The Bread Of His Flesh
The Levitical priesthood was established after the Exodus. At the time of the first Passover, which began the Exodus, the Passover lambs were killed by the head of every household on the afternoon of Nisan 14. They placed the lamb's blood around their doors, and then ate the roasted lamb that evening, after sunset, on Nisan 15 (Biblical days begin and end at sunset). The lambs weren't merely slaughtered; they were also eaten.
"12:1 And the LORD [see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'] spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 12:2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
12:3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
12:4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
12:6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
12:7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
12:8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it." (Exodus 12:1-3 KJV)
That same night, the LORD executed judgment upon those who were not "covered" by the sacrifice, by obeying Him in doing it (see Works Means Obedience).
"12:11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD passover.
12:12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn [see The Firstborn Of Passover] in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
12:13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt." (Exodus 12:11-13 KJV)
"He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is My Body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me"
When the Messiah came (see The By-The-Book Messiah), He made a startling connection between manna and the flesh of the Passover lamb i.e. "the bread that I will give is my flesh."
"6:32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
6:34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 6:36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
6:41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 6:42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
6:43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 6:46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 6:48 I am that bread of life. 6:49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 6:50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:32-51 KJV)
The Son of God then explained the meanings of, and the connections between, manna and the Passover sacrifice (and the wine that would be used to symbolize His Blood).
"6:52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 6:55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 6:57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 6:58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever." (John 6:52-58 KJV)
It was a "hard saying" for many of those who had lived their entire lives observing the symbolism of the observances, without realizing that the observances were a living prophecy of their actual fulfillment, not a fulfillment just in themselves. For some of those who worshipped the practices of their religion rather than truly worshipping the LORD, it was too much, just as the Biblical Truth is sometimes "too much" for some people who claim to be Christian today (see Is Your Religion Your Religion? and What's Your Angle?; also Why Did The Lawyers Hate The Messiah?).
"6:59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 6:61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 6:62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
6:69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
6:71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve." (John 6:59-71 KJV)
When the day began (i.e. at sunset, the beginning of Nisan 14) on which the Passover lamb was later to be killed (i.e. about 18 hours later, on the afternoon of Nisan 14 - the Christ was crucified at the same time that the Passover lambs were being sacrificed), the Messiah observed Passover in the manner that fulfilled it - and in the way that everyone in the world be observing it in the Kingdom of God after His return. The "flesh" of the Lamb of God that they ate was the bread i.e. "he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me."
"22:14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 22:15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 22:16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
22:17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 22:18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22:14-20 KJV)
Fact Finder: While Jesus Christ is the "Lamb of God" and the High Priest who made (at Passover) and delivered (as portrayed by the Day of Atonement; for detailed studies and sermons for the Day of Atonement and all of the other true Christian Holy Days, see our Calendar of Christ's Holy Days) His Sacrifice, why then wasn't the Messiah a Levite?
See Why Wasn't Christ A Levite?; also Are Levites 'Jews'?