And as we go further into the text of Numbers 15, notice how all these things, sacrifice, grain and drink offerings, are given in an increasing way. We have 3 sections; from vv.4-5, they were to give 1/10th of an ephah of fine flour with oil. Then in vv.6-7 it is increased to 2/20th then in vv.8-9 it is increased to 3/10th. Same with the wine. We go from 1/4 of a hin (about 1 liter). It then increases to 1/3, then to 1/2. Notice the amounts getting larger. Like our fellowship with God, every day we ought to get closer to Him.
And see how the animal size increases as well, from a lamb, to a goat to an ox and each portrays a different facet of the Messiah. The lamb shows the innocence of the Messiah. He was slain as a lamb, and like a lamb, did not fight back. As the goat, like the scapegoat of Yom Kippur, He took the sins of Israel, and became sin for us. Both lamb and goat typify our freedom from sin. The ox is a symbol of servanthood, so while powerful, He the Servant, was submitted to the Father and came to serve. This is another reminder that the believer must never stay put and stagnant but must always grow in the Word.
And notice when it speaks of the bread. It is always broken, and not cut. Here we see the origin of the phrase to break bread. Yeshua was broken for us in order that we may be saved.
And there is more about the bread and the wine as both bring us back to Genesis where we see a type of the Messiah in one mysterious being called Melchizedek with whom we find the first mention of bread and wine. When Abraham came back from a war, an individual, Melchizedek, welcomed him back as we read in Genesis 14: 18-19 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him …
We later learn in the Book of Hebrews that this man Melchizedek, king of Salem, which must have been the original name of Jerusalem, was a type of Yeshua who is a Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 5:6 is citing Psalm 110:4. He was not Yeshua the Messiah, but a type of the Messiah and to whom Abraham gave his tithe. And the fact that Melchizedek gave bread and wine to Abraham, through whom the nation of priests was to come, so Yeshua gives bread and wine to the 11 disciples who were to be priests as well. Today, He gives it to us for we are part of this priesthood. This then is the Jewish or biblical origin of the Breaking of Bread. And no! The bread does not become the body of the Messiah. This is done in commemoration and acknowledgment of Who He is to us.
But there is one more element we ought not to forget about the bread. The Jewish ceremony connected to the breaking of bread, is the one called the afikomen. It is from the afikomen where Yeshua took this bread, and said, “Take it; this is My body.” Vs.23. What is the ceremony of the afikomen? Let us briefly look at it. There, we will better understand the depth of this great ordinance. The afikomen is also called the Tzafun Baruch, Tzafun means “hidden” and Baruch means blessed, so it is the Hidden Blessing as Yeshua is to believers today.
Year after year in Jewish homes, this ceremony is done at the Passover. It is when three matzahs are placed in a special Passover bag known as the matzah tash which is one bag, containing three compartments. At the beginning of the meal, the middle matzah is taken out of the matzah tash and broken in two. One piece is used for the special benediction over the matzah just before the meal starts. The other piece is wrapped in a linen cloth and hidden away. It is then, after the 3rd cup of wine, at the end of the meal, removed from its hiding place, unwrapped, broken into small pieces, and distributed to all, to be eaten. This is the bread that Yeshua took and said, Take it, this is My Body.
All of this seems so foreign to rabbinical Judaism even though it is done every year. Even its name is foreign for afikomen is not a Hebrew word but a Greek word. This indicates that it was a newly instituted ceremony around the 1st century. This word afikomen is made up of two words; epi & komen. Komen is from the root komos which means a great feast and epi means because of. So, afikomen literally means leading to this great feast. But which feast is it leading to? It must be this Great Feast that the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures spoke about when the Messiah would come back.
Yeshua himself made a relation with this feast when, after distributing the bread, He took and raised the 4th cup of wine and said, Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God. (Mark 4: 25). He did not drink it, because He decided to wait until we be gathered with Him. It is to be enjoyed together at this future Great Feast. This is what afikomen is pointing to, for the believers in Yeshua today. How this ceremony entered the tradition of Judaism is unknown yet it is something Yeshua chose to use as a continual memorial of what He has done for us.