By John David Pitcher Jr.
I remember as a boy learning how to set the dinner table. On holidays, I got to help set the china and the silverware. Family would come over and we would dine together. Of course there was an adult table and a children’s table.
There is an uncommon Greek word transliterated depnasow meaning “I dine” that has four uses in the New Testament and only one use in the 70 Rabbis’ translation of the Hebrew Scripture, the Septuagint, from which the contextual meaning of the word comes. But first we should consider the New Testament uses before placing the word’s contextual meaning to the uses in those verses.
All the four uses in the New Testament are from well-known areas of Scripture.
Perhaps the most well-known use of the word “dine” is in Revelation 3:20 in the Messiah’s letter to the lukewarm church of Laodicea bringing to mind William Holman Hunt’s painting “The Light of the World” seen below and now in a side room of the chapel at Keble College, Oxford with an allegorical overgrown and long-unopened door being knocked on by the Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ is the English translation of his name) wishing to dine with the occupants:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me.”
Two of the uses of the word in the New Testament reference the same event. In Luke 22:20, Yeshua the Messiah is with his disciples at the Last Supper (before he is arrested, tried and crucified) where the word “supper” represents the word “dine”:
“Likewise, he took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’”
In 1 Corinthians 11:25 Paul references this event when instructing believers in Messiah to practice the ritual of communion of both his broken body with the eating of bread and to remember his shed blood with the wine:
“In the same way he also took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink, in memory of me.’”
The other use of the word “dine” is when Yeshua was asking his disciples who was among them if they had a servant plowing or keeping sheep, that would say when that servant comes in from the field, “Come immediately and sit down at the table…” Then in Luke 17:8 the word “dine” is used as “supper”:
“…and will not rather tell him, ‘Prepare my supper, clothe yourself properly, and serve me, while I eat and drink. Afterward you shall eat and drink’?”
A summary of each of the uses in the New Testament is as follows:
• Luke 17:8: The master would have the servant prepare supper even after coming in from the field and before having any dinner himself.
• Luke 22:20: Yeshua has the Last Supper with his disciples before his crucifixion.
• 1 Corinthians 11:25: Paul instructs believers in Messiah to commemorate the Last Supper, a ritual called communion.
• Revelation 3:20: Yeshua the Messiah is knocking on the door of the lukewarm desiring to have dinner with them.
The only place where the word is used in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scripture is in Proverbs 23:1 and because this is its only use in the Old Testament, every use in the New Testament is in a sense a quote of its use there and its contextual meaning can be extended to its uses in the New Testament. Note the English translation of the Hebrew in Proverbs 23:1 where the word “eat” is the word “dine”:
“When you sit to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before you.”
Note the English translation of the Greek in the Septuagint of Proverbs 23:1 where the word “to have supper” is the word “dine”:
“If you should sit to have supper at the table of a monarch, intelligibly comprehend the things being placed near you!”
The uncommon word “dine” contextually has in its meaning from Proverbs 23:1 a dinner with a monarch. Its first use in the New Testament would suggest that the monarch is the master of servants who logically should serve their master. Then in the next two uses, the monarch is identified as Yeshua the Messiah who gave his life as an atoning sacrifice for those believing in him and the things placed near the believer is in remembrance of that sacrifice.
Finally, in the last use to the lukewarm church of Laodicea, he desires for those lukewarm believers to sit at the table of the Monarch, the Messiah, and intelligibly comprehend his broken body and his shed blood.
Each of the uses in the New Testament shed light on the Ruler, the Monarch of Proverbs 23:1 and the appropriate response to him. His name is Yeshua the Messiah and the believer in him will intelligibly comprehend his broken body and his shed blood and not let the door remain closed to Messiah or become overgrown.
A close inspection of William Holman Hunt’s painting “The Light of the World” reveals a crown on Messiah’s head and the twelve stone breastplate clasp of Aaron on his robe. Indeed, Proverbs 23:1 and its uses in the New Testament describe both King and High Priest.
Are you sitting at the table of Messiah and intelligibly comprehending his broken body and his shed blood? Today is the day to dedicate or rededicate your life to him and remain close in communion with him.