Saturday, 30 January 2016

A return to John 6: Does it teach transubstantiation?

I want to take a look at a few more objections that have been raised to me due to either passing the article on or a quick discussion on the matter and I hope to make a few comments on John 6. You can find the original article here: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/john-6-does-it-teach-transubstantiation.html

Firstly we'll at the subject of eating and drinking, As mentioned previously in an article I wrote, Jesus wasn't speaking literally of eating his flesh and drinking his blood, even in John 6:55
"53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum."

As pointed out previously, eating is believing in the context of John 6, including verse 55 and the other texts I quoted (Jeremiah 15:15-19, Ezekiel 2:8-3:9, Revelation 10). Not to mention, despite the graphic language used in John 6, namely the word trogo which has been addressed already.

Keith Thompson notes the following in his paper on John 6:
"Catholic argument #4: Dave Armstrong argues one must adopt a literal interpretation because of the alleged “graphic realism and intensive reiteration (for example, John 6:55)” (Dave Armstrong, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, [Sophia Institute Press, 2003], p. 90). In John 6:55, the text Armstrong cited, Jesus says, “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” Contra Armstrong, this is not a sound argument. For, in regards to Jesus’ symbolic statement that he is “the door” in John 10, He first states this in v. 7 and then reiterates it again using the same words in v. 9: “I am the door”. Plus He shows the same kind of realism Armstrong mentions when he says in v. 9 “If anyone enters by me, he will be saved.” Yet no one is going to say Jesus was saying He was a literal door. The fact Jesus so commonly employed this kind of symbolic language should give the Catholics pause in their position." http://www.reformedapologeticsministries.com/2014/03/proof-roman-catholic-mass-is-unbiblical.html

Jesus didn't have to say something was metaphorical explicitly, and once again Jesus didn't have to clarify to his audience that it is symbolic, he already made it clear it was symbolic and his audience MISUNDERSTOOD his words.

Furthermore, if you go back and read what Jesus said earlier in the chapter, he says this:
"28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.

30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[c]”

32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”"

The very first thing that Jesus sets out to establish in the context is to believe on him, to believe in the one whom the Father sent. Jesus also defines how we are eating his flesh and drinking his blood as believing as mentioned before, including in the passages I have mentioned in the Old Testament and Revelation. He doesn't define this as feasting on him in a literal sense. Jesus doesn't have to say "Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven and I will give you a symbol of it.  For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." in order for the point of symbolism to be valid. It still holds weight for the Protestant and the Messianic Jew.

"41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[d] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”"

I have said the Jews misunderstood Jesus' words and this context is a demonstration of such. The Jews in the context believed that Jesus was referring literal, physical food, though Jesus wasn't claiming that he was literal food or actually giving them bread. Those who come to Jesus and eat the bread (his flesh) ie believe in him, shall have eternal life. The bread that is given from heaven as Jesus states is his flesh, but that doesn't entail literal consumption of his body as the context established earlier and just because Jesus died, that doesn't mean he didn't have literal flesh. His literal death doesn't refute a spiritual or symbolic application in John 6, that doesn't follow. The entire discussion is centering on the belief in Jesus, whether you submit to him or not. There is NO discussion of transubstantiation in the slightest.

"53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum."

The comment on trogo has been covered already so I needn't labour the point, but in light of what Jesus had said in the context of John 6, you cannot argue transubstantiation as a valid biblical belief.

"60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray 
him.)""

The Jews turn away after Jesus has laid down his teaching and the final nail in the coffin for the Catholic argument is that Jesus says "the flesh profits nothing", hence the context of John 6 cannot be suggesting that Jesus is referring to literal consumption.

More comments may be made if the Lord Wills.

Answering Judaism.

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