Full Preterism, the Lord’s Supper, and 1 Corinthians 11:25-26 (Addressing Preterism, Part 4)

Full Preterism, the Lord’s Supper, and 1 Corinthians 11:25-26. Full preterism maintains that all biblical prophecy had been fulfilled by the time 70 A.D. had occurred. Accordingly, this particular eschatological understanding teaches that Christ’s Second Coming occurred in 70 A.D. as an act of divine judgment against unbelieving Israel. Charles S. Meek represents this view: “Jesus and the New Testament writers did emphatically expect the Second Coming in their generation. And they were correct. Jesus came – in judgment – in AD 70, ushering out the Old Covenant Age and exacting wrath on the apostate Jews.”[1] Few Christians dispute that 70 A.D. constitutes a manifestation of God’s retributive justice against unbelieving Israel. However, many Christians, including myself, take serious issue with the full-preterist claims that Christ’s Second Coming occurred in 70 A.D.

In my opinion, passages such as 1 Corinthians 11:25-26 expose significant issues with this particular eschatological view. In 1 Corinthians 11:25-26, the Apostle Paul teaches on the Lord’s Supper: “In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (NASB). Notice the temporal clause at the end of verse 26: “until He comes.” Now, let us assume, for the sake of argument, that 70 A.D. was Christ’s Second Coming. If this is the case, 1 Corinthians 11:26 would appear to indicate that believers should no longer celebrate the Lord’s Supper, since Christ, according to full preterism, already came in 70 A.D. To continue celebrating the Lord’s Supper, therefore, would appear to be an inconsistent application of full preterist teaching.

In my opinion, such a conclusion presents full preterism with a significant dilemma: either its advocates stop celebrating the Lord’s Supper for consistency’s sake or its advocates uphold said ordinance in spite of a seemingly unavoidable full preterist interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:25-26. This dilemma is particularly significant due to the fact that the cup of the Lord’s Supper is the sign of the New Covenant. 1 Corinthians 11:25 states, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (NASB). Likewise, Luke 22:20 declares: “And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood’” (NASB). This leads me to sincerely ask the following question: how can anyone who claims membership in the New Covenant community support or practice a present-day abolition of the Lord’s Supper? Such an act, in my opinion, would be spiritually perilous in light of the fact that Paul teaches that those Corinthians who were abusing the Lord’s Supper were disciplined by God with sickness and even death (1 Corinthians 11:28-30). We see a similar principle at work throughout the Old Testament where Israelites who did not observe the Sabbath, the sign of the Old Covenant (Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:20), were to be put to death (Exodus 31:14), or those Israelites who did not receive circumcision, the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 17-1-13; Romans 4:11), were cut off from the people of Israel (Genesis 17:14). As Paul instructs us in 1 Corinthians 10:1-11, “Now these things happened as examples for us” (10:11). Again, I ask: how can anyone who claims membership in the New Covenant community support or practice a present-day abolition of the Lord’s Supper?


Foot Notes:

[1]Charles S. Meek, Christian Hope through Fulfilled Prophecy: Is Your Church Teaching Error about the Last Days and Second Coming? The Surging Preterist Challenge to Eschatology (Spicewood, TX: Charles S. Meek, 2013), 119.

 

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