R5342: SIGNIFICANCE OF EATING OUR LORD'S FLESH AND OF DRINKING HIS BLOOD
"Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, anddrink His blood, ye have no life in you."— John 6:53.
IN THIS chapter the Lord is addressing the Jews, who believed not on Him, but murmured because He told them He was the true Bread from Heaven. His expression, "eat the flesh and drink the blood," had a deep spiritual significance which none but Israelites indeed could receive. And this is still true today. The world, when dealt with in the next Age, by Jesus, will indeed have the opportunity to eat of His flesh—to appropriate the merits of His sacrifice; but they will have no opportunity of sharing in His Cup—of drinking His blood. Symbolically, the Cup signifies the sacrificed life. The world will have no share in the sufferings of Christ, represented in the Cup.
Our Lord's words imply, If you accept My proposition of the Gospel Age, you may have life, and have it more abundantly than man has ever had it or could have it. You may have inherent life—"life in you."
THE TWO SALVATIONS PICTURED
There is a difference, we believe, maintained in the Scriptures between the bread, which symbolizes the Lord's flesh, and the wine, which symbolizes His blood. The Church, in order to be accepted of the Lord as members of His glorified Body, must share in both of these by participation. The loaf, as the Apostle explains, not only represents to us our Lord, as the Bread of Life necessary for us, but it also represents us as His members to be broken as our Lord was broken; and the wine represents not only our Lord's blood, but also the blood of the Church—that we are sharers with him in His sacrificial sufferings.—I Cor. 10:16, 17.
The privilege of sharing our Lord's Cup is not for the world. They will not share in the sufferings of Christ, because all opportunity to share in His sufferings and glory will have ended when the Church is glorified. The Lord said, "Drink ye all of it"—drink it all. There will be none for the world to drink. And we who are of the Church class "fill up that which is [left] behind of the afflictions of Christ."—Col. 1:24.
"The flesh of the Son of Man" represents Restitution to human privileges, i. e., the means to its attainment, and restores to man the life which he had forfeited—the life lost in Adam—human life, earthly life. It will be the gift of God through Christ. But the supplying of this Bread will not be sufficient. The world will need to eat of the Bread and to have the assistance the Lord will give them through His Kingdom. Jesus said (V.51), "I am the living Bread which came down from Heaven; if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live forever."
From one viewpoint the world may be spoken of as not dead. They have lost their right to life, but God has made arrangements through Jesus by which that life will be restored. It was lost in Adam, but will be restored through Christ, the second Adam. During these six thousand years the world has been in a starved and fallen condition. But God has provided this Bread and it will be for them in the Millennial Age.
It is not shown symbolically anywhere in the Scriptures that the world will partake of the blood, and thus participate in the sufferings of Christ. Only a few are represented as partaking of the blood. This is shown in Leviticus 16. The blood sprinkled the second time on the Mercy-Seat is for all the people, thus satisfying Justice. This represented the release of all humanity from the sentence of death, giving all an opportunity to eat of the Bread and not die.
In another picture, we find the blood used representing man's acceptance of the Divine arrangement. In the sealing of the Law Covenant, which is a type of the New Covenant, Moses first sprinkled the books of the Law, representing the satisfaction of Justice. Then with the same blood he afterwards sprinkled all the people. (Heb. 9:19; Exod. 24:8.) The sprinkling of the books of the books of the Law required only a few seconds; but the sprinkling of the people required a long time.
At the beginning of the Millennial Age—as soon as the Church is joined to her Head beyond the veil—the blood will be sprinkled to satisfy Justice for the world. Then, as the Mediator, Christ will proceed to do a work for all who will receive it. And that work is symbolically represented as sprinkling the people with the blood. In other words, every member of the race will be privileged to come into Covenant relationship with God through the Mediator, by accepting the terms which He will hold forth during the Millennial Reign.
MOST VALUABLE FOOD AND DRINK KNOWN
If they meet the requirements during Messiah's Reign, by the close of that period they will be perfect; and He will present them before the Father, and all will be received into full covenant relationship with Him, who endure faithfully the test then applied.
In our context (V.54), we read, "Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life." Our Lord's statements in many instances are made so broad that they cover, not only the Little Flock, but the Great Company as well, and therein show great wisdom. In this verse the Lord does not say, "hath eternal life" in him; for of those who now make a Covenant of sacrifice, and become sharers of the Cup as well as of the Bread, there are some who will not attain to inherence of life—immortality—but who will come through great tribulations and attain life on a lower spirit plane. They will not have inherent life, though it will be everlasting life. Those who attain immortality will have eternal life, on the highestplane. Those of the Great Company will have eternal life, but not immortality—not life in themselves.
When our Lord said, "For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed" (V.55), we understand Him to mean that this is the most valuable food and drink ever known. No other bread has such value, and no other drink could be so precious as this, by the partaking of which one may attain to glory, honor and immortality—the Divine nature, life in itself.
ANTITYPICAL SHOWERS OF MANNA
The Bread from Heaven was our Lord's flesh, which He was to give for the life of the world. And Jesus explains this to be what was typified by the manna that fell in the wilderness. He said, "Your fathers did eat manna [in the wilderness], and are dead. He that eateth of this Bread shall live forever." He also said (John 12:24), "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." And He did fall into the earth and die. And we become sharers with Him in His death. We participate in His sufferings and death, which the world will never do. They share in its outcome.
All the work of this Gospel Age, is the getting ready of the food for the world, and of the blood which will be sprinkled upon them. But the Message of our Lord in our text was not intended for the world. As He tells us, "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven."
It is only a special class who could know anything about the Mystery of God all through these nineteen hundred years—the two millenniums. These things have been hidden from the world in general. But now we believe that the time is here when they are to be given to the world, making the world conscious of the blessing that God has in store for them soon. The Scriptures tell us that the Mystery will be unfolded during the sounding of the seventh trumpet—which is now sounding. This making of these truths known, therefore, would seem to be the showering of the manna.