EAT MY FLESH!
and Drink My Blood! John 6:53-55
(Confirmation -- Part B)
By Edgar Jones
The Galilean Screening
The Lord said this to a multitude gathered in Galilee:
John 6:53 FNT Truly truly I say to you: unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood you do not have zoe-life in yourselves. 54 The [one] gnawing my flesh and drinking my blood has zoe-life eternal, and I will raise him up in the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 The [one] gnawing my flesh and drinking my blood abides in me and I in him.
Part A of this series showed and affirmed that this Eat My Flesh/Drink My Blood utterance was a screening device put forth by the Lord. It's purpose was to eliminate from his following all who were not able to accept that he had come to supersede Moses and the Law by means of the Truth enshrined in his Logos (his Words). Many of "the Jews" believed in him because of the signs he performed, but they did not understand the radical character of Jesus. He and his Logos supersede Moses and the Law, and those who can not accept this are not true disciples. So, he "weeded them" by means of this radical language. We read:
Jn.6:66 FNT From this many of his disciples departed back and no longer walked with him.
Even his chosen disciples, who were to become his Apostles, were at risk. Would they remain with him?
So he asked them, Will you also go away?
Peter spoke for all of them in his response, saying,
"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."It was the correct response that kept the Lord's work alive in the world.
To demonstrate that this was only a screening device, it was necessary to survey the Fourth Gospel, from the beginning, in the light of certain major themes woven into it by the Beloved Disciple. Those themes continued to be relevant for the remainder of the Fourth Gospel, following Chapter 6. We do not need, however, to focus on them in this Part B. We need, for this confirmation, only to show that the same pattern extended into the succeeding chapters (Chapter 7 and beyond).
The pattern consists in this:
1. The performance of a sign or signs after which many believe in him.
2. Then he delivers a teaching that screens those that believed for the wrong reasons.
3. Many of those who believed fall away and no more believe in him.
It is a complex pattern that also progresses simultaneously with other patterns and themes. One of these is the references to the festivals of the Jews, another is the progress of the Lord toward the coming of "the hour." Working through it all is the focus on the responses of the various categories of the Jews.
The Judean Screening
The screening of Chapter 6 occurred in Galilee and primarily involved the Jews of Galilee. We now progress towards another screening, this one in Judea. The one in Galilee made a statement about Moses and the Law. The one in Judea goes further to make a statement about Abraham and his paternity. The chief priests, the Pharisees and the rulers (members of the Sanhedrin) are influential in Judea and in Jerusalem, and the Lord chose to create a second confrontation there with similar results as in Galilee. He will assert that the fatherhood of God supersedes that of Abraham, and the sonship to God supersedes that to Abraham. The message is clear, but to this day neither the Jews nor the Gentile Christians have heard it.
The screening in Galilee took place during the Passover season. It was the third Passover since Jesus began delivering the Logos. There would be one more, when he was crucified. Now, in Chapter 7, we learn that he was yet in Galilee and his brothers (sons of Joseph and Mary?) urged him to go up to the next feast, which is that of Tabernacles (or Booths). The unbelieving brothers belong to the G-1 category of Galileans that disbelieved due to familiarity with the Lord. The timing cannot be more than six months following the confrontation in Galilee during the previous Passover season, because it came as the Feast of Tabernacles was approaching. A sense of the time can be obtained by the fact that, in 2005, the Passover festival began on April 23 and the Feast of Booths on October 18. There is approximately six months between them, and in this final year of our Lord's mission to the earth, there will be only half a year remaining until his crucifixion at the next Passover. His hour is rapidly approaching.
The hour is approaching but the time is not yet, as he informs his unbelieving and hostile brothers in 7:6:
My opportune-time is not yet present, . . .
Nevertheless, we can sense its approaching nearness when he then goes on to repeat with stronger emphasis, in vs. 8:
. . . because my opportune-time is not yet fulfilled.
If you knew that you were to die in six months, wouldn't you have a sense of urgency to finish your assigned mission and "wrap things up" for those that would follow you?
The Beloved Disciple is careful to keep us posted on the hardened and hostile attitude of that segment of the populace he calls "the Jews." Jesus had spent the last few months in Galilee rather than Judea precisely because his hour had not fully come, and he knew that "the Jews" in Judea and Jerusalem sought to kill him (7:1). The Beloved Disciple keeps us informed by repeating this intention of "the Jews" to kill Jesus. This is the small category labeled J-1. There yet remains a large body of Jerusalem/Judean Jews (J-2) that are open to believing in him, though more skeptical than the comparable Galilean body (G-2). But in every case, including even the Twelve, at this point those who believe or are open to persuasion are looking for a Messiah to assume the throne of David and restore the Glory of Israel in Jerusalem and Palestine. The Lord knows this also, and he also goes up to Jerusalem to the feast of Tabernacles, about the middle of the feast (the feast is of seven days duration), where he will set another screen for those "believing in him."
He went up privately (for security) and suddenly appeared in the Temple where he began teaching. "The Jews" were impressed, but he made no attempt to appease them. Instead, he immediately fueled the flame of their passions by accusing them of failing to keep the Law of Moses. And then he asks,
Why do you seek to kill me? (7:9)
He knows he is safe from arrest at this moment, because they, "the Jews," must avoid causing an uproar that would displease their Roman masters. His appearance suddenly and unannounced in the Temple prevented a clandestine arrest apart from the people.
The Jews faced the same constraint a few months later, at the Passover, when Mark tells us that they sought an opportunity to arrest him secretly, but "not during the feast, lest there be a tumult among the people (Mk.14:2)." On the last day of this feast (of Tabernacles), they actually sent officers to arrest him, but the officers were so powerfully impressed by the Lord's teaching that they went back and reported without arresting him (7:46). The Beloved Disciple informs us, (7:30) that they sought to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him because his hour was not yet come.
Now the Beloved Disciple introduces us to a category, "the people of Jerusalem." (7:25) These constituted the main body of the category J-2, that was yet open to persuasion that Jesus is the Christ. They debated among themselves after hearing his teaching in the Temple, and some portion of them believed in him (7:31). The Pharisees spoke of this portion as "this accursed crowd" (7:49). Among all the rulers, only one man, Nicodemus, appears once more to put in a word of restraint (7:51). Also, since this is a pilgrimage festival (one of the three annual pilgrimage festivals, the others being Passover and Pentecost (Weeks), there were pilgrims there from many remote places who heard the Lord and we can assume that they were among the crowd here designated "people of Jerusalem."
The Pharisees accused Jesus of bearing false witness because he was bearing witness to himself. This led to his assertion of heavenly paternity. He told them:
Jn.8:18 FNT I am the [one] witnessing concerning myself, and the father having sent me witnesses concerning me.
The Jews (in this case, the Pharisees) asked him where is his father. He replied,
Jn.8:19 FNT You know neither me nor my father. If you had known me, you would have also known my father.
This informs us that the Lord had made a final assessment of the character of these people, and he proceeded to say to them (now called "the Jews"), even more specifically,
His assessment is final for "the Jews" (Category J-1), but even so he held out the condition, for individuals among them, that they might live and not die if they would believe in him. Yet for most there is no hope. The kingdom had been taken away from them and their house was forsaken and desolate. There is no mistaking the meaning of this sentence delivered to them at that time:
Jn.8:23 FNT You are of the below, I am of the above. You are of this world, I am not of this world. 24 So I said to you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am [he], you will die in your sins.
Jn.8:28 FNT When you have lifted up the son of man, then you will know that I am [he], and [that] from myself I do nothing, but just as the father taught me, these [things] I speak.
By lifted up, he means lifted up on a cross. These are the ones who would be responsible for his crucifixion (you have lifted up), and he intended to insure this by repeatedly heaping fuel onto the flames of their passion. They did not know the Father, they did not know Jesus, they were of the world and they were "from below."
Many believed in him on hearing these words (8:30). This would be some of the ones already designated "the people of Jerusalem."
We have now been informed of conversions from among "the people" on two separate
occasions. When he first appeared in the temple about the middle of the feast, the Beloved Disciple tells us that many believed in him (7:31). We next find him teaching in the Temple "on the last day of the feast." (7:37) This, "the great day" would have been the eighth day after the beginning of the feast, which was a special day of celebrations (Lev. 23:36). Only three or four days passed between these two events. The Beloved Disciple does not detail activities in the intervening days except to say that, at the end of one day, the Lord went up to the Mount of Olives and returned to the temple on the next day.
So, "many" have believed in him in Judea and Jerusalem. What does this mean?
It means only that they answered the big question affirmatively. This big question was the one concerning which they much debated, "Is this the prophet, the Christ that is to come?"
Jn.7:40 FNT So, [many] of the crowd hearing of these words were saying: This is truly the prophet. 41 But others were saying: This is the Christ; but [others] were saying: Does the Christ come out of Galilee? 42 Doesn't the Scripture say that: Of the seed of David, and: From Bethlehem, the town from which was David comes the Christ? 43 So [a] division came to pass in the crowd because of him, 44 and some of them were wanting to arrest him, but no one put their hands on him.
Yes, Jesus was the foretold prophet and he was the promised messiah, the Christ. This, however, was precisely what the many in Galilee (G-2) had been prepared to believe, for they were the ones that sought to force him to assume royal authority (6:15). That was not good enough in Galilee, and it was not good enough in Jerusalem (or in Judea) so that the appearance of a sizable category of "believers" there required the setting of a screen once more. In Galilee (in Chapter 6) the screen was set by the offensive eat my flesh and drink my blood assertion.
The Jerusalem screen was even finer than the one in Galilee that required of the believers there that they choose between Moses with his Torah on one hand and Jesus with his Logos on the other. This Jerusalem screen went beyond their faith in Moses to deny their status as sons of Abraham! It required of them that they believe the Logos, the words of Jesus, if they were to be truly free and know the Truth. He set the screen in 8:31:
Jn.8:31 FNT So Jesus was saying to the Jews having believed in him: If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Please note carefully -- these were "the Jews" who believed in him! These were the ones we have already noted, who on two occasions have been so impressed as to believe, meaning that they believe him to be the Christ. But the Lord knew there was a problem with their faith so that it was not acceptable, and he knew how to uncover and expose its lack. The utterance of vs. 31 carries with it the certain intimation that they were not free men and this got their hackles up in short order. They responded:
Jn.8:33 FNT They answered him: We are Abraham's seed, and to no one have we ever been enslaved. How do you tell us that: You will become free?
"We are Abraham's seed!" Therein is the trigger for this screen.
This seems a strange claim of freedom from men who are Roman lackeys, in bondage to Rome, and whose ancestors (also seed of Abraham) were slaves in Egypt and later in Babylon. But in a sense, they were correct, because the Lord does not speak here of political bondage of the nation, but of personal enslavement. They had a comprehension of this at a certain level, because their response spoke of enslavement. The Lord explained:
Jn.8:34 FNT Jesus answered them: Truly truly I say to you that everyone doing sin is [a] slave of sin. 35 Now the slave does not dwell in the house[hold] to eternity, the son abides to eternity. 36 So if the son set you free, you will be really free.
We could easily be drawn off into other important issues here, but remember that we are only attempting to demonstrate the repetition of a pattern of action such as was found in John 6. For this purpose, it is only needed that we show how the Lord took their claim (that they were Abraham's seed) and subtly began to expand on it by his assertion that only the son can set one free, for he abides in the house forever. So the Lord continued:
Jn.8:37 FNT I know that you are Abraham's seed, but you seek to kill me, because my word does not have room in you. 38 What I have seen beside the father I speak, and therefore what you heard from your father you do.
He agreed that they are Abraham's seed (Greek, sperma). But then he made a sharp distinction between seed (descendants) and sons. So he went on to speak of his Father, then of their father as one who differed from his Father. They did not accept the distinction; they were Abraham's seed, therefore Abraham was their father. Taking the bait, they made this claim:
Jn.8:39 FNT Our father is Abraham.
But the Lord has a different definition of parentage, and responded:
Jn.8:39 FNT Jesus says to them: If you are children of Abraham, you would have done the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill me [a] man who has spoken to you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. 41 You do the works [of your] father.
Have you noticed? He is leading them, a step at a time, to a conclusion that will identify their paternity. Works, not seed, sets the true and real paternity. Abraham acted in a characteristic way that did not include wanting to kill those who, like Jesus, came to him with words from God. The Lord may have in mind here the event when Abraham entertained three men who came to him with words of the Lord God (Genesis 18:1f). In that incident, Abraham was the perfect host. In contrast, Jesus comes to them with words from God, and they want to kill him! We see also how the Logos is the binder that ties all of this together, because he started by telling them that they would be free if they would abide in his word (Logos).
They blundered on:
Jn.8:41 FNT They said to him: We were not born out of fornication, We have one father - God.
To which the Lord responded:
Jn.8:42 FNT If God were your father, you would have agape-loved me, for I have gone out from God and have come. For neither am I come from myself, but that [one] sent me. 43 Why do you not know my speech? Because you are not able to be hearing my word. 44 You are from your father the devil and you want to be doing the desires [of your] father. That [one] was murderer from the beginning, and he has not stood in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the "lie", he speaks from his own [self], because he is [a] liar and his father [also].
Vs. 44, the words, you want to be doing the desires [of your] father, defines the evidence of paternity, according to the new definition put forward by Jesus. The devil is a murderer; they wanted to kill Jesus; the devil is a liar and they also were liars. Their works were the devil's works, therefore they were the devils children.
There is none of the eat my flesh, drink my blood language that he utilized in Galilee to set his screen. Here it is the definition of their paternity, with the reasons. But, as in Galilee, where he afterwards explained to his disciples,
Jn.6:63 FNT The spirit is the [one] making zoe-alive, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are zoe-life.
Here he proceeded to make a similar assertion to these Jews who had believed in him:
Jn.8:47 FNT The [one] being from God hears the words of God; because of this you do not hear [me], because you are not from God.
51 Truly truly I say to you, if anyone keep my word, he will not see death to eternity.
Now the Jews who had believed in him were fully inflamed, and the Lord continued to bring the confrontation to a close when they attempted to stone him to death (8:59). But first the Jews, recounting the facts that Abraham died, and the prophets died, asked (after accusing him of having a demon -- today they would say he was crazy):
Jesus ' reply included this:
Jn.8:53 FNT You aren't greater than our father Abraham who died, [are you]? And the prophets died: whom do you make yourself?
Jn.8:56 FNT Abraham your father was glad that he saw my day, and he saw [it] and rejoiced.
The Jews responded:
Jn.8:57 FNT You do not yet have fifty years, and you have seen Abraham?
Then the Lord brought them to the point of violence with his next words, after which they pick up stones in preparation for stoning him but he hid himself:
Jn.8:58 FNT Truly truly I say to you: Before Abraham came to be, I am.
Was he claiming to be divine?
Yes, he was, and by using the present tense, I am, rather than I was, he was asserting his transcendence of time and his status as the eternal Son of God. This utterance places him, the Son, with the Father, YHWH, before Abraham came to be, but does not identify him with the Father.1 The Jews (those that had believed in him), gave way to rage at that utterance and prepared to stone him, but he left the Temple and went away. The screen performed its intended function by expelling those whose faith was not acceptable from the category of believers.
Some Common Elements
The purpose here is to confirm the affirmation of Part A, that the confrontation in Chapter 6 was a screening mechanism for superficial believers in Galilee, by showing that the Lord is in a screening mode as he goes on from there to set a second, similar screen, in Jerusalem about six months later. I believe I have shown that already, but as a means of confirming the confirmation, we list here some common elements in the two confrontations to show that they constitute a pattern pursued in Galilee and then repeated in Jerusalem.
1. In both cases, the Lord was speaking to Jews who had believed in him, meaning that they believed him to be the Christ, the promised messiah of God:
To the Galilean believers:
Jn.6:14 FNT So the men having seen what sign he did were saying that: This is truly the prophet coming into the world. 15 So Jesus having known that they were [about] to be coming and seizing him in order that they may make [him] king, withdrew again to the mountain himself alone.
To the Jerusalem believers:
Jn.8:30 FNT Speaking these [things], many believed in him. 31 So Jesus was saying to the Jews having believed in him: If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
2. In both cases, the Lord made assertions that he was able to give eternal life:
To the Galilean believers (the Lord denied their believing, but these are the same ones that wanted to make him king on the preceding day, after the feeding of the five thousand):
Jn.6:40 FNT For this is the will of my father, that everyone beholding the son and believing in him have zoe-life eternal, and I will raise him up in the last day.
To the Jerusalem believers:
Jn.8:12 FNT So, again Jesus spoke to them saying: I am the light of the world. The [one] following me shall not walk in darkness, but will have the light of zoe-life .
3. In both incidents, there were similar Moses/Abraham comparisons with the if / then statements:
To the Galilean believers (spoken before the feeding of the 5000):
Jn.5:45 FNT Be not supposing that I will accuse you to the father, the [one] accusing you is Moses, in whom you have hoped. 46 For if you were believing Moses, you would have believed me; for concerning me did that [one] write.
To the Jerusalem believers:
Jn.8:39 FNT They answered and said to him: Our father is Abraham. Jesus says to them: If you are children of Abraham, you would have done the works of Abraham. 40
But now you seek to kill me [a] man who has spoken to you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do.
4. The similar Moses / Abraham death statements:
The Galilean believers:
Jn.6:49 FNT Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread coming down from heaven, in order that anyone who eat of it also not die.
The Jerusalem statement (here the statement is by the believers):
Jn.8:52 FNT The Jews said to him: Now we have known that you have a demon. Abraham died and the prophets, and you say: If you keep my word, you will not taste death unto eternity? 53 You aren't greater than our father Abraham who died, [are you]? And the prophets died: whom do you make yourself?
5. In both incidents, the 'believers' became unbelievers when they heard that they must accept the Lord and the Logos as superseding Moses and the Torah (Galilee) -- or they must accept the Lord, the son of God as superseding Abraham, the slave of God (Jerusalem).
Jn.6:66 FNT From this many of his disciples departed back and no longer walked with him.
Jn.8:57 FNT So the Jews said to him: You do not yet have fifty years, and you have seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said to them: Truly truly I say to you: Before Abraham came to be, I am. 59 So they took stones that they throw [them] upon him, but Jesus hid and went out of the temple.
There were some differences in the two confrontations. In Galilee, the multitude simply decided not to believe in him when they heard what he required, and then departed. In Jerusalem, the Lord was busy setting the stage for a final confrontation that would result in his crucifixion, and he assigned a key role to those Jerusalem Jews, many of whom were associated with the chief priests and the Pharisees in the Temple cult. They were the ones who would "lift him up" on the cross. He made the screen exceeding fine for them, and accompanied it with some inflammatory accusations (you are the children of your father, the devil). By doing this he deliberated courted their hostility and assured that they would follow through on their intention to kill him.
He continued to fuel their flames. In Chapter 9, he restored sight to a blind man on the Sabbath, which again aroused the ire of "the Pharisees." He concluded with this:
Jn.9:40 FNT Those of the Pharisees being with him heard these [things], and said to him, Are we also blind? 41 Jesus said to them: If you were blind, you were not having sin. But now you say: We see. Your sin abides.
The Third and Final Screening
There is yet another screen. Chapter 10 is not an exception. There we have the wonderful metaphors of the Little Flock and the Good Shepherd, blended with other metaphors: the thief and the robber (vs. 1), the stranger (vs. 5), "all who ever came before me" who are also thieves and robbers (vs. 8) and the hireling (vs. 12). It is easy to overlook the fact that the negative elements of this monologue applied directly to "the Jews" and all of these negative metaphors described those who were hearing him. He continued to fuel their flames! They again took up stones to stone him (vs. 31), but thought better of it and attempted to arrest him (vs. 39).
The response of the Jews remained mixed, for some were continuing to believe in him (vs. 42). There were yet others after the raising of Lazarus from the tomb (11:45 and 12:11). These are the ones who hailed him during his Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem the next day (vs. 12:12). There were other "believers" and for those he set a third and final screen.
The Triumphal Entry essentially repeated what took place in Galilee when the people wanted to take him and make him the king. During the entry, they were intent on the same thing, so that these people were surely not Jews associated with the Temple Cult, as were the Pharisees. But rather than evade them, this time the Lord accepted their adulation, which was required that he might fulfill the prophecy (Zech. 9:9). It was a critical moment in the course he plotted for himself, but again he did not ascend to the throne. Instead, he departed and hid himself from them once more (12:36).
During all of this, the Beloved Disciple keeps us posted on the developing ire of the Temple cult -- "the Jews" or "the Pharisees." After the raising of Lazarus, they made a deliberate decision to put Jesus to death (11:53). The Lord thereafter no more went about openly among them (vs. 11:54), for the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that he should be arrested (11:57). But they were frustrated by the growing category of Jewish believers. They feared to cause a riot should they arrest him openly. They were very, very anxious after the Triumphal Entry. They said to one another,
12:19 FNT Be beholding that you accomplish nothing. Behold the world has departed after him.
They appeared to conclude that their cause was lost. Had the Lord assumed the throne at that point, the whole nation might have rallied behind him for the great revolution -- the war to cast out the Romans and restore the glory if Israel. In such a rebellion (finally realized, producing the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD) the first ones to lose would have been the Priests and rulers of the Temple cult, considered traitors for having cooperated with the Romans to secure and hold their position.
For the third time the Lord collected a host of believers from among the people, both from Galilee and Judea, who were ready and willing for his ascent to the throne of David, which they acknowledged by their adulation during the Triumphal Entry. So, for the third time, the Lord set a screen -- this one the very finest possible: his crucifixion. If they could accept his kingship after that, on the basis on which he claims it (by his definition of the will of the Father), they would be true believers and nothing would shake their faith.
But what happened to them after his crucifixion? According to Matthew (26:56) and Mark (14:52), they all, including the disciples, left him and fled! That was a screen that even the closest disciples could not pass. They fled in fear and disappointment, best expressed by Luke's record of the Lord's encounter with two of them, later that day, on the road to Emmaus:
Lk. 24:17 FNT But he said to them: What [are] these words that you exchange with one another while walking? And they stood with [a] gloomy look. 18 But one by name Cleopis answering said to him: You only dwell in Jerusalem and you do not know what has come to pass there in these days? 19 And he said to them: What? So they said to him the [things] concerning Jesus of Nazareth, [a] man who became [a] powerful prophet in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to [the] judgment of death and crucified him.
21 But we were hoping that he is the one [about] to ransom Israel. But with all these [things] it is the third day from which these [things] came to pass.
The three screenings were all part of a repeated pattern:
1. By word and deed (his signs), the Lord convinced many and they believed in him.
2. Their faith was superficial, and rested on the assumption that he was about to assume the throne of David and redeem Israel.
3. The Lord set a screen that filtered out all except a few -- and even these were filtered by the last third and final screen. We know it required his resurrection to convince them lest all his work be vain. That finally and fully convinced all of the apostles, including Thomas, the doubting hold out.
4. The first of these screens consisted of the requirement that the believers accept the Lord and the Logos as superseding Moses and the Torah, by means of his radical language that included the requirement that they eat my flesh and drink my blood (Jn.6:53).
5. The second screen consisted of the requirement that the believers accept the patriarchy of God as superseding that of Abraham, with Jesus as God's Son, not David's.
6. The third and final screen consisted of the requirement that the believers accept a crucified one as the messiah, superseding the hope of israel, which was that a son of David would assume royal power in Jerusalem. The cross was then and remains today a stumbling block for believers.
7. The repetition of this pattern confirms the purpose of the radical language. John 6 therefore has no reference to the Eucharist (the Lord's supper). We should have been persuaded of this by the Lord's explanation given to his offended disciples at that time:
Jn.6:63 FNT The spirit is the [one] making zoe-alive, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are zoe-life.
This informs us that there is no life to be gained -- the profit is nothing -- from partaking of his flesh. Life comes only by partaking of his Words. Yet the Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation declares precisely the opposite -- that by partaking of his flesh one receives eternal life.
In the next and final issue on this subject, Part C, we will take a look at how the Christians of different persuasions nevertheless misunderstand the language (from the screen of Chapter 6, eat my flesh and drink my blood), to relate to the Eucharist.
When I began Part A of this series, I had only one thought in mind -- to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the Eat My Flesh / Drink My Blood language of John 6 has no relation to the Eucharist, as many Christians think. I believe I have done that, both by Affirmation and Confirmation. In the process of defining the three screenings of false disciples that the Beloved Disciple describes in the Fourth Gospel, however, I have learned something more that I share here.
Three screenings? Can there be a fourth?
Yes, and it conforms to the same pattern as the others.
First, the winning of disciples who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the messiah, like the false disciples of the Fourth Gospel who came to him demanding that he assume the crown of David and cast out the Romans.
Second, there is the gathering of these "believers" for the screening that will separate the false from the true. The faith of the false disciples in each case stands on the conviction that the Lord will come again, to bring the kingdom and restore the throne of David in Jerusalem.
Third, he sets the screen. I showed above how the screen in each of the cases in the Fourth Gospel was different from the rest, and how it became progressively finer and more strenuous, finally screening out every disciple, including the Apostles, until they beheld him resurrected. The screen for the fourth and last screening is the finest yet. It was actually hovering in the background of all those described by the Beloved Disciple, and it was specifically stated in connection with the last one.
Here is the final screening device, applied from the beginning but only brought to the forefront by the Lord in preparation for his crucifixion, as the explanation for that awful execution.
Jn.12:25 The [one] philia-loving his psyche-life will lose it, and the [one] hating his psyche-life in this world will guard it to zoe-life eternal. 26 If anyone be serving me, he must be following me, and where I am, there also will be the [one] serving me.
We label it the Great Principle of the Lord. It, together with keeping his First and Second Commandments, is the qualification for eternal life. It was always there, in the setting of all the screens of the Fourth Gospel, for in each case the Lord set forth the prospect of eternal life for those who receive his Word and believe. This is his Word, and it must be believed to receive eternal life.
Each screen required a choice from two options: (1) Jesus and the Logos or Moses and the Torah, (2) Jesus and the Father or Abraham as the father and (3), Jesus the crucified enthroned in heaven or the son of David enthroned in Jerusalem and here (4),in the final screening, the choice is between Jesus and eternal life or Paul and life in this world. This was also the essence of each of the other screens.
When is the fourth screen to be applied?
Mt.25:31 FNT But when the son of man comes in his glory and all his angels with him, then will he sit on the throne of his glory. 32 And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on his left. . . . ..
1, (Footnote) this refers to the event in Exodus 3:13,14 when God identified him self to Moses as YHWH (I am).
2. The Galilean Categories
3. The Judean Categories