Friday, April 15, 2022

Passion Week: Leonardo Da Vinci's "Jesus' Last Supper": Salt Covenant.


UP TO 900 VIEWS - 25 COMMENTS

Explaining the Covenant of Salt which
symbolises the honesty and loyalty 
of a friendship that cannot be broken.

Dear Andy,

Thank you for inviting me again. Last year, I think we reflected on how our Lord Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday instead of a horse.

However, this Passion Week reminded me of an old painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples. Some years ago, I realised with surprise that Leonardo knew of an important Hebrew Salt Covenant in the Bible that was reflected in this famous work. The clue came when one asked who is Judas in the picture. Judas is normally identified as the 4th person from the left. Why? Note there is spilled salt in front of this person.

Two Scriptures on Salt Covenant can be found in Leviticus 2:13: Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings. 2 Chronicles 13:5 : Don't you know that the LORD, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt?

How was the Covenant of Salt practised in ancient times?

In the past, it was customary for men to wear a pouch of salt tied to their belts. In the olden days, a man’s spoken words were highly valued and had to be kept at all costs. If there is any importance in their words of contract or promise, they will exchange salt. So grains of salt would become one when mixed together.

What if the men want to break the contract?

One would have to retrieve one’s grains of salt from each pouch and return them. Of course, this is an impossible task. 

Hence it was understood the Salt Covenant is for eternity; it symbolises loyalty and honesty of a friendship that cannot be broken. In ancient times, men would pay special attention to when and where they ate … certainly no passing of salt containers. Salt may also represent blood and life. It was envisioned as dangerous to give away salt to a stranger lest one put one’s life in the power of the enemy.

In Matthew 5:13 (Luke 14:34-35), Jesus said if we lose our saltiness, we are worthless; He is effectively saying we break our Salt Covenant with Him. When Christians break our covenants, the world no longer sees a covenant-keeping God. Instead they may see a religious social club, a powerless church without God.

The Psalmist once said: (Psalm 25:12 -14) Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD ? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. The LORD confides in those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them.

'Great is thy faithfulness'.
YouTube video by Dutchforward.

But when did we Christians make Covenant with Lord Jesus ?

At the Holy Communion table in church where we remember our Lord, Jesus. There is salt in the bread as it is used to inhibit the yeast during breadmaking. Without salt, the yeast will go wild consuming all the sugar that may be available in the dough from enzymatic activity.

1 Corinthians 11:25-17: In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

Leonardo Da Vinci seems to cast Judas as a spiller of salt who abuses his friendship with Jesus. John 15:15: I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

A final thought.

Many years ago, I was naïve to wonder why this week is called Passion Week … what is so passionate or romantic about Jesus' crucifixion? Then I realised that passion is the Latin word for suffering. Every person can be Jesus’ friend by believing in His resurrection at Easter.

Keep in touch, God bless you and your family with good health and an enjoyable Easter.

Best Regards,

Phil.

Do leave a comment below if you wish. Thank you.

Written by A/Prof. 
Dr. Phil Chan [NUS]. 

Special thanks to Phil for taking time during his very busy teaching schedule to write for the blog. His dedication to both his university work and the Christian faith is remarkable as he takes much effort to achieve what he wants with confidence, seriousness and... humility.

Remember Good Friday.
A Happy Easter To All.

Near The Cross.
The most beautiful Easter hymn.
YouTube Video by: Rosemary Siemens.

Both hymns were selected by PHIL.

25 comments:

IRENE YAP [70S RECORDING ARTISTE] said...

Interesting article!

Yes, will forward them to my Catholic friends and curious to know if they are aware of the salt pouch and the meaning behind it.

MRS. B. R. said...

Just read again and digested the whole thing.
Thank you Andy!

RR said...

Wow! a fresh and inspiring article about Good Friday message. Thanks for sharing.

OLIVER B. [DRUMMER/SEC SCHOOL PRINCIPAL said...

I wish you a graceful GOOD FRIDAY.
I pray that all your prayers come true.

DANIEL ABIDIN [THE DUKES] said...

MAY THE GLORY OF OUR SAVIOUR STRENGTHEN YOU
AND MAY HIS GRACES SHINE UPON YOU ON GOOD FRIDAY AND ALWAYS.

AUDIE NG [BAND LEADER: SILVER STRINGS] said...

HAVE A BLESSED GOOD FRIDAY

CEDRIC COLLARS [PIANIST - PERTH/AUSTRALIA] said...

Lest we forget that our good Lord died so that we have the chance of the gift of salvation. Let us pray that the world remembers that and follow the commandments laid out for us.

CEDRIC CORK [DRUMMER] said...

WE ARE SAVED NOT BY WHAT WE DO, BUT BY WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE.
WHEN HE WAS ON THE CROSS YU WERE ON HIS MIND.

WILFRED LIM said...

Good Friday - a day to pause and reflect on God's Amazing Grace.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

A deep and meaningful insight on a sensitive topic; relationships are not easy to go by.
Again I thank Phil for a beautiful story told this memorable day.

Thanking all who sent GOOD FRIDAY and EASTER SUNDAY greetings for myself and the blog.
I think there are definitely more that 60 messages on WhatsApp now from near and afar.

TERENCE LEE said...

ISAIAH 53:5
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon Him
And by His stripes we are healed.

JIMMY APPUDURAI-CHUA - ENGLAND said...

Have a blessed Easter Andy...
I remember every Good Friday in Singapore...
it storms.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

yes it's mentioned many times by others. THANKS

FREDA HANUM TEEPEES said...

Happy Good Friday and Blessed Easter season to you Andy 🙏

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

hi, hi. Yes you're one of my guardian angels, the musical one.
CHEERS n THANKS.
I always like your poster artistry and computer.

ALFRED WONG said...

Illuminating article on salt and its significance as loyalty n honest of friendship.

JOEY KOH said...

Already brother Phil always shares biblical stories from the Jewish perspective.
Knowing the background is useful and puts in context the story read.

JAMES KWOK said...

Thanks Andy for Prof Phil Chan's article: very informative and interesting.
Blessings in JESUS.

EDWARD CLARENCE [FORMER DRUMMER: THE DUKES] said...

GOOD FRIDAY

The cross, the cruelest and worst form of capital punishment meted out by the Romans, is considered deserving of the worst of criminals and rebels.

And it is the way of the cross that our Almighty GOD has chosen that HIS Only Son, our Almighty LORD JESUS CHRIST, will have to go through. Therefore, it is not an option but a necessity so that man can find peace and acceptance with our Almighty GOD.

The cross is a great contradiction. It's a symbol of death, yet it offers eternal life. It breeds hate but shows love. It stems from violence but reaches out in peace. It signals despair yet offers the greatest hope. It marks defeat, yet one rises victorious. When all seems lost, everything is gained.

Romans 5:8.
“But GOD shows HIS love for us in that while we were still sinners, CHRIST died for us”.

PRAYER

O GOD, our HEAVENLY FATHER, YOU choose the way of the cross for man to find his way back to YOU. By this one act, our Almighty LORD JESUS being hung on the cross and died, YOU satisfied the penalty demanded Sin, broke its power over us and destroyed the presence of Sin from us. YOU offered us the way back to YOU through our Almighty LORD JESUS CHRIST, our LORD and SAVIOUR. So, may this good news of Your Love and Mercy resound in this land as we remember Good Friday. In JESUS' Gracious Name, we pray. Amen.

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CHAKAP CHAKAP: said...

GREAT IS MY FAITHFULNESS

The phrase, "Great is thy faithfulness," comes from the
Old Testament Book of Lamentations 3:23.
These exact words occur in both the King James Bible and the Revised Standard Version.

It is an Adventist Christian hymn
written by Thomas Chisholm (1866–1960)
with music composed by William M. Runyan (1870–1957).

CHAKAP CHAKAP: said...

"Near the Cross", also titled
"Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross" or
"In the Cross"

A Christian hymn
Written by Fanny Crosby and published in 1869.
Composed by William Howard Doane before the lyrics.

It has been translated into several languages,
including German, Russian, Haitian Creole, and Spanish.

Anonymous said...

Blog is encompassing with so many hymns, not only pop songs.
Elvis Presley sang many gospels in his albums too.
You should feature some.

MARK FERGUSON [ORGANIST] YOUTUBE said...

In the UK (particularly England), there almost doesn't seem to be a need for a choir as EVERY video that I've seen from English church services, the congregations REALLY SING!! WOW!

That's an organists' dream here in the USA where in some churches the congregation just stands there looking like statutes in the park waiting for pigeons to come along and stain them.

Just look at the worshippers in the video, EVERYBODY is singing and robustly too!
BRAVO to them!!

DARA PECH [YOUTUBE] said...

I love old hymns they have such great meaning.
Praise song now just too much drum and guitar competing with each other to see who can play the loudest.
It takes longer to sing these new song now then one would take to write it.