The Lord's Supper And Emblems
GEORGE L. FAULL
Dear Brother Faull,
Is it wrong to say that the Lord’s Supper represents his body and blood or that they are emblems?
We often use figures of speech. Here are some we use often:
This is when something is “LIKE, or AS” something else or there is a resemblance to another thing.
Something which represents another thing. Spoken of as being another thing. It says it is the other, though it is not actually the other except it represents the other.
This is an implied representation or resemblance. The word is used but it is only an implied resemblance.
Take for example when Jesus was speaking of the doctrine of the Pharisees. He did not say, the doctrine of the Pharisees is like leaven (SIMILE) or the doctrine of the Pharisees is leaven (METAPHOR). He said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Saducees.” (HYPOCATASTASIS)
He did not say, this doctrine was “like” or “is” leaven but rather He actually substituted the word “leaven” for the word “doctrine.” He thus is implying their doctrine was leaven. Matthew 16:11, 12
So if it is a Simile it is “like” unto it. E.g. “LIKE” a lamb that is led to the slaughter.
If it is a Metaphor it “represents” it. E.g. “The Lord is my rock.”
If it is Hypocatastasis there is an implied representation or resemblance to it. E.g. “Go tell that fox..”
What did Jesus say in Matthew 26:26, 28? He used a metaphor. He said, this “is” my body, that is, the supper represents what He would do to establish the new covenant. He would shed His blood and give His life. The cup and loaf are not changed into His body and blood either actually or spiritually. This memorial simply represented the act that would make the new covenant possible in that He would give His body and blood for the remission of sins. Peter later would declare the new covenant was available and their sins could be remitted. Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Let’s use Matthew 13 as an example of a string of metaphors.
Speaking about His parable, Jesus said in Matthew 13:37-39, “37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is (represents) the Son of man; 38 The field is (represents) the world; the good seed are (represents) the children of the kingdom; but the tares are (represents) the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is (represents) the devil; the harvest is (represents) the end of the world; and the reapers are (represents) the angels.”
Now apply this to what is said concerning the Lord’s Supper.
1. “…this is (represents) my body.” Matthew 26:26c
2. “For this is (represents) my blood of the new testament…” Matthew 26:28
3. “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not (does it not represent?) the communion of the blood of Christ?…” I Corinthians 10:16a
4. “…Take eat, this is (represents) my body which is broken for you.” I Corinthians 11:24
5. “…This cup is (represents) the new testament in my blood…” I Corinthians 11:25a
The expression “for the forgiveness of sins” in Matthew 26:26 is the same as Peter used in Acts 2:38. Jesus gave His life’s blood for the remission of sins and when one believes and repents and is baptized, he receives what the new covenant promised would be available.
Listen to the promise. Jeremiah 31:31-34, “31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Forgiveness is what we have under the new covenant. When we commune we are partaking of the memorial or remembrance which He gave that represents what He paid for our sins.
Since Jesus used a metaphor and said, “this is my body” and “this is my blood,” rest assured we are only partaking of representative things, not the actual body and blood of Christ They are in fact emblems. Simply because those two words are not used in English does not mean they are wrong to use to describe what Jesus said. The old covenant commemorated the deliverance from Egypt. The Lord’s Supper now is a memorial where the emblems represent the price paid for our forgiveness under the new covenant.