Significance of "Your forefathers ate manna ... and they died"


In John 6, in foreshadowing the institution of the Eucharist, Jesus admonishes the people that he is the true bread from Heaven, and that they need to partake of his flesh and blood. He sets this up as the alternative, however, to the Israelites of the Exodus, who ate the manna from heaven “and died.” Temporarily slipping on my own ever-so-comfy personalized papal tiara, my interpretation of this passage is that Jesus is suggesting that the Israelites of the Exodus died despite eating the manna, but that anyone eating his flesh & drinking his blood would have everlasting life.

Question: If Jesus is referring to bodily death, then all those who would partake of the Eucharist would also die bodily. If Jesus is suggesting that their forefathers experienced a spiritual death, this isn’t true either, is it? So was there any significance to the statement that their forefathers ate the manna and [yet] still died?


Jesus used hyperbole and double entendre fairly often. On the surface this seems to be one of those instances.

My :twocents:



If you read the Psalms and Proverbs you will see many examples of such comparisons between the godly and the ungodly, the evil and the righteous, the night and the day, the yes and the no. This is a literary device for making a point–or rather driving it home.

Jesus, being a Jew, used the literary devices of his literary heritage in order to drive home his point between the “few and the many”, the “lost and the found”, the “sheep and the wolves”, the “wheat and the tares”, the “dead and the living”, etc.


Well, remember that the generation of Israelites to which Jesus was referring died in the wilderness because of their lack of faith, DESPITE eating the bread of heaven. They did not enter the Promised Land.

So could Jesus be comparing those who experienced God’s blessing, yet did not enter their inheritance due to lack of faith, to those who would eat of the True Bread in faith and live (enter their spiritual inheritance)?

This is not a rhetorical question. What do you think?


I think you should study the greek “brosis” and reevaluate the overall reading of John 6 with it’s meaning made known.
All this may make sense, that Christ was food for the soul (sts)
Not the cannibalistic view.


I think you need to examine the text more clearly, you are only drawing on one aspect of the text. In verse 35 Jesus is indeed speaking of Himself as the object of faith under the image of food and drink Jesus using food in a figurative sense to signify the nourishment received from doctrines, this was common in the Old Testament and therefore easily comprehended by His listeners.

Verse 48 begins the shift from figurative to literal when Jesus is speaking of “bread from heaven”, now He says He would give it, do you see the progression?

52 If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that** I WILL GIVE,** is my flesh, for the life of the world.

I do not think limiting the text to the figurative holds water as the distinction of “gift givers” signifies a distinction in gifts otherwise it would be silly to even make the distinction.

When Christ begins to speak literally about giving and consuming his body and blood He uses a much stronger verb meaning to munch or gnaw in order to emphasize this fact. It is also here where some of his followers leave him. My question to you is this: explain to me why this distinction is made in the text if Jesus wanted to drive home to fact that He is the spiritual bread from heaven?


You also lose on historical grounds, consider carefully why the Christians of the first few centuries were ruthlessly tortured and killed, it was the charge of cannibalism connected with the Lords Supper, please read this passage from Marcus Aurelius:

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was the Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and the instigator of the fourth persecution. Marcus Aurelius embraced the rigid system of the Stoics, which taught him to submit his body to his mind, his passions to his reason; to consider virtue as the only good, vice as the only evil, all things external as things indifferent. He despised the Christians as a philosopher, and punished them as a sovereign.

The hardships which the Christians had endured under the government of a virtuous prince immediately ceased on the accession of a tyrant (Commodus). The great Stoic chose as his successor his son Commodus who had no talent for anything except chariot racing and gladiatorial combats. He was assassinated in 193. Probably one of the wisest and most benevolent ruler of all time but persecutions under Marcus Aurelius extend throughout his reign. They were fierce and deliberate. Cruel torture broke out in all parts of the empire.
Cruelties were such that many of the spectators shuddered with horror at the sight After suffering the most excruciating tortures that could be devised, they were destroyed by the most terrible deaths, scourged, pressed to death with weights, brains dashed out with clubs, beheaded. Blandina, on the day when she and the three other champions were first brought into the amphitheater, she was suspended on a piece of wood fixed in the ground, and exposed as food for the wild beasts; at which time by her earnest prayers encouraged others. But none of the wild beasts would touch her, so that she was remanded to prison. At length she was slain with the sword.

As a propitiation to the gods, Marcus Aurelius compelled criminals sentenced to death to slaughter each other in the amphitheater… Christians who refuse to take part in such practices, appeared to Marcus as obstinate fanatics, dangerous to the public security. A wave of persecution struck the churches of Lyons and nearby Vienne in southern France in 177. Mobs accused the Christians of incest and cannibalism. Christians did not admit non-Christians to the Lord’s supper and the charge of cannibalism arose from hearing that they ate someone’s flesh and blood. When the Christians, upon these occasions, received martyrdom they were ornamented, and crowned with garlands of flowers; for which they, in heaven, received eternal crowns of glory.
The great age of the Pax Romana ended with the death of Aurelius in 180. As Tertullian said, “The blood of the martyrs are seed.” Marcus Aurelius heartily disliked Christians, possibly because he thought of them as undermining the structure of civilization which he was laboring to maintain against domestic and foreign threats. He was a rather severe persecutor. This persecution also spread to Gaul, and the blood of Christians reddened the water of the river Rhone. Commodus (180-92) carried out the policies of his father.
[01, 03, 86, 07, 18, 22, 23, 26, 68]


“The cannibalistic view”?

:rotfl: :banghead: :rotfl:


Yup, the Christians of the first few centuries were accused of cannibalism, why? The took the Lords Supper literally not symbolically. Yes, those foolish Christians really believed they were eating the very Body and Blood of Jesus, so much they were willing to die horrible deaths! It’s very easy to understand actually so I’m perplexed why this would cause you to bang your head against a wall:confused:


Sorry, I was responding to Post 5. I was laughing and banging my head simultaneously because I can’t believe after all this time and all the explanations that someone would still think belief in the Real Presence entailed “cannibalism.” :shrug:


:slight_smile: sorry!


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