That everyone who thirsteth for the truth may obtain it, these publications are, as a Christian service, provided without charge. They levy but one exaction: the soul's obligation to itself to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good. The only strings attached to this free proffer are the golden strands of Eden and the crimson cords of Calvary - the ties that bind.
Christ in the Daily Meal
Eden Lost to Eden Restored
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
The Lord's Supper
Christ in the Daily Meal
Eden Lost to Eden Restored
Copyright © 1991,
Printed in the U.S.A.
"The Communion service points to Christ's second coming. It was designed to keep this hope vivid in the minds of the disciples. Whenever they met together to commemorate His death, they recount how "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.' In their tribulation they found comfort in the hope of their Lord's return. Unspeakably precious to them was the thought, 'As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come.' 1 Cor. 11:26
"These things we are never to forget. The love of Jesus, with its constraining power, is to be kept fresh in our memory. Christ has instituted this service that it may speak to our senses of the love of God that has been expressed in our behalf. There can be no union between our souls and God except through Christ. The union and love between brother and brother must be cemented and be rendered eternal by the love of Jesus. And nothing less than the death of Christ could make his love efficacious for us. It is only because of His death that we can look with joy to His second coming. His sacrifice is the center of our hope. Upon this we must fix our faith.
"The ordinances that point to our Lord's humiliation and suffering are regarded too much as a form. They were instituted for a purpose. Our senses need to be quickened to lay hold of the mystery of godliness. It is the privilege of all to comprehend, far more than we do, the expiatory sufferings of Christ. 'As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so has the Son of man been lifted up, 'that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.' John 3:14,15. To the cross of Calvary, bearing a dying Saviour, we must look. Our eternal interests demand that we show faith in Christ.
"Our Lord has said, 'Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you... For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.' John 6:53-55. This is true of our physical nature. To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food but he is nourished by the body and blood of Christ. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf. It is reflected in every water spring. All this Christ has taught in appointing the emblems of His great sacrifice. The light shining from that Communion service in the upper chamber makes sacred the provisions for our daily life. The family board becomes as the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament." The Desire of Ages, p. 660.
"Duties are laid down in God's word, the performance of which will keep the people of God humble and separate from the world, and from backsliding, like the nominal churches. The washing of feet and partaking of the Lord's supper should be more frequently practiced." Early Writings, p. 116.
How can the performance of these "duties" "keep the people of God humble and separate from the world, and from backsliding?" What is it that the "frequent" and "often" performance brings us to enable these promises to be fulfilled?
"The holy Watcher from heaven is present at this season to make it one of soul searching, of conviction of sin, and of the blessed assurance of sins forgiven. Christ in the fullness of His grace is there to change the current of the thoughts that have been running in selfish channels. The Holy Spirit quickens the sensibilities of those who follow the example of their Lord." The Desire of Ages, pg. 650.
"As the lesson of the preparatory service is thus learned, the desire is kindled for a higher spiritual life. To this desire the divine Witness will respond. The soul will be uplifted [resurrected]. We can partake of the Communion with a consciousness of sins forgiven." id., 651.
"Christ by the Holy Spirit is there to set the seal to his own ordinance....It is at these, His own appointments, that Christ meets His people, and energizes them by His presence...All who come with their faith fixed upon Him will be greatly blessed." id., 656.
"...she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her: and he did eat." Gen. 3:6.
This is the record of the first meal that was not "a supper of the Lord" (the Greek reads a supper, not the supper), a remembrancer of Christ the Creator and Sustainer. We can note that she gave no thanks or benediction to anyone for what she consumed. She could not, in clear conscience, thank God, for God had told her not to eat of that tree, and as she had not learned to lie or offer false praise, she was silent, and so was Adam. And again, she was under the delusion that the fruit which she was commanded not to eat was actually "good" for her, and that it was God that was withholding this blessing from them, so naturally, how could she thank God for it? Could she even have imagined that God would have wanted her thanks for partaking of the forbidden fruit? Truly, the only one she could have thanked would have been the serpent, who was Satan's medium; but since true "thanksgiving" is a fruit of the Spirit, her noble instincts were not motivated, nor indeed, could they have been, so she didn't thank him either. Simple, isn't it? If you can't give an honest thanks for that which you are about to eat, don't eat it.
Next, we may note that she was not having a real meal. She was eating alone, separate from her husband. Her first thoughts were not to share this blessing with Adam, but for her to receive the hidden blessing for herself. It was after she had been deceived that she offered the fruit to Adam. In all of the accounts of the meals at which Christ was present there is no record of him having served himself first, but always was he seeking to feed and bless others first. The eating which Eve did was really more of a "snack between meals" than a real meal. It was not her natural appetite that she was appeasing, and thus not mealtime.
"Blessed art thou, O land,when...thy princes eat in due season (the appointed, set, times), for strength, and not for drunkenness." Ecclesiastes 10:16, 17. The Hebrew word translated "season" is the same as in Ezra 10:14, "at appointed times," and Nehemiah 13:31, "at times appointed." "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1. Thus according to these verses, the Lord has even appointed times at which we are to eat our meals. Such it was in Eden.
Sad to say, the Lord was nowhere in the meal – not in the thoughts, nor in the food being eaten (that is, it was not lawful), nor was He there in fellowship. Adam was her companion, the one whom God had designed for her to eat in fellowship with, not a talking animal. She was so wrapped up in the thoughts of the fruit and its imagined effects that she temporarily forgot her need for the fellowship of her companion and her Creator.
"Had she sought her husband, and they had related to their Maker the words of the serpent, they would have been delivered at once from his artful temptation." The Story of Redemption, p. 37.
The phrase "Communion Service" is an accurate description of what "a supper of the Lord" really is, a service. It serves to keep the cross of Christ and His second coming "vivid" and "fresh" in our minds, our memories. And, as the cross of Christ points to His work in the heavenly Sanctuary, so it also serves to keep "vivid" and "fresh" His morning and evening intercession of His blood for us. This was the purpose of all of the daily and yearly types and ceremonies before the cross. The reality of their anti-typical settings (in the heavenly Sanctuary, with its Most Holy Place, Holy Place, and court), and of the true significance and experience of "a supper of the Lord," was "taken away" (Daniel 8:11, 12:11) by "the man of sin," and was "supplanted by the idolatrous sacrifice of the mass" (The Story of Redemption, pg. 334) – "the abomination that maketh desolate." (Daniel 11:31, 12:11).
As to the power that did this, it is written that he was to "have indignation against the holy covenant…and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily (Hebrew – ha-tamid), and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate." (Daniel 11:30,31). We have left the word "sacrifice" out of the quotation because it does not appear in the Hebrew, but has been supplied by the King James translators.
And so the prophecy was fulfilled: Emperor Constantine's letter to the bishops who were not present at the first Council of Nicea (324 A. D. – where it was decided "that we should have nothing in common with the Jews")– "if it is granted me (the one with the 'arms'), as I desire, to unite myself with you (them that forsake the holy covenant – backsliding church leaders); we can rejoice together, seeing that the divine power has made use of our instrumentality (the arms – the 'iron hand' of Rome's military might) for destroying the evil designs of the devil (which was how they saw the Law of God), and thus causing faith, peace, and unity to flourish amongst us...." History of the Councils, p. 322-4.
Under the guise of trying to separate from the Rabbinical commandments and traditions of men, which Christ had personally condemned, and by privately interpreting (without the aid of Inspiration from heaven) the significance and performance of the anti-typical ceremonial law (the Song of the Lamb – Revelation 15:3), backslidden and partially converted church leaders forsook, or perverted all of the holy, divinely inspired customs and traditions of the Jewish economy, and replaced them with pagan ones. By the aid of the power of the governments these practices were forced into the Christian life, thereby wearing out the saints (Daniel 7:25); for the truth of the heavenly sanctuary, and Christ's work there, was cast to the ground (replaced with the idea of the intercession of an earthly priesthood) (Daniel 8:12), thereby destroying "the mighty and holy people." (Daniel 8:24).
In Part One of this presentation we saw the history of the transition of "The Lord's Supper" from the table to the altar. Herein we will look in more depth at different aspects of this; in the daily life, and the relationship of this to the heavenly Sanctuary. In particular, the "court" of the Sanctuary, and the daily service therein, with the various eating done therein by the priests and congregation. This presentation is in different sections, each of which discusses a different aspect of the subject, and is followed by a summary of what has been presented.
The first section is an edited version of a study entitled, Christ In The Daily Meal first presented in 1895, and then expanded and published in 1898 by Norman Fox. It was not a new idea with him. The doctrine, in all, or in part is taught by most churches and was strongly agitated during the Reformation by many, including the Moravians, who, it may be noted, also taught the seventh-day Sabbath, footwashing, and other Biblical truths and practices which had been "taken away" by the "man of sin." It was to the Moravians and their religion that John Wesley (a founder of the Methodist denomination) owes his conversion, and this may be said, also, of the many who have since been blessed by his "clearer understanding of Bible faith." The Great Controversy, p. 244.
"Of one of their religious services, in striking contrast to the lifeless formalism of the Church of England, he wrote: 'The great simplicity as well as solemnity of the whole almost made me forget the seventeen hundred years between, and imagine myself in one of those assemblies where form and state were not; but Paul, the tentmaker, or Peter, the fisherman, presided; yet with the demonstration of the Spirit and of power.' – Whitehead, Life of the Rev. John Wesley, pgs. 11, 12." id.
Grace at Meals
Just a note on two points before we proceed. The first is on the giving of thanks which Jesus did when he "took bread and, blessed," otherwise known today as "the consecration of the bread," "prayers of consecration," "asking the blessing," "grace" before meals, etc.... The word "blessed," in the Greek is eulogeo – to speak well of. The word "thanks" is eucharisteo – to express gratitude. There is no implication in those words that a petition is set forth.
The blessing of the bread and the wine that Christ did was in giving "thanks" for them. He never prayed "over," nor "for," nor asked a blessing "on" the food before Him in order to prepare it for consumption. There is no need for the food to be "blessed," for that is the way it comes from the Creator; that is, if it is the kind of food that God has designed for man's consumption. If one was to partake of food that was not healthy, then there would be the need for the food to be made holy, clean. But with all of the prayers that are being offered for unclean foods, never has a piece of pork been changed into an apple, nor yielded to the body the similar health produced by clean foods. Nor have the adverse effects of eating the wrong foods, and eating at the wrong times been corrected by the blessing asked.
This fact is borne out by the very texts, themselves, which relate the matter. In Matthew 26:26 we read "Jesus took bread, and blessed [it]." And in Luke 24:30 he took bread, and blessed [it]." In both of these places we have put the word "it" in italics because they do not appear in the Greek. The text simply reads "and blessed [spoke well of – praised]." It wasn't the bread, nor the ones who made it, that he praised, but God who created them all.
The Catholics are somewhat more correct in asking, "Bless us, oh Lord, with these thy gifts..." for they are asking for the blessing on themselves, and not on the food. What they are missing is that that is the very reason they are there; to be blessed by God through the food. So why ask for that which you are already receiving? All that needs to be done is to "give thanks" as did Jesus; to pronounce a heart-felt benediction (blessing) to the Lord for that which is received.
The Biblical command regarding blessing at meals is as follows:
"When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, ... Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God ... and thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth." Deuteronomy 8:10-14, 17-18.
This was understood by the Israelites as a commandment to "bless" the Lord after eating. The Jews have a greater variety of benedictions (blessings) for after a meal than before it. Catholics are taught to do this also, though few practice it. Protestants generally ignore this altogether.
"Eating, the Rabbis considered to be a religious act because it sustained life – both body and soul. Therefore they ruled: 'It is forbidden man to enjoy anything without pronouncing a benediction.' In eating and drinking one experienced the spiritual reality of God's Creation. This transcendental attitude towards food was especially cherished by the Jewish Essenes, the pre-Christian sectaries and personal perfectionists who made preparation for every meal by self-purification – by bathing and putting on clean white raiment. The historian Josephus, who was acquainted with their mode of life first hand, noted: 'They enter the dining room pure, as they would enter a sacred precinct. At the beginning and at the end of the meal, they do honor to God as the sustainer of life. Quite obviously, the grace Christians say before meals must be an adaptation of the older Jewish prayer...." The Book of Jewish Knowledge. Though the Essenes were extremists in many of their practices, it is the principle here that is important. It is written of Christ,
"And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:... And he took bread, and gave thanks, and break it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." Luke 22:17,19,20.
It is clear from this that Jesus, in instituting the memorial, used the blessings (benedictions, thanksgivings) at the beginning and at the end of the meal.
The earliest non-Biblical record of "a supper of the Lord" is in the Didache, written in the last decade of the first century A..D. The whole service, the agape (including the emblems), was at this time being called the Eucharist (the giving of thanks).
"And concerning the Eucharist, hold Eucharist thus: (or – concerning the giving of thanks, give thanks thus:) First concerning the cup, 'We give thanks to thee, our Father, for the Holy Vine of David thy child, which, thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy child; to thee be glory forever.' And concerning the broken bread: 'We give thee thanks, our Father, for the life and knowledge which thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy child. To thee be glory for ever.' ...But after you are satisfied with food, thus give thanks: "We give thanks to thee, O Holy Father, etc.... But suffer the prophets to hold Eucharist as they will." Didache, 10:1-7.
From the Scriptural and historical records, and the current practices of the Jews and those who follow the Biblical teaching, it is clear that God's people are to give thanks, in remembrance of Christ, both before, and after meals. Also, that any type of prayer or petition for a blessing upon the food is out of place, and that only a thanksgiving, a benediction is proper. The basic Jewish benediction is:
"Blessed art thou, O Lord, who bringeth forth bread (or wine) from the earth" – before meals, and "Blessed art thou, O Lord, Who feedest all" afterwards. There are many variations of these, but never is the food "blessed," only the Lord and His name.
The second is that the command to memorialize Christ's sufferings and his second coming by means of giving thanks with the breaking of bread and partaking of the cup, "This do ye," extends to all believers, men, women, and children. All are, in their own right, by the Spirit, ministers of Christ, "a royal priesthood," "kings and priests unto God."
"In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him, male and female; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created." Gen. 5:1,2.
When the Gods (the Hebrew is plural) called the name "Adam," they answered.
Therefore, let all show forth and behold
CHRIST IN THE DAILY MEAL
(a study by Norman Fox)
Said Jesus to his disciples, - "This do in remembrance Me." But how often was their eating of bread and drinking of wine to be done with the thought of Him? Once a month, – once a week, – occasionally, – now and then? Was not his command this, – that each time and whenever they ate bread to sustain their mortal bodies they should think of him, the food of their souls; and that whenever they took in their hands their cup of the blood of the grape, the drink of their daily meals, they should be thereby reminded of his blood shed for them?
Let us review those paragraphs of the New Testament which refer to the breaking of bread. They may be catalogued as follows: –
The feeding of the five thousand – Matt. 14:19; Mk. 6:41; Lk. 9:16; Jn. 6:11; and of the four thousand - Matt. 15:36; Mk. 8:6.
The Saviour's last Passover – Matt. 26:26; Mk. 14:22; Lk. 22:19; Jn.,1 Cor. 11:23.
The meal at Emmaus – Lk. 24:30.
The breaking of bread at Jerusalem – Acts 2:42,46.
The breaking of bread at Troas – Acts 20:7,11.
Paul's repast in the shipwreck – Acts 27:35.
Communion with Christ and communion with demons – 1 Cor. 10:14.
The church meals at Corinth – 1 Cor. 11:17.
Compare also: –
The Bread of Life – Jn. 6:31.
The Agape or Love Feasts – 2 Pet. 2:13, Jude 12.
The different translations should be read and compared, especially the Revised Version, and the one by the American Baptist Publication Society.
And now in proceeding to the study of these passages, let us attempt a difficult thing, namely, to divest our minds of all inherited preconceptions, to restrain ourselves from injecting into the meaning of the text ideas received from outside sources, to read the familiar sections as if they were entirely new to us. For so only can we gather from them their natural and true meaning. When speaking of the bread for the memorial eating it was only unleavened bread that was used to symbolize Christ's sinless life, so when referring to bread herein this will be our understanding. And of the wine only unfermented juice is implied. Unleavened bread and unfermented grape juice were parts of the ordinary daily meals of the Israelites.
Took – Blest – Brake – Gave
In the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus took the loaves and gave thanks and blessed and brake them and gave to his disciples. In the record of the feeding of the four thousand the same acts and words appear. In the meal at Emmaus, the Savior "when he had sat down with them to meat, took bread and blessed it and brake and gave to them" and "he was known of them in the breaking of the bread." Paul also in the shipwreck took bread and gave thanks and "brake it and began to eat" and "themselves also took food."
In each of these cases, "the breaking of bread" pertains to the taking of daily food. This is strictly biblical phraseology.
Be it carefully observed that when Jesus at his last Passover took bread and gave thanks and brake it and gave to his disciples he did nothing peculiar to that occasion. He had done the same at the feeding of the five thousand and of the four thousand and did it afterwards in the meal at Emmaus, while Paul did in like manner on his vessel, and indeed every pious Jew did all this whenever he took food.
The "took bread and blessed," of Mk 14:22, and the thanksgiving for the cup (v. 23) was no 'prayer of consecration' it was simply 'grace' or 'blessing' or 'thanksgiving' to the Creator for food.
Nor is there anything peculiar in the fact that there was a thanksgiving first for the bread and then for the wine. In the Passover celebration there was a succession of thanks given for the different courses of the meal. Also in the feeding of the four thousand (Mk 8:6,7) there was one thanks given for the loaves and another for the fishes.
On that Passover night every Jewish head of a family took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to those that were present, and then did the same with the cup of wine, the same as did Jesus. There was then nothing in this to separate Jesus' last Passover from previous Passover occasions observed by himself, or from the ordinary Passover gatherings of Jewish families, nor indeed from the daily meals of any pious Israelite. The force of the record is simply that in doing these things, which were customary at all meals, he added a special injunction, an admonition peculiar to that occasion, "This do in remembrance of me."
"Hoc Est" – "This Is"
What did Jesus mean when he said, "This is my body, – my blood"?
The church of Rome in the decrees of the Council of Trent declares that "by the consecration of the bread and of the wine a conversion is made of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood." Under this doctrine the words of Jesus could be paraphrased as: – This which a moment ago was bread, and to which to all the senses appears still to be bread, is bread no longer, but has been transubstantiated and changed so that now it is my body. The "This is," would be construed as meaning, – This has become – my body.
The Lutherans go so far in this direction as to declare that "the body and blood of Christ are truly present and are distributed to those that eat in the Lord's Supper," (Augsburg Confession), and that "the true body and true blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are truly and substantially present and are distributed with the bread and wine and are taken with the mouth by all those who use this sacrament be they worthy or unworthy, good or bad, believers or unbelievers" (Formula of Concord). They deny transubstantiation and hold that the bread and wine remain as such, but they assert that the body and blood of Christ are mysteriously and supernaturally united with the physical elements so that the former are eaten and drunk when the latter are. Under this doctrine the, "This is" might be paraphrased as, – Here is – my body.
The Presbyterians declare in the Westminster Confession that worthy receivers do inwardly by faith really and indeed receive and feed upon Christ crucified, the body and blood of Christ being really present to the faith of believers. What they mean by this the reader must decide for himself.
The Baptists, however, and many others with them [Seventh-day Adventists included], regard the bread and wine as mere symbols. They declare the physical elements in the new memorial to be simply remembrancers, as were the lamb and the bitter herbs in the Passover meal. They deny that the partaker is spiritually affected by the bread and wine except indirectly as was the pious Israelite in receiving the paschal symbols.
This doctrine concerning the breaking of bread is the same as their belief regarding baptism, namely, that the outward act is merely symbolic, as a coronation ceremony is fitting when one has become a king – that baptism will not make a man a Christian any more than putting a crown on his head will make him a king.
Under this doctrine, the declaration, "This is my body," is construed metaphorically, like "The field is [in a figure] the world;" "The tares are [representatively] the children of the wicked one;" "The seven good kine are seven good years;" "I am the vine;" "and "That rock was Christ." As of a picture we say, "This is so-and-so," so one may understand Jesus as saying, – This is my body, symbolically: and, – This is, in an image, my blood.
"Our Daily Bread" as the body of Christ
To determine the meaning of the words, "This is my body," let us ask, – Just when does the bread become the body of Christ?
The Roman Catholic answers that it is when the consecrated priest utters the august formula that the mysterious change takes place. But what evidence has he that any change is wrought in the bread and wine?
It is not correct to say that the Roman Catholic takes Christ's words "literally." His construction of the Lord's declaration is, – This is my body as a moment ago it was not. The latter clause however is an unwarranted addition; it is not expressed nor in any way implied in Jesus' own words.
One has no right to construe the declaration, "This is my body," as meaning, – This has been changed into, has become my body. The word Is does not mean Has become; it predicates simply existence without any suggestion of beginning.
The implication is in fact just the opposite. What a thing is today we must assume it to have been yesterday and last week and indefinitely hitherto. If a man asserts that what a thing is now, it formerly was not, the burden of proof is on him. Until therefore it be clearly shown that the bread has indeed under gone a change we must hold that the loaf which is Christ's body now as it lies on the church table was his body just the same before it came to the table and has been from the first.
Till the additional idea has been proved untenable the words, "This is," means also, – This was. Wherefore the "literal" and only logical construction of Jesus' words is, – This is my body as it always has been.
In the failure to produce evidence of a change, all forms of the doctrine of the Real Presence, whether Roman, Lutheran, or Anglican, break down utterly and completely.
To determine therefore the sense in which the bread on the Church table is Christ's body, we have only to inquire in what sense it was his body before it came to the table. Certainly it was not such in constituent substance. It was however his body even then in symbol, the food of the natural life being an image of Christ the bread of heaven.
But even in "Evangelical" circles, where the bread and wine are considered merely symbols, the idea lingers that they are made what they were not before. This shows itself in that common term, "the consecration of the elements." Now in what sense are the bread and wine consecrated when they are declared symbols of Christ's body and blood? Were the leaven and the mustard seed "consecrated" in any manner when Jesus pronounced them figures of divine things? When he said, – "I am the vine," – he did not impart to the vine any new quality or make it in any way to differ from what it had always been. How then are the bread and wine, when declared to be symbols, made what they were not before? Is not this term, "the consecration of the elements," merely a survival of Roman Catholic doctrine? And that doctrine being that certain select men have been endowed with a special authority or power to impart unto the bread and wine something which it did not have before they went though their words and actions. Thus the heart of the controversy rests not so much with what the elements are, or what they have become, through the intercession of a minister or priest, as much as it lies in the matter of on what authority are they such as they are declared to be.
If a man gave to his friend, say, an ancient coin to remember him by, this would indeed undergo a change, the act of the giver imparting to it a memorial quality which it did not before possess. But were it his photograph which the man presented the case would be different. The coin is a remembrancer only by arbitrary appointment; the portrait, in its original nature. Of the coin, the giver says, "Let this become a reminder"; of the likeness, he says, "This is something which will make you think of me." The coin is given that it may be changed into a memorial; the picture, because it has the memorial quality already. Now the bread and wine are not arbitrarily appointed remembrancers; they are remembrancers by their very nature, the loaf being a figure of the bread of heaven and the wine an image of Christ's blood. They are not changed into Christ's body blood; they are such already.
Till it is clearly shown, what has never been shown, that there is indeed some change wrought in or passed upon the loaf on the church table, we must say that it is Christ's body not because of any change it has undergone but by virtue of its original character, that it does not become Christ's body but is such by its proper nature.
And now if the words of Christ do not mean, – This is my body as a moment ago it was not, they cannot be construed as meaning, – This is my body as other bread is not. If the loaf on the Church table be Christ's body not in virtue of a change wrought in or passed upon it, but by reason of its original character as food, then every other unleavened loaf is his body just the same, for each other loaf possesses the same character and contains in itself the same symbolism.
When a woman making unleavened bread for her household takes out one loaf for use in Church, at what exact time does that loaf become Christ's body? This loaf is borne to the church not that it may be there changed into Christ's body, but because of the fact that it is such already, being even now as it still lies among its fellow loaves and that these other loaves though carried to the home table are Christ's body in just the same sense, for they also symbolize Christ , the bread of life.
Had Jesus pointed to a particular vine and said, "I am this vine"; we should still have understood him to speak not of that one vine alone but of every vine, for in every vine resides the like symbolism. When according to an old time formula the so called "consecration of the elements" was cautiously limited to "so much as is needed," wherein was the "needed" portion made to differ from the unconsecrated remainder when the latter represented as truly as the former the bread of heaven and the atoning blood? Was it not imagined to have been when a presumed authority was exercised in regards to it?
This idea that the bread and wine on the Church table "have been set apart from the common for sacred use" has led to the necessity of destroying or consuming the leftover bread and wine, while the notion that it has literally become the body and blood of Christ has led to keeping it in a holy "bread box" on the altar (table).
There is no symbolism in one unleavened loaf which is not found in every similar loaf, none in one wine which is not in all wine. One unleavened bread represents Christ's body only as does every other unleavened bread. If therefore, the, "This is," means, – This represents – my body; all unleavened bread is Christ's body as much as any one unleavened bread. The symbolic doctrine makes every unleavened loaf Christ's body, all wine his blood.
The manna in the desert was not less a type of Christ, a "spiritual meat," because it was the every day food of the people. And so the loaf of the daily meal, eaten actually to sustain life, symbolizes Christ our daily Saviour and support certainly as well as a little piece of bread eaten at rare intervals in the mere imitation of a meal.
The Westminster Confession speaks of the bread on the Church table as "set apart from a common to a holy use." But the bread devoted to the "common" use of the support of the body is in fact the only bread which is truly capable of the sacred use of representing Christ the support of the soul. For the church supper represents no symbolism whatever except as it is assumed to be an ordinary meal. The church bread does not represent Christ, is not his body at all, except as it purports to be "daily" bread. It is the bread to which one sits down faint and hungry which is the true likeness of the bread of heaven, the food so much and so continually needed by our starving perishing souls. It is in fact only the bread of the daily meal, eaten actually to support life, which truly represents and thus "is" Christ's body.
We have an analogous case in the washing of feet commanded by the Lord "the same night." The true exhibition of Christ-like humility is not when a pope dramatically laves a poor man's feet which have been carefully cleansed and perfumed beforehand; it is when a Sister Dora in the hospital washes the noisesome feet of a dying tramp. The footwashing which Jesus ordained was the washing of dirty feet.
So those who see the symbolic character of the "washing of feet," that is, the confession and forgiveness of sin (which must take place before one can enter into a joyous "supper of the Lord"), also see the need of the preparation, daily; the daily, morning and evening, examination of the heart and life. The washing of feet was also a regular custom of God's people, as was the taking of bread, giving thanks, breaking, and giving it, and the taking of the cup, giving thanks, and passing it.
And just as unreasonably do they exalt form above substance who deem the bread of a merely dramatic meal a better symbol of the sustaining Christ than the food eaten actually to support existence. As it is not a pretended but a real washing of feet which displays humility, so it is not a pretended but a real taking of food which shows forth the soul's feeding on Christ.
When Paul says,"As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do shew the Lord's death till he come," (1 Cor 11:26), we cannot understand him to distinguish between "this bread" and other unleavened bread any more than to understand that when Jesus says, "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine," he distinguishes between this and some other fruit of the vine which he may drink. The unleavened bread and the cup of the disciple's daily meal served to symbolize and "shew" the Lord and his death as fully as did the loaf and cup of their church gatherings. There was no symbolism in their church meals which was not found in their daily repasts. And in like manner one cannot declare of the bread on the church table of today that it alone is the body of Christ, for it does not represent Christ any more fully than does the loaf of the daily meal.
Since the words, "This is my body," mean, – This is my body in a symbol, This represents my body, – and since all unleavened bread symbolizes Christ the food of the soul just the same as any one bread, then all bread is the body of Christ, the loaf on the cottage board, just as truly as the wafer on the high altar of the cathedral; and one wine is his blood only as is every other wine, all blood of the grape being an image of Christ's blood shed for men. Therefore, whenever a disciple beholds in his daily bread an image of Christ the food of his soul, that daily bread is the body of Christ just as truly as is the loaf of ecclesiastical ceremony.
May One Disciple "Do This"?
On whom did Jesus lay the command, "This do ye?" Taken by itself, the injunction would apply indifferently to the disciples as a body, or as individuals. Did the Saviour mean, – Unite and do this, – or, – This do ye each one of you, in company with others or alone?
It has been assumed here that we have here a "church ordinance;" that the command was given to the disciples as a corporation and therefore that the memorial eating can be done only by the assembled congregation, or at least by the authority of the whole Church.
The apostles, however, to whom these words were addressed were not a church. They were not the whole body of disciples even there in Jerusalem. They were more like a traveling theological seminary than a church. They were in fact a family, a group of travelers having the right under Jewish usage to act as a household for the purposes of the pashal celebration. Nor is there any grounds for saying that they "represented the church" any more than did the household at Bethany or than did any one of the many other groups of believing Galilean pilgrims who that night ate the Passover in and around Jerusalem. And the fact that the paschal feast like our Thanksgiving Dinner was not a public and general, but a family and private gathering would suggest that the new memorial can be celebrated by a smaller group than the whole church.
Now those who say that the command of Christ is obeyed when two hundred individual Christians eat and drink in remembrance of the Lord, must say that it will be just as truly obeyed if only two do this or when a disciple alone by himself breaks bread in remembrance of the Saviour.
It is true that the Master uses the plural form, "This do ye." But so does he in, "Ye believe in God, believe also in me," – "Abide in me and I in you," – "Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name; ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full," – injunctions given at the same sitting and in which he is certainly addressing the disciples not as a corporation but as individuals. Now remembrance of Christ is an individual act as truly as believing in Christ, abiding in him, or asking in his name, and we must say therefore that if a disciple, sitting down alone by himself, eats and drinks in remembrance of the Saviour he obeys this memorial ordinance just as fully as if he ate and drank in the great congregation.
Whether a command addressed to a plurality of persons is intended for them as a company or as individuals may be determined by the nature of the injunction. If a minister called on his congregation to arise and build a new house of worship, we should understand that they were to act as a body. If, however, he called on them to be prayerful, or to love their enemies, we should regard him as addressing them individually. Now remembrance of Christ, like faith in Christ, is the act not of a corporation but of a single person, and a command therefore must be regarded as contemplating individual action.
A Christian Robinson Crusoe, a lone missionary like Livingstone, the one pious sailor on board ship or the single devout traveler in the caravan would need to remember Christ, and why should he not do this in the breaking of bread? Is there not as much reason for his so doing in his loneliness as there would be had he a thousand to join him? The command, "Believe in me," or "Abide in me," would be given all the same were there but one disciple in the world, and why is it not the same with the injunction, "This do ye in remembrance of me?" Why should not any disciple at any time break bread, even alone, in remembrance of his Lord?
There are many Baptists who defend the usage of restricted communion declare that in the taking of the bread and wine the disciple communes not with his fellow disciples but with Christ alone. If, however, the sole parties to the transaction are the individual believer and Christ why is it necessary that other disciples be present? A man certainly communes with Christ at home by himself alone as well as in the church assembly.
It will of course be granted that as the Christian delights to pray in company with his brethren and to join his voice with theirs in singing praise to the Redeemer, so will he take pleasure in sitting down with them to eat bread in remembrance of their common Lord. But the breaking of bread is not solely a church ordinance any more than prayer or praise, in which a man can engage alone by himself as well as in company with the whole church, and the disciple who is isolated from his brethren is not "deprived of the privilege" of a memorial feast any more than of the enjoyment of singing or praying.
The words, "This do ye," do not necessarily mean, – Assemble and do this. The idea that the memorial breaking of bread can lawfully be observed only in ecclesiastical connection has no basis whatever in the New Testament nor in sound reason. One needs no church warrant for remembering the Lord in the breaking of bread any more than for any other Christian exercise. One can eat and drink in remembrance of Christ alone by himself and on his own authority as freely as he can sing praise by himself alone. As the command, "After this manner pray ye," is observed when a single disciple kneels down and says, "Thy kingdom come," so if a believer eats and drinks in his own home in remembrance of his Saviour, he obeys the command, "This do ye," just as truly as when he goes to the house of God with the multitude to keep a holy day.
What did Christ Mean by, "As Oft As – "?
The Lord's command is – Eat, drink, in remembrance of me. And this is the whole of the command. There is no ground in Scripture for the traditional idea that he orders not only an eating and drinking "in remembrance" but also that this is to be done apart from other eating and for memorial purposes alone.
One repast may serve two ends. As the table that is spread for the satisfaction of hunger may also be used in the cultivation of friendship with neighbors, so the bread and wine taken by the disciples in support and refreshment of the body could be also made remembrancers of Christ's body and blood. Thus the command to them to eat and drink in remembrance of the Master was not necessarily a command for a separate meal. That they should fully and completely carry out the injunction, all that was required was that they should eat their daily bread in memory of Christ, the bread of heaven, and make their daily cup a reminder of the blood of Christ, of which that wine was an image.
The Passover Supper was not solely memorial in character. Like our Thanksgiving dinner or the collation at a College Commencement it served as one of the ordinary meals of the day. The command establishing it was simply that on that notable day the food for the support of the body should be a lamb, etc. which would serve also a historical purpose. Why then may not the Christian memorial eating be done in the daily meal? Since the Passover feast was an actual supper, why may not the new remembrance be made in a true repast.
We have already seen that it was a paschal loaf which Jesus bade them eat, a paschal cup which he bade them drink, as symbols of his body and blood. To the bread and wine of the ancient memorial he gave the additional meaning. But if the loaf and cup of the Saviour's last Passover could serve a double purpose, if remembrance of Christ could be made in the paschal meal, why cannot also the daily repast subserve a two-fold end, reminding of Christ while supporting the body?
Had Jesus intended a special meal like the ancient Passover would he not have appointed special articles of food like the lamb and the bitter herbs of the paschal feast? But the materials for the new memorial were simply the bread and wine of the every day meal. Now if the memorial eating was to differ from the ordinary eating in no respect whatever in its outward acts, what ground is there for saying that it was to differ therefrom in time?
What did Jesus tell the disciples to do in remembrance of him? He told them to do only what they were already doing every day, namely, to eat bread and drink wine with thanksgiving. He appointed nothing new to be eaten and drunk, but merely a new thought in their thanksgiving and in eating and drinking what they now ate and drank. All that was necessary to change the old meal into the new was to bring into it a remembrance of Christ. When once the new thought was introduced, the daily meals became the memorial feasts.
Let us ask, – Would it be allowable for a disciple today to behold in his daily loaf a symbol of Christ the bread of heaven and to eat this "in remembrance of" the Bread of Life? Please stop and answer. But if the disciple did this would he not do all that we do when we eat of the loaf in church? Wherein would the eating of the daily meal "in remembrance" fall short of the breaking of bread in church? And what occasion was there for the Master to institute for the disciples a new and separate meal when the loaf and cup of their daily repast gave all the symbolism needed for a memorial.
Though the declaration, "This is my body," and the command, "This do in remembrance of me," do not stand in the Gospels in immediate connection, yet each implies the other. Taken together their meaning is, – Forasmuch as this bread is, in a symbol, my body let it remind you of me. Now what bread is it that is, in a figure, Christ's body? It is the bread which is eaten to satisfy hunger. A loaf eaten for a memorial purposes alone would in fact not be a memorial. The loaf which is not eaten to satisfy hunger is not Christ's symbolic body at all. The bread on the Church table is a figure of Christ's body only as we assume the Church supper to be an ordinary meal eaten to sustain the physical nature. It is only the bread eaten to support the natural life which is a true image of Christ the food of the spiritual life. Therefore it cannot be a special bread which the Lord appoints as a reminder of himself, but only the loaf of the ordinary meal.
If, as the Roman Catholics affirm, it were only the transubstantiated wafer that is Christ's true body, then the sacred eating could be only apart from the daily meal, for such bread is not found on the home table. But if it be symbolically that the bread is Christ's body, then the loaf of the daily meal is material for the memorial eating, for it symbolizes the bread of heaven, Christ our daily Saviour, as well as, and we may say better than, the bread of a purely ceremonial repast.
That the Master did not intend to establish a special eating and drinking, one for memorial purposes only, is seen, – is it not? – in the words, – "As oft as," – which though given only in the command regarding the cup must be understood in regard to the bread also.
If a man receives the injunction, – As often as you go to the city, buy something for those at home, – the direction is not that he shall go to the city for that purpose but that when going to do other things he shall do this also. So the direction, – "As oft as ye [eat and] drink, do this in remembrance of me," commands that the eating and drinking in support and refreshment of the body be also "in remembrance." The thing enjoined is not a new eating but a new thought in the accustomed eating. It is in fact not the eating and drinking, but only the remembrance, that is commanded.
To make the ,"As oft as," refer only to a particular wine, drunk for memorial purposes alone, would be to construe the command as, – This particular cup which I command you to drink in remembrance of me, command you to drink in remembrance of me; or, – As oft as you drink in remembrance of me, drink in remembrance of me: – a construction which is absurd. The only reasonable paraphrase of the Saviour's words is, – As oft as ye drink with other thoughts, drink at the same time in remembrance of me. It would not be possible to put in plainer words the injunction that the red wine of their daily meals should be made a reminder of his shed blood. Had he actually intended to command that every cup should have a memorial purpose, in what clearer terms could he have couched that command than this, "As oft as ye drink, do this in remembrance of me"?
The current idea is that Jesus said, – Ye shall eat in remembrance of me now and then; ye shall drink in remembrance of me once in a while. But these limitations are not expressed in the wording of his command nor are they suggested by the nature of the case.
The question how often a thing should be done, may be determined by inquiring how often it may be profitable to be done. How often were the disciples to "consider the lilies" and "behold the fowls of the air?" As often as they needed reminding of God's providential care. And how often does the disciple need to remember Christ? Once a month? Once a week? Why should he not every time he takes food for the body think of Christ, the food for the soul?
Jesus terms the wine his "blood of the new covenant." When Jehovah made a covenant with ancient Israel, he promised to be their protector and they engaging to be his servants, that sacred agreement was sealed with the blood of a slain victim (Ex 24:8). And now the disciples have made a new covenant with the Father, (Jer 31:31), not national but personal, of which sacred compact the blood of their Master is to be the seal and witness.
In that Eastern country the red juice of the grape was the drink of the daily meal, thus presenting continually an impressive reminder of the blood of the redeemer, serving daily to "shew" his death. And the Lord said to them, – Whenever you take in your hands your daily cup of the blood of the grape let it recall to your minds my blood shed for you, and your solemn compact with the Father, of which my blood is to the witness. Thus were they at every meal to renew their covenant with the Father, daily and continually reminding themselves of their Lord's death till he should come.
The memorial eating then is not a "ceremony." It is not like baptism, which involves an act and words that might not be done and said without special direction: nor is it like the Passover, in which were articles of food that might not have been prepared without special injunction. The disciples always ate bread and drank wine, and needed no additional command to do so. The believer's eating and drinking in remembrance of Christ was to be a outward act just the same as a worldly man's eating and drinking. The new supper involved no peculiar act; it was a customary act done with new thoughts. As it was not a new bow in the cloud but the old familiar arch which God made a memorial in the days of Noah, so it was not a new meal but the ordinary repast which Jesus made a remembrancer; and in the remembrance there is no more of "ceremony" than looking at the rainbow or considering the lilies or beholding the fowls of the air. In the memorial eating which Christ ordained there is no element whatever of ritual; its characteristics are purely spiritual.
It may be remarked that the words, "Do this, as oft as you drink it," contain no command to drink wine. The injunction, – As often as you go to the city, buy something for the children, would not be a command to go to the city. And so in the Saviour's words before us there is no command to drink wine but only to remember him.
Nor is there a true command in the, "Drink, all ye, of it" (Matt 26:26). Of course they would all drink of the Passover cup and no command so to do was needed. – Yes, drink all ye of it; or, – Well may ye all drink of it; for it is the blood of the covenant. Though the clause is imperative in form it is in its significance merely approbative.
It may be remarked that in the Lord's, "As oft as ye [eat and] drink, [even in your daily meals], do it in remembrance of me," we have something more that the direction that whatever we do shall be done to the glory of God. We have a special injunction that every meal shall be eaten in the "gladness" of a special remembrance of Christ and his redeeming love.
In addition, though the meal at Corinth appears to have been the evening meal, it cannot be concluded from that fact that the breaking of bread and partaking of the wine in memory of Christ was excluded from the breakfast meal. A breakfast of the Lord may have just as much of a memorial quality as could any other meal in the day. It would be wholly unreasonable to think that the early disciples confined their memorial thanksgiving to only the evening meals. How could they even begin to think that one of their daily meals was "of the Lord," and another was not. Therefore, we see that even the term, "supper of the Lord," itself, in a specific, rather than a generic sense, is restrictive when used to portray the intent of our Lord's command, "As oft as."
The traditional understanding of Jesus' words is, – This is my body, my blood, as another loaf or cup is not; eat, drink, in church assembly, in remembrance of me, and for memorial purposes only. But the findings the context of their historical setting are that the words in italics are no part of the Lord's instructions, that they are utterly unwarranted interpolations.
We have been led to the position that the bread and wine are Christ's body and blood on the church table were such in the same sense before they came to the table. It is, moreover, the individual believer, primarily, that is bidden to eat and drink in remembrance of the Master. And finally the disciple is commanded to do this not merely now and then, but whenever he eats and drinks, even in his daily repast.
And now as we turn to Apostolic history in the Acts and Epistles we find no breaking of bread apart from an actual meal. For a supper consisting of but a morsel of bread and one swallow of wine, there is no more precedent in Scripture than for kneeling at a rail to eat, or kneeling when the thanks is given. And, again, though memorial eating was done in church assemblies, there is nothing in the record which even remotely indicates that it was confined to them.
In Acts 2:46, (Rev. Vers.) we read of the disciples at Jerusalem that "breaking bread at home, they did take their food with gladness." This particular breaking of bread was certainly the ordinary meal. But why should "gladness" mark the taking of their food more than the other acts of the daily routine of their lives? Was it not because the Lord had commanded that each daily repast should be a memorial occasion, and that thus they made each home meal a festal hour, a time of solemn joy.
In verse 42, we read that "they continued... in the breaking of bread." This implies of course, that they remembered Christ in the breaking of bread. It is generally assumed that they did this in gatherings of the church members; but, be this as it may, we must consider that this eating, like the breaking of bread at Emmaus, (Lk 24:45), and that mentioned in verse 46, was an actual meal, not merely a pretended repast.
Alford says that to render the breaking of bread in verse 42 "to mean the breaking of bread in the Eucharist as now understood would be to violate historical truth. The Holy Communion was at first and for sometime ... inseparably connected with the agape or love feasts of the Christians, and unknown as a separate ordinance." (Italics his)
Meyer on this passage says that the modern Eucharist "is of later origin; the separation of the Lord's supper from the joint evening meal did not take place at all in the Apostolic church."
Says Schaff (Hist. Christian Church vol. 1, p. 473): "In the apostolic period the Eucharist was celebrated daily in connection with a simple meal of brotherly love."
Says Stanley (Christian Institutions, p 44) "In the Acts, the believers at Jerusalem are described as partaking of a daily meal."
Says McGiffert (History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age): "That the disciples held a special service and partook of a special communion meal, there is no sign. It is far more likely that whenever they ate together they ate the Lord's Supper; not that it proceeded or followed the ordinary meal but that the whole meal was the Lord's Supper; that they partook of no ordinary, secular, unholy meals, of none that was not "a supper of the Lord.
In the account of Paul's visit to Troas (Acts 20) it is recorded: "And upon the first day of the week,...we were gathered together to break bread." Here we certainly have a church supper. But we must also assume that here as at Emmaus and on Paul's vessel, the breaking of bread was an actual repast. The statement of the text is therefore that the brethren assembled to eat a meal in company. Lechler, (Lange's Com.), calls it "a meal of brotherly fellowship." It was an agape or "love feast." In it, of course, they remembered Christ, the food of their souls.
The only mention of actual eating is, "When [Paul] was gone up, and had broken the bread, and eaten, and had talked with them a long while, even till break of day, so he departed." Whether the apostle's eating was or was not in the breaking of bread of verse 7, it looks like a taking of food to refresh himself after his long discourse and to strengthen him for his journey. This also would be indicated by the Greek word of the original, the word used in Acts 10:10 where Peter on the housetop "became hungry and desired to eat." Nowhere in the text is there any suggestion of a purely ceremonial eating, the mere imitation of a meal.
The fact that this breaking of bread at Troas was at a church gathering has been cited to prove that the breaking of bread is solely a church ordinance. But it shows no such thing, any more than the holding of a church prayer meeting or praise service would show that the members did not pray or sing except in church assembly. Disciples who pray and sing by themselves will also find pleasure in assembling to pray and sing to Christ, and so those who remember Christ in the breaking of bread at home will be moved to assemble to break bread in united remembrance of him. But the fact that the brethren at Troas "came together" to break bread does not show that the breaking of bread is solely a church ordinance any more that is praise or prayer.
Union with Christ
The breaking of bread is mentioned in the tenth chapter of First Corinthians. The apostle bids the disciples flee from idolatry and also to be cautious about eating meat which has been consecrated to idols. He acknowledges that a heathen deity is only an imaginary being and that the flesh of an animal sacrificed to one of these false gods is not affected thereby; wherefore if a believer in Jesus, going into the market to buy meat for his household, finds a desirable piece, he need not raise the question whether or not it has not been cut from a sacrificed animal; and in dining with a heathen neighbor, if he thinks it well to do so, he need not be troubled at the possibility that some of the food on the table has been dedicated to idol gods.
But if it be expressly pointed out to him that a given piece of meat has been consecrated to a heathen deity and in eating thereof he might seem to unite in the respect paid this false god, the case is somewhat different. He who eats in honor of a given deity joins himself to that deity and becomes a partaker of the nature of the deity. When the believer in Jesus breaks bread and drinks the cup in remembrance and worship of Christ he becomes a partaker of the body and blood – that is, of the nature – of Christ, entering into union with him. When the ancient Israelite ate of the sacrifice to Jehovah he entered into union with Jehovah. But what the heathen sacrifice they sacrifice to demons, and the servant of Jesus in eating of these sacrifices will be entering into a participation in the nature of demons, which he would not have them do.
In this passage as in the others examined there is nothing to suggest that the bread and cup were merely ceremonial, not parts of an actual meal. On the other hand since the feast at an idol sacrifice was an actual feast, and when the Israelite ate of the sacrifice to Jehovah he ate an actual meal, it is more natural to understand that the communion with Christ, which is compared to these, was in actual taking of food.
Nor do we find here any necessary reference to a church supper as a distinguished from a household meal. The term "cup of blessing" was a common one for the third cup of the paschal meal, which as has been remarked was not a public and general but a household meal, and it would apply also to the daily cup for which thanks was given for the blessing contained in the wine. In like manner the words "the bread which we break" may refer here as in many cases elsewhere to the bread of the private meal. Moreover, the fact that directions are given regarding the purchase in the shambles of meat for the home table, and that the feast at the house of the heathen friend is a private feast, shows that communing with demons in eating meat offered to idols could be done in the ordinary meal, and this again implies that a communion with Christ could also be eaten at the home table.
As to the words (Rev. Vers.), – "seeing that we, who are many, are one body [margin, 'seeing that there is one bread, we, who are many, are one body']: for we all partake of the one bread [margin, 'loaf']," – is too broad to refer to the local church. The Oriental "loaf" was but a little cake, so that to partake of "one" loaf would be impossible for all the members of the large church at Corinth. Again the "we" includes the apostle himself, who was not a member of that local church but was now far separated from them. We must understand therefore that polloi are not the assembled "many" but the scattered believers throughout the whole world, who by union with their common Lord are united to each other. As in praying, each one by himself, "Though sundered far, by faith we meet Around one common mercy seat;" so in remembering Christ, each one by himself, in the breaking of bread, widely separated Christians are brought together into "one body." There is no necessary reference to a local church assemblage. When the apostle says, Ye cannot drink a cup of the Lord and a cup of demons; ye cannot partake of a table of the Lord and a table of demons," – (the original is not the table, the cup, but a ), – it impairs the force of the solemn words to make them refer merely to a church ceremony. He does not mean that a man cannot take part in a Christian rite today and a heathen festival tomorrow: That alas is too often done. His assertion is that we cannot make one and the same feast a table of the Lord and a table of demons; that one cannot drink his cup in communion with Christ and in communion with demons at the same time. And if we understand the command for a holy supper to be that each meal is to be eaten in remembrance of Christ, the food of the soul, and so in communion with him, we see that we cannot keep that command if we let evil enter the meal. If we allow our table to become a scene of quarreling, of gluttony, of lewd conversation, of godless revelry, we are communing with demons and so cannot be communing with Christ. But if we indeed make the loaf of each daily repast a remembrancer of Christ, the bread of heaven, then the daily table will be kept free from all evil, it will be a place of sacred thought, and we shall eat our meat in the "gladness" of a constant communing with our Lord.
It is from verse 16 of this chapter that to the breaking of bread has been given the name of "The Communion." In the original, however, and also the Revised Version, it is not the but a communion, one of the several forms of drawing near to Christ. It is but another survival of the doctrine of the Real Presence which is seen in the idea that the church meal is "the holy of holies of Christian worship, the highest and closest union the church can ever enjoy on earth with her heavenly head," and considers admission to the church table a more solemn thing than to permit one to unite with us in prayer or praise to the Lord.
Love to the Brethren
We now come to the familiar passage in 1 Corinthians 11. At Corinth as at Troas there is an agape or church meal. But Paul declares that they so conduct it that it is "not for the better but for the worse" and that though designed as such it cannot truly be considered "a supper of the Lord."
It is from a mistranslation in this clause that the term "The Lord's Supper" has come to be applied to the Breaking of Bread. This is the only passage in which occurs the term "supper", and as it is not preceded by the definite article it cannot be considered a specific appellative. Therefore, the rendering should be not "The Lord's Supper" but, "a supper of the Lord," that is, a repast eaten in the spirit of Christ.
Meyer's construction of the passage is, – "There does not take place an eating of a Lord's supper," that is, "a meal belonging to the Lord, consecrated to Christ." See also Cambridge Bible and the translation of the American Baptist Publication Society.
The article on the "Lord's Supper" in Blunt's Dictionary of Historical and Doctrinal Theology speaks of it as "a term originally belonging to the love feast" and adds,"It can scarcely be said to have been known as a name for the Eucharist in ancient times:" and again, "In early English whenever this name was used it was applied either to the Last Supper or to the marriage supper of the king in the parable." In 1530 the term Coena Domini is used in the Confession of Augsburg, which, and its adoption by Calvin, points perhaps to the origin of its popular use – this being declared "a novel and inexact use of the term."
Prof. H.G. Weston of Crozier Theological Seminary in his Ecclesiology says: – "The ordinance is not called 'The Lord's Supper' in the New Testament. In 1 Cor. 11:20 where the phrase occurs the apostle is not giving a proper name; if he were, the order of the Greek words would be different, deipnon (supper) cannot mean a morsel of food and a sip of wine."
The reason for the apostle's severe denunciation is given in verse 18, – and be it carefully noted that only one reason is given, namely, that there are "divisions" among them.
From early Christian writings we find that the ancient churches provided for their church meals much as we do for the church sociable and picnics of modern times, the well-to-do families bringing liberal gifts of provisions and those of limited means contributing according to their ability, while the poor were excused from bringing anything, but all was to be put into the common stock, so that poor and rich should share alike. It seems, however, that in the wealthy church at Corinth lines of division had been drawn so that the rich members sat apart by themselves with their sumptuous viands, leaving their poorer brethren not only hungry but also cruelly slighted.
The Cambridge Bible says: – "The divisions among the Corinthian Christians were of the kind we denominate sets in a small society, – cliques and coteries, which were the product not so much of theological as of social antagonism. Thus the members of the Corinthian Church were accustomed to share their provisions with members of their own 'set' to the exclusion of those who, having an inferior social position had fewer provisions or none to bring. Hence while one was only too well provided with food, another had none."
Dr. Charles Hodge says: – It is evident that agreeably to a familiar Grecian custom the person assembled brought their own provisions, which being placed on the table formed a common stock. It was however essential to the very idea of a Christian feast that it should be a communion, that all the guest at the table of their common Lord should be on terms of equality. Instead of this fraternal union, there were divisions among the Corinthians even at the Lord's table, the rich eating by themselves the provisions they had brought and leaving their brethren unsatisfied and hungry."
When thus they were guilty of "a cruel perversion of a feast of love into a means of humiliating and wounding the poorer brethren," what wonder that the apostle should declare that their meal was not "a supper of the Lord," a repast pervaded with Christlike love, – that it was not "for the better" as it might have been but "for the worse," an evil instead of a blessing, and that they might better have no church meal at all than such an unfraternal assembling!
To show how inconsistent their conduct was with that fellowship which should rule among those who profess to believe in the same Saviour, the apostle recounts the incidents of Christ's command to eat and drink in remembrance of him. He reminds them of what he had before "delivered," that on his very last night with the disciples the Lord pointed it out that the bread which sustains the body is a symbol of him, the support of the soul, and that the blood of the grape is an image of his shed blood, and that he then commanded that henceforth always in eating bread and drinking the fruit of the vine they should be reminded of him and his death for them. Now if the wealthy Corinthians in eating their rich feast had been by it put in memory of the more precious bread of heaven, and drinking their red wine had been reminded by it of Christ's redeeming blood, they would also have thought with tenderness of their poorer brethren, Christ's little ones, servants of the same Lord and partakers of the same salvation. Wherefore he bids them "tarry on for another," sharing their meal in love, remembering that all are one in Christ who died to save poor and rich alike.
There is lack of warrant for the common assertion that the meal at Corinth was marked by "excess." This idea has arisen entirely from the phrase, – "another is drunken." But this stands contrasted, not with – one is sober, but with – one is hungry. The word used is that in Jn. 2:10 – "When men have well drunk." This may mean – not, are intoxicated, – but, are satiated, are cloyed. Godet says; – "The word methuo, usually signified to be intoxicated, but it may also be applied to eating, in the sense in which we say, – to eat his fill, – and so to form a contrast, as in the case in this passage, to peinao, to be hungry." The passage might be construed as meaning merely, – another feasts, banquets, revels: the allusion being to the profusion placed before the sitter rather that to an immoderated participation therein. It is not in "another is drunken" but in the "one is hungry" that the gravamen of the apostle's charge is found; the wrong being not so much in the abundance enjoyed by the one as in the co-existence of that profusion with his neighbor's destitution. The banqueting of the rich is not the subject of an additional charge but merely an illustration of the original charge, that of unfraternal "divisions."
And furthermore, had there been actual drunkenness the apostle would certainly have alluded to it again in telling them how they should conduct their meal. He does not however charge them to drink less or eat less, but only to "wait one for another," to let all share alike. Surely, he did not intend that all should become intoxicated!
Nor can we understand that the apostle condemns them for having an actual meal as distinguished from a "make-believe" supper. If the scholars quoted in the previous pages were found to be correct in saying that the breaking of bread at Jerusalem, and at Troas, was an agape, an actual meal, should we be ready to say therefore that the disciples in those cities ate and drank damnation to themselves? Cannot one "discern the body" and remember the Lord in an actual supper? Will not the loaf and cup of a true meal "shew" or "proclaim" the Lord's death? Just how meager must a repast be in order that it be eaten "in remembrance?"
So far from intimating that there should have been served only a morsel of bread and one sip of wine each, which would have been no supper at all, the apostle's complaint is that the "hungry" brother (v. 21) was left hungry instead of being given a full satisfying meal. And again, the direction to "tarry one for another," that is to share their supper, would have no pertinence whatever if there was to be really no meal to share, nothing which a selfish person would be tempted to take "before other" for himself alone.
As to the passage, "If any man hunger, let him eat at home," it must be construed in connection with the arraignment in verse 21, – "one is hungry." Here is one who did "hunger," but does the apostle mean to censure this poor brother that he did not get his supper before coming? Does he not rather imply that this destitute saint ought to have found in the church gathering a good hearty meal such as his own poor dwelling would not afford? The meaning of the passage is simply this that if the rich man cares for nothing but feasting, if he has no desire for loving fellowship with his brethren, he had better feast at home, and not come to the church assembly to display his lack of fraternal spirit.
In like manner the question, "Have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?" is explained by the further inquiry whether they wish to "shame them that have not." Now, however costly the viands the rich members had brought they would not have shamed their poorer brethren had they cordially invited the latter to sit down with them and share this bountiful provision. The putting to shame was done, not in providing a rich feast but in eating that feast by himself "before," right in the presence of, their humbler brethren but leaving them out of it. And the apostle tells these wealthy members that if all they care for is to banquet with their rich friends they had better do it in their own elegant houses, where at least they will not be giving their poorer brethren the cut direct and thus insulting the church of God in its tenderest emotion through an insult to its "little ones."
The apostle says, (Rev. Vers.), – "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye proclaim the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore who soever shall eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he that eateth and drinketh eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself if he discern not the body."
The loaf and cup of their agape, an actual meal, served to "proclaim the Lord's death," and could be called the bread and cup "of the Lord," for the Lord himself had pointed out the symbol of himself which resided in every loaf and every cup. And in taking of them a man should "prove himself," searching with care whether he was indeed gathering from them the lesson they set before him.
By "the body" some understand the Church, which is Christ's body, membership in which makes honorable the humblest disciple. Those did not "discern the body" who deemed it a thing of no import that their poorer brethren were enrolled with them in the Church of Christ. And this is practically the meaning even though the direct reference be to Christ himself, for if we duly reverence Christ we shall honour all who have been exalted by salvation through him. He who despises Christ's little ones despises Christ whose glory they share. And when the rich Corinthians failed to have proper judgment of the honor due their poor brethren, they ate and drank judgment against themselves.
It is not eating and drinking unworthily to remember Christ in an actual meal; but to eat and drink with a wrong spirit. To "discern not the body": – this is not for one to see an image of Christ the bread of heaven in food taken to satisfy hunger as truly as in the loaf of ecclesiastical ceremony; it is to eat in a temper of mind which by sin against Christ reveals forgetfulness of him. It is not a mistake concerning the significance of a bit of ritual, but a wrong state of heart, on which condemnation is here pronounced. It was not ill-chosen forms, but an unchristly spirit, which aroused the apostles indignation.
The Corinthians ate and drank unworthily not in having a liberal repast but in neglect to share it with the poorer brethren. Says Chrysostom on this passage, – "For how can it be other than unworthily when one neglects the hungry and puts him to shame?" and, – "Thou hast tasted the blood of the Lord and not even then dost thou acknowledge thy brother. If even before this thou didst not know him thou oughtest to have recognized him at the table, but now thou dishonorest the table itself, for though thy poor brother has been deemed worthy a seat thereat thou judgest him not worthy of thy meat."
What the apostle condemns in the supper of the Corinthians is not an injudiciously bountiful bill of fare but a violation of the spirit of Christian love. Instead of being "a supper of the Lord," a kuriokon deipnon, a supper eaten in the spirit of Christ, it was a man's "own supper," idion deipnon, a supper eaten in the spirit of one's own selfishness. The blame is not for having a sumptuous repast but for not sharing it in love. The evil was not in the meal itself but in the spirit in which it was eaten.
We find then in this chapter not only that the church meal at Corinth was an actual repast but also that Paul sanctions this, and the only fault he had being that the "hungry" are not filled thereat. His concluding injunction, "Wherefore my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another," implies his approval of their continuing to have a liberal supper, provided only it be shared in true Christian fellowship.
To sum up: as we read the book of Acts and the Epistles, we find no church supper but the Agape. This was not a "ceremony," it was a true repast. Nowhere in scripture is it taught that the remembrance of Christ should be only in the simulacrum of a meal. Nor does the remembrance of Christ in a church supper imply that he could not be remembered also in the home meal, anymore than holding of a church prayer meeting implies that one should not pray by himself alone.
So far this discussion has been strictly Biblical. It has rigidly confined itself to the question, – What is the meaning of these passages of Scripture which refer to the breaking of bread? The conclusion reached has been that the modern ecclesiastical supper, the taking of a morsel of bread and one swallow of wine, directly and solely for memorial purposes, is not what Jesus instituted; that his command, his "Ordinance," was a remembrance of him in every meal.
But though it were made plain beyond question that the New Testament contains neither prescription nor precedent for the modern church supper, many would still be unable to divest themselves of the belief that what has been the usage for so long a time must certainly have come down from the Apostles. And the question will be asked, Do you really mean to say that the whole church has been in error for so many centuries?
But if we assert this our boldness will not be without precedent. The Baptists do not hesitate to declare that nearly the whole church fell into error regarding the subject of baptism; The Presbyterians affirm the same regarding orders of the ministry, the Congregationalists make the same assertion concerning church government, and the Seventh-Day Adventists do likewise in proclaiming Saturday, the seventh day, as the true Sabbath; and these, certainly, cannot declare it a thing incredible that there should have arisen in like manner the most wide spread error concerning the breaking of bread. Be it observed, moreover, that for nearly four centuries the "whole Church" has not held any one doctrine on this subject. The Roman Catholics have been taught one thing, the Lutherans another, and in the Reformed Churches still other views have prevailed. Each of these conflicting theories has been held by godly and learned men, which is saying also that each opinion in its turn has been condemned by men of deepest piety and profound crudition. When therefore the church doctors have thus nullified each others authority, we are at perfect liberty to form our own opinion, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit; indeed, their mutual condemnations have left us no resource whatever but to turn to the New Testament for ourselves, and take that view of its teachings which shall seem to us, by prayerful Divine guidance, the correct one.
And, by the way, the appeal in this matter to Church authority is not one which Evangelical Protestants can well make, for the only one of these conflicting doctrines which that authority would in any way seem to support the theory of transubstantiation, this being the only one which could make even the remotest claim to have been held semper et ubique.
That a usage is ancient does not prove that it was Apostolic. Even within a hundred years after the death of the Apostles we find in the churches ideas and practices which Evangelical Protestants will declare to be without Apostolic sanction. The conception of the Eucharist as a sacrifice is found early in the Second Century. As early as the days of Justin Martyr we see the elements in the church supper sent to absent members, and in the writings of Ignatius, Ireneus and Tertulian we find superstitious views concerning baptism, the memorial eating and other usages. Good men very soon began to mix error with Christian faith.
We have seen that the memorial eating in the Apostolic churches was an ordinary meal of Christian fellowship. The expression in the Didache (x), "Now after that ye are filled," would indicate that this was still the case in the Second Century. But there soon arose a superstitious confounding of symbol with substance, and there came to be a separation between the meal of fellowship or the "love feast" and the memorial eating and drinking, though the latter was still observed at the same sitting as the former, preceding or following it. In time the two were fully separated, and still later the love feast was wholly abandoned, the actual supper becoming entirely a thing of the past, and there remained only a fictitious eating and drinking. Thus the mere simulacrum of a meal which is all that is found in the modern church, even in ultra Protestant communions, is derived not from Apostolic usage but from ecclesiastical superstitions. The current conception of the proper form of eating in remembrance of Christ is as destitute of support in church history as in Scripture.
In the course of centuries the idea gained full currency that the declaration, – "This is my body," – meant that the loaf was Christ's body in constituent substance, becoming such when the priest pronounced these words of the Saviour. The dominance of this conception confirmed that change of the memorial eating into a purely ecclesiastical institution. If only that bread is Christ's body which becomes such under the hands of the priest, no man can eat the holy supper except a priest minister to him. The sacred meal may be served to a single person but only a priest can dispense it.
On the other hand the Evangelical Churches when they discarded the doctrine of the Real Presence should have discarded also the idea of sacerdotal ministration. If the loaf be Christ's body only in symbol, a layman can preside at the breaking of bread the same as at a prayer meeting, for any disciple is competent to declare that the bread and wine are emblems of Christ's body and blood, and to give thanks for them.
The Roman Catholic conception survives, however, even in ultra Protestant circles. The Westminster Confession recognizes only "ministers" as competent to "bless the elements," and give them to the people. And though Baptist and Seventh Day Adventist writers on church polity all say that a church could properly call on an elder, deacon or private member to preside at the breaking of bread, this in the United States at least, is seldom or never done; but a church will go for months without the memorial eating, if no "regularly ordained minister" is at hand to "officiate." Not even a licensed preacher and candidate for ordination will be allowed to act, but the good people will send miles away and bring some retired clergyman, a respectable old gentleman who has been for years engaged in school teaching or farming, and whose ordination like his vaccination must have run out long ago. This is akin to the superstition which still linger in many Protestant Churches, that only an "ordained minister" can "pronounce the benediction."
And is it not a lingering of the medieval idea that the bread on the Church table is Christ's actual body and must be approached with special awe, which makes the demand for a "preparatory lecture" to precede the memorial eating? Of course we should proceed thoughtfully in all religious acts and there could be no objection if the prayer meeting were opened with certain "preparatory" remarks. But the New Testament nowhere makes communion with Christ in the breaking of bread any more solemn an occasion than drawing near to him in prayer or praise or other Christian exercises. Coming directly from the morning and evening worship services, which included the confession of sin, when necessary, and thorough restitution and atonement, a disciple would already be "in the Spirit" and prepared for "a supper of the Lord."
Our inherited superstitions extend even to the utensils employed in the memorial eating. Preaching once in a little prairie church in Southern Illinois, and being called on to preside at the breaking of bread, I found on the table plates of common blue stoneware with ordinary glass tumblers, the wine being in a small pitcher from the every day table. I was shocked at such rustic informality. But on second thought I asked myself whether I had ever before seen a church table furnished so nearly like that of our Lord's Last Supper. For on that table in the "upper room" must have been merely the cups and plates of daily household use; and I felt ashamed that, pretending to know something of New Testament history, I had mentally demanded a special "flagon" and "chalice" such as the Saviour certainly did not use.
How shocked should we be if at a church sociable where there was a shortage of dishes some one should propose to bring out the "Communion Service!" But the cup the Lord used that solemn night was doubtless put on the breakfast table the next morning. Numberless are the legends of the Holy Grail, the cup of the Last Supper, which the old Knights roamed the wide world over to seek. But there can be little doubt what became of the holy grail. It was used in the home service the next day, and the next, and so on for years, till battered and broken it was cast away; and as it lay there on the rubbish heap its fragments were sacred not alone because it had been pressed by the hands of the Lord, but also in that it served a thousand times to slake the thirst of toil and to bear the cooling draught to the fevered lips of the sick and in a multitude of other ways to do God's work in the world, till angel's eyes could read upon it the "Holiness unto the Lord." The cup of the Last Supper was the cup of the daily meal, and we add not to its sanctity when we dissociate it from the sacred services of the home life. And we shall show a more intelligent understanding of that Last Supper as a whole if we strive to remember Christ in every meal, as he then bade his disciples do.
Very many are the mistaken conceptions which have grown up in the church in the course of the centuries, and it is difficult for us to get back to primitive views. As the shell long survives the death of the creature on which it grew, so erroneous ecclesiastical ideas and customs will remain in full force when the false doctrines in which they originated have been discarded for centuries. Even in ultra Evangelical circles there remains much of "Romanish" conception, and the medieval doctrine of the Real Presence still controls our procedure in the church meal. Though we claim that "the Bible alone is the religion of Protestants," the Agape, which is undeniably Apostolic, has no place in our church life, while the supper of ritual which is unknown to the New Testament and has no warrant except in ecclesiastical usage is regarded with an awe nearly if not quite superstitious.
As in Milton's description of the bringing forth of the beasts by the earth we see "the tawny lion, pawing to get free his hinder parts," so even the stoutest Protestantism needs to struggle and pull a little longer to disengage itself entirely from Roman Catholic ideas, which are nothing less than pagan ideas. The chief among these ideas is that select persons have been given a mystical power, or a delegated authority, to invested the bread and wine of the memorial eating and drinking with a degree of sanctity which differs them from others of like kind.
But what is the practical outcome of the doctrine of the preceding pages? – for it is by this alone that many will judge it. It may be answered most emphatically that there is nothing therein to which the most timid conservative can object.
It is merely proposed that a believer in Jesus sitting down to his daily bread shall pronounce a benediction in remembrance of Christ.
Certainly no one can object to such a "grace before meat." But do you not see that this is in substance the blessing, thanksgiving, for the bread in the church? We may say then with all boldness that the "giving of thanks" for the loaf in the church may and should be, for substance, the "blessing" for the daily meal, and the meditations in the mind of the one who devoutly eats in church should be in our minds as we eat our daily food. And if to the invalid his physician has prescribed the drinking of the fruit of the vine, which, still unfermented, the most temperate may drink, why may he not behold on it an image of Christ's shed blood, and drink it with the same thanks and thoughts that attend the drinking in the church meal? Who shall say that it is a profanation if in every meal one reminds himself of Christ and his death the same as in the church supper?
Let it be noted that it is not here in any way suggested that a church meal be less honored, but only that the home meal also be made sacred. There is no wish nor willingness to degrade a true church "supper of the Lord", but only to lift up the daily repast to an equal sacredness, to secure that the blessed thoughts which characterize the former shall pervade the latter also. It is not proposed to level down, but only to level up. Let a true church supper continue to be a holy occasion but let it not be the only sacred hour. Why should it not rather be considered a "model" meal and object lesson, setting forth the spirit in which every meal shall be eaten, a "rehearsal" in which we learn more fully how properly to eat each week day repast. And if it would not "degrade" the Sabbath did we seek to carry its spirit through the whole week how, pray, will it make the church meal less venerable if one resolves to make every breaking of bread as solemn, to give to every repast the sacredness which marks the supper in the church? Furthermore, what harm can come from recognizing that innate authority of every true believer to pronounce a heartfelt benediction in memory of Christ's sufferings and His return when partaking of their daily bread and wine, which is unreasonably presumed to be restricted to only certain ministers or priests (who are usually only men).
Some will urge that it is impossible to make the family meal so sacred an occasion for we often get to talking, say of politics, and disputing, and then are aroused angry feelings which banish all religious emotion. Now it is certainly true, as the apostle said, that "a table of demons" cannot be also "a table of the Lord" but happily there remains one solution of the difficulty, namely, to abstain from all unkind words and to admit to the family repast only those lovely emotions which are perfectly consistent with thoughts of Christ.
The objection may still be pressed under the modified form that it is allowable and often necessary that the conversation at the daily table shall be on topics altogether non-religious. But even when the mind is engaged with secular thoughts there may be in it a spiritual undertone. Take the emotion of gratitude for God's mercies: it is sincerely to be hoped that it does not entirely vanish from our minds with the last word of the "blessing." Through the talking and laughter of the Thanksgiving Dinner may there not remain in the mind a spirit of Praise to Him who has crowned the year with his goodness? Is it true that a Christian can eat their daily bread only in the purely secular spirit of heathen men and publicans? Why should not every meal be eaten not only in physical but also spiritual "gladness?"
The reformer Melancthon writes to a friend, – "There is not a day nor night for more than ten years that I have not meditated on the holy supper." Possibly some of his thoughts were only polemic, for there was then waged an exciting and even acrimonious controversy on this topic. But why should not a disciple of today be able to declare that "for more than ten years" he has not sat down to a meal, when in taking bread for the support of his body he has not thought of Christ the food of his soul?
Some one may suggest that the memorial eating would lose its sacredness and become an empty form if we sought to remember Christ in every meal. But this is the old argument of certain good Scotch Presbyterians against the having the "sacrament" oftener than once in three months. Now would Christ's resurrection be celebrated more solemnly if we strove to remember it not so often as once a week but only in an annual Easter or Passover? Should we be more devout in family prayer if we observe it but fortnightly, or in "grace before meat," if it was said only once a month? Would it be better to "consider the lilies" only at rare intervals? May it not be in religion, as in other things, that which is done oftenest will be done easiest?
The question is this, – May we not have substantially the same thoughts in the daily meal that we have in the Church Supper? And should we not? Unless a man says that we ought not to try to remember Christ in every meal he cannot object to the practical side of the doctrine of the foregoing pages.
"Is not this the carpenter?" said the men of Nazareth; – "this young man whose family we all know, can he be the great Messiah?" And so asks some one, – "Can the daily meal be eaten in remembrance of Christ?" But blessed is that disciple who is not "offended" at the fact that with the leaven and the mustard seed and the salt and the hen, lowly objects of every day life, Jesus has made the homely fare on the cottage board a symbol of the loftiest divine realities.
The Church Supper
The only name the New Testament gives to the sacred eating is the Jewish designation of the daily meal, namely, "the breaking of bread." As the Greeks called a supper, a symposium or a drinking together, the eating being implied, so the Jews called it a breaking of bread, the drinking being understood. But when the disciples "came together to break bread" we understand that it was not merely to eat together in friendship but also to remember Christ in so doing. Therefore a proper announcement of the church supper will be that the church will assemble for "the breaking of bread in remembrance of Christ;" or still better, – "The Remembrance of Christ in Breaking of Bread." Let the spiritual exercise rather than the physical act be made prominent in the designation.
And since no change is to be wrought by priestly manipulation in the bread and wine on the church table, since all that needs doing is to recognize that these, like the loaf and cup of the daily meal, are symbols of spiritual things, and to give thanks that they are blessed from the Creator not only for the support of the body but for their memorial character also, it is no more necessary that a particular ecclesiastical official preside at the church meal than that such a one be brought to "say grace" at the home table. Nor need it be thought that only a "deacon" can distribute this bread and wine. Whoever can properly "give thanks" and pass the food at the home table can do so in the church meal.
Very early in the Church arose the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. It was held that one was "christened" or made a Christian, was brought into the spiritual life, in baptism and only in baptism; and then, since only those who posses the spiritual life can commune with Christ, it was declared that none but baptized persons could be admitted to the church table.
In that very ancient writing, the Didache, (ch. 9) we read, – "But let no one eat of your eucharist except those baptized into the name of the Lord, for concerning this the Lord hath said, – Give not that which is holy to the dogs." Here is the first enunciation of "closed communion," and the reason for it is plainly stated, namely, that a person not yet baptized is not spiritually fitted for the sacred eating. For fifteen centuries no other ground was pleaded for demanding baptism before the supper. Any medieval theologians would have given this reason alone for the rule. And the case is the same in nine-tenths of Christendom at the present time, for any Greek, Roman, Lutheran or Anglican authority of today will take the same position in denying the holy supper to the unbaptized.
Evangelical Protestants, however, who have renounced the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, ought logically to renounce also the closed communion rule which flowed from that idea. But usages will long survive the doctrines which gave them rise, and so today the Presbyterian Church celebrating the "sacrament" would not invite to the table a new convert still awaiting baptism. And as sheep following those going before them, Baptists also have unthinkingly adopted the course of the Roman Catholics, and they also stoutly declare that baptism is an "essential prerequisite" to the church meal. For Roman Catholics and for "high church" Protestants holding the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, it is logical to hold to closed communion, but the Baptists have always declared that a man is "christened" by faith alone entirely apart from baptism, and so Baptists have no ground for withholding the Supper till after baptism.
It is urged that the Commission puts the "baptizing them" before the "teaching them to observe all things." But no pastor would hesitate to teach an unbaptized convert to hold family prayer nor to do any other Christian act, unless it be to eat "in remembrance." And now by what exegetical sleight of hand can the "all things" be narrowed down to this one thing, so that though a disciple still unbaptized may be taught to join us in every other Christian exercise he must not be welcomed to unite with us in breaking bread in remembrance of Christ?
He who accepts the Baptist principle cannot say that baptism is a prerequisite to the memorial eating as faith is to baptism. If, as the Baptists hold, regeneration is not wrought, but only symbolized, in baptism, then to baptize one who is not yet regenerated is an unreasonable act, an unmeaning rite. But if one be regenerated before baptism, then he, though still unbaptized, can make a "remembrance" of Christ as genuine as that of his baptized brother, and it is not an unmeaning and unreasonable act for him to eat bread and drink wine to assist such remembrance.
What is the object of the church supper? It is to aid us in our remembrance of Christ. But ought not our unbaptized brother also to remember the Saviour? We have already noted the statement that the Supper is "a symbol of the soul's feeding on Christ" and now let us ask, concerning the disciple still unbaptized, whether it be not proper for his soul also to feed on Christ; and if this be proper who can object to the outward symbolizing of his spiritual act? Why cannot one remember Christ in the breaking of Bread just as truly, as reasonably and as profitably before baptism as after? But if it be proper for the unbaptized disciple to remember Christ and also to assist his remembrance by a breaking of bread, why should we not invite him to unite with us in the church when we are doing the same thing?
If as we were sitting down to a week day meal with a convert not yet baptized he should say, – "Lo, this bread which sustains our mortal bodies is a symbol of Christ the bread of heaven, and now as we eat this material food let us think of Christ the heavenly manna," would it be incumbent on us to refuse to go on with the repast? But if we can unite with an unbaptized person in remembering Christ in the home meal, why may we not welcome him to remember the Lord with us at the church table?
If an unbaptized person said, "Let us sit down together and think of Christ," we might be willing so to do. Should he point to a picture of the crucifixion saying, – "Let us gaze at that picture on the wall that it may help us to think of Him," we might not object. If he drew from his pocket a crucifix saying, – "let us look on this that it may assist our thoughts," even a rigid Protestant might still consent. And now if he said, – "To remind ourselves of Christ, the bread of heaven, let us eat a piece of material bread, and to remind us of his shed blood let us drink of this red juice of the grape," why should we at last refuse? If we are willing to join with an unbaptized person in remembering Christ, why should we not consent to join with him in any reasonable act that will assist such remembrance?
What is the "Ordinance" of Christ? It is a Remembrance of him. The breaking of bread is simply a means thereto; it is the Remembrance itself that is the end, the essential thing. But ecclesiastical legalists have squarely reversed the divine idea. Says one party, – "We will cheerfully remember Christ with you, but we positively will not do it in the breaking of bread." The other party responds, – "We care not a fig for your remembering Christ with us so long as you will not do it in the breaking of bread." Each party makes the outward act, the means, more important than the spiritual exercise which is the end.
It is an Ordinance of Christ that we commune with him in the breaking of bread. It is another Ordinance of his that we commune with him in prayer, and still another that we commune with him in praise. Now we find nowhere in Scripture or in common sense any "terms of communion" in the breaking of bread beyond what may be called for in a communion with Christ and our fellow disciples in prayer or the service of praise. The invitation to the memorial eating may be as wide as the welcome to join us in any other Christian exercise.
Therefore as the minister may say, – "We are about to engage in prayer in the name of Christ and we urge all present to unite with us therein," or, – "We are now about to sing a hymn of praise to Christ and all who will devoutly join with us are invited so to do," so let him say, – We are now about to engage in a remembrance of Christ through the breaking of bread, and all who would find a pleasure in so doing are joyfully welcome to join us therein." Whether the unbaptized disciple be a member of the Society of Friends, rejecting all water baptism, or an accepted candidate for baptism still awaiting the rite, or some pious but misguided brother who has taken up with a pseudo – baptism in the place of the New Testament ceremony, he is as capable of a true "remembrance" of Christ as we are, and we may properly ask him to join us in such remembrance.
Keeping in mind that the expressed purpose of the memorial thanksgiving, eating and drinking is that "as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come," the practice of having a "closed communion" of a mere symbolical eating, or even a real meal restricted only to a "church" setting, would deprive the world of one of the church's greatest missionary testimonials. While it is needful for Christ's disciples to keep the memory of His suffering and of His return fresh among themselves, it was never Christ's intention to deprive those in the world whom the church comes in contact with of the uplifting testimony borne in the memorial thanksgivings, eating, and drinking.
"But " asks someone – "will all the churches accept the foregoing doctrine, which is so different from their present ideas?" Certainly not.
If those who are in the wrong on the doctrine of the Real Presence there were to read an essay showing them most conclusively their error, would they all at once abandon it? If those who are astray in the matter of the act and subjects of Baptism there were presented a treatise making it plain from Scripture and history and reason how entirely they are mistaken, would they instantly and as one man change their practice? Nay, established conceptions are not so easily uprooted. Macaulay has remarked that no Catholic nation becomes Protestant and no Protestant country becomes Catholic. So, even with all the tracts and volumes written, no Baptist Church becomes Presbyterian nor Presbyterian, Baptist; no Episcopalian Church becomes Congregational and no Congregational Church, Episcopalian. We may think that we ourselves always follow pure reason, but we see plainly that our fellow men are influenced very little by argument as compared with hereditary predisposition, habitual training, and personal prejudice. Therefore, though every unbiased reader declared the argument in the forgoing pages as conclusive as a demonstration in Euclid, one could not expect it to have any very great effect. Nevertheless, argument is not always entirely thrown away; wherefore, if the reasoning in the preceding pages be indeed sound, it may give to here and there a disciple, and even to many a one, some suggestion which will return to his mind again and again, and which will serve to make for him his daily table "a table of the Lord."
by Norman Fox
Though the only conclusion our brother Norman could come to in 1898 was that maybe a believer here or there would find comfort in beholding Christ in the daily meal, we now over one hundred years later have reason to be more optimistic. Today, people everywhere are more interested in their daily lifestyle, both spiritually and physically. They are seeking for practical Christianity to keep their experience "fresh." The fact that the fall of man came by an unholy eating in the Garden of Eden, should lead all to the realization of their need to have Christ fresh in their memories during their meals. And this very thing was the Lord's intention by commanding Israel thusly, "When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee." Deuteronomy 8:10. Read verses 11-20 to see the reason why this command was given. This command was not restricted to any particular meal, it included breakfast as well as supper. What is of particular note here, in connection with the foregoing study, is that the Israelites were already pronouncing a benediction to the Lord in their regular meals, and thus Jesus was just introducing a closer, even more personal aspect to their divinely ordained custom. He was bringing His own intercessory life to their minds. This spiritual aspect of meals brings with it a means of temperance in eating which may not be had elsewise. For a more information on the other aspect of these matters, see Part 3 of this study, subtitled, "The I'm Being Religious About Eating Diet."
The "sop" that was "dipped"
"Verily, Verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me… He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot… He then having received the sop went immediately out…" John 13:21, 25, 26, 30.
"From the sacramental supper he went out…" The Desire of Ages, p. 655.
Luke 22:19-24 places the inquiry as to who was the betrayer after the time of institution of the memorial. The other three Gospels place the inquiry and answer at and after the memorial eating. A close examination of all the Gospels makes this clear. Most scholars agree with this; that he left right after the institution of the memorial. And as this proves to be true, then that means that it was the "communion" bread that was dipped into the dish and handed to Judas. This was also a part of the Passover meal; for the leader of the meal, after giving thanks, to break a loaf of bread, dip a piece into the dish, and hand it to an honored guest.
"Christ is still at the table on which the paschal supper has been spread… " The Desire of Ages, p. 653.
Though we are to understand that this is figurative, for the picture to be accurate, Christ would be reclining in leisure, leaning on one arm on a couch around the table, and the bread He would be breaking and distributing would be dipped into a dish and then eaten. How many today can separate themselves from the man-made custom of kneeling at the table where Christ is reclining; or would be able to take the bread eaten in memory of Christ, dip it into a dish, and eat it as food for the body, as did Jesus and his disciples. Yet this is precisely what He is calling His people to do – return to the love and fellowship of the early Church as seen in Acts 2:42-47.
"As we receive the bread and wine symbolizing Christ's broken body and spilled blood, we in imagination join in the scene of Communion in the upper chamber." The Desire of Ages, p. 661.
"The light shining from that Communion service in the upper chamber makes sacred the provisions for our daily life. The family board becomes as the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament." The Desire of Ages, p. 660.
"I saw jets of light shining from cities and villages, and from the high places and the low places of the earth. God's word was obeyed, and as a result there were memorials for Him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world [in a "loud cry" – Revelation 18]." Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 28-9.
"...the ordinance of the Lord's Supper was instituted as a memorial of the same event of which the Passover was a type." Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 539. Suppers of the Lord, in the truth and power of the Spirit, in every city and village. Ezekiel 47:9.
It is well said that the "breaking of bread" is the duty of Christ's ministers, and this is true. Who actually is a "minister," and where this should take place are the questions we are considering.
"Having received their commission from God and having the approbation of the church, they [Christ's disciples] went forth baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and administering the ordinances of the Lord's house, often waiting upon the saints by presenting them the emblems of the broken body and spilt blood of the crucified Saviour, to keep fresh in the memory of God's beloved children His sufferings and death." Early Writings, p. 101.
We have clearly seen that, historically and Biblically, the "often waiting upon the saints by presenting them the emblems..." was a daily occurrence. This being the case, we are left with but two choices of understanding what was really taking place, and what truly is our apostolic example.
The first, and probably the most common, is that those who had hands laid upon them went forth acting in a priestly capacity, performing the "sacrament" for others, who could not do it themselves unless an appointed one was present. This practice is done daily in the Catholic church, except on the Sabbath* (Saturday), in some places. This practice is also followed in varying degrees in most Protestant churches.
The second way of looking at the matter, and actually the truth of it, is that they were going around establishing the kingdom of heaven in the homes of the new disciples; teaching them, by example, how to "keep fresh" in their memories the sacrifice and second coming of their Saviour. They were establishing "memorials for Him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world." Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 28-9. The "feast" of the congregation on Sabbath is the crown of all the daily "feasts."
[*Note: The custom of abstaining from "the Lord's Supper," "Communion," on Saturday has its origins in the practices of the Egyptians and Romans long before the time of Christ, yea, even as far back as Babylon. This stems from the fact that the Sabbath – the seventh day, Saturday – is called by the Lord a "feast day" (Leviticus 23:1-3). Those who were antagonistic to the law of God would purposely fast on Saturday. So those who brought their feast day (Sunday) into the Christian congregation also brought their practice of defiling the Sabbath by fasting and making it a burden. They will not partake of "a supper of the Lord," a holy "feast," on the Sabbath, as it is written.]
The following is from a Biblical study on the Ministry appearing in the Adventist Review, NAD Edition, March 7, 1991, pgs. 14 & 15.
"An Inclusive Ministry"
by Doug Morgan
"The New Testament indeed contains a strong theological mandate for this principle of every-member participation in ministry. It is a mandate so strong that it challenges us to apply the principle to the life of the church as a whole, not just to the particular aspect labeled evangelism or soul winning....
"Like a Living Body
"In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul says that the Holy Spirit, into whom every member (regardless of race, social status, or gender [see Gal. 3:28]) is baptized, grants diverse gifts to each member of the body. These gifts – which range from prophecy, teaching, and tongues-speaking to healing, helping, and administrating – are all equally Spirit-given and equally indispensable. And all are ministry. Paul doesn't even hint that there is one order of gifts for prophets and teachers and another order, less sacred, and thus inferior, for healing and helping....
"Whether we speak or render service, we are all stewards of God's grace. We are all ministers.
"This letter also brings out the new conception of priesthood that the gospel entails. No longer is the priesthood a special class of men endowed with sacred powers not possessed by the rest of the community. Rather, all those who come to Christ (see 1 Peter 2:4) constitute a "holy priesthood" offering "spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (verse 5, RSV).
"As Dr. Gottfried Oosterwal pointed out years ago, the distinction we make between laity and clergy is foreign to the New Testament: 'By virtue of their baptism, in principle, all members participate alike in the apostolic succession (authority, in the priesthood), in the ministry, in the worship, in the mission, and in the charasmata (gifts) of the church.' The laity is the entire people of God, and every member of the laity is also a minister.
"What might happen if we were to renew our focus on and commitment to the New Testament conception of ministry as shared by the entire community of the faithful?
"Jolted From Lethargy
"For one thing, it would deepen and more firmly ground congregational spiritual life. Conviction that the Holy Spirit calls, inspires, and empowers each of us to specific ministerial functions would jolt us from our lethargy and enliven us to our task. Our lives and actions would take on heightened significance, a significance based, not on our abilities and achievements, but on our full share in privileges, responsibilities, and destiny of our "royal priesthood" (verse 9)....
"Every baptized Christian is a minister. And when we see ourselves as such, the work of God becomes our work. Whether we are paid or unpaid for it, whether we work at it four hours a week or 40, we are all ministers in the great cause of making known the good news of God's kingdom of justice and peace.
"Prescription for Chaos?
"At first glance it may appear that the understanding of ministry I am advocating is impractical and would result in chaos. If all members are ministers, are none to be looked to for leadership? Are none to be educated and paid to spend most of their time fulfilling certain ministerial functions?
"The answer to both questions is no. Leadership is one aspect of ministry. But administrating is no more or no less ministry than is helping. Under the guidance of the Spirit, the church may decide that certain ministerial functions require particular training or should be carried out full-time by salaried individuals. But this should not create a qualitatively distinct class of ministers with a special spiritual status not shared by all other members in their capacity as ministers in their own right.
"When ministry is seen as something shared by everyone, it becomes more effective and less frustrating to those involved. For we are freed from the unrealistic expectation that one person in the congregation, namely the pastor, is equipped to meet the full range of ministerial needs of the congregation....
"A Biblical People
"Obviously, the concept of inclusive ministry challenges the deeply entrenched notion that there is or should be a clerical caste, and this concept implies changes in the way church life is structured and administered. My purpose is not to detail the specific implications of the spiritual passages to which I've referred. But these passages do suggest a correlation between the participation of all members in ministry and the power and authenticity of the church in its communal life and its witness to the world. If we value our commitment to being biblical people above doing things the way they've always been done, then we must allow these passages to make us flexible and open to change.
"The concept of inclusive ministry would give us a new perspective on the openness of this calling to all believers. The ordained gospel ministry does not constitute a special class set apart from the rest of the people of God. It does not posses sacral prerogatives and authority not shared by other members of the church.
"It is true that some New Testament passages do speak of bishops, or presiding elders or overseers (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:7-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4), but there is no solid reason for viewing this leadership role as set apart from or above other ministerial roles within the 'holy priesthood' that comprises all believers. The difference between an overseer and the other believers is not (sacrally) qualitative but functional – related to the exercise of differing gifts.
"Ordained to Work ...
"Our commitment to being God's faithful people, proclaimers of His kingdom, calls us to consider anew the apostolic vision of inclusive ministry, and to order the life of our community accordingly."
Heaven in our Homes
"Every family in the home life should be a church, a beautiful symbol of the church of God in heaven." Child Guidance, p. 480
"The daily acts of life tell the measure and mold of our disposition and character…
"That which will make the character lovely in the home is that which will make it lovely in the heavenly mansions. The measure of your Christianity is gauged by the character of your home life. The grace of Christ enables its possessors to make the home a happy place, full of peace and rest. Unless you have the Spirit of Christ, you are none of His, and will never see the redeemed saints in His kingdom, who are to be one with Him in the heaven of bliss. God desires you to consecrate yourself wholly to Him and represent His character in the home circle.
"The work of sanctification begins in the home. Those who are Christians in the home will be Christians in the church and in the world. There are many who do not grow in grace because they fail of cultivating home religion." id. 481
We have been told that the performance of the duties of footwashing and partaking of the "Lord's Supper" "will keep the people of God humble and from backsliding." Yet, this very means, which brings to us the presence of the Holy Spirit for our sanctification, and which gives evidence of "the daily consecration" of God's people, and shows forth the Lord's death and second coming, is pushed off into a corner as a secondary need of the church, to be done as often as men may judge (which is taking the command out of its historical context), and men go around devising their own ways and means of "receiving the Spirit," establishing their own righteousness.
The Catholics have never really tried to downplay the importance of the position of "The Lord's Supper" daily. The things which they have altered are: the truth of Christ's work in the heavenly sanctuary at these times; who are the true "priests" that are to "officiate" in the ordinance; and the importance of the whole congregation's daily participation because of the Holy Spirit's presence and work upon us at these times. Basically, they leave it to their "priests" to show forth Christ in the breaking of bread in their stead, and feel satisfied with the mistaken belief that they don't have this privilege, and, therefore, no responsibility of their own in this matter other than joining in with the priests at least once a year. Of course, the vast majority of Protestants stand under the same condemnation, but as their customs generally stem from the traditions of the Catholics, it is their customs which are foremost in this discussion. Let's see what they teach concerning "the daily" – worship and "a supper of the Lord," or, more accurately, that which "supplanted" it, the clever counterfeit, "the abomination that maketh desolate" – the Mass:
"The Mass is also a sacred meal. Primitive Christianity knew but two names for the Mass, both pointing up its meal character. St. Paul calls it the Lord's Supper (1 Cor 11:20), while in the Acts of the Apostles it is referred to as the 'breaking of bread' (2:42)." The New Catholic Encyclopedia, pg. 415.
"Just like all sacramental signs, the meal ritual of the Mass is indeed symbolic; it is the SIGN of friendship and love. By means of a meal two or more people manifest their desire to unite their lives as they share sustenance. This symbolism has been utilized by all religions. Among the Semites the sacred meal was of paramount importance, IN FACT THE ORIGINAL FORM OF WORSHIP. It was their way of establishing a bond between themselves and God; after acknowledging the victim belonged to God by means of an offering, they sat down at table to partake of the victim....For the Hebrews, sacrifice was almost synonymous with eating and drinking before Yahweh. The Passover meal was the most important of all such communion-sacrifices." ibid. pg. 416.
Actually the first sacrifices (symbols of Christ), which were burnt offerings, were not eaten, but were wholly consumed by fire from heaven, but the original form of worship was in the cool of the day when God came, personally, to fellowship with Adam and Eve. Were they also having a "love-feast" at these times, as did Abraham and Sarah when God visited them (Gen. 18), or as the saints will at the "marriage supper of the Lamb" (Rev. 19:7-9)?
"The Mass is the family meal of God's Children....
"The family of the Christian Church is created here; no Christian who understands what takes place in this sacred assembly of God's people can withdraw into an isolated world of individualism." ibid.
Remember, a counterfeit must be a very close representation of the true so as to pass for it and usurp its rightful place. While the "meal ritual" of the Mass is wholly "symbolic" (not providing any actual sustenance to the partakers thereof), the Apostolic practice of "breaking bread" in actual meals carries not only the memorial and symbolic qualities which Christ ordained, but has also the practical aspect which He provided in every example he gave in Himself breaking bread – that is, the feeding of the complete person, body and spirit.
"At the family board and the family altar the guests are made welcome. The season of prayer makes its impression on those who receive entertainment, and even one visit may mean the saving of a soul from death. For this work the Lord makes a reckoning, saying: 'I will repay.'…"We are 'to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.' 2 Corinthians 1:4" Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 47-8.
Is it not the cross of Christ and His second coming by which we are "comforted" – by the Spirit keeping these things "fresh" in our minds, or memories? If we were to visit the homes of the apostles or the early disciples we would have been privileged to have Christ made "known" unto us "in the breaking of bread." Luke 24:35.
"Ordained to work," indeed, but what is the work, and whose work is it that is being done? We are living in the dispensation of the Holy Spirit. All of the gifts given are for the work of the Holy Spirit in the earth. It is the Holy Spirit that reveals all truth and gives the power of conviction. From the first animals ever sacrificed, to the last loaf of bread and cup partaken in remembrance of the Saviour, it has been the work of the Holy Spirit to bring to the hearts of all the sacrifice of Christ for the redemption of the fallen race and the final eradication of sin from the universe. It is through types and symbols, law and testimony that the Holy Spirit does this work – through the holy angels of God working through the lives of those who are responding to the calling of the comforting message of salvation that the Holy Spirit has been proclaiming since the time of that first unholy eating in Eden.
All that God has ever required of His people, in any age, was to faithfully show forth the plan of salvation by daily participation in specified deeds and thoughts so that the Holy Spirit's work may be accomplished daily. For more on this aspect, please see our study Noah, Daniel, and Job. The daily life of God's people was so important to the plan of salvation that the Spirit prophesied through Daniel of the time that would come when "the daily" would be "taken away," and replaced by "the abomination that maketh desolate."
"The Scriptural Ordinance of The Lord's Supper had been supplanted by the idolatrous sacrifice of the mass." The Story of Redemption, p. 334.
The Spirit also spoke of the "cleansing of the sanctuary" which would include the restoration of the true "daily." As to what is meant by "the daily," a simple look at the Scriptures and the unfolding of history (the "book written within and on the backside," Revelation 5:1), through type and anti-type, and with the guidance of the Spirit of Prophecy we may behold
The daily – ha tamid (Hebrew), translated – always, continually, perpetual, daily. The first occurrence of tamid without the article ha (the) is found in Exodus 25:30, "And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me always." The first occurrence of ha tamid is in Numbers 4:7, "And upon the table of shewbread they shall spread a cloth of blue, and put thereon the dishes, and the spoons, and the bowls and the covers to cover withal: and the continual bread shall be thereupon." Another important occurrence is in Exodus 29:38, where tamid is used in conjunction with yome (day by day), "Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day [yome] continually [tamid]."
This word, tamid, has been translated by the Jews into Greek in the Septuagint as diapantos, and appears in the New Testament being translated into English, as alway(s) and continually. Its first appearance in a religious setting is in Luke 24:53, "And [they] were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen." Then in Acts 10:2 where it is said of Cornelius that he "feared God with all his house,…gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always." And again in Hebrews 9:6 we see "the priest went always into the first tabernacle, to accomplish the service of God." And Hebrews 13:15 says "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name."
We can see that the meaning of these words is the same in regards to worship and the plan of salvation in the Old and New Testaments. And this we should find; for all that was done in type in connection with the earthly sanctuary is being fulfilled in anti-type (in reality) in connection with the heavenly. This includes the eating of the offerings by the priests, and the eating of the peace and thanksgiving offerings by the congregation; all of which was done in the court of the holy place, where the washing of the priests, the confession of sin, the presentation of offerings and sacrifices, and the daily burnt offerings took place twice a day, at the appointed times – the third and ninth hours.
Now, since all of the Old Covenant sanctuary types and symbols were prophetic of the New Covenant sanctuary in heaven, "and what was done in type in the ministration of the earthly sanctuary is done in reality in the ministration of the heavenly sanctuary" (The Great Controversy, p. 420), and as the "court" of the heavenly sanctuary extends to Earth, let us look at the "daily," the plan of salvation, in type and antitype.
The Gospel (Tamid) in Types and Antitypes
T – The congregation to bring pure beaten olive oil to keep the light of the lamp in the sanctuary burning always. (Exodus 27:20).
A – The fresh oil represents the Holy Spirit – in Word and power, which comes from an olive tree (symbolical of Jesus – the Word of God, and the Bible), which keeps the light (the Gospel) of the lamp (the church) always burning, and which must be beaten out to be used – "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." Proverbs 25:2.
T – The High Priest to "bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth into the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually ... and ... shall bear the judgment ... upon his heart before the Lord continually." (Exodus 28:29,30).
A – Christ continually bears the names of those who are His on the tables of His heart, and the judgment in the "Lamb's book of life." (Revelation 21:27).
T – The High Priest to wear always a gold plate engraved with "Holiness unto the Lord" attached by a blue ribbon on the forefront of the mitre on his forehead that he may bear the iniquity of the holy gifts offered, to make them acceptable. (Exodus 28:38).
A – Jesus always knew that His sacrifice, His holy life, must be without blemish, that by His intercession our offerings may be acceptable. This was always foremost in His mind.
T – Two lambs offered, by fire, "day by day continually, " along with the meal and drink offerings, at the door of the tabernacle, where the promise "I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory," was fulfilled (Exodus 29:38-46).
A – Morning and evening worship continually – prayer praise, study, and beholding the cross of Christ for our sanctification, by the Spirit. In the type, the blood of this offering does not go into the Sanctuary but was poured out around the base of the altar of burnt offering in the court; in the antitype, the life of Christ is poured out here, around the place where the daily consecration of the followers of the Lamb takes place. Speaking of the kingdom, Jesus said, "Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered." Luke 17:37. See also, Job 39:30.
T – The burning of the perpetual sweet incense at the time of the dressing of the lamps (Exodus 30:7-9).
A – The perpetual prayers of Christ and the Holy Ghost for the penitent truly are sweet, as are those of the penitent themselves. "Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice" Psalms 141:2. David saw in the typical service that which symbolized the true faith which has saved people in all times – prayers ascending to heaven by the means of fire, the Holy Spirit.
T – The fire on the altar "shall ever be burning ... it shall never go out" that it may consume the fat of peace offerings, and the flour, oil, and frankincense of the meal offering that they may be a sweet savour and memorial unto the Lord. This was done in conjunction with the priest and his sons eating the remainder of the sin and trespass offerings, with unleavened bread, in the court of the tabernacle morning and evening at the time of worship as part of the daily intercession (Leviticus 6:8-16).
A – Though it is God that sends the fire from heaven (gives the Holy Spirit), it is the people who are to ever supply the wood to keep the fire burning – "The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith." (Romans 1:17). The lives of the trees (leaders) are given to supply fuel to keep the fire going.
T – The daily meal offering (Numbers 4:16).
A – The intercession of Christ as the Bread of life in the Word, provided daily for our redemption. As the meal offerings were always accompanied by a drink offering, so the daily blessings of studying God's Word are accompanied by the intercession of the Holy Ghost imparting the Holy Spirit.
T – The cloud by day and fire by night always covering the tabernacle where it abode. When the cloud rested on the tabernacle, the children of Israel rested from their journey. When the cloud rose up from the tabernacle and moved elsewhere, the children of Israel also rose up from their abodes and moved to where the cloud rested. (Numbers 9:16-23).
A – God's guidance and protection, always clearly seen by all – the Spirit of Prophecy, the Testimony of Jesus (Rev. 19:10). When God wants His people to move from where they are to elsewhere, He does so by signifying such through the visible evidence of His Presence, the gift of prophecy. "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." Amos 3:7.
T – The eyes of the Lord always upon the land he careth for (Deuteronomy 11:12).
A – The prophets (the Lord's seers, eyes) who lead His people, pray always, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven."
T – Eating bread at the king's table continually (2 Samuel 9:7).
A – Feeding on, and with Christ continually, in the high places – antitypical Mt. Zion, the place of the King's table.
T – Happy are the men, servants, that stand continually before Solomon and hear his wisdom (1 Kings 10:8).
A – Happy are the "bondservants" of Christ, the Son of David who builds the temple, "the man whose name is the Branch" (Zechariah 6:12), as they continually stand before Him and hear His wisdom – the Holy Ghost (Proverbs 8).
T – Holy men of God passing by continually awaiting an invitation to enter and bless the home (2 Kings 4:9).
A – The holy angels of God continually knock at the doors, that they may enter and bring Christ's blessings and Presence with them. Also, God's prophets and ministers going about their appointed duties.
T – The Priests with psaltries, harps, cymbals, and trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God to record, thank, and praise the Lord God of Israel (1 Chronicles 16:6).
A – The saints in their music ministry continually bringing forth new songs because every day there is something new to record, thank, and praise God for. (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16).
T – Seek the Lord, his strength, and face continually (1 Chronicles 16:11).
A – The presence and power of God is continually found by those who obey. (Acts 5:32).
T – The ministers before the ark continually as every days work required (1 Chronicles 16:37).
A – "God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues" (1 Corinthians 12:28).
T – Having the Lord always before us at our right hand for strength and gladness (Psalms 16:8,9).
A – The presence of the Holy Ghost (the Shekinah) is always truly a source of strength and rejoicing.
T – Having our eyes ever towards the Lord for deliverance from trouble (Psalms 25:15).
A – Both as individuals, and as a body, ever seeing the Lord before us and following Him will always lead to a way of deliverance from trouble within and without. We look to the Lord for guidance and deliverance from trouble through the active gift of prophecy – the eyes of the Church.
T – "Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant." (Psalms 35:27).
A – "From the uttermost parts of the earth we have heard songs, even glory to the righteous." (Isaiah 24:16). Those who approve of the works of righteousness wrought through God's servants in the earth are admonished to not be silent about the cause of such, the Lord, but rather let them continually magnify His righteousness and His workings. "Jesus said unto him, ... he that is not against us is for us." Luke 9:50.
T – Prayer for the Lord's tender mercies, loving-kindness and truth to continually preserve us that we may say continually, The Lord be magnified (Ps. 40:11,16).
A – Light, power, sweet love, peace, joy, and rest of the Gospel of salvation by which we are continually preserved – the cause for continually rejoicing in the Lord.
By all this we can see that the "daily," tamid, includes much more than the sacrifices, and that there are duties for the lesser priests (the sons of Aaron [Christ], the High Priest) in the "court" of the sanctuary. Thus also we see that the "daily" which was "taken away" and replaced by the "abomination which maketh desolate" involved much more than the Sabbath, but included the many things which make the Sabbath, and every day, holy unto the Lord. The term "daily" (the continual, perpetual) includes all of the daily practices of the Gospel which center around the sacrifice of Christ. It was these things which found their fullest expression in "a supper of the Lord," and which were corrupted and taken away when the Mass supplanted that life-sustaining sacrament, and it is these very same things which are being brought back from the altar to the table.
And to the Testimony
"Not only the sanctuary itself, but the ministration of the priests, was to 'serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.'…The daily service was performed at the altar of burnt-offering in the court of the tabernacle, and in the holy place;…
"The daily service consisted of the morning and evening [at the third and ninth hours] burnt offering [with its accompanying meal and drink offerings], the offering of sweet incense on the golden altar, and the special offerings for individual sins [only when necessary]…
"Each morning and evening a lamb of a year old was burned upon the altar, with its appropriate meat-offering, thus symbolizing the daily consecration of the nation to Jehovah, and their constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ... The apostle Paul points to these sacrifices as an illustration of what the followers of Christ are to become. He says, 'I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.' We are to give ourselves to the service of God, and we should seek to make the offering as nearly perfect as possible. God will not be pleased with anything less than the best we can offer. Those who love him with all the heart, will desire to give him the best service of the life, and they will be constantly seeking to bring every power of their being into harmony with the laws that will promote their ability to do his will.
"In the offering of incense the priest was brought more directly into the presence of God than in any other act of the daily ministration. As in the typical service the priest looked by faith to the mercy-seat which he could not see, so the people of God are now to direct their prayers to Christ, their great high priest, who, unseen by human vision, is pleading in their behalf in the sanctuary above...
"As the priests morning and evening entered the holy place at the time of incense, the daily sacrifice was ready to be offered upon the altar in the court without. This was a time of intense interest to the worshipers who assembled at the tabernacle. Before entering into the presence of God through the ministration of the priest, they were to engage in earnest searching of heart and confession of sin. They united in silent prayer, with their faces towards the holy place. Thus their petitions ascended with the cloud of incense, while faith laid hold upon the merits of the promised Saviour prefigured by the atoning sacrifice. The hours appointed for the morning and evening sacrifice [the third and the ninth] were regarded as sacred, and they came to be observed as the set time for worship throughout the Jewish nation [by God's appointment, not man's]. And when in later times the Jews were scattered as captives in distant lands, they still at the appointed hour turned their faces toward Jerusalem, and offered up their petitions to the God of Israel. In this custom [which is divinely ordained], Christians have an example for morning and evening prayer. While God condemns a mere round of ceremonies, without the spirit of worship, he looks with great pleasure upon those who love him, bowing morning and evening [in accordance with God's eternal law] to seek pardon for sins committed, and to present their requests for needed blessings.
"The show-bread was kept ever before the Lord as a perpetual offering. Thus it was a part of the daily sacrifice. It was called show-bread, or "bread of the presence," because it was ever before the face of the Lord. It was an acknowledgment of man's dependence upon God for both temporal and spiritual food [as is a supper of the Lord], and that it is received only though the mediation of Christ. God had fed Israel in the wilderness with bread from heaven, and they were still dependent upon his bounty, both for temporal food and spiritual blessings. Both the manna and the show bread pointed to Christ, the living bread, who is ever in the presence of God for us. He himself said, 'I am the living bread which came down from heaven.'" Patriarchs and Prophets, 351-4.
"Our Lord has said, 'Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you... For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.' John 6:53-55. This is true of our physical nature. To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food but he is nourished by the body and blood of Christ. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf. It is reflected in every water spring. All this Christ has taught in appointing the emblems of His great sacrifice. The light shining from that Communion service in the upper chamber makes sacred the provisions for our daily life. The family board becomes as the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament." The Desire of Ages, p. 660.
The show-bread (the bread of the Presence), the manna, and the daily meal offerings were all types of different aspects of daily worship, which includes "a supper of the Lord," the anti-type. These were also symbolical of the feeding on the "Word" of God – Christ in the written Word, and in the presence ("face") of the Holy Spirit, which precede the actual eating, as in the type. Concerning the Holy Spirit's work at the time of the "daily" burnt offering it is written:
"...at the door of the tent of meeting before the Lord, ... I will meet you, to speak there to you [timely present truth – our daily bread]. There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by my glory [The Holy Ghost – the Shekinah]; I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; Aaron also and his sons will I consecrate, to serve me as priests. And I will dwell among the people of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them forth out of the land of Egypt [a symbol of the world] that I might dwell among them; I am the Lord their God." Exodus 29: 42-46.
"The most important part of the daily ministration was the service performed in behalf of individuals. The repentant sinner brought his [sin] offering [a female lamb, or pigeon or turtledove, if poor; or flour, if even poorer] to the door of the tabernacle, and placing his hand upon the victims head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. By his own hand the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood [that is, the life that was in it – Leviticus 17:14], transferred in figure to the sanctuary." Patriarchs and Prophets, pg. 354.
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out [today, in the Judgment of the Living] when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence [face – Holy Ghost – the Shekinah] of the Lord." (Acts 3:19). The Greek doesn't actually read "when," but rather, "so that the times of refreshing may come." This implies that repenting (turning away from sin) opens the way for conversion, and that such are prerequisites to having our sins blotted out, all of which fulfill the conditions which must be met "so that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord." The very first thing which must be repented of is unbelief in God's willingness and ability to forgive to the uttermost. "Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:6.
As the blood of the offerings was symbolic of the "life" that was in the blood, the blood of the "daily" burnt offering (which was not for the forgiveness of specific sin, as no confession was required as in the sin offering) was symbolical of the "daily" application of the "Life" of Christ imparted by the Holy Spirit (symbolized by the fire on the altar) to "consecrate" the congregation – to keep them from falling. The fact that there was no "daily" sin offering ordained (though one could be offered if necessary) shows that God knew that His sustaining power could keep them from falling daily. All of this sustaining grace that was revealed in the typical service finds its counterpart in the antitypical, for it is written, "if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious." 2 Corinthians 3:11.
The sin offerings may be divided into two classes. The regular ones which were offered at appointed times, and the special ones which were offered as the need arose. The most frequent a regular sin offering was appointed for the whole congregation was on the new moons. There were also regular sin offerings (sons of she-goats) on the annual feast days. At these times of God's appointment the people would come together with the prophets and priests and study God's law. In hearing the law and growing in the understanding of it the people would come to a knowledge of their shortcomings, and would feel their need for an atoning Saviour to forgive their sins (those that came to their knowledge). In the sin offering at these times they saw that God had already prepared for such a necessity, and freely bestowed the needed benefits of an atonement upon all who by faith received it.
As the ceremonial law, in type, was varied and specific in detail, so must the anti-typical ceremonial law be just as specific in its varied applications. The blood of the "daily" burnt offerings (two male lambs) was not taken into either apartment of the Sanctuary, but was poured out upon the altar in the court, while the blood of the sin offerings (he-goats, ewe lambs, female lambs or goats, bullocks, pigeons or turtledoves) was, generally, taken into the sanctuary. So in the place of our daily worship (the court of the sanctuary), around our altar of prayer, Christ's life (symbolized by the blood) is poured out for our consecration, while at the same time he is pleading his blood (life) in the heavenly sanctuary for the forgiveness of any sin confessed. For further discussion on the various types of animals used in the sacrificial service, particularly the female ones, see our study Behold the Lamb of God.
In the period of the anti-typical law, the Christian period, the offering of morning and evening prayer (at the same time of the day as had been before the cross, yea, even from Eden) is the counterpart of the offering of incense by the lesser priests, while Christ, in offering prayers in the heavenly sanctuary, fulfills the high priest's offering; and also the trimming of the lamps (churches), by filling them with fresh oil daily (by His impartation of the "daily bread", in word and in Spirit). Baptism became the fulfillment of the law of circumcision, giving one identity with the community of Israel by the symbol of rebirth – the circumcision of the heart.
The two main ordinances, sacraments, a supper of the Lord and footwashing, are themselves anti-typical fulfillments of typical laws, namely the "daily" burnt offerings with their attending meal and drink offerings, and the sin offerings, respectively. The whole daily service is fulfilled in antitype in morning and evening worship, which includes "a supper of the Lord." That footwashing is the anti-type of the sin offering is clearly seen from the following:
"This ordinance [footwashing] is Christ's appointed preparation for the sacramental service. While pride, variance, and strife for supremacy are cherished, the heart cannot enter into fellowship with Christ....
"There is in man a disposition to esteem himself more highly than his brother, to work for self, to seek the highest place; and often this results in evil surmisings and bitterness of spirit. The ordinance preceding the Lord's supper is to clear away these misunderstandings, to bring man out of his selfishness, down from his stilts of self-exaltation, to the humility of heart that will lead him to serve his brother.
"The holy Watcher from heaven is present at this season to make it one of soul searching, of conviction of sin, and of the blessed assurance of sins forgiven. Christ in the fullness of His grace is there to change the current of the thoughts that have been running in selfish channels. The Holy Spirit quickens the sensibilities of those who follow the example of their Lord. As the Saviour's humiliation for us is remembered, thought links with thought; a chain of memories is called up, memories of God's great goodness and of the favor and tenderness of earthly friends. Blessings forgotten, mercies abused, kindnesses slighted, are called to mind. Roots of bitterness that have crowded out the precious plant of love are made manifest. Defects of character, neglect of duties, ingratitude to God, coldness toward our brethren, are called to remembrance. Sin is seen in the light in which God views it. Our thoughts are not thoughts of self-complacency, but of severe self-censure and humiliation. The mind is energized to break down every barrier that has caused alienation. Evilthinking and evilspeaking are put away. Sins are confessed, they are forgiven. The subduing grace of Christ comes into the soul [imparted righteousness], and the love of Christ draws hearts together in a blessed unity." The Desire of Ages, pgs. 650-1.
At the time that this was published (1898) the Seventh-Day Adventists were keeping "the Lord's Supper" once every three months. Partially because, in the early days of the movement, as they were progressing with truth, they would meet together to pray, study and plan at these times. Another reason is that the Presbyterian practice was at these same intervals, so it was accepted, somewhat, out of a then current, man-made tradition. Because of the infrequency of their "examining themselves" and "proving themselves worthy," many of the aforementioned problems were prevalent. With a daily examination and preparation by the Spirit, those sins will cease to be among the faithful remnant. This is why the counsel given by the Spirit early in the movement was:
"Duties are laid down in God's word, the performance of which will keep the people of God humble and separate from the world, and from backsliding, like the nominal churches. The washing of feet and partaking of the Lord's supper should be more frequently practiced." Early Writings, p. 116.
Jesus instituted the memorial at the end of His earthly ministry, after spending over three years in preparing his disciples for it. So the Lord has been preparing the remnant church for the restoration of this divine institution that will bring the unity necessary for the latter-day Pentecost; as it did in the early church, so that they were fit to receive the Spirit.
"The spiritual energies of His people have long been torpid, but there is to be a resurrection from apparent death.
"By prayer and confession of sin we must clear the King's highway. As we do this, the power of the Spirit will come to us. We need the Pentecostal energy. This will come, for the Lord has promised to send His Spirit as the all-conquering power.
"... We must follow the directions given through the spirit of prophecy. We must love and obey the truth for this time.... The warnings that have been given, line upon line, precept upon precept, should be heeded. If we disregard them, what excuse can we offer?"
"...Let not human reason be placed where divine, sanctifying truth should be....Let not erroneous theories receive countenance from people who ought to be standing firm on the platform of eternal truth. God calls upon us to hold firmly to the fundamental principles that are based on unquestionable authority." Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 297-8.
That which could be said of the sin offering, "By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood [that is, the life that was in it], transferred in figure to the sanctuary," can be said in a "loud cry" of footwashing and the sins confessed at these times; for those sins are transferred in "reality" to the heavenly sanctuary by the blood of Christ [that is, the Life that is in the blood - the Holy Spirit] and thereby a complete atonement is made. "This comforter is the Holy Spirit, the soul of His life." Review and Herald, May 19, 1904. The Holy Spirit not only prompts the prayers and confession of sin, but presents these with pleas of mercy before the golden throne. Christ offered himself "through the eternal Spirit." Hebrews 9:5. We are 'to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.' (2 Corinthians 1:4), by the Life that is in the blood. The greater part of blood is water (a symbol of the Holy Spirit). Without water blood dries out and does not flow. So Jesus' intercession (imputed), without the intercession of the Holy Ghost (imparted), is not effective to cleanse the soul.
As the typical priests were required to personally wash their hands and feet before they performed any of the daily duties, so is the "nation of priests" to examine and wash themselves (by the Holy Spirit – spiritual water), individually, before they intercede for themselves or others, or enter into any worship. If one should have a sin committed come to mind, then a footwashing and confession of sin would be necessary. Since there was never a "daily" sin offering ordained, then neither is there a "daily" footwashing. In figure, those who remain in the house don't soil their feet, therefore they are clean. Yet, because of the state of the people most of the time, sin offerings did become almost a "daily" occurrence. In the early church, in her purity, where the sustaining power in the blood of the Lamb of God was known, not only as a theory, but as an abiding reality, the confession of sin among the apostles and disciples was not needed very often because they weren't sinning against God or each other very often. Their experience of the ten days in the upper room took care of most of the problems. It was those who were entering the "white house," the pure church, that needed their feet washed. Sin offerings were always to precede the burnt offerings (which included the meal and drink offering), so footwashing, when necessary, precedes worship and "a supper of the Lord." The greatest need for the church today is a ten days of unity experience, similar to that which the apostles and disciples went through.
"At a feast it was customary for a servant to wash the feet of the guests." The Desire of Ages, pg. 644.
The regular sin offerings, in the typical service, were to be presented on the feast days, not as a daily necessity. On the new moons and the other feast days the people would meet with the prophets and priests to hear the law. Upon hearing the beauty of the law of God, sins would come to mind, and the need for an atonement would be felt. God, in knowing this would take place, had ordained for a sin offering to be presented, so that they would see that He was making intercession for them. Then, for those who are daily abiding in Christ, the only regular footwashing that should be necessary would be on the feast days.
The Hour of His Judgment
"I say unto you, That except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:20.
One divinely ordained custom which the scribes and Pharisees acknowledged as worthy of practicing was that of the orderly round of daily prayers as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
"Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not." (Matthew 23:1-3). It is written:
"Seven times a day do I praise thee, because of thy righteous judgments." Psalms 119:164.
"But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup....But if we judge ourselves, we should not be judged." 1 Corinthians 11:28,31 RV.
There is clear evidence from the Bible and history that the apostles and disciples never forsook the hours of prayer, which had been established by God from the foundation of the world, yea, and before,
"The hour for joyful, happy songs of praise to God and His dear Son had come. Satan had led the heavenly choir. He had raised the first note; then all the angelic host had united with him, and glorious strains of music had resounded through heaven in honor of God and His dear Son....The hour of worship draws nigh, when bright and holy angels bow before the Father. No more will he unite in heavenly song. No more will he bow in reverence and holy awe before the presence of the eternal God." The Story of Redemption, p. 25
On the day of Pentecost, it was at the third hour (Acts 2:1-15) that the power of the Spirit was poured out on the united disciples, who had for ten days been breaking their bread and washing each others feet (examining themselves) in common remembrance of their Lord. It was at the sixth hour (Acts 10:9), while Peter was in prayer, that he became unnaturally famished (this is the full force of the Greek word), so that God could show him his duty towards the gentiles, and reveal to Peter His Own desire (hunger) to bring in and feed upon the gentiles, symbolically speaking. It was at the ninth hour (Acts 3:1) that Peter and John went to the temple for worship. These were the same hours at which Daniel prayed (Daniel 6:10). Not only can these three hours be traced into the New Covenant church, but all seven are in evidence.
There is more to the matter of the daily life of the Christian congregation, and how it centers on suppers of the Lord. These issues are addressed in specifics in Part 3 of this study, subtitled, The I'm Being Religious About Eating Diet.
In the type, God's priest's ate right after the time of the blood intercession for them, enabling them to eat with consciences free from all stress and guilt, thus enjoying good digestion and full refreshment. Before the enslavement of Israel in Egypt, the daily meals of God's people were taken twice a day after the morning and evening worship, as they were in Eden. Whenever they backslid and fell into the customs of the world, which have their roots in ancient Babylon, they ate at the three prominent times of sun-worship; sunrise, noon, and sunset. The type clearly shows that there were two blood intercessions a day; not a month, or every three months, or yearly, but each day. So to be true to the type there must be two blood intercessions a day in the heavenly sanctuary corresponding to the third and ninth hours of the day. No matter where you are on earth, there is a third and ninth hour of the day during which Christ is making a blood intercession for you. The full appreciation of this, and the of the duties of the antitypical priests and of the congregation in the court of the holy place, "will keep the people of God humble and separate from the world, and from backsliding." Early Writings, pg. 116.
How? By keeping the reality of the cross of Christ and the intercession of the Holy Ghost fresh in our hearts and minds.