The teachings of Paul to the church of Corinth contain the warning (I Corinthians 11:17,20-30) "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not." The church was trying to liken the body and blood of Christ to a natural bread and a natural wine. The same carnal custom is still with most of the ‘would-be’ church today. If you have to depend on a man to bake bread and sanctify grape juice for you to receive the body and blood of Jesus, then you are committed to the man. A sister in the Lord, once said that if she had to have a natural bread and a natural drink, she would prefer crackers and buttermilk. After considering the mountain that religion has built out of these scriptures, I tend to agree! "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation (judgement) to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."
Paul had already explained the spiritual side of communion in I Corinthians 5:6-8, "your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." Paul is telling the church (the body of Christ) that they are the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. He continues in I Corinthians 10:15-17, "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. 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." He continues in verse 20, "But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils."
When we look at the English word ‘communion’ we find it is only used four times in the new testament. It was not meant to become a substitute for the passover. The word [KOINONIA] is the Greek word used in the translation to communion. The Greek word is the same Greek word used in verse 20 of the above scripture, that is translated fellowship. They are the same word and can be used interchangeably. The scripture in verse 16 should actually read ‘the cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the fellowship of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the fellowship of the body of Christ?’ In fact the same Greek word is in Acts 2:42, I Corinthians 1:9, II Corinthians 8:4, Galatians 2:9, Ephesians 3:9, Philippians 1:5, 2:1 and 3:10, I John 1:3, 1:6 and 1:7, and all are translated fellowship.
(I Corinthians 12:12-13) "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." "But now are they many members, yet but one body." (I Corinthians 12:20)
The Last Passover
The cup is the fellowship of the Holy Ghost. You beloved, are his body. A new creation, though many, we are the one bread. The Lord, in the scripture, gave us another example of how he would care for our walk in him.
(John 13:4-10) "He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith unto him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all." Jesus had told Peter you can’t understand this that I do without the enlightening of the Holy Ghost. Without spiritual leadership the natural man can’t receive the things of God. To be washed by the water of the word, Peter would understand after Pentecost.
Even to take this scripture in a natural context, would take a lot of adjusting of the original word. There were only men present since no Jewish women were allowed to be present for the Passover feast under Jewish law. To use the natural example of the Lord would require a men only nudist camp atmosphere, since Jesus removed his clothing, But the Lord made it plain if he didn’t cleanse the feet of man, then man wouldn’t be clean enough. The feet of his body has an enemy to tread upon!
The Lord gave me an understanding many years ago that compared us to ships going and coming in the sea of life. During the daily use, the ship would be encrusted by barnacles. If left uncleaned, the buildup would eventually sink the boats. Fishermen knew to periodically dry dock the boats and scrape the barnacles from the hulls. The spirits of vexation are the barnacles of our Christian walk. Though not of the world, we are in this world. When we come together to fellowship, the Jesus in our midst, cleanses us. As evil waxes worse we must gather ourselves together so much the more, as we see the day approaching (see Hebrews 10:25). If you don’t feel cleansed after an anointed fellowship, then maybe you didn’t take your shoes off. It really is holy ground!!
The priesthood in the time of Moses, had to cleanse themselves before entering the tabernacle to burn offering to the Lord. The had to wash their hands and feet that they would not die. Being cleansed was a serious condition of serving the Lord. It is still a serious condition in serving the Lord, today. As our walk takes us more into his nature, we have to shed not only the filthiness of the flesh, but also the filthiness of the spirit. We cleanse ourselves in Him. Our body, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to him, will be received into the most Holy place. It will take more than crackers and buttermilk to get us there.
Jesus spoke concerning the Passover wine in Matthew 26: 29 ". . . 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." Jesus had already taught (Mark 2:22) ". . .no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles." Jesus was not only going to provide a new wine, but new vessels to hold the wine! And we would share it together in the kingdom of God.
The Passover meal, a feast required of the Jewish men to be celebrated once each year on the same date, was a requirement under Jewish law. "Jesus was the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Jesus said that he would fulfill the law, ". . .I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." (Luke 22:16)
The church was willing to be pressured by the Jewish influence to retain the ‘works of the flesh’. But Paul made it very clear to the Galatians (Galatians 3:1-3) "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you (witchcraft is a work of the flesh), that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Anything done in the kingdom of God is by spirit. We partake of the new wine with our new bodies in the Holy Ghost. We partake of our daily bread in the Holy Ghost. We carry the Lamb in our spiritual body, (II Corinthians 4:10 "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body"). And we are neither male nor female, but a new creature, so all may feast.
Jesus declared (John 6:51) "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." He continues in verse 53-58: ". . . Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever." Now look at his instructions about this meat. "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed." (John 6:27) The Greek word [SPHRAGIZO], here translated ‘sealed’ means to be ‘identified by the giver’ as a signet.
Paul declared that God has ". . . sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." (II Corinthians 1:22) "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." (Ephesians 1:13)
The Bible teaches that first is the natural and afterward the spiritual. And that we must compare spiritual with spiritual. If you don’t recognize the Jesus in you, you might as well have crackers and buttermilk.