After a long few months we have come to the last of this series on the Eucharist. By no means has it been a comprehensive and fully academic apologetic on this central doctrine, but by now any who have read it will see that this doctrine is not only historical but it is Biblical. There is much more that can be written within the words of the previous blogs, however, the best intent is to give so much and spur inside the one who reads it a desire to question, and therefore grow in their understanding of this amazing sacrament. We have covered the necessity of bread and wine being the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. We explored the institution of this meal by Jesus himself. We even took a nice trip into the Bible itself to read what the scriptures say, even to the point to introducing the entire Eucharist to the reader in a fun, enlightening way. Now we must turn to what might be the most fascinating part of the entire series. In this blog we will examine the typology involving the Eucharist and see how important the bread and the wine should be to the Christian. Finally, at the end we will have learned that Jesus is real and present in the Communion Meal and that this truly is not a mere symbol.
To begin our journey into typology it is important to know what this word means and in what context it shall be used for the remainder of this blog. According to Theopedia, “Biblical typology is a method of biblical interpretation whereby an element found in the Old Testament is seen to prefigure one found in the New Testament.” These elements can be people, places or things. In short, this type of interpretation shows that the New Testament is concealed in the Old, and the Old Testament is revealed in the New. Here we are going to follow a type of Biblical understanding as taught by Jesus on the road to Emmaus, and it was even shared by Paul, and many others. In fact, one could say the way that Jesus taught his disciples how to interpret the Torah, and the Prophets, would have been through typology.
We shall look first at the story in the Gospel of Luke called the Road to Emmaus. Here we find two of the followers of Jesus walking along the road, when Jesus, who has disguised his appearance from them, after listening to them for a while declares, “‘O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27). This is another one of those times that Jesus had to have been grinning, like he is playing with them, and admonishing them at the same time. When Jesus mentions Moses in this context he is and isn’t speaking of the man named Moses, but specifically the Torah. The prophets are the other books that are taught to the Jews of his day, namely from the Septuagint at this time.
In those days random people walking down the road did not have a book they could pull from under their cloak, open it up and read Scriptures. In the time of Christ the religious received their teachings orally and remembered the words taught to them from their youth (ref. 2 Tim 3:15). As the Torah was proclaimed every Sabbath during the services people would listen and memorize the words. Therefore it is no small chance that as Jesus began opening up the Scriptures it was not by book, but by rote, and he started from the first book, Bereshith so called Genesis. This first book of Moses would not simply be the best place to start, but the only place to start. For the mere fact that the Fall of Man would happen by the eating of a forbidden food, so too would the return state of grace for man happen by the eating of the real food which Jesus says is himself.
Jesus had to have told them about Melchizedek. We will pick up the story from Genesis ourselves. Looking to Chapter 14 verse 18 we read this one line, “And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High” (RSVCE). That is how we will read it, but imagine this being taught by the oral tradition of Jesus’ day. He would begin most likely with, “And remember when Abram defeated Chedorlaomer and the kings that followed him, how when Abram had come back to the place where his camp was, he joined with the King of Sodom. This was when the Priest King of God Most High named Melchizedek brought out bread and wine to offer…” Jews understood bread and wine as religious symbols well enough. They knew that these are represented as body and blood. That when the body is separated from the blood it means death.
Then it would not be much after that in which a great story unfolds, and that is the story of the Offering of Isaac. Abraham was getting along in his age, and his young son most likely in his mid to late teens, was carrying the wood up a mountain. The name of this place is called Mount Moriah and the landmark would become a special place. The teenager learned wisdom well, as he speaks and says, “Father here is the wood, and the fire, but where is the sacrifice?” Abraham answers, “The Lord will provide,” and most likely chokes back any kind of tears from his words. Isaac is laid upon the wood, and before the knife kills Isaac, an angel of the Lord stops the action. Low and behold there is a ram with his head by the horns caught in a thicket of thorns. According to scholars the horns of a ram symbolized kingship, and for the two on the road to Emmaus did they see the correlation? Did they see that this man walking beside them spoke of the king who was nailed to a cross, having had a crown of thorns placed on his head? Never mind the simple truth that this mount Moriah is Jerusalem. Perhaps of greater note is that the first occurrence of the word love is used here in the Scriptures, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love.” Perhaps here Abraham got a foretaste of the only Son of God, which would two thousand years later die instead. Either case for the two on the road to Emmaus things must be getting rather interesting by now.
Certainly as Jesus continued to unfold the scriptures he would have included the food their ancestors ate in the wilderness. That God sent bread from heaven called manna. Bread that fed them for many years as they journeyed. No doubt these followers would have heard the story about Jesus feeding the five thousand and afterwards how he had declared himself the manna from heaven. Also Jesus must have told them about the bread of the presence found in the tabernacle of Moses. That not only was bread set aside, but also there were flagons of wine sat before God in their place in the tent. More is to be covered in depth at a later date about the Manna and the Bread of the Presence, which many of the readers might actually have read as “showbread.”
They talked for a long time, there is no knowledge beyond the speculation that scholars or I have put forward as to the content of their conversation. One thing is certain, after they talked and convinced Jesus to stay, they went into a place, and he took bread and wine and blessed it. It was only then that he revealed himself to them. Then just like that, when their eyes were opened he vanished from their sight. We can say that this was not some mean act of ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ or some Houdini act. Jesus vanished from their sight, just as soon as he gave bread and wine. He left them a real answer to their question found in verse 29 of Luke 24, “But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them.” These followers of Jesus begged him to stay. Then showing these disciples that he is now present always with them in the Blessed Sacrament, his resurrected body need not remain on Earth.
Every Mass, when the bread and the wine is consecrated it becomes for us the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. The substance of bread and the substance of wine look in all purposes to our eyes like bread and wine. Jesus does not consubstantiate with the bread and wine, it becomes transubstantiated. He is present in the bread and the wine, just as he was present with the two on the road to Emmaus when their eyes were opened and they ate the Eucharist. It really is Jesus.
The next topic we will discuss will be on the Priesthood of Christ, and it will conclude why it is that a valid Eucharist cannot happen anywhere outside of an authentic Priesthood as established by Christ and the Apostles. Thank you for reading this series, and learning that the bread is to be of wheat, and that the wine is to be made of grapes. We covered that Jesus instituted this sacrament himself, and that to this day it is practiced with Authority in the true Church of Christ, namely the Roman Catholic Church.