The Lord’s Supper
Will grape juice and crackers do?
The elements of the Lord’s Supper for Bible Christians are
unleavened bread in one lump or loaf and red wine from grapes.
- For Bible Christians, every word of God is pure, and following Jesus Christ according to the Bible is very important (Ps 119:128; Pr 30:5; Matt 28:20; Luke 4:4; I Cor 11:1; II Tim 3:16-17). Since we cannot know about the Lord’s Supper without the Bible, there is every reason to follow the Bible as closely as possible. Adding our own ideas would simply corrupt the Lord’s Supper (Deut 5:32; 12:32; I Chr 15:13).
- The only bread present at the Last Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ had to be unleavened bread, because our Lord used the bread of the Passover Supper, which had to be unleavened bread, which is why the Passover Feast was also called the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Luke 22:7-20; Exodus 12:1-20). Our Lord Jesus Christ certainly used unleavened bread for instituting the Lord’s Supper.
- Paul taught that the Lord’s Supper fulfilled the Passover. Every church must make sure they are free from the leaven of malice and wickedness, for leaven symbolizes sin in the New Testament (Matt 16:6-12; Gal 5:9). If it is important to be free from the leaven of sin, so that a church partakes as an unleavened body, it follows that the symbolic bread should also be unleavened (I Cor 5:6-8).
- The bread used in the Lord’s Supper represents the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, which was spiritually perfect as a sinless substitute, as the Passover lamb was perfect. If leaven is a symbol of sin, proven by Paul’s reference to it as such in context of the Lord’s Supper, then we should use unleavened bread to have a proper symbol for representing our Lord’s body (I Cor 5:6-8; I Pet 1:19).
- Paul also taught that the bread of the Lord’s Supper should be one loaf that is broken during the Supper. The bread symbolizes the body of Jesus Christ that was torn for us, but it also symbolizes the unity of the congregation in one bread (I Cor 10:16-17). He called the bread a single lump (I Cor 5:7). Manufactured wafers or crackers like Catholics use precludes us from breaking the bread and showing the two pictures that the Lord and His apostles intended for us to see.
- The cup at the Last Supper contained the fruit of the vine (Luke 22:18). The beverage of choice from the vine of Israel and of all men was and is wine (Ps 104:14-15). Abraham and Melchizedek, priest of the most high God, had bread and wine for their meal (Gen 14:18). David sent a flagon of wine to every home in his celebration of moving the Ark of God (II Sam 6:19). The beverage of choice of Jesus Christ was wine, which is why His enemies called Him a winebibber (Luke 7:34). His enemies would not have called Him a winebibber, if He had drank only grape juice. John the Baptist did not drink wine, because he was likely a lifelong Nazarite (Luke 1:15), so his enemies raised other slanderous charges against him. There is no evidence Jesus Christ ever drank grape juice.
- The beverage used at the Lord’s Supper in Corinth was wine, because those who drank too much were drunken (I Cor 11:21). The word “drunken” there is a participial adjective meaning to be intoxicated by an alcoholic beverage. The Corinthians, a church instructed by Paul, used wine in the Lord’s Supper. Paul did not correct their use of wine, though he corrected and instructed them about the Supper. He corrected the abuse of eating and drinking without regard for others, but not the beverage. Drunkenness is condemned by the New Testament, but not the moderate and proper use of wine (Eph 5:18).
- It is a fact that wine is an unleavened beverage, fitting as a symbol for the sinless blood of the Son of God. The process of fermentation is initiated and maintained by the combination of sugar in the juice of the grape and the yeast or leaven that is on the skin of the grape. When grapes are crushed or pressed with their skins, fermentation begins immediately. The fermentation process ends when the alcohol content reaches about 12-14% and kills the yeast or leaven. Grape wine generally does not exceed 14% in alcohol, because the yeast does not survive that level of alcohol. The point here is that wine is an unleavened beverage to match the unleavened bread already proven.
- The social custom of the Jews at the time of Jesus Christ was to drink wine with the Passover. We do not use such evidence outside the Bible to prove anything in the Bible, because we believe the testimony of Scripture is sufficient (II Tim 3:16-17). However, for those who need or want this information for their own weak faith or the persuasion of others, we make the point here. Most any conservative Bible commentary will indicate clearly in the Last Supper passages that the beverage used for the Passover was wine.
- Furthermore, the wine for the Lord’s Supper must be red wine from grapes. If it were any other kind of wine, such as blackberry or raspberry wine, then it would not be the fruit of the vine (Luke 22:18). If it were white or pink wine, then it would not clearly symbolize our Lord’s blood nor match the wine used in Israel (Gen 49:11; Deut 32:14; Ps 75:8; Pr 23:31; Is 27:2; 63:2; Rev 14:19-20; 19:13-15). There is no evidence of white wine in the Bible. Wine was assumed to be red in all figures of speech that involved grapes, wine, or winepresses.
- For the reasons given above, we use red wine and one loaf of unleavened bread in the Lord’s Supper. While we believe these two elements are important to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul as closely as possible, we believe it is much more important for us to examine ourselves and partake of this Supper without the leaven of malice and wickedness in either our individual hearts or in the church collectively.
Scriptural reasons why a New Testament church should commune only with its own members at the Lord’s table.
While instituting the Lord’s Supper and serving the wine, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Drink ye all of it.” Was Jesus worried about leftover wine, or was He wisely condemning a future heresy?