The Lord’s Supper

It is commonly understood that Christ instituted a new ritual, the Lord’s Supper, partaking of bread and wine representing His body and blood, as a sacrament or ordinance of the Church. A very basic problem with this claim is that Christ never actually does any such thing, and neither do any of His apostles.

What Christ does, during that last Passover meal with His disciples, is explain that two of the key elements of Passover, the affikomen and the cup of blessing (or redemption) (1Co 10:16), represent His body and blood. He tells us that as often as we partake of these particular elements (Lk 22:19-20), contained in Jehovah’s Passover celebration, we show His death until He returns. (1Co 11:26) He never even hints at starting something new.

Paul affirms this by referring to Passover as the Lord’s Supper (1Co 11:20, 23-25), identifying the Communion elements in this way. As Scripture offers no other means to sanctify any particular set of elements as representative of Christ before God, any attempt to decouple them from Passover implies flagrant presumption; it can’t actually be done.

The modern concept of the Eucharist didn’t exist in the time of the Apostles; it evolved nearly a century later, a product of that awkward and painful era in which Gentile Christians were desperately trying to distance themselves from Judaism in order to avoid severe Roman taxation and persecution. Anything that might be used to identify believers as Jewish had to go: circumcision, the Sabbath, as well as God’s feasts and dietary laws. It was during this time that Christian theologies emerged claiming the abolition of Mosaic Law, separating us from this delightful treasure, contradicting Christ’s direct command  (Mt 5:17-19), and the original Apostolic witness. (Ac 21:24)

Jesus Christ didn’t start a new meal or ritual for the Church; what He did was deepen our understanding of an old one, and encourage us to enjoy Him in it: He’s our Passover(1Co 5:7-8)

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4 thoughts on “The Lord’s Supper”

  1. I just ran across your writings a couple days ago. And I agree with your take on many things. You have obviously spent some time in prayer.

    I’m not sure yet where you stand, but I have found in my research that Jesus did not come to institute any new laws or rituals but to fulfill/finish what was already in place.

    I recently read The Last Supper as this was something that has intrigued me for a while now. I am not disputing anything you say but I would like to hear you’re take on this: http://www.sabbathcovenant.com/newdoctrine/TheChagigah.htm when you have time.

    I see this as viable because Jesus came to fulfill. He could not be eating the meal of Passover because He, the lamb, would be dead at that point… if He was fulfilling… which I believe He was… and that is backed by numerous scriptures. But I really would appreciate any input you might have. Or even a steer in direction.

    Thanks

  2. Hi Bob,

    Thank you for your question. I read the article you mentioned and thought it was interesting, but I don’t see any evidence that the author is correct. He gives no references to support his claim that there were pre-meal celebrations of the biblical feasts, and a quick internet search doesn’t turn up anything. His interpretation requires a basic re-translation of scripture, forcing words to mean something other than what they commonly mean in other contexts, which always makes me suspect. I also perceived a good bit of attitude and other problems in the article which indicated an high degree of spiritual unhealthiness; hope I am wrong about that, but it sometimes goes with the territory.

    That said, I think the truth is not easy to unravel from the biblical account. It does appear that Yeshua celebrated Passover the night before the Pharisees did; something I have attributed to Him perhaps following a slightly different biblical calendar than they did. Perhaps Yeshua observed the conjunction as the start of the new month, whereas the Pharisees had adopted a tradition (from their exile in Babylon?) of observing the crescent moon, which put their observances off a day or two (later). I think that would explain it, but I could certainly be wrong.

    Also, I have heard it taught that Yeshua did not need to die on Passover in order to fulfill the type of the Passover lamb, anymore than He needed to die on Yom Kippur to fulfill the type of the scapegoat and the atoning lamb. It could be that His death was positioned more as a more literal fulfillment of the morning and evening sacrifices, which I think were made at 9 AM (when He was nailed to the cross) and 3 PM (when He yielded up the ghost). 

    I would appreciate any of your thoughts on the above.

  3. Hi Tim

    Thanks for the quick reply. I did find (on Wikipedia) some information on the Chagigah (or sometimes Hagigah) but it didn’t rise to the level of affirming or denying the information presented in the attached essay. I do know the Talmud gives additional requirements for the festivals and other activities but I could not find anything in them that supported the claims.

    However, I don’t understand how this article’s premise would cause a re-translation or forcing words to mean something other than what they mean now. Most research I run into has been a dead end with nobody yet claiming an answer. This article at least leaned toward an explanation. And Artos is leavened bread… according to Strongs Concordance. But even with that said, there’s still not enough collaborative information to accept that article as true.

    I have also heard that the crucifixion was the fulfilling of the morning and evening sacrifices but I thought that related to the hours of the day as opposed… and therefore another fulfillment. Because of it being Passover and Yeshua being the lamb of YHWH, I assumed the two were related. I also see there were three spring celebrations; Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of First Fruits… and even to Shavuot, being fulfilled, with the fall feast fulfillment’s yet to come.

    I will continue to search and ask questions. I know it doesn’t affect the completed work, I just want to know. And I’ll keep reading your posts. A lot of good information there. And if I find anything more, I will pass it on.

  4. My claim about the re-translation relates to claiming that the Greek pascha doesn’t actually mean Passover whenever it appears. Verses like Lk 22:13,15 seem to make it very clear that Yeshua was eating this meal, and had been looking forward to doing so for quite some time. And few would dispute the meaning of the word in texts like and Jn 18:28. Perhaps the author of the article would counter claim that the same word could be used to refer to either the pre-meal or the actual, so perhaps it is contextual. Maybe so, but changing the meanings of words to make a point is always suspect to me.

    I was wrong about the timing of the crucifixion too, don’t recall where I heard that; Jn 19:14 indicates that it was already noon and Yeshua hadn’t even been condemned. I’ll need to think that through a bit more.

    Not sure exactly what material you read from me, but I have both a long article and also a post on this topic. I have included our discussion in the comments following the post. I appreciate the conversation about it, and would be interested in what further you are able to find out.

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