By Babylon Today Staff Writer~
It seems that most “Christians” have no idea what “Holy communion” the Lord’s Supper, or eating of the bread and wine spiritually entails. For instance, the Roman Catholic Christians believe that during the celebration of mass (the communion service) that the bread and wine mysteriously changes into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. This is based on their erroneous doctrines known as “Transubstantiation.” Most Pentecostal Christians today consider the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion) as a magical meal for financial breakthrough, healing, prosperity etc. During their so-called communion service, their church members will anticipate great miracles after eating the communion bread and drinking the wine. However, there is no magic attached to the Lord’s supper, but there is a transforming Spiritual reality behind it. Nevertheless, to comprehend what the Lord’s supper signifies, additional teachings, and sayings of Christ in the New Testament, we must first recognize that “Jesus” was a pure Jew; a devoted first century Jewish Rabbi, who practiced Rabbinical Judaism (See Mathew 23:8-12, Mark 9:5, John 1:49, John 11:8, Mark 11:21, John 1:38, John 4:31, John 6:25,) In fact, those Jews who accepted him as their messiah in the first century did not call him “Jesus” but Rabbi Yeshua ben David (Luke 18:38). Yeshua was a Torah teacher, a prophet, and a sent to bring the Jewish people back to obeying God’s law:
- But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 15:24)
I am convinced that, the Messiah, was sent as a servant to the Jewish people to fulfill the promises God made to our ancestors and to prove God’s faithfulness. (Romans 15:8 TPT)
- These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Mathew 10:5-7)
Being sent to the Jews, Yeshua did everything according to the Jewish tradition so that they would understand him. For instance, He chose twelve apostles (sent ones) to represent the twelve tribes of Israel just as Moses chose twelve apostles as recorded in Numbers :13 whom he sent out to spy the land. The seventy disciples mentioned in “Luke 9” were numbered according to the council of the great Sanhedrin (Numbers 11:16-17), furthermore, compare the transfiguration narration in “Matthew 17” to “Exodus 24, 34:29-35”. Yeshua’s ministry centered around His own Jewish people, because he was sent to save them first; His primary assignment was to announce the Good news of salvation first to the Jews who were severely hated, oppressed and dominated by foreign powers, afterwards the message would spread to the gentile nations through his Jewish talmidim (the disciples). There is every indication in the new testament that Yeshua was a true Jewish Rabbi who followed carefully the Mosaic laws (Matthew 5:17-19, Luke 16:17), and even accepted the concept of the oral laws (Matthew 12:1-13, Mark 2:23-27). Out of ignorance some Christians argue that Yehoshua added innovative ideas to the laws of Moses based on the statement he made in Matthew 5:27-28;
- ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28).
However, there is nothing new about the above scripture, Yehoshua did not add additional laws to the Mosaic Laws, the Jewish ethics of the fathers (Pirkei Avot) opens with the following phrase:
Moses received the Torah from Sinai and gave it over to Joshua. Joshua gave it over to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets gave it over to the Men of the Great Assembly. They [the Men of the Great Assembly] would always say these three things: Be cautious in judgement. Establish many pupils (Make disciples). And make a safety fence around the Torah.
The ancient Jewish Sages commanded that the upcoming Jewish rabbis should endeavor to make disciples and make a safety fence around the Law. To make fence around the Law means to establish a protective barrier around the Law to keep people from breaking God’s Law. It is obvious that Christianity teaches that their “Jesus” was against making a fence around the Law, However, the Jewish Rabbi Yehoshua supported the ancient wisdom of the sages; he made a fence around the law concerning adultery. Matthew 5:27-28 cited above is a very good example of what it means to make a fence around the law; not looking at a woman lustfully is what will keep one away from committing adultery. Yohanan (John), the disciple of Yehoshua also embraced the same ancient rabbinical principle that Yehoshua applied, John established a fence around the Law concerning murder. For example, the law states; ‘You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13) But, John says; Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (1John3:15.) The protective barrier (fence) that John established around the law concerning murder is that you should not hate anyone regardless, because hatred leads to murder. Conclusively, if we are going to understand the spiritual truth behind the teachings of Christ in the New Testament, we must at least gain some knowledge in the Jewish background of the Christ.
Meaning of the Communion Wine
As a Jewish Rabbi, Yeshua drew the theory of the Lord’s supper from the feast of Passover and Jewish marriage. According to the Tanakh, (the Jewish bible) marriage in Jewish culture has two procedures. The first step is known as “kiddushin,” and the second is called “nisu’in.” The word “Kiddushin” is represented by the English word “espoused” or “betrothal”. However, in Hebrew or Aramaic, the term “Kiddushin” stands for sanctification, separation or to set apart; it is a formal agreement to marry. When a Jewish young man finds a virgin girl to marry, his father will accompany him to the girl’s house with a jar of fresh wine, when they enter the house, he will pour wine in a cup and present it to the girl and say to her “the wine in this cup represents my blood, my life, if you take this cup from me and drink it you become my wife; the bone of my bone and the flesh of my flesh.” Then if the girl consciously accepts the cup and drinks it she becomes the wife of the man forever. However, the bride will not pack her things immediately and follow the man, instead the groom will return home with his father, and his father will assist him to prepare a good home where he and his new bride will spend the rest of their life. After the years of preparation, the groom will then return with joy to receive his bride.
During the time of the bible, the Jewish betrothal period or engagement was different from an ordinary intention to marry as we know it today; based on Torah (the Mosaic Laws) engagement has an equal standing with marriage, the betrothed couple were legally in the position of a married couple, in Deuteronomy 22:24 a betrothed woman is called a wife, also in Mathew 1:20 Mary as a betrothed virgin was addressed as Joseph’s wife, also in verse nineteen of Mathew 1, Joseph was called Mary’s husband, not her boyfriend or fiancée. But still there were no sexual relations during the period, any unfaithfulness was “adultery” and the penalty was death by stoning (Deuteronomy 22:23-27). Then engagement was breakable only by divorce. So, when the Lord gave the cup of wine to his Jewish disciples and said to them;
“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 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 26:28-29)
The disciples as Jews understood what their Rabbi had demonstrated; they received the cup with a clear knowledge that they were sealing an everlasting covenant with the Lord; in other words, they consciously agreed to give their souls to Christ, they accepted that for better or for worse they would live and die for Christ’s sake and they wouldn’t by any means betray him. It is understood through history that each of the Jewish apostles died for the sake of Yeshua because they made a covenant with him when they accepted the cup from him; Peter was crucified in Rome with his body upside down and Andrew was nailed to a tree at Edessa, he hung on the tree for two days in pain, on the third day he died still preaching that Yeshua was the messiah. James (son of Zebedee) was killed by the sword of Herod in Jerusalem and John was put into boiling oil at Jerusalem; he was not harmed and was exiled to Patmose Island then later died at Ephesus. Philip was hung from a pillar at Hiropolis; Bartholomew was burned to death by the Armenian king, Mathew was killed in Ethiopia, Thomas was speared to death at Mylapur (near Chennai in India), James was pushed down from the top of a temple, and then beaten to death by a club. Jude (Thaddaeus) was killed by an arrow in the town of Oruch. Simon, the Zealot was crucified in Persia, Mathias was stoned then beheaded, Emperor Nero in Rome beheaded Paul, Mark was dragged along the main street of Alexandria in Egypt and died, Luke was hung on a big olive tree in Greece, and Barnabas was stoned to death at Salamis. Holy communion a spiritual messianic covenant, it is not something to play with, partaking in holy communion presumptuously can warrant a divine judgement upon the partaker:
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. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come. (1 Corinthians 11:27-31)
There is no magic in the Lord’s Supper as the Roman Catholic Christians claim in the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Yeshua will never make us drink his real blood because He is a true Jew and God strictly warned the Jews not to consume blood:
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. (Leviticus 17:10-14)
Holy Communion isn’t magic! Anyone taking the communion should take it with the understanding that he or she is entering into a divine covenant, a spiritual marriage with the Lamb of God.