Prelude to Light
Setting the Communion Table Straight:
Prepare the Way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
If we follow Luke's account of the Lord's Passover supper, then the one common cup, observed in some of the Catholic liturgy, is a cultivated misnomer. In accordance with right Jewish tradition, all of Christ's disciples had their own individual cups from which they drank from. Jewish tradition held that there was one container of wine, cut with water from which the host, at the appropriate time of the feast, would give the container of wine to the guest. Then in accordance with the observance, each guest would take the container and pour the wine into their own individual cup. We should see this in Luke's Gospel when the Lord Jesus took the wine, and gave thanks and said: Take this, and share it among yourselves. (Luke 22 verse 17.) In the Jewish tradition of the Passover with Unleavened Bread, each one of the four poured cups of wine, celebrated Godís deliverance of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. (See The Blood of the Lamb.)
There were two cups of the four cups that received special blessings, the first cup and the third cup. The special blessing in Hebrew is called the Kiddush. At the beginning of the feast, the host would raise the container with its contents of wine mixed with water, and then with his commemorative words, the host gave thanks for God's blessings and provisions. Blessed are You, the Lord our God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine. (Amen.) This is definitely indicated in Luke 22 verse 17, when the Lord, before the supper had begun, took what is written in scripture, as the 1st cup, and gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide among yourselves."
I Will make a New
Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the Covenant that I made with their fathers in the (Passover) day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My Covenant they broke.
(Jeremiah 31 verse 31 thru 32.)
The Lord Yeshuah/Jesus, as the Host of the Passover Dinner, is passing around more than a small cup of wine for his 12 disciples and for Himself to drink from, but it is a container (a lamb skin made for wine) with its contents being sufficient for all the guest and their drinking of the 4 cups of wine, that celebrated the occasion of the Passover Feast with Unleavened Bread. Each disciple would pour out from the passed around wineskin, their own first cup of wine, and so on as the Host would distribute the container at the appropriate time for each of the 4 cups of the celebration. Judas would have left the table between the 1st and 2nd cup of wine, and would not have participated in the Lord's New Covenant in His Blood.
The word cup is a metonymy, speaking more specifically of the contents within the specified container, with that being the fruit of the vine combined with the water. When the container of wine (wine skin) was passed around each disciple poured the wine into their own individual cups. When it was time for the third cup, the Cup of Blessing, again the Lord Jesus gave His thanks to His Father God, perhaps praying the traditional: Blessed are You, the Lord our God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine. (Amen.) and then Jesus gave the container of wine to His disciples to pass among themselves. It was at this time that the Lord Jesus instituted the New Covenant in His Blood by consecrating or sanctifying the contents of the 3rd cup, with infinite meaning as He said, "Drink you all of it: For this is My Blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sin". The former Covenant in the blood of sacrificed lambs had now passed away with the completion of the meal, and now at the Passover Table of Unleavened Bread, the New Covenant of the Lord God Almighty had begun in the Blood of the Son of Man the last Adam.
Now then, consider which is holy, the container, or the contents of the container? (See Matthew 23 verse 16 thru 22.) Holy Communion, is the New Covenant ordained by our Lord Jesus Christ, and His Word is in One accord with the One Holy Spirit of God that is in union with the consecrated Fruit of the Vine and the Water of cleansing: For as scripture says: There are three that bare witness, the Spirit and the Water and the Blood, and these Three are One. This Truth of the Spirit was presented in the chapter under "The Fountain of Living Water".
Even apart from the evangelical pastoral unbelief and blasť teachings on Holy Communion, I believe, generally, that the Protestant Church's simple Communion presentation of the Eucharistic offerings, accompanied by repentant hearts, and then consecrated with the Living and Active Covenant Words of Jesus Christ, would be acceptable to Almighty God. Now after the leader's appropriate thanksgiving to God and the further sanctifying Words of the Lord Jesus Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, the people all together, as one, partook of the bread. Then after the Words of Consecration of the fruit of the vine they together all drank from their own individual small plastic cup. This would be appropriate, if the hearts of the people are in accord with the Holy Spirit and the True Holiness of the moment.
God looks for repentance within the heart of the believer. Then the following prerequisite in God's Covenant is that the Presentation Gifts of the Spirit of God, are received in the unity of Faith with true sincerity and humility within the repentant believers. In the Spirit of the Truth, we are to present ourselves to God, as living sacrifices in Christ Jesus, which is our worshipful act of service to God. For the hour has come when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth: For the Father seeks such to worship Him. In the Protestant churches, there maybe the simplicity of the memorial that may be more in keeping with the early apostolic church, and the expressed unity of the believers when the unleavened Body of the Lord Jesus Christ is taken together. Also, the Holy Spirit's Sanctifying Communion Life Blood of God's Covenant is received together in the unity of the Spirit. In the present day Protestant church, the bread and the fruit of the vine would be passed out to believers, who were already baptized into the death of Jesus Christ, and were known as members of faith in the Body of Christ. This would be on a par level of understanding with the Torah, where God stated that only those circumcised into God's Covenant were permitted to participate in the Passover Seder.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing of the Word of God: There are several pertinent suggestions that might be considered, before the bread and the fruit of the vine are presented to the congregation. We are to understand that the WORD of GOD is alive for evermore, and Jesus the Lord of Life brings Life to the hearer of His Word. The celebrant, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, might speak of his or her faith in the Word of Truth, and through their exaltation of faith, bring an expectation of Life flowing as Living Water into the hearing of the communicants. C. H. Spurgeon, in one of his sermon, has this appropriate thought: "The preacher who neglects to preach to himself has forgotten a very important part of his audience. We must first address our own soul. If we can move that by the words we may utter, we may hope to have some power with the souls of others." If unbelief is in the leader's speech, then unbelief resides in the souls of those who hear the empty words in the speech.
However, the Word we preach is the same Word of God, which has found its place in the soul and spirit of our being. Therefore, it is more than appropriate, when taking Communion that a thanksgiving blessing be given to God, Who is the Ultimate Provider of the True Offerings of the Unleavened Bread of Heaven and the True Fruit of the True Vine. By faith, we receive from the Spirit of Life in God, the True Flesh of the Son of Man that says we are One in Him, and the True Life Blood of the Incarnate Son of Man that remits the occasion of sin within our own idolatrous flesh. (See John 6 verse 53 thru 57.)
The traditional blessing or thanksgiving that Christ Jesus gives at His Passover Table is not expounded upon in the Scriptures. However, the host of the Passover Table would have said for the unleavened bread: "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Who brings forth the bread from the earth.." And for the wine: "Blessed art thou O God for giving to us the fruit of the vine. Amen".
The Christian's acknowledgment of Thanksgiving to God, might follow somewhat after the similitude of the Passover Seder and the Lord's Thanksgiving to His Father, with some modification, such as: "Blessed are You, Holy, Holy, Holy Yahweh, Lord God, King of the universe, for giving to us the True Bread of Heaven, Who came down to become the Flesh of the Son of Man. And on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Jesus, the Son of Man, the Bread of Heaven, having given Thanks to His Father God, broke the Unleavened Bread and gave to His disciples saying: Take and eat, for This is My Body, given for you.
And then for the prayer of Thanksgiving for the wine within the Cup of Blessing, we might pray: "Blessed are you, Holy, Holy, Holy Yahweh, Lord God King of the universe, Who has given to us the True Vine, even the Life of your Son Jesus Christ that was poured out for the remission of our sins that we may drink of the fruit of His Spirit and live in the abundance of the Life of Christ Jesus". Then Jesus, the True Vine, having giving Thanks to His Father God, gave to His disciples saying: Take and drink all of you, for This is My Blood of the New Covenant that is shed for many for the remission of sin.
If the Holy Spirit indwells us by our faith in Christ Jesus, then the Words of Consecration that come from the celebrants mouth are of the Spirit of God, and they are the Words of Truth, and should be received by all, as the True Body and True Blood of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, by the Grace of God, it is my sincerest opinion that Holy Communion is the time for true spiritual worship of God with songs, praises and prayerful petitions, as we come and wait expectantly in the Father's Holy Presence. (See Acts 2 verse 41 thru 43.) The nourishing and Holy cleansing Life Blood of Jesus Christ, puts away the acknowledged sinful encumbrances of our flesh, enabling the full Communion of believers to be unified through God's Spirit of continuing Sanctification, as One in the Bread of Life through the Holy Spirit of Truth, thereby giving us an access through the Door of Jesus' flesh, cleansed in His Life Blood, and into the Holiest Place into the Presence of God the Father.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the Blood of Jesus, by a new and Living Way, which He has consecrated for us, through the veil that is to say, His Flesh: And having a High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of Faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10 verse 19 thru 22.)
"And they shall overcome the evil (accuser) by the BLOOD of the LAMB, and the Word of their testimony, and they loved not their life unto the death." (Revelation 12 verse 10.)
To proceed to the next chapter, please click on The Roman Catholic Church.
Robert Glenn Pratten
Robert Glenn Pratten