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What if a brother in Mashiach took you aside and told you that our Savior gave you a chance to commune with Him both spiritually and physically? Not only commune in the sense that Mashiach is within us spiritually, or in the sense that Mashiach is present wherever two or three of us are gathered, but in a way that involves receiving His very nature even in our bodies. His full nature to be in our full nature. His Body to our body. I think most believers would desire that kind of intimacy. They wouldn’t just desire it in an abstract theoretical sense either, but would desire it with a deep hunger and thirst, with a longing that we ought to have to be with Him. Perhaps a desire like what’s spoken in the Song of Songs – Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine. (Sgs 1:2)
Then what if that believer told you that this incredible intimacy, this grace given so personally by Yeshua, was associated mostly with the Roman Catholic Church? In fact, some people even mistakenly claim it is uniquely Catholic. Well, here I think many believers would change their attitude immediately. They would deny any desire to commune this way. They would call it foolishness, or falsely label it a pagan invention. Sadly, tragically, this communion Yeshua spoke of IS denied by most of the Protestant and Evangelical world. Not only is that denial sad, but it is especially strange in a world which thirsts for the “spiritual” experience, which claims we ought to fall on the floor in “spiritual” ecstasy, or repeat phrases ad nauseum until we have a “spiritual” experience or even (hehe) “toke” on a ghost. All this out of a thirst for intimacy. Yet in following these aberrant and non-biblical paths, these believers are tragically missing the intimacy that Yeshua Himself promised us during His walk on Earth – Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise Him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him. (John 6:54-56)
You see, Mashiach gave us His very Being to eat and drink beloved. To consume. He did not make this gift a mere spiritual connection with us, but gave it to us, His Bride, His Kallah, whole Being to whole being. Spirit, soul, AND body. Rather than being some later doctrine as many erroneously claim it to be, the acceptance of Yeshua’s words has been the historical teaching from the beginning. The earliest of documented Christian writings show the bread and wine of Communion to be a supernatural food. This simple acceptance of Yeshua’s own words as recorded in scripture is on the record from the beginning of Church history and was never plainly denied until Zwingly in the 16th century claimed it as a mere euphemism. Today Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Lutherans and a few small sects accept it. The rest of the Body of Messiah denies it. I think we can fairly say of the Real Presence what we also sometimes say of the Savior – If He is who He says He is, we MUST believe. If not, forget about it. It’s crazy talk.
One of the terrible consequences of this recent denial of Mashiach’s Real Presence is of course the refusal of the precious grace that comes with it. But rather than getting into the enormous subject of refusing that grace, let me explain it this way: Deniers of Mashiach’s Real Presence have turned the Communion into a mere community event and a minor one. Perhaps that’s why so many congregations only have it once a year; to create a sense of importance. And let’s not argue here and claim that it’s truly reverent when deniers imbibe crackers and juice. I mean just go read Yeshua’s words in John 6 and see how powerful they are. Read His words at His Pesach (Passover) meal and meditate on them. Does the community event of crackers and juice AT ALL capture the depth, richness and spiritual power that are there? I don’t think so. I don’t think it even comes close.
Not only that, but read what Sha’ul (Paul) tells us in 1 Corinthians – That to take the bread and wine without reverence makes one guilty of the “body and blood” of Yeshua Himself. (1 Cr 11:27) That’s right. Guilty of His very body and blood. Does that sound like a community event to you? Like mere symbolism? I mean what other rite, practice or prayer comes with such a dire warning? Is the pastor guilty of the body and blood of Yeshua if he cracks too many jokes during his sermon? Are congregants guilty of the body and blood if they slouch a little and don’t sing joyfully enough during hymns? You know if that’s the danger in simple religious rites like that, I’d HATE to see what happens if you step out of line during choir practice.
That may be a little tongue in cheek, but I hope you see my point; the massive portion of the Kallah which refuses the body and blood of Mashiach has turned God’s immensely rich words into an ordinary gathering. They have made His grace into a lunch with friends. They have made love and intimacy with our Savior into a simple community event, perhaps with less seriousness than many others. Where is the true reverence? Where are the Body and Blood?
Therefore, I have put together this page of Kodesh Kallah to provide resources about the Body and Blood of our Savior. I have Catholic, Orthodox and Lutheran materials below, along with some of my own. I’d like to invite you to meditate on them, and if you find them conclusive about the truth, to begin to return the Bride to the intimacy of Yeshua’s Body and Blood. To restore this communion which we have had from the beginning. To work for her restoration. You know with so many souls troubled over the terrible divisions within the Body of Messiah, doesn’t this restoration look like a path toward unity? Rather than cutting off doctrines for the sake of getting along, as many congregations do today, let us restore them for the very same purpose, especially bringing back that heavenly food, the divine manna that we eat together, in unison, as family.
Finally, while I don’t intend to try out much theology here, I’d just like to end with this: Who are you and I to tell God that He is wrong? Who are we to say – God says it IS, but really it ISN’T? Or to say – God says it’s true but really it’s false? After all, this is the Almighty Holy One, who created the heavens and the earth by the spoken word. Who called the light, day. The darkness, night. He is the Savior of Israel, who sustains the cosmos by the word of His power. Who says – I have called you by your name; you are Mine. Who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did. Our God is a God of Being, beloved. His words are creative words. If He says something IS, then it IS.
So let us think of that when we think of the Lord’s promise to us. For Yeshua promised us life through His body and blood and told us they were REAL food and drink. We do not have an airy, ethereal faith. We do not seek a mere spirit world. We have a physical connection with our Deliverer and a physical resurrection being taken out of the grave. We even have a physical eternity with the Father of Lights….and the Lord says He will be with us until the end of the age. Perhaps this is the love also written about in the Song of Songs – Set me as a seal upon your heart, a seal upon your arm; For love is strong as death.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. (John 6:51)
To the Restoration of the Bride:
Understanding the Eucharist — This lecture by Scott Hahn, convert to Catholicism, explores the truth of the Real Presence from scripture, Church tradition and Jewish tradition. It’s one hour and eleven minutes long. That’s one-one-one.
Another Scott Hahn Lecture — This one focuses on the Real Presence in the early Church.
The Early Christians — It is sometimes asserted that the belief in the reality of Yeshua’s body and blood in communion didn’t come along until later in history, because of the late date that the transubstantiation was made dogma by the Catholic Church. This is false. The writings of ealy Christians attest broadly to a belief that the bread and wine really are His body and blood. Read them for yourselves.
An Appeal for Change — This is my passionate appeal to restore the Real Presence to the whole Body of Messiah. I don’t mean to pat myself on the back by putting myself at the top among men far more trained and pious than myself; however beyond being apologetics, this essay is also an appeal, and there aren’t too many “appeals” floating around. Let us restore the Bride of Messiah to the intimate communion she has known.
A Passover Guidebook — A shorter piece of mine giving an overview of the Real Presence in the context of the Messianic Passover.
Proofs of the Real Presence — This is a serious apologetic article on the Real Presence from scripture and tradition from the Catholic website New Advent.
This is My Body — A short article supporting the Real Presence from an Eastern Orthodox website. The Orthodox do less explaining than the Western Church does, and accept the reality of Yeshua’s Body and Blood with a large dose of mystery.
Letters on Orthodoxy — A much longer essay by an Eastern Orthodox Christian on the truth of the Real Presence. Like the Orthodox do frequently, he spends a fair amount of time contrasting the Orthodox view with the Catholic and Protestant views. There is a choice at the bottom to listen to the talk instead of reading it.
More from Orthodoxy — This one beautifully delves into the meaning of Yeshua’s “Body”, expressing it as His glorified, transformed, resurrected Body. The author Monk Raphael describes it as “a body that is both physical and spiritual, and therefore it is something more than either. It is a New Creation.”
An Essay on the Debate — between Luther and Zwingli about the Real Presence. “Luther took Christ at His word.” Zwingli did not.
A Short Lutheran Article — This article reviews the Lutheran acceptance of the Body and Blood of Yeshua in contrast to Zwingli’s rejection of it. It sums up the Lutheran explanation of the “consubstantiation” saying, “The Lutherans believe that the body and blood of Christ is really present in, with and under the elements of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion, that is, in the bread and wine when we commune.”
Coptic Orthodox Have their Say — A categorical explanation of the Coptic view on the Real Presence, which is very similar to the Catholic view. Coptic Christians originate primarily in Egypt and their worship bears many similarities to the Eastern Othodox and the Eastern Rite Catholic.
Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist — This is an excellent book that examines the truth of the Real Presence from many angles. It starts with the words of scripture, and also gains insight from ancient rabbinical writing along with Old Covenant types such as the manna in the wilderness and the bread of the presence. It’s a must-read on the subject.
Pesach HaMashiach — This is my personal essay describing having Communion as part of the Jewish Passover meal. It affirms the Real Presence as a New Covenant part of the Jewish feast and presents it in the context of my own walk with the Lord. It very briefly touches on two enormous themes that the Body and Blood enlighten — faith and being.
The Holy Bible Vs. Donald Trump — He eats a little cracker. He drinks a little wine.
The Real Presence in John 6 — This is a lengthy response to James White’s attack on the literal meaning of Jesus’ words in John 6. Contrary to claims of brother James and others like him, Jesus’ teaching about eating His flesh and blood at the end of the chapter fit harmonioulsy in with the rest of the chapter, and the patterns of the whole Bible.