<%@ Page Language="VB" ContentType="text/html" ResponseEncoding="iso-8859-1" %> Untitled Document Love Feasts and Jude 12

In this article I want to address the matter of the "agape" love meals or feasts, and demonstrate that homes invited these things, not the church as a matter of it's mission and assigned work. I also want to clarify those passages that are used to support the idea of a meal associated with the Lord's Supper. We begin with a look at Jude 12.

Jude 10-19
10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; 13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. 17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.

The false teacher is said to be "spots" or "rocks" in your "love feasts" or feasts of love". Is this a reference to a feast of physical food? Or, is it a feast of "love"? It seems to be a feast of love, not a feast of food in the text. But, we will look at both possibilities and where this could have occurred. The purpose of assembly is to "provoke unto love and good works" (Heb.10:24f), and to commune together in partaking of the body and blood (Jesus' love for us)(1 Cor.10:16-17). The nature of our feast is spiritual, and the food is spiritual. Our Passover is Christ, our unleavened bread is "sincerity and truth". We must "keep the feast". Now, I want us to focus on the argument that Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper during the Passover meal. While the shadows and types were still in operation, there was something that would be the "fulfillment" of those types and shadows. Jesus said that He would drink it new with them when it was "fulfilled" in the kingdom (Luke 22:15-16; Matt.26:29). We will examine this setting and see the nature of the fulfillment as well as the nature of the kingdom and the connection the physical meal had to the spiritual meal we now have in Christ. Let us start with the fact that OUR Passover is different. The old Passover with it's attendant meal has been fulfilled in Christ. The old Passover meal has also been fulfilled in Christ. This will mean that we do not keep the same Passover, nor the same meal associated with that old Passover.

“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness: but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:7-8).

Please notice here that we are to "keep the feast", and we have OUR Passover, as distinct from the old Passover of Judaism. What feast is that? The antitype of the old Passover feast. What is the nature of our bread? It is the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. What are we eating? Christ our Passover Lamb, combined with sincerity and truth. Is it a "feast"? Yes! Is it a physical meal? No! Now, back to our text in Jude 12.

The "spot" in "your love feast" is possibly one who is there in the assembly, but he is not there with "sincerity and truth". He is dangerous, like a hidden rock beneath the water. They feast with you but they bring danger because they actually despise authority and seek to "liberate" the group by slow process of alluring through the lusts of the flesh (2 Pet.2:1-18). But, the assembly is a feast of love. We feast on the purity of Jesus' love, and we feast on our common love, and we feast on the Bread of Life, and we feast on the milk and meat that gives us the taste that the Lord is good. This man tries to make an appearance that he is in union with the group, but he has his own hidden agenda. So far, we are given no indication that the church was involved in a pot-luck meal, but that the assembly for spiritual things is a feast that was regularly kept. Every assembly that is sharing in spiritual things in "drinking in the spirit" (1 Cor.12:13) and feasting on the good things of God. This man seems to engage the feast with us, but his heart is not with us.

This aspect of partaking of Spiritual Food comes out elsewhere in Scripture, not only in the direct context of the Passover. The Psalmist gives the exhortation:

“O taste and see that Yahweh is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Psa. 34:8).

Again, Peter is inspired to pick up the sentiments of this passage later:

“as newborn babes, desire the unadulterated milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby”: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Pet. 2:3).

Here, we see the responsibility of newly baptized members to seek after the basic principles of the Word, earnestly desiring them, as a newborn babe yearns for his mother’s breast. Tasting that the good Lord is gracious, he develops a taste for the word – for the principles of Truth that constitute the Righteousness of the Lord which we must each seek.

The false teacher in our feast assemblies is just waiting for his opportunity by appearing as one with the church in the assembly. We keep the feast, with Christ as Our Passover, and the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, but let us make some more observations. The idea of Christians "keeping this feast", which is clearly now a SPIRITUAL feast, is based upon the types and shadows depicted in the Old Testament system.

Scholars Think There Was A Love Meal

From Smith's Bible Dictionary:

"Love Feasts

"(Agape), 2Pe 2:13; Jude 1:12 an entertainment in which the poorer members of the church partook, furnished from the contributions of Christians resorting to the eucharistic celebration, but whether before or after may be doubted. The true account of the matter is probably that given by Chrysostom, who says that after the early community of goods had ceased the richer members brought to the church contributions of food and drink, of which, after the conclusion of the services and the celebration of the Lord's Supper, all partook together, by this means helping to promote the principle of love among Christians. The intimate connection especially in early times, between the Eucharist itself and the love feasts has led some to speak of them as identical. The love feasts were forbidden to be held in churches by the Council of Laudicea, A.D. 320; but in some form or other they continued to a much later period."

Let us keep in mind the terms being used here. "The Agape" is what some are referring to as the "love feast", a feast intended to feed the poor, and the "Eucharist" means "thanks" offered for the items of the Lord's Supper. As soon as the church got started there were brethren there that were unprepared for the stay in Jerusalem that this new conversion brought upon their unexpected plans. Being from out of town, they were soon out of sufficient funds, and were now either going to have to appeal to local brethren for help, or go back home unprepared to take this gospel back home without proper grounding in the faith.

But, the gifts of love by the rich to the poor are not clearly defined as a potluck dinner that is somehow combined with the Lord's Supper. The spiritual assembly may have inspired such good-will that the rich brought things for the poor, but Paul did not allow such to be associated with the Lord's Supper assembly (1 Cor.11:22,34). It may have been the case that some had mistakenly mixed the two concepts, and it may have been the case that a slow realization of what Paul was correcting at Corinth brought about a discarding of mixing the memorial feast with the physical food brought to feed the poor, and finally a dropping of the latter from the assembly itself to something unassociated with the Lord's Supper assembly altogether. On the other hand, it became hard to differentiate the separate nature of the two things especially when congregations met in the same house for both things.

From Thayer:

"At the end of this feast, bread and wine were taken according to the Lord's command, and after thanksgiving to God were eaten and drunk in remembrance of Christ and as a special means of communion with the Lord Himself and through Him with one another. The Agape was thus related to the Eucharist as Christ's last Passover to the Christian rite which He grafted upon it. It preceded and led up to the Eucharist, and was quite distinct from it."

But notice that if Thayer is correct here that the Lord's Supper was "grafted upon" an Agape meal like the Passover, which has much room for doubt for such being done by divine authority, the giving of charitable food to the poor had come to be known as the Agape and the Lord's Supper a distinct thing from it. There may have been a lingering effect of bringing food to the tables that distributed food to the poorer brethren (Acts 6:1-6), and the possible use of those same tables to engage the Lord's Supper. So, it is possible that the distinction of the "Loves" (the agapee -tables of love offerings and distribution to the poor brethren) from the communion table of the Lord's Supper (the eucharist) became blurred at times. The blurring of distinction created problems that necessitated the examination of what was done at the beginning to try to correct the misapplications that began to develop.


The agapee is mentioned in the earliest writers (Ignatius, Ep. Smyrn. 4,8; Tertullian Apol. 39, ad Marc. 2).

In 1 Cor 11, the agapee was before the Eucharist . Psalms and hymns accompanied the latter as at its institution and at the previous Passover, expressing their joyful thanksgivings (James 5:13). The agapee was a club feast where each brought his portion and the rich extra portions for the poor. From it the bread and wine for the eucharist were taken. At it the excesses occurred which made a true celebration of the Lord's supper during or after it, with due discernment of its spiritual meaning, impossible (1 Cor 11:20-22). "Not discerning the Lord's body" (1 Cor 11:29) means not with spiritual discrimination distinguishing the emblems of the Lord's body from common food. The presence is in the soul, not in the elements. The Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Vaticanus manuscripts omit "Lord's," "not discerning the body" (compare Heb 10:29). The two separate elements, His Body and His Blood, were severed in His death; so the bread and the wine are separate in the Lord's supper. "The Lord's body" here is the once for all sacrificed body, which faith, overleaping the more than 18 centuries' interval, still appropriates, not His present living body.

Christ does not say "My body" simply, but "this is My body which is given for you" (Luke 22:19), i.e. the body sacrificed, and" this is My blood shed," etc., not the blood in His living body, but the blood separated from the body, the blood of a dead body. He gave His body broken (in the way of representation), when as yet it was not broken in fact; He gave His blood shed (in the way of representation), when it was not shed in fact. In the same sense His words are still true, though He is no longer in His sacrificed state but in His never dying state of life.
(from Fausset's Bible Dictionary)

Please notice here that Fausset argues that there was a "club feast" from which the bread and wine were taken for the Lord's Supper, and that this provided the backdrop for the abuses and excesses that called for Paul's response in 1 Cor.11:17-33. We make note that Paul stopped this "club feast" by doing two things: 1) Taking the food back to the houses where it belonged, 2) Enjoining ALL that was intended for the Lord's Supper in the church assembly. In other words, if the club feast had been joined together with the Lord's Supper, as many indicate, it was not by divine appointment, but by human reasoning and desire alone.

A second thing to note here is that "the body" to be discerned is not "the church". That is, this occasion was not about looking around to make sure we are feeding the poor among us as we eat, but to think about the Lord's body that had been sacrificed. The sacrificed body of Jesus. Some of our brethren are promoting the idea that Paul was not sending the food back to the homes but that he was merely getting them to think correctly toward sharing their food with the church, especially the poor among them in the body (church). No! Paul is taking the brethren back to the original purpose and plan of what Jesus did the night of His betrayal. He said "this is My body which is given for you". He was not speaking of the church which is given for you, but of His body, the one about to be sacrificed for them. The body of Christ and the blood of Christ are the focal memorial points that must be properly discerned, and a table "club feast" is not a proper setting for the Lord's Supper. Paul is likely giving emphasis to the fact that Jesus waited till "after Supper" (after the Passover supper had been duly engaged) that the new meaning was being attached to two items that would be used in the kingdom in a new way, not to remember deliverance from Egypt but how His body and blood provided deliverance from bondage to sin and entrance into the kingdom of God's dear Son. These items would not be designed to fill stomachs but fill minds and hearts. These two items were the whole of what was enjoined upon his disciples. No meal was enjoined. No setting. Just "do this" in "remembrance of Me". Now, it is not surprising that Jews may have wanted to keep a semblance of the Passover meal, but now call it the Agape for charity toward the poor among us, and then use the occasion to kill two birds with one stone (helping the needy under guise of seeming to observe the Jewish Passover, and observing the Lord's Supper out of that occasion). However, those ideas were not enjoined by Jesus at all. The Lord's Supper included all Jesus wanted, and therefore excluded everything else. The club feast could continue in anybody's house that wanted to have such a feast. It was not to be associated with the assembly for the Lord's Supper. Not by divine authority and injunction.


Some point out that in Matthew's account that the record says "WHILE" they were eating Jesus took the bread. The record of Luke says "AFTER supper". Which way is it supposed to be observed? Is it to be observed while we are eating other food, or after we get through eating other food? Neither. Jesus is not enjoining that the memorial Supper be engaged WHILE another meal is going on, nor just AFTER another meal. It may have been the case that WHILE some still were chewing on Passover items, that Jesus took two items and gave them a new significance He wanted them to think about, and it may have been also while He Himself had finished eating (after Supper to Him). Keep in mind, if it is WHILE another meal was going on, it would have to be WHILE the specific ingredients and attendant thoughts of a PASSOVER meal was going on. No! the Passover meal is fulfilled in Christ. While we are together feeding on Jesus OUR Passover, we are to engage the two items He designated for the memorial purposes. Neither is it AFTER we engage the specific ingredients and attendant thoughts of the Passover meal, that we start the memorial to Christ's body and blood in the Lord's Supper. In other words, Jesus is not enjoining anything but the two items, not the meal, not the Passover meal ingredients and thoughts together, but that these two items be used in His memory. If someone argues that the Lord's Supper was instituted during a meal, it is incidental, and it was during a SPECIFIC meal, not an ordinary pot-luck meal. The Passover meal was not to continue as shadows move from a physical realm into a spiritual counterpart. Nor is it authorized that one combine a potluck meal for a similar setting. The setting is the spiritual kingdom of Christ, not a potluck meal. Nor was Jesus saying that I want you to have a meal of an ordinary sort and then eat the Lord's Supper. The physical meal of the Passover finds a spiritual fulfillment in the kingdom. Jesus eats it new with us in the kingdom where the physical Passover meal finds it's typological likeness fulfilled in the spiritual food substance we share in the fellowship of Christ.

It is possible that the early necessity of bringing for the brethren a gift of love for the distribution table (Acts 6) became a fixture of what to do each assembly. Like a white cloth over the table was thought essential in previous years to us. But, when the physical need to do so faded with time and circumstance, it possibly became fixed in mind that the assembly be a time for eating and the eating was a good time to observe the Lord's Supper. The fallacy was that the eating for the body was not intended to be a fixed part of the assembly when there was no need for it, and especially where it blurred the purpose and meaning of the Lord's Supper. The way to solve the confusion at Corinth was to get back to the memorial purpose of the Lord's Supper and separate the meal aspect of it to the home or common dwellings. "Houses to eat in" and "let him eat at home" was the way to address the distinction the Lord intended between memorial and common meal.

AGAPE According to ISBE

Relation to the Eucharist : In the opinion of the great majority of scholars the Agape was a meal at which not only bread and wine but all kinds of viands were used, a meal which had the double purpose of satisfying hunger and thirst and giving expression to the sense of Christian brotherhood. At the end of this feast, bread and wine were taken according to the Lord's command, and after thanksgiving to God were eaten and drunk in remembrance of Christ and as a special means of communion with the Lord Himself and through Him with one another. The Agape was thus related to the Eucharist as Christ's last Passover to the Christian rite which He grafted upon it. It preceded and led up to the Eucharist , and was quite distinct from it. In opposition to this view it has been strongly urged by some modern critical scholars that in the apostolic age the Lord's Supper was not distinguished from the Agape, but that the Agape itself from beginning to end was the Lord's Supper which was held in memory of Jesus. It seems fatal to such an idea, however, that while Paul makes it quite evident that bread and wine were the only elements of the memorial rite instituted by Jesus (1 Cor 11:23-29), the abuses which had come to prevail at the social gatherings of the Corinthian church would have been impossible in the case of a meal consisting only of bread and wine (compare verses 21,33 f) Moreover, unless the Eucharist in the apostolic age had been discriminated from the common meal, it would be difficult to explain how at a later period the two could be found diverging from each other so completely.
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia)

Acts 20:7

To break bread klasai arton. First aorist active infinitive of purpose of klaoo. The language naturally bears the same meaning as in Acts 2:42, the Eucharist or the Lord's Supper which usually followed the Agapee. See 1 Cor 10:16. The time came, when the Agapee was no longer observed, perhaps because of the abuses noted in 1 Cor 11:20 ff. Rackham argues that the absence of the article with bread here and its presence ton arton in Acts 20:11 shows that the Agapee is referred to in Acts 20:7 and the Eucharist in Acts 20:11, but not necessarily so because ton arton may merely refer to arton in Acts 20:7. At any rate it should be noted that Paul, who conducted this service, was not a member of the church in Troas, but only a visitor.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)

So, looking at the evidence, there seems to have been a blurring of the role of the Agape meal from first a social need (the early church beginning under circumstances that had people from out of town needing to stay, but having brought insufficient supplies for such an unexpected stay, and that creating a need for a daily distribution (Acts 6:1-6) in a sense of brotherhood), to a blending of the meal with the Lord's Supper, which practice led to other corruptions as we saw at Corinth. There was a need to keep the meal separate from the Lord's Supper. Paul was lead by the Spirit to squash the common meal practice, by making a distinction between the house meals and the Lord's Supper. The eating from house to house (Acts 2) was never intended to be mixed with the general assembly where the whole church gathers to break bread in memorial to Jesus body and blood. The agape is based upon Acts 2:44-46 where they had all things in common and addressed the "needs". The eating of food was originally intended to be "from house to house" but in some houses the social meal was also the place of gathering for assembly for the memorial Lord's Supper. In these situations, it became easy to blur the purpose of the gathering as one act lead into another similar action. A clear way of separating the two events was not carefully done in those houses, so a tradition of eating, then taking the supper became common place in those assemblies. The "house to house" method of sharing food with the poor and less fortunate in the same assembly time and place may have been carried to the place of general assembly when a new arrangement was made for a different assembly place. The purpose of assembly needs to always be kept distinct. The houses are to eat in and enjoy other things such as play and entertainment. The assembly of the whole church for worship must be kept distinct from a gathering for food, games, or entertainment. The church has it's own work, and the home has its' own function. If a home is the meeting place of the church, the home surrenders a slice of time to the church and gives control of that time and location to the church assembly. The church does not own and control the home, but is given authority to control and own that assembly time to the work God assigned it. The head of the house surrenders that location and time to the church, but regains it when the purposes of the church have been completed. The house-owner can then invite whoever to a meal or games or whatever he desires, but those things are not inherently the work of the church. In a situation where a head of house does NOT own the location of assembly, then the church must keep it's work clearly separate from the work of the home. The home provides food and entertainment, the church does not. The church has a particular spiritual work, and that work must be kept clearly in mind. Food and entertainment has no place in a place owned and controlled by the church. Eat at home, and come to the assembly place prepared to engage the purpose of that assembly. This is what Paul is trying to accomplish in 1 Cor.11:17ff.

The Background Typology

Ex 12:14-28

14'So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat — that only may be prepared by you. 17 So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance. 18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 19 For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.'"

21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them,"Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. 23 For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. 24 And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. 25 It will come to pass when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. 26 And it shall be, when your children say to you, 'What do you mean by this service?' 27 that you shall say,'It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.'" So the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 28 Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. NKJV

Now, please observe that Paul said "let US keep the feast" (1 Cor.5). How are we keeping the feast? We are keeping the feast in it's fulfilled way. The type was pointing to something else. The type was needing to be "fulfilled" because it was predicting something else. What was it predicting so that it needed to be "fulfilled'? Let us observe that the Passover feast was a shadow, not the substance. The meal was a shadow, not the substance. The Passover Lamb was a shadow, not the substance. The feasts were shadows and the substance is in Christ (Col.2:17). Let us observe how Jesus was teaching this relationship of the shadow finding fulfillment in the substance of the spiritual kingdom.

Luke 22:14-22

When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."

17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. 21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!"

Eating the Passover with it's attendant meal was predictive of a fulfillment in the kingdom. We are encouraged to keep the feast (1 Cor.5), but the food is different and the kingdom is different. What happened? We keep a spiritual feast in a spiritual kingdom which fulfills the predictive elements of the physical elements of the Passover meal. So, our "feasts" involve a substance that is not physical. What are the "feasts" that Christians "keep" regularly? With every assembly we keep the feast of unleavened bread. That is, we separate ourselves from sin and engage a spiritual feast together with "sincerity and truth". Our assemblies involve a spiritual feast. Sometimes a false teacher will "feast with you", but they are only feasting in appearance only. They have a hidden agenda (2 Peter 2; Jude 3ff).

It is interesting that during a great physical feast, Jesus announced that He had something for people to feast on.

John 7:37-39

On the last day, that great day of the feast , Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. NKJV

John 4:31-35

31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat."

32 But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know."

33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?"

34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. NKJV

John 6:26-27
27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." NKJV

John 6:53-59
53 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven — not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever."
59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. NKJV

It was this kind of food that the apostles were trying to feed the church of Christ. To the brethren at Corinth Paul despaired:

1 Cor 3:3
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food ; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. NKJV

Eating spiritual food is not a far-fetched idea. See 1 Cor.10:3. Having our spiritual appetites satisfied and our spiritual taste-buds stimulated is a common concept.
Heb 6:4-6
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. NKJV 1 Peter 2:2 .."as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious".NKJV

Thus, those things that address the spiritual side of God's people are refreshing and enjoyable "tastes" of a spiritual feast. The language of the Passover meal has its' fulfilled role in the spiritual benefits surrounding Christ as Our Passover. The "fellowship meal" is the spiritual things we eat together from the spiritual altar. The table of the Lord had been the sacrifice offerings and the partaking of it physically (Mal.1:7-8). It is not surprising to find that the Christians also enjoy the fulfillment of the typology of those sacrifices and attendant physical meals by having the "table of the Lord" being given substance in Christ (1 Cor.10:21). It is not surprising that since the table of the Lord was what God prepared from the altar of burn-offerings in the typifying Old Testament system, that we would also have an altar (Heb. 13:10). But, please notice that it too is a different altar.

Heb 13:9-10
For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.

10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. NKJV

Notice that we eat from our altar like they ate from theirs, but we have a different kind of altar and a different kind of food. We eat from our altar a food that establishes "the heart". By grace our hearts are established with the food we eat from our altar. But, our altar is a spiritual altar in Christ. Our food is food that establishes the heart. Thus, our feasts of love are feasts involving the spiritual food on the spiritual altar. From that altar comes fruit from our lips that supplies nourishment to those who hear us.

Heb 13:15-16
15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. NKJV

With our hearts fed from the altar of Jesus' death on the cross, our lips share the fruit from what that does in establishing our hearts by grace. Thus, we let the grace of God dwell in us richly, and part of the fruit of our lips will be " speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord" (Col.3:16: Eph.5:19). Thus, we are feasting on what is supplied to the heart and from the heart to other hearts. Our altar and the sacrifice made there is an altar of love and therefore an assembly for a love-feast. Feasting on the love of Christ, and sharing that altar which establishes our hearts by grace, and that grace producing the fruit of our lips in edification of spiritual songs to one another and thanksgiving to God. What greater feast can we have than a heart-feast?

Individual Hosted Feasts

Eating their food from house to house was the norm. The kingdom of God would not be food and drink, but the individual disciples would seek out ways to do good to all men. One way was to host charitable feasts within their homes in which they invited the poor. They hosted these feasts out of love for God and man. Jesus had encouraged this.

Luke 14:12-14

12 Then He also said to him who invited Him, "When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast , invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just." NKJV

It was right and good to host such feasts of love for the poor. It would not be the work of the church, but the work of the home to provide such occasions. There may have been a lot of those occasions provided in various homes, and it could have been the case that Jude is referring to the unsuspected false teacher coming right in to those feasts of love. At any rate, there is no evidence that any church was instructed to provide common meals. There were many different occasions for eating from house to house and at special feasts that were called by various heads of houses, but the church is not a physical meal-providing organization.


Jesus did not institute a Lord's Supper memorial that is to be linked to a potluck meal. Nor, did He link the memorial items to a physical keeping of the specific Passover feast of Judaism. Since he is our Passover, He is our meal, and the only items he enjoined upon the disciples for memorial to His body and blood were the unleavened bread, and the cup, the fruit of the vine. These are to be kept separate from common meals and potluck gatherings, for they are the only items involved with the Lord's Supper. Common meals corrupt the meaning and the occasion for the Lord's Supper. Those should be done at home. Nor should the types and shadows of the Old system be continued. The substance is in Christ, and Christ in the "heavenly places". The memorial Supper does not need a lot of eating, just a lot of thinking and discerning. It was not for filling physical hunger, and so does not demand a lot. Those who criticize the amount as a mere pinch and sip out to be ashamed. If they want to eat more and drink more, just tell the elders to make arrangements for you to sit at the end where you can finish it off, or make preparations ahead of time for you to eat more, but there is no place for ridiculing a memorial item as a "snack". The amount eaten with the mouth has no relationship to the amount eaten with the mind and heart. The amount of fruit of the vine that is drank by the mouth has no relationship whatsoever with the amount of discerning engaged by the heart. One can eat a lot of food and think little with his heart. One can eat a little food, and think big spiritual thoughts with the heart. The practice least likely to open up for abuse is where we keep it small enough for all to know that this is not about feeding the physical appetite but about remembering the basis for our spiritual blessings in Christ, His body and His blood.

Terry W. Benton

Note: More material addressing the House-Church-Meal-Eating-Denomination can be found at:

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