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Home The Light Articles from 1999 Things We Can KNOW About the Communion

Things We Can KNOW About the Communion

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Things We Can KNOW About the Communion

by Larry Robertson

The Bible, by most religionists, has been labeled a book of broad-gauged, general, incomprehensive, and indefinite statements. It follows that we really can't know anything specific or can't be positive about anything. There is no black and white, no right or wrong; just a "grayish" area intermingled with both right and wrong, and if we get anywhere near it we are alright. It is our contention that we can know what God has spoken, and in such a manner that we can KNOW what he wants. It is alarming to hear brethren say, "We really can't know what happened that night that Jesus instituted his supper." Why can't we know? If brethren are going to take that position, then they may as well join ranks with the denominations as they advance the same theory about baptism, church membership, the manner in which we are saved, etc. We might as well agree with the position that it makes no difference what we believe just as long as we are honest and sincere. In fact, many of our brethren have done just that.

There are some things in the Scriptures revealed to us about the communion in such a clear cut manner, that we may "know of a surety" what is essential. It is our inten-tion in this article to set these things forth.

 

THE BREAD

1. We know Jesus took unleavened bread. It was as they were eating the passover that Jesus instituted his Supper. He was a Jew, and he honored the law. During the Pass-over, there could be no leavening in their quarters. Therefore, we can establish what Jesus took when the Bible says in Matt. 26:26, "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread..." He took a loaf, or a unit of bread, and it was unleavened.

2. We can determine that Jesus gave one loaf of bread to his disciples. First, there is the type and anti-type. Just as there was one loaf to represent one tribe (the twelve loaves representing the twelve tribes) under the law of Moses, there is one loaf to represent the ONE BODY. The language of Paul clinches this in 1 Cor. 10:17; "For we being many are ONE BREAD, and ONE BODY, for we are all partakers of that ONE BREAD." To have a plurality of loaves, or one for each member, would completely spoil the picture of ONE BODY.

3. We can determine that Jesus ate of that bread. It is very simple to prove that he drank of the fruit of the vine. Matt. 26:29 is conclusive proof. If he drank, then we must conclude that he ate, for in Luke 22:20 he says simply, "Likewise also the cup after supper..." thus showing the similarity in the procedure. A strong indication that Jesus ate and drank with his disciples is found in John 13:18 when Jesus quoted from the Psalms and said, "He that eateth bread WITH me hath lifted up his heel against me." The exact quotation being found in Psa. 41:9; "Yea, my own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which DID EAT OF MY BREAD, hath lifted up his heel against me."

4. We can determine that each disciple broke and ate. He had commanded them to: "take, eat" (Matt. 26:26). Paul said in 1 Cor. 10:17, "... for we are all partakers of that one bread." He had just said in verse 16, "The bread which we break..." The picture is complete—he took bread, he blessed it, he brake it. Breaking implies eating. For example see Acts 20:7; "The disciples came together to break bread." Did they not come together to eat? He ate, he gave it to his disciples and they ate, following his instructions and example.

THE CUP

1. We know what Jesus took. No honest student of the Scriptures will deny that Jesus took a literal cup. Truth is conveyed to us only in words and if we deny this, or would fail to accept the standard definition of words, we will be lost in a maze of conflict-ing doctrines. It concerns me greatly to hear my brethren make the comment that there is no way of really knowing what Jesus had in his hand. They say, "He may have had a jug, or a bucket, or a bottle—just any container!" If this be true, then we might just as well agree with our denominational friends that contend that we really can't determine whether Jesus, in giving the great commission was talking about Holy Spirit baptism or water bap-tism, or whether he inferred a burial in water or sprinkling or pouring. They would even argue sometimes that you can't tell who baptized who in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch. Was it Philip or the eunuch who was baptized? Can we tell? Sure we can! And we can determine what Jesus had in his hand when the Bible says, "He took the cup." Check with any authority in language—check out the Greek, the original. I know what you will find. Jesus took a cup, a literal container.

2. We know that Jesus drank after giving thanks. In Matthew's account he says, "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" (Matt. 26:29). Again, in Mark 14:25, "Verily I say unto you, I will DRINK NO MORE of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God."

3. We know what Jesus told the apostles to do. In Matt. 26:27 we read, "And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them saying, DRINK YE ALL OF IT." A parallel command is given in Luke's account. "Take this and divide it among yourselves" (Luke 22:17).

4. We know what the apostles did, and thus, how they divided it among them-selves. Mark's account reveals to us exactly what they did when Jesus gave the cup to them. "And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave IT to them; and THEY ALL DRANK OF IT" (Mark 14:23). This explains exactly how they divided it among themselves.

5. We know what was on the inside of the cup. First, we know it was a liquid or a drink element for Christ said, "Drink ye all of it" (Matt. 26:27). Jesus tells us what that drink element was, "I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine" (Mk. 14:25), and "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine" (Matt. 26:29). Though the vines that bear fruit are many, authorities tell us that in the old world the grapevine was referred to simply as "the vine."

We all know what the grapevine produces—nothing but grapes, from which we obtain the drink element. It does not produce an alcoholic and intoxicating drink.

The pharmaceutical analysis taken from the booklet "The Bible and Wine" names three substances of pure grape juice destroyed by fermentation while seven foreign elements are injected by the same process, substances not found in the natural juice. Thus, fermented wine can in no sense be the fruit of the vine, that found "in the cluster" (Isa. 65:8).

Young's Analytical says the Hebrew word rendered leaven in Exo. 13:7 (A.V.) means "Anything leavened or fermented." This would certainly include leavened or fer-mented wine as well as leavened bread. No leaven was permitted in their houses during these feast days, thus, fermented fruit of the vine was also forbidden.

We also refer you to some noted translations of Matt. 26:29 (the fruit of the vine). Wilson's Emphatic Diaglott renders the phrase, "this product of the vine"; Moffatt renders, "this produce of the vine"; 20th Century N.T.,"this juice of the grape."

6. We know what the cup represents. The cup and its contents are inseparable. It takes both to constitute the "cup of the Lord." Paul says in 1 Cor. 11:25, "This cup is the New Testament in my blood." The cup and its contents are as inseparable as the New Covenant and the blood.

7. We know what the early congregations were to do. When Jesus instituted his Supper, he did not set a general course for the church to follow in the coming years. He was specific in his instructions. When Paul (years later), being guided by the Holy Spirit, told the Corinthians how to observe the Supper, his instructions were identical to the procedure Jesus used on the night he instituted the ordinance. Paul emphasized that they "keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you" (1 Cor. 11:2). Note, in the same chapter, verse 23, "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you." Then he continues with instructions as to how they were to observe this Supper.

We trust the thoughts introduced will be helpful to the sincere reader. If you feel the Bible should be our only standard of authority in religion, we have no doubt but that you will accept them as truth. Study this issue carefully and with prayer—let no preacher or teacher sway you away from the simplicity that is in Christ. His way is best.

—4025 N Farm Rd 129, Springfield, MO 65803

 

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