Holy Communion

Question: What do “Transubstantiation” & “Consubstantiation” mean in Holy Communion?

What do “Transubstantiation” & “Consubstantiation” mean in Holy Communion?

Transubstantiation teaches that after giving thanks, the bread and grape wine transform materially into the physical body and blood of the Lord Jesus. Consubstantiation teaches that the physical body and blood coexist with the bread and the grape wine.

Why does your church not agree with “Transubstantiation” or “Consubstantiation”?

  • The bread and grape juice are the body and blood of the Lord after giving thanks. By eating and drinking the communion, we may receive the spiritual effects promised by God’s word. But the bread and juice have not changed materially.
  • The manna that the Israelites ate in the wilderness prefigures the true bread from heaven—the flesh of the Lord Jesus (Jn 6:31-33,49-51). According to Paul, the Israelites ate “spiritual food” and drank “spiritual drink” (1Cor 10:3-4). The prefiguration is applied in spiritual terms. Therefore during Holy Communion, we partake of the spiritual body and spiritual blood of the Lord.

The Lord Jesus said, “The Spirit gives life, flesh counts for nothing”(Jn 6:63). Here he elaborated on the previous passage (vv. 32-57), which his followers found difficult to accept (v. 60). In other words,the flesh and blood Jesus was referring to was flesh and blood in the spiritual rather than the material sense.

Other than “Transubstantiation”, there is also another view on Symbolism. Why does your church not agree with this view as well?

Symbolism teaches that the bread and cup only symbolize the flesh and blood of Jesus.

The Lord Jesus could not have given his flesh and blood to his disciples to eat and drink since he was not yet crucified when he gave thanks for the bread and cup.

So what does the bible say?

When the Lord Jesus instituted the Holy Communion, he did not say, “This symbolizes my body”; or “This symbolizes my blood”; rather, he said, “This is my body” and “This is my blood” (Mt 26:26, 28).  The Lord Jesus said, “for my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink” (Jn 6:55). During Holy Communion, the bread we eat is actually the Lord’s body and the cup we drink is actually the Lord’s blood. The body and blood, however, are not material but are spiritual.

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