The cup and wafer of Communion - a symbol or literal event?

Definitely a symbol! Just as the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament could never take away sins but were a symbol of Jesus' sacrifice of Himself for our sins, neither is the communion bread and wine/juice the literal body and blood of Christ as some teach! It is only a symbol of a spiritual event!

As the Apostle Paul says so eloquently;

I Corinthians 11:23-30

23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread:

24 And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

25 After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.

26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

30 For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

I think that my two favorite apostles are Paul and James. Both had a habit of being blunt and straightforward in their teachings, and Paul could hardly be more clear on this issue than he is here. Note that Jesus commanded us to do this in remembrance of Him. It is given to us as a reminder of what Jesus did for us. He also said, "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." (Verse 26 above)

Just as the sacrifices of the Law were symbolic reminders of sin and atonement, the Communion Covenant we celebrate is a symbolic reminder of sin and the everlasting atonement of the blood of Jesus Christ.

In the doctrine of "transubstantiation" the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the priest calls down Jesus Christ into the wafer (Eucharist) in a "bloodless sacrifice", which then becomes the literal body of Jesus, and the cup of juice or wine becomes the blood of the Lord, and the people eat the wafer and drink of the cup.

There are several problems with this concept.

First of all, if the wine or juice is the literal blood of Jesus as they teach, then this is in direct violation of God's commandment concerning the eating of blood, in which He says;

GENESIS 9:1-4

1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth [upon] the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

4 But flesh with the life thereof, [which is] the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

LEVITICUS 3:17

17 [It shall be] a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.

LEVITICUS 7:26-27

26 Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, [whether it be] of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings.

27 Whatsoever soul [it be] that eateth any manner of blood, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.

LEVITICUS 17:10-14

10 And whatsoever man [there be] of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.

11 For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it [is] the blood [that] maketh an atonement for the soul.

12 Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.

13 And whatsoever man [there be] of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.

14 For [it is] the life of all flesh; the blood of it [is] for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh [is] the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.

Even the apostle James reiterated this when the Gentiles who had accepted Jesus through the preaching of Paul sought to know what commandments they needed to keep. As he told the rest of the apostles and the gathered brethren of the early church;

ACTS 15:19-20

19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and [from] fornication, and [from] things strangled, and [from] blood.

Next, no man has the power to call Christ into a wafer. This would make Him weak and obedient to the priest(s) who perform the ceremony. It would also bring Him down from Heaven, in violation of the Scriptures, in which Peter said;

ACTS 3:19-21

19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

Unless I've missed something, the promised restitution has yet to happen, and Scripture is clear that Jesus must remain in Heaven until the appointed time. He can't be with us until then, which is why we have the Holy Spirit with us today, to be with us until He comes for us.

When we accept Jesus, we are cleansed of our sins by His blood. Does this mean we are literally cleansed with His blood? When we put on the armor of God as found in Ephesians 6, do we literally wear armor?

The answer to both questions is no! Our spirit is cleansed by the blood of Jesus, and our spirit wears the armor! Therefore the communion covenant is a spiritual event represented by a physical symbolic act, just as baptism is a symbol of our being buried with Jesus, and being resurrected with Him.

Just as there are no more sacrifices for sin because Jesus has fulfilled the Law and became the true sacrifice, so also the communion covenant cannot be a real "non-bloody" sacrifice. And unless it was symbolic how could Jesus have given His disciples His body and blood if he was still with them at the Last Supper?

The Scriptures also plainly state that Jesus was sacrificed once for all time.

HEBREWS 10:12-14

12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

HEBREWS 9:24-28

24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, [which are] the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

The continuous offering of the wafer and wine (or juice) as the real body and blood of Christ in the Mass indicates that the Catholic Church believes that the original sacrifice wasn't sufficient, but must be repeated often, in clear violation of the Scriptures as shown above.

The Communion Covenant is a most sacred covenant between God and Man, and is not to be taken lightly, for if we take this lightly, we take the sacrifice of Jesus lightly also.

We must also be careful to examine ourselves before we partake of the Communion Covenant to be certain that we are free of sin, for there is a curse upon us if we fail to do so.

As Scripture states;

1 CORINTHIANS 11:27-31

27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

30 For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

Scripture shows plainly that Jesus meant for the Communion Covenant to be a symbolic representation, reminder and celebration of His atoning sacrificial death, a sacrifice to be performed once for all time. And if God intends for it to be a symbolic event, who are we to change what He has already set down as an unchangeable law?

As I have shown from Scripture, teaching and celebrating the Communion Covenant as a literal re-enactment of Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross, even as a "non-bloody sacrifice" clearly violates Scripture. Those who partake of it in belief that it is a literal re-enactment of the original sacrifice are guilty of drinking blood, and are guilty of unbelief that His atoning death was enacted once for all time.

There is also a belief among people that a minister or priest is the only one who can perform the Communion Covenant. There is nothing in Scripture that states this. Any believing Christian can partake of, or lead others in the celebration of the Communion Covenant, and God will honor the event as long as it is done in accordance with His commandments. We can do it together as a group in church, or as individuals in our own homes.

The Communion Covenant is a personal encounter with Jesus, in which we individually honor Him and remember His redeeming death, His taking our guilt and sin within Himself, and paying the price with His blood that God's justice demanded for our atonement.

So let us not only examine ourselves in regards to our worthiness to partake of Communion, but let us also examine how we perform the Communion Covenant to ensure that we do it in accordance with Scriptural commandments, lest we bring a curse upon ourselves for our disobedience!

And may God the Father grant us the understanding and discernment we need through the grace of Jesus Christ His Son, so that we may celebrate His Communion Covenant in a manner acceptable to Him!

Questions? Comments? E-mail: watchmen_777@yahoo.com

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