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1 Corinthians 11:25

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

After the same manner - In like manner; likewise. With the same circumstances, and ceremonies, and designs. The purpose was the same.

When he had supped - That is, all this occurred after the observance of the usual paschal supper. It could not, therefore, be a part of it, nor could it have been designed to be a festival or feast merely. The apostle introduces this evidently in order to show them that it could not be, as they seemed to have supposed, an occasion of feasting. It was after the supper, and was therefore to be observed in a distinct manner.

Saying, This cup … - See the note at Matthew 26:27-28.

Is the New Testament - The new covenant which God is about to establish with people. The word “testament” with us properly denotes a “will” - an instrument by which a man disposes of his property after his death. This is also the proper classic meaning of the Greek word used here, διαθήκη (diathēkē). But this is evidently not the sense in which the word is designed to be used in the New Testament. The idea of a “will” or “testament,” strictly so called, is not that which the sacred writers intend to convey by the word. The idea is evidently that of a compact, agreement, covenant, to which there is so frequent reference in the Old Testament, and which is expressed by the word בּרית berı̂yth(Berith ), a compact, a covenant, Of that word the proper translation in Greek would have been συνθηκη sunthēkēa covenant, agreement. But it is remarkable that that word never is used by the Septuagint to denote the covenant made between God and man.

That translation uniformly employs for this purpose the word διαθήκη diathēkēa will, or a testament, as a translation of the Hebrew word, where there is a reference to the covenant which God is represented as making with people. The word συνθηκη sunthēkēis used by them but three times Isaiah 28:15; Isaiah 30:1; Daniel 11:6, and in neither instance with any reference to the covenant which God is represented as making with man. The word διαθήκη diathēkēas the translation of בּרית berı̂yth(Berith ), occurs more than two hundred times. (See Trommius‘ Concord.) Now this must have evidently been of design. What the reason was which induced them to adopt this can only be conjectured. It may have been that as the translation was to be seen by the Gentiles as well as by the Jews (if it were not expressly made, as has been affirmed by Josephus and others, for the use of Ptolemy), they were unwilling to represent the eternal and infinite Yahweh as entering into a “compact, an agreement” with his creature man. They, therefore, adopted a word which would represent him as expressing “his will” to them in a book of revelation. The version by the Septuagint was evidently in use by the apostles, and by the Jews everywhere. The writers of the New Testament, therefore, adopted the word as they found it; and spoke of the new dispensation as a new “testament” which God made with man. The meaning is, that this was the new compact or covenant which God was to make with man in contradistinction from that made through Moses.

In my blood - Through my blood; that is, this new compact is to be sealed with my blood, in illusion to the ancient custom of sealing an agreement by a sacrifice; see the note at Matthew 26:28.

This do ye - Partake of this bread and wine; that is, celebrate this ordinance.

As oft as ye drink it - Not prescribing any time; and not even specifying the frequency with which it was to be done; but leaving it to themselves to determine how often they would partake of it. The time of the Passover had been fixed by positive statute; the more mild and gentle system of Christianity left it to the followers of the Redeemer themselves to determine how often they would celebrate his death. It was commanded them to do it; it was presumed that their love to him would be so strong as to secure a frequent observance; it was permitted to them, as in prayer, to celebrate it on any occasion of affliction, trial, or deep interest when they would feel their need of it, and when they would suppose that its observance would be for the edification of the Church.

In remembrance of me - This expresses the whole design of the ordinance. It is a simple memorial, or remembrancer; designed to recall in a striking and impressive manner the memory of the Redeemer. It does this by a tender appeal to the senses - by the exhibition of the broken bread, and by the wine. The Saviour knew how prone people would be to forget him, and he, therefore, appointed this ordinance as a means by which his memory should be kept up in the world. The ordinance is rightly observed when it recalls the memory of the Saviour; and when its observance is the means of producing a deep, and lively, and vivid impression on the mind, of his death for sin. This expression, at the institution of the supper, is used by Luke Luke 22:19; though it does not occur in Matthew, Mark, or John.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The apostle describes the sacred ordinance, of which he had the knowledge by revelation from Christ. As to the visible signs, these are the bread and wine. What is eaten is called bread, though at the same time it is said to be the body of the Lord, plainly showing that the apostle did not mean that the bread was changed into flesh. St. Matthew tells us, our Lord bid them all drink of the cup, ch. Mt 26:27, as if he would, by this expression, provide against any believer being deprived of the cup. The things signified by these outward signs, are Christ's body and blood, his body broken, his blood shed, together with all the benefits which flow from his death and sacrifice. Our Saviour's actions were, taking the bread and cup, giving thanks, breaking the bread, and giving both the one and the other. The actions of the communicants were, to take the bread and eat, to take the cup and drink, and to do both in remembrance of Christ. But the outward acts are not the whole, or the principal part, of what is to be done at this holy ordinance. Those who partake of it, are to take him as their Lord and Life, yield themselves up to him, and live upon him. Here is an account of the ends of this ordinance. It is to be done in remembrance of Christ, to keep fresh in our minds his dying for us, as well as to remember Christ pleading for us, in virtue of his death, at God's right hand. It is not merely in remembrance of Christ, of what he has done and suffered; but to celebrate his grace in our redemption. We declare his death to be our life, the spring of all our comforts and hopes. And we glory in such a declaration; we show forth his death, and plead it as our accepted sacrifice and ransom. The Lord's supper is not an ordinance to be observed merely for a time, but to be continued. The apostle lays before the Corinthians the danger of receiving it with an unsuitable temper of mind; or keeping up the covenant with sin and death, while professing to renew and confirm the covenant with God. No doubt such incur great guilt, and so render themselves liable to spiritual judgements. But fearful believers should not be discouraged from attending at this holy ordinance. The Holy Spirit never caused this scripture to be written to deter serious Christians from their duty, though the devil has often made this use of it. The apostle was addressing Christians, and warning them to beware of the temporal judgements with which God chastised his offending servants. And in the midst of judgement, God remembers mercy: he many times punishes those whom he loves. It is better to bear trouble in this world, than to be miserable for ever. The apostle points our the duty of those who come to the Lord's table. Self-examination is necessary to right attendance at this holy ordinance. If we would thoroughly search ourselves, to condemn and set right what we find wrong, we should stop Divine judgements. The apostle closes all with a caution against the irregularities of which the Corinthians were guilty at the Lord's table. Let all look to it, that they do not come together to God's worship, so as to provoke him, and bring down vengeance on themselves.
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 652-3

“The Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. 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. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. DA 652.1

Christ was standing at the point of transition between two economies and their two great festivals. He, the spotless Lamb of God, was about to present Himself as a sin offering, that He would thus bring to an end the system of types and ceremonies that for four thousand years had pointed to His death. As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever. The service which Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages. DA 652.2

The Passover was ordained as a commemoration of the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage. God had directed that, year by year, as the children should ask the meaning of this ordinance, the history should be repeated. Thus the wonderful deliverance was to be kept fresh in the minds of all. The ordinance of the Lord's Supper was given to commemorate the great deliverance wrought out as the result of the death of Christ. Till He shall come the second time in power and glory, this ordinance is to be celebrated. It is the means by which His great work for us is to be kept fresh in our minds. DA 652.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW), 1139-40

This ceremony means much to us. God would have us take the whole scene, not only the single act of outward cleansing. This lesson does not merely refer to the one act. It is to reveal the great truth that Christ is an example of what we through His grace are to be in our intercourse with each other. It shows that the entire life should be one of humble, faithful ministry.... The ordinance of feet washing most forcibly illustrates the necessity of true humility. While the disciples were contending for the highest place, in the promised kingdom, Christ girded Himself, and performed the office of a servant by washing the feet of those who called Him Lord. He, the pure, spotless Lamb of God, was presenting Himself as a sin-offering; and as He now ate the Passover with His disciples, He put an end to the sacrifices which for four thousand years had been offered. In the place of the national festival which the Jewish people had observed, He instituted a memorial service, in the ceremony of feet washing, and the sacramental supper, to be observed by His followers through all time and in every country. These should ever repeat Christ's act, that all may see that true service called for unselfish ministry (Manuscript 43, 1897). 5BC 1139.1

14, 15 (Matthew 23:8; 1 Corinthians 11:28). Humility an Active Principle—Humility is an active principle growing out of a thorough consciousness of God's great love, and will always show itself by the way in which it works. By taking part in the ordinance of feet washing we show that we are willing to perform this act of humility. We are doing the very thing Christ did, but this is not to be talked of as an act of humiliation. It is an act which symbolizes the condition of the mind and heart. 5BC 1139.2

“All ye are brethren.” As brethren we are identified with Christ and with one another. As brethren we are identical with Christ, and through His grace identical with one another. And as we wash the feet of Christ's followers, it is as though we were indeed touching the Son of God. We do this act because Christ told us to do it, and Christ Himself is among us. His Holy Spirit does the work of uniting our hearts. To become one with Christ requires self-denial and self-sacrifice at every step. 5BC 1139.3

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Ellen G. White
Evangelism, 276-8

To Be Often Commemorated—In this last act of Christ in partaking with His disciples of the bread and wine, He pledged Himself to them as their Redeemer by a new covenant, in which it was written and sealed that upon all who will receive Christ by faith will be bestowed all the blessings that heaven can supply, both in this life and in the future immortal life. Ev 276.1

This covenant deed was to be ratified by Christ's own blood, which it had been the office of the old sacrificial offerings to keep before the minds of His chosen people. Christ designed that this supper should be often commemorated, in order to bring to our remembrance His sacrifice in giving His life for the remission of the sins of all who will believe on Him and receive Him. This ordinance is not to be exclusive, as many would make it. Each must participate in it publicly, and thus say: “I accept Christ as my personal Saviour. He gave His life for me, that I might be rescued from death.”—The Review and Herald, June 22, 1897. Ev 276.2

Experience: Dealing Faithfully With an Interested Minister—Sabbath morning, when the church at _____ celebrated the ordinances, Brother _____ was present. He was invited to unite in the ordinance of feet washing, but said he preferred to witness it. He asked if participation in this ordinance was required before one could partake of communion, and was assured by our brethren that it was not obligatory, and that he would be welcome to the table of the Lord. This Sabbath was a most precious day to his soul; he said that he had never had a happier day in his life. Ev 276.3

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