By Charlemagne Garces, Sr.
There are various beliefs and practices the world over in relation to the Lord’s Supper celebration. One practice is the use of one cup for the whole congregation and only the priest celebrant drinks from it during the mass. Another group places so much emphasis and importance on the cup-container saying that the one cup-container represents the singularity of the New Testament.
To them, the cup-container is more important than the content. Still others insist that it should be celebrated at evening time since, so they argue, the term “supper” specifies the part of day it should be conducted. The frequency of celebrating the Lord’s Supper vary from one group to another: daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. A new religious group claims that the “Lord’s Supper” is partaking of the word of Christ or listening to gospel messages. Many insist that the celebration of the Lord’s Supper does not need to fall on a Sunday or the first day of the week. Read Job 22:15 and Psalm 1:6.
A.There’s the cup of Salvation
- Consider the suggestions in Psalm 116:13; 16:5; Col. 2:17.
- Consider the gospel of Christ — 1 Cor.15:1-4. The important items of Christ’s death (John 19:30 -34; Heb.9:22), His burial (Mark 15:42-47) and His resurrection (Matt.28:1-20; Acts 17:18) are remembered and declared.
- The Lord’s Supper is a way of calling upon the Lord for salvation. Read Acts 9:14; Romans 10:13-17; Matt. 7:21.
- The institution of the Lord’s Supper pre-figures Christ’s death (1 Cor.11:23-29—This cup is the New Testament in my blood—His death); His burial (Romans 6:3-4; Col. 2:12); His resurrection (Romans 6:3-17; Col. 3:1; 1 Peter 3:21; 2 Peter 1:5-11; 1 John 1:7).
- There are vessels of cups. Read Isaiah 22:24.
Over here in Ormoc City one frequently hears a joke over Radio HOT FM: “Feed the chicken with two spoons. What happened? The chicken died.” The punch is intended for those who dwell only on the literal meaning of words and cannot switch to the figurative in one context. That happened in the time of Christ in John 6 when Jesus told his audience about eating his flesh and drinking his blood in order to have life eternal.
Those who insist that the only scriptural way of celebrating the Lord’s Supper is through the use of one cup-container put more emphasis on the wrong items when we consider our daily language. They would put more emphasis and importance on the spoons over persons; more importance on spoons than on food; more importance on bottles than on the mineral water inside the bottle; more importance on the preacher than on the gospel message.
A. By considering the items that have been submitted above, the following conclusions are inevitable: (1) The NT cup is the blood of Christ — Matt.26:26-29; Acts 2:1, 42; Acts 20:28; (2) There is no scriptural basis for the theory of “transubstantiation” which says that the bread becomes literally the flesh of Christ and the wine becomes literally the blood of Christ as proved by the analyses of chemists done on Eucharistic elements after the mass; (3) The Lord’s expressions, therefore, about the Supper are metaphorical; (4) The drinking vessel, Greek – poterion— is a figure of speech called “metonymy” where the container is mentioned but the content is meant; (5) The kingdom has been established where the Lord eats and drinks anew the elements of the Supper with disciples – Isaiah 8:15-20; 28:12-18; 2 Cor. 3:7-14; Matt. 26:29; Acts 2:15-42; (6) The Lord Jesus is our Passover in the NT – 1 Cor.5:7; Luke 24:44-47.
B. What is important is the First Day of the week being the day of Christ’s resurrection and it being the establishment of the Kingdom (Acts 2) where Christ sups and dines with His disciples. Whether it is morning or evening, it is still the same day. “So the evening and the morning were the first day,” says Genesis 1:5. See also 119:130; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2,8; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph . 1:18; 2 Peter 1:19; John 1:1-5; Isaiah 48:16.
C. Analyze the usage of the terms “supper” “dinner” and “banquet” in the King James Version, New King James Version, New American Standard Bible, Easy-to-Read-Version and The Contemporary English Version in the following passages: Luke 14:12, 16, 17,24; Rev.19:9,17. It is called the “Lord’s Supper” because the Lord Jesus started the ordinance during his last supper. The Lord Jesus started it and it is celebrated in honor of Him. The term “supper” does not define the time when it should be celebrated. Just as the name of a flower “Dama de Noche” does not defined the time of day when the flower could be called that name. Noche means night. Does it mean that the dama de noche plant is dama de noche only at night time? Is the dama de noche plant no longer dama de noche at morning hours?
The ability to capture the central focus of an ordinance or a principle that is given in the Bible, and by avoiding over emphasis on the incidentals, we could keep the unity of the Spirit as enjoined in Ephesians 4:2-6; Heb. 9:14 and Heb.10:29.
(Note: The author can be contacted at 550 Highway, Linao, Ormoc City, Leyte).