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the bread and the cup

02-09-2013 - Posted by Andre Piet

Summary of a Seminar Study about “the bread and the cup” (12-09-2010, Zoetermeer, the Netherlands)

images20 institution of the “Lord’s Supper”? Virtually all Bible translations place above the passage, in which Jesus celebrated the last supper (Matthew, Mark and Luke) the inscription: Institution of the Lord’s Supper. But Jesus did not institute anything, at all! He celebrated an institution, namely, the annual Passover. He gave (a new) explanation of the bread and the cup, on the table. -Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:14- a Lord-like (Lordly) meal The description, “the Lord’s Supper” is quite colored by tradition. It suggests that the Lord has started a specific meal. But Paul does not speak about “the Lord’s supper”; the definite article “the” is missing. And “the Lord’s…” is not correct either of what Paul wrote. The word “Lord’s”, in this case, is like an adjective and should actually be translated as “Lord-like” or “Lordly”. -1 Cor.11:20- a meal When Paul spoke about “a Lord-like (lordly) meal”, he was not speaking about eating a small piece of bread and drinking a sip of wine. In Corinth, according to Paul, their communal meal was not a Lord-like (Lordly) meal because they mainly thought about themselves.  The one eats ahead of time, yet, another is drunk, while some are hungry. But despite Paul’s corrections, he maintained the character of a meal. He wrote: “therefore, my brethren, when coming together to eat, wait for one another”. -1Corinthians 11:20,21,33- accepted from the Lord Paul was, by the Lord from out of heaven, informed of the meaning of the “one bread” -1Corinthians 11:23- “this is my body” – the ecclesia! Paul was personally informed, by the heavenly Lord, about the meaning of the meal. From the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John it is not clear that the expression “this is my body”, refers to “the ecclesia of God.” Nevertheless, Paul assumes this this is known by the Corinthians. “The bread which we are breaking, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, who are many, are one bread, one body, for we all are partaking of the one bread.” -1Corinthians 10:16,17- eating unworthily The church has imagined itself to be Israel and has assumed her role. The Sabbath became Sunday; the circumcision, baptism; the feasts of YAHWEH, Christian holidays; and Passover, “the Lord’s Supper”. And because “a Lord-like (Lordly) meal” has become a ritual and has lost the character of a meal, we no longer understand what Paul meant with eating and drinking unworthily. These words have become the reason to prod people to practice ‘pious’ self-examination. Have I sufficient virtues? Is my behavior as it should be? Etc. Whoever carries out such a self-examination, thoroughly enough, will never get it into his head to ever take one little bite of this supposed holy  sacrament. However, what Paul meant by eating unworthily is obvious from the context. “… in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. That is eating and drinking unworthily. -1Corinthians 11:21.27.28- the body… broken? The body of Christ, however perceived, is never broken. Of the body of Jesus on the cross, it was explicitly stated that not a bone was broken. And the body of Christ, understood to be the Ecclesia (to which the bread refers) is not broken either, as God sees it, in Christ. On the contrary: “because it is one bread, we, however many, are also one body; since we all partake of the one bread”. -John 19:36; Exodus 12:46; 1Corinthians 10:17- bread of life Bread, in Scripture is also a symbol for life that comes forth, out of death. It is the result of the grain of wheat that falls into the ground and dies and thus bears much fruit. The resurrection of Christ, the Firstborn from the dead, took place at the official beginning of the barley harvest (the day of the first fruits). -John 12:24- the blood of Christ The cup with wine represents the blood of Christ. Blood speaks of a sacrifice. The peculiarity of the Sacrifice that we know is that He is risen! The lamb that was slain … but stands!  Christ is also the title of the risen One. Therefore, “the blood of Christ” is also symbolized by wine, which stands for joyful celebration, par excellence. -1Corinthians 10:16; Revelation 5:6; Acts 2:36-

going for the cup! To make wine of grapes, the grapes have gone through a complicated process. They are crushed (> suffering and death) and the juice is then stored in oaken (!) barrels,, in a cellar (> grave) and when it comes out of the basement, over time (> resurrection), it is enjoyed as a spirituous (alcoholic), uplifting drink; as wine, that gladdens the heart. Wine speaks of life that is stronger than death. If we raise a glass, we therefore correctly say: to life! – (Heb. ‘Le Chaim’!). Is it strange that in the sports world the cup is the emblem of victory!? -John 15:1-, the fruit of the vine also cheers God (Judges 9:13). God knows, namely, what the vine represents. the new covenant The red wine represents the blood of Christ, but also the new covenant that God, before long, will establish with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will be a covenant of grace, because all obligations are with God. YAHWEH, Himself, guarantees its success. “I will remember their sins no more”, “I will write my laws in their hearts”, “I will …”, etc. The new Covenant is a symbol of pure grace. the death of the Lord In both, “bread and wine”, we proclaim “the death of the Lord”. Both emblems refer to the grave yard. That does not make us gloomy, on the contrary, because the tomb shows that the stone has been rolled away! We think of Him that was dead, and therefore, is now also Lord of Life. -1 Corinthians 11:26- as often… In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul does not prescribe a ritual, but assumes that believers will eat a meal, together, from time to time. A meal, the sitting together at a table, eating the same bread and drinking the same wine, expresses community, close fellowship. What is more delightful (Lord-like) than being reminded, when eating and drinking together, of the new Life in Christ and to celebrate that? therefore many weak and ailing Paul makes a direct link between the lack of discernment of the Corinthians and that among them are many who are weak and ailing. Would the Corinthians have really been aware of the meaning of bread and wine, they would have had power and would, therefore, have had much more mental and physical resistance against negative influences and actions. But, vice versa, a lack of awareness of the spiritual meaning of bread and wine was the cause of much weakness and illness. -1Corinthians 11:29.30- pedagogical The large number of weak, sickly and dying in the ecclesia of Corinth, should have caused the believers to ponder this issue. Would the Corinthians have been aware of the meaning of bread and the cup, this ‘pedagogical’ lesson would not have been necessary. The world, steeped in unbelief, is doomed in not having “the blessing of bread and wine”. The word “disciplined” in 11:32 (Greek: paideuo) is directly related to our word “pedagogical” (teaching). Paul speaks in verse 31 and 32 about judging ourselves and about discipline and about being condemned with the world. The word “judged” is ‘KRINO’ and is related to our words “criticism” and ‘crisis’. Because the Corinthians lacked a healthy, critical self-reflection (“judging themselves”), they were placed under the criticism of the Lord (“judgment of the Lord”). coming together for judgment Paul observed that the meetings of the Corinthians were not edifying. The same he would undoubtedly say about the vast majority of meetings of Christians, today. The powerful message, as it was given to Paul to make it known among the nations, is ignored and unknown. And instead of enjoying festive meals, they come together for a meager, little piece of bread and a sip of grape juice (how illustrative!). Meanwhile, they bite and devour one another… -1Corinthians 11:17,34- bread and wine in the OT Bread and wine are emblems of “life and abundance” (John 10:10). Ecclesiastes 9:7 says: “Well then, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry (lit. good) heart…”. According to Psalm 104:15, bread makes the heart of man strong and wine makes the heart rejoice. Melchizedek came to meet Abram and blessed him with bread and wine. And it was David who was sent to Saul with bread and wine. Both, Melchizedek and David are in this, types of Israel’s resurrected Messiah, Jesus Christ. -Genesis 14:18, 1Sam.16:20-