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Highland - Jesus has given Himself to us in the Eucharist! (bibles-scripture)

posted by bibleprobe(R) Homepage, Mass., 08.03.2007

Highland:

You can go on 'rebelling' against the STATED wishes of the Lord if you like. Me, I just turn my back to this "Jesus really didn't mean what He said nonsense." If you go on teaching against His wishes--I pray the Lord has pity on you for derailing young Christian souls.

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There is nothing symbolic about it. Jesus was adamant and He even repeated it twice. Even after his Apostles "grumbled" over this hard saying (must eat His body & drink His blood)--He stuck to it. The first Eucharist which took place at the Last Supper established the New Covenant. "Do this in remembrance of me" was the stated wish of our Lord. There is nothing symbolic to it. In carrying out Christ's commandment, being fully conscious of the great significance of the Eucharist, the Apostles performed that Mystery. It was the gift of the Eucharist that united and equalized ALL the early Christians -- be they lords, slaves, rich or poor, man or female, or child.

The word 'Eucharist' means to give thanks. It was Jesus Himself who designed and deliberately instituted this sacred rite (mystical partaking of His Body & Blood really) that was to be practiced by the Christian community "till He comes again."

The Good thief is a good example of being saved based on ones Faith in Jesus and a good example of our sweet Lord's unfathomable good graces. It is also an example of the Lord's absolute authority --just as is the fact that the Lord forgave sins in His own name. This has absolutely nothing to do with Christ's desire that Christians celebrate Him via the bread and wine communion "of saints".

Paul and Jesus both told us that the bread and wine really become the actual body and blood of Jesus, by the miracle of God's grace. ALL the early church fathers--some who walked and talked and listened to the Apostles preach also told us that the Eucharist is really the Body of Christ in a mystical way. It's a Gift of God.

In 1 Corinthians 10:21 St. Paul contrasts the "table of the Lord" (trapeza Kyriou) on which the Eucharist is offered, with the "table of devils", or pagan altars.

"Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils."

The Early Christians actually took the Real Presence for granted. It doesn't even seem as if there was much debate. You will not find anyone who denied the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament before the year 500 A.D. Read some of these: here

None of this language (hard saying) is symbolic! Jesus meant what He said. Just as He meant it when He said we must be baptised.

The Apostle Paul in explaining this, speaks directly and also NOT symbolically also!

Paul was warning us that if we eat the Lord's Body and drink the Lord's blood unworthy; "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." There is nothing metaphoric or symbolic about Paul's statement here either. It's a warning as clear as can be.

1 Corinthians 11:27-29.
Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Below from "The Martyrs Cup" at Touchstone Magazine:

In the first generation of Christians it was easy to spot a Christian. There were several unmistakable signs. St. Luke tells us that the first Christians, one and all, devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communion ( koinonia), to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers (Acts 2:42). One phrase especiallythe breaking of the breadrecurs in many of the scraps we have from those first centuries, and it always refers to the Eucharistic Liturgy, the Lords Supper.

Our first Christian ancestors devoted themselves to the Eucharist, and that is perhaps the most important way they showed themselves to be Christians. No Christian practice is so well attested from those early years. No doctrine is so systematically worked out as the doctrine of the Eucharist.

It was when they gathered for the Eucharist that all thistheir common life, their charity, their fidelity to the teaching of the apostleshappened most clearly, directly, intensely. They experienced fellowship with each other and together heard the apostles teaching, and they broke the bread in the accustomed way, as they said the customary prayers.

So it was in the newborn Church. The Church took its identity from its unity in belief and charity, which was sustained by the Eucharist.

Well, what has Jesus done in the Eucharist? He has given himself to us, and he has held nothing back. He gives us his body, blood, soul, and divinity. He gives himself to us as food. And that is love: the total gift of self. That is the very love the martyrs wanted to emulate. Jesus had given himself entirely for them. They wanted to give themselves entirely for himeverything they had, holding nothing back. If Jesus would become bread for them, they would allow the lions to make them finest wheat for Jesus. The Eucharist helps you get as close as possible to Jesus:

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you" John 14:27
"The nearer to Jesus, the nearer to the perfect calm of heaven; and the further from Jesus, the nearer to that troubled sea which tosses with the continual unrest of the wicked. There is no peace to the man or woman who doth not dwell constantly under the shadow of the cross; for Jesus is our peace, and if he be absent, our peace is absent too."


HOW 2nd-3rd GENERATION CHRISTIANS VIEWED THE EUCHARIST:

Justin Martyr was born at Flavia Neapolis (near today's Nablus, Israel) in about A.D. 100. He converted to Christianity about A.D. 130. Justin taught and defended the Christian religion in Asia Minor and at Rome, where he suffered martyrdom about the year 165.

JUSTIN MARTYR TELLS US ABOUT THE EUCHARIST IN HIS 1st APOLOGETIC WRITING:
THE EUCHARIST After baptism and the offering of prayer, the bread and wine mixed with water are brought to the president. He again offers prayers and thanksgivings, and the deacons give to those present bread, and wine mixed with water, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion (I. Apol., c. 65). But the bread and wine are not received as common bread and common drink, but as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and by which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh (I. Apol., C. 66).

THE HOLY EARLY CHRISTIAN MARTYRS LONGED TO TAKE COMMUNION (The Body & Blood of Christ):

So convinced was the early Christian community of the essential value of Holy Communion for their life and faith that the records are filled with its practice in Christian martyrdom.

At one time in early church history the Christians were forced with the decision to say either, "I confess," or else to apostatize (abandon their religious faith). For the Christian "Confessors" who awaited execution in the imperial prisons, the Church Fathers took it for granted that Holy Communion must be smuggled in and practiced insofar as possible. Christian bishop Cyprian (of Carthage) arranged such a service for the elder Lucian. As Lucian was lying with his legs wrenched wide apart in the stocks of the prison at Antioch, he celebrated Holy Communion for the last time as best he could. He celebrated the Body & Blood of Jesus Christ with his condemned companions lying equally helpless in the dark around him. This was during the Sixth Persecution, Under Maximus - around 235 A.D. During this persecution, by the Roman Emperor Maximinus, numberless Christians were slain without trial, and buried indiscriminately in heaps, sometimes fifty or sixty being cast into a pit together, without the least decency.

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artist depiction
Early Church martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas (Felicity)

Perpetua was beheaded after being mauled by wild beasts while defending her belief in Christ.

Read the real prison diary of an extraordinary young woman martyred in Carthage (North Africa)

On the evening of March 6, A.D. 203, at a prison in Carthage, the martyrs of the next day, Perpetua and Felicitas, and their companions, were given a free meal by the authorities. This meal they converted as far as possible into an Agape [love-feast]. Holy Communion was the first consideration of the Christian and the Church in times of persecution and imprisonment. To the early Christians, Holy Communion was more precious than their lives. Holy Communion was their ultimate concern because their hope of eternal life was in remembrance of Him who loved them and gave Himself for them . . . .

Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria, wrote:

"At first they drove us out, and alone we kept our festival [Communion] at that time also, persecuted and put to death by all; and every single spot where we were afflicted became to us a place of assembly for the feast [Communion] - field, desert, ship, inn, prison; but the brightest of all festivals was kept by the perfect martyrs, when they feasted in heaven."

Just to read these accounts makes one ashamed of our apathy toward the passion of Christ in the celebration of Holy Communion. The Christian who is indifferent to the practice of Holy Communion in complacent twentieth-first century churchism has no place beside the first-century Christians. Just perhaps these 'rebels' against Christ's stated wishes have no place in the Church, nor in the Kingdom of God either! Worse are those who teach against the Holy Eucharist, something first century Christians would think of as blasphemy.

Read more about this extraordinary true story of courage & faith here

Collateral sources on the importance of the Eucharist and against your type of heretical teaching:

Ignatius of Antioch (also known as Theophorus) (was the third Bishop or Patriarch of Antioch and probably a student of Apostle John.
Ignatius was Bishop of Antioch after Saint Peter and Evodius, who died around AD 68. Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, II.iii.22) records that Ignatius succeeded Evodius. Making his apostolic succession even more immediate, Theodoret (Dial. Immutab., I, iv, 33a) reported that Peter himself appointed Ignatius to the see of Antioch. Early in the second century (perhaps around 107 Ad, during the reign of the Emperor Trajan), Ignatius was arrested by the Imperial authorities, condemned to death, and transported to Rome to die in the arena. By thus dealing with a leader, the rulers hoped to terrify the rank and file. Instead, Ignatius took the opportunity to encourage them, speaking to groups of Christians at every town along the way.

When the prison escort reached the west coast of Asia Minor, it halted before taking ship, and delegations from several Asian churches were able to visit Ignatius, to speak with him at length, to assist him with items for his journey, and to bid him an affectionate farewell and commend him to the grace of God. In response he wrote seven letters that have been preserved: five to congregations that had greeted him, en masse or by delegates (Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Philadelphians, and Smyrnaeans), one to the congregation that would greet him at his destination (Romans), and one to Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna and disciple of the Apostle John.

Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, Chapter 6, 110 A.D.:
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.

Justin Martyr, Apology, I.66-67, 2nd century:
Communion in the Body and Blood of Christ

It is allowed to no one else to participate in that food which we call Eucharist except the one who believes that the things taught by us are true, who has been cleansed in the washing unto rebirth and the forgiveness of sins and who is living according to the way Christ handed on to us. For we do not take these things as ordinary bread or ordinary drink. Just as our Savior Jesus Christ was made flesh by the word of God and took on flesh and blood for our salvation, so also were we taught that the food, for which thanksgiving has been made through the word of prayer instituted by him, and from which our blood and flesh are nourished after the change, is the flesh of that Jesus who was made flesh. Indeed, the Apostles, in the records left by them which are called gospels, handed on that it was commanded to them in this manner: Jesus, having taken bread and given thanks said, ``Do this in memory of me, this is my body.'' Likewise, having taken the cup and given thanks, he said, ``This is my blood'', and he gave it to them alone.

Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, [5,2,2] 180 A.D.:
If the body be not saved, then in fact, neither did the Lord redeem us with His Blood; and neither is the cup of the Eucharist the partaking of His Blood nor is the Bread which we break the partaking of His Body . . . 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 to our bodies.

Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 180 A.D., 4,17,5:
Again, giving counsel to His disciples to offer to God the first-fruits from among His creatures, not as if He needed them, but so that they themselves might be neither unfruitful nor ungrateful, He took from among creation that which is bread, and gave thanks, saying, ``This is My Body.'' The cup likewise, which is from among the creation to which we belong, He confessed to be His Blood.

He taught the the new sacrifice of the New Covenant, of which Malachi, one of the twelve prophets, had signified beforehand: ```You do not do my will,' says the Lord Almighty, `and I will not accept a sacrifice at your hands. For from the rising of the sun to its setting My name is glorified among the gentiles, and in every place incense is offer to My name, and a pure sacrifice; for great is My name among the gentiles,' says the Lord Almighty.'' (Mal 1:11). By these words He makes it plain that the former people will cease to make offerings to God; but that in every place sacrifice will be offered to Him, and indeed, a pure one; for His name is glorified among the gentiles.''

Tertullian's The Resurrection of the Dead [8,2] A.D. 208-212:
The flesh, then, is washed, so that the soul may be made clean. The flesh is anointed, so that the soul may be dedicated to holiness. The flesh is signed, so that the soul too may be fortified. The flesh is shaded with the imposition of hands, so that the soul too may be illuminated by the Spirit. The flesh feeds on the Body and Blood of Christ, so that the soul too may fatten on God. They cannot, then, be separated in their reward, when they are united in their works.

Tertullian [ca. 200/206 AD] in his treaties on Prayer [6,2], quotes John 6 in connection with a spiritual understanding of the Lord's prayer "give us this day our daily bread." In a spiritual sense Christ is our daily Bread, presumably because of the practice of the daily reception of the Eucharist.

Later in that same treatise [19,1] he writes;

Likewise, regard to days of fast, many do not think they should be present at the sacrificial prayers, because their fast would be broken if they were to receive the Body of the Lord. Does the Eucharist, then, obviate a work devoted to God, or does it bind it more to god? Will not your fast be more solemn if, in addition, you have stood at God's altar? The body of the Lord having been received and reserved, each point is secured: both the participation in the sacrifice and the discharge of duty.

The Didache or "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" is a manuscript which was used by 2nd century bishops and priests for the instruction of catechumens. Many early Christian writers have referenced it making this document relatively easy to date.

"Let no one eat and drink of your Eucharist but those baptized in the name of the Lord; to this, too the saying of the Lord is applicable: 'Do not give to dogs what is sacred'".

That the early church under the direct guidance of the inspired apostles observed the Lord's Supper on the first day of every week is the testimony of all biblical scholars and church historians of every denomination. Mosheim, in his celebrated Ecclesiastical History, volume 1,

Pages 46 and 85 says: "The first of all the Christian churches founded by the apostles was that at Jerusalem; and after the form and model of this all the others of that age were constituted. That church, however, was governed immediately by the apostles, to whom the presbyters (or elders) and the deacons, or overseers of the poor, were subject. Though the people had not withdrawn themselves from the Jewish worship, yet they held their separate meetings, in which they were instructed by the apostles and presbyters (or elders), offered up their united prayers, celebrated the sacred supper, the memorial of Jesus Christ, and the salvation he procured . . . . The Christians of this century assembled for the worship of God and for their advancement in piety on the first day of the week, the day on which Christ reassumed life; for that this day was set apart for religious worship by the apostles themselves, and that after the example of the Church at Jerusalem, it was generally observed we have unexceptional testimony."

For the first three centuries, then, the church observed the Lord's Supper each first day of the week. Testimony to this fact comes from Justin Martyr, one of the earliest church fathers. To those who were sick and unable to attend the assembly, the communion was carried to their homes. It was not till the fourth century that the church became careless and began to lose her first love.

John 6:53-57:
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.

 


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