Paul's Eucharist (Holy Communion)
Make the lie big enough, and tell it
often, and the people will believe it.
-Joseph Goebels, Hitler's Minister of Propaganda
According to the news, in the 2004 presidential election, candidate John Kerry, a lifelong Catholic, has taken a position in support of a woman's right to abortion. His Archbishop, Sean O'Malley, made an earlier statement that pro-choice Catholic are in a state of grave sin and cannot take communion properly. Adding to the fray, St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke forbade Kerry from taking communion while campaigning in the area, due to Kerry's stance on abortion and possibly stem cell research.
"The denial of communion to an eminent Catholic politician would be unprecedented. Experts cite such action as forbidden by Catholic canon law, except in extreme cases that do not apply to John Kerry. . The modern Catholic Church has never supported a litmus test to serve as the determinant for Catholic voter support in the United States. The conflict surrounds the fact that central issues to religion do not fall along political party lines.
In my view, canon law is wise in not pressuring a candidate to choose between his faith and his politics. When John Kennedy ran for the presidency, his Catholicism brought charges from Protestants that Rome would affect his decision making. In a widely quoted 1960 speech he quelled fears about his religion by stating: "I do not speak for my church on public matters -- and the church does not speak for me."
The phoniness of some of these clergy becomes clear when, more than anybody, they are supposed to believe that grace comes from God, not the Church. That one practices communion does not obligate God to accept it.
This report is about communion, what it is and where it came from. It starts with Paul, not Jesus. When Paul introduced the Eucharist, he was not quoting Jesus historically. As the article on Paul's Confession of Ignorance explains, Paul practically denied there was an historical Jesus, claiming that his knowledge came by way of Scripture, visions and revelation. Instead he claimed to be the first to reveal Jesus, thus undermining popular claims to an historical Jesus. It means that the inspiration behind the gospel account of Jesus' Last Supper was derived from Paul's theology.
The term "Eucharist" comes from Greek meaning "thanksgiving." It defines the sacramental celebration of the Paschal Mystery of Christ's dying and rising for humankind. The word was not in Paul's vocabulary.
In a civilized world, the symbolism of eating the body and drinking human blood amounts to a celebration of cannibalism and vampirism. But somehow, when it is done in the name of Jesus Christ, the connection gets lost. When Catholics participate in Communion, they cannot be thinking about what they are doing.
Moreover, such a concept cannot be reconciled with the OT or any variety of Judaism. It ties Jesus with the triune godhead and it reinstates human sacrifice, which had been eradicated long ago. There was one God, Yahweh; and his sacrifice was unthinkable. Paul tried to justify it by likening it to a sacrifice in the temple.
18Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? (1 Cor. 10:18)
In Paul's mind, a sacrament is the means by which Christians participate in the "mystery of Christ." (See Paul's Mystery) Paul's belief was that by being baptized in the name of Christ and by participating in the Eucharist, one can be reborn when Christ comes on Judgment Day. It can be likened to buying a ticket to heaven. Realistically, the Eucharist is a magic ritual, and Judgment Day hasn't come. Over the centuries, Paul's stress on Judgment Day has been lost.
As explained in The Apocalypse of Paul, religions derive their rituals from the principle of sympathetic magic, that is, an effect may be produced by symbolic action. The law of causality, which is fundamental to our knowledge of nature, has no place in religious superstition. Baptism is a good example of sympathetic magic when one is cleansed of sin by washing in the name of Christ.
11And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor. 6:11)
The tradition goes back to the Jewish laws of purity, whereby a sinner may be purged of sin by offering a ram free of blemish for sacrifice.
67 (Lev. 6:6)
As Paul says, those who died to sin shall receive life by being baptized into Christ. As Christ was raised from the dead, so shall the baptized.
shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Rom. 6:1-4)
Our attention turns to the next passage below. It embodies the Eucharist from which Matt. 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20 and John 6:53-58 are based on. As mentioned above, the Pauline epistles were written before the Gospels. It means that Jesus' spoken words at the Last Supper on Passover were taken from Paul and attributed to Jesus.
Paul said he received the idea from the Lord which was a euphemism for saying it came from him. As mentioned above, Paul claimed his knowledge of Jesus came from OT Scripture, revelation and visions; he was not recalling an actual event. In today's language we would say he plagiarized other sources.
Once purified, the faithful are entitled to drink wine and break bread in remembrance of Jesus. The bread symbolizes Christ's body and the cup symbolizes his blood. Once again through sympathetic magic, the ingestion of bread and wine brings the practitioner into the body of Jesus.
Proclaim the Lord's death this way often until he comes, said Paul. The allusion was towards Judgment Day.
I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the
Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,
24and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
25In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. (1 Cor. 11:23-26)
According to Paul, when the Lord comes for us, those dead in Christ will rise first. Those of who are alive will catch up to them in the clouds.
since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus,
God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
15For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first;
17then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:14-17)
That word "clouds" has a profound significance. Far from revealing the word of God, it reveals Paul's superstitious belief in astrology. See Pillar of Cloud. One picture of Paul's cloud says it all.
Paul's Inspirations weren't from God
Paul's home town of Tarsus was a center of Mithraic worship. Mithra was a god of the sun who descended to earth to labor for man and then re-ascended without dying. He is supposed to have slain the divine bull, from whose dying body sprang all plants and animals beneficial to humanity. Practitioners believed the afterlife could be achieved by drinking the blood of the sacred bull or drinking a chalice of wine as a symbolic gesture for blood. It is a reasonable assumption that Paul melded Mithraism with Judaism.
Another parallel that inspired Paul was the Exodus when the Israelites ate manna and got their water from rocks. If Christians wonder if there was any historical reality to Moses and the Exodus, Paul confirms that it was a supernatural event-The Israelites ate supernatural food and drank supernatural drink.
want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud,
and all passed through the sea,
2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
3and all ate the same supernatural food
4and all drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ. (1 Cor. 10:1-4)
Even John has Jesus mentioning it.
the bread of life.
49Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
50This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.
51I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." (John 6:48-51)
Jewish repulsion towards consuming blood is stressed in the passage below. Leviticus attaches blood to life, but the ritual of atonement applied to animal sacrifice. Deuteronomy makes clear: The blood is life itself; don't eat it. Looking at Leviticus again, we can see the catch-words that caught his attention: atonement, souls, blood and life.
11For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life. (Lev. 17:11)
2324 (Deut. 12:23-24)
This is another reason why the gospels are fabrications. It makes no sense for a first century Jew to suggest, even symbolically, that his blood be drunk and his body be eaten. This was a serious taboo. It was so serious that, as explained in Paul's Schism, Paul had to split with Peter over the purity laws.
Paul gets around it by labeling Christ as "our Paschal Lamb," Paul identified Jesus with the Paschal Lamb of the tenth plague of the Exodus, when the Israelites sprinkled the blood of a sacrificed lamb on their front door. Afterward, they roasted the lamb and ate it. As a celebration of their redemption from slavery in Egypt, Jews observe the Feast of Passover every spring. So by Paul's logic, if a Jew wants to eat pork, all he has to do is call it beef.
7. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. (1 Cor. 5:7)
The Book of John drew from Paul when John the Baptist called Jesus the Lamb of God.
29The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
Another passage in Exodus associates blood with the covenant. Coincidently with Mithraism, Moses took some bull blood and threw it on the people, announcing the blood of the covenant. This was Moses' way of binding the people to the commandments and the law.
Paul needed a prophecy to justify his new covenant, so he went to Jeremiah. Speaking through Jeremiah, God says he will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah because they broke the old one. With this new covenant, God was going to forgive their iniquity and forget their sins. Never mind that it applied to houses of Israel and Judah, and not Gentiles; it served his purpose.
the days are coming,when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,
32not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD.
33But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jer. 31:31-34)
In verse 1 below, where it says "The Lord says to my lord," Paul would infer that "my lord" was Jesus, especially because God locates him at his right hand. The passages were attributed to David. His lord was King Saul. In verse 4, God calls David's lord a priest after the order of Melchizedek.
7 (Psalm 110:1-7)
Melchizedek was a high priest who brought bread and wine, and blessed Abraham.
20 (Gen. 14:18-20)
Finally, he needed the prophecy of a messenger who would deliver the new covenant. Of course, that messenger had to be Jesus who was supposed to be a descendant of David. But the fact of associating Jesus with his blood would preclude him from Jewish expectations.
12 (Mal. 3:1-2)
Religious minds have a subconscious habit of giving undue attention to similarities, while minimizing or ignoring differences. We have seen many examples above how Paul ignored the context of the Old Testament in formulating his doctrine of the Eucharist. This is why Judaism and Christianity still remain at odds with each other.
This same logical error applies when apologists argue that the passages beginning with Acts 2:42 show that Jesus' apostles practiced the Eucharist. The passage suggests nothing of the sort. Breaking bread was a Jewish tradition that had nothing to do with the Eucharist.
they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the
breaking of bread and the prayers.
43And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
44And all who believed were together and had all things in common;
45and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.
46And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts,
47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)
In the final analyses, it's a magic ritual patented by Paul. By analogy, the cup of blessing symbolizes the blood of Christ and the broken bread symbolizes his body. In this way, participants become united in the body of Christ.
cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood
of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the
body of Christ?
17Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. (1 Cor. 10:16-17)
As explained above, in Paul's time there was no such thing as science and causality. Baptism and the Eucharist were symbolic rituals based on sympathetic magic. Between the ninth and eleventh century, controversies arose about whether the bread and wine were mere symbols or were totally changed into the physical body and blood of Christ. This totality of Christ's body is known as "Real Presence."
Out of these controversies, the world "transubstantiation" was introduced to define the substance of the bread and wine offered at the Eucharist, changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The term "transubstantiation" was formalized at Lateran IV (1215).
In the sixteenth century, Protestant reformers led by Martin Luther opposed transubstantiation, arguing that there is no change. He favored "consubstantiation" which is defined as the substances both of the Body and Blood of Christ and the bread and wine as co-existing in union with each other. Luther illustrated the point by the analogy of putting an iron into a fire. Both fire and iron unite in the red-hot iron and yet each continues unchanged.
The Council of Trent convened in 1551 to address the Protestant challenge, condemn Luther and reject consubstantiation. In addition it redefined "Real Presence" to encompass the bread and wine as Christ's entire body, his soul and his divinity. For the record, the idea that one thing can change into something else is known as alchemy.
It has always been my contention that religious organizations are political entities. Their authority comes from their skills at marketing themselves; it does not come from a deity. This brief sketch of the evolution of the Eucharist doesn't begin to touch on the fury that went into these debates between rival factions. There were wars fought over this. So when believers go about their lives firm in their faith in God. In actuality, their faith is in the organizations who claim their authority comes from God. If there was a God, it strikes me as silly that he needs assistance.
For argument's sake, if there was a charismatic man called Jesus who died on the cross. So what! In the end we are all dead. Make the best of what you have. Death solves all our problems.