|Volume 23 Number 11 November 2021
“Why do we use unleavened bread and grape juice when we partake of the Lord’s Supper?” someone inquired. A good place to begin regarding anything religiously we teach or do is first to ascertain what is divinely authorized. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17 NKJV). “In the name of” is equivalent to “by the authority of.” Then, forasmuch as Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15; 12:24), we must turn to the New Testament for information about all things today that have a religious significance, including how Christians observe the Lord’s Supper.
Our Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper immediately after concluding His participation in the Passover meal (Luke 22:20). When Jehovah instituted the first Passover meal about 1,500 years earlier, He specifically stated that Israel was to eat unleavened bread (Exodus 12:8), and additionally, God required that leaven be removed from the houses (Exodus 12:15). Furthermore, the Passover was also called the Feast of the Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:17; 23:15). The Israelites were forbidden to eat leavened bread for seven days in total relative to the Passover or the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:15; Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 28:17). Therefore, when our Lord instituted the Communion (1 Corinthians 10:16) or Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:20), the only bread available at that time and place was unleavened bread (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 14:14-20). Hence, the churches of or belonging to Christ (Romans 16:16) follow Christ’s example and use unleavened bread when observing the communion or the Lord’s Supper. Christ’s example in this regard authorizes the use of unleavened bread, and no other biblical declaration or example authorizes anything in addition to or in place of unleavened bread in the Lord’s Supper.
“The fruit of the vine” refers to grapes. “Grapes, often called ‘the fruit of the vine’ (Matt 26:29), have always been a much-prized article of food in the Orient” (ISBE). The word “fruit” in Matthew 26:29, Mark 14:25 and Luke 22:18 means “offspring” or “produce.” Therefore, Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) of the Bible reads “produce of the vine” (Matthew 26:29). The offspring or the produce of the “grapevine” (James 3:12, same Greek word that appears in Matthew 26:29, Mark 14:25 and Luke 22:18) can only refer to the grape in some form. Since one can neither drink a grape nor a dehydrated grape – a raisin – the simplest offspring or produce of the grapevine is grape juice. “Unfermented wine is the only true natural ‘fruit of the vine’…” (Blake).
Also consider this. Leaven is comparable to yeast that we more often use today, for instance, to make bread rise. Therefore, resorting to unleavened bread for the Lord’s Supper, Christians avoid bread with yeast in it. Yeast, though, in grape juice produces alcoholic wine. Then, on the same basis of excluding leaven or yeast in the bread for the Lord’s Supper, it is appropriate to exclude alcoholic wine from use for the Lord’s Supper because of the yeast associated with its fermentation.
As stated in the passages relative to the institution of the Lord’s Supper, the bread represents or illustrates the bodily sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. Likewise, the fruit of the vine, particularly with its dark crimson hue, reminds partakers in Communion of the saving blood of Christ that was shed on our behalf to forgive our sins (Revelation 1:5). Unleavened bread and grape juice serve as an adequate memorial of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made of Himself for mankind. We cannot go wrong by using unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine – in their purest and simplest forms – while partaking each Lord’s Day (Acts 20:7) of this commemoration of the death of the Son of God.
Blake, Paul W. “Don’t Be Misled by the Word ‘Wine.’” The Laconia Daily Sun. 12 Jun 2015. 28 Oct 21. <https://www.laconiadailysun.com/opinion/letters/dont-be-misled-by-the-word-wine/article_005c5366-c884-5a06-8064-f5385ac0c246.html>.
International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (ISBE). Electronic Database. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2006.
With Which Church Should I Worship?
The desire to worship appears to be an innate quality in every people historically throughout the world. Misguided souls have worshipped the heavenly bodies, trees, rocks, carved or forged idols, dead ancestors, kings and even Satan. People, today, still worship in the same way, as well as worship differently from each other the true God of the universe. It, therefore, is a fair question, “With which church should I worship?”
Happily, the one making the inquiry isn’t worshipping the sun, the moon, rocks, trees, his or her ancestors, rulers or even Satan. Neither has the person posing the foregoing question been misled by other world religions outside of Christianity. Yet, no doubt the existence of thousands of denominations worldwide presents a nearly incomprehensible challenge to find the church of the Bible – rather than a manmade knockoff.
Only the church of the Bible – the New Testament – will do, for it is the only church for which Jesus Christ died (1 Corinthians 15:3), over which He is the Head (Colossians 1:18) and for which He will return someday to retrieve (John 14:3). Any church that wears names for itself and for its members that are not in the New Testament is not the church of the Bible. For instance, churches named after people or human doctrines are different from the church of the Bible. Biblical names for the church of the Bible include “the churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16) and “the church of God” (1 Corinthians 1:2), and names for its members include “Christians” (Acts 11:26) and “disciples” (Acts 6:1; 20:7).
Any church founded after A.D. 33 and somewhere other than in Jerusalem (Acts 2:47) is not the church of the Bible. That eliminates every church except the church of the Bible, because the next established after the church of the Bible dates to about 600 years later in Rome.
Any church that is not comprised of independent, self-governing congregations is not the church of the Bible (Acts 14:23). Any church that has added to, subtracted from or altered the five activities of Christian worship is not the church of the Bible. One can discern from the New Testament that, in no particular order or importance, Christian worship consists of teaching or preaching (Acts 20:7), freewill giving (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), praying (1 Corinthians 14:15), singing (Ephesians 5:19) and the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
These are some of the characteristics of the church of the Bible. It is pointless to worship apart from the church of the Bible. The churches of Christ (church of Christ) have no earthly headquarters but are connected to each other by a common regard for the wholly inspired Word of God. Members have fellowship with God and with every other Christian who also has fellowship with God (1 John 1:3). Please visit the church of Christ in or near your community.