Tag Archives: Transubstantiation

Sidetrack; More talk about transubstantiation…

I have more to write on my Romans passages, but I was reading in Matthew last night, and came across another example of the Lord using a food parable to get His point across in a similar manner that He was attempting to do in John 6.  Of course, John 6 is the often referred to chapter in John when someone is trying to promote the idea of transubstantiation.  You can read my post on that chapter, and transubstantiation here: John 6 and Transubstantiation (pt. 1).

Let’s look in Matthew;

Matthew 16:5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. 8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

First notice that the apostles tried to take Christ literally.  He’s talking about bread and leaven…He must be referring to the literal, right? Nope.  Next notice that Jesus does not correct them outright; He makes them get to the conclusion on their own.  He gives them the non-sinful equivalent of an eye roll.  They do eventually catch on to the truth themselves; Jesus was being metaphorical.

I also note that when He brought used the idea of bread and leaven here, that He was speaking about doctrine.  That further supports that idea that He was also speaking of doctrine, or partaking of the the words of life, in John 6, not His literal body.

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This is My Body, This is My Blood;

I’m giving a concrete example of another issue in Communion today.  These words of Christ are indeed important ones.  These words are part of the scriptural support that many from a Roman church background give in support of transubstantiation.  They have a right, and a duty, really, to take these words very seriously; but are we to take them literally?

It’s possible.  But, as always, we must look at other possibilities, such as figures of speech for illustrating purposes.  Figures of speech are used in scripture; metaphors and parables quite regularly.  In trying to explain why Christ used such strong statements; this is My Body, this is My Blood, I’ve always known precisely what I’m trying to get across, the question was what was a good example of this language when used in metaphor.

First, it is important to point out that I do indeed take His words seriously, but I believe context, and the whole context of scripture does not support transubstantiation; I touch on Jesus’ words here in my second part in my posts on transubstantiation.  But do we, as humans and as “teachers” ever employ such strong words in non-literal, analogical language?  The answer is yes we do.

I was pondering over what example would be a clear one, and then it hit me…a blast from my past.  I remembered seeing these commercials on TV quite regularly as a kid.  Note the language that is used, along with the visuals; this is meant to make a lasting impact and give people a visual cue to go off of.

Do we have visual imagery used in conjunction with Jesus’ words; This is My Body, This is My Blood?  Yep.  My last post was on the Matzoh used in this instruction from Jesus.  Matzoh being a visual picture of Christ’s body.  The wine, red wine, is a visual of His blood. When He said these words, He held up the visual symbols.

“This is drugs.”  Is that literally drugs in that pan?  Of course it isn’t; it’s sizzling grease.  “This is your brain…” Is that literally a person’s brain? Nope; it’s an egg.  The point is this shows a perfect example of this style of language, and also shows why it is used.

Humans are very visual creatures, and it is a lot easier for us to remember things when they are “attached” to visual images.  Christ knew this very well, and so, taught His disciples what He wanted done in remembrance of Him, and to show Him forth in a visual, as well as verbal way…as in the commercial, they were not to be taken literally, but figuratively.

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Communion; Unworthily vs. unworthy…

I discussed the doctrine of transubstantiation in two parts which you can find here; pt. 1 & pt. 2.  I mentioned that I was going to comment on Paul’s injunction about taking communion unworthily, and that we are to examine ourselves.  Throughout different denominations, teachers have been misusing these verses to try to lay a guilt trip on people for their sin when partaking of the bread and wine; however, if one looks at the verses in question, things start becoming clear.  We are indeed to examine ourselves, and we are not to take unworthily, but what exactly does this mean?

1 Corinthians 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

I hold that the bread and wine are symbols (not “just” symbols or “mere” symbols, but symbols full of meaning, that serve several purposes), as taught by Christ and Paul (and even James indirectly). However, there is power in the act, or in the taking. Why do I say this? Because one can eat and drink temporary “damnation,” or rather rendered judgment (in the Greek; krima), or sickness on themselves, according to Paul. Eating and drinking without remembering Jesus and His sacrifice leads to this.

Of course, in Paul’s example, there were people eating and drinking the bread and wine after they were drunk, and/or they had come to have a full meal together, and did not set apart the bread and cup, but rather drank and ate hungrily without thinking on Christ. They weren’t taking it worthily…in other words they were partaking in an unworthy manner.

The Greek word used for “unworthily” is anaxious, which is an adverb describing the act (remember, adverbs describe verbs, not nouns), not the person.  Worthiness in this context is not about the person taking the communion, it is about how it is taken. We aren’t to examine ourselves before partaking, we are to remember Christ.  So, from scripture, we are not to examine ourselves, for worthiness, that takes our “eyes” off Christ, and puts them on ourselves. The only way to take unworthily is to take not remembering Christ’s sacrifice, and by so doing, we fail to remember Him and fail to show forth His sacrifice.  So to examine ourselves means to make sure we’re remembering Christ, that we aren’t just eating because we’re hungry (or drunk). None of us are worthy, as far as that goes, so there’s no examination necessary when it comes to our being unworthy.

Anyone who tries to get people to examine themselves for things like sin when partaking of the bread and wine are doing the very thing Paul warned against; taking our “eyes” and minds off of Christ, and neglecting to take in rememberance of Him.  Now, there is a responsibility on the part of the person taking the bread and wine to realize what it is symbolic of…this is why non-Christians should abstain from taking communion; they don’t believe in Jesus as the Son of God, and therefore would not be partaking in remembrance and faith in Him, nor to show forth His body, broken for us, and His blood shed for the remission of our sin.  Again, I look forward to going more in depth about how Passover fits in with communion, and remembering Christ’s sacrifice for us in a later post.

I owe much of this teaching and understanding to the late Dr. Gene “Doc” Scott…his teaching on this idea has helped to refocus believers hearts and minds onto Christ.  If a person’s sins were going to stop us from taking communion, none of us could partake.  Communion, or the taking of the bread and cup is one of the straightforward symbols and acts that Christ Himself instituted, and instructed us as believers to do.

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Transubstantiation (pt. 2)…

I focused solely on John 6 in the first part in regards to transubstantiation, and I’m going to pick up where I left off, and also move on past John 6 to show other evidence that transubstantiation contradicts scripture.  At the end of Jesus’ discourse in John chapter 6, in which He used symbolic language to get His point across, many of the people that had been following Him left. The ones who left Jesus when He made the Bread of Life speech were the ones that misunderstood Him. The ones that left Him took Him literally. The Roman church (RC) POV would have us believe that the ones who left Him understood Him perfectly. This isn’t so.

We have scriptural evidence that when people got angry at analogies used by Jesus, they were NOT understanding.

John 2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

They took Him at His literal word, and they were wrong to do so. He did not mean the literal physical temple, He meant His body. The listeners got upset, and sarcastic, they misunderstood Him here, just as they misunderstood Him about “flesh and blood” in John 6.  I’ve had many RC’s ask me why Jesus didn’t stop them from leaving if they misunderstood.  Look at all the instances in scripture; He doesn’t stop people that leave or get mad over misunderstandings.  He talks in parables so that faith plays a role, and so that not everyone will get it, or have it “forced” upon them;

Matthew 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

Now, we also have the timing and positioning of the words in other scripture to show that the bread and wine are symbols.

Mat. 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 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.

Note in verse 29 that the Lord says; I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine. It does not say blood, and this verse follows the blessings. He labels it fruit of the vine even after the blessing. The blessing is where the Roman church sees the transubstantiation as happening; however, from scripture we can see this isn’t accurate. Jesus is still at the table, the goblet of wine is still there and He labels what they’ve just drunk together as fruit of the vine.

Paul too seems to back this up:

1. Cor. 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

Notice Paul went through the happenings at Passover. Then he says in verse 26 that as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup. He does not say flesh and blood. And again in verse 27 he says whosoever shall eat this bread. It is literal and physical bread.

If one views the wine as becoming literal blood, then it goes against this:

Leviticus 17:10 And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.

And, to show that it is not just an old covenant teaching:

Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

Acts 15:29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

This is teaching coming from James, the leader of the first church; Jerusalem. Now, whether or not you agree with all of James’ teaching, and his seeming legalistic bent, you can’t deny that he taught that believers should not drink blood. It’s straight forward; no blood. There are no exceptions taught, or mentioned.  Notice in the OT verse that it is any manner of blood; it isn’t limited.  Jesus did not break the Law, which can only mean He did not partake of blood at the Passover.

Another issue; Christ is not bodily on this Earth. He’s seated at the right Hand of the Father. He will only return bodily, touching this earth, at the second coming. If the eucharist is His literal body, blood, soul, and divinity, then He would already be here physically, which is not what scripture teaches, so it is another contradiction.

This brings me to the fact that not even the Roman church takes Christ literally. He said this is my flesh, this is my blood. However, the RC teaches that the wafer becomes not just Christ’s flesh but body, blood, soul, and divinity by transubstantiation. This idea is clearly not scriptural, even if you take His words as being completely literal. Jesus instructed the disciples to both eat and drink. The Roman POV is that you don’t have to do both, just one. This isn’t scriptural. We are to do both, first, the bread shows His body that was abused and pierced for us, second the wine, the symbol of His blood shed for us.

And finally, we have one really good example of what happens when Jesus turns one thing into another in scripture. He turned water into wine. When He did this it looked like wine, tasted like wine, everyone knew it was wine. With transubstantiation you do not have this. For all practical intents and purposes, to every scientific look, that bread is still bread, and that wine is still wine, not flesh and blood. We have a good basis; water to wine, to show that this is not how this type of miracle works. Why does the blood not taste like blood?

Taking all of scripture into account, and by looking at the context of all of these various verses, transubstantiation is not supported, and even contradicts several key verses.   I look forward to delving into the symbolic nature of Passover, that we carry out in communion in future posts, as well as whether or not we are to examine ourselves to make sure we are worthy (or for some other reason) before partaking in communion, or are we to keep our eyes solely on Christ with the acknowledgment that we are not worthy, but that we are symbolically showing His death, and remembering Him by partaking?

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John 6 and Transubstantiation (pt.1) …

Since this is my first post about Roman church (RC) doctrine, I want to make something clear from the outset.  As long as a person, as an individual, has placed all their trust and faith in and on Jesus Christ, The Father, and The Holy Spirit to save them, I don’t care what denominational title they give themselves.  I believe in the universal church; the ekklesia, in the Greek, that is made up of all believers regardless of what they call themselves.  We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling; I’m not willing to judge another’s salvation, that is between them and God.

That being said, I believe that all doctrine of all denominations is fair game when testing them to see if they hold up to the Apostle’s teachings, mainly found in scripture.  One of the claims of the RC is that their teachings will not contradict scripture, but that some of their teachings are based more on oral tradition.  Most of us Protestants have some issues with some of the RC teaching because they can’t be found in scripture, and are sometimes contradicted by the word.  I’ve always believed we should study to show ourselves approved, and I’ve taken a lot of time studying RC doctrines, and I also watch EWTN quite a bit; which I must say is much better in execution and style than most Protestant based television stations.

This post is to look at the doctrine of transubstantiation and John 6, I will raise more issues with the idea of transubstantiation in my next post.  I’m addressing this through John 6 because watching “The Journey Home” on EWTN regularly I’ve noticed an interesting occurrence in those Protestants that become RC…they all say they’ve never heard John 6 explained, which I can’t quite grasp, but I’m going with the flow anyway, and will discuss it here.

To start off; What is transubstantiation? Transubstantiation is the belief that the bread and wine at the celebration of Mass becomes the literal flesh of Christ, and the literal blood of Christ. When it says literal, it means literal. You are no longer eating bread; you are eating flesh (and in fact, the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ). You are no longer drinking wine, you are drinking blood. My main contention with this is not that this is taught per se, but rather, scripture is claimed to back it up. Transubstantiation is not something taught in scripture, nor was it believed or taught by the earliest church leaders. When we examine scripture; Christ did not teach it, Paul did not teach it, and even James, the leader at the earliest church, Jerusalem, did not teach it.

John Chapter 6; this chapter, to get at the meaning of Jesus’ words must be read in entirety and in context. Please do so, here I will only give a run down on context, then on to the the main verses at hand.

John 6:1-14 Jesus feeds the five thousand. He fed them loaves of bread and fishes. This same group follows Him after this incident.

John 6:15-21 Jesus walks on the water

John 6:22-71 As we go through this, you’ll probably want your Bible opened to this, or your web-browser open as there is a lot of ground to cover here. I’ll quote the whole verses in my responses.

So, in John chapter 6, the large group that followed Jesus were after one thing:

26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

They wanted actual physical literal food. They were there when He did it before (verses 1-14), and they want more.

31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believenot.

So Jesus is the Bread of Life. Is He literal flour and water? No. This is a spiritual analogy. This clues us in right off the bat that He’s going to be speaking this way in this discourse. The symbolic language surrounding Christ is present in full effect in the Gospel of John, for example:

John 15: 1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Is Jesus literally a plant? No.

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. We have a perfect example here, because what is being compared is an actual drink; water. Does Jesus give actual physical literal water? No.

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture Is Jesus a literal door or opening, made out of wood, or nothing? No. He’s a Spiritual one. Is He an actual lamb or lion? Are we literal and physical sheep? No.

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. In this context, is He literal light waves? No. The point here is that John especially is filled with highly meaningful symbolic language.

How does Jesus give life to the world? He came, walked perfect, was a sacrifice, gave His flesh and blood in that sacrifice for us. How do we participate in this life He brings us; not by physical eating, but by coming to Him and believing (faithing) on Him. He will not give them physical, literal food, but only Himself to faithe on.

For those that believe in Transubstantiation do you claim not to physically and literally hunger anymore? Do you claim not to thirst? Of course not, so this idea is not a literal physical one. We don’t hunger spiritually anymore, we don’t thirst spiritually anymore after coming to Christ and faithing on Him.

John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

For everyone that has Faith in Him, they get everlasting life.

John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

So, He is the living bread. For those of you who believe Transubstantiation is literal, do you believe that you will not literally, physically die? Of course not, it is obvious He is talking about spiritual death. If we come to Christ, and Faith on Him, we will not die. How does He give His flesh for the life of the world? By sacrificing it, not by us literally ingesting it.

John 6:52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

Notice it is NOT as their fathers did eat manna. How did they eat manna? Literally and Physically. We also have a repeat of the phrase “hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Where did we see this phrase before? In verse 40: And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day

So, we get this everlasting life by belief, or more accurately rendered; by faith in Him. This too lines up with all of Paul’s teachings on faith vs. works. And also professing Christ (Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation) is indeed what saves, not literally eating or drinking.

John 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Now we come to the conclusion of this chapter, and it wraps the whole thing up. It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. Jesus is blatantly telling us that nothing you physically and literally eat can save you (this goes right along with His teaching that nothing you physically and literally eat can make you unclean; Matthew 15:18). His word are about Spiritual matters, not fleshly, the flesh doesn’t profit anything.  Peter’s answer sheds more light on the situation. “Thou has the WORDS of eternal life.” Peter got it, it was Jesus’ words themselves that were giving life, His teachings. Again, it’s backed up by Peter’s believing Him; thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. That is what saves, that is what we need to come to and believe in order to have eternal life.

In part 2, I will continue on by examining the reaction of the crowd, and other scriptural insights, such as the scene at the Last Supper, that do not support the doctrine of transubstantiation.

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