The Communion of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ
There have been as many diverse doctrines regarding the communion of the body and blood of Christ as any other subject. Such as, one or multiple cups, one loaf or different pieces of bread, crackers, unleavened or leavened bread and served before or after the preaching service. One great fault of many men who serve is that they fail to ask God to bless the bread and the fruit of the vine.
The Interlinear Literal Translation of The Greek New Testament, translated from over 5,000 original pieces of New Testament Text by Stephens, 1550, is the only trusted authority and that excludes the King James Version and all other subsequent translations. Thayer's Greek - English Lexicon, 1885, of the New Testament will be used to define the Greek words in this study.
The accounts of the so-called last supper of Jesus is found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. The apostle Paul also gives the account in 1 Cor.11:23-26. However, Jesus did eat a supper with his disciples after his resurrection and this would rightly be called his last supper, Luke 24:41-43.
We must understand that Jesus observed the annual passover feast commanded by the law of Moses. While at the same table and utensils after our Lord had finished the Jewish supper, he instituted his own celebration passover, 1 Cor.5:7.
The accounts in Matthew, Mark and Luke will first be given in the King James Version followed by the Interlinear Greek New Testament. Not one place in the new testament are words, phrases, or verses pitted against other verses and woe unto him who would accuse Jesus and the Holy Spirit of teaching adverse doctrines. That is, Luke disagreeing with Matthew and Mark. There is only one doctrine of Christ. Luke gives a far more detailed account compared to Matthew and Mark of the last Jewish passover our Lord observed and the institution of his own. Therefore, Luke gives much more understanding than the other two.
Mat 26:26-27 "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.....And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;"
Greek text: "And as they were eating, Jesus having taken the bread, and having blessed, broke and gave to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.....And having taken the cup, and having given thanks, he gave [it] to them, saying, all drink of it."
Thayer page 348, for the word brake or broke: "equiv. to 'to break and distribute among' etc.". Did Jesus break the bread into twelve pieces and give them to his disciples, or did he place twelve pieces on a platter and they were passed around? We will never know, but, this eliminates only one loaf not to be broken in smaller pieces. On the day of Pentecost, there were three thousand who obeyed the gospel and shortly thereafter, five thousand, Acts 4:4. The one loaf doctrine would have required them at that time to provide a huge loaf for eight thousand prople. That would probably be a world record.
The Greek text reads, "all drink of it", rather than "drink ye all of it." The entire contents would not have to be consumed. Certainly, the cup would mean the contents and not the cup itself.
Mark 14:22-23 "And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body......And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it."
The Greek text reads, "And as they were eating, Jesus having taken a loaf, having blessed he brake, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.....And having taken the cup, having given thanks he gave to them, and they all drank of it."
The meaning of the Greek word for "brake" is the same as in Matthew. The same for drinking of the cup.
Luke 22:17-20 "And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:.....For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come......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....Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."
The Greek text reads, "And having received a cup having given thanks he said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves.....For I say unto you, that not at all will I drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God be come.....And having taken a loaf, having given thanks he broke, and gave to them saying, this is my body, which for you is given: this do in the remembrance of me.....In like manner also the cup after having supped, saying, This cup [is] the new covenant in my blood, which for you is poured out."
Notice in verse 17, Jesus received "a" cup, whereas Matthew and Mark says, "the" cup. Receiving a cup would indicate that there were more than one cup on the table. According to the instructions of Jesus, he sent Peter and John to prepare the table at a specified place. It may have been Jewish custom to set only one cup at the dinner table, but, on the other hand, they may have set one cup for each person. Notice in verse 17-18, this is the first time it is said that our Lord used a cup and told his disciples to divide it. In verse 20, the second time Jesus used a cup the text says, "the" cup, meaning, it was probably the same cup as he took earlier.These two verses, 17-18, end the passover feast, because the text reads "after having supped or the KJV, after supper." Jesus could not combine the law of Moses with his law in the matter of passovers, otherwise, he would be mixing the law of sin and death, Rom.8:2, with his law of Spirit and life.
Brethren have been fighting over verses 17-18 for decades with blinders on not knowing these two apply to the Jewish passover and not the passover of Christ.
Thayer, page 140, #2, for the word divide, "to distribute". Jesus said, take this cup and divide it among yourselves. How did they divide it? Did they each drink of it, or did they pour into each individual cups? We will never know.
As for the eight thousand shortly after Pentecost, they must have had at least a fifty five gallon cup with some sort of a spout. But, perhaps, they had much smaller containers that were eaiser to handle.
In verse 19, the meaning for the word brake is the same as in Matthew and Mark.
In verse 20, nothing is said of drinking or dividing the cup, but, the phrase, "in like manner."
This is the second time the cup is used, but, having reference to Christ's own passover.
Thayer page 682, for the meaning of like manner, "in like manner, likewise." This has a direct reference to verse 17, where Jesus told his disciples to divide the cup. What ever they did in verse 17 they did in verse 20.
In 1 Cor.11:20-22, Paul chastised the Corinthians for each bringing their own food and wine to worship in order to imitate the Jewish passover supper. They also got drunk on the wine and the question is, what did they bring it in? In a huge cup of wine, a very large jug, or individual jugs? Who knows, but it was enough for the most of them to get drunk.
For those who claim the pattern was one cup and adhere strickly to that, why do they not go further and do as the disciples did in Matt.26:30; Mark 14:26; after the eating of the bread and drinking the fruit of the vine, they sang a hymn and then went out? It is my understanding that many years ago some churches of Christ did just that.
Years ago, my father-in-law was infected with Tuberculosis and he attended worship after the TB was arrested. We used multiple glass cups anyway, but thereafter, we purchased plastic throw away. There would have been a major rebellion had we insisted on using one cup. Not only that disease, but any other communicable sickness such as the deadly E.coli that has a ten day incubation period and that would put the members at risk without their knowledge. Question? Does our Lord expect that we risk infecting the members with a deadly disease? You answer that.
Leavened or unleavened bread
It was in the days of unleavened bread when Herod Aprippa 1, had James the brother of John killed with a sword, Acts 12:2. What were the days of unleavened bread? The use of unleavened bread as a commandment of God originated with the delivery of the children of Israel out of bondage in the land of Egypt when God sent the destroyer to kill any and all who did not sprinkle blood on the door post. This was the institution of the passover feast of God to be observed for all generations of the Jews. The passover feast would consist of a roasted lamb, bitter herbs, unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine. It has been the custom of all churches to use unleavened bread in their communion service.
There was a seven day window from the fourteenth to the twentieth day of the month of Nisan that the passover could be observed.
Exo 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'S passover."
Exo 12:39 "And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual."
Why was the bread unleavened? Was it was a sign of purity? The answer is no. As noted in the previous verses, the children did not have time for bread to rise and therefore, they ate it in haste.
Why do we use unleavened bread or may we use leaven? Bear in mind that the Jewish passover was a literal meal, but the passover of Christ is spiritual. Our Lord said, except you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you, Jn.6:53. The bread that we brake is not the fleshly body of Christ, but spiritual. Jesus Christ is our passover, 1 Cor.5:7.
Is there good and bad leaven?
Mat 16:6-12 "Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees......
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread......Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?.....Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?.....Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?.....How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?.....Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."
Now his disciples understood that the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees was their devilish doctrine.
1 Cor 5:6-8 "Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?.....Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:.....Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
Here we see the importance of unleavened bread, but not of the literal, but of sincerity and truth. The leaven of Satan breeds corruption.
Mat 13:33 "Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."
Luke 13:20-21 "And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?.....It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."
This is good use of leaven, the same as when Christ was preached into all the world and filling it with joy and gladness.
To sum it up, leaven was commanded by God under the law of Moses. Is this the reason why we do not use leaven? If so, whosoever is justified by the law is fallen from grace, Gal.5:4. Why did Jesus use it at the passover? Because it was required to remember their leaving in haste. Our remembrance is that of Christ who was on the cross, 1 Cor.11:24. There is no requirement under the law of Christ of unleavened bread except that of truth and sincerity, because we are unleavened, 1Cor.5:7. Therefore, it makes no difference whether or not the bread is unleavened.
To eat or not to eat in the church building
Our Lord prayed for unity in the Lord's prayer, John the seventeenth chapter. However, there is not unity among brethren in this matter and the question is, did Jesus Christ not provide the answer, or is there a lack of understanding from men who are supposed to know the truth?
Evidently, there are some who believe the church building is a holy temple being heavily influenced by the law of Moses. Nothing could be further from the truth, seeing that we are the holy temple of God, 1 Cor.3:16-17.
Acts 20:7-11 "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight......And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together......And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead......And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him......When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed."
Notice that they were all in the upper chamber (room) where Paul was preaching. After the young man who had fallen asleep in the third loft fell to his death, Paul went down and brought him back to life. After he was come up again he ate a meal. Do you mean to say that Paul accually ate in the church building? Yes he did, but someone forgot to tell him that it was wrong to eat in the church building. According to many brethren, Paul did wrong and he should have been ashamed.
Mat 23:24-2 "Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel......Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess."
Are some of my brethren hypocrites and blind guides who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel? Let us see. They say, injesting food is not permitted in the church building, however, they freely eliminate food previously eaten in the toilet. Perhaps our Lord condemns the eating of food in the building, but condones elimination in the toilet. Now it seems to me to be in keeping with their doctrine, they should all without hesitation board up the restrooms and construct a two-holer crapper outside. If the shoe fits, wear it.
It would appear to me that Aquila and Priscilla were between a rock and a hard place seeing the church was in their house.
Rom 16:3-5 "Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:.....Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles......Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ."
1 Cor 16:19 "The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house."
I suppose they just kept on sinning by eating in the same building where they worshipped.
Classes separate and apart from the preaching service
Notice that I did not say, worship service. We will address this issue later in our discussion.
Acts 20:7 "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight."
Here we find an example of the apostle preaching until midnight, but no record of any class period.
1 Cor 14:23 "If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?"
Now we find the whole Corinthian church coming together into one place to worship in a class setting, but no preacher involved.
Since there is authority for both preaching only and class discussion only, is it lawful to have both when the church comes together into one place?
1 Cor 14:34-35 "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law......And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."
There is nothing in the law of Moses pertaining to women keeping silence in their assemblies. This prohibition of women to keep silence refers directly to Gen.3:16, where the woman will be in subjection to her husband and he will rule over her. The phrase "into one place", has become a thorn in the side of many brethren and they have decided that they can fix this problem by separating all into different classes so as not to be in one place.
The sole purpose for this division of classes is in order that the women can speak and teach, because they say, that since we are not all together in one place, we are no longer worshipping God. It would appear that all attending the various classes are now forbidden to worship God in spirit and truth. How great it is to create such a loop-hole in the law of Christ. The smartest of lawyers could not have done any better than my brethren. The lawyers of Jesus' day could not trap him and they still cannot today.
The brethren are infamous for outclassing the denominations in innovations. They are totally illerate of any understanding of the meaning of worship, or they are outright liars. They teach for doctrine, we cannot worship God unless we do five items called, praying, teaching, singing, communion and giving. Otherwise, if all five of these things are not done, then we are not worshipping God and all five are not done in the individual classes. Someone decades ago baited the members with this doctrine and they swallowed it hook, line and sinker.
1 Cor 14:24-25 "But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:.....And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth."
Someone forgot to tell this unbeliever that he could not worship God unless he has done these five things. Of course, unbelievers worship is not acceptable to God.
Rev 19:9-10 "And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God......And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
Rev 22:8-9 "And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things......Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God."
Here again, the apostle whom Jesus loved was not aware that he could not worship in any manner not having done these five things. But, perhaps John really did not know the meaning of worship. The church of our day thinks that the first century worshippers did exactly as is done today, or at least they would like for us to believe they did.
Instead of five items of worship there are four different kinds of homage that man embraces. True worship, Jn.4:23-24, in spirit and in truth; vain worship, Matt.15:9, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men; ignorant worship, Acts 17:23, including God among other idols; will worship, Col.2:23, self prescribed ignoring God's outline for worship to exalt himself among his peers. Of course, only true worship in spirit and truth is acceptable to God.
What is the meaning of the word worship? For those who do not know, it simply means to pay homage. In our case it means to pay homage to God. I am forbidden by the brethren to worship God when I am alone, in my house with my family, out hunting, or any other place. We are not going to discuss all of the ifs, ands and butts of the loopholes created, but just stay with the truth.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having bible classes first in our worship on Sunday morning, or any week day or night as long as we do not teach that we are not worshipping God during those times. If your preacher is willing to preach the truth on this subject, he will be fired on the spot.
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© 2011 by Wendell Tenison