What is the significance of the cake and the candle that are given at the funeral?
There are many things that are done at the funeral symbolically. Many do not know the meaning of the candle and the cake (bread), even if they give and receive them at the funeral. I recommend you watch this video in which I explained from the Holy Scriptures what the meaning of the scroll and the candle is:
Bread is our physical food
In the Gospel of John in chapter 6 it reads:
Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near. When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. (John 6:1-15 NASB)
When they saw how the Lord Jesus multiplied the loaves and fed 5,000 people, they thought it would be good to have a king like Him. They wanted to make him King just to give them this bread, without working. This displeased the Lord Jesus, and he went out into the mountain by himself. He can still give us this physical bread that all people run after. He can meet everyone’s needs, but He doesn’t like it when we just go to Him for this bread and nothing more.
We must not only work for the perishable food but also for the food that remains for eternal life.
When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, hey saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” (John 6:16-27 NASB)
Jesus wants us not to work only for perishable food. He wants running and effort not just for this food. God wants us to go after holy things more than material things.
When you receive this cake at the funeral, think carefully about what bread you run for? Do you only run after this physical bread through which you sustain your life on earth? If you only run for this life, then where will you end up when you die? Where are you going?
The bread symbolizes the Lord Jesus
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:28-35 NASB)
By asking the people, they showed the Lord Jesus that they want Him to do these signs every day. To miraculously feed them, but the Lord Jesus wanted them to believe in the Son of God, because the bread symbolizes the Lord Jesus who sustains eternal life. There are many people who say they believe in the Lord Jesus. They say they accept His existence. Don’t misunderstand, my dears. Believing in the Lord Jesus, as the Bible says, means putting all your trust in HIM, listening to and following His teaching every day.
Jesus is the bread of life
But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’? “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:36-51 NASB)
To any man who has died, bread has served to sustain his life on this earth, and the moment life is over, bread helps them with nothing. My dear ones, this physical bread cannot solve the problem of eternity. It sustains us only in our daily lives, but the Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the Bread of Life.” He who believes in Him gains eternal life. The soul of each of us is eternal and I want to tell you that when it says “death” in the Bible, it does not mean non-being, but separation. For those who have not been born again, their soul goes to Hades. They will have only eternal death, which means separation for an eternity from God, and those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ go to the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Lord Jesus is the Light of the world
In the Gospel of John in the first chapter it is written:
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12 NASB)
Darkness means life lived in sin, and light – life lived in righteousness. Jesus tells us that He is the Light of the world. If you live in grave sins, drunkenness, fornication, hypocrisy, and want to live a righteous life, but are bound and enslaved to the darkness in which you live, you cannot see the Kingdom of God. God speaks very clearly in His Word that he who lives in iniquity will not see His Kingdom.
Jesus came to bring light. Only He can save us from this darkness, because He died for our sins. When we receive Him wholeheartedly and are ready to enter the New Covenant, we will have a life lived in the light
We can’t change anything after death
Often at funerals it is customary to give alms and say “God forgive him” with the thought that we can change something. My dear ones, we can no longer change anything, neither through prayers nor through charity. The decision must be made here on earth.
Remember the case of the rich man and Lazarus in the Bible? The rich man lived a life of pleasure and did not care about the Word of God, but when he reached Hades he wanted to change his situation. He wanted to repent, but he had no more chance. There is no repentance after death. The bread of life, which is the Lord Jesus, no longer helps those who have left. If they did not receive the Savior when they were alive, they will not solve anything after they die.
Next time you go to the funeral and receive this cake and candle, remember these words. Remember that the Lord Jesus Christ is the bread of life. He is the Light of the world. Examine your heart, and see if you have believed with all your heart in the Lord Jesus Christ to inherit eternal life.
Translated by Didina Vicliuc