7. Eating Christ's Flesh and Drinking His Blood.
This last part of last month's article on the firstborn sonship of Christ is here revised and continued.
51 "‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My
flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world'
52 "The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?'
53 "Then Jesus said to them, ‘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.
54 "‘Whoever is feeding on My flesh and is drinking My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 "‘For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
56 "‘He who is feeding on My flesh and is drinking My blood is abiding in Me, and I in him.
57 "‘As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who is feeding on Me will live because of Me.
58 "‘This is the bread which came down from heaven -- not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who is feeding on this bread will live forever,'"
Jesus fed five thousand of the covenant people on five small loaves and two small fish. These people were so overwhelmed by this miracle they wanted to take Jesus and make Him their king. Jesus turned this great miracle into a profound lesson on spiritual feeding in order to receive divine life, Jn 6:1-67.
b. "Jesus said: 27 ‘Do not be laboring for the food which perishes, but for the food which is continuing into divine life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him,'"
17 "Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.
18 "Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground.....'"
The language of John 6:27-29 concerns a life long "by grace through faith"
laboring process, not just one act of faith.
28 "Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"
29 "Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you may keep on believing into Him whom He sent,"
"Note the present active subjunctive pisteuhte,'that ye may keep on believing.'"
A. T. Robertson.
The work of God is that we keep on laboring by grace through faith, as we see throughout Heb 11. See also 1Co 15:10; Eph 2:12-13; Mt 10:19-20; Heb 4:16; 12:28; Eph 3:2; 1Pe 4:10, et al. The work of God is that we keep on believing into Christ in order to receive the divine life birth in the resurrection, 1Co 15:12,44-50.
Under the Law Covenant, eating Christ's flesh was symbolically partaking of Christ, precisely what is taught in Heb 3:14, and throughout the Bible as we shall continue to demonstrate in the articles that follow. A number of articles are soon coming demonstrating this daily repeated instruction in vivid symbolic manner under the Law Covenant.
Eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood is done by believing and obeying the Scriptures. This is not a figure of speech. We literally feed our minds, our conscience, and therefore our psyche (our "life,"
in the sense of saving or losing our "life"
) on the Word of God. "But He answered and said, ‘It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
Mt 4:4. Not by taking one bite of food, but by a constant feeding on the Word of God. Not by just one act of faith, but by constantly believing and obeying "EVERY word proceeding out of the mouth of God."
e. Christ is the bread of Life: "And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who is constantly coming to Me shall never hunger, and he who is constantly believing into Me shall never thirst,'"
A. T. Robertson says: "He that believeth on me
o` pisteuwn eij eme). The continuous relation of trust after coming like pisteuhte (present tense) in verse 29." Robertson, speaking of o` pisteuwn uses the word "continuous,"
describing the present active participle use in the verse above. The present participle does not always carry the continuous or constant sense, but in Jn 6 as indicated in this article, it can be and even for proper emphasis should be so translated. See also Wuest's translation of Colossians for the use of constant and constantly with the present participle. Protestant theology will not normally permit their "theologians"
to translate the present participle for "believe"
with the "believing"
progressive intent it should normally have in these cases.
The word "constantly"
is used normally by this editor for emphasis to express a fixed mind-set, a characteristic coming to Christ, and a lifelong "believing INTO Christ"
lifestyle. The primary meaning of "constant"
is unwavering, unchanging, continuous, and although the dictionary also gives continual as a synonym of constant, the Christian life should be characterized by constant and consistent acts of faith according to the Scriptures, producing a lifestyle which portrays a consistent and daily metamorphosis into the image of Christ.
The entire Christian life is an on-going process of constantly coming to and constantly believing INTO Christ -- a constant feeding of the mind on the Word of God so that all that we do reflects the death and life of Christ, as stated in 2Co 4:7-12. Those saved people who make shipwreck of faith cease to come to Christ and cease to believe INTO Christ. They thereby abort the firstborn sonship of Christ), Gal 4:19-31; 5:1-4; Jn 15:1-6; Rom 11:11-22.
The one who is constantly coming to Christ, God and Christ will in no wise cast out: "All whom the Father is giving Me will come to Me, and the one who is constantly coming to Me I will by no means cast out,"
God is in the process of giving the faithful covenant people to Christ. What God did He did in eternity before the world was! However, among the myriads of things God did that we know about was to set before the covenant people a lifetime disciplinary training program in which each covenant person, by grace through faith must overcome severe testing to qualify for the firstborn sonship of Christ. Through this program (which program in written form is contained in the covenants), God is in the process of training and giving (present tense) a special and faithful (overcoming) covenant people to Christ to be His bride and share His firstborn sonship together with Him.
Let us remember that during this lifetime we are in a covenant disciplinary training status where we are qualifying for the divine firstborn sonship of Christ. This requires that our mind-set be one of constantly coming to Christ, which is done by constantly hearing, believing, and obeying what the Word of God says. If we are constantly looking into God's Word as into a mirror, we will be as constantly seeing and meditating on the glory of the Lord and will be constantly being transformed into that same image of Christ, 2Co 3:18. Those who are not diligently reading and studying the Scriptures are not diligently coming to Christ and are running a very grave and dangerous risk of aborting the firstborn sonship of Christ, Gal 4:19-31; 5:1-4; Jn 15:1-6; Rom 11:11-22; 1Co 9:27; 10:1-12; Heb 3:6-19; et al.
g. Partaking of Christ by constantly eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood means we are to be constantly believing into Christ.
28 "Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?'
29 "Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you keep on believing into Him whom He sent,'"
Robertson says: "Note the present active subjunctive pisteu-hte, ‘that ye may keep on believing.'"
40 "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who is constantly beholding the Son and is constantly believing into Him may have divine life; and I will raise him up at the last day,"
English has no appropriate adjective for aionion life. The word "eternal"
is not a proper translation though divine life is certainly eternal. We can translate it "age life,"
signifying the predominate life of the Millennial age, which is very true. And since that life is clearly "divine life,"
for emphasis this editor will often translate it that way.
47 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who is believing into Me has divine life,"
Believing into Christ is a lifetime process which must be our constant mind-set, our most obvious characteristic. The Word of God, in Its covenant perspective, must be our meditation day and night, Ps 1:2; 119:97,99. If that is so, we are believing into Christ. If that is not so, we are in grave and very serious danger of being cut off from Christ and thus aborting the firstborn sonship of Christ.
We have shown over and over that those who are "in Christ,"
but do not bear fruit properly will be cut off from Christ, Jn 15:1-6. The branches are "IN"
Christ (Jn 15:1-5) and have been made "CLEAN"
(Jn 15:3; 2Pe 1:9), but those who do not bear fruit will not make the bride of Christ calling and election sure, 2Pe 1:1-20.
The book of Galatians was written to saved and scripturally baptized church members who were being deceived and led to try to keep the Law Covenant along with the New Covenant, as the Jerusalem church had persistently been doing, Act 10; 11:1-18; 15; 21:17-26; Gal 1 & 2. Paul urgently warned them that trying to keep the Law Covenant along with the New Covenant would bring the curse and condemnation of the Law Covenant upon them, and would cut them off from Christ, Gal 5:1-4. This would also result in their being slave sons as Ishmael was, rather than free covenant firstborn sons as Isaac was, Gal 4:19-31; 5:1-4.
Consider the expression: "HAS eternal life."
This expression is commonly used in the writings of John. Do saved people have eternal life? The answer is both "Yes"
Even Satan, all demons, and all unsaved people will live eternally – "The soul of man never dies."
Will the "soul"
of man ever die? The answer is again both "Yes"
Hell is full of people who are both alive, and yet dead to God at the same time.
Saved people in the covenant position in the body of Christ are only counted (credited, reckoned) to be crucified, dead, buried, and raised back to life (divine life) together with Christ in a deified, spirit body. However, we have never really been crucified, dead, buried, and raised in a deified body together with Christ. God speaks of things which be not, as though they were, Rom 4:17; 6:2-13. We are counted as being "alive to God"
only because we have been baptized into Christ (a metaphor), and thereby joined to Him in His crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection into a divine, spirit body – still a metaphor, God is speaking of things which be not, as though they were, Rom 4:17; 6:2-6-13; Gal 2:19-20; 5:24; 1Pe 2:24.
We have this divine life now only in that we are metaphorically counted as being the deified body of Christ, and on this basis we have the Holy Spirit as God's guarantee that we will receive that divine body (inheritance) in the resurrection, 2Co 1-5,21. However, there is the ever present "IF"
contingency – "if we hold fast to the end,"
1Co 15:1-2,44-50; Heb 3:6-19; Phi 3:7-14; Col 1:21-23; Rom 11:11-22; et al.
16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever is constantly believing into Him should not perish but have divine life,"
One must be in the body of Christ and be counted as having been crucified, dead, buried, and raised together in the deified body of Christ in order to be counted as having divine life and thereby having the divine presence of the Holy Spirit in us as a guarantee of that divine life in the resurrection, 2Co 5:1-5.
However, we must continue believing into Christ (holding fast by being daily transformed into the image of Christ) in order to be deified together with Christ (born again) in the resurrection, Phi 3:7-14; Heb 3:6-19; 4:1-11; Gal 4:19-31; 5:1-5; et al.
Furthermore, saved people in the body of Christ can "perish"
(from the same Greek word (apollumi) as in Jn 3:16:
15 "Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy
(apollumi) with your food the one for whom Christ died,"
11 "And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish (apollumi), for whom Christ died?"
6 " But whoever causes one of these little ones who is believing into Me to sin
(to be offended to the extent of falling away), it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.....
14 "Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish"
(apollumi) Mt 18:6,14.
A weak brother can be caused to "perish"
from the body of Christ and from the "rest,"
is partaking of Christ – of divine life in the resurrection, promised only to the faithful covenant people, Heb 3.
Moreover, a saved person in the body of Christ can again come under "condemnation."
Those under the Law Covenant were under the ministry of condemnation, even though they were saved and were God's proper covenant people. Not all of them were saved, but many times in their history most of them likely were saved with initial first-faith salvation. Consider carefully, that, without exception, everyone under the Law Covenant was unavoidably under the ministry of condemnation of the Law Covenant, though many of them (probably most of them), were saved people, including Moses and all the great spiritual leaders during the Law Covenant period, Rom 7:7-25; Gal 3:10; 5:3; Ja 2:10.
Also, the Jerusalem church never did stop trying to keep the Law Covenant. They were therefore under the ministry of condemnation and the ministry of the curse of the Law Covenant, Gal 3:10; 5:3; 2Co 3:9; Ja 2:10. Likewise, the Galatian churches were being deceived into trying to keep the Law Covenant along with the New Covenant. Paul urgently warned them that this would put them back under the ministry of the curse and condemnation of the Law Covenant, which would cut them off from Christ so that Christ as High Priest of the New Covenant would prophet them nothing as far as the covenant promises, which constitute the covenant inheritance, are concerned, Gal 3:10; 4:19-31; 5:1-4.
We have passed from death to life only in God's covenant reckoning. Based on the metaphor that the church is the body of Christ and that our bodies are the deified members of the deified body of Christ (1Co 6:15-16; 12:12-27; Eph 4:11-16), our bodies are credited as being crucified, dead, buried, raised, and deified members of the deified body of Christ. We have not really been crucified together with Christ. We have not really died together with Christ. We have not really been buried together with Christ except in water baptism. We have not really been raised from the dead together with Christ. Our bodies have not really been deified together with Christ in His deified flesh body.
This is all a metaphor where God is speaking of things which be not, as though they were, Rom 4:17. However, based upon God's own metaphoric reckoning, He has given us His Holy Spirit as an "earnest"
of that divine body until the day of redemption of that body in the resurrection, 2Co 5:1-5; Eph 4:30; Rom 8:23; Gal 4:1-7. We, as the body of Christ, received the firstfruits of that adoption on the day of Pentecost (Gal 4:1-6; Rom 8:23), and will receive the fullness of the adoption when Christ returns, Rom 8:17-25.
There is the contingency that we must walk in the Spirit in order to retain the Spirit who is the earnest of the divine body inheritance. If we do not walk in the Spirit and thereby put to death the deeds of the flesh, we will die from the body of Christ, Rom 8:5-6,13; 11:11-22; Col 3:1-10; Jn 15:1-6; Gal 4:19–5:4; 6:7-9; 2Jn 9-11.
In this case, the member of Christ is cut off from Christ (Jn 15:1-6; Gal 5:1-4), and therefore dies from God's covenant reckoning of having been made alive together with Christ in the body of Christ metaphor. That member of the body of Christ then passes from life back to death (in the context of the metaphor) and perishes from the body of Christ – from the covenant reckoning of being crucified together with Christ, being dead together with Christ, buried together with Christ, raised together with Christ, and thereby born again into new divine life together with Christ. We have failed to recognize the full and inevitable impact of the metaphor which is a covenant reckoning where God is speaking of things which be not, as though they were, Rom 4:17 (13-25); 6:2-13; 7:4-7; 1Co 6:15-17; 12:12-27; Eph 4:15-16; et al.
Until the resurrection, only Christ's body has been born again into divine life. With us it is a reckoning until the resurrection, conditioned on whether we are approved (dokimos) in God's covenant disciplinary training program. If we should be disapproved (adokimos), we will be put out of (die from, perish from) the firstborn sonship of Christ, and will not receive the new birth of the body in the resurrection.
Saved people outside the body of Christ and therefore outside the covenants are NOT counted as being "alive to God."
They are saved and will be among the nations on the new earth, but they are not counted as being members of the deified body of Christ and will not share in the deity of Christ in the resurrection or thereafter. We must keep on constantly believing into Christ in order to share His divine firstborn sonship in the resurrection, 1Co 15:1-2,44-50.
25 "Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who is constantly believing into Me, though he may die
(physically), he shall live
(he will continue to live in God's reckoning, and his name will remain in the book of life in heaven).
26 "And whoever is living and is constantly believing into Me shall never die
(from the book of life). Do you believe this?'"
Whoever is living physically and is in a true church has his name written in the book of life, and he shall never die spiritually (his name will not be blotted out of the book of life) as long as he is constantly believing into Christ.
Those who stop constantly believing into Christ and thereby stop bearing the proper fruit, (Jn 15:1-6), will be cut off from Christ (from the body of Christ). They will thus die from the body of Christ according to the metaphor (Rom (8:5-6,13), and will lose the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a further inevitable result. They will die a metaphoric death.
The church being called the body of Christ is a metaphor. Our bodies being the members of the body of Christ (1Co 6:15-17) is a metaphor. Therefore, we, as the members of the body of Christ, were metaphorically crucified together with Christ, metaphorically died together with Christ, were metaphorically buried together with Christ, and metaphorically raised (made alive into deified life) together with Christ – as the members of His body. The whole crucifixion cycle is concretely set in the context of a metaphor, where God speaks of things which be not, as though they were, Rom 4:17; 6:2-13; 7:4-7; et al.
A metaphor is a figure of speech. God is calling things which be not, as though they were, Rom 4:17. Observe that bringing the dead back to life is the theme of this passage, Rom 4:17 and its context. God brought Abraham's and Sarah's bodies back to life so they could give birth to Isaac. Bringing their dead bodies back to life was God's major work in their entire lives, Rom 4:16-25. This is what justification is all about, Rom 4:16-25. This is what the new birth is all about, 1Co 15:44-50; Rev 19:7-8; Phi 3:9 (7-14); Gal 5:5; 2Co 5:16-21; Mt 6:33; et al. This is what being "children of promise"
and the firstborn sonship of Christ are all about, Gal 4:19-31; 5:1-5.
We are dead to the Law Covenant, to sin and death, and to the mere flesh (earthy) body of the first Adam, by the divine body of Christ who is the second Adam, that we may be married to Him who is the heavenly (from heaven, born from above) second Adam, Rom 7:4-6; 1Co 15:44-50; Rev 19:7-8.
We are to FEED on Christ, and we do this by feeding on the Word of God constantly every day, and thereby being constantly transformed into the image of Christ.
51 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world,"
We will see this "giving of His flesh"
vividly, amazingly, and constantly demonstrated throughout the Old Testament as well as the New Testament in continuing articles on this firstborn sonship theme. It is the major theme of the Bible, resulting in the new birth in the resurrection.
52 "The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?'
53 "Then Jesus said to them, "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,"
Jesus did not intend for the covenant people to literally eat His flesh and drink His blood; but, as stated in verse 29:
"Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you may keep on believing into Him whom He sent,'"
These people to whom Jesus spoke were already disciples (saved covenant believers), and He urged them "to keep on believing into Him."
However, many of them were offended and "went back and walked with Him no more,"
Jn 6:66. These people, like those whose carcasses fell in the wilderness (Heb 3) will not share in the divine life of the firstborn birthright of Christ in the resurrection.
54 "Whoever is feeding on My flesh and is drinking My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Jesus changed the Greek word to trw,gwn instead of fa,ghte which we would expect to be used. Trw,gwn originally meant to chew or feed as animals grazing in a pasture. This appears to add emphasis to the continuing process of feeding on the flesh of Christ already being emphasized.
55 "For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
56 "He who is feeding on My flesh and is drinking My blood is abiding in Me, and I in him.
Eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood is synonymous with abiding (continuing) in Christ and Christ abiding (continuing) in us, which requires faithfulness in bearing the proper fruit. Observe also that abiding in Christ and Christ abiding in us is synonymous with being "one"
with the Father and with the Son and thereby possessing their divine nature, Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23.
If saved people outside the body of Christ were eating of Christ's flesh and drinking of His blood, they would have a right to partake of the Lord's Supper. We will later discuss in detail that they are not eating Christ's flesh and are not drinking His blood, and therefore have no right to take the Lord's supper.
57 "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who is feeding on Me will live because of Me.
Those who continue to feed on Christ's flesh and drink His blood will live because they continue to feed on Christ's flesh and drink His blood, which is done by continuing to feed our minds on the Word of God, by continuing to constantly study, believe, and obey the Word of God. Christ was raised and lived in divine resurrection life because he obeyed the Father, and we will be raised in divine life only if we believe and obey God, Heb 5:8-9.
58 "This is the bread which came down from heaven -- not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who is feeding on this bread will live forever,"
The one who continues to feed on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Mt 4:4) will continue to live into the golden age of the Millennium with Christ and the deified saints. His name will not be blotted out of the book of life registry, Ex 32:32-33; Ps 69:28; Lk 10:20; Heb 12:23; Rev 3:5.
"Present active participle for continual or habitual eating like pisteuete in verse 29. The verb trwgw is an old one for eating fruit or vegetables and the feeding of animals......No distinction is made here between efagon (48,50,52,53,58) and trwgw (54,56,57,58),"
A. T. Robertson.
It may be true that Jesus meant no "distinction"
be made between these two words, but it appears that the use of this old word in this context lends emphasis to the "continual or habitual eating"
which the Lord Himself strongly emphasized in this context and therefore desires it to be keenly embedded into our understanding. We MUST be literally and constantly feeding our minds on the Word of God, so that our affections are constantly set on heavenly things and not on earthly things, Col 3:1-25; Heb 3:1-19; 10:25-39; 12:1-29. Feeding on the flesh and blood of Christ is a symbolism drawn from the Old Testament. which we will demonstrate in articles to come.
PARTAKING OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION LIKENESS
IN DIVINE BIRTH
5 "For if we have been united (joined) together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection," Rom 6:5.
We must first be united together with Christ in the likeness of His death (Rom 6:3-5), then be daily transformed into the same likeness of His death (baring about in our bodies the dying of the Lord, 2Co 4:7-12) in order to be conformed to the same likeness and image of His resurrection when Christ returns, 1Co 15:44-50. Symbolically and metaphorically, we were baptized by water into the likeness of His death and raised in the likeness of His resurrection. This is the testimony of scriptural water baptism. By this baptism we were metaphorically baptized into Christ – into the body of Christ, and thereby our bodies are counted to be deified members of Christ's deified body, Rom 6:3; 1Co 12:13; Gal 3:27. God is metaphorically speaking of things which be not, as though they were, Rom 4:17.