This book was before Leithart really went off the deep-end. I accept all the criticisms NAPARC has made of the federal vision and I join in. However, I doubt the narrative that says that the FV as we know it today began fully-formed in 2003. The boundary is fluid. The reason this book is helpful for discussions on the Lord’s Feast is it moves the focus away from introspective piety or an over-interest in what the “elements” do and focus more on what Yahweh-in-Christ has done.
The purpose of the book is to eventually show how the celebration of the Lord’s Supper leads to eschatological renewal and subsequently, the transformation of culture. This is the Epilogue of the book. The chapters (each about five pages or so) build up to this theme.
Leithart examines the many facets of the Supper in biblical history, starting with Adam and ending in The New Jerusalem. Leithart looks for the feasting theme in Scripture (Adam delighting and communing with God in Paradise–The Second Adam inagurating the Feast that will bring about the New Paradise. Daniel and his friends refuse the King’s food and so reconstitute the New Israel who will return from Captivity. The disciples eat the Supper as symbolic of the massive forgiveness that is about to come to the world via cross and resurrection; this forgiveness entailing the reversal of the Curse of the First Adam. In taking the Feast the disciples become the New Israel.).
As an example of Leithart’s excellent writing, consider the value of being drunk with Yahweh’s wine:
Zechariah 9:15, “The Lord of hosts will protect them,
and they shall devour, and tread down the sling stones,
and they shall drink and roar as if drunk with wine,
and be full like a bowl,
drenched like the corners of the altar.
“But the passage pictures Israel drunk with another kind of wine: filled with the wine of Yahweh’s Spirit, Israel would be bold, wild, untamed, boisterous in battle. This suggests one dimension of the symbolism of wine in the Lord’s Supper: it loosens our inhibitions so that we wil fight the Lord’s battles in a kind of drunken frenzy. If this sounds impious, how much more Psalm 78:65, where the Divine Warrior himself is described as a mighty man overcome with wine? Yahweh fights like Samson, but far more ferociously than Samson: He fights like a drunken Samson!”
We are to be contrite over our sins but at the same time we are to rejoice that our sins are forgiven and the New Age–the Messianic Age, the Age to Come–has broken into the present evil age. Christ is becoming King over the World! Yes, from one perspective we are to mourn over our sins but at the same time, we are to take heart that our sins are forgiven. Weeping may tarry the night, but joy comes in the morning!