Liturgy and the Eucharist

The tradition of the Church Liturgy, or St. Mass, is very old and goes back at least to the 2nd c. This earliest Mass however was already not Jewish, although it had developed form Jewish-Christian Eucharist, or Breaking of Bread in memory of Christ among Jewish Christians at home, on the day of Resurrection, the first day of the week when they were finishing celebration of the Sabbath. The subsequent Sunday liturgy having formed, the celebration of the Sabbath was prohibited for Christians (gentiles or not!) at the Council of Laodicea in 364, but the Mass became reincarnation of the OT Jerusalem Temple service with priests and offerings, however in new non-Jewish garments. Having in mind that all Temple services were instituted by G-d Himself, such reincarnation is logical and beyond discussions (whether the Law is “abolished”, or “not abolished” – cf. 2 Peter 3:16). The very purpose of Christianity, on the one hand, is to bring changes into each person becoming a child of G-d in the Body of Christ. However on the other hand, the purpose of Christianity is to spread Salvation on the whole world through the spread of the chosen people of G-d onto the whole mankind. The latter purpose fits classic OT theocratic order, combining laic and spiritual hierarchies in one overall harmonic structure.

Nevertheless, apostasy of former Christian countries with a lot of apocalyptic signs in them indicates that a “Divine Symphony” of laic and spiritual hierarchies rather belongs to the future Kingdom of G-d. Incapacity of changing the world by traditional Christianity of the gentile origin finished with its withdrawal into the framework of isolated own rituals.

Therefore, it is not necessary that any secondary Mass-like liturgy of non-Jewish origin should be instituted at all in modern Messianic Judaism (there is a great diversity among Messianic Jews coming from Christian denominations and those originating from the Jewish tradition). Since the Pre-Nicene Jewish Christians reemerged after 2000 years of gentile “Nicene sleep”, what is the good for the Jews of repeating the way passed by the gentile Christians? Therefore, an occurrence of any traditional non-Jewish Mass among the Jews should even lead to a suspicion, whether such one is a messianic Judaism in reality.

It is Messianic Paschal Seder only, once a year, which precisely reproduces the Last Supper, and therefore corresponds to traditional Mass of the gentile Christianity. Since Eucharist should exist any way as a remembrance of the L-rd, made obliged by Him during His Last Paschal Supper, but no “Mass service” is indispensable except the Paschal Seder, then the Eucharist, or more simply to say – Breaking of Bread, should exist separately, corresponding to Christ's words “Do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:25). This does not mean drinking water or milk, but traditional wine with breaking of bread during the Jewish holidays in each family, starting with the weekly Sabbath. Whether it is the Eucharist, or not, apparantly depends on repeating Christ's words during the distribution of Bread and Wine “This is my Body, this cup is the New Covenant in My Blood”. Besides, this should be performed on one fixed day of assembling of communy believers, what was naturally a Sabbath day for the first Jewish Christians who broke Eucharist Bread, with all probability, after the sunset end of the day, respectively on the first day of the week.

However among first Christian (Messianic) Jews the celebration of Sabbath from Friday (the sixth day) sunset till Saturday (the seventh day) turning into Sunday (the first day) with all probability turned more and more usual in families only, not in a sinagogue additionally, because of the opposition of many traditional sinagogues, not to say that after the Jewish revolt against the Romans with subsequent destruction of the Temple, all gatherings on the seventh day of the week were treated as Jewish and insurgent by the Romans, but this forced the first Christians to celebrate Sabbath in families but to assemble on the day of Resurrection on the first day of the week (on Sunday, the Day of the L-rd, Gk. fem. κυριακή → cf. Georgian kvira), cf. Didache, 14, of the break of the 1st / 2nd c.). This took place because such gatherings happened on the 1st day of the week in earlier times too (cf. Acts 20:7). However the Eucharist was also proper to every assembling of the first Jewish Christians on any day, as probably (not in families separately!) seen in Acts 2:46. In any case one can see that Breaking of the Euscharist Bread, as expressing the Sacrifice of the L-rd for many, unites many in One Body of the Messiah, therefore it should take place on assembling of believers.

One can hardly imagine that the Messianic Jews (even believing in Mass Sacrifice) should be obliged to break some specially baked Eucharist wafer, and not the same bread, leavened or (only on Easter) unleavened, as they are breaking on every weekly Shabbat in families (chalas, but standard matzos only on Easter or in every case, or bread of some Oriental oval form etc.)

More likely, performance of the Eucharistic Communion, when and how, depends only on Messianic community itself, no mandatory rules exist. Nevertheless, the problem of the Eucharist Communion persists for all traditional Nicene Christians who join the Messianic Jewish movement, because, and in spite the fact that, it is namely the Eucharist Communion which unites believers of the same Nicene denomination as members of the latter. No grounds to argue that even in case when the Sign (Sacrament) of the Eucharist is perceived in the meaning of Transsubstantiation, the receiving of this Sign is an action of faith, when the transubstantiation itself is a Mystery of Faith, not any magic sorcery. One can try to penetrate through this Mystery in a kind of string: A DIVINE PROMISE → THE SIGN → THE FULFILMENT. After all, the Communion is a mystic Participation in Golgotha Sacrifice of the Messiah's Body and in Cup of His Suffering. This Partcipation is testified during the public Eucharist, visibly uniting together members of the Sacrificed Ecclesial Body of Christ: each participant receives a Divine Gift for his testimony.

However this is not a ritualistic Participation which is testified during the Communion! A real Participation of everday Christian life in the Golgotha Sacrifice is testified during the Communion, but the Gift received is the Salvation promised! This means that only a true-life Participation is testified, but it is testified RECIPROCALLY: by the Participant, and by the Messiah at the same time! This reciprocal testimony, of the Participant, and of the Messiah, makes Eucharist a huge power in the life of a Christian (and correspondingly: a false “communion”, in state of sin annuling any affinity with Messiah, ruins a false “participant”, cf. 1 Corinthians 11:29).

As for comprehension of the Sign Itself (as transsubstantiation, or a mystic presence, or else) – it is a subject of faith, not any phenomenon of physics. Only one thing is essential: whether the testimony corresponds to actual life of a participant, or contravenes it!

Nevertheless, receiving of the Sign always corresponds to comprehension of the Sign by the participant, i.e. it depends on faith of the partcipant within a corresponding community of believers. One is obliged to follow the faith of a community in which he / she has received the Holy Communion, if one is not a Jew belonging to a Messianic community only.

As a matter of course, a person joining the Messianic Jewish movement will never dispraise any Communion of the Messianic Jews as invalid one. However such a person is obliged to query, whether this Communion is valid for him according to his own faith. This is especially important when believing the transubstantiation provided there is no such belief in a Para-Messianic group, or in a community of Messianic Jews to whom this person comes. However if such a belief is present there, it is again very important for a traditional Nicene Christian, whether the words of transsubstantiation are said by a person possessing legal priesthood, or not (let disciplinary prohibitions be set aside here for the sake of simplicity). Nevertheless it is difficult to imagine that there appear priests, or a bishop consecrating such priests, from Catholics or similar old churches, among fast regenerating communities of the Messianic Jews. Theoretical necessity of such coming priests should mean only one: the Messianic Jews are obliged to enter existing non-Jewish traditional Christian churches. In other words this should mean going back towards unsuccessful attempts of the Past, and ruination of the very sence of the revival of Messianic Jews within authentic Jewish tradition. Therefore, the Messianic Jews remain with their own faith, what in case of the Eucharist makes them near to Evangelicals, –

Jewish Priesthood of the New Covenant !

Alias these are Jewich Cohens with their legal genetic priesthood, who become Messianic and who can convert their Aharonic priesthood into Apostolic one initiating a non-genetic (not of Levy – Aharon) Messianic priesthood by further laying hands upon (i.e. ordaining) other persons according to Biblical and first Jewish-Christian practice. This would be one marvelous link more between both Covenants.

In the interim the participation of Christians from traditional Nicene denominations in the Messianic Eucharist remains problematic at least while their legal Eucharist still persists in their churches. However Catholics, having Prayer of the Spiritual Communion, can pray this prayer during the Messianic Communion, when they consider the Messianic Judaism being a revival of the original Jewish Christianity, and not any ordinary (non-Jewish) Christian sect.