Worship Times

Sundays    10:30 a.m.
                    4:00 p.m.

Today's Verse

 

From Passover To The Communion

This Do In Remembrance Of Me

by Don Snow

I. Introduction

The Communion or Lord’s Supper had its origination on the night Jesus Christ was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, an apostle. It was during the observance of the Old Testament "Passover" that Christ, with His twelve apostles, instituted the "Communion" and said: "this do in remembrance of Me". It was at the beginning (or EVENING) part of that 24-hour day, that both "Passover" and "Communion" were observed by Jesus. Only a few hours later that night, the Lord would be arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane; and His contemptuous trial, unmerciful scourging, and bloody slaughter upon the cross would take place. Furthermore, it would be just 50 days after the next weekly Sabbath (Saturday) until the day of Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-16). It was on this day of Pentecost (Sunday, or first day of the week) that the Lord’s kingdom and church would come with power of the Holy Spirit (Mark 9:1; Acts 2; Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:9). And, it would be soon thereafter that the church, when assembled to worship God, would begin observing the "Communion" and remembering Christ’s sacrifice for the remission of their sins. It is interesting to note that Pentecost (in addition to other O. T. names and celebrations) is a Jewish festival that commemorates the day the Ten Commandments were revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai. And it is on Pentecost, following the Lord’s last Passover Supper, that the first gospel sermon was preached under Christ’s blood-sealed New Testament and His church was established (Acts 2:1).

God had given the Passover to the children of Israel about fifteen hundred years earlier. This was prior to their leaving Egyptian bondage and the Lord’s giving the Old Testament law. When giving the Passover, God said: "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial (Ref. #2146, "memory, remembrance"); and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever" (Exodus 12:14). As long as the children of Israel continued as the prominent people of God, this remembrance of the goodness and mercy of God was neither to be altered nor to be set aside by human creeds and doctrines. However, the words "ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever" trouble many people. "Ever" - Ref. #5769 - Strong’s Bible Concordance, is defined: "all the time until their destruction" (Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, page 613). According to Adam Clarke’s Commentary (Vol. I, Page 353), "The Jewish nation has not sacrificed a paschal lamb since the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem" (in 70 A.D.). "With the Temple destroyed, they consider it unlawful to sacrifice outside of Jerusalem". Of course, the Jewish people may get a leg of lamb, or some other meat item, and have a meal to remember the Passover, but they have nothing that resembles the Old Testament sacrificial lamb for the Passover. But now the true Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, of whom the one paschal lamb was a symbol of remembrance, has come and offered Himself for sins (John 1:29). Also, after Christ’s resurrection from the dead, He presented Himself alive by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts, chapter 1). And so, Christians, the children of God, are to for ever keep the memorial to the LORD for His gifts of love and sacrifice through His Communion, not the Passover.

The Biblical account of the Passover began with the first feast, recorded in Exodus 12:1-28, and the second observance is recorded in Numbers 9:1-14. Other O. T. references to the Passover are: Leviticus 23:4-8; Numbers 28:16-25; Deuteronomy 16:1-8; Joshua 5:10-11; 2 Kings 23:21-23; 2 Chronicles 30, 35:1-19; Ezra 6:19-22; and Ezekiel 45:21. (It is suggested you read these scriptures in order to appreciate God’s Old Testament Passover.)

The Old Covenant Passover was originally instituted in the first month of the Jewish Sacred Calendar (Exodus 12:2), and was known as Abib. But after their exile the name of the month was changed to Nisan. This first month would occur during our month of March or early April. On the 10th day of the first month of the Jewish Sacred Year they were to select their lamb. On the 14th day God commanded that the lamb be sacrificed. There was to be a lamb for each household, but if family members were few in number they could invite their neighbor’s household. History indicates they had between 10 and 20 participants eating the one lamb in each household. The sacrificial lamb was to have no blemish. It was to be roasted whole with its head, legs, and entrails. God had forbidden that the lamb be eaten raw or boiled. No bone of the lamb was to be broken, but each person took his own individual portion from the one lamb and ate. All *"leaven" was removed from their houses during the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread - (*"leaven", Ref. #7603 in Strong’s Bible Concordance, is defined in Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon of the Old Testament as: "fermentation, leaven").

During the first Passover, the lamb’s blood was placed into a basin, and with a cluster of hyssop dipped into the basin, each householder placed the blood on the lintel and two doorposts of his house. The Lord had said, "The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt" (Exodus 12:13). For subsequent Passovers God did not mention putting the blood of the lamb on the lintel and doorposts of their houses, nor eating the lamb in preparation for a hurried departure. However, God did say in Deuteronomy 16:2 that the Passover would be changed to "the place which the Lord shall choose to place His name there".

After leaving Egyptian bondage, God gave instructions for the Tabernacle (Exodus 26). Then after settling in Jerusalem, Solomon built the first Temple 480 years later (I Kings 6). During each period of time all households observed the Passover in the courtyard of the Tabernacle or Temple (see II Chronicles 30 & Numbers 9:10, 11). However, Christ and His disciples observed the Passover Supper by the original design, because Jesus would be hanging on the cross at 9:00 A.M. or 3rd hour of that Passover day. [The Romans calculated the beginning of their day at 12:00 midnight, while Jews began their day at sunset or 6:00 P.M. on the previous day - see Gen. 1:5].

When Jesus Christ, the eternal "Word" (John 1:1-14), came, suffered, bled, died, and arose from the dead on the third day for the sins and salvation of mankind, He fulfilled the Old Testament Law of Moses. Since the Lord completed the Old Covenant Law, He set it aside as a binding law of rules and commandments, and delivered to mankind the New Testament of God (Hebrews 10:5-10). [Two wills may not be in force at the same time]. Therefore Christ, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross." ... "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ" (Colossians 2:14, 16-17). Also, Romans 7:6 reads, "But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter" (NKJ). See also: Galatians 3:19-25; Ephesians 2:14-18; Hebrews 8:7-13, and 9:11-15. Of course, the Old Testament commandments and rules are still the inspired word of God, and are a great source of examples and admonitions for Christians (Romans 15:4, I Cor. 10:11). However, forgiveness of sins, salvation, and worship to God (that must be offered in spirit and truth) all come through Christ and His blood-sealed New Covenant, not the Old Covenant of Moses (John 4:19-26). God gave the Old Testament as a schoolmaster (tutor) to bring the children of Israel to Christ (Galatians 3:24-25), and the Old Law was only a shadow (image or profile) of God’s grace and redemption (Colossians 2:17). Therefore, Christ is the body for the shadow, or the real sacrifice for everyone’s forgiveness and salvation who obeys His Covenant. And so God brought the Passover to an end with the Lord’s Communion, because Christ (Messiah, anointed), the Son of the Living God came as promised (Deut. 18:15-19; Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 2:10-11; John 1:45; Matthew 16:16). Also Christ brought to the world the New Testament as promised (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:6-13, 9:15).

II. Scriptural Accounts Of The Lord's Communion

The Biblical accounts of the Lord’s Communion are found in the following scriptures: Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20; I Corinthians 10:16-17; I Cor. 11:17-34. When these scriptures are placed side-by-side and compared, they help Christians understand the complete picture, meaning, and importance of the Lord’s Supper. "Supper"( Ref. #1173) is defined: "a formal, chief meal" - usually in the evening, but not exclusively. (Again, it is suggested you read these scriptures in order to appreciate Christ’s New Covenant Communion).

There is no question that the Lord’s Communion should be the central theme and act of worship in the church of Christ each Lord’s Day (see Acts 20:7). It is a commemoration of the Lord’s sacrifice for the sins of mankind. The observance is to be faithfully kept by Christians until Christ’s final return (2 Peter 3:10). In Matthew 26:26-29 it reads: "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 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." Please observe that wine (oinos) is not mentioned in the New Testament Communion, but "fruit of the vine". While "fruit of the vine" or unfermented grape juice comes under the heading of wine, yet all forms of leavening had been removed from their houses for the Passover, as well as the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread; and so the Lord used the words "fruit of the vine", not wine.

Additional clarification for the Lord’s Communion reads in I Corinthians 10:16-17, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread." "Communion" which is associated with: ‘the bread which we break’, and ‘the cup of blessing which we bless’, suggests a "fellowship, partnership, and participation". In Thayer’s Greek Lexicon of New Testament Words, this word "Communion" (Reference #2842, Strong’s Bible Concordance) is defined: "the share which one has in anything, participation". Also the word "Remembrance" (Thayer’s, Ref. #364) is defined: "a remembering or recollection, to call me (affectionately) to remembrance, Luke 22:19; I Cor. 11:24".

III. Man-made Changes To The Bible Pattern

Now that we have seen the Bible pattern for the Communion, let us consider what happens if we change the pattern. Let’s keep in mind that if we add a little to God’s word, and others add more to that word, then there is no telling how far worshipers will stray from the truth of God’s word. Jesus warned in Matthew 15:9, "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men". The word "doctrines" indicates the requirements of a religion, or conditions believed and practiced in service to God. But many hold to man-made doctrines and commandments, and make them superior to the written word of God. In fact, the Apostle Paul stated in Galatians 1:6-7, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ". In spite of God’s warnings, the world has come to see many changes in the church’s worship to God. The Communion is no exception.

A. Instead of each member in the church assembly breaking from one bread and eating his portion (a spiritual symbol of participation in the Lord’s offering of His physical body), many churches are using individual wafers, small pieces of bread, or miniature crackers in the Communion. However the word of God reads: "The bread which WE break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For WE, being MANY are one bread, and one body; for WE are all partakers of that one bread" (I Cor. 10:16-17). [Emphasis is mine, D.S.].

B. Instead of each member of a congregation passing and drinking from one cup containing "fruit of the vine" (Matt. 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18), a spiritual symbol and joint-participation of Christ’s blood, churches are using individual, multiple, and miniature cups. Some churches even have other drink elements than "fruit of the vine". In fact, someyears ago I had a conversation with a man who said that in addition to individual cups, his religious leaders were suggesting that churches could use ‘tomato juice’ or ‘watermelon juice’ in the Lord’s Communion since they were fruits of the vine. However, the word of God reads: "I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God" (Mark 14:25). This "fruit of the vine" has reference to the juice of the grape and is documented by historic records as well as the Word of God. In Isaiah 65:8 it reads, "Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it..."

Who Brought A Change To The Lord's Supper?

Going to history we read in Sacrament Of The Lord’s Supper, by Thomas H. Wagner, pages 237-238: "Until near the end of the nineteenth century the chalice, or cup was used in the distribution of the wine at the Lord’s Supper. At that time more attention began to be paid to hygiene, and the use of the common cup began to be unpopular with the communicants. Rev. J. G. Thomas, who was both a minister and a physician, was the originator of the idea of individual cups. From his medical practice he learned the uncleanness and danger of the common cup and felt that the Lord’s Supper could be made more attractive and beautiful by the use of individual cups. His first patent was granted in March, 1894. The first individual cup service was held in a little Putnam County church in Ohio." [See J. G. Thomas’ picture patent on last page].

G. C. Brewer Claims He Brought Individual Cups Into The Churches Of Christ.

In the book Forty Years On The Firing Line by G. C. Brewer, Pages 12-13 of the Introduction, Copyright: 1948, Old Paths Book Club, Mr. Brewer writes: "A good many of the fights that I have made have been with my own brethren on points where I believe them to be in the wrong. I think I was the first preacher to advocate the use of the individual communion cup and the first church in the State of Tennessee that adopted it was the church for which I was preaching, the Central Church of Christ at Chattanooga, Tennessee, then meeting in the Masonic Temple. My next work was with the church at Columbia, Tennessee, and, after a long struggle I got the individual communion service into that congregation. About this time, Brother G. Dallas Smith began to advocate the individual communion service and he introduced it at Fayetteville, Tennessee; then later at Murfreesboro. Of course, I was fought both privately and publicly and several brethren took me to task in the religious papers and called me digressive. Brother Smith came to my rescue and, in the year 1915, Brother David Lipscomb wrote a short paragraph in the Gospel Advocate saying he had changed his view in reference to the communion cup and that he did not believe it was any digression or in any way a corruption of the service to use as many cups as might be demanded by the occasion. This brought that controversy to an end and from then on, the churches began using the individual communion cup everywhere."

LETTING CHRIST SPEAK FOR THE COMMUNION

The scriptures read in Mark 14:23, "And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day I drink it new in the kingdom of God" (KJV).

Please consider the following translations about ‘the cup’ containing "fruit of the vine",

"Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it" (NKJV). "And taking the cup, giving thanks, He gave to them. And they all drank out of it" (MKJV). "Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it" (NIV). "Then he took a cup, and having offered thanks to God he gave it to them; and they all drank from it" (NEB). Likewise, Thayer’s Greek Lexicon of New Testament Words defines "they all drank OF it" (Reference #1537 - from out of, out from, forth from, from) - "of the thing out of which one drinks", Matthew 26:27; Mark 14:23; I Cor. 11:28.

The "cup" - (Reference #4221), used in the Lord’s Communion means: "a cup, a drinking vessel". However in the Lord’s Communion, the cup must contain "fruit of the vine". IT IS NOT AN EMPTY DRINKING VESSEL, NOR IS IT A CUP CONTAINING OTHER DRINK ELEMENTS. In Thayer’s Greek Lexicon of New Testament Words, he writes: "by metonymy of the container for the contained, the contents of the cup, what is offered to be drunk, Luke 22:20; I Cor. 11:25".

Metonymy is a: "use of the name of one thing for that of another associated with or suggested by it." In the use of metonymy a person cannot call the contents of a container by the name of that container, unless those contents are in THAT CONTAINER, because the symbol replaces the thing symbolized. Yet, both things are literal, not figurative. For example, we cannot honestly call coffee a cup unless the coffee is in a cup. Neither can we rightfully call beans a bowl unless the beans are in a bowl. Consider the statements: "Would you like a cup of coffee?" OR "Would you care for a bowl of beans?" These are NOT statements of metonymy. But when we say: "I’d like another cup" - (referring to the coffee), OR "I’ll have a bowl" - (referring to the beans), these are statements of metonymy. [Other examples are: "The tea kettle boiled" - (referring to the water or contents), and "The White House signed the papers" - (referring to the President)]. Now, we cannot scripturally call "fruit of the vine" ‘THE CUP OF BLESSING’ or ‘THE CUP OF THE LORD’ unless "Fruit Of The Vine" is in a cup (or drinking vessel) selected for the Communion in the church assembly. Neither may Christians, by scriptural authority of Christ, call a cup (or cups) of water, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, tomato juice, or watermelon juice "The cup of the Lord", even though the church members have chosen these items for the Communion and strongly claim they have done the will of the Lord.

Most Christians will agree that the purpose of the Lord’s Communion in the worship assembly is for them to REMEMBER the Lord’s sacrifice and death, and, "proclaim (show, or exhibit) His death till He comes" - I Corinthians 11:26. However, "in the mid 1500's A.D., the Roman Catholic Church (at the Council of Trent) created the doctrine of TRANSUBSTANTIATION which declared the bread and wine in the Communion of being transformed into the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ during Mass, or sacrament of Holy Eucharist. Although this doctrine is distinctively Roman Catholic, yet it is similar to that of the Eastern Orthodox Churches" (see Transubstantiation - World Book Encyclopedia). Not only is this doctrine of men shown to be false by New Testament scriptures, but any legitimate, scientific analysis will prove it to be misleading and superstitious.

Now, many believers contend that there are only two items of remembrance symbolized in the Lord’s Communion - "body" and "blood" of Christ. Please consider, however, that in Luke 22:19-20 & I Cor. 11:23-25 Christ symbolized three items of remembrance in His communion - His "body", His "blood" and His "new covenant." Notice that the scriptures do NOT say, "this cup is My blood"; but rather "this cup is the new testament in (by means of) My blood." It was Christ’s blood that ratified the New Testament, and it removes sins of a penitent, baptized believer.

FOR EXAMPLE:

1. "Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat; this is My body" (Mark 14:22).

2. "And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. 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" (Mark 14:23-25).

3. "Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you" (Luke 22:20). From the context of this scripture, "the cup after supper" in verse 20 has reference to the cup for the Lord’s Communion while the cup mentioned in verses 14 through 17 has reference to a cup that was taken during the observance of the Passover. But some believers reason that this scripture is proof that individual cups were used in the Lord’s Communion. However, Jesus the Lord was going to pour out His blood for the sins of mankind, as well as seal and put into operation His one New Testament. Therefore, while observing the Passover, Jesus took bread, and a cup with fruit of the vine, and established His blood-sealed New Covenant Communion. Of course, believers don’t have to rely strictly on the Epistle of Luke; they have the Epistles of Matthew, Mark & I Corinthians which reveal much more information about this subject.

In I Corinthians 11:23-26 the apostle Paul writes: "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes." (NKJ)

When Jesus took bread to establish His Communion, it was unleavened bread similar to the cake or loaf used in the Passover. Unleavened bread describes bread that has no yeast or other ferments. This bread was not an individual wafer or personal cracker such as some churches use today, but was one loaf of bread used for the remembrance of Christ’s sacrificed body - (the bread being about the thickness of a man’s thumb - Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, Ref. #740). When Jesus "brake" the bread, He did so just as each participant had always broken in the Passover. Years ago the words "Jesus brake" (or broke) and "we break" were not difficult for people to understand about the Communion, because they usually broke their own bread in their common meals. Yet, today, there are more than three different methods practiced in breaking of bread in the Lord’s Communion.

1. Some contend that the Lord broke the one bread into several pieces, and handed a piece to each disciple, or each disciple selected his own piece and ate.

2. Some churches don’t even break bread; they just use wafers, pieces of bread, or small crackers, one for each person.

3. Some contend that Christ broke the one loaf into half (or two pieces), then each disciple broke his portion from one of the two halves, then ate.

4. Some uphold that Jesus broke His portion from one loaf, and ate. Then He handed the one bread to a disciple near Him, and each disciple broke and ate, until all had spiritually participated of Christ’s body.

Breaking bread means that "the bread is not cut, but broken" (Thayer’s, Ref. #740), and each person breaks from the one loaf and eats. "The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, being many are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread" (I Corinthians 10:16-17).

Only when each Christian in the congregation breaks his portion from the one loaf which has been blessed (or given thanks) for the Communion, can these participants truly say: "the bread which WE break" and "WE are ALL partakers of that ONE bread." Only in this fashion can all Christians in the congregation do in like manner as the Lord did. You see, if Christ broke the one bread into half (or two pieces), then all other participants CANNOT do that. If Christ broke the one bread into pieces then all other participants CANNOT do that. [A person can only break "one bread" into half or pieces one time]. And certainly, we don’t have any Bible example of a preacher, elder, or any other person in the congregation breaking the "one bread" into two or many pieces for other Christians. "...WE are all partakers of that ONE bread" (I Corinthians 10:17). [Emphasis is mine, D.S.].

In describing the Lord’s Communion, Luke and Paul emphasize the cup or drinking vessel containing the fruit of the vine (both are explicit), while Matthew and Mark emphasize the fruit of the vine in the cup. In the Lord’s Communion the fruit of the vine recalls the Christian’s remembrance to the blood of Christ that was shed for his sins; while the cup (containing fruit of the vine) recalls the Christian’s remembrance to the one blood-sealed Covenant of Christ. The New Testament was brought from heaven and sealed with Christ’s blood. Both cup and fruit of the vine are literal, not figurative. And together the cup and fruit of the vine symbolize (or call to remembrance) the Lord’s blood and His one blood-sealed Covenant.

Now, in like manner as Christ had given the one bread to a disciple near Him, and that disciple broke from the loaf and ate, Christ handed the one cup containing fruit of the vine to the disciple near Him and that disciple drank of (out of, from) it. Then the disciples passed the cup to one another [as they had the one bread], until all had communed of the blood of Christ - "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion (sharing, participation) of the blood of Christ" (I Corinthians 10:16)?

Also, the Lord said: "This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you" (Luke 22:20; I Cor. 11:25). It was Christ’s blood that was shed for each Christian. It was not the Lord’s Testament that was shed. Christ sealed the New Testament with His blood. However, some rationalize that Christ means the "fruit of the vine" is both the New Testament and His blood in the Communion. No, I don’t think we can allege the "fruit of the vine" is the New Testament, any more than we can declare a cup is the fruit of the vine. It takes both. However, to justify an argument, some say that when Christians demand one literal cup in the Communion, they are getting close to idol worship. NO! Christians are no closer to idol worship with one literal cup than they are with one literal bread and literal fruit of the vine.

Please observe the words (and their Greek Reference Numbers) in the INTERLINEAR GREEK-ENGLISH NEW TESTAMENT for Luke 22:20 -

 

"This cup (is)  the  new covenant in my
5124(see 3588) 4221 3588 2537 1242 1722 (see 3588) 3450 (see 1473)
             
blood, which  for you  is poured out."    
129 3588 5228 5216 1632    

 

The blood of Christ was poured out to seal and validate the LORD’S New Testament, and His blood removes the sins of believers who obey His Covenant. The use of one cup with "fruit of the vine", as well as one bread (or loaf), in the Communion is taught in the scriptures by command, example, and necessary inference:

1. Christ took one cup. Mark 14:23

2. Christ gave thanks for one cup. Matthew 26:27

3. Christ gave one cup to His disciples. Matthew 26:27

4. The contents of the one cup was fruit of the vine (or unfermented grape juice). Mark 14:25

5. Christ called the contents of the one cup His blood. Mark 14:24

6. Christ commanded His disciples to drink of (out of, from) one cup. Matthew 26:27

7. The disciples obeyed and all drank of (from, out of) one cup. Mark 14:23

In I Corinthians 10:16 it reads, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?" If Jesus had taken individual drinking vessels and handed trays of these petite cups to the disciples then the fruit of the vine would already have been divided (Luke 22:17 - "to distribute", Ref. #1266). Therefore, the ‘critical point’ that Christians need to answer about the cup containing fruit of the vine in the Communion is: "they all drank from it" - "they all drank out of it" - "they all drank of it", and "the thing OUT OF which one drinks".

When should the communion be observed? Soon after the Lord’s church was established on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), congregations of the church of Christ began to multiply in cities throughout the known world. They were being organized after the blueprint (model) of the church that is described in Christ’s New Testament. In fact, it reads in Acts 20:7, "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight".

After Christ’s church was established on Pentecost (Acts 2), "the FIRST DAY of the week" (or Lord’s Day) took the place of the old Jewish Sabbath. Some groups, such as Sabbatarians and Seventh Day Adventists contend that this scripture in Acts 20:7 is not referring to the Lord’s Communion, but to a common meal. However, in all of the Bible commentaries I have been able to read (more than twenty), every one of them describe this verse as referring to the Lord’s Communion, not a common meal. Also, in I Corinthians 16:1-2, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." Likewise, the Apostle John writes in Revelations 1:10, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet". "In the Spirit" tells us that the apostle John was under the Spirit’s influence for revelatory guidance from the Lord. "On the Lord’s day" is referring to the first day of the week, the day that commemorates the Lord’s resurrection, the day that the Lord’s church began on earth, and the day of divine worship observed by faithful Christians.

Just as the children of Israel were to "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy" by the law of Moses (Exodus 20:8), so Christians are to worship God "in spirit and in truth" on the first day of the week. On the first day of the week (Lord’s Day or Sunday), Christians are to observe the "Communion" in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice. In People’s N.T. Commentary (for Acts 20:7) the following information is given: "the early church writers from Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, to Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Cyprian, all with one consent, declare that the church observed the first day of the week. They equally agreed that the Lord’s Supper was observed weekly, on the first day of the week."

Today, there are thousands of congregations of Christ’s church in the world, just as there were thousands of households observing the Passover with a lamb. Therefore, when each congregation assembles on "the first day of the week" to worship God with one bread, and each Christian breaks and partakes from that one loaf, it becomes a symbol of unity, fellowship and remembrance of Christ’s body sacrificed for each child of God. When each church has one cup (a drinking vessel, chalice) with fruit of the vine, and each child of God drinks the fruit of the vine from (out of) the cup, it becomes a symbol of unity, fellowship and remembrance of the shed blood of Christ and His One New Testament given and sealed by His blood. However, to justify the use of individual cups in the Lord’s Communion, some assume that ‘divide the cup’ (Luke 22:17) suggests that they may pour "fruit of the vine" into individual cups. This means they don’t have to drink out of the "cup of blessing which we bless" to divide it. They compare "the cup of blessing" to a Pitcher, a Bucket, a Barrel, and a Well. Then they reason that because these items are used to hold and pour (or dip) liquids into drinking vessels, they may have "fruit of the vine" poured from a figurative cup (?) into small, literal cups in the Lord’s Communion, and drink.

Considering what the Lord has said in His Word about this "Communion", should you as a Christian become concerned when churches use little wafers, pieces of bread, miniature cups, fermented wine, water, tomato juice, or other food-items and drink-elements in the Communion? This question you must answer yourself! It’s your responsibility to decide whether you and the congregation are following God’s Word.

V. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The following questions are topics that usually come up for discussion in studying the Lord’s Communion:

1. Question: (A). "As long as Christians REMEMBER Christ in the Communion, what difference does it make whether Christians use one bread to break from and eat, or whether they have many wafers, or pieces of bread to choose from?" (B). "What difference does it make whether the bread is leavened or unleavened, or whether the fruit of the vine is fermented or unfermented, if the participants are remembering Christ?"

Answer: The answer to questions A & B is the Example, Pattern, and Command of the Lord for His Communion. (A). Even though we remember Christ we must still do what He says. In the Ten Commandments for the Old Covenant law of Moses, God said, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy". The children of Israel were to adhere to God’s instructions, and observe them as God specified. The Sabbath Day worship included several things. One item of worship for each Sabbath Day included the presenting of the 12 loaves of unleavened shewbread in the sanctuary of the Tabernacle & in the Temple in later years (Lev. 24:5-9; I Chron. 9:32). What if the priests had added more or used less than 12 loaves? (B). Note that no leavened bread, and intoxicating wine (strong drink) was ever allowed in the worship to God (read Leviticus 10:8-10). We might prefer to just remember Christ while at the same time we are changing His Communion. But this is NOT our choice. Christ has shown what is to be done in His Communion; then He said, "THIS DO in remembrance of Me".

2. Question: "Doesn’t ‘one bread’ in I Corinthians 10:17 refer to ‘unleavened bread as one kind or type of bread’, not ‘one loaf of bread’?"

Answer: The scripture reads: "The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread." ONE BREAD means one loaf, one cake, (W. E. Vines Expository Dictionary of N.T. Words). In this scripture we see a contrast being made between "we being many" and "one bread"; and likewise a contrast between "we are all partakers" and "of that one bread." When Christians in each congregation of the Lord’s church all break from one loaf and partake, it is a symbol that they are one in Christ and united in one body or church of Christ. When the Bible said "a lamb without blemish" for a household in the Passover (Exodus 12), it was to be "‘one’ lamb without blemish" in a household. No faithful Israelite would have dared bring a bunch of "blemished free" lambs into his house and then argue that the Lord’s command meant "one kind or type of lamb", not how many.

3. Question: "Doesn’t the Bible say that Christ’s body was broken for us (I Cor. 11:24)? Isn’t this proof that we can have multiple breads and cups on the Lord’s table?"

Answer: In John 19:36 it reads: "For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken." No bone of Christ’s body was broken. However, Christ’s body was "broken" (Ref. #2806) or shattered by a violent death so as to distribute God’s blessings and salvation to each person who would obey Christ through His New Testament. But, it is when each Christian breaks from the one bread, and drinks from the cup of blessing that each child of God participates in that body and blood of Christ which sealed the one New Covenant of God’s grace. Just as NO ONE can obey the gospel for you, NO ONE can scripturally break the bread or divide the cup for you in the Lord’s Communion.

4. Question: "Since the church at Ephesus had a loaf and a cup, the church at Corinth had a loaf and a cup, and the church at Rome had a loaf and a cup, isn’t this evidence that the Lord’s church had multiple loaves and cups? Isn’t this authority for each congregation to have multiple loaves and cups?"

Answer: Just as one household could have only one lamb in the Passover, so in the framework of a congregation of the church of Christ, the Lord’s Communion must be observed as Christ gave it. When the Bible said that prophets, teachers, or preachers must speak one at a time, "for God is not the author of confusion" (I Corinthians 14:26-40), must the preacher in the Ephesus congregation, and the preacher in the Corinth congregation remain silent while the preacher in the Rome congregation is speaking? Of course not! Each congregation of the Lord’s church follows the instructions of the Lord just as each "household" of the Israelites followed God’s instructions concerning the Passover.

5. Question: "If Christ wanted us to use one literal cup to distribute the fruit of the vine in a congregation, then why didn’t He tell us to use one cup?"

Answer: "And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying Drink ye all of (from, out of) it" (Matthew 26:27). "This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you" (Luke 22:20). Then, in I Corinthians 10:16, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion (sharing, fellowship) of the blood of Christ?" The word "cup" is always singular. [Some people object to saying ‘one drinking vessel’, because they want ‘cup’ to be ‘fruit of the vine’ only. But cup is one]. The Lord used as much emphasis for one cup containing "fruit of the vine", as He did for the one bread. In the Lord’s Communion all three items (bread, the cup, and fruit of the vine) are literal, not figurative. Cup is used both LITERALLY and FIGURATIVELY in scripture, just as BAPTISM is used both LITERALLY ("here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized" - Acts 8:36), and FIGURATIVELY (Luke 12:50 - referring to Christ’s sufferings and crucifixion). May preachers "wrest" the scriptures (2 Peter 3:16) and teach that baptism is just an imaginary command and not literally required? Peter said in Acts 2:38, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit". And Paul said, "baptized into Christ" (Romans 6:1-6; Gal. 3:27). To teach that the ‘cup’ in the Lord’s Communion is like the figurative cup of sufferings and death of Jesus in Matthew 26:39, is playing an ill-chosen game with Scriptures. This game has caused many detours from God’s Word.

6. Question: "Are not the cup that contains the fruit of the vine and the plate that’s used to pass the bread just incidentals, nonessentials, and insignificant items for the Communion, just as the upper room is an incidental when it comes to the place for church worship?"

Answer: Christ never placed any emphasis on the location for church worship, such as upper rooms, cities, mountains, or buildings. However, Christ did place emphasis on the heart of the worshiper when He said that "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:21-24; see Hebrews 4:11-13). Neither did Christ place emphasis on a plate, or cloth being used to pass the one bread in the communion. But, Christ did place emphasis on the one bread, the fruit of the vine, and the cup containing this fruit of the vine in His Communion. Now, there is no diversion from scripture when a church uses a cloth, or plate for accessibility and convenience in passing the ‘one bread’. [Nothing was said about Noah using a hammer or a saw in building the Ark, but he did not violate God’s Word]. A digression from the Lord’s Communion will come when the congregation offers wafers, multiple breads, or other food-items (with or without a cloth & plate) - "The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread? "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?"

7. Question: "In the Communion is the importance on the cup or on the contents of the cup which represents the blood of Christ?"

Answer: Both! In the Lord’s Communion the cup (or drinking vessel) and the fruit of the vine are inseparable. Some kind of drinking vessel has to hold the fruit of the vine. "This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." Christ shed His blood in order to seal and validate His one New Covenant. This was done for the benefit and salvation of people who obey His Will. Therefore, just as the one New Covenant of Christ and His shed blood are inseparable, so also are the one cup and fruit of the vine inseparable in the Lord’s Communion. Nothing is stated in scripture that suggests the Lord’s ‘CUP’ is just ‘FRUIT OF THE VINE’ nor that ‘CUP’represents each person’s copy of Christ’s Testament, as some reason.

8. Question: "Wouldn’t it have been impossible for several thousands of Christians in Jerusalem to worship in one assembly, and use one loaf and one cup in the Communion?"

Answer: Where in scripture does it say that all Christians at Jerusalem met together in one gigantic church assembly on the Lord’s day to worship and partake of the Lord’s Supper? In those early days Christians had no church buildings or houses erected for ‘the called out’ public worship, and so they were compelled to meet in their private dwellings for public assembly and worship. This is why we read the following: "Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus." - "Likewise greet the church that is in their house..." (Romans 16:3, 5). "The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house" (I Cor. 16:19). "Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house" (Colossians 4:15). "And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house" (Philemon 1:2). The Communion should always be considered in the context of the public church assembly or congregation - not as an individual, private practice.

9. Question: "How can a congregation physically serve all the members when it grows more than the one bread or one cup can serve?"

Answer: Follow the example given by the Lord when He set-up the Passover with one lamb for an house. "...they shall take every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb" (Exodus 12:3-4). If a congregation of the Lord’s church gets too large for one bread and one cup with ‘fruit of the vine’, then establish another congregation where the Communion can be observed like the Lord arranged it. Adjust the assembly to fit the Lord’s Communion; don’t change the Lord’s Communion to fit the assembly.

10. Question: "What about spreading infections and diseases among the congregation when sharing one bread and one cup?"

Answer: I (Don Snow) have personally been to the Centers For Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, and they assured me that there was no worry or concern in drinking from the Communion cup in the Lord’s Supper. (This was after the AIDS outbreak). I invite YOU to investigate for yourself. You see we can pass more germs to one another from handling the door knob of the church building than we can by drinking from the Lord’s cup or breaking the one bread in the Communion. Now, since worshipers have this "dangerous condition" of passing germs from door knobs, should worshipers do away with church assemblies so that they don’t touch door knobs or breathe the same air in the church assembly? I know this sounds silly, but I am trying to make a point that’s being overlooked in other areas of worship. In my study of God’s Word, I believe the Creator (who loves us) would not arrange something that would be dangerous to our health when He instituted the Lord’s Communion with one bread and one cup with fruit of the vine. And, it’s interesting that it took about 1900 years for mankind to come up with this controversy and division in the church over the matter. Also, it’s amazing that we trust Christ to save us from Satan and sin and take us home to heaven when we die, but we can’t trust Him when it comes to His "Communion" arrangement. Some of us suddenly become squeamish and offended about sanitation and inconveniences. Some believers have clearly stated that they would not dare drink after another person in the Lord’s Communion. [QUESTION: Do you suppose the Lord might be testing our faith in Him with one cup containing fruit of the vine?] Remember, this change to cups came several hundred years after Christ gave the Communion. And, in spite of the fact that the Centers For Disease Control and reputable doctors tell us there is no need for worry or concern, some people become very emotional and highly charged about their fears.

VI. CLOSING REMARKS

In I Corinthians 5:7 it reads: "For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us".

In commanding the observance of His Communion:

1. Christ used a loaf of unleavened bread to remind Christians of His one "sinless" body that was sacrificed for our sins.

2. Christ (the Great Physician) used a "cup" (drinking vessel) to remind each Christian of His one testament that was brought from heaven and sealed made binding) by His blood.

3. Christ used "fruit of the vine" in that "cup" to remind Christians of His blood that sealed His new testament and removes the sins of one who obeys His Testament.

Here lies the confusion and division in the church over the Communion:

A. The Lord said: "Cup = (is) the new testament in My blood."

B. Some say: Cup = (is) the blood of Christ (fruit of the vine).

Therefore, since cup = (is) cup, the conclusion is that the New Testament =(is) Christ’s blood. Friend, this can’t be.

In the Communion Christ’s New Testament and blood are being symbolized by two different things - not one. And so, after many centuries believers began to shatter the memorial and distort the "remembrance" of the Lord’s sacrifice. History lists many other changes to God’s Word with the doctrines and commandments of men.

Sometimes people will state this opinion: "I know what the Bible says, but I don’t think we should ‘BIND’ these things on the church. Let everyone choose." But, whatever we do in church worship is ‘BINDING’ on everyone in the assembly. Maybe we should be asking, "Are we binding what the Lord commanded (enjoined), or binding our personal wants?"

[Please look again at I Cor. 11:28-29.]

I want to thank you for reading and considering this message. I have tried to present this study in order to remind us of God’s love for His creation (John 3:16), to support the truth of God’s Word (John 8:32; 2 Tim. 2:15), and to show the Christian’s call to "remembrance" of Christ’s sinless sacrifice for our offences.

Christ gave the "Communion" for our "remembrance" of His Body, His Blood, and His One New Testament. But it is still your responsibility to decide whether you "remember" as Christ gave it.