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The Lord's Supper & 2nd Look
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The Lord’s Supper

 

Introduction

The following lesson is researched and prepared to show one central fact, that is that memorial worship to Christ  regarding the communion or Lord’s Supper was never an extension or anniversary connected to God’s Passover Feast.  Evidence will be shown of the Passover and of the 7 days of feast which always followed the Passover.  Evidence will be shown as to when Jesus ate the Passover, His trial in which every Jewish law was violated during the course of his trial and death.  This abuse of law by the courts would show to Israel and to the world forever that the nation of Israel was in darkness and that God had taken the light from them.  This will lead us to the central point of the lesson “The Lord’s Supper.”

 

Hebrew Law:

“The court must not be held on the Sabbath or any Holy Day.”  Betzah chapter 5, No. 2.  “The  court shall not judge on the eve of the Sabbath, nor on that day of any festival.”  Mishnah, Sanhedrin 4:1.

 

Facts:

1. Exodus 12:1-11, Deut. 16:1-16, Exodus 12:43-49, gives to the Jewish people authority to set in order the Passover feast unto God.  The first day of the feast would be ordained as the 14th day of Abhibh, later designated by the Jews as “Nissan.”

2. This was followed by seven days of unleavened bread, this was the feast of Maccath, and was in the memory of their first days of journey from Egypt.

3. Passover eaten only at night.

4. After the construction of the Tabernacle and Temple, the Pascal Lamb could be sacrificed only at the central sanctuary.  Deut. 16:5, Josephus Wars bk. 7, ch. 9, sec. 3.

5. No alien or uncircumcised person could partake.

6. The first and seventh days were Holy Days and no work could be done except what was necessary to prepare food.

7. During this week, additional sacrifices were made in the Temple, Bullocks, Rams, Lambs of the first year, meal and drink offerings.

8. Matt 26:17ff.  The disciples inquire of Jesus where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover.  This question was asked early on Wednesday, Nissan 13.  Mark 14:12ff shows that the Passover Lamb  was ready to be sacrificed at the proper time.

9. Exodus 12:6 The Lamb was to be sacrificed at, or during twilight hours, at this point we need good knowledge of how the Jews recorded time.  The Jews divided the day into morning and evening:  till the sun passed the meridian all was morning or fore noon; after that all was afternoon or evening.  Their first evening began just after 12 o’clock, and continued till sunset.  Their second evening began at sunset and continued until night, or the whole of their twilight.  Adam Clarke, vol. 1, p. 348.  See p. 2, 1831 ed.  Therefore, at twilight or first dark on the passing of Nissan 13, began Thursday Nissan 14 at first dark.  Ex. 12:6, states that the lamb was to be slain at twilight and eaten before the rising of the sun the next morning.  Therefore, Jesus ate the Passover during twilight hours of Nissan 14 (Mk. 14:12ff), and taken prisoner during this time.  After sunrise on Nissan 14 Jesus was tried, convicted and put to death on Thursday Nissan 14, which day would end at the setting of the sun and would begin Friday Nissan 15. At sunset on Friday would begin the Sabbath Nissan 16. The Sabbath would end on Saturday eve at dark and would begin the first day of the week.

10. We need a clear concept of the ancient Jewish mode of reckoning time.  The Jewish day of 24 hours began at one sunset and ended with the next.  Their “day” proper was reckoned from sunrise to sunset.  Their “night” proper was likewise measured from sunset to sunrise.  Now the prepared brief shows that Jesus was tried by the Sanhedrin on the 14 Nissan, according to the Jewish calendar, or between Thursday April 6 and the afternoon of Friday April 7. According to our calendar the trial and execution took place on Friday April 7, the day before the Sabbath.  His whole trial was in violation of every Jewish law on the books as is alleged under point 6 of this legal brief.  The Hebrew Trial of Jesus From a Lawyer’s Stand Point, William Chandler of the New York Bar.  Federal Book Co, 1925 ed.

11. If not careful, we could arrive at John 18:28 where the Jews refused to go into the Praetorium because they did not want to defile themselves, that they might eat the Passover.  There is really no problem, when we understand the laws of defilement given in the Old  Testament.  These Jews had already observed the Pascal Passover, but there were seven more closely connected days of unleavened bread, also considered by the Jews as days of the Passover.  They would not go into the Praetorium for fear of touching a Gentile, since it was a legal defilement, and would have disqualified them from participating in the other religious ordinances which followed the Passover meal.  Lev. 15:10, 11, 19, 20. The Passover meal was eaten the night before on Thursday.  International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol. 4, p. 2256.

12. Matt. 27:62. Now on the day after the preparation [Passover] the Chief Priest and Pharisees came to Pilate, this was perhaps after Joseph had taken Jesus down from the cross.

13. Matt. 28:1. The Sabbath has passed, before dawn and as the first day of the week began Mary came to look at the grave early in the morning.  Mk. 16:2.

14. Mark 14:12ff, Luke 22:7ff.  Jesus ate the Passover meal during twilight hours of Nissan 14.  After reclining  at table, and after the Pascal Lamb meal known as the Passover, Jesus instituted his own memorial which was not an extension of the Pascal Lamb meal, but the beginning of the feast of unleavened bread.

15. Now we come to the central question, was the establishment of the Lord’s supper connected to, or extension of the Passover feast.

16. The following evidence will show beyond any doubt that the institution of the Lord’s Supper was not connected to nor was it an extension to the Passover Feast, and since the Apostles set the guide lines which was the first day of each week, it cannot be considered as an anniversary event. especially since Peter was given the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, whatever he bound on earth would be bound in Heaven.  Matt. 16:18. Then there is the credibility of Paul who was taught by the Lord.  Gal. 1:15-24.

17. Notice the importance regarding the Eucharist.  [Lord’s Supper] Mark 14:17-26, Luke 22:14-20.

18. Acts 2:38-46. While the man who held the keys to the Kingdom was preaching namely Peter, 3,000 souls responded to his preaching; those same people in verse 46  is breaking bread daily [Lord’s Supper] and having  their meals together.  This continued until the new founded church was scripturally organized.  Acts chapter 6.

19. As to the frequency of celebrating the Lord’s Supper, the most which can be said for the primitive age with certainty is drawn from acts 2:46, 1 Cor. 11, Acts 20:6, from early church writers Cyprian, Jerome and Hippolytus this celebration occurred at least every Sunday.  In latter of the second century the frequency grew to fast days.  In Egypt, Alexandria writes that because of Jews that Saturday also became a celebration day, however the Sunday celebration was the central time.  Everywhere in the church the bread was common unleavened wheat bread made in little loaves with incisions of facilitate the breaking by each person.  Eucharist.  Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, vol. 4 p. 19.

20. 1 Cor. 11:29.  By the Apostle Paul we see the time of worship and the breaking of the bread [Lord’s Supper] being already set on the first day of the week, and each week has a first day.  From these passages we see that the people misunderstood the Lord’s Supper, but we see also that Paul corrected the misunderstanding.  In early times of the Roman Catholic Church, no one except a baptized believer could celebrate the Lord’s Supper.  The believer did not break the loaf, rather was given a certain portion by the priest.  Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 5. “Eucharist.”  Christianity was brought to Ethiopia by the eunuch, a court official of the Queen.  Iin the 4th century, Christian unity was brought to Ethiopia. Most of the Christians follow the Coptic tradition.  The Lord’s Supper is a solemn worship each Sunday.  Christian Jews, whose ancestors had settled in Ethiopia during the reign of King Solomon, celebrated the Lord’s Supper on Sunday as well.  See Compton’s Encyclopedia.

21. This practice of celebrating the Lord’s Supper more than once each Sunday mostly likely is observed from 1 Cor 11:25, “do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.”  And again Luke 22:19, “do this in remembrance of me.”  Perhaps this is why the first church in Jerusalem broke bread daily, Acts 2:46. In regards to this subject, I find no evidence where Jesus set guidelines for celebrating the Lord’s Supper.  He left the time of celebration to the apostles and the people.  It would seem that the Holy Spirit led the Apostles to set the central time once each week.

22. Now once again we show scriptural proof that the Lord’s Supper was not an extension in any way to the Jewish festivals.  Acts 20:6ff.  Paul goes to Troas after the days of unleavened bread.  Acts 20:6  Not during, but after.  Then again on the first day of the week Paul meets with the local church of Christ; they break bread [Lord’s Supper] then he preaches till midnight after raising the young man from the dead; they ate a common meal.  Jesus himself sets forth the penalty for not observing the Lord’s Supper on the prescribed time.  John 6:48-63.

23. Now who can say scripturally the breaking bread on each first day of the week is not essential?

24. Dear Soul, do not be misled by religious con artists who proclaim the unimportance of breaking bread on the first day of each week as the early churches did, as is recorded by early church history.

 

Sources: 

 

Adam Clarke, vol. 5, p. 280, 1831 ed. 

Syriac Peshitta Version New Testament

Jerusalem Bible

American Standard Version

Wakefield and Lightfoot

Hebrew Trial of Jesus.

 

 


A Second Look at the Lord’s Supper

 

1 Cor. 11:17-34

 

Outline:

  I. Paul’s condemnation of their observance (1 Cor. 11:17-22, 33-34)

 II. Divisions, Heresies or Factions (1 Cor. 11:18,19)

III. Proper time of observance (1 Cor. 11:20)

IV. Improper observance of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:20-22)

 V. True meaning of the Supper (1 Cor. 11:23-26)

VI. Proper attitude in the Supper (1 Cor. 11:27-32)

 

I. Paul’s condemnation of their observance (1 Cor. 11:17-22, 33, 34)

A. In this instruction concerning the Lord’s supper, he did not praise or commend the Corinthians (1 Cor. 11:17,22).

B. “I praise you not” (KJV) is probably a euphemism (kinder way of saying that he really strongly denounced what they were doing)

C. Earlier, he had commended them (11:2), however, he could not praise them in this matter since they were not meeting for the better but for the worse (their assemblies did not promote love, harmony, devotion and spirituality but tended to enmity, alienation, division, and disorder.  (See 11:19)

 

II. Divisions, Heresies, Factions (RSV) (1 Cor. 11:18,19)

A. Paul did not state what was second after first dealing with their division (11:18).  Some think his second admonition was the abuse of the love feast (11:20-22), while others think it was the misuse of spiritual gifts (12:1).

B. Divisions and heresies may be used interchangeably in reference to the same evil Practice.

C. However, heresies or factions (from “hairesis” may be stronger than divisions [from “schisma”] and also used at 1:10).  According to Vine’s, “a sect is a division developed and brought to issue” (vol. 3, p. 335).  The fact that divisions preceded heresies in Paul’s writings (see Gal. 5:20) may lend support to this point of view (see also Tit. 3:10; 2 Pet. 2:1).

D. Factions necessary that the approved or genuine might be recognized (11:19)

1. The majority of those consulted held the position that the Lord permits factions so those who meet His approval may be manifested or recognized (Matt. 18:7; Luke 17:1 were the verses most often cited for support).  For dissensions are necessary if only to show which of your members are sound.  This means when appeal is made to the New Testament, those who teach and or live in harmony with the will of God, having thus been tried and proved, are seen to be genuine in the eyes of the Lord (“dokimos,” translated as approved or genuine, is used that way at 2 Tim. 2:15).  If correct, even factions in the church are made to serve a good purpose.  Whether it is taught here or not, obviously, there are times when truth essential to salvation must be compromised or a division must take place.  In such cases, it is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error.  The church must prove what the will of God is in any dispute, Rom 12:2.

2. Some take the verse to be Paul’s denunciation of Corinthian Practice.  Phillips understood it that way and translated 11:18-19 as follows:  “For first, when you meet for worship, I hear that you split into small groups, and I think there must be truth in what I hear.  For there must be cliques among you or your favorite leaders would not be so conspicuous.”  This means the approved were those whom the Corinthians endorsed as factional leaders (“dokimos” has the meaning of man’s approval at 16:3).  In support of this interpretation, it can be said that God knows those who are His (2 Tim. 2:19) whether factions arise or not.  See Rom. 12:1.

 

III. Proper time of observance (1 Cor. 11:20)

A. 1 Cor. 11:20 implies that one of the purposes for their meeting together was to observe the Lord’s Supper, because it says that when they met together, they were not “eating the Lord’s Supper” (in the proper way that they should be).  This strongly implies that the observance of the Lord’s Supper was one of the purposes for which they were assembling, and that Supper was not being observed correctly.  Their “meeting together” was not observing the Supper properly (like it was supposed to).  1 Cor. 11:17, 18, 20 and 22 all show that they were “meeting together” or “coming together as a church.”  From 1 Cor. 16:2 it seems very clear that they met together as a church “on the first day of every week.”  So there was a definite time when they assembled and ate the Supper.

B. The disciples in Troas broke bread on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).  The command to remember the Sabbath Day (Ex. 20:8 meant the Hebrews were to keep every Sabbath holy.  In like manner, the first day means the Christians in Troas broke bread every first day.  If not, why not?  This can also be seen in the following:  Christians broke bread on the first day of the week.  Every week has a first day.  Conclusion:  Therefore, Christians broke bread on the first day of every week.

C. Memorial feasts have a stated time of observance (Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, Purim, etc.)  The Lord’s Supper is a memorial feast (11:25).  Therefore, it has a stated time of observance.  All the information in the New Testament points toward the keeping of the feast on the first day of the week.  The fact that Jesus instituted the Supper Thursday night does not offset the conclusion.  Another may object that Jesus ate the supper on Thursday night and that we therefore have biblical authority for eating the Lord’s Supper on that day.  But Jesus and the apostles did not actually observe the supper on the eve of his death, for it would have been impossible to observe a memorial to an event which had not yet occurred.  This was simply instruction by demonstration.

D. Testimony of the early church regarding the time of its observance:

1. The Didache or “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” (from Syria in the early second century):  “But every Lord’s day do ye gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving” (14:1).

2. Epistle of Barnabas (from Alexandria, circa 130 AD):  “Wherefore, also we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead” (15:9).

3. Justin Martyr (circa 150 AD):  “On the Lord’s day all Christians whether in the city or in the country, meet together because that is the day of the Lord’s resurrection and...  when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgiving, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying “Amen,” and there is distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given...  But Sunday is the day on which we hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ, our Saviour, on the same day He rose from the dead.”  (Justin Martyr, First Apology, 67)

 

IV. Improper observance of the Lord’s Supper (11:20-22)

A. Although they professed to be meeting to partake of the Lord’s Supper, their actions indicated otherwise.  Because of their bad attitudes, the Supper had changed its character and was no longer the Lord’s.

B. “Kuriakos” translated as Lord’s means “of or belonging to the Lord” (Thayer’s, p. 363).  It appears only in 11:20 (Lord’s Supper) and Rev. 1:10 (Lord’s Day).

C. Improper observance of the Supper grew out of an abuse of the Love Feast  (11:21,22).

1. The Love Feast (also known as the “Agape”) apparently was the practice of the early church (Jude 12; 2 Pet. 2:13).  Likely, it began in Jerusalem shortly after the establishment of the church (Acts 2:42, 46).  “The evidence seems to point to the Apostles, probably because of the precedent of the Last Supper, having combined the Eucharist with a common meal, which before long was called the Agape” (A. J. Maclean, “Agape,” Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, vol. 1, p. 173).  The meal had a double purpose.  Primarily, it was done to express Christian brotherhood.  Secondarily, it satisfied the hunger and thirst of the needy (11:21,34).  Those who were well to do (financially) provided the food and drink for their poorer brothers and sisters in Christ.  “Agape” (a Greek word for love), as the name for the feast, may have been derived from Christ’s teaching at John 13:34, 35 where the word appears.  The evidence indicates that the Agape meal preceded the Lord’s Supper and was distinct from it because the former was simply a human practice, but the latter was divinely ordained.  According to the Didache  (10:1) and Ignatius’ Epistle to Smyrna (8:1, 2), Agape and Eucharist (LE. Lord’s Supper) were combined in the early second century.  Tertullian (c. 200 AD) indicated that the Love Feast and the Lord’s Supper were separated in the western church (Apology 38).  The Third Council of Carthage (398 AD) forbade the Love Feast in church buildings because of the abuses to which it had led, and the Lord’s Supper was then conceived as a mysteriously priestly sacrifice which was to be received with fasting.

2. They weren’t waiting for each other (11:33, 21).

3. Intemperance had become common practice (11:21).  It seems that the rich were full and the poor went hungry.  The rich probably carried sack lunches and ate during the services, and the poor felt left out.

4. The needs of some were being overlooked (11:21)

5. It become a meal only to satisfy hunger (11:34)

6. The poor (“those who have nothing”) were being put to shame (11:22).  The rich were flaunting their plenty and embarrassing the poor who had little or nothing.  Paul seems to say that if they were not going to honor the poor by sharing their food with them, that it would be better not to eat in the assembly at all.  Eat at home before they come, or eat afterwards at home so that the poor are not embarrassed.  This verse (11:22) is not forbidding the eating of common meals together when they assembled.  Rather it is merely correcting the abuses and improper observances of that common meal.  For those who believe it forbids eating and drinking in church buildings, consider the following:

D. Questions about 1 Cor. 11:22 (“houses in which to eat and drink”)

1. Do you have a kitchen in the church?  “Church” in the New Testament always means people.  Those who ask this question have confused the people with the building where they meet.

2. Are church buildings sacred (Acts 17:24)?  If so, support the view with biblical book, chapter, and verse, and submit that to me.

3. What meetings can be held in church buildings with God’s approval (funerals, weddings, showers, eating if it rains, etc.)?  Again, support the answer with book, chapter and verse from the New Testament.

4. Is it right to eat in the building if a man’s house is also used as a meeting place for the church (Rom. 16:5)?

5. Where did the Corinthian church meet (Acts 18:7)?  Did eating and meeting occur in the same building?

6. Is it right to have a brotherly meal in the preacher’s home built with church money but wrong to have a brotherly meal in the meeting house erected with church money?  If the answer is yes, why?

7. Is it right to have a water fountain in the church building?  If yes, since Paul mentioned eating and drinking in the same verse (1 Cor. 11:22), why is it wrong to have a place to eat in the same building?

8. Did Paul sin by eating in the same building where the church met (Acts 20:7-11)?  Does the old tabernacle show a pattern?

9. Does the Bible specifically authorize the building of bathrooms, offices, nurseries, etc. in church building?  If no, why ask another for specific for erecting a fellowship hall (a place where Christians can eat together)?  How does one determine what is and is not to be included in a church building?

10. May Christians eat anywhere other than at home (1 Cor. 11:22, 34)?  Is it wrong for saints to eat in the home of another Christian family, in a restaurant, in a park or in a rented hall?  In the verse cited by some to denounce eating in a church building, Paul specified that the eating was to be done at home.  Without proper interpretation, that would mean it is sinful for God’s people to eat anywhere else.  If not, why not?

11. Was God’s tabernacle a pattern for His church?  Lev. 10:18.

E. Concluding observations about 1 Cor. 11:22 – Paul was not condemning the place of eating, but the wrong attitudes displayed during that meal.  He was saying if they intended to make a private or individual meal of the Agape, they should do that at home.  Through abuse, the purpose of the Love Feast had been undermined.  Their practice would have been sinful regardless of where the brethren gathered.  This verse does not touch a building, top, side, edge or bottom.

 

V. True Meaning of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:23-26)

A. Paul’s instruction on the matter came from the Lord (1 Cor. 11:23; Gal. 1:11,12).

B. The bread represents Christ’s body (1 Cor. 11:23f).  Roman Catholics are simply mistaken in believing the bread, when blessed by a priest, becomes the literal body of Jesus (the view called transubstantiation, which means “a change of substance”).  When Jesus said, “this is My body” (Luke 22:14-22), His body stood in the presence of His disciples.  Obviously, He did not mean it was literally or actually his body.  He spoke metaphorically (a metaphor is a likeness stated as a reality;  a simile is a likeness set forth by using the words “like” or “as”) and meant the bread represented His body.  For other metaphors, see the Lord’s “I am” statements in the Gospel of John (6:51; 10:14; 11:35; 14:6; 15:5; etc.).  When Jesus said He was “the door,” was He literally a physical door?

C. The cup represents Christ’s blood (1 Cor. 11:25).

1. In saying “cup” Jesus used a figure of speech called metonymy (the word literally means to change names) which denotes the use of one word to represent another.  It suggests “cup” is really a reference to the contents of the cup (the fruit of the vine – Matt. 26:29).

2. The cup represents the blood of Jesus by which the new covenant is ratified (1 Cor. 11:25; see Luke 22:20 in KJV).

3. Paul gives the solution to the two cups mentioned by Luke (assuming the KJV reading of Luke 22:19 -20 is correct; see footnote there in RSV).  The first was the Passover cup (Luke 22:17), and the second cup taken after supper (1 Cor. 11:25, RSV) was the Lord’s Supper cup (Luke 22:20).

D. Now, in regard to 1 Cor. 11:26, we come upon an issue here that, in my opinion, deserves more serious study than what we perhaps have given it in the past.

1. It has been asked by those who have been in the past, and who are now in the study of fulfilled prophecy, “Should we still observe the Lord’s Supper in view of the fact that Paul says do it until the Lord comes.  If His ‘Second Coming’ is fulfilled, it seems clear that the observance should stop!”

2. We need to know exactly what Paul meant by the word “until” here.

a. Notice the exact wording, “For as long as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”

b. “Proclaim” means to remember and teach the atoning significance of his death by explaining the symbolism of the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine.  To proclaim His death until He comes was a type of open confession or testimony for the believer.  Christ died for redemption purposes, was resurrected, appeared to them over a period of 40 days, then ascended into heaven.  In His absence, He gave instructions on how to “remember” (or commemorate) His atoning death, until He returned and was present with them again in order to observe it with them in a new way.  See especially Luke’s account of the institution of the Supper (Luke 22:14-20).  Notice the incredible amount of similarity between Luke’s account and Paul’s statements in 1 Cor. 11:23-26. Luke says, “I shall never again eat it UNTIL it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.... I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on UNTIL the Kingdom of God comes.” (Luke 22:16, 18)  In light of the tremendous similarity and Paul’s own claim to have received this instruction from the Lord, it seems obvious that the Lord’s words in both Luke 22:16,18 and 1 Cor. 11:26 must be harmonized.  In Luke and the other synoptic parallels, Jesus said He would not eat and drink it with them again UNTIL the Kingdom came (at His return).  Paul is simply referring to that arrival of the Kingdom when he says, “until He comes.”  The other gospel writers state that Christ would observe it with them in a new way in the Father’s Kingdom.  (Mat. 26:29; Mk. 14:25) 

3. The Supper or feast would celebrate the marriage of  Christ with His spiritual bride at the inauguration of His kingdom, Rev. 19:9, from then on, and forevermore.  That kingdom has been inaugurated.  We observe it “in a new way” in the Father’s kingdom now, just as Jesus said we would (Matt. 26:29) – “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”  Note the use of the word “until” here.  The Lord’s Supper would not cease at His return, but would in fact continue on in a “new” way.  It uses the word “until” not to indicate a cessation, but rather a reorientation in the way it was to be observed.  Instead of observing it in His memory in His absence as a proclamation of the meaning of His death, they would observe it in His presence at His table in the Kingdom as a proclamation of His victory and salvation.  It would have even more meaning and significance when observed after Christ’s coming in the consummated kingdom.

4. The Supper looks to the past (proclamation of His death) and to the future (until He came, 11:26, when He shall be joined to His bride, Rev. 21:2).  It would be a kind of wedding feast, joyous about the arrival of the Bridegroom to marry his bride.

5. Look at James 5:7, “Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.”  Now ask yourself a question, were they not to have patience after His coming.”  Were they to turn from patience to arrogance?  No, as Christians they would continue having patience, perhaps, even to a greater degree after His coming.

6. So it was with the church at Corinth.  They would not stop observing the Lord’s Supper, for the scripture makes it clear what they were to do until He came.  Just as James 5:7 says to be patient, 1 Corinthians says to proclaim His death.  Neither were to cease.

7. Also, a simple example perhaps would help us to understand.  Suppose you had a very large farm where you grew produce.  Also, you had two large 18 wheelers to haul your produce, but each truck was old, and one you kept only for emergency in case the other truck broke down.  The driver of the one truck informed you upon each return trip that the truck he drove continued to give him problems and was not capable of many more long trips.  So, you promise him that when the appointed time comes, you would purchase a new truck.  The next trip out, the tie rod end came loose causing the truck to wreck.  It was a total loss.  By now, the fields are in full harvest, so, you purchase a new truck fulfilling your promise.  Do you cease to allow your driver to drive the new truck?  The old truck is slowly passing away, while the fields are ripe for harvest.  What do you do?  Your hired employee continues to drive, but now has a new truck which replaced the old one.  Still, the truck hauls produce, but the difference is, you and your driver have less problems, less worry, and the new truck is more dependable, carries larger loads at less expense.  The driver has more faith in the new.  Therefore, he is much safer and will do a better job knowing that his employer has kept his promise to him.  So it is with 1 Cor. 11:26. The old was passing away, Heb. 8:13, but the new was ready at the appointed time to replace the old, Heb. 10:9. You see, the new truck was not purchased so long as the old one was operational, Heb. 9:8.  See also Heb. 8:13 for a clear indication of when the Old Testament finally passed away.

8. We come now again to 1 Cor. 11:26.  Paul tells the church how the whole event was misunderstood in chapter 11. Regarding the communion, we must understand that many in the church at Corinth were not spiritual.  This is seen from 1 Cor. 2:10-16, as well as chapter 3:1-3. Notice how Paul follows up with spiritual change, chapter 12. Then, in chapter 13, he follows up with the proper spiritual attitude.  Chapter 14 deals with spiritual gifts.

9. Later in Paul’s writing, we find things which relate to 1 Cor. 11:26.  2 Cor. 5:17, “Therefore if a man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”  2 Cor 13:4, “For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives...”  This was a first.  So now, Paul informs Timothy, 2 Tim. 1:10, “but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel...”  The life here refers to spiritual life through Christ and His bride.  This is new and it affects 1 Cor. 11:26.

10. John says that if we do not eat of His flesh (bread) and drink of His blood (fruit of the vine) we have no life. John 6:50-58.

11. Remember, God established the Passover Supper well before the Law of Moses was given.  In like manner, Jesus established the Lord’s Supper well in advance of the passing of the Law of Moses, and His covenant being in force, Acts 2:39. His law and covenant could only be in promise until the appointed time, Heb. 8:13; 9:8; 10:9; 12:22-28.

12. Like God, Christ must have a bride before all things are made new, Rev. 19:7,21:2. God chose Israel as His bride.  Jer. 3:14, “For I am a master to you.”  Ezek. 16:1-8, “I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became mine...”

13. But God’s bride died.  Israel died in AD 70.

14. Christ fulfilled His promise of Heb. 9:28 when He returned to marry His bride.  Rev. 21:1-6,...  “It is done.  .”

15. The bride of Christ had an effect on the final outcome of 1 Cor. 11:26, for now death had been abolished and life brought by Christ.  No longer would the spirit of man be separated from God. Heb. 2:14  The joy of the Lord’s Supper is now to remember His death, also to remember He abolished death and established life. John 5:24, 20:31; 1 John 5:12.

16. So, we did not stop observing the Supper when He came.  We just have more to proclaim.  Like the truck driver, we have a new truck now, one far better than the old.  Be glad and rejoice.  The Supper has a new, better, fulfilled meaning now.

17. Five Questions:

a. Are Christians in possession of the kingdom?  If not, then show scripture which teaches the kingdom as being yet future.

b. Are the apostles yet living?

c. Are the ten slaves of Luke 19 yet living?

d. Did Christ bring the kingdom?  If not, who did?

e. So Christ did bring the kingdom.  He now reigns and eats the Lord’s Supper in a new way, still looking backwards to what His death accomplished, and also celebrating our life in the kingdom now.

18. Brief observations from 1 Cor. 11:26

a. The observance was limited as to purpose, a proclamation of His death until He comes.  The word “until” places a time limitation on the purpose.  At the time of Paul’s writing, the old purpose was passing away (Heb. 8:13.) Christ died to redeem sinners to life through His blood (Heb. 9:11 14.) This is in keeping with His statement that He would not eat this bread and drink of the fruit of the vine “until” He did it “new” in His Father’s kingdom (Matt. 26:26-29.)

b. The old must, by necessity, be fulfilled in order for all things to become new ([1 Cor. 5:17, Rev. 21:5.) Now, when we consider Luke 21:20-22 when Jerusalem was destroyed, all things written must be fulfilled.  This then fulfills the old purpose of 1 Cor. 11:26 “until” Christ takes His bride (Rev. 19:7, 21:2) then He inherits the Father’s kingdom.  Now He dwells among His children (2 Cor. 6:16, Rev 21:3.) Death would no longer be the main issue, rather life, for death (spiritual) was totally abolished (2 Tim. 1:10, Heb. 2:14.)

c. I observe from Holy Scripture that life is now the concern of both Christ and His bride the church.  Therefore, we must remember His death.  However, the point stressed under the purpose of new things is spiritual life, not being separated from the presence of God.  The following scriptures will manifest proof of this:  John 5:24, 40; 6:33; 10:10; 14:6; 20:31; Acts 11:8; 17:25; Rom. 8:6, 10; 1 Tim. 1:16; 1 Pet. 3:7; 1 John 3:14. Therefore, if we have life in Christ, we observe the communion.

 

VI. Proper attitude in the Supper (11:27-32)

A. Christians must not partake in an unworthy manner (unworthily, KJV, 11:27).

B. Some have felt unworthy to participate in the communion service because of their imperfections.  Paul was not saying saints must live above sin to keep the Lord’s Supper.  Of course, one living in rebellion to God’s will should not partake (10:21).

C. Paul meant that one should not engage in the Supper in an unworthy manner (by having his mind elsewhere while eating it), an all too frequent occurrence among Christians.

D. If one participates in the Supper improperly –

1. He profanes (i.e. makes common or ordinary) the body and blood of Jesus (11:27, RSV).  To say that such a person would have taken part in the Lord’s death (see Heb. 6:6) is a little too strong.  The individual simply acts irreverently toward the Lord and His death for our sins.

2. He brings “judgment” upon himself (11:29-32, RSV).

a. “Krima” is the word translated as “judgment.”  It refers to temporal or eternal judgment.  The translators of KJV took the latter view.  However, it is likely a reference to temporal judgment since a distinction is made between judgment and condemnation in 11:32.

b. Many of the Corinthians had experienced God’s judgment (11:30).

c. Weak and sickly could refer to physical illness or spiritual illness.

d. Some had fallen asleep (died in RSV) may refer to physical death (15:6,20) or to spiritual sleep (Eph. 5:14).

E. The proper way to eat and drink the Lord’s Supper.

1. Each should examine himself (l 1:28).

2. Each should discern the Lord’s body (11:29).

3. Each should judge himself (11:31).


 

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