Food and Drink For Our Present and Future Spiritual Body
Intro and Overview
"The Spiritual follows the natural" we often say.
It also outlives, overcomes, and outshines it.
So 'if we are what we eat' in the natural, how much more in the Spiritual!
And how much more like the risen Jesus we become after partaking of the supernatural spiritual food and drink of the Lord's Supper (1Corinthians10,3-4) from the rock of Christ who follows us here to the table.
Just as he followed his first people in their desert escape from the Egyptians.
By our faithful blessing of what is on this table (1Corinthians10,16, no church mediates anything at the table), and heeding Jesus' command to do this memorial (Luke 22,19;1Corinthians11,24), and God's acceptance of this Spiritual sacrifice, the bread and wine becomes His Spiritual flesh and blood.
Thereby, we nourish our Spiritual flesh (first three scriptures below) with His Spiritual flesh (John 6,53-54).
1Corinthians15,44: "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." KJ
Romans8,9-10: "But that is not how you live. You are on the spiritual level, if only God's Spirit dwells within you; and if a man does not possess the Spirit of Christ, he is no Christian. But if Christ is dwelling within you, then although the body is dead thing because you sinned, yet the spirit is life itself because you have been justified.
Moreover, if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells within you, then the God who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his indwelling Spirit." (NEB, Oxford, 1970)
Colossians3,1-3: "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things of the earth. For you died, and your [new and best life] life is hidden with Christ in God."
So scripture teaches that by our repentant faith our physical body is in some sense "dead," dead to sin, and alive with the Spirit of God, and a English Baptist John Gill teaches, and thus there already exists a Spiritual body living within the physical body that needs Spiritual food. This complements the scriptural basis of our bodies as Temples of the Holy Ghost.
John6,53-54: "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 on the last day."
English Baptist John Gill's (b. 1697-1771) Commentary on 1Corinthians15,44:
'there is a natural or "animal body", such as the first man's was, and those are that descend from him by ordinary generation; and there is a spiritual body; such as the body of Christ now is, and as will be the bodies of the risen saints; the phrase is Jewish, "the spiritual body" (y) and the flesh of the righteous, being "spiritual flesh" (z), are to be met in their writings.' (y) Nishmath Chayim [the divine breath of life that informs both one's physical and spiritual bodies!] fol.37.1. (z) Tzeror Hammor [Hebrew for "Bundle of Myrrh." Rabbi Abraham Saba, from the independant kingdom of Navarre in late 15th century, Commentary on the Pentateuch] fol.9.4. (Gill's "Exposition of the Entire Bible")
Our Spiritual Likeness to God and Spiritual Body Are Nourished At The Supper
The image and likeness we share with God (Genesis 1,26-27), is a Spiritual image, and this likeness for Christians is expressed in Spiritual-bodily terms. Our bodies are now temples of the Holy Ghost (1Corinthians6,19), the someday-to-rise spiritual bodies of 1Corinthians15,44.
Our new Spiritual-bodily status is now possible in that by faith and the inrushing of the Holy Ghost our old corrupt natural self-body has died. As a result, our body is Spiritualized (while remaining physical), ie capable of being filled with the Holy Ghost. So in some sense, even now on earth, we embody our future resurrectional, or spiritual body (1Corinthians 15,44), and enjoy the victory of our individual, albeit still hidden, Spiritual flesh (Colossians 3,3).
Likewise Paul at Romans 8,9 (see above) hints at our increasingly dominant Spiritual flesh when he reminds us that Jesus in us reconstitutes and redefines our very life itself, as Spiritualized directly from God's grace, by definition now not just material, but primarily supra material.
The aforesaid John Gill in his commentary on 1Corinthians 15,44, citing Rabbi Abraham Saba, is saying that the Spiritual can, and will by faith dominate and even supersede the natural.
So what is apparently physical flesh can also be described as "spiritual flesh" (Temples of Holy Ghost) according to the spiritual body of 1Corinthians 15,44. Conversely, this same "spiritual flesh", or spiritual body can be dead while one is still alive in the physical body: "But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives." 1Timothy5,6.
But the fact is our spiritual body only lives while we are in the physical flesh when we by faith choose an active and lifelong sowing into the Spiritual realm of God's word, his commands, and his Spiritual promises.
Celebrating the Lord's Supper, consuming "meat indeed" and "drink indeed" (John 6,55 or 1Corinthians 10,3: "spiritual meat" and "spiritual drink") is sowing deep into God's word and promises which are also primarily Spiritual!
And God's Spiritual word tells us that for the faithful there is an immediate reaping, an immediate and actual "koinonia" (Greek for fellowship, communion, sharing of the Spirit), a Spiritual communion with God, and a Spiritual communion with our faithful brothers and sisters in the body. 1Corinthians 10,16.
This is a high and holy and real experience with the high, holy, real and risen Jesus. It's not merely symbolic of our salvation or a mere static memory. If it were just about symbols and a memory of Calvary, what is the point of blessing the bread and wine, and breaking the bread, and then consuming them?
And let's not forget the fact that our present and emerging Spiritual bodies, our temples of the Holy Ghost, vitally need just such Spiritual food to live a lifetime of faith, guided and moved by God, unto the final raising of our Spiritual bodies in the resurrection.
The Really Faithful Prophets Ate His Word-Something Real and Spiritual- Just As We Eat His Body and Blood
Matthew 4,4 says that "man doesn't live by [physical] bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."
The word is not a symbolic thing.
Why would anyone eat a symbolic word?
Would eating a symbolic word keep us alive?
The word is a real and living and active and sharper than a two-edged sword and demanding and a Spiritual thing. The prophets speak about eating the word- not literally eating parchment or paper with words written on it, but eating the Spiritual reality of what God says and what God tells us to do (Jeremiah 15,16; Ezekiel 3,3; Revelation 10,8-11).
John the Revelator "ate the little book" (Revelation 10,8-11) about the final judgments of God. He "ate" it not for symbolic nourishment, but for actual and real Spiritual nourishment, so he could prophesy to nations and kings and all the world (The Spiritual in the book) and thereby say and do the things God wanted him to say and do.
Jesus told us to eat his body and blood and said if we didn't, we would have no life in us (John 6,53-54). The life he is speaking of here is his resurrectional and eternal life that lives even now in the body and bodies of the faithful.
At his table, he wants to feed our spiritual body now.
But we have to know what we are doing by faith.
When we come to the table we make space in our temple, our physical body, for the risen and always righteous Jesus to live within us, to be the eternal life in us that feeds our Spiritual bodies with Spiritual food.
John 8,37 is helpful to explain this.
Jesus told his enemies that they were seeking to kill him because his Spiritual word had no place in them. They hadn't eaten his word yet so to speak.
In the terms of the supper, they hadn't eaten him yet, his risen body and blood.
So at John 8,37, just like at the supper, we have a Spiritual reality, the word, not a symbol, that can get into faithful folks and live, that only can be appropriated by faithful "eating" of it, just like we appropriate by faith our eternal life when we eat his risen and always righteous body (his word not mine). This ensures and commemorates that eternal life lives in us now.
Two Questions And Synthesis
1. Isn't it less than perfect that so many dear and Spiritually hungry Christians refrain from any concerted biblical analysis of the Lord's Supper, and celebration of it, because they have been told that it's about symbols and an old memory?
But Spiritual fellowship at the table (1Corinthian's10,16) with the risen Jesus is not symbolic! It's an actual Holy Ghost experience of our risen God here and now.
And our memory after his Calvary sacrifice and his resurrection is more than a memory. It's a spiritual sacrifice (1Peter2,5) because it is built on the faith of the completed physcial sacrifice of Calvary and the resurrectional fruits of Jesus' death and resurrection.
Doing "this" in his memory makes for more than a memory- it makes for a memorial according to Luke 22,19.
Anyway, our fellowship with and in the risen Lord (the only lord there is now) is part of worshipping, knowing, and interacting with our living God, part and parcel of being "Spiritual", made, formed, and also living, in his likeness.
People getting sick and dying because they are approaching the table without repentant faith (1Corinthians 11,30) seems a high penalty for those partaking of mere symbols and a mere memory.
No, people were getting sick and dying because they were partaking of a real Spiritual sacrifice (1Peter 2,5, John 6,53-43) that called down the real presence and judgment of God on those who were partaking of it in unrepentant immorality.
2. Likewise, isn't it also less than perfect that Jesus makes eating his Spiritual flesh and blood a condition of having his eternal life in us (John 6,53-54), yet many avoid it altogether, or reduce it to a hasty duty, or a memory of the cross, minus the fruits, of Calvary?
Conclusion: Real Food and Drink after a Priestly Spiritual Sacrifice
There was no doubt that God always wanted his people to be a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19,6) and 1Peter2,5 and 9 unmistkably declares this.
The prime act of all priests is "Qorban", offering sacrifice, drawing close to God with some precious gift, that God then accepts or not, and then disposes of as he sees fit, even unto his voluntary sharing his food with us mere mortals.
This is just what God did at the Sinai Covenant meal , when the seventy saw him, and only then ate and drank with him, Exodus 24,11. When Moses, aware that their meal sacrifice, their peace offering of flesh (V. 5), had been accepted in that "they saw God", only then did he say prophetically "this is the blood of the covenant."
Paul describes his bringing of the gospel to the gentiles (non Jews) in these same priestly, sacrificial terms (now Spiritually sacrificial) and covenantal terms . Romans 15,16: "His grace has made me a minister of Christ Jesus to the gentiles; my priestly service is the preaching of the gospel of God, and it falls to me to offer up the gentiles to him as an acceptable sacrifice, consecrated by the Holy Spirit."
If Paul describes his evangelizing the gentiles as a priestly and Spiritual sacrifice, why do we as Christian Priests, given the the precious gifts of our expansive and resurrectional faith, and the mighty faculty to break the bread and offer the joyful salvation wine (1Corinthians10,16), and (with God's acceptance) and the mighty faculty to, jointly with Him, bless them into being his risen flesh and risen blood (John 6,53-54), still limit our faith regarding the table to "symbols" and "memory"?
At the table, we partake of real food and real drink, realer than physical food and drink, realer than symbolic food and drink (1Corinthians 10,3-4), realer than our most cherished memory.
And this experience of God's life giving provision is no less real and beneficial than the eating of the manna in the desert was for God's first people.
In commanding us to celebrate the Lord's Supper, Jesus knew we needed an appropriate Spiritual food and drink for our new, Holy Ghost filled, and Spiritually governed body (Hebrews 8,10).
That's his command, his teaching, neither superspiritual, or made up.
It's his word.
His immutable will.
Or, am I missing something?
For video of supper: http://vimeo.com/63572579
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...