The Eucharist Compared to Holy Communion


 The study was the product of a question posed to us about the Roman Catholic Eucharist. The question is: are we to believe that the bread and the wine at the Last Supper are the literal body and blood of Christ so that it supports the doctrine of "substantiation"? The Roman Catholic Church teaches that one is to imagine in one's mind that we are virtually eating of Christ's flesh and drinking His blood when we partake in the Eucharist. Protestants call it "Holy Communion," which is about to be changed.

This is probably the most important subject in the Gospel and warrants careful Scripture study which turned out to be quite exciting for me. A Catholic defender claims, "Fundamentalist writers who comment on John 6 also assert one can show Christ was speaking only metaphorically by comparing with verses like John 10:9 ("I am the door") and John 15:1 ("I am the true vine"). Ray, who posed the question stated: "the problem is that there is not a connection to John 6:35, "I am the bread of life." "I am the door" and "I am the vine" make sense as metaphors because Christ is like a door - we go to heaven through him - and he is also like a vine - we get our spiritual sap through him. But Christ takes John 6:35 far beyond symbolism by saying, "For my flesh is meat indeed, and blood is drink indeed." (John 6:55)

He continues in John 6:57, "As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father:  so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." (John 6:57)

Jesus deliberately spoke in parables. " And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest  thou unto  them  in  parables? He answered  and  said  unto  them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given." (Matthew 13:10,11)

A few Scriptures out of context are not going to explain what Jesus was talking about. I hope you bear with me and read what developed out of this question. It will give you a different perspective than your Catholic defender gave.

Before we go into the meat of the Gospel, the Apostle Paul made it quite clear that Communion should be done in memory of Jesus Christ and His crucifixion.

Here is why: God does not contradict His own teachings. There are a number of verses in the Bible which forbid the practice of drinking blood beginning with Genesis 9:4 "But  flesh with the life thereof, [which is] the blood thereof, shall ye not eat." " [It shall  be]  a  perpetual  statute  for  your   generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood." (Leviticus 3:17 - Others are Lev.7:26; 19:26; Deut. 12:23; Eze. 33:25; Acts 15:20; 15:29).

In fact the admonitions get quite threatening. "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."  (Leviticus 17:10)

"As  touching the Gentiles which believe, we have  written  [and] concluded  that they observe no such thing, save only  that they keep  themselves from [things] offered to idols, and from  blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. (Acts 21:25)

Jesus did not make it as clear as the Apostle Paul did, what Jesus meant by the Last Supper. Paul stated: "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: 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. 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. For as often as ye eat this bread,  and drink  this  cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till  he  come. 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. But let a man examine himself, and so let him  eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup. For he that  eateth and  drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation  to  himself, not discerning the Lord's body." (1 Corinthians 11:23-29)

What he meant by "Not discerning (1252) the Lord's body," or diakrino meant in Greek denoting to separate and to distinguish, decide and judge. To make to differ and determine who Jesus is.

Our job is to prove, that Jesus did not mean at the last supper, that the bread and wine were literally His body and blood which were to be eaten literally. This act would be the basis of being cleansed from sin. Catholics are encouraged to attend daily Mass in a Roman Catholic Church to be continually cleansed from sin.

To study Roman Catholic traditions, a good place to go are their artifacts that they display during their ceremonies and later preserve in museums. These speak louder than words. The fact they are on display to this day means that the Roman Catholic Church still identifies with the history deciphered by coins and procession symbols.

In the treasury of Saint Peter, are many "sacred" objects preserved which are periodically brought into museums for all to see all over the world, they are called the Vatican Collections, the Papacy and Art, Exhibits. The symbolism used on old coins are reminiscent of sun worship. For instance one coin portrays the emblems of the Catholic Eucharist as a round water embedded in sun streams, (representing the bread) over a gold goblet decorated with more sun streams, which is supposed to have the blood of Christ in it. So does the circle enfolding an obelisk at Saint Peters Basilica.

In spite of that, when one reads of their literature without discernment, it is easy to come to the conclusion that the Roman Catholic Church is the historical church as many deep down believe. The only way to disprove it to oneself is to watch the Pope in action and study the whole history of the church and their doctrine in depth.

"For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:" (1Peter 1:18,19) "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock,  over the  which  the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to  feed  the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."  (Acts 20:28)

To truly understand why Jesus had to offer Himself for our redemption through His blood for the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; (Ephesians 1:7) we have to study the Old Testament which describes how Israel was covered from sin by the slaughter of specific numbers and types of animals for certain sins.

Hebrews points back to that day: "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us]. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of  an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the  purifying  of the  flesh: How much more shall the blood  of  Christ,  who through  the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge  your conscience from dead works to serve the  living  God? (Hebrews 9:12-14)

Because these animal sacrifices could only cover Jews temporarily and never Gentiles, who lived outside the law but were just as condemned through Adams' transgression, a change had to take place.

The Old Testament had to be replaced by a New Testament. Speaking of Jesus Christ: "And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were]  under  the first testament, they which  are  called  might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." (Hebrews 9:15)

Who are they which are called? "For many are called, but few [are] chosen". (Matthew 22:14) Again speaking of Jesus who was ".. declared [to be] the Son of God with power, according  to the Spirit of Holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:" (Romans 1:4-6) Ye refers to the Body of Christ, the Church. The chosen are the Jews, who will be few in the end.

Next is described what the meaning of a testament is again pointing back to the Old Testament, the Abrahamic covenant, which was done in the middle of the night between the two sides of a heifer with a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp passing between those two pieces of heifer, which represented God Himself, who is Spirit. There could not be blood shed. (see Genesis 15:9-21) Animal sacrifices had only a temporary effect. There also had to be many Aaronic priests born into the priesthood through blood relationships to administer the sacrifices.

Abram, whose name was changed to Abraham by God, at the time a Gentile, had such faith in God, that God personally made a covenant with him, which He had to keep. God promised Abram seed, the numbers he wouldn't be able to count and land which would be his forever. The promise for Abram's faith which was counted to him for righteousness (Gen.15:6) became the key of the entire Old and New Testament and Paul later proved that Abraham's faith was not merely a general confidence in God nor simple obedience to God's command, but that it was indeed faith in the promise of redemption through Christ. (see Rom. 3:21,22; 4:18-25; Gal. 3:14)

Here was the crux of the matter, a person had to die to truly leave an inheritance. The promise to Abraham was made by God Himself the testator. "For where a testament [is], there must also of necessity  be the  death  of the testator. For a testament [is] of  force after  men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all  while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first [testament] was dedicated without blood." (Hebrews 9:16-18)

Truly realizing and comprehending that Jesus Christ was indeed God Himself, in fact had to be God Himself, to satisfy the Abrahamic Covenant, one begins to understand the awesomeness of it and even more the security in it. We can be absolutely sure that God Himself will fulfill the final part of the Scriptures since He has already fulfilled most of the Bible prophecy. It is impossible to doubt anything at this point.

Now ask yourself: did Abraham have to eat sacrificed flesh and drink blood to have his faith in "Christ resurrected", to be accounted for righteousness by God? No, so why would that be changed today? Abraham was a gentile at the time. He became a Jew when he was circumcised according to God's commandment. His faith was enough to set God in motion to get the sin factor under control and buy back Abraham and the rest of mankind who have such faith. It is finished, Jesus took the sin upon Himself. In Catholicism the sin seems to never be removed, since Catholics end up in purgatory after they die, whereever that is. It is not in the Scriptures.

"How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:14)

Another proof why drinking the blood cannot apply: In the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, the blood was separated from the flesh when it was sacrificed for sins resulting in appeasement for the sins of the offerers in the Old Testament. The blood of the animals was taken and presented to God and was applied to man through sprinkling the blood externally, never by drinking it. (see Hebrews 9:7-29)

The same is true of the blood of Christ which represents the blood of the covenant necessary to satisfy the promise God made. The Law of Moses could not be satisfied through the Aaronic priesthood. It ceased to exist. The temple was destroyed. With Christ's resurrection, an eternal Priesthood was instituted, in Christ Jesus, who became the only Melchizedek Priest, who can provide eternal life through His priesthood, the only eternal priesthood in existence. The New Testament in Christ's blood, applied not only to Jews but to all mankind. The Pope calls himself also a Melchizedek priest which is an impossibility according to the Word of God.

To go deeper in relation to the meaning of bread and wine in reference to Jesus' body and blood, in Greek, the word for blood is haima (129); the blood of the human or animal body is the substantial basis of their lives. The life of the flesh is in the blood. Haima by itself may denote life passing away in bloodshed, generally taken away by force. Haima is used to denote life given up or offered as an atonement. (see Matt. 26:28; Heb. 9:12, 25; 1John 1:7)

Christ (5547) in connection with the blood, the word used was Christos which means to anoint. Used in the Old Testament, anointed applied to everyone anointed with the holy oil, pertains primarily to the high priesthood (see Lev.4:3,5,16; 6:22). It is also a name applied to others as redeemers. In the Gospels (NT) Christos appears as a proper noun alone in connection with Jesus Christ. Jesus who is called Christ and Christos also refers to the society of which Christ is the head. It also means the doctrine of Christ (Eph. 4:20), the benefits (Heb. 3:14); and the disposition arising in believers from a sound Christian faith. (see Gal. 4:19; cf. 2Cor. 3:14; Eph. 3:17; Phil. 2:5)

Taking the meaning of Christos, the doctrine of Christ (Eph. 4:20) a step further, we find in Revelation 19:13 the following: "And He [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood (haima): and his name is called THE WORD OF GOD."

His name (3686) is called THE WORD (3056) of God. His name, onoma (3686) in Greek, means a character described by the name, the name as a substitute or representative of a person. Since in Jesus' case His name is the Word of God, it represents Jesus and His character. If Jesus represents God, it would represent God's character. From this we can deduce that the Word of God is what He left with us to represent that which wants to get into us to become one with Him, His character, not physical flesh eaten at a Mass. His name, onoma, also gives importance to confession of a name for the sake of the person confessed. (see Matt. 10:22; 19:29; 24:9) so to be baptized into someone's name means to be baptized into the faith or confession of that person and to be identified with his character. It also delegated authority: "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (John 14:13) This promise only applies if it is conformable of His character and to His purpose.

The Word (3056) is logos in Hebrew which means to speak. It is articulated utterance of human language, also applies to thought in the mind. It refers to spoken words which are accepted as truth and understood. Those who are of God hear God's words (John 3:34, 8:47). Jesus Christ being sent of God, speaks exactly God's utterances. In the first chapter of John, Jesus Christ in His preincarnate state is called ho Logos, the Word, meaning first immaterial intelligence and then the expression of that intelligence in speech that humans could understand. It also refers to the practice of the Gospel (Matt. 13:21; Mark 4:17; John 8:31; Rev. 1:9; 20:4)

Apply this to the Eucharist in Roman Catholicism, which is supposed to cleanse a Catholic from sin daily. This practice does away with the scriptural admonition that the Word of God needs to wash us clean.

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. (Acts 22:16) Calling on the Word of God as confirmed in Ephesians 5:25,26: "Husbands,  love your wives, even as Christ  also  loved  the church,  and gave himself for it; That He might sanctify  and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born  of  water  and [of] the Spirit, he cannot  enter  into  the kingdom of God." (John 3:5) "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but  according to  his  mercy he saved us, by the washing of  regeneration,  and renewing of the Holy Ghost.." (Titus 3:5)

John 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14) Here is the connection between the Word and the flesh Catholics want one to eat. It is the Word that God wants us to eat daily just like bread is necessary daily for physical sustenance, the Word is necessary for spiritual sustenance. We are not in Jesus when we do not take in the Word to sustain us in Jesus. The Word is what Jesus refers to when He says I am the vine.

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. (John 15:1)

In the following verses, Jesus is speaking of Israel, it did not bear fruit by rejecting the Word of God (Christ Jesus) and not teaching the world as they were to do. He states that they will be cut off because of it, so that new branches can spring out of the cuts. Gentile evangelists bore much more fruit (the spoken Word of God representing Jesus Christ) instead.

"Every  branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh  away:  and every  [branch]  that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that  it  may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)

In His First miracle, Jesus made wine out of water which was prophetic of what was to come. The water was the symbol of the Old Testament truth. It was the Word of God, the Law. Moses hit the rock and got water. The water parted by the Word of God. The flood waters cleansed the world. The teaching was referred to as water from deep wells. Jesus changed the water to wine which refers to the New Testament and His blood shed for the sins of the world.

Why did Jesus tie His message to the disciples to meal time. Going back to the Old Testament,God was in the habit of that. One of the reasons God wanted all the male children of Israel circumcised on their penis was to remind them every time they used it, who they belonged to. They were God's elect. In another instance he told them to put long fringes on their garments (shawls) and memorize a commandment with each fringe, something they wore every day to not forget. Jewish priests still wear their shawls.

"Speak  unto the children of Israel, and bid them  that  they make  them  fringes in the borders of their  garments  throughout their  generations,  and  that they put upon the  fringe  of  the borders  a  ribband of blue: And it shall be unto you  for  a fringe, that  ye  may  look  upon  it,  and  remember  all   the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your  own  heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:" (Numbers 15:38,39)

"But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the  vine,  until  that day when I drink it new with  you  in  my Father's kingdom." (Matthew 26:29)

Why did Jesus tell them that He would not drink of this fruit of the vine, He was still alive before He shed His blood. He was still under the Old Covenant and would not be with them in flesh and blood. To leave a New Testament, He had to be separated from His blood representing the wine in the cup. No one can leave a Testament (inheritance) without passing away (leaving permanently). In Jesus' case the body was resurrected.

Note Jesus does not include blood when he reappeared to his disciples after His death to fulfill His promise to "drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." He didn't mean up in heaven but His Father's kingdom which is to be headed by Jesus Christ here on earth have already been achieved by His atonement.

"Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see;  for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see  me  have." (Luke 24:39)

Why on earth would we be drinking His blood or eating His flesh to get cleansed. It makes no sense whatsoever. Jesus is alive at the right hand of the Father interceding for us against accusations from Satan to the Father. He must be grossed out at the thought of having people by the millions chewing him up and drinking His precious blood daily simply by Scripture twisting and blindness to the truth.

"Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of  God, [even]  to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose  from the dead. (Acts 10:41)

So what did Jesus mean at the Last Supper? "And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and]  the first  begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings  of  the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us [notice past tense, it is done] from our sins in his own blood.." (Revelation 1:5)

Since He is the Word (John 1:1), to do it He became the Word in the flesh to make sure we got the message. The Word only stands if every tittle is fulfilled to the finest detail. How would we know what God did for us without the Word of God.

Matthew 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.." Better put by Mark: "And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks,  he  gave [it] to  them: and they all drank of it. And he  said  unto them,  This is my blood of the new testament, which is  shed  for many." (Mark 14:23,24)

The "broken" bread represented His broken body, by demoralizing Him in placing a crown of thorns on His head, pushing it hard into His skull. They ripped his clothes off, spat in His face and nailed Him to the cross. To make sure He was dead, they pierced Him and blood and water gushed out of Him. (The blood and water representing the New and Old Testament)

The blood and water dissipated into the ground. The blood in itself has no life. It only has life in conjunction with the Word of God. The blood and the Word are interrelated. One without the other has no power of it's own. Jesus without the Word of God is just a man. Nobody would have known what his purpose for being here was or who He was.

When we pray "Give us this day our daily bread," we are not only asking for food for the belly but for the Word of God (Jesus Christ) "And forgive us our debts.." We are forgiven through His crucifixion which is represented in the Lord's Last Supper. We are to remember it every time we break bread and remember Him and what He did for us.

But he answered and said, it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4) If Jesus wanted us to eat His body and drink His blood, He would have written this Scripture differently.

Another wonderful example of bread being something other than bread is in Matthew 15:23-28: The woman who came to Jesus wanted a healing for her daughter establish that these verses are not about physical bread or the eating Jesus' flesh.

"But he [Jesus] answered her [the woman] not a word. and his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away, for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

Then came she and worshiped Him, saying, Lord help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast [it] to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great [is] thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." Here he could have only been referring to the Word of God. If one replaced bread with shepherd representing Jesus Himself, it wouldn't fit the sentence where the Word can be doled out in bits and pieces.

Place the "Word of God" where Christ is mentioned into the Scripture John 10:9, John 15:1, 6:35 and John 6:27, it fits. John 6:63 is where Jesus confirms what I just wrote.

"It  is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth  nothing: the  words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit,  and  [they] are life. (John 6:63)

"And  they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to  take  the book,  and  to open the seals thereof: for thou wast  slain, and hast  redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every  kindred,  and tongue, and people, and nation;" (Revelation 5:9)

The Catholic Vatican II is one of the books of "how to" proceed enforcing Roman Catholic traditions laid down by the leadership of Catholic Church for priests and teachers. It states that the Eucharist is the center of Roman Catholicism. "Celebrating the Eucharist in which "the victory and triumph of his death are again made present." (The Council of Trent, session 23: Decree on the Holy Eucharist, ch.5)

The Most Sacred Mystery of the Eucharist 47. At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace and a pledge of future glory is given to us. (Roman Breviary: Feast of Corpus Christi, Second Vespers, Antiphon Magnificat.)

"In the celebration of the Eucharist, a sense of community should be encouraged. Each person will then feel himself united with his brethren in the communion of the Church local and universal, and even in a way with all men. In the sacrifice of the Mass in fact, Christ offers (notice present tense which is not biblical) himself for the salvation of the entire world. The congregation of the faithful is both type and sign of the union of the whole human race in Christ its Head. (cf. Constitution on the Church, n.3:AAS 57 (1965), p.6)

The Eucharist is also presented to the faithful "as a medicine, by which we are freed from our daily faults and preserved from mortal sin: (Council of Trent, Session 13: Decree on the Eucharist, ch.2: Denz. 875 (1638)..) The custom of the Church declares this to be necessary, so that no one who is conscious of having committed mortal sin, even if he believes himself to be contrite, should approach the holy Eucharist without first making a sacramental confession." (Council of Trent, Session 13; Decree on the Eucharist, ch. 7: Denz. 880 (1646-47)

Frequent or daily reception of the Blessed Eucharist increases union with Christ, nourishes the spiritual life more abundantly, strengthens the soul in virtue and gives the communicant a stronger pledge of eternal happiness.. (S.C.of the Council, Decree on the daily reception of communion, 20 Dec. 1905, n.6:AAS 38 (1905-06), pp.401)

Priests should ensure that they preside over the celebration of the Eucharist that the faithful know that they are attending not a rite established on private initiative, but the Church's public worship, the regulation of which was entrusted by Christ to the apostles and their successors. (Vatican II p.127)

The reasons for receiving the Eucharist is that the sick are led to the praiseworthy custom of adoring the heavenly food which is preserved in churches. This practice of adoration has a valid and firm foundation," especially since belief in the real presence of the Lord has as its natural consequence the eternal and public manifestation of that belief." (Ibid., p 130)

The Blessed Sacrament.. should have only one tabernacle.. safe and inviolable.. in a prominent place, in the middle of the main altar.. In the celebration of Mass the principal modes of worship by which Christ is present among the faithful gathered in his name; then in his Word.. Care should be taken that the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle is indicated to the faithful by a tabernacle veil.. a lamp should burn continually near the tabernacle as a sing of the honor paid to the Lord. (CF.C.I.C., can 1271.)

"All men are called to this catholic unity which prefigures and promotes universal peace. And in different ways to it belong, or are related: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God's grace to salvation;" (Vatican II, 1992) This final call includes literally, Buddhists, Islams, Hindus in other words all religions because they all have some sort of faith which is all it takes according to the Pope.

Newsletter Index| Scripture Index