Monday, March 19, 2018

The Dangers of Taking Communion


The Jewish Feast of Passover begins on Friday night with a feast. Christians know this as “the last supper.” Jesus instructed His disciples concerning the bread and wine which have deep spiritual meaning for God’s people. Let’s examine and fully understand communion, before we speak of the dangers of it. To do this, we must go back to what Jesus and His disciples practiced at that time.

Sharing meals was so important to the Jewish community that special blessings were said at the start and end of the meal. At the beginning of the family meal, this blessing is said as the bread is broken.
"Blessed are You, O LORD our God, King of the Universe, Who has brought forth bread from the earth."
The Passover was not only a meal, it was a feast where many items had a special meaning; the bread was one of those things. When did Jesus make this statement that our communion is centered around?


"And he took bread and gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them and said, 'This is my body, which is given for your sake; this do in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19)
This was the Afikomen; not just any piece of matzah, but the piece which was broken and hidden at the start of the Seder, wrapped in cloth and placed in a bag. This is symbolic of the exodus where the Israelites left in such a hurry that they took the unleavened bread and wrapped it in their clothing, carrying upon their shoulders. 

Christ took this UNLEAVENED bread, signifying the sinlessness of Messiah and used it for this ceremony. But there is another layer of meaning. It is custom in many Jewish households to have the children find it and then return it only in lieu of a promised gift. This custom is based on a statement in the Talmud: “We snatch matzahs on the night of Passover in order that the children should not fall asleep.” (Talmud, Pesachim 109a)

In other words, the game of hiding the afikoman and the accompanying bargaining for a gift is an activity to engage the kids and make sure that they don’t fall asleep during what is invariably a long evening. The communion is meant for the children of God to remember and stay aware as to not fall asleep before Jesus’ return as demonstrated in the tale of the 10 virgins, some of whom fell asleep. 

This is the fuller meaning of the bread:
  1. The bread was wrapped in cloth, just as Jesus was wrapped in burial cloths. 
  2. The bread was hidden, as Jesus was hidden. As He spoke in parables to the people, not even His disciples fully understood who and what He was.
  3. When Jesus came from the cloth (the grave) He was then revealed and is even now revealed as God calls us to Him
  4. He commanded us to do this to remember Him just as children are instructed to find the bread in order to “keep them awake”
  5. Gifts are given when you take the bread to others - God gives us gifts from the Holy Spirit to use as we take the message of Jesus to others.
The bread says so much. What does the wine say?
And in like manner, He took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament or covenant [ratified] in My blood, which is shed (poured out) for you. (Luke 22:20)
During passover there are four glasses of wine drunk as four blessings from God are pronounced. These had been consumed because the Jesus took the cup “after supper.” Since the cups had all been drained, which wine did Jesus use? 

There is a fifth cup poured at supper which is poured but not used; Elijah’s cup. The name comes from the fact that they are waiting on Elijah to reveal the Lord. Instead of drinking this one, the fifth cup, by contrast, is poured out while the Great Hallel is recited over it. (Pesachim 118a) This long recital is Psalms 113–118, declaring so many of the promises of God. 

This is the fuller meaning of the wine:
  1. It was reserved for the time of Elijah; Elijah had come. 
  2. “This is my blood, poured out for you.” as the wine was poured out.
  3. The Great Hallel is a list of the promises we receive through accepting Jesus as our Lord

Though it began on Passover, Communion is something that should be done “often in remembrance” of what Jesus has done. How can there possibly be dangers in this? There are two big ones:

1st Danger - Judgment
Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgement to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep (die). For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1 Corinthians 11:27-31)
Taking the bread and wine, we must not only know fully what it means, but also judge ourselves or it will bring judgment upon us. What judgement? Weakness, sickness and death! The message of “hyper grace” is not Biblical. Jesus died and accepting Him as Lord gets us into Heaven, but judgement was and is still coming from the throne! Why? Because we don’t apply the bread and blood to our daily lives AND judge what is sin and needs to be left behind and what is good and right.

To overcome this danger, learn about the Courts of Heaven, about the fullness of what Jesus has done. Also, begin examining yourself. Remove the leaven (sin) from your life as the tradition of Passover instructs God’s people to do.. 

2nd Danger - Closed Table Communion

A “closed-table” communion is any communion in which you must be an approved member in good standing of a church to receive communion. By handling communion in this way, the church is saying:
  • We acknowledge that you are in right-standing, accepting us and our decrees as your spiritual leader. 
You are stating:
  • I accept you as the spiritual authority over me; I accept your rules and your leadership in my spiritual life.
In essence, you are placing this church as a spiritual barrier between you and the Lord. The purpose of Jesus coming was that He is our High Priest. There is no longer a barrier between us and God. Doing this is not what Jesus wanted.

This danger isn’t limited to communion. Some preachers ask you to be in “covenant” with them or “partners.” This means you are becoming “yoked” with them. Many toute this as entitling you to the same blessings, financial and healing, that they walk in. If this is so, then you are also taking upon yourself any penalties for disobedience or rebellion they are standing in. 

To overcome this danger, don’t take “closed-table” communion. Your standing with God is your business, between you and Him. Don’t allow a man to pass judgement on that. Don't give man this spiritual power over you.

To avoid being labeled “guilty by association,” don’t “partner” and especially become a “covenant partner” with anyone. The Holy Spirit and Jesus are our partners, not man. 

I’m not saying don’t sow into ministries. When you receive a revelation message from God, His word tells us to acknowledge that by giving back to support the person who brought it, (it should be given for free), but that doesn’t mean we should be “partners” with them unless it is for a specific project with an end goal in mind.

This passover, let us read Psalms 113-118 and remember what God has done for us!   

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