The Expository Times. Article Menu. Download PDF. Cite Citation Tools. How to cite this article If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. Download Citation If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. Share Share. Recommend to a friend. Sharing links are not available for this article. I have read and accept the terms and conditions. Copy to clipboard. Request Permissions View permissions information for this article.
Article information. Article Information Volume: 5 issue: 2, page s : First Page. Sign Out. Email required Password required Remember me Forgotten your password? Need to activate? Institutional Access does not have access to this content. Open Athens. Purchase Content 24 hours online access to download content. Subscribe to this journal. Justin Martyr refers to the Eucharistic elements as being more than common bread and wine in that when they are consecrated they become the body and blood of Jesus. It is quite evident that this prophecy also alludes to the bread which our Christ gave us to offer in remembrance of the Body which He assumed for the sake of those who believe in Him, for whom He also suffered, and also to the cup which He taught us to offer in the Eucharist, in commemoration of His blood Thomas B.
So while he speaks of a change in the elements, it seems that the elements still remain, in essence, bread and wine. Like Justin, Irenaeus clearly believes the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus at consecration, but he also states that the elements are composed of two realities, one an earthly and one a heavenly or a spiritual.
And therefore he infers that the change he envisages is spiritual and that the presence of Christ is therefore spiritual. This thought is further amplified by Bethune-Baker:. At other times, in a different vein, Irenaeus could write of the spiritual character of the sacrifice offered in the Eucharist, which replaced for Christians the ancient offerings of the sanctuary.
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And for this reason the offering of the Eucharist is not fleshly but spiritual, and therein pure. For we offer to God the bread and the cup of blessing, giving thanks to him, that he bade the earth bring forth these fruits for our food.
And then, when we have finished the offering oblation , we invoke the Holy Spirit to proclaim this sacrifice, and the bread the body of Christ, and the cup the blood of Christ, in order that by partaking of these symbols we may obtain forgiveness of sins and eternal life. So then they who take part in these offerings in remembrance or in the memorial of the Lord do not follow after the ordinances of the Jews, but worshiping in spiritual fashion they shall be called sons of wisdom J.
Following Irenaeus we find that Tertullian speaks of the eucharist as being identified with the body and blood of Jesus and yet he expresses the concept of a sacramental though real presence. Tertullian, for example, when referring to the eucharistic elements uses terms such as figure, symbol and represent to express his concept of the eucharist. The following are his remarks:. Why are thy garments red, and thy raiment as his who cometh from the treading of the full wine press?
Tertullian over and over again speaks of the bread and wine as being symbols or figures which represent the body and blood of Christ.
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He very specifically states that these are not the literal body and blood of the Lord. The suggestion is that the symbols in some mysterious way became what they symbolized. But this argument simply does not hold for Tertullian uses the word in a number of places in which it means a symbolical representation without some mysterious meaning being attached.
In no way does he teach that there is some mysterious conversion of the elements into the body and blood of Christ. The following are his comments:. As with Justin and Irenaeus, Tertullian expresses the view that the eucharist is not common bread and wine but that there is to be a distinction maintained between the physical reality of bread and wine and the reality of the body and blood of Christ which the bread and wine represent. The flesh figuratively represents to us the Holy Spirit; for the flesh was created by Him.
The blood points out to us the Word, for as rich blood the Word has been infused into life; and the union of both is the Lord, the food of the babes — the Lord who is Spirit and Word.
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The food — that is, the Lord Jesus — that is, the Word of God, the Spirit made flesh, the heavenly flesh sanctified. For the bread of God is He that cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world. And the bread which I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
The Lord is all these, to give enjoyment to us who have believed on Him. For is it not figuratively represented as wine? So also the bread is the word of Christ made of that corn of wheat which falling into the ground yields much fruit. For not that visible bread which He held in His hands did God the Word call His body, but the word in the mystery of which that bread was to be broken.
Nor did He call that visible drink His blood, but the word in the mystery of which that drink was to be poured out. For what else can the body of God the Word, or His blood, be but the word which nourishes and the word which gladdens the heart? Because the bread is the word of righteousness, by eating which souls are nourished, while the drink is the word of the knowledge of Christ according to the mystery of His birth and passion Origen, Commentary on Matthew , Sermon Thus Clement and Origen express views which are consistent with Tertullian.
Philip Schaff gives these thoughts regarding the teachings of Clement and Origen:. The Alexandrians are here, as usual, decidedly spiritualistic. Clement twice expressly calls the wine a symbol or an alllegory of the blood of Christ, and says, that the communicant receives not the physical, but the spiritual blood, the life, of Christ, as indeed, the blood is the life of the body. Origen distinguishes still more definitely the earthly elements from the heavenly bread of life, and makes it the whole design of the supper to feed the soul with the divine word Opcit.
The writings of Cyprian also identify the elements with the body and blood of Christ but, like Tertullian, he sees the elements as representative of spiritual realities. He specifically states that water alone cannot represent the blood of Christ, implying that water mixed with wine does represent his blood Ep. It is not a literal reality but representative of it. And he argues that when Christ called the bread and wine his body and blood he was using such language to figuratively represent the Church Ep. He says that cup contains both water and wine which are representative of two different realities.
He says that just as water represents peoples in Scripture, so the wine represents the blood of Christ Ep. He says that just as in the Mystery of the eucharist the people of God are shown to be united, so in the wine the blood of Christ is also shown. He uses the same word to describe both realities demonstrating that the elements are a figurative representation of spiritual realities Ep.
It is clear, therefore, that Cyprian did not view the elements as being literally changed into the body and blood of Christ anymore than he believed that the water was changed into literal people. And yet, he does speak of drinking the blood of Christ. As time goes on we find two schools of thought about the eucharist developing side by side with one another. On the one hand one finds clearer and clearer descriptions of the eucharist as consisting of a transformation of the elements into the literal body and blood of Christ.
The literalist view is clearly represented in the writings of such fathers as Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory Nazianzen, Chrysostom and Ambrose. Cyril of Jerusalem is representative:. Since then He Himself has declared and said of the Bread, This is My body, who shall dare doubt any longer? And since He has affirmed and said, This is My blood, who shall ever hesitate, saying, that this is not His blood?
He once turned water into wine, in Cana of Galilee, at His own will, and is it incredible that He should have turned wine into blood?
Historians point out that these men use such terms as transformed, transelemented, converted, changed and transmuted when referring to the consecrated elements. And they speak in very literal and realistic terms of the reality of the elements becoming Christ himself. Gregory of Nyssa, for example, teaches that the eucharist is a perpetuation of the incarnation and Bethune-Baker mentions the following views held by Chrysostom:. For it is not man who makes the things which are set before us become the body and blood of Christ; but it is Christ himself, who was crucified for us. The priest stands fulfilling his part by uttering the appointed words, but the power and the grace are of God.
We this, for example in the teaching of Eusebius of Caesarea A. He identified the elements with the body and blood of Christ but, like Tertullian, saw the elements as being symbolical or representative of spiritual realities. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.