Understanding Hard Sayings in the Bible! Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood!
Posted by agapegeek
(Ver 1.1) This is “Part 4” in a series of advanced Christian lessons on “Understanding Hard Sayings” found in the Bible. This lesson today is not a new subject for me to teach on, for I have covered parts of this topic of hard sayings in at least one other lesson. But, I want to back up today and introduce you to the general concept of “Hard Sayings” found in the Bible before I teach any more about them. The Bible contains many sayings that are very difficult for people to accept, so in many Christian churches they simply ignore them. You see I did not invent the term “Hard Sayings”, it came from a teaching that Jesus directly gave to His disciples and in doing this, Jesus taught us that the Bible contains many “Hard Sayings” within it. There are other Christian books and authors on the market that are available with this title about “Hard Sayings” in the Bible. I have not read them, but some of them must be good. What I want you to realize is today’s lessons came directly from God and the Bible and not from the teachings of another man. So what is a hard saying? A Hard Saying can be described as any words or verses that are very difficult to understand or to accept because of what is being taught or stated within them. Many times hard sayings in the Bible are natural controversial subjects which have a hidden spiritual message that is being conveyed. Jesus actually gives us the classic difficult or hard saying Himself in the Gospels and in doing so teaches us some very significant things about this subject that we should all learn. Here is what the disciples said about the lesson that Jesus gave to them:
Joh 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
As you can see the disciples listening to the words of Jesus said that this teaching was very “hard sayings” to accept and they asked “who could hear them”. They are in effect saying the words of Jesus are very difficult to believe, comprehend, accept, grasp or even understand. What were these words that Jesus was teaching on that were called “hard sayings” by His followers? I mean if His followers had trouble accepting them, what about us? What made the words of Jesus so difficult to grasp for these inner circle of disciples? I guess we should start by reading what Jesus was teaching about that the disciples called “Hard Sayings”.
Joh 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
These are truly very “Hard Sayings”. If you try to take these words literally you will attempt to say that Jesus was teaching cannibalism. However, one of the key elements to correct Bible interpretation is knowing when something is symbolic and when something should be taken literally. . This is something that is not always as easy as you would like it to be. Symbolism is a key element used throughout the Bible to conceal and reveal spiritual information to us His disciples. Jesus is speaking symbolically about spiritual things in this verse and we will need to explore several other Bible verses to get the correct interpretation to these symbols. But, this verse is the prime example of how the natural mind of man can get easily confused when reading the Bible. The Bible says this about the natural mind of man:
Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
What is a carnal mind? A carnal mind is one that thinks 100% naturally. To apply natural things to a spiritual book is said to be an enemy of God. I see blogs on the internet about Bible studies and they are clearly the enemies to God. They are applying human logic and reasoning to explain away the true spiritual meanings and that is a major problem. So the important lesson from this verse is for us not to think like men, but to renew our minds and change to think like God. God’s ways are not our ways and God’s thought are not our thoughts, but that does not mean we cannot come up to God’s way of thinking. It only means that we do not know how to do this until we learn it from God. God did not give us a book that we could not understand ever. He only wants us to change in order to see the real truth. This change involves a higher level of spiritual thought and hopefully you are growing in this area.
What we discover from Jesus’ statement are that two major components are being spoken of. These are the “Flesh” of Jesus and the “Blood” of Jesus. Then we are instructed to eat and drink these two elements. I purposely chose the word “elements” because many Christians know these are symbolic representations for our communion services where we take bread and wine and partake of the Lord’s body and blood. Christians do this as a symbolic representation of a greater spiritual truth that I will discuss in more depth today. Jesus actually taught us some very profound things while partaking of the “Passover” meal with His disciples. Jesus breaks the unleavened bread of Passover and says “this is my body” eat. Then Jesus takes the cup of the covenant and says this is my “blood” drink. Jesus in doing this was not saying this is my literal body and blood; he again was just using symbols to convey spiritual meanings.
In the Old Testament Psalms, it says “Taste and see that the Lord is Good” (Ps 34:8). So how do you taste anything naturally? In order to taste something you usually put that something in your mouth and then swallow it, if it is good or spit it out if it is bad. God appears to be using more symbolism in this verse of Psalms. We know that God is a Spirit (John 4:24). How do you then taste a Spirit and see if He is good? For that matter how does the real you, the spirit inside your body taste the Lord and see if He is good? That is exactly why Jesus uses these natural things to help you to understand the spiritual things that you have no experience with before you are saved. You have plenty of natural experience with eating if you are a healthy human being. Jesus chose to teach us using these natural things to give us a view into the spiritual things that we do not see. These things obviously have to be similar in characteristics even if they are totally different from comparing natural to spiritual things. God using His vast intelligence created natural things for us to get glimpses into spiritual things. So Jesus is saying in order for you to be healthy spiritually you must eat my flesh and drink my blood and in doing this you will have spiritual life. Our problem right now is we just don’t know what this means and that is where we are going now. I will explain the symbols given to us by Jesus to help you to understand these spiritual things.
What is the “body” of Jesus Christ made of? Where did the body of Jesus Christ come from? These are two key questions to discovering the true meaning of what Jesus was teaching when He taught us to eat His flesh. I will start this lesson with a description of the flesh of Jesus from the book of John:
Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
You can very clearly see that God tells us that His Word became “Flesh” and walked among us. In fact, if you backup to verse one in this chapter, you find that it says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. You cannot separate God from His Word in this verse. God and His Word are “One” in the same. This is one of the reasons why it is impossible for God to lie. God is saying that He became Flesh by sending His Word to join or unite with the egg of the virgin woman Mary. God’s Word became the spiritual and natural Seed that became the flesh that was crucified on the cross. Do you remember when the angel told Mary that the Holy Spirit would “overshadow” her and that she would become pregnant? What was Mary’s response to the Words of God sent through an angel? She said “Be it unto me according to thy Word” (Luke 1:38). The angel tells Mary that God will “overshadow” her. This term means to supernaturally envelop. Mary could have said “I don’t believe that” and God would have been forced to find another woman. But, Mary says “It will be as you have spoken”. So the Words of God were accepted into the spirit of the woman Mary and she believed them and then the Holy Spirit came upon her to conceive the child Jesus. God sent His Word to a woman to become Flesh and this is why Jesus was speaking to the disciples that you must eat my flesh. The flesh of Jesus was the “Word of God” made manifest in this world. The Flesh of Jesus was the Word of God Visible to your natural eyes. This was what Jesus was trying to teach us using these natural symbols that exist in the world. Of course at this time when Jesus taught this, the disciples lacked the keys to the knowledge to understand this truth and therefore this was a “hard saying” for them to accept. We still have this problem in the body of Christ even today. We have many Christians who do not accept things because they do not understand them. For example, speaking in tongues is a prime example of this. Because some do not understand it they criticize it and even teach against it. That is a very foolish thing to do. God excuses your ignorance for a while then it may come time for judgment when you attack your brother. I would dare not teach against anything that I do not fully understand to the best of my ability. What I have hopefully shown you is that the Flesh of Jesus is the Word of God so let’s look at the blood of Jesus and what this represents.
Jesus was not teaching you that you should drink His actual blood; there are laws in the O.T. that say that you should not eat meat with the blood still in it. So Jesus has to be speaking figuratively or symbolically. So what is the “Blood of Jesus”? What does the Blood of Jesus represent symbolically? These are another two questions that are critical to understand if you want to understand what Jesus was teaching when He says to “drink His Blood”. We know from the Bible that it is the Blood of Christ that has paid the price for our sins (Heb 10, Rev 1:5). But, what made the blood of Jesus of sufficient value to accomplish this and not some innocent sinless animal like a real lamb? A real lamb has no sin and it certainly has blood. God told Israel in the Old Testament to sacrifice these animals as a type or a pattern for the real “Lamb of God” who was to come. Jesus Christ is called the “Lamb” several times in the N.T. (Rev 21:9, 21:14, 21:22, 21:23, 21:27 to name a few). Here is another verse that speaks about Jesus being the lamb of God:
1Pe 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
This verse informs us that the Jesus was our sinless Lamb and that His blood was precious. What made Jesus’ blood precious? To be precious means to be very valuable. Anything that is very valuable costs a lot. The Blood of Jesus is said to be a “Mighty Cost Paid” for our sins. So what made the blood of Jesus more valuable than that of a natural lamb? Isn’t blood just blood? That is the million dollar question for the day and if you can answer that question you will understand many things about the Bible that are also hard to accept. Let’s look at a clue that God gives us to this answer in the O.T.:
Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
So here is a clue to the answer to the million dollar question. God tells us that the “Life” of the flesh is in the “blood”. Without blood your flesh has no life. People know this fact fairly well in our world. If you are injured badly and bleed excessively, you will die. So no blood means no life. This of course is a very interesting paradox being given to us. It would appear that after Jesus was raised from the dead that His “blood” was no longer necessary for His continued bodily functions to operate and to exist; after all most of His blood spilled out onto the ground on the hill of Golgotha while hanging on the cross. Then after His resurrection Jesus told the Mary Magdeline not to touch Him (John 20:17) until He went to heaven to present His remaining blood before God’s real temple in heaven (Heb 9:12). After Jesus returned to earth from heaven it was OK, to touch Him, because He told Thomas to “touch me, a spirit does not have flesh and bone” (Luke 24:39). Notice that Jesus never mentions His blood again, why is that? So I do not know if the resurrected Spiritual Body of Jesus has blood in it today or not. It is an interesting question to consider. After Jesus was resurrected he ate food with His disciples, but yet could walk through walls and appear in a locked room. So what will our resurrected body be like? I can only guess it will be like Jesus’ body. I think that I got off the main subject so I’ll continue with what the Blood represents now.
The Life of the Flesh revelation that we just read about in Leviticus 17:11, we now know that the blood represents Life. We can now ask, whose Life was it in the body of Jesus Christ? We know from the Bible that it was “God’s” life that was in the body of Jesus (Heb 10:5). So when they crucified Jesus the man, they crucified God. God gave us His life in exchange to buy our lives. That was an awesome display of a loving God. No one else qualified to pay the price for our salvation. No one else had the sufficient sinless qualities. No one else could pay the price of such great value that was necessary for our redemption so God came Himself and did what we could not do. I do not know about you, but I am extremely thankful that He did this.
1Jn 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
The Bible is a highly complex book of spiritual information and putting it together correctly is one of our greatest challenges. If God who had no beginning or ending, could come to the earth and experience pain, suffering and death for our benefit then who are we to question was this necessary. If God did not think it was necessary He would have done something else. God experiences death for a reason and you should be smart enough to know that it was just not for our benefit alone, but also for His benefit. God is smart enough to multi-task like no one else that I have ever known. God can accomplish many things with one designed act of love and mercy. So if you want to think that God came only to die for your sins, you can think that and be wrong. Death is a legal separating force for covenants. Do you understand why God had to break covenant with Satan? First, you probably did not realize that God was in covenant with Satan, but this is a Bible fact if you look for it. I guess I’ll get back to my real subject today about flesh of God and the Blood of God. In 1 John 5:20, the True God is spoken of in conjunction with a direct connection to eternal life. One reason that God died was so that we could partake of His Eternal Life. Before God died on the cross, no man on the earth possessed God’s Eternal Life. I know that God took men in the O.T. on credit like Enoch and Elijah to heaven. But, even these men were looking forward to what God would accomplish in the future through Jesus Christ.
1Jn 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
He that has the Son of God now has this eternal life of God. This is what Jesus was talking about when He said for us to drink his blood. Jesus was speaking of His blood as being the life of God that we should be able to spiritually drink and become a part of us internally in our spirits. What happens when you drink natural water? It becomes a part of your natural body. If you do not have water to drink you die physically. These are all symbolic representations of what happens to you in the spiritual realm when you drink the Blood of Jesus. So what is the Blood of Jesus? It was His Life, but what is that to us now on earth right now?
1Jn 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
I have already shown you scriptures that told us that the Body of Jesus was the Word of God. Now we see another revelation concerning the Blood of Jesus. If the life of the flesh is in the blood then you can substitute Life and Blood interchangeably and still be correct. It would appear to me that everything reverts back to God’s Word. If you want God’s Life you better study God’s Words and get them into your spirit. This was the key to the lesson that Jesus was teaching on when He said “eat my Flesh” and “drink my blood”. Spiritually speaking we would not be able to do this any other way but by eating and drinking the Word of God and the Word of Life. You may recall the Words of Jesus, when He said “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mat 4:4). Jesus is again giving us clues into the “hard sayings” that He was teaching in John. Jesus is comparing natural bread that we eat with our physical mouths to the spiritual bread from God. God’s spiritual bread is His Word and we can only eat this by getting God’s Word into our spirits. Jesus said by partaking of the spiritual food it will bring life to us. God’s words are that spiritual food that we need to eat and to drink in our spirits.
So if nothing else today I hope and pray that you learned two things. The Bible contains “Hard Sayings” that are difficult to grasp and accept on the surface only reading of the text. But, then you should have also learned that God has provided explanations in His Word to what these Hard Sayings mean. You have to study, you have to search the Bible for the key words and then you have to allow the Holy Spirit to direct you to the truth. In doing this you come much closer to knowing the truth as Jesus taught us in His Word.
Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
If you would like to continue reading in this series about “Understanding Hard Sayings” found in the Bible you may go to “Part 5“.
About agapegeekUsing the Bible to understand the Bible! Advanced Bible study for mature Chrisitians who want to grow.
Posted on September 28, 2010, in Bible Study, Hard Sayings, Understanding and tagged Bible, blood, Christianity, Church, flesh, God, Holy Spirit, Interpretation, Jesus, Prophecy, Religion, Revelation, Symbolism, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.