PASSOVER UNDERSTANDINGS Part Ten(A) QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON 1 COR.11:20-34 It will take more than one study to cover all the things that need to be examined in this section of scripture. So let's begin. Verse 20 and the phrase "When you come together" is often explained, depending who is doing the explaining, as ONCE a day, ONCE a week, ONCE a month, THREE or FOUR times a year, and other various times, many or few. How can we know HOW MANY TIMES a year we are to observe the memorial of our Lord's death that this section of the letter to the Corinthian church is giving instructions upon? First, we need to acknowledge that the NT Greek did have words that it used elsewhere for out English words of "day" - "week" - "every Sabbath" - "each month" - "every three months" - "two memorials a year" etc. It would have been very easy for the Holy Spirit to have inspired Paul to use such language here, IF God has wanted to tell us that the memorial of our Savior's death was to be observed MORE THAN ONCE a year. This would have been an excellent place in the NT to have so instructed us. But Paul did not use any such language, or Greek phrases as above. Verse 20 by itself CANNOT prove anything about how often to observe the NT symbols of Christ's death. Yet, we are not left completely in the dark regarding the answer to our question. The CONTEXT must be taken into consideration. They were as Paul knew COMING TOGETHER! They were meeting together as a group of people, in ONE place. They were from the context pretending to observe the death of Jesus. Oh, they were doing it WRONG and with MANY errors involved that Paul corrected them on, but they were claiming to observe the Lord's death, and Paul was talking about the observance of the memorial of the Lord's death. All I believe agree on that point. Paul within this context, in verse 23, gives us the key as to how many times a day, week, month, or year, he expected them to observe this memorial. He had received it RIGHT FROM THE LORD HIMSELF, and which he had at one time before this letter was written, INSTRUCTED THEM upon. It was the NIGHT that Jesus was betrayed that the NT symbols were introduced for the NT remembrance of Christ's death. We have seen in our past studies that THAT NIGHT was the Passover night of the 14th of the first month. At the VERY BEGINNING of the 14th, NOT the end of the day but the START of the day, the NIGHT of the 14th. We have seen that the Gospels(all of them) make this truth VERY CLEAR! And we have seen from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, that is was indeed the PASSOVER meal, the Passover supper meal, that Jesus with His disciples DID OBSERVE! We have seen they DID PREPARE AND EAT IT THAT NIGHT OF THE 14TH! We can search the NT from front to back and we shall never find ANY scripture to say that the ONCE A YEAR observation of the Passover/True Lamb of God, memorial service, was ever CHANGED from once a year celebration to more than once a year. We can see from the Gospels and from this passage we are studying, that the SYMBOLS were changed, that Jesus indeed changed it from a supper meal to a simple bread and wine and foot washing service, BUT the time of day and how many times a year it was to be observed was NEVER changed. Some will immediately cry out verse 26 and the phrase "For as OFTEN as you eat....." and say it can be observed as often we like to observe it. Well I shall come to that verse later with some in depth comments and we shall see from the Greek, that is not what it means. But in our next study for that. Back to verse 20 through to 22. They were indeed coming together to observe the Lord's death. It is clear from these verses they were MAKING A LARGE MEAL of it. And what a mess they were making of even that fact. Some who had much were bringing their own meal, some who had little or even nothing could not bring anything, and those who had much WOULD NOT EVEN SHARE with those who had nothing! So some went hungry. Then add injury to insult, some were drinking so much wine that they were literally GETTING DRUNK! They were DOING, ACTING, literally in a wrong manner. I want you to remember this, for we shall come back to it when I comment on verse 27,29, in connection with observing "unworthily" which has caused some misunderstanding in the minds of too many sincere Christians. I will cover that in our next study. WERE THEY TO EAT THE LORD'S SUPPER? IS THIS SERVICE CALLED "THE LORD'S SUPPER"? Here we have two questions. Both of them need to be answered. We need to note the phrase as it is in the KJV "this is not to eat the Lord's supper." In the Greek/English INTERLINEAR by Berry it reads literally as: "IT IS NOT LORD'S SUPPER TO EAT." The NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE also gives a true translation from the Greek: "Therefore when you meet together, IT IS NOT TO EAT THE LORD'S SUPPER." VERY FEW have really seen what Paul was saying here in this verse to them. They were making a SUPPER meal of the NT memorial service of Christ's death. Jesus on the last night that He partook of the Passover/True Lamb of God, memorial service DID EAT A MEAL. It was the Passover meal supper - roast lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs. During that meal Jesus introduced the NT symbols of His broken body and shed blood for the New Covenant service, as Paul points out to the church at Corinth in the section we are now studying. It was a MEAL that Jesus did observe on that NIGHT, but it is clear from the Gospels by what Christ DID and TAUGHT, and by what Paul(who said he was taught and instructed by Jesus) had delivered to them beforehand(verse 23), IT WAS NO LONGER TO BE A MEAL!! It was to be BREAD and the CUP. Doing THIS was showing or remembering the Lord's death till He come(verses 24-28). Those were NOW the TWO basic parts and symbols to this remembrance NIGHT service of Christ's death, to be observed on the NIGHT in which Jesus was betrayed(verse 23). IT WAS NOT TO BE A MEAL!! Hence Paul said: "Coming together therefore you into one place, it is not Lord's supper to eat" (Greek/English Interlinear by Berry). To even get into this still more from a technical point of view I will quote at length from the book by Fred Coulter THE CHRISTIAN PASSOVER, pages 211-213. Quote: ".......Paul begins by correcting the Corinthians for their heretical observance of the Christian Passover...........As we shall see, one of the heresies which had taken root in the Corinthian church was the practice of calling the NT Passover the 'Lord's Supper.' The Corinthians had apparently adopted the practice of eating the OT Passover meal in conjunction with the NT Passover! This heresy is still with us to this day! People commonly call the Christian Passover the 'Lord's supper,' and there are those who still celebrate it with a meal. However, Paul strictly forbids both such practices in no uncertain terms........'Therefore, when you come together into one place, it is not to eat the Lord's supper!' (1 Cor.11:20, author's translation - FC). Can anything be clearer?.......If they were not to come together to eat the Lord's supper, then the NT Passover should not be called the 'Lord's Supper'! This fact is made abundantly clear in the Greek text. Paul used the Greek negative adverb ouk to emphasize that they were 'not to eat the Lord's Supper.' The word ouk denotes the IMPOSSIBILITY of eating the Lord's supper! Ouk is ' an objective negative adverb denying the reality of an alleged fact ' (Arndt & Gingrich, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament)......... Based upon this direct condemnation by the apostle Paul, the NT Passover should never be called the ' Lord's Supper.' ............From the very tenor of Paul's rebuke, it is apparent that this problem was not a minor misunderstanding. Paul's writings are simple and plain. The NT Passover is not the Lord's supper; therefore it should not be called the Lord's Supper.............The NT Passover is not a meal. The NT Passover is a solemn ceremony, not a festive meal..............To end this gross misobservance, Paul made it clear that whatever meals they desired to eat should be eaten at home before assembling to partake of the NT Passover ceremony......(verse 22)..........Paul was not dealing with a single heresy, but multiple heresies. In fact, the entire epistle of First Corinthians addresses one heresy after another in Paul's attempt to turn the Corinthians from these most unChristian practices...........Jesus clearly nullified the observance of the OT Passover with the introduction of the new symbols. The footwashing and the new symbols of the unleavened bread and wine have replaced the former paschal meal of the lamb and bitter herbs. The ceremony and meaning were changed by Jesus Christ Himself at His last Passover. As the Son of God , He had the authority to change it! However the Passover day itself was not changed. The Scriptures in both OT and NT show that it was and is the 14th day of the 1st month............Paul had previously taught the Corinthians the proper observance of the NT Passover, but they apparently had decided that they could improve upon those original instructions. The traditions of men are always hailed as better than God's way. Heresy is always called an 'improvement'! False doctrine is always touted as 'new revelation.' .............Yes, the brethren at Corinth had been taught the proper way to observe the NT Passover. Paul had previously instructed them (1 Cor.11:23). They knew what was right and good, but they were not doing it............As the apostle James declared, ' Therefore, to the one who knows to do good, and is not practicing it, TO HIM IT IS SIN ' (James 4:17, author's translation - FC)............Can there be any higher authority than the direct teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ? Absolutely not!..........." Fred Coulter then proceeds to quote Paul from verse 23-26. You will notice in those verses the phrase as it is in the KJV, "in remembrance of me." The Greek is even more SPECIFIC. There is the definite article "the" in the Greek. It is: Tau as in tale. Eta as in obey. Nu as in no. A three letter word, that is translated MANY times in the NT as "the." So the Greek is: "....this do in THE remembrance of me." Then looking up the Greek word for "remembrance" in the Analytical Greek Lexicon, page 24, we discover that the root to this word means: remembrance; a commemoration; memorial. The OT Passover was actually God's true Lamb, that was slain from the foundation of the world(in His Plan from the very beginning). It was THE MEMORIAL of the death of the one who would come to die for the sins of the whole world, for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have EVERLASTING LIFE! What a memorial! It is THE MEMORIAL, THE REMEMBRANCE NIGHT of the year. No other night in the entire year is quite like the NT PASSOVER NIGHT. Let's never take it for granted. Let's observe it in the correct manner. Let a man/woman EXAMINE THEMSELVES and so let them eat of that bread and drink of that cup(1 Cor.11:28). I will continue in this section next time. ..........................