Oct 21, 2014

John 6 New World Translation

JW's Come Home to the Eucharist 

How to prove the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist using the New  World Translation Bible.

    It is a well known fact that many Jehovah's Witnesses are former Catholics. When I think about all of the many people who walk away from the Eucharist it really saddens me. It saddens me because Christ wants us to follow him where ever he asks us to go and to believe in him no matter what, or how hard the saying, or teaching is.

This article is about the Gospel of John chapter 6 of sacred scripture. I will not quote the whole chapter here, but after you read this article please go back to your bible and read the chapter entirely.

At the end of this article there will also be a list of extra verses for you to reference, so please take a good look at those. The John 6 verses quoted here is from (John 6:48-69 of the NWT)
Let us begin :)

“I am the bread of life." says our Lord, but what does he mean by this? Bread is something that we eat, something that sustains our life. Yet, Christ is not talking about simple bread that merely sustains our life. He is talking about an imperishable bread that gives us eternal life!

"Your forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness and yet they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that anyone may eat of it and not die."

Jesus tells the people that the manna that their forefathers ate is inferior to the bread that he is talking about now. "Here I am raining down bread for you from the heavens..." (Ex 16:4) 

In biblical typology the manna is a "type" of the body, and blood of Christ, his flesh. The manna is a sign that points to the true bread from heaven, the Eucharist!

Jesus explains, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever; and for a fact, the bread that I will give is my flesh in behalf of the life of the world.”

This new heavenly bread is the true flesh of Christ!

How did the people take this message? 

They must have understood him figuratively, or symbolically right? And, if they understood him figuratively there was no danger of Christ loosing true followers over it. Would Christ risk his entire economy of followers over one teaching?

And not just one teaching the apex of all his teachings and the last command given before his death. Or, did he save the best, most important, and most testing of his commandments for last?

"Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 

Was Christ talking about cannibalism, was he really saying, "drink his blood?" is what they must have been thinking.

Notice that his language only intensifies, and gets more serious at there concerns.

"So Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life, and I will resurrect him on the last day;" 

The Jews doubted, and argued about what Jesus was saying to them, and rightly so since the Jews were forbidden to eat blood, and of course human flesh.

Christ knowing the law, and what the Jews were thinking continues even more intently...

"for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in union with me, and I in union with him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will live because of me."

This bread  that he is talking about truly is his flesh, his blood is truly a supernatural drink for us! Also "Feeds on me" implies a constant food source just like the manna was for the Israelites, a daily bread!

"This is the bread that came down from heaven. It is not as when your forefathers ate and yet died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said these things as he was teaching in a synagogue in Ca·per′na·um."

Unlike the manna which was only a type of the Eucharist/Christ's flesh, the Eucharist is offered in thanksgiving to God, and will allow us to live forever provided that we feed on it. Again, this implies a constant food source, a continued food source that can be eaten daily.

"When they heard this, many of his disciples said: “This speech is shocking; who can listen to it?” 

We could imagine here that Jesus knowing his disciples were having trouble with this new teaching would have to explain that he was only speaking figuratively. Like I said would he really jeopardise his entire economy of followers over one teaching?

"But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were murmuring about this, said to them: “Does this stumble you? What, therefore, if you should see the Son of man ascending to where he was before?"

In other words, if you think this is hard to believe, you think this is shocking just wait until you see me ascend to the Father will you believe then? Remember Christ wants belief without seeing, without fully understanding some things, he wants faith.

"Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe" (John 20:29) Saint Augustine says, "do not understand in order to believe, but believe in order to understand"

Out Lord continues...

"It is the spirit that is life-giving; the flesh is of no use at all. The sayings that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life."

Here it is you say! This is the part where Jesus is telling us what he really means. This is the part where he says that it is all spiritual, and not anything else, right?

He tells us that it is the spirit that gives life, this is true. Christ's body and blood is spiritual, super-substantial food from heaven, and it is the spirit that gives life, and realness to the Eucharist.

But, what about the next part? "the flesh is of no use all." I answer surely he is not talking about his own flesh, the same flesh that he was just saying is the food that gives us eternal life! Surely he is not talking about his flesh, the same flesh that availed forgiveness of our sins by dieing for us!

What he is talking about here is our flesh which is of no use at all without his flesh, without his suffering for us, without the spirit! Our flesh can do nothing apart from Christ, and he said, "...apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5)

Paul states, "But a physical man does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know them, because they are examined spiritually. However, the spiritual man examines all things, but he himself is not examined by any man." (1 Corinthians 2:14-15)

If we remain in our flesh we will find it hard to understand spiritual things, and to be Christlike. In scripture "man is often called "flesh" to underline the weakness, fragility and transience of human nature, especially when contrasted with God and his Spirit which is strength." (Bible Dictionary Concordance to the NAB)

Christ wants us to believe as spiritual beings not as fleshy human beings!

"But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning those who did not believe and the one who would betray him. He went on to say: “This is why I have said to you, no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

Jesus knows that there are some that do not believe, and will not believe. Notice that after Christ's teaching about eating his body and blood is when he looses Judas "the one who would betray him."

Here Jesus gives us the answer to the question the Jews were arguing about, "how can this man give us his flesh to eat it?" Jesus tells us that belief in this teaching, in the Eucharist must be granted to us by the Father. We need God, and we need Jesus to help us understand divine and lofty matters like the Eucharist.

"Because of this, many of his disciples went off to the things behind and would no longer walk with him.  So Jesus said to the Twelve: “You do not want to go also, do you?” Simon Peter answered him: “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life. We have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Non Catholic Christian groups like to interpret John 6:63 as Christ speaking only figuratively, or symbolically. They deny the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and his Catholic Church who teach what Christ taught about his body and blood.

Notice that despite what Jesus says in verse 63 about "it is the spirit that gives life..." his disciples still go off, and walk with him no more. They did not understand him to be speaking figuratively, or symbolically, even at this point.

They took him for what he was saying, they took him literally! They walked away from Christ anyway, because they could not understand, "how can this man give us his flesh to eat it?"

Will we be like the doubtful Jews who argued and could not understand? Or, like the disbelieving disciples who couldn't even listen to what Christ was saying? Or, will we stand with Peter, and the apostles who despite their lack of understanding took Christ on faith?

Do you stand with Peter? And say, “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of
everlasting life. We have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God."

By Joanne Utke 10-21-2014

Further Study:

John 6 The whole chapter this is a must! Pay special attention to verses 27, 32-40, 51, 55.

1 Corinthians 10:16 "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of the Christ? The loaf that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of the Christ?" 

1 Corinthians 2:14-3:4 (What the flesh means in John 6:63.)

Exodus 16 (The chapter about the manna.)

Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19: In the NWT, the Watch Tower Society have these verses translated as "means my body" and not "is my body." When we compare these NWT verses with John chapter 6 in the NWT, and what I have shown you here, we can see that "means" is not a faithful way to translate this text. You should also look up these verses in your King James, and other translations of the bible. I have shown you here in John 6 that there is very little room for error to understand Christ as only speaking figurative, or symbolic. He was speaking literally, and the text shows this. 2,000 years of Christian history shows this. You should study the teaching of the early fathers of the Church especially on the teachings on the Eucharist.

"You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the Apostles. Reverence the deacons as you would the command of God. Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. Nor is it permitted without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate the agape; but whatever he approve, this too is pleasing to God, so that whatever is done will be secure and valid."  (LETTER TO THE SMYRNAEANS - ST. IGNATIUS BISHOP OF ANTIOCH, 110 A.D. 2nd century. The Faith of the early Fathers page 25, section 65.)

Please also refer to the Eucharist in the Bible Study that I have put together. Complete with verses about the Lamb of God, the Jewish roots of the Eucharist and much more! http://home-schooling-works.blogspot.com/2014/03/eucharist-in-scripture.html

Verses and references used in this article:

John 6:48-69
Exodus 16:4
John 20:29
John 15:5

1 Corinthians 2:14-15

Bible Dictionary Concordance to the New American Bible

Eucharist: Based on ecclesiastical Greek eukharistia which means thanksgiving, from Greek eukharistos meaning grateful. (New Oxford American Dictionary)


Katherine said...

This bread from heaven not only is inferior to the manna that their forefathers ate and died, but this new life giving bread is in fact his flesh!

I don't understand the above statement from you John 6 blog.


Joanne Utke said...

Katherine, thank you for pointing that out to me. It was a mistake in the text. Glad you caught it :)

But, the message I am conveying there is that the manna is inferior to the bread of Christ. The manna was true heavenly bread that God's people actually ate. It sustained their life in the desert. So it goes that Christ's bread is real bread, "true food" like the manna, but so much more! Christ own eternal life giving flesh and blood.