I don’t know about you, but I have found that Social Media, like Facebook, can sometimes take a lot of time, and be very frustrating. At the same time the challenges can be very rewarding.
I mean, sometimes people say things that get my goat, and make me dig into Scripture, and if we dig into Scripture with an open mind, the Lord rewards us with Himself and His truth.
So, on one of the Facebook groups that someone added me to, there are Catholics, Jews, Hebrew Roots, Muslims, and a few Christians, all posting various doctrinal positions at the same time. What I have found is that you can take the time to answer one, biblically, and the next week someone else is posting the same errors.
Readers of this page will know that I tend to focus on End Times prophecy, and the reason I do is because so many pastors avoid prophecy like it was the plague. Truth divides, but smooth words unite!
Christians should, however, be teachers of the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), and not always focus on one aspect of Scripture. Pastors who avoid prophecy are actually avoiding between 1/4 and 1/3 of God’s word. I don’t want to be like that, and I certainly don’t want to be accused of avoiding the other 2/3 to 3/4 of God’s Word!
Since some of my own ancestors, and living relatives, are Catholics, I want to focus on a Catholic error today; The Lord’s Supper and Transubstantiation. The truth is that even many Protestants get this wrong, claiming that the Lord’s presence is really there, in the elements of the Lord’s Supper; the bread and wine.
The error so many get into, on this subject, could so easily be avoided if we were to study all of Scripture, and allow the Author to harmonize His word in our hearts.
Jesus gave us the basic, necessary, tool in one statement to Satan in the wilderness;
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4
Jesus says “every word” but most people see this and read “the general teachings of God” as if it is acceptable to skip words. Seriously. We might read “every word” but then a great many take statements completely out of context, and butcher the Word of God. The truth is that if you do this you can actually make the bible say just about anything!
So the error I wan to look at today is based on a statement in John 6, taken out of context by a great many Catholics and Protestants alike! You should read the entire chapter, but for the sake of brevity I will just give the pertinent verses, you can read the whole thing on your own;
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.
Now, a great many do indeed cross reference this with His statements at the Last Supper found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke;
19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying,This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. Luke 22:19
You can see I have highlighted the parts they read, but the whole controversy could have been nipped in the bud if they had simply read the statement “this do in remembrance of me”. Christians who say that this service was meant to be a memorial are correct; the word “memorial” has the same root as the word “remembrance”. Jesus simply meant that the communion service should be kept as a means of remembering what He did on the cross, but not to take it literally!
Now, back to John 6:53; Jesus did not intend this statement to be taken literally. We can see this throughout the chapter, but nowhere clearer than in verses 61-64
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.
A great many professing Christians simply ignore these verses, but these put the whole statement into very clear context;
Look at verse 62. Here Jesus is telling them that He was going to ascend to Heaven in the body they were looking at, so how could they think He could be literal? How could He be literal if He was taking that body to Heaven with Him?
Jesus was not even thinking of the Pagan idea of transubstantiation, that the bread could magically turn into His body whenever a priest blesses it and a Catholic eats it.
His intentions are even clearer if we keep on reading; verse 63 destroys any idea that He could be talking about his literal body
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
I am aware that Catholics teach that His presence is spiritual, but He was not even talking about literal bread and wine here at all; He was talking about eating His words and making them a part of our being. In the same way as the food we eat becomes a literal part of our physical body, we are to read His Words and believe them and make them a part of our being!
Notice “the flesh profiteth nothing”. What He meant is that if you licked up some of His actual blood from under His cross, or if you slipped into his grave and snipped off an ear lobe and ate it, you would still be lost and on your way to the Lake of Fire! Eating his literal flesh is not what He had in mind, and he didn’t even intend that bread and wine would suffice as a substitute for His body and blood.
The last statement sums up what He was saying entirely;
“the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
Notice that He is not saying “these words”, but “the words that I speak unto you”. He is not talking about this particular statement, but about All of His teachings! We are to take His teachings and “eat” them, and make them part of our being. A part of our soul and spirit!
He repeats this same teaching again in chapter 8
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” John 8:51
He is not saying “you must eat my flesh and drink my blood in order to have eternal life” and then contradicting Himself by saying “but you must also believe and keep my teachings to have eternal life”. He is simply repeating the same teaching in a different way.
He is not contradicting John 1:12 here either;
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
When you believe on His name, you will keep His commands. Obedience comes from a saving belief. A “saving belief” is not the same as an intellectual assent, by the way.
Nor is He adding something different than found in the words of Paul in 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.”
The command to keep the Lord’s Supper is to be as a memorial to remember Him by, because as humans our memory is short, and we forget. He wants us to remember the cross because it is the entire reason that you and I can go to Heaven. That we can be forgiven and have fellowship with God restored, because of the cross!
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. John 14:23
You don’t have to say a prayer and invite Jesus into your heart, all you have to do is read His Word, and believe Him and He will come and live with you! The truth is that a great many have said the “sinner’s prayer” and walked away as lost as they were before saying it!
This was my story, and I said that prayer many times before I realized that I had to simply believe Jesus, and He would save me!
A great many millions have eaten a piece of bread and sipped a bit of wine, (or grape juice) and have walked away lost and on their way to Hell, only thinking they were Christians!