The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
ב״ה
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)
Jew and Gentile (Synagogue and Church), one in Messiah. (Ephesians 2:14)
“For He is our peace, Who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, …”
 

It is what you actually believe that determines how you walk out your faith.
But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, quarrels and fights about the Torah; because they are worthless and futile. (Titus 3:9)

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Please Note: Nothing on this website should be taken as anti-Church. I am not anti-anything or anyone. I am only pro-Torah, pro-Truth, and pro-Grace. Sometimes the Truth upsets our long-held beliefs. Why isn’t my theology consistent throughout this website?

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Developing a
Systematic Messianic Theology

“The purpose of careful theological formulations is not to put barriers in the way of people who are seeking salvation, but to define clearly the truths upon which genuine [Biblical] faith rests, so that people will not be misled by false doctrines.”[GN]

[Explanations of rabbinic citations are HERE]


The “Lord’s Supper”
Is “Communion” Practiced
Within Messianic Judaism?

Question: My boss and I have been having some discussions — he is a Lutheran. ... He asked me if Messianics have communion, and then he said he believes the juice/wine becomes the blood and the bread is literally the body, and asked me if I believed that.  I have always thought of it as symbolism, that we were to do as a reminder of what He did for us until He comes again.  I had heard that Catholics believe that but did not realize any Protestants did … or am I missing something?


Answer: Let’s begin by discussing your boss’s understanding of the “communion.” Your boss apparently does not accurately understand the Lutheran doctrine concerning the communion elements. That is not surprising; most Christians really do not understand the doctrines or their own denomination, let alone the doctrines of other denominations. The Roman Catholic Church teaches the doctrine of transubstantiation; the Lutheran Church teaches consubstantiation.

The word “transubstantiation” derives from Latin – trans (across), and substantia (substance). The term is employed in Roman Catholic theology to denote the idea that during the ceremony of the “Mass,” the “bread and wine” are changed, in substance, into the literal flesh and blood of Christ, even though the elements appear to remain the same. This doctrine, which has no basis in Scripture, first appeared in the early 9th century C.E., was formalized at the Council of Trent (1545-63), and was reaffirmed at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

“Consubstantiation” is a term commonly applied to the Lutheran concept of the communion supper, though some modern Lutheran theologians reject the use of this term because of its ambiguity. The expression, however, is generally associated with Luther. The idea is that in the communion, the body and blood of Christ, and the bread and wine, coexist in union with each other. “Luther illustrated it by the analogy of the iron put into the fire whereby both fire and iron are united in the red-hot iron and yet each continues unchanged” (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, F.L. Cross, Ed., London: Oxford, 1958, p. 337).[1]

While both of those ideas are interesting, there is no Biblical basis for either view. Both are based on an ultra-literal interpretation of Scripture, which usually leads to error. When Yeshua said, “I am the door,” He did not mean that he was made of wood and had hinges. And when He said, “I am the bread of life” He didn't mean that he was made of flour, soft on the inside, and crusty golden on the outside. So when He said, “This is my body … this is my blood …,” He didn’t mean that the wine now had red and white corpuscles floating in it and that the bread contained His skin or muscle cells.

He who has ears, let him hear … he who has a brain, let him also think! Absolute faith in God and in His word does not mean that we are called to abandon common selse.

Most Messianic congregations that I know of do not observe “Communion” in the same way that Gentile Christians do, because it is not taught in the Bible that we are to do so, but only in Gentile Christian tradition. I know that sounds pretty radical coming from a Messianic theologian who was trained and ordained as a Baptist, but consider carefully what the Bible does teach.

The Kiddush

In most translations of Luke 22:17-19 (like the NASB, for example) it says something like: “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks …” This is actually a very poor translation — He actually “made the b'rakhah, or blessing” as correctly translated in the Complete Jewish Bible, as follows:

Then, taking a cup of wine, He made the b'rakhah and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on, I will not drink the ‘fruit of the vine’ until the Kingdom of God comes.” Also, taking a piece of [bread], He made the b'rakhah, broke it, gave it to them and said, “This is My body, which is being given for you; do this in memory of Me.”

What was the “this” that He was doing, and what is the “this” that He instructed His disciples to do in His memory? He was observing the traditional Kiddush.

Kiddush is the traditional reinactment of the time in history when after he had defeated the kings in battle and rescued the captives, Abraham was met in the city which is now called Jerusalem by Malki-Tzedek (Melchizedek):

17After his return from slaughtering K'dorla'omer and the kings with him, the king of S'dom went out to meet him in the Shaveh Valley, also known as the King’s Valley. 18Malki-Tzedek king of Shalem brought out bread and wine. He was cohen [priest] of El 'Elyon [God Most High], 19so he blessed him with these words: “Blessed be Avram by El 'Elyon, maker of heaven of earth. 20and blessed be El 'Elyon, who handed your enemies over to you.” Avram gave him a tenth of everything. (Gen 14:17-20)

It is Jewish (including Messianic Jewish) practice to observe the Kiddush on erev Shabbat, the night before Shabbat (the Sabbath, Saturday), on Shabbat, and on Holy Days and their eves. This is what Yeshua was doing at His final dinner with His disciples. (See the informative article on MyJewishLearning.com)

So His instruction, in the Biblical context, was that whenever we celebrate Kiddush we are to remember Him. And it is my opinion (feel free to disagree) that it was His intent that all His followers, both Jew and non-Jew, should frequently celebrate Kiddush.

Many (perhaps most) Messianic synagogues celebrate the Kiddush (not “communion”) with challah and wine at every Shabbat and Holy Day service. And I, personally, cannot possibly eat bread and wine together under any circumstances without “remembering” Him. I think most Believers feel the same way. 

____________
Note: There are two b'rakhot (plural of b'rakhah, blessing) that are of significance here, and which Yeshua would have recited during His last meal with His friends. The first is the b'rakhah that is always said before partaking of wine; the second is the b'rakhah that is always said before partaking of bread. These are the modern versions, but they are probably very similar to what Yeshua said.

The b'rakhah for wine:  Barukh atah ADONAI Eloheinu, Melech ha'olam, boray p'ree ha'gafen.
Blessed are You, ADONAI our God, King of the universe, the One Who creates the fruit of the vine.
The b'rakhah for bread:  Barukh atah ADONAI Eloheinu, Melech ha'olam, ha'motzie lechem mein ha'aretz.
Blessed are You, ADONAI our God, King of the universe, the One Who brings forth bread [or sustenance] from the earth.

Please note that is not the bread and wine that are being blessed, but rather it is He Who creates the the wine and He Who brings forth the bread that is blessed. So when we are saying our “grace” before meals and ask God to bless our food, that really isn’t Biblical. Not that there’s anything at all wrong with it; it just isn’t Biblical.

____________

  1. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/477-what-are-transubstantiation-and-consubstantiation (an excellent article), last accessed 01/06/20. [RETURN]

Totally re-written on Wednesday, 6 January 2021
Revised Thursday, 21 April 2022

Page last updated on Thursday, 21 April 2022 03:23 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return
ANXIOUSLY WATCHING FOR MASHIACH’S RETURN,
SPEEDILY AND IN OUR DAY. MARANA, TA!

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