Saturday, September 30, 2006

Drinking of the Fruit of the Vine in the Kingdom of the Cross

Thoughts lately have been coming back to conversations as of late between Orthodox and Protestants (of which I have been a part of or to which I have listened) regarding both the Eucharist, and the millenial kingdom of the Lord...

It's often said by Protestants that the Lord Jesus claimed, after sharing the first Eucharist with His apostles, that He would not drink of "this" fruit of the vine until He was in His Father's Kingdom.

This having been stated, the Protestants often say, we can conclude that:
  1. That which was in the cup was clearly not His Blood, as He seemed to call it "the fruit of the vine," and
  2. As He did not drink wine but "vinegar" on the Cross, the Kingdom of His Father is yet to come, and will come at the end of the age of the Gentiles as prophesied in Revelation.
However:

Aside from the fact that St. Luke's account places the statement before the Eucharist (thus adding support to our belief that the contents of the cup were Blood and not wine), the liquid that Christ drank on the Cross was not vinegar as we know it, but actually a sour wine--the fruit of the vine.

Proof of this can be seen by paralleling the Sacrifice of our Paschal Lamb with the type and shadow of the sacrifices of lambs by high priests in Passovers past: At the appointed time, the High Priest would say “I thirst” and drink a cup of sour wine. Then he would say, “It is finished” as he killed the lamb. The lamb was then placed in the oven before sundown with all of its bones intact. Our Lord fulfilled this perfectly, for not only did He, as our High Priest, utter "I thirst" at the right moment, but He also drank the fruit of the vine on the Cross. And since He said He would not do so again until He did so in the Kingdom, it is clear that the so-called "millenial" Kingdom of the Father ("1,000 years" or "millenium" is simply apocalyptic language for "a really long time that has an eventual end") has come! The Kingdom of Heaven is now!

18 comments:

s-p said...

Wow... do you have a reference for the High Priest sacrificial scenario. In 38 years of reading I'd never heard that. Is it possible that it is "protestant apologetical urban legend"? It sure sounds cool... I hope it is true.
s-p, the eternal skeptic

David Bryan said...

Ah, I've been called on the carpet! Certainly possible, I'm afraid, as the information is hearsay. The citation came from a Protestant, actually, who is very well-read in the modern Messianic Jewish movements and the Second Temple period. Any actual references would be appreciated; I'm open to correction if this is wrong...

Regardless, it's clear that Christ drank the "fruit of the vine"--albeit soured grapes--on the Cross, thus ushering in the Kingdom of God and the millenial age of the Church; most translations of John 19:28-30 translate οξος as "bad wine," "cheap wine," "wine vinegar," or "sour wine," not just "vinegar."

Rhology said...

Ironically, this post comes on the heels of a Sunday morning service where I learned that the Prot word "Communion" actually comes right outta the biblical text. Ironic, really.
And it wasn't even at my home church, which takes the Lord's Supper about once a quarter, whether they need to or not. ;-)

Mimi said...

Yesterday, my Orthodox raised (but not not actively communicating) son asked me why Communion is bread and wine and not fish and wine.

It was quite an erudite question, for which my answer was probably not sufficient.

Thank you for your comments on this David Bryan.

Byzantine Dixie said...

It seems as if the asacramental Protestants are making the same mistakes in understanding the Scriptures as the Jews did (who waited for a Messiah who would secure a worldly kingdom for them)...taking things literally as bound by the limits of their own understandings.

That whole element of the liturgy not being bound in time but actually transcending time...the Kingdom being now...isn't part of their theology and therefore it isn't the lens through which they read the Scriptures. Or vise versa.

Only the splendor of the Liturgy could clothe such an incredible Gift.

lex orandi, lex credendi

s-p said...

I agree that the "sour wine" passage in itself is enough of a witness. The rest is icing on the cake if it is true.
I'm just a perennial skeptic of apologetical material from ANYONE, not just protestants. I cringe when I see stuff like "the lost day in time found by NASA" goes around for the umpteenth time by well meaning folks. I guess "PRIMARY SOURCES!!!!!" in my grad work poisoned me on hearsay and second hand information. sigh....

Rhology said...

S-p,

Primary sources? Like the Scriptures?
Ad fontes and all that... ;-)

s-p said...

Ah... good one Rhology! Actually, if I may wax theological on the point you made kinda tongue in cheek: The Orthodox understanding of the "validity of the witness of Scripture" is actually different than the protestant take on it. The Protestant would say it is reliable as a primary source due to the character of the writers, the veracity of the historical data, the provability of the eyewitness accounts, etc. etc. The Orthodox would say it is reliable because what the Apostles said works. The Scriptures are a witness to the life in Christ that results in the transformation of the human being. What "proves" the Bible is the experience of the saints who live the apostolically passed on life that they experienced as they walked with Christ and were transformed by Him. The Bible is "hearsay" until one LIVES it, not necessarily investigates its objective factual data as definable as permissible in court as "true".

Rhology said...

Interesting, s-p...

This bolsters my impression of EO-xy as much more subjective than Ev-ism.
David Bryan and I have had discussions in the past over the question of authority, and what you have said here makes it sound even more like: "Eastern Orthodoxy. We're the True Church Because We Say So." ™
For you, the Scriptures are worth reading and following b/c they "work", which is very fundamentally pragmatic.
For the student of the Scr, they are worthy precisely b/c they are "God-breathed" (2 Tim 3:16), God speaking (Matt 22:31), and cannot be broken (Jn 10:35), among other things. They are the final authority precisely b/c they are direct from God.
Since the Scr cannot be broken, I fail to see how, even if ALL refused to follow, it would be "hearsay" or bereft of worth, as you seem to imply.
"Let God be true, and every man a liar" (Rom 3:4).

Truth,
ALAN

David Bryan said...

Hmmm...

Seems y'all're talking past each other a bit, imo...

While one shouldn't discount the subjective, experiential aspect underlying the Orthodox veneration of Scripture, neither should one underestimate the same aspect inherent within much of Evangelicalism, as well. It's often said by prominent Evangelicals that the Scriptures, being the breath of God, contain the power to change the life of the reader--indeed, Rhology has himself attested to this metaphysical aspect of the divine Scriptures--and this is, in and of itself a proof of the Scriptures’ authenticity to which the Christian can point.

But Evangelicals and Orthodox alike need to acknowledge that this claim that the Scriptures hold the status of theopneustos--that they are God-breathed, God speaking, cannot be broken, and are direct from God--is not objectively, uniformly, and empirically provable, being a metaphysical claim, and, while this does not in and of itself disprove the Christians’ claim, it certainly does pose a formidable obstacle to reasoning with a secularist and/or humanist.

Yet certainly the Evangelical--and, I would hasten to add, also the Orthodox--sells himself short if the experiential aspect to the Scriptures--the fact that they “work” in the lives of believers--is the only one mentioned. There is still historical evidence that is imminently provable and available in no small amount to which the Christian can avail himself. The New Testament documents can be traced back to the original, historical communities established by the apostles--indeed, to the pens of the apostles themselves--and this, truly, is not only compelling evidence for holding the New Testament gospels and epistles in high esteem, but also for establishing that they are, in fact, accurate examples of the teachings of the apostles of Christ.

This has little to do with the metaphysical plane, but it is an important historical aspect to and proof of the Scriptures’ authenticity, and one that guided the canonization process within the Church to no small degree; I think it’s therefore--along with the subjective, experiential aspect of its salvific power--a proof of reliability with which Christians of all confessions will most likely find themselves quite comfortable.

As usual, it's a "both/and" situation instead of "either/or," imo...

s-p said...

Hi Alan,
ummmm...not really. I think I may have talked past you a bit. I focussed mainly on the "pragmatics" of "provability in a court of law based on objective provable data" as a foundation of Evangelical apologetics regarding the veracity and reliability of Scripture. We BOTH agree it IS indeed authoritative an God breathed... no issue there. Your reasoning is welll...as unconvincing as you percieve "ours" to be: "The Bible is true because it says it is the Word of God and we know the word of God is true because the Bible says God's word is true". So that boils down to "The Bible is true because we say so because we believe the Bible", yes? Ultimately it is "subjective" to choose one "holy book" over many others like the Koran, Baghavita (sp?), Kabbalah, Book of Mormon, etc. To the unbeliever that is just as unpalatable as "We are the true church because we say so". So really, the bottom line is for the Orthodox, not faith in the Bible, but faith in God (which you would probably agree with), and the Bible would still be true whether no one or everyone followed it. But my statement still holds water: IF only ONE person on earth followed it, they would find it to be the word of God because it would result in that person's healing, which is a subjective experience but shared with millions who have done the same.
I hope that clarifies a bit.
peace
s-p

Rhology said...

Hope to get back to this a little later on, but a quick comment:

s-p,

What did I say that resembled, "The Bible is true because it says it is the Word of God and we know the word of God is true because the Bible says God's word is true," in any substantive way?
If you want me to provide a detailed apologetic for the Bible, just say so. :-) I assumed you would share my presupp (for the purpose of this convo) that the Bible has at least quite a lot of authority. If you re-read my comments in light of that, hopefully you'll better understand.

Peace,
ALAN

s-p said...

Hi Alan,
Nah, I don't need the apologetic... I got my BA in "Bible" so I've seen them all. :) Anyway, the part that resembled the remark was: "or the student of the Scr, they are worthy precisely b/c they are "God-breathed" (2 Tim 3:16), God speaking (Matt 22:31), and cannot be broken (Jn 10:35), among other things. They are the final authority precisely b/c they are direct from God.Since the Scr cannot be broken,..." You use the Bible to prove the Bible, or at least believe the verses because you assume the Bible is true, either way its circularity. Anyway, I don't think we disagree in any substantive way about the authority of the Scriptures or their usefulness etc. It really comes down to interpretation, IMO. Every Christian assumes the authority of the Bible but not every Christian comes up with the same interpretations nor do we understand HOW the Scriptures function in the life of the Church and the individual Christian in the same way.
peace,
s-p

Rhology said...

s-p,

--I don't need the apologetic... I got my BA in "Bible" so I've seen them all.
>>It's just that, given the quality of understanding of the position of Sola Scriptura expressed by Roman Catholics and EO-dox that I've seen, I am always quite suspicious. But if you say so, OK.

--Anyway, the part that resembled the remark was, etc...
>>And this is what makes me think you didn't catch what I was saying. *IF* you accept the Bible as authoritative (which you say you do), then these verses should mean sthg to you. Their meaning supports the point that I was making. That's why I said, "For the student of the Scr..." I didn't say, "for the unconverted..." (not necessarily including YOU in that category, I'm just contrasting).

--You use the Bible to prove the Bible
>>Only w/ those who I assume a priori accept its authority, as I assumed w/ you when I commented.

--I don't think we disagree in any substantive way about the authority of the Scriptures or their usefulness
>>Really? IMO, w/ respect, I think we do disagree very much.

--Every Christian assumes the authority of the Bible but not every Christian comes up with the same interpretations nor do we understand HOW the Scriptures function in the life of the Church and the individual Christian in the same way.
>>I've shared this w/ David Bryan before, but it bears repeating. Watch and be amazed ;-) as I replace the word "Bible" w/ "Tradition"...

---
Every Christian assumes the authority of Tradition but not every Christian comes up with the same interpretations nor do we understand HOW Tradition functions in the life of the Church and the individual Christian in the same way.
--/--
Point is that this argument is special pleading.

------
Anyway, just to pick up the slack regarding my possible misunderstanding of your "wax theological" comment...


--the Orthodox would say it is reliable because what the Apostles said works
>>That comment was what made me say what I said. Now, *IF* the meaning behind your words left the following unsaid, "...and they said it worked b/c they believed that God was inspiring them, speaking thru them in a unique way," then we're together on that. But I'm not sure that's exactly what you would say.

--What "proves" the Bible is the experience of the saints
>>Ah, this too. This was an unprovoked comment from you, not a response to me or anyone. I guess, if you were talking "'proving' as in a court of law" then I guess I follow you, but it's a weird thing to say. Human courts have significant limits, as I'm sure you'd agree, and the concept of "proof" is, at its base, fuzzy b/c of the inability of the depraved man to be fully objective.
That's what provoked my "let God be true..." citation - God swears by Himself in the Scripture; there is nothing greater by which to swear, no greater authority. "Proving" it in a court is irrelevant.

--Your reasoning is welll...as unconvincing as you percieve "ours" to be
>>OK. One foundational diff that springs to mind is that the Bible unquestioningly claims inspiration from God for itself. Holy Tradition does in some places (ie, some writings by certain people) and in other places defers self-consciously and explicitly to the higher authority of Scr. So, I don't see how my foundation is on any equal basis w/ yours.

--IF only ONE person on earth followed it, they would find it to be the word of God because it would result in that person's healing, which is a subjective experience but shared with millions who have done the same.
>>On that we agree 100%!


Peace,
ALAN

s-p said...

Hi Alan,
Aha...yes we were talking past each other at some points. I agree that if we assume the Bible to be true, then it is true. That is a different animal than using the Bible (or tradition for that matter) to prove its authority to an unbeliever. Agreed point. "Proof" is ultimately pretty much a useless concept when it comes to God and Christianity.
So...that said, I think the real issue is not the Bible per se, but tradition. We can both agree on the authority and objective God inspired truthfullness of the Bible itself, but where the rubber meets the road is in its interpretation and place in the Church. I think the EO's have a much clearer understanding of the functional intersection of Bible/Tradition and the life of the Church and a Christian than the EvP's do. Holy Tradition says the Bible is true. The Bible never says Holy Tradition is to be suspect or subsumed to itself. ISTM that either the Bible is part of Holy Tradition as it claims to be, or one can view the Bible as trumping Holy Tradition and leaves one without a hermeneutic and apostolic framework from which to interpret the Bible which was written out of the apostolic framework. Either we trust the Church as a God ordained body or we don't. The claims one makes for the inspiration of the Scriptures from the scriptures can also be applied to the Body of Christ from the scriptures, yes? Guided by the Holy Spirit, God ordained, Christ the head/sum, witness to the Truth, the medium through which the Gospel is preached to all, the fount of knowledge... etc. Check them out.

Rhology said...

Well summarised, s-p. You are a very articulate writer, more so than I.
I don't agree on some of your points, on others I do, but I think we got where we were going. ;-)

Peace,
ALAN

David Bryan said...

Very pleasant exchange, gentlemen. Good job.

s-p said...

Thank you. I thought so too. Kudos to Alan. I like his style.