I know that the Bible prescribes the drinking of wine during communion. But it also requires Christians to consider that wine to be blood!!

David refused to drink water from the well of Bethlehem in 1-Ch 11:17-19 because he considered it to be blood.

1 Chronicles:11.19 And he said, "Far be it from me, O my God, that I should do this! Shall I drink the blood of these men who have put their lives [in jeopardy? For at the risk of their lives they brought it." Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men.

Yet Jesus taught the following:

John:6.53 "....Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.

John:6.54 "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

Jesus is the Passover lamb according to Pauline teaching in 1-Cor 5:7

But according to Leviticus 17:10-11, the blood that makes atonement is not to be drank.

And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.

Leviticus:17.11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.'

According to Mathew 5:17, Jesus came to fulfill the law. This is why the record and chronology of His death aligns the ordinance of the Passover in many ways. i.e

a) He was killed during the feast of Passover.

b) Since the flesh of the Passover lamb is eaten (Exo 12:8), Jesus also institutes the eating of his own flesh.


Is Jesus's statement in John 6:53 consistent with the law?

  • The idea expressed in 1 Chronicles 11:19 is that the water in question was far too precious to be drunk as simple water (since it was retrieved by endangering the lives of brave men). A similar idea is expressed in 1 Corinthians 11:29. – Lucian Nov 22 '17 at 17:26
  • How can I close this question. Too many people have down voted. I guess the question is touching on a sensitive issue. – user20490 Nov 29 '17 at 11:07
  • @user20490 - If Jesus was speaking literally, yes, it would seem inconsistent, and many of those listening were upset by what he said, but if you keep reading down through to and including verse 63 of John 6, Jesus explains he was speaking "spiritually". – Michael Jun 19 '19 at 13:33

"Holy Communion" is a Catholic ritual based on the concept of ritual human sacrifice which is an abomination to God, conscience and good sense. While it only actually involves human blood in the imaginations of Catholics, that is the sense in which the wafer/bread and the juice/wine is consumed.

The scriptural ritual is a seder which was a Jewish celebration of national deliverance from slavery in Egypt by God's mighty hand. There were many miracles culminating in a bloodying of their doorposts and consumption of a yearling flock animal to be excluded from the rampage of the death angel. The seder was entirely a celebration done as an annual reminder of the great salvation, never in any way to reslaughter the animal or shed any blood at all.

Jesus commandeered the celebration as a reminder that his blood had been shed to ratify the new covenant with the elect Jews:

Hebrews 8:8 But God found fault with the people [the Jews] and said: "The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.

1 Cor 11:25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Romans 9:4the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.

Hebrews 9:15For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. –

However, before the ink was dry on the NT the Jews of the Corinthian assembly decided that it would be swell to disobey the divine design of the seder where each family ate in their own home with their own families to celebrate the seder together in one large hall. Chaos ensued as the children grew impatient, fought over the foil-covered chocolate coins and people just started eating willy-nilly. Paul complains "Don't you have your own homes to eat in?!"

The instruction was to eat in a single household or, if it was a small household, with nearest neighbors:

ESV Exodus 12: 3Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. 4And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb.

Paul chides the saints for making it a single gathering for all:

ESV 1 Cor 11: 17But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. 21For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this [coming together to eat the seder]? No, I will not.

But the practice continued and spread and became redefined as a gentile/pagan celebration of Catholicity called "Communion" where the bread, usually leavened and the wine (consumed copiously unto drunkenness) became symbols cum miraculous elements of human blood sacrifice and "unity", not identifying the body and blood with the new covenant with the Jews. The new covenant with the Jews was completely displaced.

So to answer the question:

  • there is no blood in the "mass confusion" except in the imagination

  • the Jewish seder likewise is simply a memorial of their new covenant and involves shedding no blood and thus violates no laws

"This do in remembrance of me".

  • "based on the concept of ritual human sacrifice which is an abomination to God" I think you are confusing Jesus' death on the cross with 'human sacrifice.' Human sacrifice is forbidden. The Son of God offering His life a ransom for many isn't the same thing. You clearly are out of your depth here, or are simply ignorant of Scripture as pertains to the Eucharist—holy "Communion" refers to what St. Paul said: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?" What is it, UNHOLY? – Sola Gratia Nov 28 '17 at 21:32
  • "was a Jewish celebration of national deliverance from slavery in Egypt" Now you are confusing the Eucharist, "the NEW COVENANT in my blood," with the Jewish Passover of which it was the fulfillment. "to ratify the new covenant with the elect Jews" Why are you excluding the Gentiles always? You realize the New Testament teaches they are part of the New Covenant also, right? "But the practice continued and spread and became redefined as a gentile/pagan celebration" When did it change, according to you? – Sola Gratia Nov 28 '17 at 21:34
  • "the proper name for the Catholic ritual" But it has several proper names, all of which are found in Scripture: communion, thanksgiving (eucharist). Why you do object to this? And it was in common that the Eucharist or whatever you which to term it, was had, as we see NT. Heb 8:8 is clearly not exclusive, since in the New Testament, the Gentiles belong to the same covenant, being "grafted in"&Isreal is sprtl.The Jews can likewise be grafted in and grafted out, without distinction. There is neither Jew nor Gentile. St. Paul even has to ask, 'then what advantage is there to being a Jew' – Sola Gratia Nov 28 '17 at 21:49
  • You seem to be imagining some clandestine dark place where peopel secretly eat some bread, sip some juice, and go home. Instead of a great commemoration of the outpouring and offering of the body and blood of the covenant by which we were sanctified to God for our sins. This is found nowhere in Christian history. This is a novelty. – Sola Gratia Nov 28 '17 at 21:50
  • It's difficult to ascertain what you take to be the 'true' interpretation or church established in the New Testament. What do you identify as? You'll certainly never find Christians in any century who will teach what you're teaching about the Eucharist. – Sola Gratia Nov 28 '17 at 22:00

1. Question Restatement:

How could Jesus justify directing people to "Drink his blood" - even figuratively - when even David refused to do it, in a figurative sense, and given the Biblical commandment to not drink blood?

2. Answer:

In legal texts, qualifications and distinctions matter - a lot. And there is an incredible difference between a prohibition against neglecting to remember the horror of taking life from unwilling sacrifices - and the requirement against the horror of failing to remember the life freely given, by a willing sacrifice.

This distinction is more than enough, legally - under Rabbinic reasoning - especially Kal va-chomer (קל וחומר) - and the ability to navigate child sacrifice.

Remember - the prohibitions in the Old Testament were against blood AND fat, (Leviticus 3:17), which I am not even sure was remotely possible for them to do. The intent of the command was explicitly metaphorical - but to be observed literally, in order to be mindful of the value of life.

If a person were to presumptuously demand, and then take personal advantage of, another's sacrifice - that is morally wrong.

On the other hand, if a person was making a self-sacrifice, on behalf of others, and asked others to "remember this" - but they didn't - this would be morally wrong.

2.1. The Mosaic Explanation of the Metaphor:

Going back to the commandment, this commandment is actually based on this exact moral value - as metaphor; and because Israel had refused to act morally, the prohibition had to be enacted by statute.

NASB, Leviticus 17:11 - For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood - by reason - of the life that makes atonement.’

2.2. The Christian Explanation of the Metaphor:

For Christians, every commandment given to Israel was in prophetic view of what the Messiah was to do and teach.

NKJV, Luke 24:25-27 - 25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

So, How Does this Self-Sacrifice Result in Atonement?

It doesn't, and never will. God never delighted in sacrifice, or death, ever, and never will. God desires mercy. It was Jesus' unconditional advocacy for mercy proven by the extent of his self-sacrifice, that brought life.

NASB, Philippians 2:8 - Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient[for mercy] to the point of death, even death on a cross.

There are way to many examples of this to list here, but: Moses' advocacy to spare the nation of Israel, David's advocacy on the threshing floor, Rahab's self-sacrifice for "spies/terrorists" bringing life to Israel, Job sacrificing and praying for his friends - resulting in Job's own healing, Eve advocating for Adam - resulting in the verdict of death being overruled, Esther, Jonah having to advocate for Nineveh, (of all places), Noah for his family, etc., etc., etc.

That is a whole lot of "wrong" and "sinful" people making a way for God to show mercy, through advocacy alone - even when they were wrong.

A Paraphrase of Many Passages about "Blood" and "Sacrifice":

Rephrase: It is morally reprehensible to neglect that "giving one's life" is the greatest sacrifice that anyone can make - because "life" is the greatest gift that God has given:

Paraphrase: God desires life - not death(Ezekiel 18:32), mercy and not sacrifice(Hosea 6:6). So, because you are as children and not mature, you will be given statutes(Galatians 3:24), until this is a natural inclination of your heart(Jer. 31:33). So, you are required, by law, to remember that "blood" represents "life"(Gen 9:4) every time an animal is sacrificed for you - by not eating its blood(Lev. 3:17). You and your children will only find abundant life(Deut 12:23) by remembering(Luke 22:14) that only by following the greatest commandment to love, by imitating(John 15:12) unconditional advocacy(Isaiah 53:7) for life and mercy, will a multitude of sin be covered(1 Peter 4:8). Because, mercy triumphs over judgment, and judgment will be merciless to those who show no mercy(James 2:13).
Note: This is kind of turned out as a paraphrase of the entire Bible.

This answer is obviously not accepted by "Judaism" - but requires a fundamental "change of mind" regarding "mercy and punishment". If that value is indeed true - then Jesus' requirement to remember mercy, through metaphor, is perfectly valid - especially since real blood isn't being drank anyway.

  • Elika thanks for answering. It's great to see that you're a Cohen. But you didn't answer the question. Moses enacted the covenant of Sinai by sprinkling blood. – user20490 Nov 20 '17 at 17:34
  • Why then should a new covenant be enacted by drinking blood? Especially when the new covenant is a perfection of the old. And a fulfillment of the types and symbols of the old. – user20490 Nov 20 '17 at 17:35
  • Paul talked a lot about "Not discerning the blood and body of the Lord". Blood is prohibited and Yahweh explained his reason through Moses. "it is blood that makes atonement for the soul. I have given you blood to make atonement for your souls". . The life of the animal (Lamb, goat etc) is in the blood. Since Christ was a lamb, his blood should not be drank even figuratively cos that would contradict the principles of atonement in Lev 17:11 – user20490 Nov 20 '17 at 17:38
  • Wow!!! Your point on self sacrifice is quite interesting. I'll appreciate it if you clarify as to why human blood would be accepted as a life giving meal on the basis of self sacrifice. – user20490 Nov 20 '17 at 17:49
  • @user20490 - I tried explaining how self-sacrifice doesn't result in life, but how mercy given unconditionally [like lambs] - especially shown through self-sacrifice - does. I hope this at least addresses the question, and I am interpreting it somewhat close to what you are asking. – elika kohen Nov 20 '17 at 18:20

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.