What is the Lord's Supper?

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What is the Lord's Supper?

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The only place that the Bible uses the words "Lord's Supper" is 1 Corinthians 11:20. Many church organizations today have periodic ceremonies, which they call the Lord's Supper, assuming that this passage offers this as the official name for partaking of the symbols of bread and "the cup." However, Paul used the Greek expression kuriakon deipnon (literally, "a lordly meal") to tell the Corinthians that their shameful conduct at the common meal prior to this ceremony did not constitute a Christian meal. The ceremony Paul wrote about is the Passover, one of the seven annual festivals of God (Leviticus 23). Paul refers to this ancient festival in the same way that Jesus did, as recorded in the Gospels.

While Paul does not directly disallow the term "Lord's Supper," neither does he endorse it. Rather he emphasizes that the "tradition" (1 Corinthians 11:2) he received involved only bread and wine, not a supper meal. There is no scriptural instruction to use the term "Lord's Supper" to refer to the Passover.

Most Christian churches fail to perceive the timeless significance of the Passover and its unbreakable association with the other festivals of God and choose not to include it in their worship. Instead, they follow substitute traditions, including what is variously called "the Lord's Supper," "Eucharist" or "Communion."

Centuries ago, men invented the name "Eucharist," taking it from the Greek word that means "giving thanks" in a scripture that actually speaks of Christ keeping the Passover (Luke 22:17, 19). Similarly, some churches appropriate the name "Communion," from a reference to the Passover (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).

Because of the scriptural instruction, as well as the example of the early New Testament Church, the United Church of God observes the New Testament Passover, in addition to the other festivals of God. Our booklet God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind explains more about this important subject.