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peppermint

Is or Means?

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In the last supper dialogues is it "is" or is it "means" when the Lord says "this is my body" and "this is the blood of the new covenant"? My copy of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (the bible that Jehovah's witnesses use) says it this way:

(Matthew 26:26-30) 26 As they continued eating, Jesus took a loaf, and after saying a blessing, he broke it, and giving it to the disciples, he said: “Take, eat. This means my body.” 27 And taking a cup, he offered thanks and gave it to them, saying: “Drink out of it, all of you, 28 for this means my ‘blood of the covenant,’ which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins. 29 But I say to you: I will by no means drink again any of this product of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in the Kingdom of my Father.” 30 Finally, after singing praises, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

If you were translating this passage to make sure that everybody would understand it properly what word would you choose "is" or "means" or is there some other word that would do even better in your opinion?

Edited by peppermint

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I'd leave it alone per the KJV. The JW Bible, I wouldn't go near. The verse is speaking metaphorically; spiritually, not carnally or literally. We covered that in the other thread.

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I'd leave it alone per the KJV. The JW Bible, I wouldn't go near. The verse is speaking metaphorically; spiritually, not carnally or literally. We covered that in the other thread.

 

It's good of you t come to this out of the way sub forum to reply to my post, I thank you for doing that.

 

I too would stick with "is" and the KJV does a fine job in translating the passage as

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

(Matthew 26:26-30 KJV)

So the question is, as a famous TV interview once put it, "what does 'is' mean"?

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Jesus is also called the Lamb of God. This does not mean He is literally a lamb. At the Last Supper, Jesus shared with His disciples a mystery... of His crucifixion, which was not far off. This is my body which is broken... like the bread; this is my blood... which is the blood He shed on the cross. The mystery would be cleared up at the crucifixion. As a reminder of His crucifixion, as oft as ye do this do in remembrance of me. This was a demonstration of what would happen to Him on the day He was to be crucified. His body was broken, and his blood was shed to cleanse many of their sins for His name's sake.

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Jesus is also called the Lamb of God. This does not mean He is literally a lamb. At the Last Supper, Jesus shared with His disciples a mystery... of His crucifixion, which was not far off. This is my body which is broken... like the bread; this is my blood... which is the blood He shed on the cross. The mystery would be cleared up at the crucifixion. As a reminder of His crucifixion, as oft as ye do this do in remembrance of me. This was a demonstration of what would happen to Him on the day He was to be crucified. His body was broken, and his blood was shed to cleanse many of their sins for His name's sake.

 

I can recall the Lord Jesus Christ being called "The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" but that isn't quite the same as "Jesus is the lamb". I've seen folk refer to Jesus as the door (or gate) and as the way, the truth, and the life as well as the light of the world but I am inclined to take these as truth rather than metaphors. That is to say I believe that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6 KJV) and that Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12). And even though there are metaphorical uses for words in holy scripture I am inclined to see the metaphor as operating in the opposite direction from which many appear to see it. Here's an example of how a metaphor relating to God works in a surprising way:

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19 KJV)
The idea of this kind of metaphor is that the eternal and the heavenly is the template and the earthly is the derived form. Thus the door that Jesus declares himself to be (John 10:7 KJV) is the pattern from which earthly doors are derived. Thus the body of Christ is the pattern from which earthly bread is derived and the blood of Christ is the pattern from which earthly wine is derived. It is no surprise then that the Lord should use the earthly shadows to become the eternal realities in the holy supper.

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Staff

Just to clarify peppermint, is a cracker, a cracker, a cup of wine, wine, and water nothing more than water? Or are you attributing more to the cracker, wine and water? If so, please elaborate.

 

God bless,

William

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Just to clarify peppermint, is a cracker, a cracker, a cup of wine, wine, and water nothing more than water? Or are you attributing more to the cracker, wine and water? If so, please elaborate.

 

God bless,

William

Are you referring to the bread & wine of the holy Eucharist? In the Eucharist the bread (unleavened bread made from wheat-flour and water) and the wine (natural fermented wine) are ordinary earthly bread and wine until the Holy Spirit changes them to become the sacramental presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in keeping with the words of the Lord, "Take, eat; this is my body" and "This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." For the faithful in Christ this is a miracle worked by God and embraced by faith because eyes and senses cannot perceive the change but only ears hear the word of institution and faith apprehends them and so for the faithful who receive them worthily they are received with thanks and the blessing of God.

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Staff

Are you referring to the bread & wine of the holy Eucharist? In the Eucharist the bread (unleavened bread made from wheat-flour and water) and the wine (natural fermented wine) are ordinary earthly bread and wine until the Holy Spirit changes them to become the sacramental presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in keeping with the words of the Lord, "Take, eat; this is my body" and "This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." For the faithful in Christ this is a miracle worked by God and embraced by faith because eyes and senses cannot perceive the change but only ears hear the word of institution and faith apprehends them and so for the faithful who receive them worthily they are received with thanks and the blessing of God.

 

So anyone can perform this Sacrament? Or is the presence of the Lord dependent upon the "giver" of the sacrament?

 

God bless,

William

 

 

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So anyone can perform this Sacrament? Or is the presence of the Lord dependent upon the "giver" of the sacrament?

 

God bless,

William

 

 

Since it is the Holy Spirit who works the change it may be done by those whom he calls to that work. They are the bishops and presbyters of the Church who are ordained in apostolic succession.

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Staff

 

Since it is the Holy Spirit who works the change it may be done by those whom he calls to that work. They are the bishops and presbyters of the Church who are ordained in apostolic succession.

 

Presbyters? Please elaborate. I belong to a Presbyterian denomination, and never has that been mentioned or emphasized. And, you believe presbyters were ordained in Apostolic Succession? Lemme ask you peppermint, concerning Paul who was not in the line of Apostolic Succession, established churches, are those illegitimate? He installed Timothy and Titus, as Pastors, are they illegitimate?

 

God bless,

William

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Presbyters? Please elaborate. I belong to a Presbyterian denomination, and never has that been mentioned or emphasized. And, you believe presbyters were ordained in Apostolic Succession? Lemme ask you peppermint, concerning Paul who was not in the line of Apostolic Succession, established churches, are those illegitimate? He installed Timothy and Titus, as Pastors, are they illegitimate?

 

God bless,

William

 

Presbyters are elders, the folk who assist the bishop and pastor parish churches within the bishop's diocese.

 

Saint Paul was chosen by Christ to be an apostle, he was not one of the twelve but he was an apostle as he himself wrote in his letters thus saints Timothy and Titus were ordained as bishops in apostolic succession.

Edited by peppermint

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Priest: etymologically "elder", from presbyteros , presbyter has taken the meaning of "sacerdos", from which no substantive has been formed in various modern languages English, French, German.

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Peppermint, please show in Scriptures where it says that the bread became Jesus' body and the wine His blood by some supernatural means, which would eliminate the possibility of understanding this to be metaphor.

 

We are to make sure we are in the will of God before we partake or we eat and drink damnation unto ourselves, but that is because the communion is an holy sacrament which is to be taken in holiness at the time it is done. Bread and wine used in any other way are just bread and wine.

 

To use them as the sacrament is to partake of them in such manner as Jesus instructed. No priest or other church clergy is mentioned or needed to perform the ceremony, Biblically speaking. All believers have the Holy Spirit, so hypothetically, any believer could by miracle, change them... hypothetically. But it is not so, for the bread and wine don't actually change in any way but in our hearts as we partake, in remembrance of Him.

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Peppermint, please show in Scriptures where it says that the bread became Jesus' body and the wine His blood by some supernatural means, which would eliminate the possibility of understanding this to be metaphor.

 

We are to make sure we are in the will of God before we partake or we eat and drink damnation unto ourselves, but that is because the communion is an holy sacrament which is to be taken in holiness at the time it is done. Bread and wine used in any other way are just bread and wine.

 

To use them as the sacrament is to partake of them in such manner as Jesus instructed. No priest or other church clergy is mentioned or needed to perform the ceremony, Biblically speaking. All believers have the Holy Spirit, so hypothetically, any believer could by miracle, change them... hypothetically. But it is not so, for the bread and wine don't actually change in any way but in our hearts as we partake, in remembrance of Him.

 

I am sure I have already done what you ask; in that the Lord Jesus said "this is my body" and if his words could create the world (John 1:1-3 KJV) how much more easily can he speak his own body into existence in his own hands? And since the Lord gave his spirit to the apostles (John 20:19-23 KJV) and then to all his disciples (Acts 2:1-4 KJV) it is easy to see how and why the memorial supper of the Lord is also one form in which his promised presence is made permanent in the Church (Matthew 28:18-20 KJV) furthermore the last supper was in the upper room with the apostles present and to them the Lord said "do this in memory of me" but he said no such thing to those outside the room who were not his apostles (Luke 22:15-20) thus we know that it is to the apostles and to those whom they appointed to be bishops as the Holy Spirit called them that this supper is appointed to be presided over as the Lord himself presided over it and the faithful partake of it as saint Paul instructs in his first letter to the Corinthians.

Edited by peppermint

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Luke 22:14-20 and 1 Corinthians 11:20-34 explain the Lord's supper in great detail.

 

Indeed those passages do, in fact both passages say of the bread "this is my body" and of the wine "this is the new testament in my blood" thus one is left with the question "what does "is" mean?"

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Ex-president Bill Clinton asked exactly the same question regarding a different topic. He said, "What is the definition of 'is'?" or something close to that. Before and after the elements are blessed, they possess the same exact physical properties. What changes is their spiritual application as I explained earlier. Why is this discussion under "Jehovah's Witnesses?" This should be under "Apologetics" or "Roman Catholic." In the spiritual meaning, the bread and wine are His body and blood, partaken as the Word of God and cleansing blood of the Lamb, to be done in clean conscience in remembrance of Him. There be no need of a priest or minister to administer the Communion. Jesus does not instruct us to perform it with a priest or minister. After we are to give thanks, we partake, first having a clean heart. Not because we're hungry, not believing that the elements are Jesus' physical body and blood. In another thread, I forget which one, William gave a very good explanation of this already.

 

My main goal is to produce Scriptural evidence on topics, not to pretend to understand everything about every denomination and their beliefs, and not to set out to bash people; just to present Scriptural evidence to support my beliefs and/or refute false doctrine as it appears with respect to the Scriptures. As for "is" in what Jesus says, maybe an analogy will help.

 

You are playing a video game and you are a character in the game. Is that character you or merely a representation of you doing what you would do if you were actually the electrons that make up the image of your character? Obviously, you are at the keyboard playing the game, not in the display screens of all the players. Yet, that character represents you without actually being you since you are at the keyboard. Whatever happens to your character does not actually happen to you; i.e., if you were blown up in the game, you are not blown up in your chair.

 

So as we partake of the elements representing Jesus' body and blood, we are not actually eating and drinking of His body and blood, but how we do it glorifies Him or we suffer consequences if we have not first confessed our sins before partaking. In the game, when you get blown up, it's "game over" for your character because you did not make sure your battle plan would work or whatever. With the Lord, if we don't partake with a clean heart, we too suffer consequences of sickness or even death. Jesus is referring to treating the elements as if they are actually His body and blood (this is my body... this is my blood which is shed for many...) because He tells us to do this in remembrance of Him, not because we actually consume Him.

 

He says, "this is my body, this is my blood." Are we eating His whole body and drinking all His blood? He does not say, "This is a part of my body or a part of my blood," right? Does this all make sense make sense?

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The translators used the word "is", The bigger question should be, "What is Jesus teaching us about communion as we take the bread and wine?" It causes us to confess our sins and then partake to draw closer to the Lord. It is a spiritual cleansing because of the act done in remembrance of Him. The bread and wine in and of themselves are symbolic of this spiritual act. To take this act literally as meaning His body and blood is a carnal act of merely eating and drinking. I understand the literal belief, but it is not what Jesus is teaching.

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I can't help but think that this thread is in the wrong place. I created it in general theology and I think it ought to be there. This has nothing whatever to do with the teachings of Jehovah's witnesses.

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My main goal is to produce Scriptural evidence on topics, not to pretend to understand everything about every denomination and their beliefs, and not to set out to bash people; just to present Scriptural evidence to support my beliefs and/or refute false doctrine as it appears with respect to the Scriptures. As for "is" in what Jesus says, maybe an analogy will help.

 

 

You say "My main goal is to produce Scriptural evidence on topics" but then proceed to give none, just analogies to video games and Bill Clinton.

 

You need to take Jesus' words in the context of the Passover which they are celebrating. The key point in the Passover was to eat the lamb. Jesus is the Lamb and it is Jesus we have to eat. Jesus said very clearly "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you." (Jn 6:53)

 

And continues "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him."

 

Then at the Last Supper he says ""Take, eat; this is my body." You don't need strained analogies. Just believe Jesus.

 

 

 

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The translators used the word "is", The bigger question should be, "What is Jesus teaching us about communion as we take the bread and wine?" It causes us to confess our sins and then partake to draw closer to the Lord. It is a spiritual cleansing because of the act done in remembrance of Him. The bread and wine in and of themselves are symbolic of this spiritual act. To take this act literally as meaning His body and blood is a carnal act of merely eating and drinking. I understand the literal belief, but it is not what Jesus is teaching.

 

The translators use 'is' because 'means' isn't a valid definition for the Greek word. τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου translates to 'this is the body of me' the bold words are the ones in which we're currently interested. ἐστιν means 'is'. I know of only one bible that changes the word to something quite different and that one bible is the one that Jehovah's witnesses created. They are willing to impose their theology on the holy scriptures so for them the phrase is translated 'this means my body' which suits their theology of the last supper very well even though it twists the scripture into saying something that it does not say.

 

In your post you ask what Jesus is teaching about communion (I presume you mean the meal rather than the abstract concept, though I suppose you may mean the concept or both, please tell us which meaning you intend) the answer is found in a careful reading of the gospel according to saint John chapter six and especially verses 41 to 71 which passage offers the most complete explanation of the meaning of the sacrament in the new testament. The passage is long so I will not quote it in its entirety but some salient verses are these:

I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 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. (John 6:48-51 KJV)

 

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. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. (John 6:53-58 KJV)

These verses are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ about who he is and what he offers to his people. Some see this as metaphor by which they appear to mean that Christ's teaching is like flesh to be eaten and Christ's words are like blood to be drunk both to be received spiritually as spiritual nourishment. I am inclined to see in the words no metaphor at all; Christ is indeed flesh to be eaten and blood to be drunk and the nourishment received in his meal is real and sacramental because it not only points to a grace to be received but actually is that grace. It is not a spiritual partaking that is in view but a real one made effective for salvation by the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit partaking leads not to life but to guilt and damnation (1 Corinthians 11:27-29 KJV). But much of this is discussed at some length in a post I added to the Catholicism sub-forum some time ago and whose location is here.

Edited by peppermint

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Jesus is God. The Bible says God is a spirit and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth, and He seeks such to worship Him. - John 4:23-24. How does one eat a spirit? Jesus is using physical analogy to describe the spiritual act. When we "eat of His flesh and drink of His blood", it is the partaking of His word that is the real spiritual food, the Scriptures. "For man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord." John even refers to Jesus as "the Word". The prophets referred to Him as "The Word of the Lord spoke unto me saying..." We "eat" His word to feed our souls and are filled; spiritually, not physically. When He says "This is my body...my blood..." He is using physical representation of what He is conveying spiritually. Doing the physical action does not bring salvation. It is what saved people do in remembrance of Him. When we learn from the Scriptures, we are eating and drinking of the Word of God, Jesus Christ.. spiritually speaking. It is a holy sacrament, and must be done by being holy before God through confession of sins before partaking as is in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 KJV.

 

Where in Scripture does it describe the actions of a priest blessing the bread and wine, thus making the transformation to Jesus body and blood? I don't see it in there.

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