The Lord’s Supper until He Comes -- By: Donald Farner

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 06:2 (Fall 1985)
Article: The Lord’s Supper until He Comes
Author: Donald Farner


The Lord’s Supper until He Comes

Donald Farner

Evidence from the gospels, 1 Corinthians 11, Jude 12, 2 Pet 2:13, and other early Christian literature suggests that the supper that formed the context for the first observance of the Eucharist in the upper room was not the Passover. Rather, the supper had special significance and was intended to be perpetuated. This reasoning is substantiated by the dynamic unity between the supper and the Eucharist and by the nature of sacrificial meals.

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Introduction

It is the purpose of this study to demonstrate from the Scriptures that the supper meal shared in the upper room by Jesus and his disciples had both a symbolic ceremonial significance for the church and an authorization for perpetuation in the church. Four lines of evidence substantiate this claim:

  1. The Gospel Model
  2. The Apostolic Record of Perpetuation
  3. The Dynamic Unity of the Supper and the Eucharist
  4. The Apostolic Authority for its Practice

The Gospel Model

The Supper was not the Passover Supper

Many dismiss the meal in the upper room as part of the communion ordinance by declaring that it was the Passover meal and that therefore, while it was significant for Israel, it only provided a setting for the Eucharist. They see no permanent significance in the supper itself. However, it can be demonstrated that the NT teaches that the supper was not the Passover and that it was not the occasion for the eating of the Passover lamb.1 Constructing a harmony of the passages

that present the time relationship of the upper room supper and the Passover shows that Jesus’ observance was not the Passover meal. This is indicated by the following observations:

  1. John 13:1: Jesus arose from supper “before the Feast of the Passover.”
  2. Mark 14:17: the evening referred to at this point is the beginning of the Day of Preparation which began at 6:00 p.m.
  3. Luke 22:14–16: the reading of the Greek text preferred by many textual critics2 says that Jesus, while expressing his desire to eat this Passover with his disciples, emphatically declares (οὐ μή) that he would not eat it until it was fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

  4. All four gospels note that Jesus ...
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