Christian Churches of God
Significance of the Bread
(Edition 4.0 19950408-20050308-20070120)
This paper denotes the body and blood sacrifice and the symbolism of the elements of the Faith.
Significance of the Bread and Wine
We should all have a sound understanding of the symbolism of the bread and the wine, which is integral to the Lord’s Supper. The “footwashing” is also integral to the Lord’s Supper and is preliminary to the bread and wine (see the paper Significance of the Footwashing (No. 99)). The understanding of the concepts of the bread and wine can only be deduced from the many passages in the Bible, which have significance for the body of Christ.
For example, the miracle of the feeding of the multitudes with the loaves and the fishes involves an understanding of what it means for the body of Christ to be broken. One of the passages we need to examine and understand is John 6:22-71. The entire text of John chapter 6 has relevance to our understanding of the bread and the wine.
John 6:1-4 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiber'i-as. 2 And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased. 3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. (RSV)
John refers to the entire feast as the Passover of the Jews (Jn. 2:13). Here John puts the phrase in as an explanatory text, saying that the Passover was a feast of the Jews, and that is the explanation of the variant texts.
John 6:5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, "How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" (RSV)
Christ had developed a following because he was performing miracles. If we went out in the world today, and gave free medicine, healed people, and performed miracles, people would follow us too. That doesn’t mean that because there are plenty of people (for example in India) doing miraculous things and getting followings that they are of Christ or of God. The performance of miracles is not confined to God and Jesus Christ. Christ performed miracles as a sign to the elect. He also asked Philip the question to test him.
John 6:6-12 This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, 9 "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?" 10 Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost." (RSV)
There is spiritual significance in all of this text including the numbers. Nothing must be lost, because the bread (including the fragments), as we will see later, is part of the body of Jesus Christ. What Christ is saying to the disciples here, is also an instruction to the ministry of the Church today. Every person who has somebody leave his church has to do a great deal of soul searching. He has to examine whether he caused that person to be lost and also if he failed Jesus Christ in their charge. This is a very serious problem, for Christ said, “nothing is to be lost”.
John 6:13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten. (RSV)
The number of baskets is significant. The twelve baskets of bread represent the fulfilling of the twelve tribes as forthcoming nations, for the allocation to the 144,000. Nothing is lost in those baskets. Everything goes through, for the allocation to the tribes, under the twelve apostles.
John 6:14 When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!" (RSV)
Christ here has given evidence of his prophethood by performing a miracle.
John 6:15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. (RSV)
Once they understood that here was the Messiah, that prophet who would come in the Last Days, they then wanted to force him to take over the system within this world’s bounds. However, that was not why he had come. He will come to take over the system, but it was not yet time. And he had to go alone, because his disciples themselves did not understand.
John 6:16-21 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Caper'na-um. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The sea rose because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, 20 but he said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." 21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going. (RSV)
Here we have an allegory. Christ came to them when they were in trouble and told them not to be afraid, and they received him into the ship. It is the same concept of the Laodicean Church, where Christ is knocking at the door. He comes to them in a time of trouble, and they willingly received him into the ship, and immediately the ship was at the land where they were going. In other words, that was a miracle. So there was a time slip, where they immediately arrived at their destination.
Now that miracle is not referred to in the usual literature and not generally perceived as such. Nevertheless, it is a miracle, and relates to the concept of receiving Christ into our life and him taking over the problems that we have.
All of us are called into the Church in severe distress, and we are pressed into the Kingdom of God. Most of the time we are called in at a critical phase of self-reflection in our lives. That is, God brings us to repentance through stress. In that time we are then brought into the Kingdom of God, and the acceptance of Christ in our life. It is, more often than not, under extraordinary circumstances. Christ literally walks on water to get to us through all the difficulties. We are then given the Holy Spirit (and salvation), and immediately we are at the place that we set out to go. In other words, we are given the capacity to be part of the Kingdom of God, immediately we accept Christ.
John 6:22-24 On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. 23 However, boats from Tiber'i-as came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Caper'na-um, seeking Jesus. (RSV)
These verses are a reflection of the elect, and the concept of Christ and the body moving away. But many are seeking Christ and the body. These stories in John chapter 6 are seemingly disjointed, but they are not. They are grouped for a purpose.
John 6:25-26 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" 26 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. (RSV)
Here Christ is saying: You are following me because of a health/wealth gospel. You have a full belly. How true is that of the Church today? If we are under adversity, do we follow Christ under adversity? That is what the persecution is about.
John 6:27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal." (RSV)
The concept here is that Christ was sealed by God the Father. One can ask, “What does that mean - sealed?” The Companion Bible says that the Jews discussed the seal of God. For example: What is the seal of the Holy Blessed God? Rabbi Bibai said, truth but what is truth? Rabbi Bon said, The living God and King eternal. Rabbi Chaninah said, ... truth is the seal of God (Lightfoot Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedr., Pitman edn., v. 12, p. 291).
That should show us why the Trinity is completely erroneous. That text shows us that Christ was sealed by God the Father. The sealing was understood by the Rabbis. The seal being of truth, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. Christ was sealed by the Holy Spirit, and that seal set him apart. He was thus designated by God the Father as the Messiah. We too are sealed in the same manner.
John 6:28-33 Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." 30 So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, `He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" 32 Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world." (RSV)
To recapitulate: They were looking for a sign. Christ had just fed them with the loaves and fishes, and they knew it. Christ was saying, Moses took you out of Egypt, and you were given manna, but that is not the bread from heaven. I am not here to deliver you from the Romans. That is the context of this rhetorical questioning from the mob: Are you going to deliver us from the Romans like Moses did from Egypt? Christ effectively said, “NO!”
John 6:34-37 They said to him, "Lord, give us this bread always." 35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. (RSV)
Here we are coming back to the twelve baskets and to the instructions of Jesus. They are all in twelve baskets, because everybody (all of the Gentiles) is allocated to one of the twelve tribes. They are all given to Christ by God the Father and none of these will be cast out by him.
John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; (RSV)
In verse 27, Christ is sealed by God the Father through the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of truth. The Trinity, and the other heretical forms of Binitarianism and Ditheism strike at the very understanding of being part of the body of Christ, and sealed with Christ within the system of God. From this point we have the concept of God’s will being imparted to and obeyed by Christ, under this sealing.
John 6:39 and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. (RSV)
That is the meaning of lifting up into the baskets from the fragments of the five loaves and two fish.
John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." (RSV)
But John 17:3 says that everlasting life is not simply a belief in Christ. It is not enough to say Lord, Lord, because not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of God, but only he that does the will of the Father. Christ is clear on that (Mat. 7:21). To obtain eternal life we have to know the only True God, and we have to know Christ whom He sent and sealed. So what Christ is saying in John 6 is that those, on seeing the Son and believing on him may have everlasting life, and being raised up in the last day are qualified by the belief of the One True God (from Jn. 17:3).
John 6:41-44 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven." 42 They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, `I have come down from heaven'?" 43 Jesus answered them, "Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (RSV)
Quite simply, we cannot be part of the bread of the body of Jesus Christ unless we are determined, or predestined to be in that position by the Father and given to Jesus Christ. That is why the great multitude came after them in ships. They left that position because not everyone can be with Christ. That is the significance of their separation. The concept of those chosen is developed by Paul in Romans 8:29-32, saying that they are predestined.
Romans 8:29-32 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? (RSV)
God has decided who is going to be in the Kingdom. God then calls us, and gives us to Jesus Christ. We are then justified and glorified in Christ. The Father draws us to Christ and we cannot come to Christ, or to an understanding except the Father draws us. There are people who hear and are called who want to get in the same boat, but they are not chosen. They hear the message and it makes sense to them, and they say, “I want some of that; I want to be there”, but they are given over to the world that their lives may be saved in the Last Days. The reason is because they are not capable of entering into judgment now. This sequence is all being drawn out in John 6. We see the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000, and the miracle of the structure and the boats. The movement, the transportation, and being saved and raised up in the last days are all part of a sequence of being given to Christ.
John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.' Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. (RSV)
That quote is from Isaiah 54:13 and Jeremiah 31:34.
John 6:46 Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. (RSV)
The people who have seen the Father are spirits. Humanity is not of God. It is called to be part of God later, and will see God later. No man has seen God ever (Jn. 1:18) and no man can ever see Him (1Tim. 6:16).
John 6:47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. (RSV)
So, if we believe on Christ we are then given everlasting life from God, and 1Timothy 6:16 says that only God is immortal. God imparts everlasting life to Christ, to the angelic Host and to us.
John 6:48-51 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." (RSV)
So, Christ is saying that it is his flesh that is the bread. So, his flesh becomes the bread and we have to take of that flesh to become the body of Christ. His body becomes the flesh. We have to consume of his flesh through the Spirit, to become his body. It is a sequence.
John 6:52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (RSV)
We can imagine the concepts because of the food laws. The Jews thought in physical terms and reduced the Law completely to physical forms.
John 6:53-54 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 you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (RSV)
There are a number of requirements for eternal life. Firstly, we require knowledge of the One True God and His son Jesus Christ. Secondly, we have to believe on Christ whom God has sent. And now we have the third requirement, which is to partake of the blood and body of Jesus Christ at the Feast of the Passover. There are thus three elements, which are essential to eternal life. If we don’t take the Passover, and eat the body and drink the blood of Christ at the Passover preparation meal, or Chagigah, we will not have eternal life. Scripture is very clear. There are three qualifications to be raised in the last day.
John 6:55-56 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him (RSV)
There is an interesting comment to verse 53 in the Companion Bible on eating and drinking. [The Hebrews used this expression with reference to knowledge (figuratively, as the subject), as in Exodus 24:11. It is put for being alive. So eating and drinking denoted the operation of the mind, in receiving and inwardly digesting truth of or for the words of God (cf. Deut. 8:3; Jer. 15:16; and Ezek. 2:8). No idiom was (allegedly) more common in the days of our Lord. With them as with us, eating, included the meaning of enjoyment, especially in Ecclesiastes 5:19 and 6:2; for “riches” cannot be eaten; and the Talmud actually speaks of eating; (i.e. enjoying) the “years of Messiah”. Instead of finding any difficulty in the figurative, they say that the days of Hezekiah were so good that Messiah will come no more to Israel; for they have already devoured him in the days of Hezekiah (Lightfoot, from vol. 12, pp. 296-297). Even where eating is used in the devouring of enemies, it is the enjoyment of victory that is included.
Allegedly, the Lord’s word could be understood thus by hearers, for they knew the idiom, but of the Eucharist they knew nothing, and could not have thus understood them. By comparing verses 47 and 48, with verses 53 and 54, we are alleged to be able to see that believing on Christ was exactly the same thing as eating and drinking Him (see note to verse 53 in the Companion Bible)].
This is taking the metaphor of the concept as it was allegedly well understood. However, quite clearly, from verse 52, the Jews were looking at it and it worried them. They quite obviously didn’t understand clearly what Christ was saying. There was a higher meaning in that they knew that eating of the days of the Messiah was a concept. By saying what he did, Christ was basically saying, I am the Messiah because of the usage of the concept of eating and drinking. It was not a commonly understood expression, otherwise they would have understood it, but rather it was an anciently understood metaphor.
John 6:57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. (RSV)
This makes complete nonsense of the concepts of the Trinity, and the “two Gods”. As the Father sent Christ, and Christ lives because of the Father and in the Father, and the Father is in him, so we, by taking of Christ, live in Christ and in the Father. We become this family. The Trinity seeks to cut that off, to remove Christ as equal, and to sever the relationship with us. This text quite clearly shows that we become part of the Father with Christ, and all of us are in each other.
John 6:58-60 “This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever." 59 This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caper'na-um. 60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" (RSV)
Quite obviously, even his disciples did not understand this saying of the bread of heaven. The contention of the Companion Bible that this understanding was a common saying and readily understood is not true from the Bible text. However, it was an understanding of the Scribes. They would have understood, being an understanding from Scripture, and Christ in saying this was saying that these Scriptures are fulfilled in his incarnation. But this was not commonly understood by the people.
John 6:61-62 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offence at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?” (RSV)
In other words: “So if this offends you, what are you going to do when I ascend to where I was before? How will you survive?”
John 6:63 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. (RSV)
This verse is a concept of the Bible being a living oracle. The word of God, being the Holy Spirit reduces itself into this text. There are three ways of looking at the inspired word of God. Islam views the Koran as having no human author. It is the dictation of God directly through the Angel Gabriel. Modern Christianity says the Bible is a collection of stories written by humans. We hold that this text is God breathed. Therefore the Bible is written under dictation of God.
In addition to the two points: 1) that there is no human author; and 2) that this is just a human book, there is also a view that this word represents the Spirit of God in a physical form, and God used messengers to speak the words for dictation. Some people, before they were converted, have said, “This is just words. I read it, and it is just words”. It ceases to become just words to them when God opens their minds and they take of this Spirit. For this Bible is Spirit, not just words. Now that is what Christ is saying in verse 63. The words he speaks are Spirit, and that is why Scripture cannot be broken, because the Spirit cannot be broken. When it was uttered to the prophets it became fact. There is no breach in Scripture because it is fact. It was uttered.
John 6:64 But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. (RSV)
Christ knew whom God had given to him. When he was first given the disciples, he knew who had been given, who would stay, and who would not stay. The Spirit deals with those issues and conveys the information to the elect. People know whether they are part of the body of Christ and they know whether they are sinning. People know when they go and “hide in the garden”.
John 6:65 And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." (RSV)
That is why Christ spoke in parables and why the Bible is hidden from most people, because they are not allowed to come into judgment. It is only God who gives people to Christ. We cannot call on the name of Jesus Christ, except God gives us to Jesus Christ. Also if we do not understand that Jesus Christ is not the One True God, we will not be in the First Resurrection. That understanding is the mark of the elect, among other things.
John 6:66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. (RSV)
What Christ had been saying was difficult, so many fell away. We understand from Corinthians that we are all given gifts of the Spirit, and we are put into the body in order to use our specific skills to work with each other. Each of us knows what our strengths and weaknesses are. Each of us has a skill that blends in perfectly with the rest of the body and we complement each other. Some of us have a number of skills and may overlap in some things, but generally we fit perfectly into a machine, and God has put us here for a reason.
In order that we could be put into that body, Christ had to be broken as bread and gathered up in baskets. In order for us to be placed in the body, the one body had to be broken up and gathered up in basketsful. There was only a small amount, so it became larger through the Spirit.
John 6:67 Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" (RSV)
Remember that earlier on in John 6 these twelve didn’t know at this time that they were going to be handling those twelve baskets. The twelve basketsful were taken up for these twelve disciples as judges. They were going to be kings over these twelve basketsful, and then the others lost their position. They fell back. And he said, “Will you also go away?”
John 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; (RSV)
The words of eternal life are the Spirit of truth, and the Bible is the composite. If people do not speak according to the Law and the Testimony, from Isaiah 8:20, there is no light in them. So we go where the truth is spoken, and there we are part of the body of Christ.
John 6:69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God." (RSV)
He did not say, “I believe that you are one of the three heads of God”. He said, “I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”, or words to that effect.
John 6:70 Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (RSV)
One of these was actually given to him in order that he would betray him. He was replaced by another, who took up his basket.
John 6:71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him. (RSV)
That concept of the baskets and the breaking is part of the bread and the manna. It is not a disjointed series of stories. John 6 has a series of stories put together in order to get us all to understand that we are part of the body of Jesus Christ, and that we are saved through the intervention of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. We are given to understand that there are miracles involved, and that the Spirit of the Lord is that body. That is, the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of truth, seals Christ and us and makes us part of that body. We become part of God, as Christ is part of God. We live in Christ, and Christ and God the Father live in each other. We are all inter-related. That is why we get up in the morning, and we pray to God in the name of Christ, and Christ lives in us, and God lives in us.
The only trinity is the one formed every morning, and every minute of every day we are walking around with Christ directing us in a direct relationship with God, under the will of God. We have been given to Christ in order to achieve those effects. We have a job to do, set out long before we were born. Before we were formed in the womb the Lord knew us and ordained our works. Jeremiah was told that, Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you, and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet unto the nations (Jer. 1:5).
We are all put together to work, and we don’t know what the end result of it is. God puts us where He wants us. It is all to the good, and it will all be obvious. Sometimes, it seems blackest just before the dawn where we don’t know what is happening.
The concept of eating and drinking was also used in idolatrous practice, so they were inter-related. We see from Corinthians, concerning the worship of idols, the food that was offered to idols, and how we are in our eating and drinking; drinking of Christ and partaking in God in the spiritual structure as partners in the Host—partners of Christ, and partners in the altar as sons of God. The Exodus and the Passover demonstrated the downfall of the Host and the replacement of the other elohim.
1Corinthians 10:21-22 says that we cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. We cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. So, shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? When we are eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ, we are eating and drinking the cup of the Holy Spirit and the Law of God. We cannot combine that with anything else. We cannot be part of the demonic system. It is the Exodus and the Passover that places us within God’s structure and gives us eternal life. There is only one bread – the body of Christ – making us all one body in partaking of this one bread. There is only one cup, the cup of the Lord. We had the first Exodus to take us out of Egypt and establish the nation of Israel so that we could establish a place in which God could reveal His Plan through the prophets.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, `Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (RSV)
Jeremiah is prophesying of the covenant. This whole process had a covenant sacrifice of blood. The symbolism was seen from Hebrews 8:3-6.
Hebrews 8:3-6 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary; for when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, "See that you make everything according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain." 6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry which is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. (RSV)
That is why the priesthood had its specific numbers, and that is why there were twenty- four divisional High Priests, with a twenty-fifth general High Priest, because there were twenty- four Elders in the council of the Elohim under Jesus Christ as the High Priest. All of those things were done as examples of the celestial structure. So Christ set himself to offer and nothing else would have been good enough.
The concept of the body of salvation, as we saw was in John 6:58. The bread, which came down from heaven not such as the fathers ate and died, but he who eats this bread will live forever. We saw that manna was the prototype and the bread was from heaven, and that Christ clearly said that the breaking and taking of the bread was his body. The blood being the necessary blood sacrifice, but also there are a lot of other symbolisms in the concept of blood and using the wine. The concept of Christ’s covenant being with blood can only be once, as the Spirit is not flesh and bone. Christ could only have sacrificed once and for all. We cannot have two sacrifices. Messiah could not die more than once. He had to come down as flesh, and then he became Spirit. Spirit is not flesh and blood, so there could be no sacrifice other than once.
There was no blood sacrifice in the spiritual realm. Therefore, the entire rebellion in the Host had to have, of necessity, one person become a man and die. There had to be a blood sacrifice equivalent to redeem the Host. Yet no spirit could do that. No spirit could redeem the Host through sacrifice. One of them had to become flesh in order to die, and Satan wasn’t prepared to do that. Christ was, and that is the difference. That is the Cain and Abel analogy where Abel’s sacrifice was more acceptable than Cain’s sacrifice. There was no sacrificing in the fallen Host. Our leadership is one of self- sacrifice, of laying down our life for our brothers. In order to redeem everyone to God we have to be prepared to lay down our own lives, as Christ our Master did.
Now the wine is symbolic of blood. We know that because Christ told us. Yearly, it was through the blood of bulls that Israel was cleansed, but with Christ, it was once and for all. He made it possible for us also to enter into a relationship with God in receiving the Holy Spirit. In order to do this we have to be purged from sin, and through this symbolism of Christ’s sacrifice.
Hebrews 1:3 shows Christ reflects the glory of God and bears the stamp of His nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of Majesty on high. So too we are partakers of the divine nature (2Pet. 1:4). We are given the Holy Spirit and we have the stamp of the divine nature on us. The point is that the elect are supposed to reflect the glory of God. It is a matter of struggling to get there. So, Christ acted as a vine in symbol. Wine comes from grapes from the vine. That is why the symbol of the vinedresser is in John 15:1-6.
John 15:1-6 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. (RSV)
This concept is that while we are together, and working under the will of God, we are with Christ. We are dressed and we bear fruit. When we cease to exercise the will of God, we stop bearing fruit and we are cut off. Examples of this fall from understanding are so that we might work out our salvation in fear and trembling. There are many things that God requires of us, but this partaking of the body and blood of Christ and bearing fruit through the Holy Spirit in turn is the primary concept.
The concept of wine coming forward from fruit from the vine is that of the Holy Spirit. So the Holy Spirit becomes a channel, or like a circuit, where it comes to us and we partake of it in the body and blood of Christ. Then we, and the vine, produce our own fruit and continue to produce more spirit so that it becomes like a closed loop.
The concept of the body and blood of Christ is central to the Lord’s Supper. The understanding of the five loaves and two fishes is not clear at all. There is much more to be drawn out of the two lots of the feedings. Christ said to them after the parables, “Now do you understand?” and they didn’t understand. Understand what? That has to be explained in relation to the development of the elect. We are part of that process. We are put there by God. We are given to Christ. We symbolise that process through the three elements of our knowledge of the One True God, and of His Son, Jesus Christ, by faith in Christ, and then by partaking of Christ’s body and blood. They are the three elements that give us eternal life. We cannot take eternal life except we have the Holy Spirit and exercise that process. We keep the Commandments of God because Scripture (and especially John) tells us it is necessary for the retention of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we must keep the Sabbath and the Passover in order to retain the Holy Spirit and be in the First Resurrection. It is absolutely mandatory! That is the significance of the symbols of our annual Passover. Through obedience to those requirements we inherit eternal life. In this understanding of what we do, God enlightens our mind to what He is doing through us in the Creation.
Christian Churches of God
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