Saturday, September 02, 2006

Debate with "Briguy" on the Real Presence: Part 2

You said that the "fruit of the vine" was not the cup Jesus was holding. In two of the three quotes that you posted the word "this" is used. Jesus is standing there with a cup of wine in His hand and says it is the new covenant in his blood and then without pause says that he will not drink of 'THIS fruit of the vine". I think it would be a stretch to say he was not speaking of the physical wine he was holding.
Actually, from what I can tell by looking at the three passages in question, "this" is only used in Matthew's Gospel. As for how this effects belief in the Real Presence, first note that St. Luke (22:18 sqq.), who is chronologically more exact, places these words of Christ before his account of the Institution:

Luke 22:15-20
15 And he said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer;
16 for I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."
17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, "Take this, and divide it among yourselves;
18 for I tell you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."
19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
20 And likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

This, at the very least, would lend some suspicion to your claim. Perhaps Jesus' words about the fruit of the vine are presented in Matthew and Mark as an after thought, words which were actually meant to be said before the Institution, and that Luke has the conversation in its proper chronological order.

Secondly, there is a sense in which the Blood of Christ may still be called "wine." This is done for the sake of simplicity and to avoid any scandal that would result from associating the Catholic practice with what cannibals do. So, we often refer to consecrated wine, and consecrated host, which is actually the Real Presence under the appearance of bread and wine. The Church often refers to the Eucharist as "daily bread" and "bread of life" and "bread from heaven" even though we believe that it is much more than mere bread that we consume.
The 4 cup thing from passover I will look into. It seems interesting and I thank you for bringing it to my attention. I will say that it seems from what you wrote that you want to take from the OT what applies and change what doesn't so it does. This in regards to the drinking of blood, eating of the sacrificial lamb and that sort of thing. The passover was a foreshadow of what was to come and is symbolic in its own right. The crucial part was that the lamb had to be without spot or blemish and the blood had to be shed. The eating of flesh was secondary, for it did no good without the perfect lamb sacrificed and the blood covering the door.
Prove it.

The verses I provided in my previous post reveal to me that eating the flesh of that lamb whose blood was sprinkled on the doorpost was absolutely necessary. There would not be so many provisions in the book of Exodus for exactly how it should be prepared and eaten if this was not important. Note that "Seder" is that portion of the Passover celebration that actually commemorates the very eating in question. As for how the prohibition against drinking blood relates to the Catholic practice, I addressed that in my previous post as well. Again, I provide this article to aid in our discussion of this topic.
Also, one flaw that jumped out at me is the fact that Jesus knew that most Christians (believers) would be Gentiles. The sacrificial system and the argument you make could only have been understood by Jews back then. "Communion" done in His memory is for Gentiles and Jews alike. Using all sorts of Jewish tradtion seems to complicate things to a level that they just don't need to be at. I think that the whole communion thing has been made way more then it was intended, in terms of it's OT and Law background. 1 Cor. makes it clear that it is a part of what believers should do and it is significant.
I'll have to admit, I've never heard that argument before!! Jesus came first for the Jews. They are God's chosen people. All of his parables utilize Jewish culture, and understanding, and their way of life. He quotes extensively from their Scripture (the OT). Christianity finds its roots in Judaism and is the fulfillment of it. The OT, and everything in it, points to the NT, which is its fulfillment. All modern-day christians should know the relationship between the old covenant and the new, and how Jesus' words and actions exist within a fundamentally Jewish context. If they don't know this, that is surely not Jesus' fault. Whether you believe it should be eaten or not, Jesus is obviously referred to as the Lamb from the Passover. Should we dismiss this too simply because gentiles may have missed the reference? I simply find no merit in the claim that there is no relation simply because gentiles would not have understood it.
Hi PC, I guess I am going to respond in stages as I think things through more and research a little, as time permits. I found this on a web site about passover.

-----During the Seder 4 glasses of wine are poured to represent the 4 stages of the exodus
1. freedom
2. deliverance
3. redemption
4. release

A fifth cup of wine is poured and placed on the Seder table. This is the Cup of Elijah, an offering for the Prophet Elijah. During the Seder the door to the home is opened to invite the prophet Elijah in After the meal is eaten, the children search for the Afikomen. The Seder is finished when the children have found the Afikomen and everyone has eaten a piece-------
Can you give me a link to the website you are using here?
I think you have a bit of a problem here PC. If we go down the road that Jesus made the call for communion as part of the Seder celebration then we must accept that what is tradition for the seder is what Jesus meant when He spoke. We see above that 5 glasses of wine are poured. I think you said 4 but maybe then you said the fifth was symbolic later.
Actually, I said that four cups provide the structure for the meal. A fifth cup is poured for Elijah, but it has no real bearing on how the meal is structured. From the entry on the Seder from the Jewish Encyclopedia, we read:
The service began with the sanctification of the day as at other festivals, hence with a cup of wine (See Kiddush); another cup followed the after-supper grace as on other festive occasions. But to mark the evening as the most joyous in the year, two other cups were added: one after the "story" and before the meal, and one at the conclusion of the whole service. The Mishnah says (Pes. x. 1) that even the poorest man in Israel should not drink less than four cups of wine on this occasion, this number being justified by the four words employed in Ex. vi. 6-7 for the delivery of Israel from Egypt.
That last sentence has bearing upon what you say next:
Anyway, real simply here, the glasses/cups of wine each "represent" something. They are not the thing they represent but--- they bring to mind the event that they represent. See above the things they represent, including freedom,etc... all part of the Exodus story. The first cup is not freedom but those who eat the meal see it as freedom because they remeber the freedom achieved at the Exodus
Actually, according to the Jewish Encyclopedia, each cup stands for the one and same event, which our Lord described in four different ways [emphasis and notes are mine]:

Exodus 6:6-7
6 Say therefore to the people of Israel, 'I am the LORD, and I will bring you out [or "free"] from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment,
7 and I will take you for my people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out [or "released"] from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

So, we are speaking here of one event. And like I said in my last post, when subsequent Jews celebrated the Passover, they identified themselves so closely with their ancestors who first experienced it that it was as if they too were being freed. Our article on the Seder states that "it is the duty of every Israelite to feel as if he personally had been delivered from Egypt." Note the exclamations that they make during the celebration:
"This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in Egypt: whoever is hungry come and eat: whoever is in need celebrate Passover with us"

"We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord delivered us thence"

This meal is begun by handing around morsels of the first and third cakes, giving thanks first to Him "who brought forth bread from the earth," and then to Him "who sanctified us by the command to eat mannah."
The bread they eat is the same bread their fathers ate. They too are the slaves the Lord delivered. He sanctified them and commanded them to eat. The Passover is a mystical reality to the Jews. In the same way, the Eucharist we celebrate is a mystical reality of the Last Supper.
Now, when Jesus raises the cup of wine and says "This is the new covenant in my blood" or even if He said "This is my blood" by the very nature of the Seder, He would have been speaking in representation form. If it was the third cup he rose (for argument here it wouldn't matter - I'm just making a point) and said "this is the new covenant in my blood" He would have just called 2 other cups, saying "This is Freedom" and "This is deliverance" To say that those are representations (a picture as it were) but then to say that when he spoke of His blood it was all of a sudden not a representation, would just not be logical at all. The Seder dinner is a rememberence dinner and Jesus says "do this", that is drink the cup, to remeber his sacrifice for sins and His shed blood. The seder is symbolic from start to finish and jesus used that to bring about the fact that we must remember what He did so we continue to forward His gospel.
I think you misrepresent the true intention of the Passover celebration. It was more than just a rememberance. It was a re-presentation of the same Passover their ancestors experienced. Furthermore, Jesus has already been identified as the paschal lamb (John 1:29). During His celebration of the Seder meal, Jesus stands before the apostles as the lamb that was slain and eaten.

to be continued....

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