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I AM

SYMBOLS JESUS USED TO EXPLAIN HIMSELF

I AM


I.   INTRODUCTION

In the last days of his life Our Lord Jesus was particularly strained because he knew that his days are coming to an end, and that he had very little time left with his disciples to teach and reveal to them the great mysteries of the incarnation.  The communication of the mysteries of heaven is particularly difficult to convey, as they do not usually have terrestrial images.  Words that correspond to the concepts are totally or partially missing in human conceptual world.  As a result these messages are shrouded in symbolic language with the hope that his disciples will be able to grasp its significance as they meditated over his words and teachings.  These great symbolisms are handed over to us in the gospels.  The following studies are an attempt in understanding what Jesus was trying to put across to the human mind.

The importance of the phrase ‘I am the’ can be understood from the mere fact that out of the total of 218 occasions in the Bible (using NIV) nearly 200 of these are declarations of God which states explicitly “I am the Lord” or “I am the Sovereign Lord” or to such effect.  In the Old Testament the title I AM is considered holy and unspeakable.  It was the name as given to Moses in his encounter with the sovereign God at the burning bush theophany.  In the New Testament “I am the” occurs 25 times out of which Jesus refers to it to himself 9 times during his earthly period and 6 times in the Revelations.  That is out of 25 occurrences 16 are spoken by Jesus while 5 times it refers to God himself as quoted by Jesus.  Evidently the phrase I AM is directly related to the revelation of God as the great “I AM” - Yhvh.  A study of the gospels shows that there are seven basic symbols that Jesus used.  These are phrased with the introductory announcement, “I AM THE...” and are found in the Gospel of John.

They are:

1.   I am the bread of life                            Jn. 6.35-59

2.   I am the light of the world                    Jn. 8.12; 9.5; 12.35-36

3.   I am the door                                          Jn. 10.7-10

4.   I am the good shepherd                       Jn. 10.11-18

5.   I am the resurrection and the life      Jn. 11.25

6.   I am the way, the truth and the life  Jn. 14.6

7.   I am the true vine                                 Jn. 15.1-11
 
Evidently Jesus was emphasizing the fact that he was Yhvh, God.  After his Ascension Jesus spoke to John in his vision where he added two other “I am the...” pictures, these are:

8.  I am the Alpha and the Omega                   Rev. 1.8; 1.17-18; 21.6; 22.13

9.  I am the root and the offspring of David,  the bright morning star                              Rev. 22.16

Apart from these verbal symbols Jesus also instituted some visible symbols.  Two of them occur in the sacrament of the Last Supper and carried over into the institution of the Breaking of the Bread or Lord’s Supper or Communion or Mass as are usually referred to by various denominations.   These are the Bread and the Vine.

1.1 WHAT ARE SYMBOLS?
We are all familiar with symbols because they pervade all our lives.  It is a representation of an idea either in visual or audible form.  Some examples will exemplify them better.  Among the Christians we are familiar with the cross that appears in most churches.  The early church used the symbol of fish.  Other familiar Christian symbols are the lamb and the open book.  Each religion has a symbol, which represents the core teaching of the religion.  Thus we have the cross for Christianity, the crescent for Islam, the Star of David for Jews, the sign of Om for Hindus.  These are visual symbols.  Political parties, organizations, also use visual symbols, institutions etc. while visual symbols are widely used, the audible symbols are not much popular.  However, they are found in all walks of life.  Command whistles, siren sounds, theme songs of music groups, radio stations etc are examples of these.  We shall see why audible symbols are less popular and the reason is important.

 

The written word and the spoken word are the ultimate symbols because of their communicative power.  An essay or a speech communicates more than a static symbol visual or audible.  That is why the title of ‘the Word of God”, ‘Kalimut Allah” id given to Jesus emphasizes the ultimate and clear revelation of God to man in Christ Jesus.

What then is a symbol?  A symbol is something, which communicates ideas and concepts of realities, which are otherwise difficult to communicate.

A good symbol is therefore a good expression of a concept and is a means of communication.  The use of the symbol gives this effect because of the following process.  First in converts an existing reality into a concept, which in turn is converted into the symbol.  The symbol is received by the receiver who interprets it and recognizes the concept contained in it.  This concept is then realized by the receiver in his mind and spirit.

1.2 SYMBOLS AS A MEANS OF UNDERSTANDING

Symbols are therefore the means of learning.  Writing was one of the first great events in learning, where sounds or concepts are recorded by symbols.  In some languages a phonetic system is used where as in some other languages a visual concept form is used.  We go on inventing more and more symbols and better and better symbols to express our growing concepts.  In language a growing language grows in vocabulary.  As the need arises new words are coined.  For example in some languages there are only three words for colors because colors are classified only into three groups.  In the English language we have seven color names and many combination color names.  In most Indian languages we have minute details of relationships with people indicated in words.  Uncle in English can mean father’s brother or mother’s brother, whereas in many other languages we a distinct words for these.  A study of these words will give us tremendous understanding of the culture of the land.

In science we have been coining new words.    In mathematics we have the commonly understood symbols of +, -, x, / , = at the lowest level.  Then in the higher classes we come across symbols for <, >, tends to, exponent, differential of, integral of, Laplace transform of, sum of etc.  New symbols are always developed to present new concepts.  They help in handling            numbers and algebraic symbols in a faster and better way.  The placeholder 0 is one of the greatest contributions of India to Mathematics.  But many of the symbols used in advanced mathematics are understood only by the mathematicians.

Thus a good symbol helps in our understanding of the concepts involved and also in manipulating ideas involving the concept.  All symbols are developed from the existing symbols.  The symbols get their meaning only in the context of the existing symbols.  For example the integral sign developed out of the Sum sign with an elongated S, differential sign was developed from the basic limit concept of incremental signs as ratio of two infinitesimals.  The same is true in popular symbols.  The cross was abhorrence till Jesus, because it was a symbol of death in a horrible way.  But in Jesus it found a new meaning.  A symbol may have different meaning to different people due to their background. A pig is considered a clean animal in the west and a goat is considered an unclean animal.  But in all Semitic cultures the pig is considered a filthy animal and is abhorrent, while a goat or lamb is considered almost sacred.  The symbols are therefore culture sensitive.

Thus if we want to understand the meaning of a symbol we have to go back into the context of the person who gives the symbol.  In order to understand the symbols Jesus used, we have to do it from within the Jewish context of Jesus’ period.  We have to ask the question, how did his hearers understood it and what are the additional meaning he might have given to the symbol.  In many cases he had changed the meaning of the symbols considerably as he did with the symbol of cross by his personality and his divinity and his teachings.   Jesus being God incarnate knew much more than his hearers.  His burden was to load the symbols with as much meaning as he could so that his disciples could learn in due course of time as much about him as God incarnate as possible, and of the nature of God.  That was the purpose of incarnation. He was the ultimate revelation of God to man.  Hence his declared symbols of “I am the...” should be considered as the description of God as revealed to Man in Jesus.  It tells us who Jesus was, and what was the purpose of the incarnation.

Since the trancendal and spiritual experiences are the most difficult realities that can be communicated these are usually transmitted through elaborate enacted symbols, commonly known as rituals.  Rituals are sacramental, performative, repetitive social symbols, which takes an ordinary word, action, or symbol and gives it a depth of meaning which is extraordinary.  The purpose is better communication and realization of the experience that is beyond communication.  Rituals receive their meaning only in the context and in the culture in which is stated, since each component symbol of the ritual has a meaning in that context and culture only.  Just as a language is gibberishes to one who do not know the language, rituals will be only a farce or drama to those who do not enter into the meaning of it.


CHAPTER TWO  

I AM THAT I AM

The first of the revelation of God after the revelations to patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was to Moses in the Mount Sinai at the burning bush theophany.  Here Moses expressly desires to know the name of God who is sending him.  The reply was in two specific forms.
The first response was  Ex. 3.14
“I am that I am”,
and
the second response was Ex. 3.15
The Lord God of your fathers.
From the name “I am that I am “ we get the personal name of God Yhvh .  In original it reads Eheyeh asher Eheyeh.  The Vulgate translates it as, “I am who I am”.
The Septuagint translates it as “ I am he who exists.
The Syriac, Persic, and Chaldee preserves the original verse as such without translation.
The Arabic paraphrases it as, “The eternal who passes not away”.
The meaning here can be interpreted in many different senses.

It means first of all that God is a Personal, Independent Self-existent  pure being.  He is without cause, but he is a person - the self-conscious being from the beginning.    Yahweh is not a mere power or an eternal law.    He is not a nirgunan - something which does not have any properties. (The terms used here are from the Indian tradition)   A nirguna-brahman is not knowable, because he cannot be described (nir= non, guna=properties  brahman=godhead).  A saguna brahman is God with properties sa= with guna=properties).  Properties arise only when there is a relation.  There has to be a known and a knower if properties are to exist. Thus in itself it declares that within the unity of the Godhead is a community of sharing, knowing persons so that God becomes a  person with character.  A God without a character and a purpose is unthinkable in Yahvite traditions.  All life and consciousness starts from him.  This is the metaphysical concept of Brahman or Parabrahma (para= ultimate) in Saguna brahma aspect.  The hindu sages describes him as Sat-Chit-Ananda, which translated means “The Truth, The Life and the Bliss”  in this state.    Without God there is no property for matter nor personality for beings.  This is the metaphysical interpretation of the name Yhvh.

Ex.3.15 says, “This is my  name forever, yehovah Elohim” the Lord God.  This God declares is the name by which World have known him - the God who was active in history, the God of the fathers.  In this context, the declaration, I am that I am may be interpreted as “ I am that acts through history or I am who is known through my activity.  God has no name, his revelation is found in the cosmos and in the history.  God reveals himself through history in his dealings with man.  You can know him, but you cannot understand him, simply because God is infinite and man is finite.  the connotation of the word forever is that it is true till infinity of time.  God is the same yesterday, today and forever; but our understanding of God grows with our experience.

This gives three aspects of God.

1.  God is the one who provides the character for matter.  The substance of matter is created by God as an act of volition.  It was an ex-nihilo creation - created from nothing.   The distinctiveness of God from the material world - prakrithi (prakrit = original, in crude form; prakriti= nature) is emphasized in Yahweh.  Yahweh is a Purusha (=Person)  while Prakrithi is non-Purusha - whose properties arise because of their inter-relations.  These properties are because of God.  He imposes these properties.  In other words laws of nature are encoded by God.  Science therefore declares the majesty and glory of God. He shows himself through nature.

There are other alternatives, which are also perfectly logical.   Some of these possible alternatives are:
=  There is nothing but God(Paramatma).  Then all that we are and we see  are parts of God - not only consciousness (Jeevatma) but also non-conscious matter and non-matter (Prakriti).
=  There is God which forms the consciousness.  All matter and non-matter are created by this God.
=  There is God which forms the consciousness and all others are just the imagination or conscious projection of this consciousness and are unreal.
=  There is God and there is matter and non-matter.  They are the primal duals.  Interactions of these are what form the events and experiences.  In effect we have all sorts of permutations possible with these basic existence of
1)  God (Paramatma)      2)  Non-Gods (Jeevatma)    3) Matter in many dimensions (Prakriti)
we can have (1) and (1) creates two and three; we can have (1) and (2) and (1) creates (3); we can have (1), (2)and (3) coexisting.   With the definition of God as we understand Him to be, we cannot have the order reversed

So we can see that there are many logical possibilities and we cannot really establish or refute the existence of  God.  Hence we only have apologetics for what we believe.  We can justify but not prove the existence of God.
So in the Statement “I am that I am”, God refuses to give an explanation of himself.  Simply because God is beyond reason. Out of this ambiguity arise the various philosophical and religious traditions.  In India all these forms are equally respected from the Advaitic (Absolute oneness =  Only god is reality) and Advaitic( dual absolutes= both Brahman and Prakriti are absolutes)  to Sankhya (Materialistic = only matter is real)

2.  Second God  himself being uncreated cannot have inherent properties or character, unless God himself is a community.  An isolated absolute one God cannot exist - however we define existence. God  internally is a multiple personality.   This is where the Trinitarian aspect of God comes in.  This subject area is vast enough to merit a separate treatise.

3.  The name given by God to Moses can also be interpreted as a progressively  revealed God.  God was saying that you cannot understand me as I am.  You can know me only through my actions. You can know me through my interaction with people, and through my actions in history.  You come to me.  You experience me.  God in history, God who acts through history.  Thus the Bible is a revelation of God, because it is the history of a nation which tells us how God acts through people - how God transformed the lives of those who committed themselves to him; how God dealt with people who refuse to accept God.  It is the history which tells us how god acts through a community and a nation - his methods of dealing with sin, chastisement and restoration.  It is the history of the world, where God acts through history and deals with  nations and how he leads history to culmination according to his purposes.  In all these we see the unveiling of his character and reveals God.  That is why it is the Word of God.

In this sense, history of every nation is the history of God's revelation - only that in secular history we do not view it as such and God  is veiled by man's  interpretation.  The historic struggle of the people of every nation for liberation and oppression, their struggle to find fulfillment of life and purpose are part of God's revelation.  This unfolding still continues.  This unveiling of God continues in  the history of the earth, history of the nations, countries, tribes, families and individuals.  This is probably the only way to know God - in our lives.  God is known through our experience at all dimensions - social, cultural, historical, sensual, intellectual and mental, in body, mind and spirit..

2.1  THE CONCEPT OF MANY IN ONE

In a society that is self-centered, where man is considered as an individual we cannot understand or comprehend the concept of the organism of many in one.  The argument of Islam against the trinity is that God cannot be many in one because there will be conflict in personalities.  If that occurs there will be a dominant personality who will become the God of the gods.  This is actually what is depicted in the pagan gods.  The Hindu trinity is always fighting against each other and Narada is involved in the initiation of conflict, development of crisis and the final  resolution.  This happens always because each of these gods have an interest of their own which cannot be reconciled with the interest of others.  This will then give us a developing and growing God.  Hindu God  even in its Parabrahma aspect is considered as an evolving God.  It would make time beyond  Para Brahman and a goal, which is outside of God and independent. This in fact nullifies the concept of God itself.  Is there something outside of god, beyond god, existing independent of God either moral, spiritual or material?  So we can see that an evolving god is a contradiction.  This is the fallen nature, which is also seen in mankind.  But in a Godhead, which is truly divine, the  Trinity acts as unison.  There is no conflict of interest between the persons within the Trinity in time and history.  They always have the same interest and support each other.  They all have the same problem and contribute complementarily to solve the problem.  This can happen only if the problem is external to the Godhead itself.  The problems are related to the creation and exist only in time and space and other dimensions, which  are outside of God.

    

Notice how Jesus refers to the relationship within the Trinity.
John 5:19   Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
John 10:30   I and the Father are one."
John 14:11   Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
John 14:26   But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 15:26    "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.
 

Adam is a name for Mankind - not of a person.  Eve was certainly in him whom God later separated out and she was the mother of all men.  So the creation was plural - many in one.  The fall of man was probably this consciousness that I am separate  I am not He.  When Cain runs off we meet others.  As the image of God Adam was supposed to be many persons in one Mankind.  But this image was shattered by the choice that Eve and Adam made  by emphasizing their separateness as against their unity. The immediate effect of this fall was the feeling of isolation and nakedness, which caused Adam and Eve to hide.  In the philosophy of Dr. Krishnamurthy he has tried to emphasize this original concept.  For him mankind is actually sharing the same universal consciousness that we call Man.  The separateness is only a maya imposed by the willful ignorance of man.  As long as man refuses to accept this oneness the samsara will engulf him to ignorance of we obtain a fallen world.

Some people think that Yah is probably a whole community of persons in unison forming one living being.  But we certainly have three personalities in one Godhead. To go anything beyond this point cannot be supported by biblical evidence.

In the prehistory there was an animal, which was serpentine in nature, which had three centers of Consciousness or brains.  This animal is now extinct. Did it extinct because of internal conflicts? It is called  Dinosaurs    .  We have no problem in accepting this fact.  However our commonsense notions of space and time limits us from understanding this unity in the human communities and cosmic beings.  These will destroy themselves when these consciousness conflicts each other and pull the being in different directions.  And it is true even of God.  This in essence is the teaching of the New Age and Hinduism  where Man is nothing but the fallen God, because of the internal conflicts.  To them salvation lies in resolving this conflict.

God doesn't have a name.  But they can put on one - or put on many.  He puts on a name that explains their character at that time.  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are names that characterize the activities of these persons.  They have distinct functions within the Godhead and have distinct personalities.  They are one in essence and one is unity.  This unity goes far beyond the essence into their activities and purposes.  If we explain Godhead as a family organism, or as a community organism this will be a better approximation.  But then our fallen nature will tend to associate conflicts within the family and society and the true unity of godhead would be missed.  When Paul describes church as a bride of  Christ he had this unity in mind.
Eph 4:4  There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called--
Eph 4:5  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
Eph 4:6  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Conflict is the result of some irrevocable law of logic or state beyond the human mind.  Since there is nothing beyond God, there can be no conflict within Godhead.


CHAPTER THREE

I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE

 

John Chapter 6 is a discourse on the picture of Jesus as the bread.  This is a very exhaustive treatment on the symbolism where he draws the meaning of the symbolisms to its ultimate limits.
John 6: 27-59

Jesus starts his discourse in the context of the feeding of the five thousand.  He then proceeds to point out that even though the bread he provided was physical bread, people ought to be looking towards him for the real food.  The real food is that sustains life - the food that endures to eternal life.    The bread is called the staff of life or the food that sustains life and helps it grow. (Ezekiel 4:16;  5:16; 14:13)  Even though Jesus refers to bread,  the symbolism is for both food and drink. “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” (Jn.6.35)

Here Jesus is presenting himself as the sustainer of life and not as the giver of life.  In the Bible the life giver is the Spirit of God.  So in defining himself as the bread, he implies his function in the Trinity.  Food doesn’t give life to the body, it only maintains it to be a healthy body so that it may function perfectly.  The body - and I refer to the physical body - cannot function normally unless a man has Jesus within him.  Without Jesus, the body decays and death will come. This is simply because without the power of the risen Jesus it is impossible to live a righteous life here and now.  Our ability to live a normal healthy life is dependent on Jesus in our life. As James points out, “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is fully grown brings death.” (Ja. 1.15)  Jesus is now talking about death.  It is commonly told that death is to be understood as spiritual death or separation from God.  Such an understanding has come from the western interpretation.  But in the Semitic and Asiatic thought this distinction does not arise.    Life is both spiritual and material and death is same in both cases.  In both cases it is a splitting or destruction of man.  Death is the result of sin.  It is not antecedent to sin, but consequence of sin.   So if death is to be conquered, sin must be defeated.  Sin can be defeated only through Jesus.  The ultimate salvation of mankind lies in Jesus, the bread of life.
 

3.1  OLD TESTAMENT IMPLICATIONS

To understand what Jesus meant by the “Bread of life” we need to look into the Old Testament concept of bread.  The symbolic representation of bread in the Old Testament arises in the context of the Shew bread, or the bread of Presence.  This is referred in summary in Heb.9.2 and in detail in Lev.24.5-9 and Ex.25.30.  In the holies, or in the court of the Assembly where the Israel gathered together for worship on the right hand side was a golden table on which were placed twelve bread pieces. Golden table represents the heavenly abodes where the unleavened bread is placed.    Unleavened bread represents the sinless body.  Thus Jesus presents himself as the Bread that came down from heaven.  He is saying that He is God incarnate and sinless.  There were twelve bread one for each tribe and were kept in two rows representing the Jews and the Gentiles, the whole mankind.  Jesus came down for the whole mankind and for every tribe in the believer’s congregation.  The priests were to eat it every week in a holy place and the bread were to be renewed.

Jesus is called the Word of God or the Living Word of God.  The Scripture is the Written Word of God.  Both are alike.  Both are bread - food and drink for the body and spirit.  The emphasis here is that for healthy living one should be continuously feeding on the Word of God in the light of the Holy Spirit, to be “created in Christ Jesus for good works.” (Eph.2.10), “by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Phill.2. 2) as Jesus.  Then we will be like Jesus.

The  bread on the shew table was to be covered and interspersed with incense and necessarily eaten on the Sabbath day by the Levites and renewed every week.  The clear indication is that the feeding on the Word must be accompanied by praise and worship and prayer (incense) and a congregational feeding of word must take place every week.  The study of the Word of God must be new every week.  This is the basis of Sunday services in the present day situation.

3.2  PENTECOST

The next important symbolism of bread comes on the day of Pentecost.  The details of the Pentecost is given in Ex. 34:21-22 ;Lev. 23.16-17.  Pentecost took place on the 50th day after the waving of the first sheave of harvest (which represents the resurrection of Jesus).That day leavened bread is placed on the shew bread table instead of the usual unleavened bread, and that only two of them.  It symbolizes mankind as a whole - both the Jews and the gentiles who are sinful - the leaven symbolizing sin.  Thus bread in general symbolizes life.  Pentecost is the celebration of the law giving at mount Sinai.  Moses brought down the tablets of law on that day.  On that day 3000 apostate Israelites who worshipped the golden calf died.  The Sinaitic covenant was the new beginning for the world, when people all over the world were to live by the law and take the consequence of the sin that was committed.  However it was a law based on mercy.  In the presence of the holiness of God all sin brings death.  But in the Sinaitic covenant, not all law breaking is punishable by death, because of the presence of the Priestly intercession and the sacrificial atonement built in the law.  In this sense the leavened bread symbolized the new redeemed life of mankind.

In the land of Canaan the third day after the Pass over, the first day of the week , was the celebration of the harvest, when the first fruits of the harvests are brought to the temple as a wave offering.  The first sheaves of the wheat were waved in front of the holy of holies.  It represents new life and the promise of a full harvest in due course.  The presentation of the two leavened loaves therefore symbolized man’s hope and promise of redemption through Jesus.  On that day Jesus roses again as a first fruit from the dead, and presented before God, as wave offering with the hope and promise of resurrection from the dead for all believers.  This is the new beginning of the new creation man.

This is exactly what is promised in Jesus.  After the 50th day of resurrection, on the day of Pentecost Holy Spirit came upon both the Jews and gentiles and the church, the beginning of the New Community of Man was born.
 
3.3  MANNA AS BREAD  JN. 6.48-58

1John 6:48   I am the bread of life.
John 6:49   Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died.
John 6:50   But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.
John 6:51   I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

In this passage Jesus compares himself with manna and distinguishes himself as that living bread which came down from heaven.  The reasoning is simple, as the manna gave life to the starving Jews in the wilderness, Jesus gives food to the spiritually starved.  the manna could not provide life, because it was not spiritual.  It is the spirit that gives life, the material is of no use for this.

John 6:52   Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
John 6:53   Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
John 6:54   Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:55   For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.
John 6:56   Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.
John 6:57   Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
John 6:58   This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."

3.4  NEW TESTAMENT IMPLICATIONS

There is New Testament implication also to this.  New testament era differs from the old in that it abrogates law and establishes love in that place.  The difference is a change in perspective.  One relies on law and duty while the latter relies on a deeper personal relationship.  Both are community centered.  The Old community was the Jewish nation and the in the new it is the Church.  The fact that the new could encompass all nations is because of this change in perspective, which transcends national boundaries and blood relations.  The manna was in actual context the binding force within the Israel during their wilderness period.  In the same way Jesus is the binding force within the church during the wilderness period of the Church.  The old were culture based and the new is supracultural.

As the bread is converted into flesh in nature, Jesus converts into the flesh of the Church and of the believer individually and collectively.  Jesus thus becomes the church, the body of Christ.
1 Cor 12:27  Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

3.4 GENERAL IMPLICATIONS

3.41  WHEAT  REPRESENTS MAN:

Man was created out of the dust and  so is wheat formed out of the dust.  Though they are formed out of the dust there is a lot of difference between the dust, the soil and the minerals  and the organic molecules that form the wheat substance and man.  Both have life in them.  That is why wheat is a food for man.  The wheat body is transformed into the human body organism by assimilation.  In the same way the Jesus, the word of God becomes life to the believer when assimilated and formed part of his daily living.  The process of conversion of wheat into body follows the following process.
wheat - ingestion-digestion-assimilation-body.

It is the same with the believer.  Believer ingests the word of God and accepts Jesus Christ as personal Savior.  This transforms him totally and Jesus becomes part of his life.  The more he ingests, more like Jesus he becomes.  Each believer then becomes the wheat, which produces the body of Christ within the church.

A grain of wheat remains as it is if left alone.  But if it falls down and dies it will yield much fruit.  Other grains are formed, thus increasing the body . Herein lies the message of Cross and resurrection of Christ. There is no resurrection for the fallen man unless he dies and resurrected in newness of life.  It regenerates itself

John 12:24  I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

3.42  MADE AS BREAD

The process of bread making involves different steps. First it is ground to flour and then  mixed with oil  and then kneaded fully and is kept a while to form internal changes of bond.  Then it is put in the oven at high temperatures to produce the bread.  In the same way in the formation of the individual believer he is processed . He is ground through the suffering.
1 Pet 4:12  Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.

1 Pet 4:13  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Jesus as man also went through the suffering and in that process was made perfect in human nature and became a High Priest for all mankind.
Heb 5:8  Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered
Heb 5:9  and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him
Heb 5:10  and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

1 Pet 2:21  To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
 It is necessary that the selfishness of individual be ground into fine powder  and be anointed with the Holy spirit which produces the cohesive force within the Church.  Thus in time the individual looses their separate character and forms the church.  But for to be of use to others as food the church itself will have to go through the hot Oven.  This makes the church firm and edible.  The churches denominationalism and its selfishness will have to be burned. Unity comes only through suffering.  Persecuted churches always remained united.  Even today the only country in the world where all denominations from the Pentecostals to Catholics form a united council is the Sudan Christian council  for the simple reason that it is a persecuted church.  After all the purpose of the bread is to be eaten by others.  If the church is to be a  redemptive power and be a  rejuvenating force it has to give itself up.  Most churches forget this.  The fallacy often perpetuated is that salvation of the individual is the ultimate purpose of the gospel.  It is only the beginning.  It is then thought that church is the ultimate purpose.  It is the body of Christ for a function.  This function is the redemption of  whole mankind.  Mankind (not individuals) is the ultimate purpose of incarnation. More than that, it is the redemption of the whole creation from the bondage of decay.

Rom 8:18  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Rom 8:19  The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.

Rom 8:20  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope

Rom 8:21  that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

We are called into this priesthood as Jesus himself.
 
1 Pet 2:9  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Leavened or unleavened ( sinful as we are), kneaded, made into loaves, cakes or wafers and it  distributed  in every city all over the world.   Baked in an oven or hearth or coals-it is edible only when baked - made cohesive, and as bound  coherent church in  oneness is eaten.  It then gives strength and life to those who care to eat the bread .   So is Jesus. So is the Church today.  Before it is eaten it has to be broken to pieces or cut into slice.
John 6:54  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:55  For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.
John 6:56  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.
John 6:57  Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.

John 6:58  This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."

3.43   JESUS AS THE WORD

John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:2  He was with God in the beginning.
John 1:14  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

If Jesus is the Word and he is also the bread from heaven, life can be sustained only if we actually feed on it.  As the bread can give life only if it is ingested and then digested and infused through the blood streams, the life of the believer and of the Church can be realized only if we continuously ingest, digest and infuse the word of God.  Individually we feed on the word of God and live in it.  As a church we feed on it and live on it.
 
3.5  HOLY COMMUNION IMPLICATIONS

This figure of bread is directly translated into the communion of saints through the breaking of bread.  Ancient liturgies by early fathers actually declare what I have stated in the earlier portions in clear terms.
Liturgical declarations include the following :
       - wheat is brought together from various places, so also he will  gather together his people from all nations tribes and geographical areas.
       - In the communion we  remember all those who labored in it, from the preparation of the field, the sowing, caring and harvesting and then worked through the process of bread making.
        - The whole community of believers from the beginning of the age till now is present at the communion table.
It emphasizes that  we are part of everyone who ever lived and died from the beginning of creation.  Every breath contains one molecule of air that was breathed by Adam and more of Jesus. Everyone ever lived and is living is part of my breath. They are changing us.  We are changing the world.  I am my brother’s keeper and I am fully responsible for every good and bad thing that happens today .
 Again we are a part of every creation, every element of universe.

This oneness of humanity, oneness of universe   is regained in Resurrected Jesus.
Eph 2:15  by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,
Eph 2:16  and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
Eph 2:17  He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.