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The Metaphor of eating and drinking in John 6

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by The Biblicist, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist Well-Known Member
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    Nov 13, 2011
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    32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
    33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
    34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
    35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
    36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

    The demonstration of the unbelief of those Christ addressed is illustrated by demanding that he perform a miracle before them similar to Moses giving bread from heaven to Israel. Remember, Jesus has read their hearts and told them that they had come to him not by faith for eternal life, but for food. So food is still on their minds and they were attempting to manipulate Christ into providing literal food miraculously as he formerly did when feeding the 5000.

    In response to Roman Catholicism it is necessary here to distinguish between the bread that God gave from heaven during the time of Moses and the kind of life it perpetuated versus the kind of bread God had now sent from heaven and the kind of life it perpetuated. The former was physical bread that sustained temporal life while the latter is metaphorical for the Person of Christ and sustains eternal life.

    In verse 33 he first introduces that this bread the Father gives now "is he". In verse 35 he directly states "I am the bread of life." The wording here is the first in a series of similar claims by Christ in the book of John:

    1. "I am the light of the world" - Jn. 8:12
    2. "I am the door" - Jn. 10:9
    3. "I am the true vine" - Jn. 15:1

    The fact that Christ is neither literal "bread" or a literal "light" or a literal "door" or a literal "vine" demands he is speaking metaphorically or else we have complete nonsense.

    Furthermore, the proof he is speaking metaphorical is that he immediately explains precisely how eating and drinking him as food and water is to be understood:

    35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

    He first asserts the metaphor "I am the bread of life" and then he explains the metaphor "he that cometh to me shall never hunger" and thus eating of him is metaphorical of coming to him. However, it is not coming to him for any reason, as those reasons already given in the preceding context (for miracles, for power, for food), but "he the beleiveth on me" is the reason for coming to him. Hence, eating and drinking is how food is partaken of and brought within the physical body, and that metaphorically represents coming to him by faith for eternal life. This is the meaning as he immediately applies it negatively in the very next verse "But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not" meaning they metaphorically refused to eat or drink of him.

    This direct application of this metaphor as believing in him is repeated later in the context:

    47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth upon me hath everlasting life.
    48 I am that bread of life.

    Moreover, the very phrase that has been used consistently to describe the latter end of all those coming to Christ by faith is later attached to the metaphor of eating and drinking of him. First, note the repeated use of this final phrase with the act of coming to Christ by faith:

    1. John 6:37,39

    37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
    39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

    2. John 6:40

    40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

    3. John 6:44

    44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.Then this same phrase associated with believing in him is directly shown to be the same conclusion to those metaphorically eating and drinking of him:

    54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
    Furthermore, when Jesus comes to explaining the kind of language he intends for his disciples to understand when they murmur about eating and drinking of him he says:

    63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    The only "flesh" spoken of previous to verse 60 is his literal physical flesh that must be metaphorically be partaken of in order to have eternal life. Here he plainly says that eating of the literal "flesh profiteth nothing" as it is not eating of his literal flesh provides life, but it is the Spirit that provides eternal life and it is partaken of him by faith in "the words" he has spoken about himself. It is partaking of those words that "are spirit, and..life."

    Peter understood and the rest of the believing disciples understood this as it is reflected in Peter's response:

    67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
    68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
    69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

    Finally, the blood was still running in the veins when Christ spoke these words here and when he instituted the Lord's Supper later. Hence, there was no Lord's Supper available to partake of Christ as Rome claims. Neither at the institution of the Supper had the body and blood of Christ been sacrificed or given up. Therefore, at the institution of the only possible way to partake of his body and blood was metaphorical and symbolical.
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  2. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    May 14, 2001
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    Metaphors were greatly used in koine Greek especially in the NT and the Gospel of John as you pointed out.
    Also there were of course no cameras and the use of pictures.

    I have a picture in my wallet of my wife, children, etc.
    When I show it I say - "these are my children", "this is my wife", but they are paper and ink in substance obviously and not my made from but of my wife and children.

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  3. percho

    percho Well-Known Member
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    Dec 7, 2009
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    And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Gen 2:9

    Just who did Adam eat of. whose words did he hear? As God asked, "Who told thee that thou wast naked"?