Keith Hunt - Passover Study #16 Restitution of All Things


                     PASSOVER 
                  UNDERSTANDINGS
                    Part Ten(B)

               QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
                 ON 1 COR.11:20-34

     Verse 26 is often given as the proof text that the observing
of the memorial of Christ's death, through the use of bread and
the cup, can be performed and partaken of as MANY TIMES AS YOU
WISH, whether it be every day, once a week, once a month, or
three or four times a year.

     Before we take a technical look at the Greek, to see what we
can learn from the original language that this was written in, we
can first see this verse in its simple context, used with common
logic. You really do not need a degree in Greek to understand the
truths of the word of the Lord as found in the Bible.

     Paul does NOT say in this verses: "Observe the Lord's death
AS MANY TIMES  as you wish every year."  Nor does he say: "This
remembrance service can be performed every day if you desire." 
He says NOTHING in this verse about doing it once a week or
once a month, or four times a year!  Such language is nowhere
used by Paul in this entire section of scripture. Far too many
have READ THINGS INTO certain verses, that just do not state what
they THINK it states.
     If we were using the context of our parents WEDDING
ANNIVERSARY,  and we were stating to our brothers and sisters,
concerning observing and remembering the day our parents were
married: "For as often as you remember this day(of our parents
wedding) you do show honor to them"  most of us would not think
about remembering that day once a week, or once a month. We would
naturally take such language as to mean we are to remember our
parents wedding anniversary ONCE A YEAR, on the very day they
were married. And as we do remember that day YEAR AFTER YEAR, as
often as it is remembered, once every year, we do show honor to
our parents.

     Now, consider this phrase as used by Paul, WITHIN the
context he is using it. He has told them they were celebrating
the Lord's death in the WRONG MANNER. It was not to be a big
meal, with lots of wine being drunk, to the point of some
becoming intoxicated and drunk. He told them that they had been
told the correct way to observe this memorial service, for Jesus
had given it to him, and he had passed it on to them. The TIME to
observe it(which they did have correct) was the NIGHT in which
Christ was betrayed(verse 23). 
     He went on to tell them the relatively simple symbols that
was to be used in this service, as instituted by Jesus, to
replace the old Passover meal of roast lamb and bitter herbs.
     So he has again given them the TIME or the DAY, together
with the basic CEREMONY SYMBOLS.  Then in THAT CONTEXT he tells
them that as often as they do this they remember the Lord's death
till He comes(verse 26).
     The very CONTEXT explains the use of this phrase. It should
not be hard to figure out that the phrase DOES NOT mean to
perform and partake of this memorial service just as many times
as you fancy - every day, once a week, once a month, or something
else. The context is THE SAME NIGHT IN WHICH JESUS WAS BETRAYED! 
Really quite simple if we are willing to put away all
pre-conceived ideas we have either been taught or invented
ourselves.

     I know, some will still want to argue from the technical
side of things. So for them we shall indulge a little in the
Greek language.  To answer from the technical point, I will
quote from the book THE CHRISTIAN PASSOVER by Fred Coulter, pages
214-217.

     Quote:

     "........As often as: Does this expression mean that it is
permissible to take it as many times a day as desired? If that is
the case it might be possible to take it every five
minutes.........Jesus warned that participating in vain,
repetitious, religious practices is completely unacceptable to
God (Matt.6:7).  This condemnation of vain repetition shows
that there are limiting factors which govern the frequency of
taking the NT Passover.
     Next, we need to ask, Is it acceptable to take it once a
day?.......When we examine the verses in question, we find no
mention of a daily observance.......Some believe these
verses support a weekly observance.......However, there is
nothing in the Greek text or in the context of these verses to
substantiate a weekly practice of 'eating the bread' and
'drinking the wine.'
     The Orthodox and Catholics claim that Scriptural references
to 'breaking bread' are referring to taking communion or
celebrating the Mass, and the Protestants claim they are
referring to the 'Lord's Supper.'  Several Scriptures in the book
of Acts are frequently quoted in an attempt to substantiate such
claims. These are found in Acts 2:42, 46;  20:7- 11. But when
these Scriptures are closely examined, it is abundantly clear
that they are not referring to a Mass or the Eucharist, but to
the eating of a meal. The term 'to break bread' was commonly used
in NT times in reference to eating a meal. In fact, the same
terminology is used in the book of Matthew in the account of the
feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000.....Matt. 14:19......Matt.
15:36.......There is absolutely no Scriptural proof that
'breaking bread' means taking the Mass every week........
     The limiting factors or conditional qualifiers:  The phrase,
'as often as' contains no inherent limit by itself.  This phrase
is translated from the Greek word osakis, an adverb meaning 'as
often as,' which comes from the root osos.  Osos means 'as great,
how great; as far, how far; as long, how long; as much, how much'
(Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the NT).  In all
Scriptures where osakis is used, there must be a conditional or
specific qualifier defining the limit, because there is no
inherent limit in the word osakis itself.
     Osakis is used only three times in the NT - twice in 1
Corinthians 11:25-26, and once in Revelation 11:6.  Let's examine
its use in Revelation 11:6.  '..........as often as (osakis) they
will.'  The limiting factor which qualifies the use of osakis in
this verse is 'they will.'  The meaning of osakis in this verse
is very broad, since the only conditional factor is their own
personal will.......In this case, the limiting factor is their
choice, which would of course be according to the will of God.
     However, we do not find the same broad application of osakis
in First Corinthians 11. In this chapter of Scripture, the
structure of the Greek text reveals a specific limiting
factor that is not shown in the English translations. In the
Greek text, an untranslated particle is found between 'as often
as' and 'you may drink,' and also between 'as often as' and 'you
may eat.'  Here are these expressions in the Greek: osakis AN
pineete, which is translated 'for as often as you may drink.' 
Osakis AN esthieete, which is translated 'as often as you may
eat.' ........Please not: The author(Fred Coulter) is using
the Greek text by George Ricker Berry, which footnotes AN with
the alternative reading of EAN. In other Greek texts, such as
those of the United Bible Societies, the particle AN is replaced
by the conjunction EAN, which has nearly the same meaning as AN.
(See Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the NT,
'ean.' )............
     The use of the Greek article AN shows that there are
conditions governing the stated action to be taken, such as ' you
may drink ' or ' you may eat.'  But AN is not directly
translatable into a single English word.  In order to translate
it, the translators would have to explain the condition.  Since
it is not the purpose of the translators to comment on the text,
they simply leave AN untranslated.  Here is the definition of the
Greek particle AN: ' A particle peculiar to Greek, incapable of
translation by a single English word; it denotes that THE ACTION
OF THE VERB IS DEPENDENT ON SOME CIRCUMSTANCE OR CONDITION; the
effect of AN upon the meaning of the clause depends on the mood
and tense of the verb with which it is used ' (Arndt and
Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the NT).
     The particle AN is used to denote that conditions apply to
the circumstances being related..........AN is important to the
overall meaning of these verses because it specifically tells us
that there are conditions and circumstances which must be taken
into consideration in order to properly understand what has been
written.

     Here are the contextual limiting factors and conditional
qualifiers in 1 Corinthians which restrict the application of
osakis or ' as often as ' :

     1) The TEACHING which the apostle Paul received from the
Lord(verse 23). This conditional qualifier restricts the
observance to the specific teachings which Paul received
from the Lord........
     2) The TIME specified by Paul as ' THE NIGHT in which He was
betrayed ' (verse 23).  This limiting factor clearly shows the
observance is limited to the one night of the year in which Jesus
was betrayed.
     3) The fact that ' the night in which He was betrayed ' was
the PASSOVER NIGHT.  This limiting factor definitely limits the
phrase 'as often as.'...........
     4) By this solemn ceremony, ' you are proclaiming the Lord's
death.'  This clause is clearly a limiting factor, because Jesus
died on only one day. That was the Passover day, the 14th day of
the 1st month.........
     5) The phrase ' until He may come '  defines the span of
time during which the Christian Passover is to be observed - from
Jesus' last Passover until Jesus' Second Coming..........

     The five factors listed above are conditional qualifiers
which restrict the application of the phrase ' as often as.' 
These factors clearly show that this expression cannot mean
any time one may choose to take the bread and wine.  The five
limiting factors clearly reveal that these symbols are to be
taken only once a year, on the annual Passover night, the 14th of
the 1st month.  That is the night in which Jesus was
betrayed..........."

End Quote.

     So when the circle has been completed, when the technical
Greek is also examined, we find the same truth as we can also
find by a simple reading of the context and understanding the
phrase "as often as" within that context as I have previously
shown to you above.
     How complete and wonderful is the word of the Lord. It can
be understood by the person with a child like mind, and by those
who want to use the technicalities of the Hebrew or Greek
languages. The truth is the same for both.  One Lord, one truth,
no contradiction.

     UNWORTHILY(verses 27, 29)?

     Many a sincere, humble, repentant Christian has been
un-nerved by these verses and this word "unworthily."  Many have
said:  I am flesh and blood, a sinner. I am not worthy but to
die. I am unworthy of the body and blood of Jesus. How can I
possibly then partake of this special evening and take the
symbols that represent the broken body and shed blood of Christ?
     Some I understand who observe this memorial only partake of
the symbols IF they at the time believe they are "worthy." 
Otherwise they pass them by as they are handed around.
     This idea is a grave mis-interpretation of these verses.
Let's face the fact, the bottom line is that compared to Christ
and God the Father and their perfect Holiness, we as flesh and
blood humans are all unworthy. There is nothing we can do or
perform in the way of works or deeds to make us somehow "worthy"
of the death of Jesus for our sins. The bottom line for us is
that we are only worthy of death for the sins we have committed.
That is why Paul was inspired to write that we are saved by GRACE
through faith in Christ Jesus, and not of ourselves, not of
works(Eph.2:8).
     Paul was NOT thinking of this kind of unworthiness as such,
for in verse 28 he very emphatically said: "But let a man EXAMINE
himself, AND SO LET HIM EAT of that bread, and drink of that
cup."  
     Jesus said and taught in the Gospels that unless we would
eat His flesh and drink His blood we could have NO PART with
Him(John 6).  Jesus was not talking about literally eating His
flesh and drinking His blood, but spiritually we do it by obeying
His words and partaking of the symbols of His body on the
Passover night each year. Concerning those new symbols Christ
instituted He said "This DO."  He said He had set us an example
that we should do as He had done, and that we should go out and
teach others what He had taught(John 13:15; Matt.28:19,20).
     So in the knowledge of all verses on the subject, it should
be clear that Christians, though sinners, ARE TO PARTAKE OF THE
BREAD AND CUP of the Lord at His memorial Passover service, on
the night of the 14th of the 1st month.

     So what is all this about not doing it "unworthily" - not
observing this service "unworthily"?

     Remember I told you in our last study that the Corinthians
had been observing this night with WORKS, DEEDS, LITERAL DOINGS,
that Paul told them were WRONG, incorrect, and with practicing
ways that he could NOT PRAISE them in(see verse 22).
     This word "unworthily" in the Greek is an ADVERB.  An adverb
is a word that extends or limits the meaning of a verb (i.e. he
ran fast). We know that a verb is a DOING word, while an
adjective is a describing word  (i.e. she had silverblond  hair). 
  
     The people at Corinth had been DOING things on this night
that Paul could not praise them for.
     Now with that in mind let me quote from the Bible Commentary
by Albert Barnes(the one volume Barnes' Notes on the NT) page
759,760.

     Quote:

     "........Unworthily........It is important, therefore, that
there should be a correct understanding of this passage. Most
persons interpret it as it were UNWORTHY, and not UNWORTHILY; and
seem to suppose it refers to their personal qualifications, to
their UNFITNESS to partake of it, rather than to the MANNER in
which it is done. It is to be remembered therefore, that the word
here used is an ADVERB, and not an ADJECTIVE, and had reference
to the MANNER of observing the ordinance , and not to their
personal qualifications or fitness. It is true that in ourselves
we are all UNWORTHY of an approach to the table of the Lord;
UNWORTHY to be regards as His followers; UNWORTHY of a title to
everlasting life: but it does not follow that we may not partake
of this ordinance in a worthy, i.e., a proper MANNER, with a deep
sense of our sinfulness, our need of a savior, and with some just
views of the Lord Jesus as our Redeemer. Whatever may be our
consciousness of personal unworthiness and unfitness.......yet we
may have such love to Christ, and such a desire to be saved by
Him, and such a sense of HIS WORTHINESS, as to make it proper for
us to approach and partake of this ordinance.
     The term UNWORTHILY(he then gives the Greek word) means,
properly, IN AN UNWORTHY OR IMPROPER MANNER; in a manner
unsuitable to the purposes for which it was designed or
instituted;  and may include the following things, viz: (1) Such
an irregular and indecent observance......where even gluttony and
intemperance prevailed......(2) An observance of the ordinance
where there should be no distinction between it and a common
meal, (Note on ver.29) where they did not regard it as designed
to show forth the death of the Lord Jesus..........(3) When it is
done for the sake of mockery, and when the purpose is to deride
religion, and to show a marked contempt for the ordinances of the
Gospel..........
     SHALL BE GUILTY OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF THE
LORD...............The obvious and literal sense is, evidently,
that they should by such conduct be involved in the sin of
putting the Lord Jesus to death.......to the fact that His body
was broken, and His blood shed, of which the bread and wine were
symbols; and to be GUILTY of that, means to be guilty of putting
Him to death; that is, to be involved in the crime, or to do
a thing that should involve the same criminality as
that..........Those therefore, who treated the symbols of His
body and blood with profaneness and contempt were UNITED IN
SPIRIT with those who put Him to death..........."

End Quote.

     I now hope from all this you can clearly understand what
Paul was saying when he was telling them that some were taking
these symbols unworthily. I will recommend to all readers the
Bible Commentary by Albert Barnes. He has many fine comments on
the verses of the NT (or the whole Bible if you want his complete
commentary).  He was from the old school of Protestant scholars
who DID NOT teach or believe the law of God was "done away."

     LET A MAN EXAMINE HIMSELF(verse 28)

     Many a sermon has been preached on that phrase before and
coming up to the Passover evening. And so it should be by the
servants of the Lord. 
     I will be giving you an separate article that expounds and
sermonizes on this phrase, hopefully to help you prepare for this
coming Passover memorial service of our Savior's death. 
     Like no other time of the year generally speaking, this is
the time to once more EXAMINE ourselves. As Paul said to the
Corinthian church in his second letter to them, that is preserved
for us: "Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove
your own selves, Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus
Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?" (2 Cor.13:5).

     FINAL VERSES

     Paul tells them to JUDGE themselves, if we do not, then God,
because He loves us, will judge us, so we will hopefully turn
from our errors and sins, so we will not end up being condemned,
and part of the evil world.  It would seem some of them who were
in the wrong spirit and attitude of mind, who would not discern
the real meaning of the Lord's body, were then not under the
grace of that body and blood, and so were left outside the mercy
of the Lord, which for many ended in literal physical death from
their weaknesses and sicknesses.
     This does NOT teach that every Christian who dies from
sickness is some how a sinner that was not pleasing to God, or
not under His grace.  It is given to man to die once, and that
death can be from many causes, from the natural wearing out of
the body, to accidents, to sickness, to death through Christian
persecution. Read Hebrews the 11th chapter.
     All that Paul is giving here is a one part to truth. If you
make the Passover memorial service into a sham by the attitude
and manner you observe it, then don't expect to be under the
grace and mercy of the Lord's body, and if you will not examine
yourself and judge yourself in this regard, then God may just
allow you to die, as obviously many in Corinth had done, because
they had not judged themselves.

     He finishes by once more telling them to observe this
ceremony in the correct MANNER. Wait for each other, be of the
right attitude one towards the other.  Eat your supper meal at
HOME,  and partake of the Passover memorial service as Jesus
instituted it so no condemnation come upon you.

     There were a few other things he needed to set in order, but
they were of such minor importance that they could wait until he
came to them in person.  Minor enough that God thought it not
important to record for us today.

     These are the main lessons and instructions from this very
special section of Holy Scripture, concerning the memorial of our
Lord Jesus Christ's Passover sacrifice. Let us judge ourselves as
we observe this ceremony, so we be not judged.

                    ......................

Written April 1997
by
Keith Hunt

 
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