Christianity and Cannibalism: Do Christians Practice It When Partaking Holy Communion (The Lord's Supper)
The Lord's Supper: Why Disagreements
As they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it. He gave to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, “All of you drink it, for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins." (Mathew 26:26-28)
If something is last, then it means that thing used to happen before it arrived at an end or is about to end. This was the case with The Last Supper (also known as Lord's Supper). Jesus used to eat and drink with his disciples during supper. However, this supper, The Lord's Supper, would be the last one Jesus would have with them.
Why? Jesus knew well one of his disciples would betray him, meaning his time to be arrested and later crucified was nearing. Therefore, it was important for him to have this last supper with them before the time arrives.
What perhaps strikes so different about this last supper is the utterances Jesus made. This has quite caused a stir with debates ranging on what Jesus meant (literally or symbolically), unending arguments against the Christian community with the fact many non-Christians brand them as cannibals.
The words Jesus uttered have led to misunderstandings, misinterpretations and strange opinions as to the true meaning of what Jesus meant.
This paper tries to find out what the Last Supper represented, what it was all about (what Jesus told his disciples) and whether it is true Christians practice cannibalism. Many people claim while Christians are opposed to cannibalism, in reality they practice it by 'eating the body of Christ' and 'drinking his blood.' In effect, they are cannibals and may be vampires.
Meaning of Cannibalism
Cannibalism is defined as when a person or animal eats the flesh of a human being.
History is filled with records of communities or tribes such as in New Guinea, Africa who were involved in cannibalism. Whether it was out of necessity (hunger/starvation) or as a ritual, by eating a human flesh then it is downright cannibalism.
Is it good or okay to eat human flesh or meat? Well, this is a topic in itself since it has arguments for and against it. Some claim the meat of a human is sweet, well, delicate. However, on the side of blood in Christianity as written in the Bible, God is against shedding of innocent blood, of drinking blood and murdering. Why? Because blood is life. Without blood there is no life.
It will be noted whenever God forbids something, Devil always does the opposite. This is why in Devil worship sacrifice of human beings and drinking of blood is practiced. God is against sacrifice of human beings.
The Lord's Supper took place during the first day of the feast of unleavened bread. This signifies the Last Supper took place during the Passover, a joyous festival when Jews celebrate the deliverance of their ancestors from the oppressive hands of Egyptian rulers. This was made possible by God as a result of Israelite crying out to Him to deliver them.
Passover when separated into two means: to spare or exempt. This is what exactly happened to the ancestors of the modern-day Jews.
Click the link to read Exodus 12, an account of Passover.
God heard the cries of the Israelite. The people were oppressed, forced to hard labor, treated as salves. He sent Moses as His representative. Moses on several times tried to persuade Pharaoh (king) of Egypt that God has sent him (Moses) to tell him (Pharaoh) to let His (God's) people to go fee to a promised land. Pharaoh was stiff-necked. He refused.
As a result of Pharaoh's stubbornness and refusal to let Israel go free, God sent 9 plagues. Despite their severity, the king was still stubborn to give in. It was the last plague which finally forced him to let the people of Israel go.
The people of Israel were commanded to find a lamb without blemish, slaughter it and smear some of the blood on the "two doorposts and the lintel of the houses."
"The blood" as stated in Exodus 12, "shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt... This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as feast to the LORD."
It is also stated in the same chapter, "... It is the Lord's Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast..."
Remember, the Israelite were under the oppressive hands of the Egyptian rulers for many years.
Relation Between Passover and The Last Supper
When the angel of God visited every door and found blood smeared on the doorposts, he would pass by. Nevertheless, if there was no blood on the two doorposts, he killed the firstborn in the family including animal. Even if the Egyptians had smeared the blood on the doorposts, their firstborns would not have been killed.
The Last Supper took place during the Passover. This indicates a very important factor: Jesus was the Passover. Why?
Jesus lived on earth without any blemish. He never committed any sin. Therefore, when he died on the cross, the shedding of his blood resulted in the reconciliation between God and man, and resulted in the forgiveness of sin. This was attested by the fact Jesus rose from the death meaning he conquered evil (sin).
In the Old Testament in the Bible, animals were sacrificed. The reason was to "provide a temporary covering of sins and to foreshadow the perfect and complete sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Leviticus 4:35, 5:10)."
If there's no shedding of blood, then there is no remission of sins. And the shedding of blood was done through animals, not humans.
GotQuestions explains well what entailed during animal sacrifice: "God commanded the nation of Israel to perform numerous sacrifices according to certain procedures prescribed by God. First, the animal had to be spotless. Second, the person offering the sacrifice had to identify with the animal. Third, the person offering the animal had to inflict death upon it. When done in faith, this sacrifice provided a temporary covering of sins."
Animal sacrifice was temporal because it was limited. On the other hand, Jesus sacrifice on the cross by shedding blood was a permanent cover for sins. There would be no need of continuously offering animal sacrifice for remission of sins.
In relation to Jesus: First, Jesus was spotless. He didn't commit any sin. Second, we identify with Jesus because we are sinners. We keep on sinning. We are vulnerable to it. We feel the need to get rid of the guilt that is eating us up inside. Third, we inflicted death upon Jesus because of our sins. It was as a result of our sins that led to his death on the cross, a form of sacrifice.
Jesus as part of Godhead came in form of human being in order to feel what every human being feels: suffering, pain and afflictions. This is the reason why he was the best substitute for animal sacrifice. This is also the reason why when Adam and Eve sinned, God knew using animals as sacrifice for the covering of sin was temporary. He had in mind the perfect and complete sacrifice, in Jesus.
Real Meaning of Last Supper
The Significance of The Last Supper and Passover
When we accept what Jesus did on the cross, the sacrifice he made, then his blood washes away our sins. When we sin, we ask God for forgiveness, He will forgive us because of the shedding of blood of Jesus.
This is why when a person accepts what Jesus did, he is covered by the blood of Jesus, meaning his sins are washed away. He won't be visited by death (eternal separation from God) after the Great Judgment. Those who accept what Jesus did (shedding his blood on the cross) will inherit the kingdom of heaven.
This also means Jesus came to fulfill the New Covenant and do away with the Old Testament which had to do with animal sacrifices for remission of sins.
"For this is my blood of the new testament (covenant), which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Mathew 26:28)
Reason for Partaking Lord's Supper
In order to remember the sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross. The shedding of his blood and the agony his body underwent before finally dying. It is a reminder of the hard step he undertook because he knew the results of it.
Therefore, when Christians gather to share in the Holy Communion, it is a reminder to them not to take lightly what Jesus did because it is the greatest sacrifice ever to be carried out on a human being.
And the reason for his acceptance to die on the cross: Because he loved the world so much he didn't want anyone to perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Christians Are Cannibals
When Christians partake of the Holy Communion, they're literally eating the body of Christ and drinking his blood. True?
A question arises: When Jesus told his disciples to be gathering to celebrate the Holy Communion as a remembrance of him (what he did on the cross), does it mean he meant we take it literally? Then, why not take it literally by drinking blood of a spotless lamb and its meat? Christians know God forbids drinking of blood.
The fact is Christians re not cannibals. When they gather during the Holy Communion, they do so in order to remember what Jesus did and to see whether they're living as Christians (who have decided to follow after the footsteps of Jesus). It is a time when they make up their mind if they want to continue living as God wants. It is a time they ask for forgiveness, reconcile with God, and ask for God's help. It is a time of searching deep in their hearts and see whether they are living for God or the world.
Therefore, when they take wine(juice) to represent Jesus' blood and bread (biscuit) to represent his body, it acts as a reminder of the central message of Christianity and everything it carries: THE CROSS.
"... Jesus Christ did not have to die for us. He did, however, because He values every life on earth and wants to see each of us sitting at His dining table someday in heaven. The Last Supper reminds us of Christ's sacrifice, and that by faith in Him, we can dine with Christ for all eternity."