What real presence views are in line with OT

Is it true that in OT, one could not eat or drink the blood of their sacrifice ? God’s law prohibited this in order to maintain the distinction between the Israelites and the pagans. Pagans ate and drank the meat and blood of their sacrifices as a means of incorporating their gods into their bodies and into their lives. Yes the priest could partake but not anyone else. Is this partly why the Lord chose bread and wine as new covenant symbols and how does this lend to the apostles and to us the understanding of our remembrance ?

But everyone partook of the passover lamb, the most expressive figure of Christ.

Rabbi Tovia Singer, an expert Jewish apologist, points out that the Paschal Lamb of Exodus, which is so often likened to a foreshadowing of Jesus, is in fact symbolic of a revered Egyptian god that predated Exodus.Therefore Jews were forbidden to slaughter the holy lamb and smear its blood on their doorposts during Passover. The fact that Jews did this anyway reveals that they feared only G-d. According to Jewish teaching, it is not the blood of the Paschal Lamb that absolves from sin, but rather the use of the lamb during Passover, including its ingestion, is an act of defiance against the Hebrews’ oppressors as well as a sign of complete faithfulness in G-d’s protection.

Interesting. I’m not familiar with this particular claim about an Egyptian deity, but offhand I would say the two are not incompatible: it could have been both an act of defiance against paganism / faith in God’s protection, and also a foreshadowing of the Messiah.

In my tradition, the participation the OT passover was a participation in the Lord’s Supper, only the institution of it and its pointing more clearly to Christ is made manifest at the Last Supper.

So in other words, those who participated in the Passover and understood by faith that the Lamb was their substitute (so that they did not incur the wrath of God) were indeed partakers of Christ at that meal, just as believers receive Christ in the Lord’s Supper. Christ’s presence with us is covenantal and by the Holy Spirit.

This covenantal view of Passover and Supper harmonizes the OT and NT, whereas other views of the sacrament drive a wedge between the two.

But did they drink the blood? I was under the impression that the Jews were forbidden to drink any blood?

Never. That’s why the Jews were so horrified when Jesus commanded us to drink His Precious Blood.

I agree. So how can we defend what Jesus said was literal when I have heard protestants say that Jesus would never have spoken against the ‘law’ or Torah. Thus, he couldn’t have meant it literally? Thanks.


I would point out two things:

  1. Figures are just that; they do not correspond exactly to their fulfillment.

  2. The old ceremonial law, which includes the dietary laws, was abrogated. Thus the vision to St. Peter; thus the condemnation of the Judaizers. If it were not so, we would still be worshiping on Saturday.

I understand what you are saying, but the argument that was given to me was about while Jesus was still on this earth. It would be before ‘Christianity’ which developed after Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus was a practicing Jew. So the question remains to me as would Jesus have said or done anything against the Jewish law while He was on this earth? Are there any other examples where Jesus said or did something against the Jewish law? I’m not talking about Jewish tradition, that’s a different matter! We know Jesus did many things that weren’t in line with tradition.

I’m just trying to come up with an answer to my friends (protestant) questions. Thanks!


My take is that real presence in the bread and wine, as suggested by Catholic transsubstantiation, has no figuring or foreshadow in OT. A symbolic or possibly a spiritual presence is. The idea of eating Godly flesh is first found in paganism. Having said that I do not deny that sometimes Satan can mimic Godly ways and even practices but then that would also require that he have foreknowledge and of that I am not sure. For sure God told him of some things to come like his judgement and his crushing but not sure he was told of future “eucharisting”. So it is problematic that Satan mimicked a future rite. Then we are left with the question is this something totally new to God’s program (Transubstantiation) or is it a worldly influence on Christian definition of real presence and communion .

Goood question. Has come up before and I forget the rebuttal answer. How about this, how would you answer those that would say it apparently is against tradition and law (eating flesh and blood), and that is why many of His disciples left him just after the "you must eat me "discourse (John 6) ? What possible interpretation of the discourse was a “hard saying” if not this literal eating ?

benhur, to drink the blood of a man would have been a hard saying even without the ceremonial prohibition against consuming blood.

As to your take on the real presence, I reply that the fulfillment is always greater than the figure. If the Eucharist were a mere symbol, it would be no fulfillment at all, but a continuation of the Old Law.

Side note: Your screen name must be a reference to the story by Lew Wallace. The 1959 film with Charleton Heston is still inspiring, if somewhat dated.

That’s precisely the point. Catholics are called to consume the Eucharist because believing in Jesus is not enough. We must also partake in the Pascal meal; namely Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. - John 6:53

Wouldn’t it be a sin to tell someone to do something that was against the law? I’m struggling here…

51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” 59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

The Words of Eternal Life
60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” 61 But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65 And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”

66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.

Sorry for the large chunk of text but I’ve always thought this passage incredibly clear. This was one of the first doctrinal differences I discovered in my Baptists days and it still rings true to me now.

He made what were offensive statements, regarding the consumption of eating his flesh and drinking his blood, to his disciples and never backed off of them. He took it to the point where many of his disciples abandoned him and he even questioned the Apostles whether they would leave too. That makes me think he wasn’t willing to back off one single inch.

Jesus preached love. In my mind, if what he said wasn’t meant to be taken literally, then it was cruel to use words that would drive others away from him. It was a hard teaching and that’s why many left. If it was just a symbol, wouldn’t the Christ that preached love and gave himself in love have said, “Wait, don’t leave, It’s just a symbol”, or something to that extent?

If it was just a symbol, then why would Saint Paul have warned against consuming it unworthily? Some of the teachings of Catholicism that many converts have difficulty accepting, came easily to me. This was one of those. Even as a Baptist, I didn’t think it was meant to be a symbol.

One always struggles in straddling a fence. Either this is a new law (hence the thread topic, that it is apart from OT) or what he said is deeper than straight literalism ( or apart from it and hence not contrary to the law).

Yes, I improperly stated a “Godly” sacrifice. The topic is of eating a sacrifices (animal) in hopes of benefiting from the god it was sacrificed to, to incorporate the god’s essence/spirit/power. This is and was pagan. Judaism was to be different. The sacrifice was partly for appeasement, or honor or thanksgiving . The sacrifice did not make you God-like, but did reconcile you to Him. The Romans were abhorred because of the human Christian sacrifice and the eating thereof implied. Martyr repels the idea of cannibalism not by saying the bread and wine only appear as such but are really the Body and blood of the Lord, but says they are still “food” -bread and wine. His Real Presence was a spiritual one and not literal, thus avoiding appearance of cannibalism. He strongly suggests it is a thanksgiving, over and over again, and not a sacrifice. Martyr while not espousing pure symbolism does not espouse transubstantiation of 1200 AD either

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