Monday, May 31, 2010



Problems with the Literal Interpretation
• It goes against scripture
Lev 7: [22] The LORD said to Moses, [23] "Say to the people of Israel, You shall eat no fat, of ox, or sheep, or goat. [24] The fat of an animal that dies of itself, and the fat of one that is torn by beasts, may be put to any other use, but on no account shall you eat it. [25] For every person who eats of the fat of an animal of which an offering by fire is made to the LORD shall be cut off from his people. [26] Moreover you shall eat no blood whatever, whether of fowl or of animal, in any of your dwellings. [27] Whoever eats any blood, that person shall be cut off from his people."

You may recall in Deuteronomy all of the additional ceremonies laws that God imposed upon the Israel after the Golden Calf incident because of their idolatry. It was a sort of penitential discipline that was to last until their hearts were cleansed by faith.

In addition to the Ten Commandments, the simple Law that had been given at Sinai before the Golden Calf, there are all these additional penitential ceremonies added to Israel. These constituted a sort of ceremonial yoke that really isolated and quarantined Israel from the nations because their holiness was much weaker than the sinfulness of the gentiles.

Now that is no longer true. It can be dispensed with.
The coming of the Holy Spirit changed all that.

In the Old Testament if I were to touch a leper, a corpse or a menstruating woman I was unclean.

In the New Testament Jesus comes along and a leper touches him. He is not defiled and the leper was cleansed.
Jesus touches a corpse, He is not defiled and the corpse is raised to life.
Jesus is touched by a menstruating woman, He isn’t defiled and her blood flow stops.

The New Covenant has come with Christ and now the power of holiness greatly exceeds the power of sinfulness.

So all of the walls of isolation and quarantine are torn down.

Problems with the Figurative Interpretation
• It doesn’t make sense when read in ‘context’ from scriptural examples

Psalms 27:2; Isaiah 49:26; Micah 3:3; 2 Samuel 23:15-17; Revelation 17:6, 16 - to symbolically eat and drink ones body and blood back in Jesus' times means to assault. This would make our Lord promise life everlasting to the culprit for slandering and hating Him, which would reduce the whole passage to utter nonsense. Christ would be saying "He that reviles me has eternal life". (Page 241 "Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Keating")

• It doesn’t explain how those people who could see and touch Jesus and therefore hear the inflection in His voice and see His facial expressions and body language responded as though Jesus was speaking literally.

• It doesn’t explain why the disciples responded with ‘this saying is too hard’ here and not in other discourses with Jesus. A figurative/metaphorical interpretation would be easy to accept and would follow on in the same manner when Disciples heard Jesus calling himself a door or vine.

• It doesn’t explain why a symbolic interpretation here ‘is too hard’. On the contrary, it is extremely easy and requires very little effort in understanding or comprehension.

• It doesn’t explain why a symbolic interpretation would make disciples leave Jesus for good. These are the same disciples who had followed Jesus around and accepted all of His other teachings. No one left Jesus for any other teachings when symbolism was used.

• It doesn’t explain why a symbolic interpretation led the Jews to quarrel/dispute among themselves and the disciples to murmur among themselves ‘at being offended by this’

• If this phrase were metaphorical, a serious difficulty arises in 1 Corinthians 11:25-29,
[29] For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

The context tells me that an actual communion meal is going on among the first century Christians. If it were just eating a symbolic body and drinking symbolic blood then how could any actual eating or drinking of a symbolic meal profane the body and blood of Jesus and thereby you eat and drink judgement upon yourself? These are serious words.

• It doesn’t make sense why Jesus would emphasise His point using the words Amen Amen when he is effectively saying something like: (I have inserted the word ‘figurative’ to assist my understanding of this verse in a figurative sense)

V55 For my ‘figurative’ flesh is true/real food, and my ‘figurative’ blood is true/real drink.

(some translations say true, some say real)
My question here would be how something figurative can also be true/real food or drink?

• In doesn’t make sense if you paraphrase Verse 51 to mean this?
(I have inserted the word ‘symbolic’ to assist my understanding of this verse in a symbolic sense)

I am the living symbolic bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this symbolic bread will live forever; and the symbolic bread that I will give is my symbolic flesh for the life of the world."

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