiving, the sacrifice of praise.
The Levitical system only had one kind of sacrifice which was eaten by the laity, the sh’lamim, the Peace Offering. The Passover was a type of Sh’lamim.
The Peace Offering was eaten INTENTIONALLY as a family unit. Here these verses are very similar in idea to the declaration of the intended guests for the meal that became the Passover (Exodus 10.8-10)
Was the Better Covenant Made Worse?
If we do not allow children to the Lord’s table, then the New Testament has NO fulfillment and NO version of this very normal part of Old Testament. Rather, it seems that people believe that the New and Better Covenant asks families to rejoice in a worse and lesser way.
For anyone to worship God in the Old Testament, your children had to eat and rejoice with you.
People who try to show that the children were not participants in the OT meals are plainly missing the thematic unity of union and communion which is demonstrated in family unity at sacramental meals. No one would come up with the idea that the Passover didn’t include children unless he or she needed to find a way to say such a thing. The only ones excluded in Ex 12 are uncircumcised Gentiles. But that is for another post!
Reading about unity in circumcision in Genesis 17: unity in inheritance, and the unity in meals (Ex 10, 12; Dt 12), no one would think the Bible had excluded children.