Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 6, 1969
NUMBER 39, PAGE 2b-3a

The First Day Of The Week — The Lord's Supper — Unleavened Bread

Robert H. Farish

Read article by Brother Pierce in another place. In his reply to my former article, Brother Pierce gives most of his attention to the bread to be used on the table of the Lord and attempts to prove that the bread need not be unleavened. As the reader will note, the discussion has strayed from the precise point which was under discussion, i.e.; whether first day of the week observance of the Lord's supper was binding or optional.

That the first day of the week, the day upon which the Lord arose, is the day appointed by the Lord for the church to assemble for public worship, was established by the charge of Paul recorded in I Cor. 16:1,2; the teaching of apostolic example Acts 20:7; the warning against forsaking the assembling together Heb. 10:25 and instructions regulating conduct when the church came together I Cor. 11,12 and 14. (For fuller discussion, see article in Gospel Guardian Nov. 7, 1968).

Unleavened Bread

In the former article I stated, "From the word of God we learn that the only kind of bread available for the Lord to use when he instituted the supper was unleavened bread. Hence, we can use unleavened bread 'by faith', not so with any other kind." According to the law no leaven could be present at the passover. In response Brother Pierce points out that "there are two words used for bread" in the New Testament and that the "artos," the one that has the "general meaning of ordinary bread" is the one "used in every place where bread is referred to for the supper." He goes on to state that "azumos" denotes unleavened bread...but that the word "azumos" is never used with reference to bread for the Lord's supper.

Vines states that "when azumos is used with the article, it signifies the feast of unleavened bread." This is the use made of the word seven times in the New Testament. There are only two other occurrences of the word in the New Testament I Cor. 5:7 where it is used "metaphorically, of a holy, spiritual condition" and I Cor. 5:8 "of sincerity and truth."

On the other hand "artos" in the New Testament is used not only for common bread but also for bread which is unleavened.

Matt.12:4 records that David "entered into the house of God, and ate the shewbread." The word here translated "bread" is "artos." That "shewbread" was unleavened is seen by considering Lev. 24:5-9 and Lev. 2:11. In Lev. 24:9, the shewbread is classed as an "offering of Jehovah made by fire" and leaven was forbidden in any "offering of Jehovah made by fire." "No meal offering which ye shall offer unto Jehovah, shall be made with leaven; for ye shall burn no an offering made by fire unto Jehovah" (Lev. 2:11).

If "artos" could mean unleavened bread, i.e., "shew(bread)" in Matt. 12:4, why can it not mean unleavened bread in Matt. 26:26?

"Where did Jesus get this artos for the supper?" The Bible says, "and as they were eating Jesus took bread, and blessed and brake it..." (Matt. 26:26). It does not remotely imply that he turned unleavened bread of the passover feast, or stones or anything else into leavened bread. Yes, we are well aware that Jesus performed a sign in Cana of Galilee in converting the water into wine and that the disciples believed on him. I, too, believe on him and do not question his power nor the fact of any of the miracles which the Bible claims for him but I do question imaginary miracles of which the Bible does not even hint. There is nothing revealed that authorizes the inference that the bread was leavened.

The resurrection of Christ gives significance to his death for our sins. If he had not been raised, there would be no basis for hope of his coming. In the eating of the Lord's supper there is not only the remembrance of Christ's death but also of his coming again. In eating the Lord's supper, "ye proclaim the Lord's death till he come" (I Cor. 11:26). How appropriate that on the resurrection day we can eat the Lord's supper in remembrance of him "who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification" (Rom. 4:25). How could a disciple of Christ eat the Lord's supper "in remembrance of me" (I Cor. 11:25) with anything but anguish and despair if that remembrance did not include his triumphant resurrection? No, Jesus was not crucified on the first day of the week, he was "raised for our justification" on the first day of the week and we proclaim the Lord's death till he come, on that day in which he was raised.

Rom. 6:3,4 teaches that "all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. We were buried with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life." That is the way I plan to keep it in my teaching. In baptism we become united with Christ in the likeness of his death and his resurrection. "For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection" (Rom. 6:5). I also plan "to keep it in (my) teaching" that in eating the Lord's supper we proclaim the Lord's death till he come.

— 4109 Avenue F, Austin, Texas