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Showing posts with label The Lord's Supper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Lord's Supper. Show all posts

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Read 55 Amazing Facts on Jesus Death

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Below are facts on How Jesus Died For You. I do not think that we really understand how much Jesus did for us. Please share this post to spread the Good News of Jesus.
Crucifixion was invented by the Persians in 300 BC, and perfected by the Romans in 100 BC.

1. It is the most painful death ever invented by man and is where we get our term "excruciating."

2. It was reserved primarily for the most vicious of male criminals.

3. Jesus was stripped naked and His clothing divided by the Roman guards. This was in fulfillment of Psalm 22:18, "They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots."

4. The Crucifixion of Jesus guaranteed a horrific, slow, painful death.

5. Jesus' knees were flexed at about 45 degrees, and He was forced to bear His
weight with the muscles of His thigh, which is not an anatomical position which is possible to maintain for more than a few minutes without severe cramp in the muscles of the thigh and calf.

6. Jesus' weight was borne on His feet, with nails driven through them. As the strength of the muscles of Jesus' lower limbs tired, the weight of His body had to be transferred to His wrists, His arms, and His shoulders.

7. Within a few minutes of being placed on the Cross, Jesus' shoulders were dislocated. Minutes later Jesus' elbows and wrists became dislocated.

8. The result of these upper limb dislocations is that His arms were 9 inches longer than normal, as clearly shown on the Shroud.

9. In addition prophecy was fulfilled in Psalm 22:14, "I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint."

10. After Jesus' wrists, elbows, and shoulders were dislocated, the weight of His body on his upper limbs caused traction forces on the Pectoralis Major muscles of His chest wall.

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11. These traction forces caused His rib cage to be pulled upwards and outwards, in a most unnatural state. His chest wall was permanently in a position of maximal respiratory inspiration. In order to exhale, Jesus was physiologically required to force His body.

12. In order to breathe out, Jesus had to push down on the nails in His feet to raise His body, and allow His rib cage to move downwards and inwards to expire air from His lungs.

13. His lungs were in a resting position of constant maximum inspiration. Crucifixion is a medical catastrophe.

14. The problem was that Jesus could not easily push down on the nails in His feet because the muscles of His legs, bent at 45 degrees, were extremely fatigued, in severe cramp, and in an anatomically compromised position.

15. Unlike all Hollywood movies about the Crucifixion, the victim was extremely active. The crucified victim was physiologically forced to move up and down the cross, a distance of about 12 inches, in order to breathe.

16. The process of respiration caused excruciating pain, mixed with the absolute terror of asphyxiation.

17. As the six hours of the Crucifixion wore on, Jesus was less and less able to bear His weight on His legs, as His thigh and calf muscles became increasingly exhausted. There was increasing dislocation of His wrists, elbows and shoulders, and further elevation of His chest wall, making His breathing more and more difficult. Within minutes of crucifixion Jesus became severely dyspnoeic (short of breath).

18. His movements up and down the Cross to breathe caused excruciating pain in His wrist, His feet, and His dislocated elbows and shoulders.

19. The movements became less frequent as Jesus became increasingly exhausted, but the terror of imminent death by asphyxiation forced Him to continue in His efforts to breathe.

20. Jesus' lower limb muscles developed excruciating cramp from the effort of pushing down on His legs, to raise His body, so that He could breathe out, in their anatomically compromised position.

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21. The pain from His two shattered median nerves in His wrists exploded with every movement.

22. Jesus was covered in blood and sweat.

23. The blood was a result of the Scourging that nearly killed Him, and the sweat as a result of His violent involuntary attempts to effort to expire air from His lungs. Throughout all this He was completely naked, and the leaders of the Jews, the crowds, and the thieves on both sides of Him were jeering, swearing and laughing at Him. In addition, Jesus' own mother was watching.

24. Physiologically, Jesus' body was undergoing a series of catastrophic and terminal events.

25. Because Jesus could not maintain adequate ventilation of His lungs, He was now in a state of hypo-ventilation (inadequate ventilation).

26. His blood oxygen level began to fall, and He developed Hypoxia (low blood oxygen). In addition, because of His restricted respiratory movements, His blood carbon dioxide (CO2) level began to rise, a condition known as Hypercritical.

27. This rising CO2 level stimulated His heart to beat faster in order to increase the delivery of oxygen, and the removal of CO2.

28. The Respiratory Center in Jesus' brain sent urgent messages to his lungs to breathe faster, and Jesus began to pant.

29. Jesus' physiological reflexes demanded that He took deeper breaths, and He involuntarily moved up and down the Cross much faster, despite the excruciating pain. The agonizing movements spontaneously started several times a minute, to the delight of the crowd who jeered Him, the Roman soldiers, and the Sanhedrin.

30. However, due to the nailing of Jesus to the Cross and His increasing exhaustion, He was unable to provide more oxygen to His oxygen starved body.

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31. The twin forces of Hypoxia (too little oxygen) and Hypercapnia (too much CO2) caused His heart to beat faster and faster, and Jesus developed Tachycardia.

32. Jesus' heart beat faster and faster, and His pulse rate was probably about 220 beats/minute, the maximum normally sustainable.

33. Jesus had drunk nothing for 15 hours, since 6 pm the previous evening. Jesus had endured a scourging which nearly killed Him.

34. He was bleeding from all over His body following the Scourging, the crown of thorns, the nails in His wrists and feet, and the lacerations following His beatings and falls.

35. Jesus was already very dehydrated, and His blood pressure fell alarmingly.

36. His blood pressure was probably about 80/50.

37. He was in First Degree Shock, with Hypovolaemia (low blood volume), Tachycardia (excessively fast Heart Rate), Tachypnoea (excessively fast Respiratory Rate), and Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).

38. By about noon Jesus' heart probably began to fail.

39. Jesus' lungs probably began to fill up with Pulmonary Oedema.

40. This only served to exacerbate His breathing, which was already severely compromised.

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41. Jesus was in Heart Failure and Respiratory Failure.

42. Jesus said, "I thirst" because His body was crying out for fluids.

43. Jesus was in desperate need of an intravenous infusion of blood and plasma to save His life

44. Jesus could not breathe properly and was slowly suffocating to death.

45. At this stage Jesus probably developed a Haemopericardium.

46. Plasma and blood gathered in the space around His heart, called the Pericardium.

47. This fluid around His heart caused Cardiac Tamponade (fluid around His heart, which prevented Jesus' heart from beating properly).

48. Because of the increasing physiological demands on Jesus' heart, and the advanced state of Haemopericardium, Jesus probably eventually sustained Cardiac Rupture. His heart literally burst. This was probably the cause of His death.

49. To slow the process of death the soldiers put a small wooden seat on the Cross, which would allow Jesus the "privilege" of bearing His weight on his sacrum.

50. The effect of this was that it could take up to nine days to die on a Cross.

51. When the Romans wanted to expedite death they would simply break the legs of the victim, causing the victim to suffocate in a matter of minutes. This was called Crucifragrum.

52. At three o'clock in the afternoon Jesus said, "Tetelastai," meaning, "It is finished." At that moment, He gave up His Spirit, and He died.

53. When the soldiers came to Jesus to break His legs, He was already dead. Not a bone of His body was broken, in fulfillment of prophecy (above).

54. Jesus died after six hours of the most excruciating and terrifying torture ever invented.

55. Jesus died so that ordinary people like you and me could go to Heaven.

All He Asks You is to Love Him, Your Lord, Your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind!! Can't you even do this for Him?

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Early Church Fathers: Eucharistic Theology

It has been alledged by some well intended Christians that the real presence of Christ under the elements of bread and wine in the Eucharist (Lord's Supper) ceremony was a doctrine that developed late in Church history, culminating in the Council of Trent  (1545–63).  However in summarizing the early Fathers’ teachings on Christ’s Real Presence, renowned Protestant historian of the early Church J. N. D. Kelly, writes: 
"Eucharistic teaching, it should be understood at the outset, was in general unquestioningly realist, i.e., the consecrated bread and wine were taken to be, and were treated and designated as, the Savior’s body and blood" (Early Christian Doctrines, 440).

Personally, I find it difficult to accept such a literalist position, I do believe however that Christ  is truly present at the table with us, as He has promised that "where two or three are gathered to gather in His Name, He is in the midst of them." (Matt. 18:20)

However, historically, from the Church’s early days, the Fathers referred to Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. Kelly writes: "Ignatius roundly declares that . . . [t]he bread is the flesh of Jesus, the cup his blood. Clearly he intends this realism to be taken strictly, for he makes it the basis of his argument against the Docetists’ denial of the reality of Christ’s body. . . . Irenaeus teaches that the bread and wine are really the Lord’s body and blood. His witness is, indeed, all the more impressive because he produces it quite incidentally while refuting the Gnostic and Docetic rejection of the Lord’s real humanity" (ibid., 197–98).

"Hippolytus speaks of ‘the body and the blood’ through which the Church is saved, and Tertullian regularly describes the bread as ‘the Lord’s body.’ The converted pagan, he remarks, ‘feeds on the richness of the Lord’s body, that is, on the Eucharist.’ The realism of his theology comes to light in the argument, based on the intimate relation of body and soul, that just as in baptism the body is washed with water so that the soul may be cleansed, so in the Eucharist ‘the flesh feeds upon Christ’s body and blood so that the soul may be filled with God.’ Clearly his assumption is that the Savior’s body and blood are as real as the baptismal water. Cyprian’s attitude is similar. Lapsed Christians who claim communion without doing penance, he declares, ‘do violence to his body and blood, a sin more heinous against the Lord with their hands and mouths than when they denied him.’ Later he expatiates on the terrifying consequences of profaning the sacrament, and the stories he tells confirm that he took the Real Presence literally" (ibid., 211–12).

Ignatius of Antioch

"I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible" (Letter to the Romans 7:3 [A.D. 110]).

"Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes" (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]). 

Justin Martyr 

"We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]). 


"If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?" (Against Heresies 4:33–32 [A.D. 189]). 

"He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life—flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?" (ibid., 5:2). 

Clement of Alexandria 

"’Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’ The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children" (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]). 


"[T]here is not a soul that can at all procure salvation, except it believe whilst it is in the flesh, so true is it that the flesh is the very condition on which salvation hinges. And since the soul is, in consequence of its salvation, chosen to the service of God, it is the flesh which actually renders it capable of such service. The flesh, indeed, is washed [in baptism], in order that the soul may be cleansed . . . the flesh is shadowed with the imposition of hands [in confirmation], that the soul also may be illuminated by the Spirit; the flesh feeds [in the Eucharist] on the body and blood of Christ, that the soul likewise may be filled with God" (The Resurrection of the Dead 8 [A.D. 210]). 


"‘And she [Wisdom] has furnished her table’ [Prov. 9:2] . . . refers to his [Christ’s] honored and undefiled body and blood, which day by day are administered and offered sacrificially at the spiritual divine table, as a memorial of that first and ever-memorable table of the spiritual divine supper [i.e., 
the Last Supper]" (Fragment from Commentary on Proverbs [A.D. 217]).


"Formerly there was baptism in an obscure way . . . now, however, in full view, there is regeneration in water and in the Holy Spirit. Formerly, in an obscure way, there was manna for food; now, however, in full view, there is the true food, the flesh of the Word of God, as he himself says: ‘My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink’ [John 6:55]" (Homilies on Numbers 7:2 [A.D. 248]).

Cyprian of Carthage

"He [Paul] threatens, moreover, the stubborn and forward, and denounces them, saying, ‘Whosoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’ [1 Cor. 11:27]. All these warnings being scorned and contemned—[lapsed Christians will often take Communion] before their sin is expiated, before confession has been made of their crime, before their conscience has been purged by sacrifice and by the hand of the priest, before the offense of an angry and threatening Lord has been appeased, [and so] violence is done to his body and blood; and they sin now against their Lord more with their hand and mouth than when they denied their Lord" (The Lapsed 15–16 [A.D. 251]).

Council of Nicaea I

"It has come to the knowledge of the holy and great synod that, in some districts and cities, the deacons administer the Eucharist to the presbyters [i.e., priests], whereas neither canon nor custom permits that they who have no right to offer [the Eucharistic sacrifice] should give the Body of Christ to them that do offer [it]" (Canon 18 [A.D. 325]).

Aphraahat the Persian Sage

"After having spoken thus [at the Last Supper], the Lord rose up from the place where he had made the Passover and had given his body as food and his blood as drink, and he went with his disciples to the place where he was to be arrested. But he ate of his own body and drank of his own blood, while he was pondering on the dead. With his own hands the Lord presented his own body to be eaten, and before he was crucified he gave his blood as drink" (Treatises 12:6 [A.D. 340]).

Cyril of Jerusalem

"The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ" (Catechetical Lectures 19:7 [A.D. 350]).

"Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body and blood of Christ. . . . [Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread, even though it is sensible to the taste, but the body of Christ, and that the apparent wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so, . . . partake of that bread as something spiritual, and put a cheerful face on your soul" (ibid., 22:6, 9).

Ambrose of Milan 

"Perhaps you may be saying, ‘I see something else; how can you assure me that I am receiving the body of Christ?’ It but remains for us to prove it. And how many are the examples we might use! . . . Christ is in that sacrament, because it is the body of Christ" (The Mysteries 9:50, 58 [A.D. 390]). 

Theodore of Mopsuestia 

"When [Christ] gave the bread he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my body,’ but, ‘This is my body.’ In the same way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my blood,’ but, ‘This is my blood’; for he wanted us to look upon the [Eucharistic elements] after their reception of grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit not according to their nature, but receive them as they are, the body and blood of our Lord. We ought . . . not regard [the elements] merely as bread and cup, but as the body and blood of the Lord, into which they were transformed by the descent of the Holy Spirit" (Catechetical Homilies 5:1 [A.D. 405]). 


"Christ was carried in his own hands when, referring to his own body, he said, ‘This is my body’ [Matt. 26:26]. For he carried that body in his hands" (Explanations of the Psalms 33:1:10 [A.D. 405]). 

"I promised you [new Christians], who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lord’s Table. . . . That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ" (Sermons 227 [A.D. 411]). 

"What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ. This has been said very briefly, which may perhaps be sufficient for faith; yet faith does not desire instruction" (ibid., 272). 

Council of Ephesus 

"We will necessarily add this also. 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 Savior 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" (Session 1, Letter of Cyril to Nestorius [A.D. 431]).

In Conclusion

Truly Symbolism is always based on realism, or if it is to be believed, it should be. Did Christ truly die for our sins? Yes, indeed, He did. Was His body pierced for my iniquities, and am I by His stripes healed? Yes, indeed. Was His blood offered as an atoning sacrifice for my sins? Yes, indeed it was. Has He kept His promise that, "Lo, He is with us until the end of the age?" Yes, indeed He has. Does, He live in my heart? Yes, indeed He does. By His kind gift of salvation am I assured of my Heavenly reward? Most definitely, I am. Then in obedience I pledge to remember His death, burial, and resurrection until He comes again by commemorating His sacrificial gift of Himself for me, once and for all time.

The real question is, however, is Jesus truly present in the wafer and the wine when I participate in this commemorative act? Yes, I believe that He is present in the process, but am I prepared to say that the wafer contains the body, blood, soul and Divinity of Jesus in form as well as essence? In the sense that He is omnipresent, yes. And, is it not true that He dwells in me? Yes, it certainly is. However to objectify this form in the same way in which His earthly body was objectified and transform and posit Him in bodily form in the thousands of eucharistic services that are conducted each day seem rather unnecessarynot to mention impossible since God can not be divided into piecessince God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth. 

However, since I do not understand how something is done does not give me a right to deny it; otherwise, I would have to deny the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection and a host of other miracles recorded in scripture. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church the following caveat is given for just that reason. It reads:
"The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1350)
Although, this fails to satisfy my intellectual curiosity, it does none-the-less make the singularity of the event significantly a matter of faith. In good conscience, however, I can not as Zwingle did consider the ceremony in which the bread and wine are simply symbols or signs not unlike the symbol of a country's flag that invokes a sense of patriotism or a reminder of what a great country we live in. To put the Lord's supper in the same category of a memorial, say  for instance, like the The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. is not what I think Christ intended.

So for me, The Lord's Supper is not just a reminder, it is also a meeting place where I in communion with the Body of Christ (i.e., His Church) and with Him consider these signs as a reminder that He is indeed with us in the fullness of His presence. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Seder Meal or New Covenant Meal? The choice is not up for grabs!

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a feast that is generally mistaken for Passover. Passover however is only one 24 hour period while Feast of Unleavened Bread lasts for seven days.

Summary verses:

KJV of Mark 14:12

12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the Passover?

Correct Translation:

Mark 14:12, At the beginning of the season of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, His disciples said to Him, Where will you that we go and prepare that you may eat the Passover.

Or as NIV puts it: 12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

Luke 22:7 Then came the season of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed.

Further clarification:

THE “FIRST DAY” OF UNLEAVENED BREAD Mat 26:17 Now the first (#4413) day (not in original) of the feast of (not in original) unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover?

Mark 14:12 And the first (#4413) day (#2250) of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the Passover?
Luke 22:7 Then came the day (#2250) of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed.

The translators have grossly mistranslated these three verses in regards to the words “first” and “day”.  They knew that the Greek used both of these words generally, as well as specifically.  They chose to translate these words specifically – creating a contradiction in the scriptures.  Moreover, nothing in the immediate context requires a specific translation.  In fact, a perusal understanding of the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread reveals that a specific rendition of these words creates a contradiction.  Because of this mistranslation, commentators have stumbled over the intent of these verses for centuries!

Let us look at the word in Matthew 26:17.  2Peter 2:20 uses the same word.  There the KJV translates it as beginning.

2Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning (#4413).

Realizing that the word and are not in the original in Matthew 26:17, the verse should be translated as follows: Matthew 26:17, Now at (toward) the beginning of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus (Yahshua - Joshua), saying to Him, Where will you that we prepare for you to eat the Passover?

This is a correct translation because the 15th of Nisan is the first day of unleavened bread.  As the evidence points out that the time of this verse was earlier than the 15th Nisan, the KJV translators made an error in translating this verse as though it was already the 15th, when the Greek did not require this narrow translation.

Now let us look at Mark 14:12.  This verse uses the same word for (#4413).  We have already shown how one should translate this word.  This verse does include the word (#2250), in the original.  Notice how the following passages translates this word day (#2250):  Acts 20:6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days <2250> of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days <2250>; where we abode seven days <2250>.

Lu 1:5  There was in the days <2250> of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

Lu 1:18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this?  For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years <2250>.

Lu 9:51  And it came to pass, when the time <2250> was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,As we see from above scriptures, the word #2250 is general.  It can be specific, if the context requires specific information.  By translating this verse as they have, the KJV translators made the day specific.  The problem is that the translation is in error because the first day of unleavened bread is on the 15th and the Romans put the Messiah on the tree on the 14th!  

Therefore, we have an impossible translation – it does not agree with the facts.  The 14th is not the first day of unleavened bread!

The word #2250 is many times translated as in a general sort of way as in  Luke 1:5 above.  A correct translation of Mark 14:12 follows:

Mark 14:12, At the beginning of the season of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, His disciples said to Him, Where will you that we go and prepare that you may eat the Passover.

It was at or toward the beginning of the time or season of unleavened bread that this took place.  Moreover, we all know that it was during the season of unleavened bread when the Passover was slain. The disciples came to Jesus (Yahshua – Joshua) before the evening began, and when the evening came, they sit down together; therefore, this had to be no later than the 13th Nisan.  Consequently, if anyone wants to call the 14th the first day of unleavened bread, which it is not, the translation is still in error – for the day in question was earlier than the 14th Nisan!

The thrust of the time is the beginning days or season of unleavened bread, which began, directly, on the 10th of Nisan.  The Jews did prepare roads, reconstruct bridges, and whitewash tombs – among other activities – before the 10th Nisan, but the penning of the lambs specifically for the Passover began on the 10th Nisan.  We will see that it had to be even earlier than the 13th when the disciples came to Christ for instructions to prepare for the Passover!

Luke 22:7 is even more revealing.  The Greek word is Strong’s #2250.  We have seen a correct translation using that word.  Moreover, unless one translates it, as we have shown, we have a gross error.  The day the Passover was slain was not a day of unleavened bread!  The Festival of Unleavened Bread encompassed only 7 days.  If we include the 14th Nisan, the day for slaying the Passover lambs, as a day of unleavened bread, we have 8 days of unleavened bread.  This would be an impossible translation – even if one accepted the erroneous idea that the day involved was the 14th Nisan!  Here is a correct way to translate this verse:

Luke 22:7 Then came the season of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed.

Correct interpretation:

A correct translation of these scriptures must reveal that the writers referred to the season of unleavened bread, rather than a specific day of unleavened bread – otherwise we have a contradiction.  Additionally, the above translation is well within the meaning of the Greek.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pascal Meal vis-à-vis Lord’s Supper

The first Passover is described in Exodus chapter 12: one lamb was slain for every household and the blood painted onto the lintels and doorposts. This was done in order that the angel of Death would not slay the first-born son of the Jewish households, but only those of Pharaoh’s people, whom God had warned He would judge. "When I see the blood, I will pass over you" the Lord told the children of Israel (Exodus 12:13). They were to eat the lamb, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, in haste prior to their departure from Egypt. The eating of unleavened bread was to continue for seven days, as their sustenance to exit Egypt and escape Pharaoh’s slavery.

Outstanding among the possible typologies or correlates—“shadows,” if you prefer—is that of the Passover or Seder meal which commemorates[i] the deliverance and exodus of the children of Israel from the dominion of Pharaoh as slaves in Egypt, around 1450 BC.

The First Passover

The setting of the Lord's Supper is in my opinion a correlate of the Passover meal; but Jesus was not hosting a proper Seder in the sense that there was no lamb since He was and is the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world. Jesus Christ is Himself the Passover lamb, offered up for the redemption and deliverance of His people (I Corinthians 5:7), the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The bread and wine speak of His death, and of the new covenant it ratifies, reconciling God and man. Jesus says "Do this in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22:19; I Corinthians 11:24-25), telling His disciples that the Passover is fulfilled in Him. Until He comes again (Luke 22:18; I Corinthians 11:26), we are to remember the significance of what He has done for us.

This position is further collaborated by an ancient Christian church manual called the Didache which also suggests that the Last Supper may have been an ordinary Jewish meal. In Chapters 9 and 10 of the Didache, the Eucharistic prayers are remarkably close to the Jewish Grace After Meals (Birkat ha-Mazon).[ii] While these prayers are recited after the Passover meal, they would in fact be recited at any meal at which bread was eaten, holiday or not. Thus, this too underscores the likelihood that the Last Supper was an everyday Jewish meal.

Moreover, while the narrative in the Synoptics situates the Last Supper during Passover week, the fact remains that the only foods we are told the disciples ate are bread and wine—the basic elements of any formal Jewish meal. If this was a Passover meal, where is the Passover lamb? Where are the bitter herbs? Where are the four cups of wine?

However, there are striking parallels between the Last Supper and the Passover (Seder) Meal as can be easily seen in the following comparison: (1) The Last Supper took place in Jerusalem, (2) in a room made available to pilgrims for that purpose, and (3) it was held during the night. (4) Jesus celebrated that meal with his “family” of disciples; and (5) while they ate, they reclined. (6) This meal was eaten in a state of ritual purity. (7) Bread was broken during the meal and not just at the beginning. (8) Wine was consumed and (9) this wine was red. (10) There were last-minute preparations for the meal, after which (11) alms were given, and (12) a hymn was sung. (13) Jesus and his disciples then remained in Jerusalem. Finally, (14) Jesus discussed the symbolic significance of the meal, just as Jews do during the Passover Seder.

Why do the Synoptic Gospels Portray the Last Supper as a Passover Meal?
Having determined that the Last Supper was not a Seder and that it probably did not take place on Passover, I must try to account for why the synoptic Gospels portray the Last Supper as a Passover meal. Of course, the temporal proximity of Jesus’ crucifixion (and with it, the Last Supper) to the Jewish Passover provides one motive: Surely this historical coincidence could not be dismissed as just that.

Other examples of Passoverization can be identified. The Gospel of John, as previously noted, and Paul (1 Corinthians 5:7–8) equate Jesus’ crucifixion with the Passover sacrifice: “Our Paschal lamb, Christ has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” This too is a Passoverization of the Jesus tradition, but it is one that contradicts the identification of the Last Supper with the Seder or Passover meal.

Still others assert that there is no contradiction at all between the events of the Last Supper as shared by John and his less reliable disciple-friends. According to this theory, put forth in the 1960s by French biblical scholar Annie Jaubert and cited in 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus and his disciples were adhering to the calendar of the rebellious Pharisee sect, which celebrated the start of Passover a day earlier than the rest of the Jews.

Passover Meal Challenge[iii][iv]
Now, to continue this line of argument, let’s consider Mark 14:12-26, since Matthew and Luke are in general agreement with him on the events surrounding the Last Supper:

Jesus Celebrates the Passover with His Disciples
12 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?”
13 And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him. 14 Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 15 Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us.”
16 So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover.
17 In the evening He came with the twelve. 18 Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me.”
19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say to Him one by one, “Is it I?” And another said, “Is it I?”
20 He answered and said to them, “It is one of the twelve, who dips with Me in the dish. 21 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.”

Jesus Institutes the New Covenant
22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
23 Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. 25 Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Mark 14:12-26 (NKJV)

And now with these verse in John’s Gospel that seems to conflict with the Synoptics:
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. (John 17:1); and,
2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him.

With the verse that seems to conflict with the Synoptics:
Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away…” (John 19:31)

Problem Observed:
Do you see the problem here? The problem is best presented in the form of a question: “How could Jesus eat the Passover meal with his disciples, then be crucified and the Jews ask that he be taken down off the cross before the Passover meal they were to eat later that day?” (John 19:31)

The answer is, obviously if one accepts that the Last Supper was the Passover meal, followed by yet another Passover meal after he was crucified, then there is definitely a contradiction.

The Choice is Yours:
At this point, the choice is yours. Either the Bible is the inerrant, infallible word of God or it is simply a good book full of advice, some good perhaps, and some bad; but, nonetheless, errant in its narratives and with an archaic prescientific worldview. It cannot be both.

As for me, I would find it very hard to place my confidence in a book riddled with such apparent errors and prescientific mythologies. Yet, some continue to hang onto this straw and proudly proclaim that they are Christians.

I say, foolishness.

Possibilities Considered:
With this clearly in mind, let us allow our thoughts to run down an imaginative trail of possibilities. What if those New Testament authors living in time and space only had one option? Now, what if that option was that they could only declare in space and time what originated in the mind of the Eternal One? Is this not precisely what Peter said, when he wrote:
For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)

Does not the scripture also say?
From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do. (Isaiah 46:11)

We cannot have both. God is eternal, He changes not. He cannot, and does not lie. (Hebrews 6:18; Titus 1:2; Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29)

The Inauguration of a New Covenant:
Firstly, the Lord’s Supper mentioned was not a Seder or Passover meal at all but the inauguration of a new covenant. This conviction is based on the fact that there is no mention of eating the sacrificial lamb—since He was, indeed, the sacrificial lamb. And, he clearly states that:
"This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes." (1 Corinthians 11:25, 26)

So, instead of celebrating the Passover, since he knew that he would be the Passover lamb the next day, he clearly is saying the old Seder meal is therefore null and void and is no longer necessary. I am the bread, I am the lamb, I am the wine in ways that these old symbolisms never were. For, as the scripture says,

Hebrews 8: 7-13
(7) For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says, (8) “Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; (9) not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant, And I did not care for them, says the Lord. (10) “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, And I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their god, and they shall be my people. (11) “and they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, ‘know the Lord,’ for all will know me, from the least to the greatest of them.  (12) “for I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”

(13) When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

And, disappear it did!

Therefore, if this position is taken—and I believe it is the correct one—one of our major problems is solved; that is, that Christ was crucified and died precisely during the time the Passover lamb was sacrificed that the High Priest would eat later that night at the traditional Seder meal.

Regardless of one’s view of history, we must agree with Wilhelm Herrmann a liberal theologian, who readily admits the flaws in depending on history for a final judgment call on Biblical doctrine,
“[It] is a fatal drawback that no historical judgment, however certain it may appear, ever attains anything more than probability. But what sort of religion would that be which accepted a basis for its convictions with the consciousness that it was only probably safe?

It is a fatal error to attempt to establish the basis of faith by means of historical investigation. The basis of faith must be something fixed; the results of historical inquiry are continually changing.”[v]


The Last Supper in Summary

The Story

The last meal that Jesus shared with his disciples is described in all four canonical Gospels, namely in Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-39 and John 13:1-17:26.
This meal later became known as the Last Supper or the Lord’s Supper.

Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians (11:23-26), which was likely written before the Gospels, includes a reference to the Last Supper but emphasizes the theological basis rather than giving a detailed description of the event or its background.

The Critics

"Date and time of the crucifixion”

All the sources agree that Jesus was crucified on 14 Nisan. Some dispute as to whether the Passover was on Thursday or Friday. Some feel that The Synoptics seem to suggest that Jesus’ Last Supper with the disciples on Thursday night was a Passover meal. I disagree. This was not the traditional Seder meal, but rather the introduction of the New Covenant. John agrees that Jesus did share a Last Supper with his disciples on Thursday night in the upper room prior to his betrayal and arrest.

John also says that the Jewish leaders wanted to remove Jesus from the cross before the Passover meal began Friday night. So was Passover on Thursday or Friday?

The Issue

In essence the Synoptics are very much the same. Mark 14:12-16 seems to encapsulate the story well; Matthew and Luke give less detail, but otherwise read the same:
And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the Passover? And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples? And he will show you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover.

Scripture of controversy
John 13:1-2 Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him.

Thus it is argued that Jesus was betrayed and thus crucified prior to the Passover.

Let us consider whether or not this is true by closely looking at the scriptures.

1st statement:
“Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.”
2nd statement:
“And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him.” (John 13:1-2)

So from these two statements alone, what do we discover? Firstly, we discover that the 1st statement says “before the feast of the Passover” which to me indicates that the Last Supper may have been prior to the Passover feast, say the day before. Granted, John does immediately introduce the Last Supper meal by saying “And supper being ended,” Judas betrayed him later that very evening.

My question is, What meal? A Seder meal. No, because a proper Seder meal must be eaten at the beginning of Nisan 15, which was at earliest the next day. The sacrificial lamb was prepared for sacrifice and killed during the day on Nisan 14; whereas, the Last Supper had to be prior to that and not the Seder meal since bluntly speaking dead men do not eat!

That being established—at least in my thinking—we must deal with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

For the record, from all indications He was crucified at 12 PM noon on Nisan 14, and died at 3 PM on the same day. Thus, he was placed in the borrowed tomb at around 6 PM that evening which was the beginning of Nisan 15 and the start of the paschal Seder meal that very evening.

Therefore, it seems to me that all we must account for are the three days and three nights that scripture says he was to be in the bowels of the earth as Jonah was in the belly of the whale (or great fish, if you prefer).

Now, in essence, the major conflict between the Synoptic Gospels and The Gospel of John concerning the Last Supper, his betrayal and trial and crucifixion, including his burial and resurrection has been settle, all we must do now is to account for statements concerning otherwise insignificant activities—such as, when and which Mary visited the tomb, and how many angels were present and so-forth.

[i] The Feast of Passover (Exodus 12:1-28)

The Passover meal was (and still is) held as an annual event in each Jewish household. The meal commemorates the deliverance and Exodus of the children of Israel from the dominion of Pharoah as slaves in Egypt, around 1450 BC.

The First Passover
The first Passover is described in Exodus chapter 12: one lamb was slain for every household and the blood painted onto the lintels and doorposts. This was done in order that the angel of Death would not slay the first-born son of the Jewish households, but only those of Pharoah's people, whom God had warned He would judge. "When I see the blood, I will pass over you" the Lord told the children of Israel (Exodus 12:13). They were to eat the lamb, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, in haste prior to their departure from Egypt. The eating of unleavened bread was to continue for seven days, as their sustenance to exit Egypt and escape Pharoah's slavery. God ordained that the children of Israel would commemorate the Passover every year to remember their deliverance, almost 3,450 years ago.

Early Commemorations of The Passover
Commemoration of the Feast of Passover was the first major event after the Tabernacle was first built. The building was finished on schedule, two weeks prior to the first anniversary of the Exodus. The Tabernacle was consecrated and anointed with oil (Exodus 40:9, a definite foreshadow of the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ). Aaron and his sons (the Levites) were also consecrated and anointed to serve in the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:13).

During the first four decades of the Tabernacle, all of the children of Israel were together in one place in the wilderness to commemorate the Passover. Once they had entered into the good land of Canaan, Jerusalem eventually became the focus of worship, at the time of King David, around 1000 BC. From then onwards, the Feast of Passover was to be held every year in Jerusalem, in accordance with God's word to Moses in Deuteronomy 16:1-8.

The ordinances of the Passover, specified in Exodus chapter 12, state that the lamb was to be examined for four days, to ensure it was without blemish. Then at evening (Jewish days begin at sunset) the lamb was to be slain, its blood applied to the lintels and doorposts and then roasted for sustenance for the Exodus journey.

How is the Passover commemorated today?
Today, the Passover (Seder) meal follows a fairly standard pattern in every Jewish household. There is a 'Haggadah' (which means 'telling', 'portraying', see Galatians 3:1) to guide the proceedings, which is based on four 'Cups'.

At the start, candles are lit and a prayer is offered to bless the First Cup of wine: "Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, the Creator who brings forth the vine from the earth with its fruit" (Genesis 1:11). This First Cup is called the Cup of Sanctification, signifying "I the Lord will bring you out from under the yoke of slavery" (Exodus 6:6); this was God setting the children of Israel apart for Himself.

Next all the participants wash their hands: "Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart" (Psalm 24:3-4). This was probably the point where Jesus washed His disciples' feet (John 13:4-12).

Then each person takes some herbs (usually Parsley) and dips them in salt water and eats them (Matthew 26:23; also, it was probably at this point that Jesus gave the sop to Judas, John 13:26). The salt water and herbs remind all present that the Passover was originally eaten with 'bitter herbs' (Exodus 12:8). The herbs are dipped in salt water to remember the tears as "the Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help went up to God" (Exodus 2:23). In connection with the herbs, the Lord is remembered and blessed as the Creator of the fruits of the earth.

Next, the head of the family takes the middle one of the three flat cakes of unleavened Matzah bread; he breaks it and puts one half aside, wrapped in a white linen cloth. The hidden bread is called the 'Afikomen' (meaning dessert). There are three pieces of bread to remember that the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is One who keeps His covenant; He it is that delivered the children of Israel from bondage (Exodus 6:2-9). But why is it the middle piece that is broken? This is because the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is an indication of the tri-unity of God. Just as Abraham was willing to offer up His "only son" (Genesis 22:2,12), so God the Father willingly offered up His Son, Jesus (John 3:16). Jesus was broken on the cross for our redemption (I Corinthians 11:24) and wrapped in linen for burial (Luke 23:53).

Part of God's purpose in requiring the children of Israel to remember the Passover was to inspire questions from future young generations, for their instruction (Exodus 12:26-27). Children customarily have to ask four questions:

Q. Why tonight?:
A. "A night to remember" (Exodus 12:42)

Q. Why bitter herbs?: 
A. "To remember the anguish of slavery" (Exodus 2:23)

Q. Why dip the bitter herbs in the salt water twice?
A. "It was really bad in slavery, but our HOPE was in God" (Psalm 42:5)

Q. Why do we eat reclining?
A. "Because now we are free to come to God" (Exodus 3:18-20; Galatians 5:1; Matthew 11:28)

The history of the first Passover is read aloud from Exodus chapter 12 and Psalms 113 and 114.
The second cup, the Cup of Plagues is filled and passed round. The ten plagues on Pharoah's Egypt are verbally recounted (Exodus 7:14-12:36):
Cattle Disease!
Death of the Firstborn!

This Cup of Plagues is the last cup before the Passover Lamb is considered (see Luke 22:17).
The climax of the Seder meal should be the festive meal of roast lamb. However, since the Temple no longer stands in Jerusalem (where the Passover lamb was sacrificed), a shankbone is presented as a reminder of the Passover Lamb.
It was after this point that Jesus instituted 'the Lord's Supper'. He took the Afikomen bread (laid aside earlier) and gave thanks (Matthew 26:26): "Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, the Creator Who brings forth bread from the earth", according to the Jewish Haggadah. Then He broke the Afikomen bread and passed round the third cup of wine, called the Cup of Blessing or the Cup of Redemption. Jesus said "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you" (Luke 22:20).
(Incidentally, Jesus' words "this is ..." (Matthew 26:26,28) must mean 'this represents...' since He was Himself there, giving the disiples the bread and wine.)
The final cup of wine, the Cup of Praise, is drunk as the Seder meal concludes with the singing of the remaining 'Halel' (or Hallelujah) Psalms (115-118) and the 'Great Halel', Psalm 136 "God's love endures for ever". These psalms are probably the 'hymn' mentioned in Matthew 26:30. Psalm 116 is particularly pertinent to the Lord's prayer in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:39,42).
The final sentence expresses the hope of how next year's Passover will be remembered:

"Next year in Jerusalem!"

The setting of the Lord's Supper at the heart of the Passover meal explains its meaning. Jesus Christ is Himself the Passover lamb, offered up for the redemption and deliverance of His people (I Corinthians 5:7), the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The bread and wine speak of His death, and of the new covenant it ratifies, reconciling God and man. Jesus says "Do this in rememberance of Me" (Luke 22:19; I Corinthians 11:24-25), telling His disciples that the Passover is fulfilled in Him. Until He comes again (Luke 22:18; I Corinthians 11:26), we are to remember the significance of what He has done for us. (Page authored by Martyn Barrow.)
[ii] For more on the parallels between the Didache and the Jewish Birkat ha-Mazon, see Enrico Mazza, The Celebration of the Eucharist: The Origin of the Rite and the Development of Its Interpretation (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999), esp. pp. 19–26 (where he discusses these parallels) and pp. 307–309 (where he provides translations of the texts).
[iv] Eternity and time PowerPoint (available)
[v] Wilhelm Herrmann, The Communion of the Christian with God (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971), pp. 72, 76.