Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Eucharist (Part 1)

Introduction

Today we will do something different and take on a new topic, namely the Lord’s Supper, from a Catholic point of view. Most Protestants that I know view the Lord’s Supper (or Communion) as a solemn ritual, a symbolic yet profound commemoration, or reminder, of the saving work that Jesus Christ did on the cross.

But to the Catholic, it is much more. The Catholic version of the biblical communion service is the celebration of the Eucharist, and the Catholic Church celebrates it daily in its Mass (church service). To the Catholic, the Eucharist (bread and wine) is considered a sacrifice, and is the ACTUAL BODY, BLOOD, SOUL and DIVINITY of Jesus Christ (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], paragraph #1374). They believe that when the priest consecrates these two elements, that the bread miraculously changes into Jesus’ literal, physical body, and the wine into His literal, physical blood. They call this “transubstantiation,” which means the appearance of the elements remains the same, but the actual substance or essence is (supposedly) changed. And because they believe that the bread and wine are now actually JESUS, HIMSELF, then these two elements are worthy to be worshipped (CCC #1378).

Having said that, I don’t see how anyone, Catholic or otherwise, can be indifferent, apathetic, or “neutral” on this issue. Can anyone say, “Well, I like it, but that’s just me,” or, “Yeah, it’s OK, but I can do without it,” or, “It’s no big deal,” or “It may be OK for you, but I don’t have to do it”…? If it is indeed the actual body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ, if it is really HIM, then we should ALL be eagerly lining up to worship this bread and wine (Eucharist). But if these are NOT actually Jesus… then it is, by definition, idolatry.

Folks, we need to understand the seriousness of this contrast. I repeat, it is either Jesus Christ, Himself…or it is not Jesus at all. There is no middle ground here. The Eucharist is either a very good thing… or a very bad thing. It cannot be “kind of good,” or “kind of bad.” Either it is acceptable and wonderful worship of the Savior… or it is an abominable and disgusting act of idolatry. That’s why I say that we cannot be indifferent on this topic.

Remember, the Eucharist is one of THE central teachings in the Catholic Church, and is considered “the source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC #1324). Since it is a very extraordinary claim, Catholics need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Eucharist is what they say it is. The stakes are high, so let us examine the Catholic arguments and see if they hold water.


Literal or Symbolic?

CATHOLIC CLAIM – JESUS SAID IN JOHN CHAPTER 6, “WHOEVER EATS MY FLESH AND DRINKS MY BLOOD HAS ETERNAL LIFE.” HE COULD ONLY HAVE BEEN SPEAKING OF THE EUCHARIST, AND WAS THEREFORE SPEAKING LITERALLY.

There are several reasons to believe that Jesus was NOT speaking literally in John chapter 6. First, we need to ask, to whom was Jesus speaking? He was speaking to the multitudes (the people), v. 22 and 24. But whenever He spoke to the multitudes, He spoke to them in parables (figurative language). This was the NORM:


Matthew 13:10-11 - And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He 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.

Matthew 13:34 - "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them"

Mark 4:11 - And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Mark 4:34 - But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.

If this is true, then we have strong evidence that He was NOT speaking to this multitude literally, but metaphorically, or symbolically.

Secondly, right in the middle of this very same sermon, we see symbolic language used (John 6:35):

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.

Are we to believe that whoever came to Jesus and believed on Him would never physically hunger or thirst again? Of course not. Jesus was simply using an analogy and comparing one's coming to Him with "hunger", and one's believing on Him with "thirst." Obviously figurative language. Starting with verse 26, Jesus is contrasting the physical with the spiritual, and He uses symbolic language to do it.

Thirdly, notice that the author of this gospel (John) records many of the symbolic remarks of Jesus. For example, of the four gospels, only in John are these terms used by Jesus: “born again,” “living water,” “meat that ye know not of,” “destroy this temple,” and the “I am” sayings (see below). Therefore, we have good reason to believe that Jesus was speaking symbolically in John chapter 6.


No Pampering for the Non-Committed

CATHOLIC CLAIM – BUT SINCE HIS DISCIPLES WALKED AWAY FROM HIM (John 6:66) WHEN HE SAID, “EAT MY FLESH” AND “DRINK MY BLOOD,” HE HAD TO BE SPEAKING LITERALLY. JESUS WAS A GOOD TEACHER AND ANY GOOD TEACHER, IF SPEAKING FIGURATIVELY, WOULD NOT HAVE LET THEM WALK AWAY. HE WOULD HAVE SAID, “HEY, WAIT A MINUTE, COME BACK… I WAS ONLY USING SYMBOLIC LANGUAGE!”

No, Jesus was not obligated to chase after these false "followers" and beg them to come back. They didn't have the commitment or trust to stick with Him, thus proving that they were not true believers. His job is not to "baby" or pacify those who reject His teachings. Like we said earlier, the norm is that He would only explain things privately to His own disciples, not to the crowds publicly. If the Catholic wants to say that John 6 is NOT the norm, then the burden is on him to prove that.


Repetition

CATHOLIC CLAIM – IN CHAPTER 6 OF JOHN, WE FIND, NOT JUST ONCE, BUT SEVERAL TIMES, JESUS SAYING THAT WE MUST “EAT HIS FLESH” AND “DRINK HIS BLOOD”. THIS REPETITION INTENSIFIES HIS STATEMENT AND LETS US KNOW THAT HE MEANT IT LITERALLY.

No, not at all. THIRTY times in the New Testament, Jesus is presented as the “Lamb of God,” or “the Lamb.” If repetition proves that something is literal, then He must be a literal, physical lamb. But everyone knows that this is symbolic language. So, this Catholic argument doesn’t work, either.


Dangerous Symbols?

CATHOLIC CLAIM – IF YOU DESTROY A STATUE OR PHOTOGRAPH OF SOMEONE, YOU WOULD NOT BE GUILTY OF HARMING THAT PERSON, SINCE STATUES AND PHOTOGRAPHS ARE ONLY SYMBOLS. I CORINTHIANS 11:27-29 SAYS THAT WE CAN BE GUILTY OF PROFANING THE BODY AND BLOOD OF THE LORD DURING COMMUNION AND THUS, SUFFER CONDEMNATION. SO, HOW COULD PROFANING A MERE SYMBOL CAUSE SOMEONE TO BE CONDEMNED?

One can indeed, suffer condemnation because of a “mere symbol.” Consider this:

Genesis 17:10 - This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

17:14 - And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

What if the Old Testament Jews despised, or somehow profaned, their God-given sign of circumcision (Genesis 17:10-11)? Would they have escaped judgment for this? Circumcision was their very identity (physically) as God's people. Would God have said, "Oh, well, that's OK, since it's just a symbol"? No, God would have cut them off from the very covenant they despised. To despise the sign / symbol of the covenant (circumcision) is to despise the One with Whom the covenant is made. In the same way, to despise or profane the symbols of the bread and wine of the New Covenant is to despise the One to Whom the elements point, i.e., Jesus and His work on the cross.


Context, Context, Context

SYMBOLICALLY SPEAKING, EATING FLESH AND DRINKING BLOOD WAS ALWAYS USED IN A NEGATIVE WAY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT (PSALM 27:2; ISAIAH 9:20; 49:26; MICAH 3:3; 2 SAMUEL 23:17), AS IN DESTROYING, REVILING OR ASSAULTING AN ENEMY. SINCE THAT IS THE SYMBOLIC MEANING, WOULDN’T JESUS’ WORDS IN JOHN 6 MEAN, “HE WHO REVILES OR ASSAULTS ME HAS ETERNAL LIFE”? THIS, OF COURSE, IS ABSURD. IT MAKES FAR MORE SENSE IF LITERAL.

These terms were indeed used in that way in some Old Testament passages. But this argument is assuming that there can only be one symbolic interpretation possible for phrases that are similar. Jesus sets the context for us in John 6 and it is certainly not the same context as those Old Testament verses mentioned. Those contexts were about war, mistreatment, judgment and punishment, NONE of which have to do with Jesus’ meaning here. To limit the meaning of Jesus’ words to “destroying, reviling, or assaulting” as the only possible symbolism, is to utterly ignore the overall context, as well as to ignore the very symbolism used within it.

So, what DID Jesus really mean when He said to “eat My flesh” and “drink My blood” if He wasn’t referring to the Eucharist? He was referring to His work on the cross, where His body would be “broken” (like bread) and His blood would be “poured out” (like wine). In this context, to “eat” and “drink” (spiritually and symbolically) means to PARTAKE OF, to ACCEPT, to BELIEVE, to TRUST IN His work at Calvary.


He Didn’t Say…

CATHOLIC CLAIM – DURING THE LORD’S SUPPER, JESUS NEVER SAID, “PRETEND THAT THIS IS MY BODY AND BLOOD,” AND HE DIDN’T SAY, “THIS IS LIKE MY BODY AND BLOOD.” HE SAID, “THIS IS MY BODY AND BLOOD.” THIS PROVES HE WAS BEING LITERAL.

He also said, "I AM the vine..." (John 15:5), "I AM the light of the world..." (John 8:12), "I AM the good Shepherd..." (John 10:11), and "I AM the door..." (John 10:7). Does anyone think that any of these statements were meant physically and literally? Hardly. He didn't say, "PRETEND that I am the vine," etc., in these contexts either. But how are any of these statements any different from, "I AM the Bread of Life..." (John 6:35)? The point is, they’re not any different…they’re all symbolic.

By the way, if Catholics want to be specific about which words were NOT used at the Last Supper, it can be pointed out that neither did He use the words “miracle,” “changed,” “soul and divinity,” “real presence,” “to make present,” “RE-presented,” or “merits grace.” He doesn’t call the bread or wine a “propitiation” or a “sacrament,” much less a “sacrament of redemption.” And He mentions nothing of a “priesthood.” The Catholic Church connects ALL of these with the Eucharistic Mass, but the biblical accounts of the Last Supper mention NONE of these. Many extraordinary claims, but no proof.


Unanimous Consent?

CATHOLIC CLAIM – WHY SHOULD WE BELIEVE WHAT PROTESTANTS SAY WHEN ALL THE CHURCH FATHERS WERE UNANIMOUS IN THEIR BELIEF ABOUT THE EUCHARIST? EVERY SINGLE CHURCH FATHER BELIEVED AS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BELIEVES IT TODAY. NONE OF THEM, BEFORE THE REFORMATION, EVER BELIEVED THAT THE EUCHARIST WAS ONLY SYMBOLIC.

This is certainly debatable, and a number of Protestant apologists have dealt with this topic already (quite successfully, I believe). I will leave the specific views of each church father to those more qualified to debate that. However, my point here is simply this: Depending on the church fathers to prove the truth of a particular doctrine is risky and it raises more questions than it answers.

The fact is that the church fathers, however wise and respected, were not infallible. Their writings are useful and informative, but they had faults just like you and me. They too, needed to “study to show themselves approved.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

But even if they WOULD HAVE unanimously agreed on the Eucharist (and I certainly do not believe this is the case), this still would not prove the argument. Majority vote does not prove truth. As the Scripture says, “…let God be true, but every man a liar…” (Romans 3:4)

The question is, can this Catholic doctrine be found within the pages of the ultimate Standard, God’s Word? If no, then why WOULD it not be found in the Bible, since the Eucharist is such an IMPORTANT teaching of the Catholic Church? If yes, then please show it to us. So far, this extraordinary claim has not been proven at all.

24 comments:

  1. Hmm, a thorough post. However, I have some objections.

    1) "First, we need to ask, to whom was Jesus speaking? He was speaking to the multitudes (the people), v. 22 and 24. But whenever He spoke to the multitudes, He spoke to them in parables (figurative language)."

    That may be, but we see then v. 60: "Many of his DISCIPLES, when they heard it, said, '"This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?'" If what you are saying is true, if everything he had said was a parable or figurative speech, then Jesus should have explained what he had said in easier language to at least His disciples. But no, he used even more difficult language.

    "Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life."

    This he said not only to those "false followers" as you put them, but also to the APOSTLES, for "Jesus said to the twelve, 'Do you also wish to go away?'" (v. 67)

    In other words, there was no further clarification by Jesus of His discourse to ANYONE: crowd, disciple, or apostle. Therefore, your premise that John chapter 6 is in figurative language because of the audience is false.

    2) "No, not at all. THIRTY times in the New Testament, Jesus is presented as the “Lamb of God,” or “the Lamb.” If repetition proves that something is literal, then He must be a literal, physical lamb. But everyone knows that this is symbolic language. So, this Catholic argument doesn’t work, either."

    Thirty times in the WHOLE New Testament, a compilation of 27 books by different authors, is a statistic. Jesus saying SIX TIMES that His Body should be eaten and FOUR TIMES His Blood should be drunk to have eternal life in SIX CONSECUTIVE VERSES (v. 53-58) is a statement.

    3)"In the same way, to despise or profane the symbols of the bread and wine of the New Covenant is to despise the One to Whom the elements point, i.e., Jesus and His work on the cross."

    The original Greek word for "profane" in 1 Cor. 11:27 is "enochos," which is actually a very strong word:

    http://www.searchgodsword.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=1777

    Therefore, 1 Cor. 11:27 says that to take the Eucharist in an unworthy manner is guilty of MURDERING the Body and Blood of Jesus.

    There is no parallel in Scripture of such a severe insult to not just God but what they "symbolize" resulting from profaning a symbol.

    4) "He also said, "I AM the vine..." (John 15:5), "I AM the light of the world..." (John 8:12), "I AM the good Shepherd..." (John 10:11), and "I AM the door..." (John 10:7). Does anyone think that any of these statements were meant physically and literally? Hardly. He didn't say, "PRETEND that I am the vine," etc., in these contexts either. But how are any of these statements any different from, "I AM the Bread of Life..." (John 6:35)? The point is, they’re not any different…they’re all symbolic."

    So when Jesus said "Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?" (v 61-62) He was talking symbolically?

    5) "The fact is that the church fathers, however wise and respected, were not infallible."

    Ahhh...but who compiled the New Testament again?

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  2. Hi nuntym,

    Thank you for your response.

    On your first point, you said:

    “If what you are saying is true, if everything he had said was a parable or figurative speech, then Jesus should have explained what he had said in easier language to at least His disciples. But no, he used even more difficult language.”

    First of all, it is not my intent, nor the intent (I believe) of the gospel writer to say that EVERY SINGLE THING spoken to the crowds had to necessarily be figurative, but was, for the most part, spoken in parables. Remember, as I said in the article, parables were the NORM when speaking to the crowds.

    Secondly, it is possible that He DID later speak to them privately about this, but it’s just not recorded.

    Thirdly, I do think that it is wrong to assume that Jesus was OBLIGATED to chase after these so-called disciples, especially since they were rejecting Him, as I brought out in the article.

    On point 2, you said:

    “Thirty times in the WHOLE New Testament, a compilation of 27 books by different authors, is a statistic. Jesus saying SIX TIMES that His Body should be eaten and FOUR TIMES His Blood should be drunk to have eternal life in SIX CONSECUTIVE VERSES (v. 53-58) is a statement.”

    Nuntym, your distinction between a “statistic” and a “statement” is simply splitting hairs. As I said, repetition, whether it is closely spaced or spaced far apart, still does not prove “literalness”.

    On point 3, you said:

    “There is no parallel in Scripture of such a severe insult to not just God but what they "symbolize" resulting from profaning a symbol.”

    I believe I already dealt with this when I pointed out that in Genesis 17:10-14, the Jew who despised circumcision (a symbol) would have been cut off from the covenant. Again, the “severity of an insult” does not prove whether something is symbolic or literal.

    On point 4, you said:

    “So when Jesus said "Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?" (v 61-62) He was talking symbolically?”

    No, not at all. As I said earlier, not every single thing that Jesus said in John 6 was figurative. But my point here was that all the “I am” verses were figurative, and they share an obvious parallel with “I am the Bread of Life” in John 6.

    On point 5, concerning the fathers (and infallibility), you said:

    “Ahhh...but who compiled the New Testament again?”

    Nuntym, just because some of the fathers correctly recognized the canon of the New Testament, this does not mean that they were infallible. We don’t need to BE infallible in order to RECOGNIZE “the Infallible” (i.e., the Scriptures), or else none of us would ever be able to recognize God and His dealings with us.

    Anyway, I hope to have an article very soon specifically on the canon issue. Stay tuned.

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  3. I don't want to go into too much back and forth on this subject at the moment, but this is what St Cyril of Alexandria said against Nestorius at the Council of Ephesus:

    "Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the Only-begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer the Unbloody Sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, having received his Holy Flesh and the Precious Blood of Christ the Saviour of us all. And not as common flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the Life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. For he is the Life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his Flesh, he made it also to be Life-giving, as also he said to us: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood."
    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.x.viii.html


    Look at what is affirmed here:
    1) The Mass is a Sacrifice.
    2) Jesus is substantially present.
    3) John 6 was seen as the Eucharist.

    This is the Third Ecumenical Council, which even Protestants generally say they accept. From a Protestant point of view, what was said here is unBiblical and very blasphemous and not part of true Christianity.

    Russell, do you believe the Council of Epehesus, in this main decree, accepted by all orthodox Christians, was speaking utter heresy here? If not, on what grounds do you excuse it?

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  4. Hi Nick,

    I haven’t studied the writings of Cyril of Alexandria, so I’m not very familiar with the whole context. But if this Council of Ephesus is indeed speaking of the Eucharist in the same sense as the Catholic Church does, then yes, it is teaching heresy here… for reasons explained in both Part 1 and Part 2 of the article.

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  5. Russell,

    One has a duty to follow the truth regardless of where it leads. If you think the Council of Ephesus (and by implication all Christians throughout history who have embraced it) actually espoused and built off of major heresy, you're called to reject it. That said, for safety sake, one should be slow in casting off the great majority of Christendom as heretics on one's own whim, for the 'maverick' mentality is not that of Christ or the Gospel.

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  6. Hi Nick,

    I agree with you that one should not be quick to reject what other believers have held on to for such a long time. My rejection of the Eucharist is not based on a whim, though. I've spent a long time studying the relevant Scriptures and many, many of the arguments for and against it.

    I do thank you for your concern, and I believe that you are sincere in telling me this. But I believe that the biblical evidence against this teaching (the Eucharist) is sufficient enough (even overwhelmingly) to base my beliefs on.

    Thanks again, Nick, for the admonition to remain in the truth. I plan to do just that.

    Sincerely,
    Russell

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  7. @ Nick - AMEN!

    @ Russell - I hate to tell you this, but you're sadly mistaken, misguided and woefully so. Sorry. You're way 'off the rails.'

    Syllogism:

    Apart from Him we can do nothing.
    Jesus Christ and His Church are one.
    Therefore, apart from His Church we can 'do nothing' except potentially lose our way by deceiving ourselves.

    The danger looms that we then fall into serious error 'apart from His Church' unless we're given the faith to see the 'error of OUR WAYS' which demands of us, to ASK of the Truth. THEN demands of us to SEEK THE TRUTH, and THEN, KNOW THE TRUTH. Once you know the Truth, you'll...
    regret spreading falsehood and lies about the Catholic Church. You're 'arguments' here and on my blog are empty and very tedious.

    Nick is right, you need to actually 'READ' St. Cyprian and SEE THE CONTEXT in FULL. That's where so many who have 'ought' against the CC show their 'true colors.' They (like I did years ago) leave on a whim, via some emotional 'gush' at 'finding Jesus' or some 'new idea' or someone's words or tracts that places 'doubt' in their hearts/minds.

    Then thinking they're *now* enlightened, they must visit other Catholics on their blogs to spew their newly gained 'wisdom' which is NOT new but very old ... ancient heresy all dressed up in modern clothes. Nothing new under the sun.

    They grab hold of a 'non-denom' worldview, thinking it's so NEW and FRESH and FREE and ALIVE and not bound by any tradition, which is BUNK. They're now enamored by another man's, or woman's opinions, and get jazzed up at 'choruses sung for 45 minutes' and the 'great preaching' after that by someone taking some verses out of context from the bible.

    The weird thing is if they then 'disagree' w/ that pastor they used to admire, they just go 'start their own church' becoming their own little popes. HOW CONVENIENT!

    Purporting to love the Bible they preach from, they detest the Church who gave it to them. Astounding! Their minds are becoming more cloudy by the day, and more darkened from living by and for themselves, "leaning to their own understanding." We are exhorted to NOT do that by the Church AND by the bible!

    That's a dismal way to live. Been there. Done that. For over 30 years I did that. Never again!

    May you one day find your way back to home,to ROME SWEET HOME! :) A SUPERB book, btw, written by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. Good day. Happy reading.

    I 'double dog dare you' to read Rome Sweet Home, and Surprised By Truth, Vol. 1. Ok... just having some fun w/ ya. But seriously, I hope you will. You need to be educated about the CC, and STOP spreading lies about His Church. It won't go well for you if you continue. He's very FOND of HIS BRIDE!

    PAX CHRISTI

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  8. Hello Susie,

    Thanks for your comment.

    My, my! It seems I am “sadly mistaken,” “woefully misguided,” “way off the rails,” “spreading falsehood and lies,” my arguments are “empty” and “very tedious,” I “detest the church that gave me the Bible,” I “need to be educated about the CC”… we have a whole lot of assertions here, but Susie, I don’t see any arguments from you to back up those assertions.

    Please SHOW me where I am mistaken or misguided, and exactly what I said that was a lie, etc., etc. Anyone can throw accusations around, but please help me to understand where you think I went wrong. In the article, I used Scripture, logic, and even the Catechism of the Catholic Church… sources I think you would agree with. If I used those sources wrongly, show me how I did that.

    Concerning the church fathers, I’ll take the words of Jesus Christ, John, Paul, and Matthew any day over the Council of Ephesus, Cyprian or Cyril (or any other church father). Catholics are always quick to turn to the fathers, but since Scripture is a greater authority, let’s look to it FIRST to determine whether the Catholic Eucharist is a valid doctrine. Let’s start with something that we both have in common, the Bible. If the doctrine of the Eucharist contradicts Scripture, we need no further arguments.

    By the way, I do have the book, “Rome Sweet Home,” and, honestly, found it to be very depressing. I also read “Surprised by Truth,” Volumes 1 and 3 (I never could get a hold of Volume 2). I thought they were interesting, but felt that they just parroted the usual (unscriptural) Catholic arguments.

    Anyway, if want to discuss the Eucharist from a biblical standpoint, I’ll be more than happy to. Thanks again for your response.

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  9. Literal or Symbolic?

    Russell, you are saying Jesus is a liar...

    1. If Jesus Bread of Life symbolically, Jesus said it to a multitude of people (John 6:24) several times (John 6:35,48,51,53,54,55,56); did Jesus say only once?
    2. If Jesus Bread of Life symbolically, the disciples said "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" (John 6:60); is the teaching of Jesus all lies?
    3. If Jesus Bread of Life symbolically, Jesus even ask his disciples "Does this offend you?" (John 6:61); why did Jesus bother asking them if not real?
    4. If Jesus Bread of Life symbolically, Jesus ask his disciples "You do not want to leave too, do you?" (John 6:67); why did Jesus wonder why they are staying?
    5. If Jesus Bread of Life symbolically, Jesus reply to the disciples “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (John 6:70); who betrayed in Passover?
    6. If Jesus Bread of Life symbolically, Jesus said to the disciples "Take and eat; this is my body","Drink from it, all of you. This is my Blood..." (Matthew 26:26-28).
    ... many many more.

    You said:
    "I believe that a person's doctrine affects his relationship with God, therefore, Scriptural Teaching is of the utmost importance"; but do you live it? (John 6:62-66) You are the living proof of the disciples that turned there backs on Jesus. I hope one day you will see that in your heart.

    You said:
    "I just want to share some things with Catholics (and others) that God has shared with me"; do you really believed that God Almighty will share to you the teachings and the words of his only beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to save YOU, a symbolism? (John 6:44-51) You are surely a hypocrite.

    (John 6:62-66) 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

    (John 6:44-51) 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[d] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

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  10. Literal or Symbolic?

    Russell, you are saying Jesus is a liar...

    1. If Jesus Bread of Life symbolically, Jesus said it to a multitude of people (John 6:24) several times (John 6:35,48,51,53,54,55,56); why will Jesus say several times?
    2. If Jesus Bread of Life symbolically, the disciples said "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" (John 6:60); is the teaching of Jesus all lies?
    3. If Jesus Bread of Life symbolically, Jesus even ask his disciples "Does this offend you?" (John 6:61); why did Jesus bother asking them if not real?
    4. If Jesus Bread of Life symbolically, Jesus ask his disciples "You do not want to leave too, do you?" (John 6:67); why did Jesus wonder why they are staying?
    5. If Jesus Bread of Life symbolically, Jesus reply to the disciples “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (John 6:70); who betrayed in Passover?
    6. If Jesus Bread of Life symbolically, Jesus said to the disciples "Take and eat; this is my body","Drink from it, all of you. This is my Blood..." (Matthew 26:26-28).
    ... many many more.

    You said:
    "I believe that a person's doctrine affects his relationship with God, therefore, Scriptural Teaching is of the utmost importance"; but do you live it? (John 6:62-66) You are the living proof of the disciples that turned there backs on Jesus. I hope one day you will see that in your heart.

    You said:
    "I just want to share some things with Catholics (and others) that God has shared with me"; do you really believed that God the Father Almighty will share to you the teachings and the words of his only beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to save YOU, a symbolism? (John 6:44-46) You are surely a hypocrite.


    (John 6:62-66) 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

    (John 6:44-46) 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.

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  11. Hello John,

    Thank you for your comments.

    You made several strong accusations above. You said that I was calling Jesus a liar, apparently just because I believe that He was using symbolism in His language. John, if you believe that Jesus calls Himself a “door” (John 10:7), a “shepherd” (John 10:11), a “light” (John 8:12), or a “vine” (John 15:5), (obviously symbolic language), does that make you a liar, also? Of course not.

    I believe that I have clearly shown in the article above (Part 1) and also in Part 2, that Jesus was indeed speaking metaphorically, or symbolically. But just because a person is speaking in symbols does not mean he is lying.

    And what if Jesus said these things more than once, as you implied? Does that make His statement literal? Not necessarily. We always need to look at the context. All this is explained in the articles, so I have to wonder if you really read the whole articles.

    You asked about Jesus questioning the disciples to see if they were offended and if they wanted to leave Him. But this too is all dealt with in the articles.

    You equated me with the disciples who left Jesus, saying that I was “living proof” of those who turned their backs on Him, and you call me a hypocrite, all because I believe that He was speaking symbolically.

    John, with all due respect, I believe that you have fallen victim to the deception of Catholic apologists who will stop at nothing to defend “Mother Church” and her teachings at any cost, no matter how far-fetched they may be.

    At the beginning of Part 1, I mentioned that the Catholic Eucharist is either very good or very bad. It is either Jesus, Himself in the Eucharist, or it is the worship of something that is NOT God (idolatry). So, one of us is very wrong. But to sift through the arguments, we need to put away the hype and the emotions that often come with these arguments. I am convinced that these passions and emotion will blind one from seeing the biblical truth. You can only come to the conclusion that He was speaking literally if you break all sorts of rules, ignore biblical principles, violate context, and throw common sense out the door.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Russell,

      It's funny to read all your comments, because it's to sounds familiar from all none Catholics that's trying to distort our believes and making theirs believable. What happen to all these none Catholics, they all became "CATHOLICS" and you know why??? In trying to find the truth, they never find the truth and you know why??? Because it's not the man who finds the truth, but the truth finds the man, because the truth is a person, it's Jesus Christ the Son of God. So my brother Russell, I understand your way of viewing the truth, because your only viewing the truth from the book and not the person. Because before the book came alive in words, it was alive in actions and works through Jesus Christ. Stop reading the book page-by-page, but try to live the book page-by-page through the actions and works of Jesus Christ. From there you will see Jesus reactions and frustrations from man who don't want to hear and live the truth. But Jesus is awesome, because even man don't want to live and follow the truth, He still saved you and me and all of us by dying on the cross...

      The Lord be with you,
      John

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  12. Russell,

    "Do this is remeberence of me" actually has sacrificial overtones and thus supports the Eucharist.

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  13. Hello Anonymous,

    Of course it has sacrificial overtones, since it is pointing to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross! The cross is the substance, the Eucharist (communion) is a symbol that points to the substance.

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  14. So, you agree with us?

    See this article and tell me your thoughts:

    http://www.justforcatholics.org/a164.htm

    You deny Protestant teaching???

    Expect you conversion to Catholicism soon!!!!!

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  15. Anonymous,

    You asked:

    “So, you agree with us?”

    I’m not sure why you’re asking this, given my previous answer.

    Concerning the article you linked to, I totally agree with it. But neither I nor the article agrees with Catholicism.

    You said:

    “You deny Protestant teaching???”

    What Protestant teaching am I denying here? The Eucharist / Communion itself is NOT a sacrifice, but it POINTS TO a sacrifice (the cross).

    And why would you expect my conversion to Catholicism from my comments above? None of what you’re saying makes sense.

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  16. I see why you reject the Eucharist. Because you are a gnostic!

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  17. Hi Russell,

    Please check out this article and tell me your thoughts on it:
    http://www.romereports.com/2017/01/29/scientific-evidence-of-eucharistic-miracles

    Thanks,
    Jonathon

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  18. Hello again Jonathon,

    Good to hear from you.

    One of the first things I thought about this is, since this is “absolute proof” of the Eucharist becoming the physical body and blood of Jesus, then why didn’t they EAT the thing, since that’s what Jesus commanded, didn’t He? If this is the “literalness” that Jesus spoke of, then shouldn’t the apostles at the last supper have cut out Jesus’ heart on the spot and ate it? Logically, this would have been an act of obedience, if Jesus was speaking literally, right? This is the ridiculous conclusion that one must come to in light of the “evidence” presented by these guys on your link.

    Jonathon, as I said in Part 2 of this series, if this is a true miracle, it should be verifiable and obvious (as all the miracles in the New Testament were) EACH and EVERY TIME the bread and wine are consecrated, not just on rare occasions.

    Jonathon, remember the sorcerers in Exodus 7:11? They copied Aaron's miracle by turning a rod into a serpent? So, should we believe that these magicians were also approved by God just because they showed “signs and wonders”? After all, they were able to duplicate Aaron’s miracle, right? No, they were sent to DECEIVE the people. The sorcerers were not from God just because they did a “miracle.” It was a lying sign / wonder. It was from the devil and it was meant to trick Moses and his people. And likewise, these “Eucharistic miracles” are meant to deceive. It does not line up with Scripture, as both Part 1 and Part 2 of the series demonstrate.

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  19. What do say about Paul saying That, that bread is it not the body of Christ and wine is it not His blood? Was Paul speaking in symbols

    1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

    And Jesus in John 6:51, equates the bread to his flesh and then says this flesh He will give for the life of the world? Is this flesh which He will give for the life of the World Symbolic? Where did He give this flesh for the life of the World? On the cross?
    John 6:51 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.

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  20. Aquinas,

    Jesus’ body on the cross was indeed real. But He likens His body and blood (metaphorically) to bread and wine, since His body was “broken” like bread, and His blood was “poured out” like wine.

    This is thoroughly explained in Part one and Part two. It seems that you didn’t bother to read the article(s).

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  21. You did not touch anything concerning my questions in your articles.

    John 6:51
    1. if any man eats of this bread(symbolic bread) he will leave forever. In other words this symbolic bread will make one to live forever. And it has to be eaten.
    2. The bread(symbolic) i shall give is my flesh. So if the bread is symbolic then the flesh should also be symbolic here.
    3. Which i give for the life of the World. He gave His symbolic flesh for the life of the world?

    You are not consistent in your metaphorical intepretation. If the flesh he speaks of is metaphorical then the flesh on the cross was metaphorical as well. You are picking and choosing were it fits you.

    And about Paul, you did not answer,his questions were is it not the communion in the blood/body Christ. Why would he ask in such a way if he was speaking metaphorically?

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  22. Aquinas,

    Catholics like to really bear down on John 6 as being literal, as though it is ALL literal. But that can’t be. See verse 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.”

    If everything in John 6 (including v. 35) is literal, then John is one confused apostle. If this verse is literal, then someone can eat this bread of life (Communion) and NEVER PHYSICALLY hunger again. And someone can believe on Jesus and NEVER PHYSICALLY thirst again. This would make no sense.

    Aquinas, this was all explained in the article already. There is a definite pattern here; apparently, you either do not read what you are critiquing, or you have trouble comprehending those things you read. But there is one more option, here, and I believe that this is what’s really going on – you are just another one of “Mother Church’s” faithful followers who will not accept the possibility that there are any problems with her teachings. As the saying goes, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

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