Breaking Bread – The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 8
In the sense of meals partaken of in one day, can we call the feast of remembrance the Lord’s Supper? As the Lord had eaten a religious supper, and had partaken of the paschal lamb with His disciples, before he instituted the “feast of life”, as commemorative of His death; it seems improper to call it a supper, for it was instituted and eaten after a supper! The Lord’s Supper supplies the place of no meal. Deipnos, here rendered supper, in the days of Homer, represented breakfast we are told in book 2 lines 381-399. It also signified food in general or a feast. In the times of Demosthenes it signified a feast or an evening meal. But it is of more importance to observe, that it is in the New Testament used figuratively as well as literally. Hence, we have the gospel blessings compared to a supper. We read of the “marriage supper of the Lamb” and “supper of the Great God.” Jesus says, “If any man open to Me, I will take (deipneso) supper with him, and he with Me.” When used this way, it neither regards the time of day, nor the quantity eaten. If applied, then, to this institution, it is figuratively, as it is elsewhere called “the feast.” For not only did the Lord appoint it, but in eating it we have communion with the Lord. The same idiom, with addition of the article, occurs in Revelation 1:10; “the Lord’s day.” (Greek he kuriake homera). Upon the whole it appears more probable that the apostle uses the words kuriakos deipnos, or Lord’s Supper, as applicable to the breaking of bread for which they gave thanks in honor of the Lord, than to their own supper or the feast of love, usual among the brethren of the first century. If we say, in accordance with the apostolic style, the Lord’s Day, the Lord’s Table, the Lord’s cup, we may also say the Lord’s Supper. In the Lord’s House these are all sacred to Him!!
“But, what about the “Sacrament” and the “Eucharist”, you might ask? Both of these names are of human origin. If we speak the verbiage of the New Testament, “call Bible things by Bible names,” we cannot use these terms. “Sacrament” was a name adopted by the Roman Catholic Church because they teach the observance is supposed to be an oath or vow to the Lord, the word sacramentum signified an oath taken by a Roman soldier to be true to his general and his country. The Greek Orthodox called it the Eucharist, which imports the giving of thanks, because, before participating, thanks were presented for the break and cup. It is also called “the communion” and teaches that the saints of God exclusively partake, for we alone share in the blessings received by His broken body and shed blood, LIFE!!
I have mentioned before that the bread must be broken before the saints partake. Jesus took bread from the paschal table and broke it before He gave it to His disciples. They received a broken segment of the whole, emblematic of His body once whole, but by His own consent broken for His disciples. In eating it we then remember that the Lord’s body was by His own consent broken or wounded for us. Therefore, he that gives thanks for the bread should break it, not as being representative of the Lord, but after His example; and after the disciples have partaken of this bread, handing it to one another, or while they are partaking of it, the disciple who break it, partakes with them of the broken bread. And thus they as priests feast upon His sacrifice. For the priests eat of the sacrifices and were partakers of “the altar.” NONE BUT THE BLOOD-BOUGHT, PARTAKE. Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; and 1 Corinthians 11. In each, the breaking of the bread, after giving thanks, and before His disciples partook of it, is distinctly stated.
It is not strange that the literal designation of this institution should be what Luke has given it in his Acts of the Apostles thirty years after its institution. The first time Luke notices it is Acts 2:42, when he calls it emphatically teklasei tou artou, the breaking (fracture, the act) of the bread, a name at the time of his writing, A.D. 64. For, says he, in recording the piety and devotion of the first converts, “they continued steadfast in the teaching of the apostles, in fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers—praising God.” It is true, there is more than breaking bread in this institution, but, in accordance with general, if not universal usage, either that which is first or most prominent in laws, institutions, and usages, is that which is first mentioned and gives a name to them (for example Habeas Corpus, our Fiere Facisa, our Nisi Prius and others). The saints had separated themselves from that “untoward generation” even when in the Temple WHEN THEY WERE PRESENT and did not include them in their Celebration of Life, for the “life was in the blood.” Leviticus 17:11