Three Forum Posts on the Eucharist "Do This in Memory of Me"

Language is such an interesting subject. It is the basis for most of the debate within the various factions of Christian believers, for certain. Non-Catholic Christians, as well as those who include themselves as Catholics but cannot accept the traditional teachings of the Lord through the Church, often base their argument against the Real Presence on the language, the words of the Consecration: "Do this in memory/remembrance of me." So the Sacrifice becomes a memory, a tribute, but is hardly transubstantion, right? Considering that our texts are derived from Greek and Latin, and that the actual language that Christ spoke is not considered in modern times, it might pay to look at what those words actually say -- and what that meant to those people.

In Aramaic, the idiomatic meaning of "remembrance" or "memory" actually is "a PERFECT TRUTH." Why? Because all lies pass away and only truth remains. But the actual codices in Aramaic read as follows (Luke 22): 19. And he consecrated the bread and pledged it and broke it and gave it to them and declared. "This is my body that I give on your behalf. This is what you shall be doing in your Offerings to me. 20. And likewise also the cup, after they ate, he declared, "This is the cup of the new covenant in my blood that will be spilt on your behalf. (source: Aramaic Bible, ed. V. Alexander)

Note that there is no use of the term "memory" in Jesus' own language here. Instead there is merely a command to do what he did "in your offerings (sacrifice) to Me." In fact, He says "This IS" (not "This a memory of") my Body. But the "perfect truth" of a memorial, to the Aramaic races, was a re-presentation -- NOT a "re-enactment" of an event. If one reads the Talmud, one finds that the Passover is NOT a "memory" of the exodus from Egypt. It is an "entering into" the moment. Every Jew knew that. Every Jew knew that by entering into the moment, through the "memorial celebration", he was becoming one with his ancestors who were delivered by God's hand from their plight. He himself was actually part of that journey. In fact, it was a wonderfully learned Jew, a rabbi, who explained that to me (while he was, with no knowledge of Scott Hahn, explaining the "fourth cup" that followed the Paschal meal.) To the people of that time, to offer a sacrifice (Passover Lamb) was to become part of the group that physically crossed the Red Sea, ate manna, wandered in the Desert of Sin and received the blessed Covenant from the Lord himself. All the faithful were commanded to participate in the event, becuase they needed to become one with the truth of their deliverance. Somehow, just as many Jews of today only see the Passover as a "remembrance", so many Christians only see the Mass as a "remembrance." No longer do we steep ourselves in the imagery of language. We're technically correct in our dictionaries, and deliberate an colorless in our metaphors. Hence it's our own stodgy language use that limits our comprehension of Jesus' very words. God's peace!


Hmmm, some interesting points there [...]! Where can I get such information? Where did you get yours; or was it just from the rabbi?


interesting post. Where did you find the Aramaic Bible?


You know, however, you could carry this one step further and view the passage in a much more literal sense. Thus, when Jesus says, the bread IS my body and the wine IS my blood, he may have been thinking in basic terms where solid food becomes the flesh and liquid the blood. This notion is not at all unknown and is further amplified by the obvious visual symbolism of white breadiness for the body and the redness of wine for blood.

What we then have is an almost cynical arrangement whereby as Jesus is passing out the bread and wine, he is saying - look at this, right now, I 'm eating with you. This bread is my body and this wine is my blood. But in just a few hours it will all be sacrificed for you. So, from now on, when you think of me, think of this last meal we had together and how fleeting this world and all we do becomes.


[...], your comments don't reflect on the depth of meaning the passover meal held for the Jews. Jesus proclaims the 3rd cup of the passover meal as that of His covenant....His only use of the word covenant in regards to Himself found in scripture. He then tells them He won't drink of the vine again until He is in the kingdom of God. They leave the passover supper before the 4th cup which is a VERY unusual thing. Why? Jesus Himself fulfills the 4th cup of the passover meal. On the cross before His death He drinks the wine.

Looking at this in Jewish perspective, Jesus has declared Himself both the high priest and the sacrificial lamb. The lamb must be eaten in the passover meal or the meal is not valid (when the angel of death came, your firstborn would have been dead.)

Jesus in the bread of life discourse, says that we must eat of His flesh (actually a more literal translation of His words would be to gnaw on His flesh.) They say "This is hard; who can accept it?" and as a result many leave Him.

One of my favorite allegories is......there are three pictures....Jesus, Calvin, and Luther.....who's words do accept as the truth?

A wonderful tape that explains the passover, the covenant of Jesus, the completion of the 4th cup, and Jesus as both the sacrifice and the high priest is Scott Hahn's "The 4th Cup."


I do understand the meaning of Passover. My great-grandmother was Jewish. My comments elaborate on Carol's thesis. I do not say that I propose this as a personal belief, only that they are a possible extension of what Carol suggests.

Furthermore, there is no compete clarity on just mean Christ ate with his disciples. In John, the crucifixion itself is the passover and Jesus is the Lamb. And while John gives us the "gnaw" passage he does not mention the "Take and Eat, Take and Drink". He has no Eucharist in his version. Personally, I see John as highly symbolic and metaphorical, dealing with very little literal history.


I don't quite understand your reference to a 4th cup. I don't recall ever reading that in the synoptics.


The 4th cup is the last cup of the passover meal. It is also the climax of the passover celebration. For Jesus to have omitted the 4th cup would be the equivolent of a priest not distributing communion...a very noticeable and obvious mistake. They depart to the Garden of Gesthemane where Jesus prays to God to let this cup pass by Him....what cup?...the 4th cup. The 4th cup is the Cup of Consumation. Jesus says He will not drink of the vine again until He comes into His kingdom. When He is carrying the cross and is offered wine, He refuses. It is not until after they cast lots over His garments, and He is "aware that everying was now finished, in order that scripture may be fulfilled, Jesus said 'I thirst.' " The wine is given to Him on hyssop, which is exactly what the Jews were commanded to use when splattering the blood of the sacrificial lamb. As soon as He drinks the wine, the 4th cup, He says "it is finished." What is finished? It is not our redemption, because our redemption is not completed until after the Resurrection and the Ascension. What is finished is His giving us the fulfilled passover...the New Covenant, the truly consumated fourth cup, the Eucharist .

John's gospel is focusing on the fulfillment of the passover. Just because he has not included the "Take and Eat, Take and Drink" does not mean he has not included the Eucharist in his version.....he understood the depth of meaning completely and gave us Jesus' institution of the sacrificial meal of the Eucharist in completion.

Considering John was the only apostle who actually remained with Jesus until the very end, I question how you can call it symbolic and not literal history, he alone was the eyewitness!!!.


[...], are you Catholic???? I'm asking because foundation of faith in the Eucharist is based in the literal interpretation of the Gospel of John, which is supported by studying the Gospel in relation to Jewish tradition. I highly recommend Scott Hahn's cassette.


yes, I'm Catholic, but I am not sure that your view is not somewhat poetically colored. There's nothing wrong with that - I certainly have no objection - but it is a "reading into" of the text.

As to the authorship of the Gospels, there is nothing that truly assures us - the names are part of traditon. There is no Eucharist in John - instead you have the washing of the feet, which, on the other hand, is not found in the synoptics.

John is a distinctly different text - even a simple sentence is John is far different from the others. John always speaks in metaphore e.g. In the beginning was the Word. His parables also deal in metaphore - The Woman at the Well. Hellenistic in flavor, John likes the notions of good against evil, light against dark, the meaning of "Truth". None of this is in the other texts. This is why, when Iraneus assigned the four symbols to the Gospels he gave John the eagle - he soars abovet he ordinary and deals with things on a different level. It is hardly possible that this complex author was the simple John who followed Jesus. I don't know Hahnm, but you may want to look at Raymond Brown, a highly regarded Roman Catholic Scholar.

The entire Eucharistic celebration is based on the information I posted. It is not my view, but what is taught by the Church as to what the Paschal sacrifice is. It is what is taught in the Baltimore catechism. I have not read anything into the text. It is what is written.


Where?


[...], I read what I wrote in my posts yesterday, and they are definitely not correct...I apologize. I spent too much time in here yesterday and was very tired. John's account in the Bread of Life discourse needs to be taken literally in that Jesus is absolutely refering to His body and blood and it is not an allegory of symbolically eating His body. That is the main point I was trying to make. His Gospel alone is not the whole Eucharistic celebration obviously, especially since you are correct in saying that his explanantion of the Last Supper does not include the implementation of the Eucharist and the words from the other gospels are actually used during the Eucharistic celebration. Parts are also from Revelations, 1 Cor., etc. Though John does not give a Eucharistic explanation of the Last Supper, his gospel is the foundation for the concreteness of Jesus' words and not the abstractness that Protestants give them. His Bread of Life discourse also takes place at the time of the Passover, I think it is 2 yrs before Jesus' persecution, again tying in the Paschal mystery that John does explain in giving meaning to the whole passover celebration in terms of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb and the high priest.

The explanation in the New St. Joseph Catechism says "The Jews sacrificied the Paschal Lamb....the sacrifice was completed by the eating of the Paschal Lamb...Jesus is the Lamb of God....He gave Himself at the Last Supper and on the Cross. He is our Paschal Lamb...." Those are all understood in the context of the fulfillment of the Passover, but Hahn's presentation that I gave you is not dogmatic, but does explain the Jewish tradition of the passover and Jesus' fulfillment of the Cup of Consummation. I did find Scott Hahn's explanation in EWTN's library. If you want to read it, here is the link. (eucharist)


[...], I think your exegesis proves the point that personal interpretation inevitably and invariably will fall short, that the Church is needed as a guide. In any case, and to try to put a fine point on it, but do believe in the Real Presence? I recognize that your God-given curiousity leads you to consider many varying interpretations of the nature of the Pascal sacrifice, but when all is said and done, do you believe that we consume the body and blood of Christ at Communion?


[...], Do you see the above as taking what you have said "one step further," an "elaboration" and "possible extension," as has been suggested?


[...], I don't see what Church direction has to do with it. All you need to do is open the Gospels and see what it says. Yes, I believe in the Divine Presence but not because someone tells me to, but because I have arrived at that beleif through many means.


[...], Do you see what I mean about John? The synoptics put the last supper on the preceding night. John makes Jesus the lamb on Passover. For John, Jesus is the NEW sacrifice. Both versions cannot be right. Thus, it would seem, especially when you read the rest of John, that he is speaking metphorically. Metaphore does not make what he means any less true in terms of belief.

As to the Passover cups, there are usually at least 6 cups of wine. While certain customs vary per household, I have never heard of a Cup of Consummation.


Greetings all...

The following is a message I posted in response to an "attack" on the Eucharist on the [... Forum]. While I don't want this board to get caught up in the "goings-on" of another board, I certainly believe that documents/defenses can be helpful for others to see. I fear that the moderator of that other board will remove the post when he sees it - but, then again, I may be surprised.

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The moderator of this forum chooses to repost anti-Catholic articles, rather than use his own words to express his thoughts. I, on the other hand, have written this response on my own - using excerpts of other writings, especially the Bible - to respond accurately to the accusations made against the Catholic Church, and to present a fuller and true Catholic teaching on the subject.

The article focus' on what Catholics refer to as Eucharist. It is under a belief that the bread and wine offered in Communion actually become the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Where could such a belief come from?

The Bible. John 6:48-71[RSV]

Jesus speaks here, saying "I am the bread of life." [v48] As Jesus continues to explain...the crowd asks "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"[v52] How does Jesus respond to this?

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him." [vv 53-56]

Jesus clearly says that he will give us his flesh to eat and his blood to drink. How are we to take this though? Literally or metaphorically?

The metaphoric meaning of "eating/gnawing" someone's flesh meant to detest and hate them. Was Jesus saying "unless you hate me, you will not have eternal life"? Of course not!

Yet, he wasn't speaking completely literally either - for he certainly didn't mean for them to literally cut pieces of his flesh off and eat it or drain his actual blood and drink it. Some were thinking that though...and he explained "It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." [v63]

Jesus was explaining the mystery of the Eucharist - the "bread of life". It is in a spiritual way, a mystical, mysterious way, that the bread, water and wine become His body, blood, soul and divinity. And, it is not by the power of the priest himself, that this is done, but rather by the power and authority of Jesus Christ, who offers Himself to the Father as sacrifice for us.

But, some will say..."Jesus is not speaking of Communion anywhere here" - and they would be partially correct. But, if we were to "fast forward" to the Last Supper...we hear the words of Jesus, "This IS my body....This IS my blood". It is here that we can recall the words of Jesus found in John 6; specifically, that Jesus says His flesh is true food, His blood true drink.

However, we find that this is, indeed, a difficult concept and even the disciples of Jesus, hearing his words, could not accept them.[cf v60; v66]

Additionally, one may look at 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 1 Cor. 11:23-29 and see that St. Paul makes light of the belief as well. St. Paul says that one is "guilty of the body and blood of the Lord" if they partake unworthily. Also, look at what St. Paul has to say in v29...

Now...some may say too...."what a fanciful interpretation. But, it is not true." Those who say such would be incorrect. Christians of the early Church believed it...and we find numerous teachers teaching such through the age.

Ignatius of Antioch, writing to the Romans in A.D. 110:

"I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible" (Letter to the Romans 7:3 [A.D. 110]).

Writing to the Smyrnaeans in A.D. 110:

"Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes" (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2-7:1 [A.D. 110]).

Justin Martyr, writing in A.D. 151, writes:

"We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).

Irenaeus of Lyons, writes, in A.D. 189:

"If the Lord were from other than the Father [and thus capable of performing miracles], how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?" (Against Heresies 4:33-32 [A.D. 189]).

"He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life - flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?" (ibid., 5:2).

Clement of Alexandria

"'Eat my flesh,' [Jesus] says, 'and drink my blood.' The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, He delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children" (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]).

Tertullian "[T]here is not a soul that can at all procure salvation, except it believe whilst it is in the flesh, so true is it that the flesh is the very condition on which salvation hinges. And since the soul is, in consequence of its salvation, chosen to the service of God, it is the flesh which actually renders it capable of such service. The flesh, indeed, is washed [in baptism], in order that the soul may be cleansed . . . the flesh is shadowed with the imposition of hands [in confirmation], that the soul also maybe illuminated by the Spirit; the flesh feeds [in the Eucharist] on the body and blood of Christ, that the soul likewise may be filled with God" (The Resurrection of the Dead 8 [A.D. 210]).

Origen

"Formerly there was baptism in an obscure way . . . now, however, in full view, there is regeneration in water and in the Holy Spirit. Formerly, in an obscure way, there was manna for food; now, however, in full view, there is the true food, the flesh of the Word of God, as he himself says: 'My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink' [John 6:56]" (Homilies on Numbers 7:2 [A.D. 248]).

On and on this continues throughout the centuries...

Council of Ephesus

"We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the Only-begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer the unbloody Sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, having received his Holy Flesh and the Precious Blood of Christ the Savior of us all. And not as common flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the Life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. For he is the Life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his Flesh, he made it also to be Life-giving" (session 1, Letter of Cyril to Nestorius [A.D. 431]).

...and it continues today...that we confess the same as all those early Christians...The Eucharist IS the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Do we, Catholics, accept the Lord as our Savior? Yes! And our spirit lives and thrives on the "bread of life".


[...], I think that was very well-written. I hope the moderator on that board doesn't delete it. I am amazed that you took the time to write another response after he deleted the other posts you and [...] made. Good for you!!! :) It will also be interesting to see if your posts bring people from that board over here. ???


How do you access this [...] board?

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{etc... - irrelevant}


ANYWAYS... (back to the original topic, shall we?)

Is the Eucharistic host the glorified body of Christ or is it the body of Christ before being raised from the dead? Is breaking the host mean breaking the body of Christ?
Some claim that if the host is the body of Christ and we break the host, we are actually breaking Christ's Body and therefore actually killing (or sacrificing) Him over again. This, they claim, would deny that Christ death was already over and that He had even rose from the dead.
Disagreeing with these claims, I think there are a number of explanations for the Eucharist.

  1. Jesus is considered the high priest (from the order of Melchizedek) for the Christian community. In the OT, high priests were identified with the common people. I'm not sure that if they sin, then the high priest was responsible and that if the priest sin, then punishment was afflicted also against the people. (I haven't read much of the OT.) But Melchizedek made sacrifices of bread and wine (in atonement for sins?) for his people. Now, Jesus does the same thing with a new bread and wine calling them His body and blood respectively. He said that it will be sacrificed "for all so that sins may be forgiven".
  2. Jesus is the Lamb of God. In the OT, the lamb was sacrificed and its blood was shed for the people. They had to believe in it, otherwise God afflicts punishment for disobeying Him. And the people were to observe it for always (the Passover). So Jesus observes it. But He adds a new twist to it. (Matt mentioned what Jesus did, so I'll skip this.)

However, I have a question and that is... What were the Jews really arguing amongst themselves about (Jn 6:52)? Were they really upset about Christ telling them to eat His flesh or were they really arguing about something else about which I don't know?


Another thing to note is that you find in the NT accounts of believers gathering together regularly to "break bread". When you read the early church history, you find that "break bread" means "the sacrifice" and it was eventually named "eucharist". While I don't know what breaking bread means in Jewish practices but in Christian practice, it's sharing together the Body of Christ as one family in unity in Christ.


My understanding is that the separate consecration of bread and wine into the separate Body and Blood makes present, mystically, the crucified Christ with His Blood separated from His Body; and that the dropping of a particle of the Host into the chalice mystically makes present the Resurrection and corresponding reintegration of Our Lord.

But that has to do with the manner in which the Sacrifice of Calvary is present in the Mass. I do not think this is the same as the manner in which Christ is abidingly present in the Blessed Sacrament, because that is Christ "now," the glorified Christ. These things are difficult to talk about, because they involve both the eternal moment of Calvary, which happened long ago but is made present to us at each Mass, and the "eternal now" in which God dwells and all moments are simultaneously present to Him. In fact, I think I am certifiably out of my depth. 8>)


...and then the Eucharist where the Blood of the Lamb is the Drink that we consume at Mass. Maybe that's the new way of 'doing something' with the blood - versus just believing. Hence with the Lamb's Blood "on our doorstep", God will not kill us.


This will probably repeat some of what Matt already said.

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"I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh."

Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?"

So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves."

"He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. "

"For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink."

John 6:51-55 NASB

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There are tens of millions of Christians who claim that Christ's words in the above passage were meant merely in a symbolic way.

The way to interpret this passage correctly is to investigate just what an ancient Palestinian Jew would have meant by symbolically talking about someone eating the flesh of another person.

The truth is that to eat someone flesh and to drink their blood is a figurative way of talking about attacking someone as an enemy, assaulting/abusing them, as these scriptures show:

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I. OTHER BIBLE VERSES WHICH INTERPRET JOHN 6

1. "these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh" Rev. 17:16 NASB

Here, EATING the harlot's FLESH is a figure of speech for "attacking" the harlot.

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2. "When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence."
Psalm 27:2,12

Here, devouring the Psalmist's FLESH is a figure of spech for "attacking" the Psalmist

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3. For this reason at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and [1]brought charges against the Jews."
[1]Lit ate the pieces of
Daniel 3:8 NASB

Here, as the literal translation in the footnote shows, EATING pieces of Jews is a figure of speech for "attacking" Jews.

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4. "The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had [1]maliciously accused Daniel"
[1]Lit eaten the pieces of Daniel
Daniel 6:24 NASB

Here, as the literal translation in the footnote shows, EATING pieces of Daniel is a figure of speech for "attacking" Daniel.

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5. "I will feed your oppressors with their own flesh," Isaiah 49:26 NASB

Here, the opressors EATING their own FLESH is a figure of speech meaning that the opressors will attack themselves (friendly fire - in military jargon).

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6. "I will make My arrows drunk with blood, And My sword will devour flesh" Deuteronomy 32:42 NASB

Here, the sword figuratively EATS FLESH because it is an instrument of assault.

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7. "And the sword will devour and be satiated And drink its fill of their blood" Jeremiah 46:10 NASB

Here, the sword figuratively EATS FLESH because it is an instrument of assault.

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8. "And the Assyrian will fall by a sword not of man, And a sword not of man will devour him." Isaiah 31:8 NASB

Here, the sword figuratively EATS FLESH because it is an instrument of assault.

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9. "And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus." Rev. 17:6 NASB

Here, DRINKING BLOOD is a figure of speech for attacking the saints & martyrs.

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10. "I will make My arrows drunk with blood" Deuteronomy 32:42 NASB

Here, arrows figuratively DRINK BLOOD because they are instruments of assault.

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11. "And the sword will devour and be satiated And drink its fill of their blood" Jeremiah 46:10 NASB

Here, the sword figuratively DRINKS BLOOD because it is an instrument of assault.

Middle Eastern Arabs still use this figure of speech, that to eat someone's flesh is to abuse them.

Even english has a figure of speech something like this. "To chew someone out" means to speak harshly to them, to verbally abuse them.

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No wonder the Jews in the Capernaum Synagogue asked "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?"

If interpreted symbolically, meaning of Christ's words were:

"unless you attack the Son of Man and assault Him, you have no life in yourselves."

"He who attacks Me and assaults Me has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. "

Since this is an impossible interpretation, then the true interpretation cannot not be symbolic.

Jesus' words could not have been meant symbolically

Jesus was instructing His disciples to literally eat His flesh and literally drink His blood.

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When I posted these facts to another website in 1997, one of my favorite opponents replied with numerous scriptures about eating all kinds of things that were not a person's flesh and numerous scriptures about drinking all kinds of things that were not a persons's blood. Verses about the eating of cheese does not interpret a verse about the eating of someone's flesh. Verses about the drinking of milk does not interpret a verse about the eating of someone's blood. The above verses interpret John 6 because they are about the eating of someone's flesh and the drinking of someone's blood.

Yet today, there are tens of millions of christians who would explain Christ's words as symbolic terms. They would propose that "eat My flesh" means "have faith in me", and "drink My blood" means "believe in me". If so, then:

1. "these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will have faith in her" (Rev. 17:16)

2. "When evildoers came upon me to have faith in me, Psalm 27:2

3. For this reason at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and believed in the Jews." Daniel 3:8

4. "The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had believed in Daniel" Daniel 6:24

5. "I will feed your oppressors with their own flesh," (Isaiah 49:26) actually means "They will have confidence in themselves"

6. Arrows and swords are instruments of faith Dt. 32:42 Jer. 46:10 Isa. 31:8

7. "And I saw the woman had faith in the saints, and in the witnesses of Jesus." Rev. 17:6

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II. DO THE GOSPELS SPEAK OF CHRIST'S FLESH & BLOOD AS MERE SYMBOLS

The Gospels simply do not talk about Christ's flesh and blood as symbols for anything else.

"And the Word became flesh" John 1:14
The flesh in John 1:14 is real carnal flesh, as real and as physical as my own flesh.

" the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh." John 6:51
The flesh given for the world in John 6:51 is real carnal flesh, as real and as physical as my own flesh.

"this is My blood of the covenant which is shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins: Mt. 27:28
The blood shed for forgiveness of sins in Mt. 27:28 is real carnal blood, as real and as physical as my own blood.

"pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water" John 19:34
The blood in John 19:34 is real carnal blood, as real and as physical as my own blood.

The Gospels simply do not talk about Christ's flesh and blood as mere symbols for something else.

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III. IN WHICH DIRECTION DID THE CAPERNAUM CONVERSATION GO ?

The Capernaum Synagogue Jews asked Jesus to explain himself, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?"

Christ replied by getting more carnally explicit, not more abstract.

The verb for "eat" used by the Evangelist in John 6:26-51 is the greek word 'phagoo'. But after they asked "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?" the Evangelist switches to the verb 'trogo', which is a more carnally explicit word. It ought to be translated as "chew" or "gnaw" or even "munch". Thus a more literal translation of the passage would be:

"How can this man give us His flesh to eat?" So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves."
"He who CHEWS My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. " For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink." He who CHEWS My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who CHEWS on Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who CHEWS this bread will live forever."

Yet today, there are tens of millions of christians who would explain Christ's words by taking a path in the opposite direction that Christ took. Whereas Christ spoke more carnally explicit words in His conversation, these millions of Christians would talk in more abstract, more symbolic ways.

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IV. THE DISCIPLES WHO LEFT INDICATES A RADICAL TEACHING

"As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. " John 6:66 NASB

Christ had said something so outrageous that some of his disciples apostacized.

Since they had previously been following Christ, then they already believed in Him.

Thus their actions demonstrate that Christ had meant something far more radical than "I want my disciples to continue to have faith in Me".

They left Him because they understood His words to mean "I want my disciples to chew on my carnally literal flesh and to drink my carnally literal blood."

Jesus did not correct such an interpretation. He let them go because they were rejecting the truth.

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V. WHAT HAS THE CHURCH ALWAYS BELIEVED ?

Saint Gregory Of Nyssa was a pastor who lived in the 4th century and was a staunch defender of Nicene Trinitarianism against the Arian Heresy. Here is what he taught in Chapter XXXVII of his "Catechal Orations"

"The question was, how can that one Body of Christ vivify the whole of mankind, all, that is, in whomsoever there is Faith, and yet, though divided amongst all, be itself not diminished? Perhaps, then, we are now not far from the probable explanation. If the subsistence of every body depends on nourishment, and this is eating and drinking, and in the case of our eating there is bread and in the case of our drinking water sweetened with wine, and if, as was explained at the beginning, the Word of God, Who is both God and the Word, coalesced with man's nature, and when He came in a body such as ours did not innovate on man's physical constitution so as to make it other than it was, but secured continuance for His own body by the customary and proper means, and controlled its subsistence by meat and drink, the former of which was bread,-just, then, as in the case of ourselves, as has been repeatedly said already, if a person sees bread he also, in a kind of way, looks on a human body, for by the bread being within it the bread becomes it, so also, in that other case, the body into which God entered, by partaking of the nourishment of bread, was, in a certain measure, the same with it; that nourishment, as we have said, changing itself into the nature of the body. For that which is peculiar to all flesh is acknowledged also in the case of that flesh, namely, that that Body too was maintained by bread; which Body also by the indwelling of God the Word was transmuted to the dignity of Godhead. Rightly, then, do we believe that now also the bread which is consecrated by the Word of God is changed into the Body of God the Word. For that Body was once, by implication, bread, but has been consecrated by the inhabitation of the Word that tabernacled in the flesh. Therefore, from the same cause as that by which the bread that was transformed in that Body was changed to a Divine potency, a similar result takes place now. For as in that case, too, the grace of the Word used to make holy the Body, the substance of which came of the bread, and in a manner was itself bread, so also in this case the bread, as says the Apostle, "is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer"; not that it advances by the process of eating to the stage of passing into the body of the Word, but it is at once changed into the body by means of the Word, as the Word itself said, "This is My Body." , , , . Since, then, that God-containing flesh partook for its substance and support of this particular nourishment also, and since the God who was manifested infused Himself into perishable humanity for this purpose, viz. that by this communion with Deity mankind might at the same time be deified, for this end it is that, by dispensation of His grace, He disseminates Himself in every believer through that flesh, whose substance comes from bread and wine, blending Himself with the bodies of believers, to secure that, by this union with the immortal, man, too, may be a sharer in incorruption. He gives these gifts by power of the benediction through which He transelements the natural quality of these visible things to that immortal thing."

The ancient church preserved and distributed copies of Saint Gregory's Orations because the Church found in them accurate statements of the truth that the Church had always believed. The Holy Spirit of Truth guided no one else to do otherwise, or to believe otherwise. The truth is that the Church has always believed that God "transelements"(metastoicheiosas) bread and wine into the flesh and blood of Christ.

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Saint Cyril of Jerusalem was a pastor who lived in the 4th century and was a defender of Orthodox Christianity against heresy. Here is what he taught in Chapter XXII of his "Catechal Discourses"

"Consider therefore the Bread and the Wine not as bare elements, for they are, according to the Lord's declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ; for even though sense suggests this to thee, yet let faith establish thee. Judge not the matter from the taste, but from faith be fully assured without misgiving, that the Body and Blood of Christ have been vouch-safed to thee. , , Having learn these things, and been fully assured that the seeming bread is not bread, though sensible to taste, but the Body of Christ; and that the seeming wine is not wine, though the taste will have it so, but the Blood of Christ"

The ancient church preserved and distributed copies of Saint Cyrill's Discourses because the Church found in them accurate statements of the truth that the Church had always believed. The Holy Spirit of Truth guided no one else to do otherwise, or to believe otherwise. The truth is that the Church has always believed that the bread and wine were the flesh and blood of Christ.

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Saint Justin the Martyr died at the hands of the pagan Romans in the middle of the 2nd century AD as a wittness to Christ. Here is what he taught on the matter in Chapter LXVI of his "First Apology"

Kai e trophe aute kaleitai par emin eucharistia, es oudeni allo metaschein exon estin, he to pisteuonti alethe einai ta dedidagmena uph hemon kai lousameno to huper apheseos amartion kai eis anagennesin loutron kai outos biounti hos o christos paredoken. Ou gar hos koinon arton oude koinon poma tauta lambonomen, all on tropon dia logou Theou sarkopoietheis Iesous Christos ho Soter hemon kai sarka kai haima huper soterias hemon eschen, outos kai ten di euches logou tou par autou eucharistetheisan trophen, ex hes haima kai sarkes kata metabolen trephontai hemon, ekeinou tou sarkopoietheontes Iesou kai sarka kai haima edidaschthemen einai.

"And this food is called among us the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh."

The ancient church preserved and distributed copies of Saint Justin's Apologies because the Church found in them accurate statements of the truth that the Church had always believed. The Holy Spirit of Truth guided no one else to do otherwise, or to believe otherwise. The truth is that the Church has always believed that the bread and wine become the flesh and blood of Christ by "transmutation" (metabolen).

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Saint Ignatius of Antioch was martyred at the hands of the pagan Romans around AD 108. He had oversaw the Chruch at Antioch since the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Here is what he taught on the matter in his epistles:

katamathete de tous heterodoxountas eis ten charin Iesou Christou ten eis hemas elthousan, pos enantioi eisin ten gnome tou Theou

"Mark those who have strange opinions concerning the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary they are to the mind of God" Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans 6:2

Eucharistias kai proseuches apechontai, dia to me homologein ten eucharistian sarka einai tou Soteros hemon Iesou christou ten huper ton amartion hemon pathousan, hen ten chrestoteti o pater hegeirein. Hoi oun antilegontes te dorea tou Theou syzetountes apothneskousin

"They abstain from the Eucharist and prayre, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ who suffered for our sins, which the Father raised up by His goodness. They then who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes" Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans 7:1

ouch edomai trophe phthoras oude edonais tou biou toutou, arton Theou thelo, o estin sarz Iesou Christou, tou ek spermatos daueid, kai poma thelo to aima autou

"I have no pleasure in the food of corruption or in the delights of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was the seed of David and for our drink, I desire his blood" Ignatius to the Romans 7:3

aperistpasto dianoia ena arton klontes, os estin phagmakon athanasias, antidotos tou me apothanein, alla zoe en iesou Christo dia pantos

"With an undisturbed mind, break one bread, which is the medicine of immortality, the antidote that we should not die, but live forever in Jesus Christ" Ignatius to the Ephesians 20:1

The ancient church preserved and distributed copies of Saint Ignatius' Epistles because the Church found in them accurate statements of the truth that the Church had always believed. The Holy Spirit of Truth guided no one else to do otherwise, or to believe otherwise. The truth is that the Church has always believed that the bread and wine were the flesh and blood of Christ.

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Today, there are tens of millions of separatist christians who have turned their back on the changeless doctrines of Orthodox Christianity. They have gone chasing after novelty teachings which no one believed in for centuries before the founding of their peculiar sects. The authority that they invoke to the truthfulness of their doctrines is their own personal opinion.

For centuries the Holy Spirit of Truth guided no one to believe that the Gospels wrote of Christ's flesh and blood in merely symbolic ways. In order for the personal opinions of the separatists to be correct, then the whole Church would have to have been deceived into believing a falsehood. The most notorious christians who openly admit that the whole Church fell into universal apostacy before their sect came along are the Mormons. But the Mormons teach openly what others had believed implicitly, that Jesus Christ was a grand failure at founding a Church which "the gates of Hades shall not overpower it" (Matt. 16:18)


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