'Replies from Roman Catholics'

Ben Padilla - apologetics - 39

16th May, 2005

(Continued from page 312)

Manna in the wilderness and Jesus - 'The Bread of Heaven'

Jesus made the simple, unequivocal assertion (
v48-51): 'I am the bread of life.'  The contrast with all physical bread, particularly the manna given their fathers in the wilderness, is sharply drawn. Jesus says they ate that bread - and are dead.  But Jesus is 'the bread' which comes down from heaven.  His coming is once for all.  The Incarnation will not be repeated!  Yet He continues to come to His disciples!  Remember, in John Chapters14-17, He makes these promises to His true disciples:

[14:18] 'I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you. [19] 'After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. [20] 'In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. [21] 'He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.' [22] Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, 'Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?' [23] Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. [24] 'He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me. [25] 'These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. [26] 'But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. [27] 'Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. [28] 'You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. [29] 'Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. [30] 'I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; [31] but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.

[15:1] 'I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. [2] '
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. [3] 'You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. [4] 'Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. [5] 'I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. [6] 'If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. [7] 'If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. [8] 'My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. [9] 'Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. [10] 'If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. [11] 'These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. [12] 'This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. [13] 'Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. [14] 'You are My friends if you do what I command you. [15] 'No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. [16] 'You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. [17] 'This I command you, that you love one another. [18] 'If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. [19] 'If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. [20] 'Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. [21] 'But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. [22] 'If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. [23] 'He who hates Me hates My Father also. [24] 'If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. [25] 'But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, 'They hated Me without a cause.' [26] 'When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, [27] and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

'These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. [2] 'They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. [3] 'These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. [4] 'But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.  [5] 'But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?' [6] 'But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. [7] 'But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. [8] 'And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; [9] concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; [10] and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; [11] and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. [12] 'I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. [13] 'But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. [14] 'He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. [15] 'All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. [16] 'A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.' [17] Some of His disciples then said to one another, 'What is this thing He is telling us, 'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me'; and, 'because I go to the Father'?' [18] So they were saying, 'What is this that He says, 'A little while'? We do not know what He is talking about.' [19] Jesus knew that they wished to question Him, and He said to them, 'Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, 'A little while, and you will not see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me'? [20] 'Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy. [21] 'Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. [22] 'Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. [23] 'In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. [24] 'Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. [25] 'These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. [26] 'In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; [27] for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. [28] 'I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.'  [29] His disciples said, 'Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. [30] 'Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.' [31] Jesus answered them, 'Do you now believe? [32] 'Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. [33] 'These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.'

[John 17:1] Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, 'Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, [2] even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. [3]
'This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. [4] 'I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. [5] 'Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. [6] 'I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. [7] 'Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; [8] for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. [9] 'I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; [10] and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. [11] 'I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.  [12] 'While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. [13] 'But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. [14] 'I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [15] 'I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.  [16] 'They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [17] 'Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. [18] 'As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. [19] 'For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.  [20] 'I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; [21] that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. [22] 'The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; [23] I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. [24] 'Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.  [25] 'O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; [26] and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.' [New American Standard Bible (Updated Edition); (c) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995]

In what way will Jesus continue to '
come' to His disciples, and how can they 'abide in Him'?  And why doesn't the Papal Roman Catholic Church follow His instructions?   Jesus makes it clear that whoever 'eats of this bread' will not die.  He states it negatively at first, contrasting it with the physical bread. Then, as is so often done in this Gospel, it is stated positively, 'He will live forever.'

But how do we eat this bread?  By the reality of the intimate, personal, trusting act of eating the bread of life.  As Nicodemus was invited to be born again by 'water and Spirit' and the woman at the well urged to quench her thirst by drawing and drinking 'living water,' these people were invited to eat of this 'bread of life.'  If you are going to doubt that Jesus gave the unbelieving people who heard His words concerning the 'bread of life' - and all others who hear with the same lack of faith/scepticism/cynicism etc. - shouldn't we take the same attitude to those who refuse to be 'born again' and drink 'living water'?

v51-66: 'The bread that I will give is my own, and I give it for the life of the world …. Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life in you'.  This  reference back to the sacrificial system of the Old Testament also looks forward to the atonement in the future. When a sacrifice was made only part of the animal was consumed by fire. Part of it was given to the priests and part to the worshippers who brought it. The worshippers ate it with their family or friends. This in itself was an act of confidence that God was present and accepted the gift - but the ingested sacrifice had only temporal value. Jesus took the Passover meal and related it to the Paschal sacrifice and then to Himself - but repeatedly pointed out the Eternality of His sacrifice.

Regarding your question:   'That specific Jewish metaphor, back in the period of time in Biblical history, bascially meant to 'disrespect someone'. So if the Jews thought, that He was indeed speaking symobolically,, what they would have heard is, 'You are to disrespect Me to have eternal life'. ... 'why, He would use such a degrading disrepectful metaphor, when He was reffing to Himself?'

In verse 51 Jesus made the offensive claim: the bread these Jews are invited to eat is His flesh, which He shall give for the life of the world.  While finding no evidence to support your view that this was a 'degrading disrepectful metaphor' (we would be interested in your source for this claim), as we have seen, there is no reason to presume that 'flesh' would have seemed a lowly, vulgar word, to their ears.  How can the life of God be given through flesh?  The present tense of
trogo ('to gnaw' or 'chew') refers to a progressive action that applies to the maintenance of a continuing state.  But Jesus made the relationship that this 'eating' would make very clear in these verses:

51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.'JN 6:52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?'  JN 6:53 Jesus said to them, 'I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.'

Another problem in claiming a literal meaning for 'transubstantiation'!

If Roman Catholics are going to try and teach 'transubstantiation' they will have to explain how eating Jesus' '
flesh' and drinking His 'blood' will cause the believer to 'remain' in Jesus - if a literal meaning is necessary then we could say that Jesus will be 'in' the believer, but there is no literal reason for the believer to be in 'Him' - for He has not eaten or drunk us!

Clearly the Jews set the precedent for the un-Spiritual Papal Catholics and they were still thinking in terms of literal, physical bread and
flesh. Their thoughts were unable to rise above the things of this life. They did not realize that the Lord Jesus was using physical things to teach spiritual truths. And so they asked among themselves how this mere Man could possibly give His flesh to be eaten by others.  Just as a parachute opens only after you jump out of a plane (hopefully!), faith precedes sight and prepares your soul to understand, your heart to believe, your will to obey. All our questions of 'How?' are answered by yielding to the authority of Christ, as Paul did when he cried, 'Lord, what do You want me to do?'

This is a major part of the evidence supporting the orthodox Christian view of the sacrament of the bread and wine: Jesus (
6:53), knowing all things, realized exactly what they were thinking and saying. And so He warned them solemnly that if they did not eat His flesh and drink His blood, they would have no life in them.  Logically, this cannot refer to the bread and the wine used at the Lord's Supper. When the Lord instituted His Supper, on the night in which He was betrayed, his body had not yet been broken and His blood had not yet been shed.  The disciples partook of the bread and the wine, but they did not literally eat His flesh and drink His blood. The Lord Jesus was simply stating that unless we appropriate to ourselves by faith the value of His death for us on Calvary, we can never be saved. We must believe on Him, receive Him, trust Him, and make Him our very own.

By comparing verse 54 with verse 47, it can be definitely shown that to eat His flesh and to drink His blood means to believe on Him. In verse 47 we read that 'He who believes in Me has everlasting life.' In verse 54, we learn that
whoever eats His flesh and drinks His blood has eternal life. Now things equal to the same thing are equal to each other. To eat His flesh and to drink His blood is to believe on Him. All who believe on Him will be raised up at the last day. This refers, of course, to the bodies of those who have died trusting in the Lord Jesus.

flesh of the Lord Jesus (6:55) is food indeed, and His blood is drink indeed.  Unlike the food and drink of this world, which is only of temporary value, our Lord is making the point that the value of His death is never-ending. Those who partake of Him by faith receive eternal life.   A very close union (6:56) exists between Himself and those who are believers in Him. Whoever eats His flesh and drinks His blood abides in Him, and He abides in that person. Nothing could be closer or more intimate than this. When we eat literal food, we take it into our very being - it becomes a part of us. When we accept the Lord Jesus as our Redeemer, He comes into our lives to abide, and we, too, abide (continually dwell) in Him.

'Transubstantiation' contradicts Scriptural warning against cannibalism!

If Jesus had meant, in any way at all, that His disciples were to literally feed off His physical body, how on earth could He fulfil His promise to '
raise him up at the last day' and for them to 'remain[s] in Me [Jesus], and I in him'?  How can you feed on a body and yet it remain alive to fulfil these promises?  Of course, Papal Rome will insist that it is through 'transubstantiation', without a shred of evidence to support the view and in contradiction of Scriptural warning against cannibalism.  If you take the Roman Catholic 'literal' sense of the text - even dressing it up as 'transubstantiation' or 'consubstantiation' - it certainly implies cannibalism, which, were it what Jesus meant, would certainly be an insuperable barrier to faith in him.  One of the charges brought against the early Christians by the Romans was that they practiced cannibalism and, in contemporary Haiti, where the pagans at least partially feign acceptance of the Papal 'Jesus,' they use this false interpretation to excuse their continuation of their old literal cannibalistic practices. The body of Jesus represents his humanity. He so identified himself with us that sin pierced His body on the cross. In the Old Testament life was in the blood. When a sacrifice was made the life flowed out before God.  Verse 58 uses two different words for 'eating.'  The first, 'not as your fathers ate' means to 'eat until it is consumed.' The words 'he that eats this bread shall live forever' means 'to feed upon.' In our spiritual lives we must constantly feed upon Jesus.

And yet it is precisely here, in this Man of flesh, that God, in His surprising mercy, has set life before us. That which has been despised as the 'material of death' God has chosen to make the vehicle of redemption.  Jesus offers both His life of perfect obedience and His death on the Cross in the flesh and He made it clear that this is where we discover and receive life.

Many, like the Jews, choose to be offended by this offer of Jesus'

Too many, like the Jews, choose to be offended by this offer.  They would rather have a vague, diffused presence, or some impersonal abstract deity, not a particular Man who has come from heaven to live among us in the flesh at a very specific time and place. He is too near, too much with us, and specific sins are now unmasked so that many would rather misunderstand the 'flesh' of the Son of Man to keep God Incarnate out of their world and safely in their control as 'wafer' and 'wine'.  This docetic lie, this denial of Jesus' flesh, is so deep a perversion that John calls it 'the spirit of the Antichrist' (
1 John 4:2-3):

[2] By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; [3] and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

Because of what Jesus said here the grumbling (v42) quickly became disputing (v52), then a
hard word they couldn't bear to listen to (v60), and finally an insuperable barrier for many of his talmidim (disciples, not merely his casual hearers), who turned back and no longer travelled around with him (v66).  Earlier the Jews murmured, but now they 'quarrelled among themselves.' This Man has led them to face issues vastly different from anything they had expected.  Some in this crowd have heard and begun to move toward belief, but they face a hostile majority who refuse to accept anything Jesus has said.  Their quarrelling over the question - 'How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?' - may seem perfectly sensible if they had good reason to think He was referring to physical eating.

Dwelling in Christ - Biblically and the version of Papal Rome!

Jesus does not simply abandon them to their unbelief, although He is not presenting some new religious option which can be added to what they already know.  But He is laying before them a  life-and-death spiritual imperative, insisting: 'Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.'  He states it again positively in verse 54, 'Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.'  Even a 'high' view of the inspiration of the Bible does not require the elimination of metaphorical and symbolic language.  Although Jesus's particular hearers may have been either shocked at what he said or seeking an excuse for not obeying his call to repentance and loyalty, not every Jewish audience would have reacted that way for the same kind of metaphor is used in the Midrash Rabbah to
Ecclesiastes 2:24 ('There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink'). The Midrash quotes rabbis from the 3rd-4th centuries C.E.:

'Rabbi Tanchuma said in the name of Rabbi Nachman ben-Rabbi Shmu'el ben-Nachman, and Rabbi Menachma said (according to another version Rabbi Yirmiyahu and Rabbi [Y'hudah HaNasi] said in the name of Rabbi Shmu'el ben-Rabbi Yitzchak): 'All references to eating and drinking in the book of Qohelet [Ecclesiastes] signify Torah and good works.' Rabbi Yonah said, 'The clearest proof for this is Ecclesiastes 8:15, 'A man has no better thing under the sun than to eat, drink and be merry, and that this should accompany him in his labor.' The word for 'his labor' is '˓amalo,' but it should be read '˓olamo'('his world'), that is, in this world.  The verse continues, All 'the days of his life'; and that alludes to the grave. So are there food and drink in the grave that accompany a person to the grave? Of course not. Therefore 'food and drink' must mean Torah and good works.'

The point is that Jewish understanding allows for symbolic interpretation of 'food and drink.'  To eat the flesh of the Son of Man is to absorb his entire way of being and living. The Greek word
sarx ('flesh') is also used to refer to human nature in general, to the physical, emotional, mental and volitional aspects of human existence.  Jesus wants us to live, feel, think and act like him; by the power of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) He enables us to do so. Likewise, to drink his blood is to absorb his self-sacrificing life-motivation and indeed his very life, since 'the life of the flesh is in the blood' (Leviticus 17:11).  Jews and Gentiles open to the truth of who Jesus is will find this interpretation acceptable.  Professor Westcott put it this way: 'To 'eat' and to 'drink' is to take to oneself by a voluntary act that which is without, and then to assimilate it and make it part of oneself. It is, as it were, faith regarded in its converse action. Faith throws the believer upon and into its object. This spiritual eating and drinking brings the object of faith into the believer.'  (W. B. Westcott, The Gospel According to John, p. 107).  The eating and drinking Jesus presents is continuous and ongoing, for those who feast on Him constantly dwell in Him.  He becomes their permanent 'home.'  This is also a reciprocal relationship, a 'double dwelling.'  They dwell in Him, and He dwells in them.  Very different from the Papal Rome version of Christ being 'in' us!

In verse 60, the word translated 'hard,'
sklhroV, (skleros) means 'difficult to accept'.  They understood, but they would not accept it. The phrase 'Many . . . of his disciples' does not refer to the twelve, but rather to the larger group of disciples.  The word translated 'murmuring,' gogguzousin, from goggusmoV is an onomatopoeic word (the formation of a word by an imitation of the sound associated with the thing or action designated) and sounds like the murmuring of the children of Israel in the wilderness.  In v63 ('The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life') we should not mistake the words for a downgrading of the body in some Greek dualistic sense, but take it as a typically Jewish assertion that without the Spirit of God the physical things have no value of their own.  Note carefully: the New Testament has nothing good to say about 'the flesh.'  There is nothing good in it (Romans 7:18: 'For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.') and we must not have confidence in it (Philippians 3:3-4: 'for we are the {true} circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more ...').  How, then, do we 'eat His flesh and drink His blood'?  Through the Word.  'The words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life' (John 6:63).  Referring back to John 1:14 we know that 'the Word became flesh' and this Word had stated it clearly: 'He that heareth My Word and believeth on Him that sent Me, has everlasting life (John 5:24)!  It is that simple to be saved - as the 'thief on the cross' (q.v.)  proves.  And the scribes who heard this would have known Jeremiah 31:31-34 and should have understood the concept of receiving God's Word into one's inner being:

Jer 31:31  "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
Jer 31:32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD.
Jer 31:33 "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "
I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Jer 31:34 "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

Peter understood - why don't the many 'popes' who supposedly followed him?

Verse 64-65 reads:  'But there are some of you who do not believe.'  For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.  And He was saying: 'For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.' Verse 65 is the capstone of this section.  Jesus tells them that no one is able to come to him unless this is given to him by the Father. Their response to Jesus shows that they have not been drawn by God.  Verse 66 says many of them walked no more with him - 'To walk' means 'to learn from' or 'to be in agreement with.'  The ancient philosophers' schools were conducted as the teacher walked and talked with his pupils as they learned from him.  Jesus then turns to the twelve and gives them the choice of following or leaving him.  In the Greek, Jesus asks the question: 'Are you also wishing to go away?' He is asking them if they have doubts.  Peter answers, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have
the words of life eternal.'

Peter had understood the message - He knew that Jesus was speaking about
the Word and not about literal flesh and blood!  If Peter really was the first Pope - as Papal Rome claims - why did he understand when so many 'popes' who followed clearly do not?!

The preaching of the Word of God always leads to a sifting of the hearts of the listeners.  God draws sinners to the Saviour through the power of truth,
His Word.  Those who reject the Word will reject the Saviour.  Those who receive the Word will receive the Saviour and experience the new birth, eternal life.  Since Papal Rome severely mutilates the Word its' listeners will rarely hear the unadulterated truth and be able to hear the Word that leads to eternal life (John 12:48):

He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Roman Catholics may bluster all they like, but their priesthood has so mutilated the meaning of the Word, delivered in their places of worship, that they simply do not 'receive' Christ's sayings so as to be saved.

The Greek word
arche, translated 'beginning, origin, ruler, originator') is used 55 times in the New Testament (18 times in the Johannine writings) and is used to state that Jesus knew "from the beginning" whether someone believed (at John 6:64):

[64] "But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.

When we take the inseparable words Jesus used (at
John 6:37 & 44):

[37] 'All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.'


[44] 'No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.'

we see that Scripture makes these two things very clear:

  1. Jesus did not need anyone to inform Him because He knew what was in a persons heart;
  2. No one could come to Jesus unless the Father 'draws' them;

Can you see how dangerous it would be to suggest that Jesus could ever possibly get
anything wrong?  He is fully God, just as the Father is fully God, and, even allowing for the manner in which He restricted Himself in His ministry while walking the earth as the Son of Man by operating in the power of the Holy Spirit, we know that He remained fully God (John 5:17-24; 8:24, 58; 10:25-39; Colossians 1:15-20; 2:9; Philippians 2:5-11).  Can God ever get anything wrong?  Clearly not.

So it is inconceivable that '
disciples back then ... self-desctructed, just because of a misunderstanding' or that 'He left His teaching, unclear enough' or 'let such a critical teaching be left so open for interpretation.'

The facts are clear:

  1. Jesus knew that 'there are some of you who do not believe';
  2. Some of them were clearly there for other reasons, perhaps to witness miracles, just as some are in the contemporary church for other reasons;
  3. It is the Holy Spirit that makes the truth clear to people, not massive detail or human reasoning, knowledge, or wisdom;
  4. Those who do not believe cannot argue that they had no chance to believe - God is a God of love and mercy but His omnipotent Sovereignty that knows everything makes no mistakes - and we are not always going to recognise this;

John 6v66 Jesus literally winnows out those who were not sincere or who found too high the cost of 'eating his flesh and drinking his blood'.  Compare Luke 14:25-33, also addressed to a crowd:

[25] Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, [26] 'If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. [27] 'Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. [28] 'For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? [29] 'Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, [30] saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' [31] 'Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? [32] 'Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. [33] 'So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

Verse 26-33: 'If anyone … does not hate his father [and] … mother … he cannot be my talmid (disciple).  One hears v26 selectively misquoted in exactly this way, and on this basis a case is made that Jesus is a cruel madman.  But the key to his warning is, of course, the phrase, 'and his own life besides.'  The theme of these verses is not alienation from one's family but the cost of discipleship: nothing, not love for father or mother or even one's own life, is to take precedence over loyalty to God and His Messiah (see Matthew 16:24: 'Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.').  He must renounce all that he has (John 6v33), acknowledging that if God is to be primary in his life, possessions and even social relationships, in and of themselves, must be secondary.  Accepting the Messiah is more than merely acknowledging facts about Jesus.

There is another truth spoken about in
Luke14v28:  'Estimate the cost'. Spiritual cost-benefit analysis is taught in the Mishna also:

'Be thinking about the loss of a
mitzvah against its reward, and the reward of a transgression against its loss.' (Avot 2:1)

The sense is: Compare the relatively small cost of observing the
mitzvah with the great and eternal benefit obtained by fulfilling it; likewise, compare the fleeting reward gained by transgressing a command with its great and eternal cost.

(Continued on page 314)

Full Menu

Topics discussed on pages responding to Roman Catholics
Section 26-44:

Theological debate is not loving or God's way?

Catholics are against the occult?

What is 'the church' founded on?

Jesus said his flesh was real food and his blood real drink?

Even if Rome were wrong about the Eucharist - it would still be alright with God?

'Visual Eucharistic Miracles' prove Rome is correct?

The Eucharist - as possible as the Incarnation?

Blind unthinking faith is required to be a Christian?

Failure to 'discern the Eucharistic truth' brings Judgement?

Is the 'Pope' an antichrist?

Should Christians 'take action' against Roman Catholics?

Catholicism's Christology is heretical!

Many go to Hell because Jesus sacrifice was insufficient?

Rome attributes to Mary what Christ has already done!

Rome's 'indulgences' reduce/eliminate suffering after death?

'Our Lady of Medjugorje' unites Rome with Islam?

How can Rome make Mary 'co-Redeemer'?

Mary credited with attributes that belong to Christ alone!

Catholics pray to Mary - making requests only God could fulfill?

The Queen of Heaven and Babylon - and Rome!

Mary is not 'mediatrix' between mankind and Christ!

Mary's 'Immaculate Conception' - only officially declared by Rome in 1854!

Mary's 'bodily assumption to heaven' - only officially declared by Rome in 1950!

Rome's invented doctrine that Mary was 'united' in the redeeming suffering of her Son!

The 'woman' of Revelation 12 is Israel - not Mary

Alternative views of the 'woman' peddled by Rome?

How was Genesis 3:15 understood by the early believers in the nation of Israel?

Other attempts to add Mary's sufferings to the Redemption wrought by the Lord Jesus Christ

Rome promotes 'Mary' to 'Mother of the Head, and the Mother of the Body'

Israel, or Mary, 'clothed' with the 'Sun, moon and stars'?

How Rome attempts to 'prove' their 'Immaculate Conception' doctrine

Exegesis claimed for eisegesis - even appealing to Luther!

The term 'woman' in the New Testament - and Genesis 3:15?

Did Jesus regularly use the term 'woman' when addressing women?

What about the other occasions when men addressed individual women as 'woman'?

Why 'born of woman' does not equate to 'the Woman' of Revelation 12

Does the term 'woman' always simply refer to an individual?

Mary is the 'Mother of the Church?'

The Mother of Jesus shares in the sufferings of the 'Immolated Lamb'?

Mary is the Mother of the Head and Mother of the Body?

Popes instruct believers to pray to Mary - what does Jesus say!?

Rome's use of force to compel obedience!

Thomas Aquinas, Popes, and bishops, vow to kill 'heretics'?

What kind of 'unity' does Rome really promote?

Rome's doctrine of 'the two swords'?

Massacres resulting from Papal policies?

The Inquisition - created by Popes to deal with heretics!

Influence of Ignatius Loyola and the Jesuit order?

Why was Paul John II accused of heresy by other Papists?

Let us see you prove these historical facts to be false!

Rome's 'gospel' is defined by Scripture to be 'accursed'?

How does the Word of God define Christian 'unity'?

The Word of God defines Rome as a 'stumbling block'

'Binding and loosing' - and the 'Keys'?

Thomas Aquinas approved the killing of those who opposed Papal Rome!

Whether heretics ought to be tolerated?

Would the Catholic Church put heretics to death - if it still could?!

Aquinas - the fate of the 'heretic' was determined by the Church of Rome!

When did Rome fall into serious, evil error?

The paganization of Christianity began under Constantine

The Church Fathers never claimed to be inspired

The Sovereignty of God

John 6v52 - and those represented in the 'parable of the sower'

What happens to Papal bread & wine if left?

How did the 'thief on the cross' get the promise of Paradise from Jesus?

The seeking after good works of 'correct' sacraments for salvation

Manna in the wilderness and Jesus - 'The Bread of Heaven'

Another problem in claiming a literal meaning for 'transubstantiation'!

'Transubstantiation' contradicts Scriptural warning against cannibalism!

Many, like the Jews, choose to be offended by this offer of Jesus'

Dwelling in Christ - Biblically and the version of Papal Rome!

Peter understood - why don't the many 'popes' who supposedly followed him?

Metaphorical interpretation proves falseness of Papal dogma of transubstantiation

Jesus spoke of the cup as symbolizing the new covenant

Papal decree (A.D. 1415) forbade laymen to partake of the wine in the Lord's Supper

Another cultic flip-flop (Vatican II council, 1962-65) now allows both bread and the wine to lay-persons!

Papal contradiction meant failure to fully administer 'Sacramental Mass' to all believers for 550 years!

Jesus Who?

Quote the Catechism when knocking the Roman Catholic church

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