Feasting upon Christ
By Dave Hunt
We have previously shown that conceptual ideas expressed in words are not physical. Those who doubt this fact must answer the following questions: How much does morality weigh? How does ethics feel to the touch? What is the taste of justice, the odor of holiness, the sound of honesty, the visible appearance of truth? Obviously, each of these words expresses a concept which has no physical qualities, is not describable in physical terms, and must therefore be nonphysical.
All thoughts, even of physical things, are nonphysical. This self-evident fact does not deny the reality of either the mental dimension or the material universe, but it clearly separates one from the other.
Psychics claim to be able to bridge this chasm and to transcend time. Hinduism and related forms of mysticism, such as Christian Science and other “mind sciences,” attempt either to create the physical with mental ideas and images or to deny objective reality with the claim that all existence is in the mind. Half-believing these lies, parapsychologists endeavor to establish a scientific link between the mental and physical and to discover how to manipulate the latter with the mind. We have dealt with such matters in Occult Invasion and will not do so here.
Since all thoughts are nonphysical, no thought could have a physical source. Therefore, thoughts and ideas do not originate with the brain, a physical organ. Undeniably, the mind is not physical—yet it has a mysterious connection to the brain which science cannot fathom.
Matter, including the brain, cannot think. Ideas must have an intelligent source which is distinct from the physical world. Nor can matter arrange itself into words and sentences expressing conceptual ideas.
Yet this is exactly what we find with DNA. There, stated in a precise language, encoded for decoding by certain protein molecules, is a complete manual of written instructions (imprinted on the single cell from which we each begin physical life) for constructing and operating each of trillions of individual cells and forming them into a body. Unquestionably, DNA was conceived of and put into process by an Intelligence far beyond the grasp of human minds.
DNA alone is sufficient to prove the eternal existence of God, the Creator of all. The theory of evolution is the desperate grasping at straws by those who “did not like to retain God in their knowledge” and whom He therefore “gave…over to a reprobate mind…” (Rom 1:28).
Inasmuch as thoughts are nonphysical, their intelligent source must also be non-physical. Certainly this is true of the Supreme Intelligence: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:24). Therefore, man, created in the “image of God” (Gen 1:26-27; Gen 9:6) with the capacity to conceive conceptual ideas and to communicate them in words to other intelligent beings, must be a nonphysical intelligence living in a physical body. No one can honestly deny this simple fact—a fact which, by the way, further reveals the lie of evolution. The human soul and spirit comprising man’s nonphysical intelligence and personality could never evolve from matter.
Thoughts have a spiritual source. We know that physical bodies grow old and eventually die and decay in the grave because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the law of entropy. There is no reason, however, to believe that the nonphysical person, who originated the thoughts and made the choices, ceases to exist when separated from the body by death. That thinking person who made his own moral decisions is logically, biblically and justly accountable to his Creator-God for every thought, word and deed—and one day will give that account and reap the consequences.
The soul and spirit—the cognitive person who was created “in the image of God”—is clearly not subject to physical laws, and therefore continues in conscious existence eternally. As Paul declared, “the [material] things which are seen are temporal; but the [nonmaterial] things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor 4:18).
William Law said it well nearly 300 years ago in The Power of the Spirit: “The time of man’s…grasping after positions among men or amusing himself with the foolish toys of this vain world can last no longer than he is able to eat and drink with the creatures of this world.” Far from being the end of human existence, however, death brings man before God in judgment: “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27). The Bible often declares that man continues to exist eternally, either in heaven or in hell. There are many warnings of eternal punishment (Ps 9:17; 55:15; 139:8; Prov 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 15:24; Isa 5:14; 14:9, 15; Eze 31:16-18; 32:27; Amos 9:2; Rev 20:13-15, etc.).
More than any other part of Scripture, the recorded words of Christ warn of the judgment and eternal punishment that follow death for those who persist in rebellion against God during their physical existence (Mat 5:22, 29,30; 10:28; 11:23; 18:7-9; 23:15, 33; 25:46; Mk 9:42-48; Lk 16:19-31, etc.). Likewise, Paul and the other apostles warned of eternal judgment and hell (2 Thes 1:9; James 3:6; 2 Pet 2:4; Rev 19:20; 20:10,14,15, etc.).
It is the nonphysical and eternal part of man, the soul and spirit, to which Scripture is addressed. By contrast, most of man’s efforts and attention are concerned with his temporary physical needs and pleasures. The physical so consumes human thought that spiritual truth is obscured by the sensual. And to this fact all of the world’s religions bear eloquent testimony!
Paganism is dominated by fetishes, idols, ornate altars, robes, candles, elaborate ceremonies, and repetitiously chanted secret formulas. All of these are part of a superstitious attempt to influence the nonphysical spirit world by physical means. It is clearly a continuance of the lie with which the Serpent deceived Eve: that through eating physical fruit she could gain spiritual blessings, including immortality and godhood (Gen 3:1-7).
That very delusion became the foundation of all false religions (including pseudo-Christianity). Israel also succumbed to this deception, worshiping the counterfeit gods of her idolatrous pagan neighbors in ornate temples containing extravagant altars set in sacred groves upon “high places” (Num 33:52; 1 Kings 3:2,3; 2 Kings 15:35; 2 Chro 33:19; Jer 3:2; 7:30-34; Eze 16:16-43; Amos 7:8,9, etc.), bringing God’s judgment (Lev 26:30-33, etc.). For example: “…king Ahaz…saw an altar…at Damascus: [and]…sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar…according to all the workmanship thereof. And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus….And when the king was come from Damascus, [he]…approached to the altar and offered thereon” (2 Kings 16:10-12).
Much of the professing “Christian church” of today continues to pursue the same abominations. Most obvious is Roman Catholicism, with its sacred instruments of worship made of precious metals mounted with jewels, its rich altars, statues, ornate cathedrals, priests presiding over elaborate rituals and dressed in luxurious vestments and outlandish hats—as though such temporal things merit God’s eternal favor. Physical symbols (bread and wine) were turned into Christ himself, with the delusion that ingesting them (Him?) into one’s stomach brings forgiveness and eternal life by installments.
Sacramentalism, both Catholic and Protestant, brushes aside the commonsense understanding of the inviolable separation between the physical and spiritual. Christ’s words are ignored, even defied: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (Jn 6:63). Instead, it is as though Christ actually said, “The flesh is the key. Physical religious objects are doorways to God’s power, and words have spiritual value only when used in the church’s rituals.”
One of the most miraculous provisions for Israel throughout its decades in the barren wilderness was the water that came from solid rock—a Rock which apparently was always at hand wherever they journeyed. Paul says, “they did all drink the same spiritual drink…of that spiritual Rock that followed them…” (1 Cor 10:4). Spiritual drink…spiritual rock…that followed them? Paul explains, “and that Rock was Christ.” Not that Christ was literally a rock, of course, but the rock and the water which miraculously flowed from it represented Christ and the spiritual water of life which He would provide through His redemptive work on the Cross.
Earnestly trying to turn His people’s attention from physical water for the body to spiritual drink for thirsting souls, God exhorted a rebellious Israel, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,….Seek ye the LORD while he may be found…” (Isa 55:1,6). In clear declaration of His deity, Christ claimed to be that spiritual water of eternal life, the spiritual Rock and the Lord of Israel himself: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly [inward being, soul and spirit] shall flow rivers of living water. (…[T]his spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive…)” (Jn 7:37-39). He repeatedly made it clear that spiritual eating and drinking is through believing in Him.
To the woman at the well Christ makes the same claim: “Whosoever drinketh of this [physical] water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the [spiritual] water that I shall give him shall never thirst…the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (Jn 4:13,14). Obviously, Christ did not offer to satisfy her physical thirst with physical water, but her spiritual thirst with the gift of eternal life, which she could only receive by faith in Him alone.
In His temptation by Satan in the wilderness, Christ quoted the words He had spoken to the Israelites through Moses: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Deut 8:3; Mat 4:4; Lk 4:4). The manna miraculously given to Israel throughout its wilderness journey, like water out of the Rock, was one more symbol of the spiritual provision they could receive by believing His words.
There is a clear distinction—yet at the same time an illuminating parallel—between physical bread which sustains the physical body and nonphysical words which sustain the soul and spirit. Christ often used something physical to illustrate a spiritual truth: “I am the light of the world” (Jn 8:12); “I am the door…the good shepherd…the vine, ye are the branches” (Jn 10:7-9, 14; 15:5, etc.). Never, however, did He suggest that the physical thing itself had any spiritual power. And that is the grave error of sacramentalism.
In presenting Himself as the fulfillment of Old Testament promises to Israel, Christ made the most powerful, yet often overlooked, declarations of His deity. A mob of hungry Jews, interested only in the healing of their bodies and the filling of their stomachs, wanted to “take him [Jesus] by force, to make him a king” (Jn 6:15). Seeking to turn them from the physical to the spiritual, Jesus claimed to be the One to whom the manna and water out of the Rock pointed: “[H]e that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst….Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead….I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (Jn 6:35, 48-51).
At this point, Catholicism makes its gravest error: transubstantiation. Insisting that Christ is not speaking spiritually but physically, Catholics boast that they take Him literally when He says, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you” (Jn 6:53). Thereby, Catholicism misses the “spirit, and…life” (v. 63) given to those who accept by faith the salvation He offers through His becoming a man and dying for our sins. Blind to the spiritual, it claims that its priests have the power to turn bread and wine into Christ’s physical body and blood—again and again. Instead of believing that Christ paid sin’s penalty in full by one sacrifice on the cross, they claim to perpetually sacrifice Him and to physically ingest His literal body and blood.
A similar mistake is made even by many who rightly deny the error of believing that the communion bread and cup are Christ’s physical body and blood. They imagine that there is spiritual power in the physical act of partaking of these elements. But Christ established this ordinance as an act of remembrance: “this do in remembrance of me” (Lk 22:19, 20; 1 Cor 11:24, 25).
The physical act itself has value only in pointing to the spiritual truth which it represents. For believing participants, it is a reminder to carefully and prayerfully consider again Christ’s sacrifice of himself for our sins on the cross. To unbelieving observers, it is a proclamation of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for their sins as well, though they have rejected Him: “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew [proclaim] the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor 11:26).
While the incarnation and Christ’s payment of the penalty for sin in order to redeem a Bride is a “great mystery” (Eph 5:32), it is revealed in ever deeper measure to those who feed upon Him through meditation upon the “Word of life” (Philippians 2:16; 1 Jn 1:1). How it must grieve our Lord that so many of us, redeemed at great price with His blood poured out at Calvary, have such a feeble appreciation of Him, the eternal Son of God “come in the flesh” (1 Jn 4:2,3; 2 Jn 7). This is why our worship is so shallow, so inadequate, in expressing His eternal pre-incarnate majesty as God, the infinite love manifest in his incarnation and sacrifice for sin, and the glory to which He has ascended and where He will one day receive us in His likeness.
Failure to feast continually upon Him is the reason that our lives reflect so little of Christ “who is our life” (Col 3:4). May we believe and rejoice in His promise: “[W]hosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely” (Rev 22:17). And with deepening understanding and increasing love for Him, may we help others to experience the joy and abundance of the life there is in Christ for those who feast upon “the bread of life.” TBC