Until He Comes

Norbert Lieth

What does the Lord’s Supper tell us from a biblical perspective, and what does it say regarding the expectation of the Lord’s imminent return?

Two Features Until He Comes
The Apostle Paul didn’t receive the Lord’s Supper from the other Apostles, but from the Lord Himself in a separate revelation. So, he introduces the Lord’s Supper in this way: “I have received of the Lord…” (v. 23). Therefore, Paul, for his part, is narrating the Lord’s Supper for the Church. He continues to write, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.”

This addition is not irrelevant for the Church. We should always be oriented toward the Lord’s return. The Lord’s Supper reminds us of the first coming of Jesus, who instituted it as a New Covenant shortly before His death on the Cross. Even then the Lord said, “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt 26:29).

Celebrating the Lord’s Supper can remind us of this promise, which should remain alive in us. This makes it clear that the Lord’s Supper isn’t limited to the first church, but will always be valid.

The Church Body Until He Comes
“For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread” (1 Cor 10:17). 

The Church was formed at Pentecost, but still on fully Jewish soil and within the framework of Judaism. This is what Jesus was promising when he said, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18). At this point, there is no mention of the Church as the body of Christ, consisting of Jews and Gentiles. This was still a secret until Ephesians had been written, and was primarily revealed to Paul.

When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, he wasn’t yet speaking of the Church as His body, but of His own physical body. “Take, eat; this is my body” (Matt 26:26b).

As the events recorded in Acts progressed, the Gentiles were added to the Jewish church. God Himself foreshadowed this by showing Peter the vision of a four-cornered cloth being lowered from heaven three times, containing unclean animals (Acts 10). This addition took place in the physical world, through the subsequent conversion of Cornelius and his household. So, they experienced their own Pentecost as a sign that something completely new had arisen, which had not been made known before (Acts 11).

It was at precisely this time that Paul, the Apostle to the nations, was being converted and called. The center of ministry also moved from Jerusalem to Antioch, where those who believed in Jesus were called Christians for the first time (Acts 11:26). Consequently, Christianity as we know it today emerged from there. It consists of Jews and Gentiles, which represent the one body of Christ and form a “new man” (Eph 2:15-16). We celebrate this bodily unity in communion with Jesus through the Lord’s Supper, until Christ returns. Paul was appointed to pass this on to the Church body.

After Jesus returns for His Church (the Rapture), the Lord will turn back to Israel as a nation (Rom 11). Then, when He appears in glory, He will again drink of the fruit of the vine in His kingdom. The Lord’s Supper gives us a wonderful focus on both our Lord’s death and His return: first for the Church, and later for Israel and the nations.

Unity Until He Comes
The Apostle warns regarding the Lord’s Supper, “For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it” (1 Cor 11:18).

There were divisions in Corinth, and cliques were forming. The well-to-do despised those who weren’t so well off. Some ate their fill early, even becoming drunk, and the others remained hungry. Some boasted, and others were ashamed. It was customary to go over to the Lord’s Supper together after a so-called Agape Feast (love feast). That meal was named for love, but in reality, it demonstrated anything but.

At that time, there were also converted slaves, who were not granted access like the rich and respected. As far as the Church body is concerned, it is one and there is no longer any difference: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).

This unity must be maintained by all means until Jesus returns.

In our churches, how quickly small groups emerge which set themselves apart; Christians who set themselves above others and act lovelessly. How quickly people are pushed to the periphery, and how quickly others are demeaned. Let’s be alert to our unity, especially in this exciting, changing time when there are so many opinions. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we can remain one by having the mind of Christ.

Salvation Remains the Central Message Until He Comes
“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor 11:26).

Jesus died for us wicked creatures so that we could live. He took our sins upon Himself and carried them away. Whoever believes in Jesus no longer has a “past,” but a glorious future. Jesus is returning because He rose from the dead. We were justified through His resurrection, and in His resurrection lies the promise that those who believe in Him will also be resurrected. 

This is the central message of Christianity, which we must always uphold and never lose sight of. We are called to remember it until He returns. The celebration of the Lord’s Supper is itself a message of proclamation. The message of His death on the Cross, His resurrection, and His Second Coming are inseparable.

The Last Supper Is a Fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy Until He Comes
Just over 2,000 years ago, the Lord gave the command to observe the Lord’s Supper. It’s been celebrated ever since on a wide variety of occasions, in different places and at different times, over the course of two millennia. This is what characterizes the Church: it has been validated by the Lord, which makes biblical prophecy so valuable.

Jesus said that heaven and earth would pass away, but not His words (Matt 24:35). The Lord’s Supper clearly speaks, and is a wonderful indication of the reliability of our Lord’s Word.

People who put their hope in others are disappointed by them. Ideologies come apart, the words of great men vanish, and promises crumble into dust. But the Word of our God lives on unabated. Those who build upon it do well.

A New Covenant Until He Comes
“After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Cor 11:25).

Before the Lord’s Supper was established, Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples as a symbol of the Old Covenant. After all, He fulfilled the whole of the law. Then He instituted the Lord’s Supper and, in a manner of speaking, the New Covenant. This New Covenant had already been promised to the people of Israel in Jeremiah 31. But because Israel had rejected the Lord, the nations have become His beneficiaries (Heb 8). When the Lord returns, the remnant of Israel will also be introduced into this covenant (Jer 31:31-34; Ezek 11:19-20).

The New Covenant is based on His blood, and is therefore better than the old one that Moses instituted. We are committed to this New Covenant as a Church until He returns. That’s why Paul also says, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (2 Cor 3:6).

Take His Word Seriously Until He Comes
“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup” (1 Cor 11:28).

We want to continue taking our Lord’s Word seriously. Because the Corinthians were causing divisions, drawing distinctions, and turning the love feast into its opposite at that time, God’s judgment came upon some of them. They had wrongly discerned the body of the Lord—which is one—and God did not tolerate it (v. 29).

We want to courageously hold fast to the Lord’s Word, especially in our time, when so many radical changes are taking place that are against God’s Word. And, despite our differences, we want to maintain a spiritual bond with every brother and sister. But we must force out clear heresies and anything that would lead us away from God’s Word.

We want to persevere until He comes.

Midnight Call - 06/2022

ContactAbout UsPrivacy and Safety