Updated: Apr 3
“Source and Summit of the Christian faith.”, “Center of Christian worship.”, “Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul, and divinity.” The Doctrine of the Eucharist is foreign to most Protestant ears and absolute madness to secular ones. However, it is insisted upon by Christ, taught by His apostles, baked into our salvation story throughout the Scriptures, and echoed by the Church Fathers with absolute unanimity. Salvation history, from the first few pages of Genesis, prefigures and foreshadows how our Eucharistic Lord will save His people. Don’t believe me? I encourage you to read on.
We begin with a tour of the Old Testament, followed by hitting a few core passages in the New. Next, I will list some arguments that even this long article didn’t have space to cover but may be valuable for your explanation. Lastly, everyone’s favorite: an objection and answer section. Prepare yourself. This is long article, but it is broken into smaller sections to make it more manageable as each successive argument and illustration builds on the next.
The Garden of Eden
Adam and Eve were created in union with God who, “walked with them in the cool of the evening.” This unity was not meant to be temporary, but everlasting. The proof was the Tree of Life, planted in the center of the Garden. If they ate of the fruit hanging from this tree, they would live forever and thereby extend their friendship with God and one another into eternity. This means that from the beginning, God’s plan was to offer to mankind a meal granting them eternal life with him.
Unfortunately, our first parents chose to eat of another tree, which is called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. After they did so, they were thrown out of the Garden. An angel with a flaming sword guards the way back to Eden, in order to prevent them from eating of the Tree of Life and being trapped in this wretched state forever.
Let us now read Luke 23:44-46, in light of the brief summary above:
“44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.”
It is almost as if the darkness at the Crucifixion represents the sheathing of the angel’s fiery sword. Before Christ’s death, everything was seen in light of it. All of salvation history until this point was in the shadow of sin cast in the light of our exile from Eden.
Yet Luke tells us the veil was torn. That barrier between us and again walking in communion with our Creator as we did in Eden was removed through Christ’s sacrifice. The Tree, which was taken away as a result of our sin, was dragged up Mt. Calvary and planted by Christ for all to see. Hanging from that tree is Christ’s body, the same body that He tells us in John 6 is, “True food”.
In the Garden of Eden mankind walked with God. Today, through Christ’s sacrifice, that type of relationship is again possible. In the first Garden, mankind was given the fruit of the Tree of Life to eat. Where is that fruit today? If the Cross is the new Tree of Life, as even many Protestant scholars would affirm, how can we eat of the fruit? After all, what allows us to extend this relationship with God into eternity is the fruit of the Tree of Life.
The Eucharist makes senses of this. In the words Christ, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink (John 6:53-55).
The New Creation:
Christ’s resurrection marks the restarting of the creation story, which had ended on the seventh day of Genesis. Matthew 28:1-6 records:
“After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.”
The story of creation is brought back on track by Christ on the morning of the 8th day. The terrifying angel that guarded against mankind reentering the garden now beckons them into the place of the resurrection. Where is the place our new creation begins, which angels invite us to see? It’s a Garden. This is more explicit in John’s narrative:
“14 She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. 15 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
16 “Mary!” Jesus said.” (John 20:14-16)
In a sense she was correct; the original vocation of man has been returned to us. Our first parents handed dominion over the earth to the serpent. Jesus took it back. The fruit of the Tree of Life is on the altar of churches around the globe. There is no place on earth we can’t walk with God. The whole earth is now Eden.
Why Protestants Lost the Eucharist:
Why do Catholic churches have the Eucharist and Protestant churches do not? This might be hard to hear, but we can only eat the fruit from one tree, and Protestants choose the wrong one. Adam and Eve said, “No”, to the authority of God, and instead imagined they were the ultimate judges of what is good and evil, truth and falsehood, right and wrong. Christ started a Church and gave it authority on earth. Paul refers to this Church as the pillar and foundation of Truth (1 Timothy 3:15). Protestants, as the name implies, protest against this Church. Catholics receive the fruit of the Tree of Life because we accept the authority of God on earth. Protestants make themselves the measure of truth...and are therefore denied it.
Surely no Protestant would actually say they make themselves the ultimate authority. No, they believe the greatest authority is God’s Word, found in the Scriptures. Listen again to the words recorded in our Scriptures:
“‘Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?’ 2 The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’’ 4 But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die; 5 for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:1-6)
“He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I- commanded you not to eat?’ 12 The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.’ 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent tricked me, and I ate.’” (Genesis 3:11-13)
These last words were no mere excuse. Corinthians 11:3 affirms she was indeed tricked by the devil. How did he do it? By taking the words of God and offering a different interpretation of them. Eve didn’t fall because she didn’t know God’s words, nor because she didn’t believe them. In a sense, the first “bite” of fruit was when she decided in her heart that she was the one to determine what God’s words meant, on her own authority.
When comparing Protestant and Catholic churches, you, like Eve, might think you will be better spiritually fed by the better preaching or more engaging worship found at Protestant services. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food”. Let’s face it: Protestant churches are cooler, have better marketing, and less reputation for scandal. “and that it was a delight to the eyes”. Plus, most Catholic priests can’t preach their way out of a paper bag, and most Catholics don’t know a Bible from a ham sandwich. Furthermore, a Catholic has to believe whatever doctrines the Catholic Church tells them, but as a Protestant you can learn and study for yourself. “And that the tree was to be desired to make one wise.” The choice is the same today as it was in the Garden. Either accept God’s authority in faith, by obedience, and eat the fruit of eternal life, or make yourself the final interpreter of God’s words and be denied it.
Maybe you, like myself, were born into the Protestant faith. Does this give us an excuse? Let’s consult Scripture:
“The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.’”
Maybe you didn’t make the initial choice to leave Christ’s church, but if you received that fruit and ate it, you still bear a certain amount of guilt.
Don’t be Like Korah:
Some Protestants might say their ultimate authority is not their own personal interpretation of God’s Word, like Eve thought, but rather it is the Holy Spirit. Practically speaking, this clearly isn’t working, as can be seen by the multitude of ever fracturing denominations. How can so many opposing denominations, churches, and movements be lead by one Holy Spirit that only speaks truth? Salvation level issues have rampant disagreement, even among those Protestants who put every effort to be faithful to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Nowhere in the history of God’s people was doctrinal authority vested in “the people”, writ large. Nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, the idea did come up:
“And they confronted Moses. 3 They assembled against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, ‘You have gone too far! All the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. So why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?’” (Numbers 16:2-3)
This is how that whole situation ended:
“The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, along with their households—everyone who belonged to Korah and all their goods. 33 So they with all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol; the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. 34 All Israel around them fled at their outcry, for they said, ‘The earth will swallow us too!’ 35 And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the two hundred fifty men offering the incense.” (Numbers 16:32-35)
God was clearly not pleased with this idea. Three chapters later, Moses refers to the people as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Numbers 19:6). Korah wasn’t wrong in saying that, in a sense, all of God’s people are priests. He also wasn’t wrong that God was truly with that people.
Protestants aren’t wrong to say the Holy Spirit is with us and we’re all priests. Yes, that is all true. What is desperately, get-sucked-into-the-earth or consumed-with-fire levels of wrong, is concluding God did not establish an authority here on earth.
This isn’t an article on Church authority; that will be coming soon. Here, we are making the point that whether your ultimate authority is your private interpretation of God’s word spoken through Scripture, or if it is your private interpretation of God’s word spoken through the Holy Spirit, in either case, you have become the ultimate arbiter of truth and therefore have plucked from the wrong tree.
Undoing the Curse:
Plucking the fruit of the wrong tree had devastating consequences for our first parents, taking them from the Garden into a desert. After Adam’s sin, God gives him a penance, or a redemptive punishment. It’s a recipe for redemption.
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife,
and have eaten of the tree
about which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread
until you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)
No man until Jesus could carry out this penance. It was His toil under the crown of thorns, humiliated and betrayed, that brought forth our food. It is by the sweat of His face, dripping blood at the garden of Gethsemane and pouring sweat under the weight of the cross, that “We shall eat bread”. The labor of Christ’s love undoes the curse of Man’s sin.
When I was a Protestant Christian, I, too, thought the Scriptures were all I needed. In fact, studying them lit my heart on fire with the love of God. How could I have been missing something so monumental as the Eucharist, if it were really true and littered throughout the Bible I studied? Luke 24 tells us how:
“28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us[k] while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” (Luke 24:28-35)
They met Christ and invited Him into their lives. They knew the Scriptures. They had those Scriptures explained to them by Jesus Christ Himself. However, it took the Eucharistic meal, which Jesus first offered in the upper room, to open their eyes so they could recognize Him in the breaking of the bread. Jesus vanished afterward because His human form was no longer necessary; He had given them Himself.
Moving up to Genesis 14, we see recorded an unlikely group around the dinner table. In one seat is the king of Sodom. Also in attendance is the King of Salem, who is also the high priest, named Melchizedek. Finally, we see Abraham, father of the Hebrew people. Today is a happy day for all of them, so they make a sacrificial meal in celebration. The Septuagint records the meal of bread and wine as a Eucharist (Thanksgiving) meal. The three characters (roughly) represent:
God - Melchizedek
The Devil - King of Sodom
Mankind – Abraham
To give some background to this celebratory meal: Abraham’s nephew Lot had decided to go and live near Sodom at a particularly bad time. Some rival kings attacked the city and took Lot and his family captive. Abraham, and 300 or so men, plan a rescue operation in the middle of the night. He splits the men into two groups and ambushes the camp from both flanks. Amazingly, outnumbered as he was, Abraham decimates the opposing army and rescues everyone.
The King of Sodom is grateful for what Abraham did in rescuing his people and wants to make a deal. He proposes Abraham keeps all the wealth while he takes all the people. Basically, he asks Abraham to sell out the freedom and flourishing of others in return for wealth and comfort.
Let me channel my inner ancient middle eastern potentate for a moment and imagine what he may have said to Abraham:
*Heaping up the flattery* “Abraham, that was incredible! You and your bravery saved my whole city. You deserve to enjoy the fruits of you own labor, in thanksgiving for what you have accomplished. I’ll take the people...you don’t want them anyway. They aren’t like you, brave and powerful. So don’t worry about them; go and enjoy the spoils of victory.”
Abraham had three choices:
1) Give into the flattery, make an alliance with the evil king, and become wealthy and honored by him.
2) Go back to a normal life. Take what is fair for his trouble and continue as he always has.
3) Out of thankfulness, look outside of himself and give away what he has to share his joy with God and others.
Abraham credits God with this victory, not himself. He knew everything he had was given to him by God. This is why his act of thanksgiving and celebration doesn’t turn inward, into hoarding and indulging, or selfishness and betrayal of others. Nor does it embrace the second option and simply maintain the status quo. Instead, he accepts from the king of Sodom only what is necessary to provide for his men. Then he turns to the king of Salem and gives him a tenth of everything he has.
The military victory was already won, but it was only at this Eucharistic meal of bread and wine with Melchizedek that Abraham completes his rescue mission of saving his family and the other captives from the rule of the evil king.
Jesus is revealed in Hebrews 5:6 as a priest in the order of Melchizedek. He, too, lays out a Eucharistic meal of bread and wine. In this meal, we, like Abraham, complete the rescue mission and reject the evil king, in favor of sharing in the joy of the Lord.
Here is a short argument for the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist:
Premise 1: Christ is both the priest and the sacrifice
Premise 2: Christ is a priest in the order of Melchizedek
Premise 3: Melchizedek's sacrifice was in the form of bread and wine
Conclusion: Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself is in the form of bread and wine.
Joseph Saves His People With Bread:
Joseph in the Old Testament might be the clearest picture of Christ in all of the Bible. Here is a far from exhaustive list of similarities:
Jesus: 12 Disciples, Descends to earth and Hell- the prison of souls, Betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, Sits at the right hand of God and saves His people, Provides Eucharistic bread for His people so they can live forever
Joseph: 12 Brothers, Descends into a pit and a prison, Betrayed for 20 pieces of silver, Sits at the right hand of the ruler and saves his people, Provides bread for his people so they can live
“Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, ‘Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.’”(Genesis 37:5-6)
Speaking of Himself, Jesus says this:
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24)
Spoiler alert: Jesus died and rose from the dead. If you will, “suddenly his sheaf rose and stood upright”. We believers have been described as a field of wheat (Mathew 13:24-30). Let’s put all of these puzzle pieces together.
Joseph is a type of Christ. His prophecy relates to himself proximately, but like many, or possibly most prophecies, it has a double fulfillment. Therefore, this dream relates to Jesus also. In His resurrection, Jesus rises up out of the ground. We, the other stalks of wheat, fall down in worship of Him. Is this telling us we are to be worshiping wheat? Of course not; clearly in the dream wheat is seen, but it actually relates to Joseph- and later on to Jesus. Just like in Joseph’s dream, in the Eucharist we see wheat (made into bread) and we are to bow down to it, precisely because it isn't actually wheat but rather Jesus Christ. Let’s move on to the fulfillment of this prophecy:
“Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find anyone else like this—one in whom is the spirit of God?’ 39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has shown you all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command; only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you.’ 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’” (Genesis 41:37-41)
After enduring earthly betrayal, humiliation, and punishments, Joseph is found worthy of sitting at the right hand of the ruler. This parallels Jesus, ascending to the throne in Heaven, from whence the Eucharistic bread of Heaven comes. Let’s see how Joseph saves his people in contrast to Christ:
“13 Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe. The land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine. 14 Joseph collected all the money to be found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that they bought; and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15 When the money from the land of Egypt and from the land of Canaan was spent, all the Egyptians came to Joseph, and said, ‘Give us food! Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.’ 16 And Joseph answered, ‘Give me your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.’ 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph; and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the donkeys. That year he supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock. 18 When that year was ended, they came to him the following year, and said to him, ‘We can not hide from my lord that our money is all spent; and the herds of cattle are my lord’s. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands. 19 Shall we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land in exchange for food. We with our land will become slaves to Pharaoh; just give us seed, so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.’” (Genesis 47:13-19)
Yes, this sounds brutal. Yet, it is foreshadowing something beautiful:
“Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’” (Matthew 5:2-12)
Both the Egyptians and Joseph’s own family ultimately came to Joseph with empty hands, asking for mercy with nothing to offer but themselves. Both Jews and Gentiles in the New Testament are called to do the same. Listen to Christ’s words in the Beatitudes: we to are to be stripped away of our wealth, power, pleasure, and honor in order to receive beatitudo, or the happiness that comes from entering into a union with God. Why? Because the Christian faith is about Christ reproducing his life, death, and resurrection in each of us.
The salvific analogy is clear. So where is this bread that is given from Christ’s storehouse to save the world from certain death? The simpler question is this: what saves us from spiritual death? If you answered the Gospel, then you are almost right. If you answered Jesus, then congratulations, you are right. The Gospel didn’t die on the cross for our sins. Jesus did, and the Gospel invites us to participate in His death so we can participate in His resurrection. Directly before the Bread of life discourse in John 6 comes this passage in John 5:39-40 where Jesus is arguing with the Pharisees:
“You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
In light of Jesus’ unequivocal declaration that His body is the bread come down from heaven (in John 6), it is just as clear that Jesus’ body, broken and given to us in the Eucharist, is what saves us from spiritual starvation. The Scriptures don't save us, but they point us to the one who's incarnation does.
The Passover’s parallels to Christ’s sacrifice are numerous: no bone was to be broken, it was roasted (representing the descent to Hell), the lamb had to be without blemish, and male. Even the use of hyssop, at the Passover and at the Crucifixion, pictures the cleansing power of His blood. The Egyptians viewed sheep as divine. Killing one was a capital offense in Egypt. Ironically, our Lamb is divine and, though killing Him was mankind’s greatest offense, God uses it to spares us from death. Furthermore, it feeds us on our journey away from slavery and the dominion of the devil, and toward the Promised Land.
First, the Hebrews had to find a spotless lamb, kill that lamb, spread its blood on their door post, and finally eat the lamb. Every one of those parts is essential. If they sacrificed something other than a spotless lamb, the Angel of Death killed their firstborn. If they didn’t kill the lamb, death visited their home. If they didn’t spread the blood over their door? Death. And guess what, like pretty much every sacrifice in the Bible, it was not complete until they ate the sacrifice. What happens if they chose not to eat the lamb? Death.
“They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10 You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.” (Exodus 12:7-10)
How can you fulfill the command “take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it”, unless they eat the lamb? It’s crystal clear the saving power of this sacrifice will not be in effect without the meal.
1 Corinthians 5:7 reads: “Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.” Clearly, Paul considers Christ as our new Passover Lamb.
John the Baptist took care of our first step: find the lamb. “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
The Crucifixion is where the Lamb was killed, but where is the meal? Celebrating the Passover is called “eating the Passover”. The meal was the whole point of killing the lamb; it was killed in order to be eaten. The Angel of Death only passes over homes that are marked with the blood, houses in which they eat.
Hear is Luke's account of the Lord’s Supper:
“When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ 19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ 20 And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’” (Luke 22:14-20)
Premise 1: The Passover lamb must be eaten (Exodus 12:7-10)
Premise 2: Jesus is our Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7)
Conclusion: Jesus must be eaten (John 6:30-59)
You may be thinking this consumption of Christ as the Passover Lamb is spiritual and not fleshly. Here is the problem: Jesus came in the flesh, suffered in the flesh, died in the flesh, and was resurrected in the flesh, in order to give His flesh for the life of the world.
1 John 4:3 tells us: “And every spirit which does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is not of God; and this is the spirit of Antichrist.”
If you think the new Passover meal is spiritual and not incarnate, I ask you this: was the sacrifice of Christ on the cross spiritual, or incarnate?
If you say spiritual, then you are denying the second Person of the Trinity came in the flesh to atone for our sins. That is the spirit of the Antichrist.
But you probably said incarnate, and you are correct. How then can the new Passover meal be only spiritual, when the new Passover Lamb is incarnate? Here you are not denying Christ, come in the flesh at the cross, but rather at the Passover meal. Again, denying Jesus as God, come in the flesh, is the spirit of the Antichrist.
Premise 1: Jesus came in the flesh as our new Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 John 4:3)
Premise 2: Jesus institutes a new Passover meal (Luke 22:14-20; Mathew 26:17-30)
Conclusion: Jesus institutes a new Passover meal where He comes in the flesh as our Passover Lamb.
To reiterate, denying Jesus coming in the flesh is the spirit of the Antichrist. If we really want to cling to a symbolic reading of the Eucharistic meal instituted at the Last Supper, we have to show that, somehow, our Passover Lamb ceased being incarnate! By law, we must eat of the Passover lamb to participate in the Passover. If we claim that our meal is now only spiritual or symbolic, then we need to prove when and where the hypostatic union ended and Jesus, our Passover Lamb, stopped being both God and Man.
The charge of Antichrist has been lobbed at the Catholic Church since the beginning of the Protestant Deformation. Martin Luther claimed the Pope was the Antichrist in the “Bull against the Antichrist”, among other places. John Calvin did the same in “The Necessity of Reforming the Church”. Today, plenty of churches hold the same view and accuse the Church, which has stood for 2,000 years, of being the new Babylon and headed by the Antichrist. Even the mild-mannered Presbyterians, who still profess the Westminster Confession of Faith, state this as doctrine: “There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ; nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God.” (Chapter 25.6)
Catholics ought to go on the offensive: the Protestant denominations, which have called the Catholic Church Anti-Christ for generations, are the ones denying Christ came in the flesh in His Passover sacrifice, as shown above. Their completely a-historical, man-made, and symbolic reading of the Eucharist makes them guilty of one of the most damning heresies possible.
How much clearer can God make this in Scripture? Jesus, our Passover Lamb, was born in a stable surrounded by livestock. Jesus, our bread of heaven was born in Bethlehem, a town meaning “House of Bread”. Jesus, whose flesh is true food was born in a manger, another word for a feeding trough. It seems like God is telling us something.
Some have objected that Jesus could not have been giving His flesh at the Last Supper. After all, He didn’t slice off a piece of Himself. However, directly before the famous Bread of Life discourse in John 6, Jesus performed one of two multiplication miracles. What exactly did He do? He took bread and flesh, and gave it out without loss. In fact, in its division it was multiplied. Yes, Jesus can give us the bread that is His flesh without loss. He is after all, God, the one who made the universe out of nothing.
Others have objected that the timeline doesn’t work. You don’t eat the flesh before the Lamb is sacrificed; therefore, Jesus could not have been giving out a piece of a sacrifice that hadn’t been sacrificed yet.
However, we must remember who kills the lamb at the Passover. Originally, it was the father of the house. After the golden calf incident, post-Passover, the primogenitor priesthood was taken away and given to the Levitical priesthood. That’s why in Jesus’ time, it was the priests who sacrificed the lamb. Who then was the priest that sacrificed Jesus? Jesus was the high priest, not the Romans, not the Jews. When did He give up His body as a sacrifice? At the Last Supper, which was the beginning of His sacrifice. Furthermore, Jesus doesn't seem to have a problem with the timeline at all, He says, "this is my body that will be given up for you and for many" (Luke 22:19)
Manna From Heaven
Numbers tells us:
“17 Whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, then the Israelites would set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the Israelites would camp.” (Numbers 9:7)
“The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12 ‘I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’’
13 In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.’” (Exodus 16:11-15)
There is a parallel between the Passover sacrifice that is sacrificed at twilight, the Last Supper that began at twilight, and finally the meat that God gave from heaven, also at twilight. Notice that in the same breath God tells them He will send them flesh from heaven, He also tells them to expect bread from heaven. In this way the Eucharist is prefigured: both bread and flesh are sent from heaven to feed His people prior to entering the Promised Land, which for us is heaven.
The first verse points out they followed a cloud by day and camped next to the cloud. At night, the dew would condense and form manna. Some scholars have suggested the condensation that became manna came from the giant cloud next to which they were camping. In this case, the presence of God in the cloud literally becomes their bread. It should comes as no surprise that when God “comes into our camp” in the incarnation, it is again as the bread from Heaven. Jesus even identifies himself as the our new manna:
“Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:47-51)