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Comparative Religions and Denominations

What do the bread and wine mean in Communion?

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June 05, 2012 9:50PM

Wine signifies blood, and blood signifies life "the life is in the blood" (Lev 17:14) and Jesus "poured out His life unto death", which means He surrendered His natural human spirit/life, to do the will of the Father (to be led by His Spirit) which was "in Him in all fullness", as a cup full of wine. So likewise, when we partake of His cup, it symbolically means we are partaking of His life (walking as He walked), living as He lived (to be led by the Spirit of Christ) "if any man will follow Me he must walk as I walked", "if any man will follow Me he must deny himself". The same will be granted with a crown of immortality. Jesus said "I am the living bread that came down from heaven." John 6:51 and He is the "Word of God" (Jn 1.1), so to eat Jesus means to consume and internalise the Word of God, which is what these words symbolically mean "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you." (Jn. 6:53).

Jesus said: "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate (physical bread), and died (physically), he who eats this (spiritual) bread shall live (spiritually) forever." The words of Jesus are called the bread of heaven.

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven." John 6:51

"Whoever eats this bread will live forever" John 6:52

"The words I have spoken to you they are Spirit and they are life." John 6:63

Jesus said and He is "the Word of God" (John 1:1,14).

So to eat Jesus means to consume, digest and internalise the Bible/Word of God.

The Bible often uses the idea of eating Gods words, "and I took the little book out of the Angels hand, AND ATE IT UP: and it was in my mouth sweet as honey, and as soon as I had eaten it." (Jeremiah 15:16; Ezekiel 3:1; Psalm 19; Rev. 10:10). Learning great truths is like eating. One must digest that which is eaten.

To eat Jesus means we are to eat spiritual bread which we are told are his (words/Gospels).

So it is the (words) of Jesus that give life not literal bread, but symbolic bread (words).

In the Bible natural things are used to represent spiritual things. So just as we need natural bread to live naturally, so we need spiritual bread to sustain us spiritually (the words/teachings of Jesus).

Jesus commanded his followers to remember Him by eating bread (His body) and drinking wine (His blood) until He returned. How can we remember Jesus by eating literal bread? We remember Jesus when we eat spiritual bread (His words) and when we share his bread/words with each other and participate in His cup/life.

So instead of doing a literal ritual in which we literally eat bread and literally drink wine the ritual is actually telling us to...

1. Eat the (words) of Jesus who is "the Word of God" Jn1.1 (study, internalize and digest the Bible)

2. Drink the wine or participate in the example of His life.

Jesus is "the Word of God" (John 1:1,14). So to eat Jesus means to consume, digest and internalise the Bible/Word of God and to drink wine means to participate in the example of his life, "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you." (Jn. 6:53).

Wine is symbolic of blood and the blood is symbolic of life "For the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Gen 9:4, Lev 17:4). In the New Testament the apostles translate this spiritually in accordance with Isaiah 53:12, "because he poured out his life in death". So "blood" signfies "life" and to partake of the symbolic wine means we are participating in Christs life which "he poured out unto death".

In the Christian ritual the bread represents spiritual food, "I am the bread from heaven" (John 6:51), or the body of Christ. Jesus said and He is "the Word of God" (John 1:1,14). So to eat Jesus means we are to eat spiritual bread which we are told are his (words). Eating words was a common Biblical idea (Jeremiah 15:16; Ezekiel 3:1). So to consume bread represents eating and internalising the Words of God (studying the Bible). "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63). So the bread represents spiritual food (His Words) and the wine represents the example of His life. To partake of the cup; "they are spirit [bread], and they are life [wine]" and "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life."

The idea of a ritual is to transfer the meaning to what the symbols are spiritually telling us to do. life.

In the Bible natural things are used to represent spiritual things. So just as we need natural bread to live naturally, so we need spiritual bread to sustain us spiritually (the words/teachings of Jesus).

The symbolic meaning of turning water into wine

Jesus had to fill the jars with water first before He changed the water into wine. As He teaches in John 2 "man is first born of water and then spirit" signified by the wine to become "vessels acceptable to God"; "full of the Spirit" of His life and truth (represented by the wine). This is why John 2 says the jars were "keimenai" = lying down. meaning a dead man (a man being asleep - spiritually) - being raised from the dead to be taught by God.

Learning great truths is like eating. One must digest that which is eaten. Then that which gives life will become a part of your body. As you get new understandings, the new will replace the old, "no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit." (John 3:3-5) the vessels full of water will be changed to vessels full of wine (symbolic of the life or spirit of Jesus); as were the vessels of water in Kana.

Wine and Bread in Christian symbolism

Jesus said: "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate (physical bread), and died (physically), he who eats this (spiritual) bread shall live (spiritually) forever." The words of Jesus are called the bread of heaven.

The Bible often uses the idea of eating Gods words, "and I took the little book out of the Angels hand, AND ATE IT UP: and it was in my mouth sweet as honey, and as soon as I had eaten it." (Jeremiah 15:16; Ezekiel 3:1; Psalm 19; Rev. 10:10). Learning great truths is like eating. One must digest that which is eaten.

To eat Jesus means we are to eat spiritual bread which we are told are his (words/Gospels).

So it is the (words) of Jesus that give life not literal bread, but symbolic bread (words).

Jesus said: "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate (physical bread), and died (physically), he who eats this (spiritual) bread shall live (spiritually) forever." And the words of Jesus are called that bread of heaven, it is the symbollic meaning of the Lords prayer "give us this day our daily bread". Not natural bread, but spiritual bread (the words of Jesus), the Words of the Gospel; "my words are Spirit and they are life". To consume the Word of God to internalise the spiritual sense of the Word.

"unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you." (Jn. 6:53)

Interestingly in John 6:66 the reason why the followers of Jesus walked away after hearing this is because they could not understand it was symbolic, not literal "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him" (Jn 6:66). This is the reason most people walk away from the Bible today.

In ancient times the style of writing was to try and cause offense in the literal sense in order to (force) the reader to interpret the meaning symbolically (this is the style of a riddle) and the Bible is a book of symbolic riddles, we call this an intentional paradox, "Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you?" John 6:61 (it was intended to in the literal sense to force its abandonment for the metaphoric in which the meaning is completely transfered).

The Bible often parodies paganism in the literal sense to subvert it in the metaphorical. The most obvious example is blood or animal sacrifice which God transfered metaphorically (i.e represents sacrificing our own animal nature within). All rituals have their meaning metaphorically or allegorically and are intended to be internalised (applied spiritually to us). One of the best ways to change someones world view is to accomodate their existing beliefs. The style of the Bible is to accomodate pagan ideas only to subvert them to what God wants to say (metaphorically). Therefore interpretting rituals literally not spiritually is paganism and a gross misunderstanding of the Bible style. Same applies with the Creation account which is a parody of the Babylonian myth in the literal sense only to change its theology and decode a prophecy of mans spiritual creation in the metaphoric.

HIDDEN BREAD

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."

Jesus obviously spoke symbolically, phrases such as "born again" (John 3:3), "living water"; "destroy this temple and I will raise it in 3 days", as the whole Old Testament was written in such a way but the natural man (Pharisees) could not perceive it as the Churches cannot likewise today. "And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scripture" (Luke 24:27,32). Therefore, to make an Idol is to materialise spiritual mysteries. The Priests, then, were Idolaters, who coming after Moses, and committing to writing those things which had been delivered unto Israel, replaced the true things signified, by their material symbols which perpeutuated ignorance, and those who trusted in them went into [spiritual] captivity through the continuation of meaningless rituals (externalised) "due to lack of [spiritual] knowledge" - like animal sacrifice taken literally and not spiritually "your burnt offerings are not acceptable…" (Jeremiah 6:20); Isaiah 1:11-15 … "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? …I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats… Bring no more vain oblations… your hands are full of blood." The animal sacrifice was about sacrificing the animal nature in us. That is why Abels sacrifice was accepted, he made a LIFE sacrifice (i.e gave up greed, lust, desire, pride), the same basic motivating principles we share with animals, which we are to rise above.

Jesus is the "bread of life" and the "Word of God". In the Christian ritual the bread represents spiritual food, "I am the bread from heaven" (John 6:51). Jesus said and He is "the Word of God" (John 1:1,14). So to eat Jesus means we are to eat spiritual bread which we are told are his (words/Gospels).

Eating Gods words was a common Biblical idea (Jeremiah 15:16; Ezekiel 3:1). So to consume bread represents eating, digesting and internalising the words of Jesus. "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63). So the bread represents spiritual food (His Words) and the wine represents the example of His life. To partake of the cup; "the words I have spoken to you they are spirit [bread], and they are life [wine]".

Learning great truths is like eating. One must digest that which is eaten. Then that which gives life will become a part of your body. As you get new understandings, the new will replace the old, "no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit." (John 3:3-5) the vessels full of water will be changed to vessels full of wine (symbolic of the life or spirit of Jesus); as were the vessels of water in Kana.

Wine is symbolic of blood and the blood is symbolic of life "For the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Gen 9:4, Lev 17:4). In the New Testament the apostles translate this spiritually in accordance with Isaiah 53:12, "because he poured out his life in death". So "blood" signfies "life" and to partake of the symbolic wine means we are participating in Christs life which "he poured out unto death".

Jesus is the "bread of life" and the "Word of God", the shewbread inside the temple has this meaning. The word shewbread or lechem paniym is literally the bread of presence. God uses bread to symbolise or speak of His presence. God's presence is experience in obedience to His Word, which is also Himself. The comparison is literal bread that gives life to the body, with the bread of God (the Word of God) which gives life to the soul and spirit. The unleavened bread upon the table of shewbread in the temple (human body) symbolizes the "logos" Word. The Holy Spirit is the spiritual light inside the tabernacle (the candlestick). It is the Holy Spirit who enlightens us. The golden candlestick was set "over against the table" (Ex 26:35) which means directly across from the shewbread on purpose so that His (God's) light will directly illuminate the Word of God as the New Testament also tells us represents the Holy Spirit. Together, the Holy Spirit (candlestick) and Jesus (shewbread) are the "rhema" Word of God. "The Word (logos) was made flesh, and dwelt among us." (John 1:14).

Interestingly in John 6:66 the reason why the followers of Jesus walked away after hearing this is because they could not understand it was symbolic, not literal "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him" (Jn 6:66). This is the reason most people also misunderstand the Bible today. In ancient times the style of writing was to try and cause offense in the literal sense in order to (force) the reader to interpret a riddle symbolically and the Bible is a book of symbolic riddles. This is how riddles used to be written in ancient times, we call this an intentional paradox, "Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you?" John 6:61. In other words it was supposed to sound offensive in the literal sense to force the abandonment of it and the search for the symbolic meaning. The Bible often parodies paganism in the literal sense to subvert it in the metaphorical. The most obvious example is blood or animal sacrifice, a continuation of a pagan idea which the Bible parodies to subvert symbolically (i.e represents sacrificing our own animal nature within). All rituals have their meaning metaphorically or allegorically and are intended to be internalised (applied spiritually to us). Jesus had to fill the jars with water first before He changed the water into wine. As He teaches in John 2 "man is first born of water and then spirit" signified by the wine to become "vessels acceptable to God"; "full of the Spirit" of His life and truth (represented by the wine). This is why John 2 says the jars were "keimenai" = lying down. meaning a dead man (a man being asleep - spiritually) - being raised from the dead to be taught by God.

It is the symbollic meaning of the Lords prayer "give us this day our daily bread". Not natural bread, but spiritual bread (the words of Jesus), the Words of the Gospel; "my words are Spirit and they are life". To consume the Word of God is to internalise/digest the words of Jesus.