The Believer's Test
The following content was borrowed from members.aol.com/SocratesMG/index10a.html and posted here because AOL unexpectedly deactivated the website.
Are you a true believer in Jesus? Will you follow Him when it is difficult? Once, Jesus so severely tested the belief of His disciples that many of them simply turned and walked away. As the the focus of a lively discussion with a man named Karl, this very same Test was given once again. What follows in this letter to Karl is a re-living of some of the most dramatic moments found in Scriptures. Are you a true believer in Christ? Join Karl and Socrates, and take the Believer's Test for yourself!
Thank you for your post. It was well-focused and goes to the very heart of the matter. Without mincing words, you say:
"CHRIST IS NOT IN THE EUCHARIST!! This is a fallacy for the gullibles. We eat unleavened bread in memory of Him and that's it. His last supper talk was symbolic."
If you are right, Karl, then the two largest of the Christian Churches as found in the Catholic and Orthodox faiths have been teaching their followers idolatry for two millennium! For they speak of the "Real Presence" of Christ in the Eucharist (His body, blood, soul and divinity being present), and therefore encourage their followers to actually worship the work of human hands as if it were God!
On the other hand, should it be true that the Son of God is in fact actually present under the appearance of bread and wine in the Eucharist, then true followers of Christ will quite naturally fall to their knees in homage and worship before their beloved Lord. Those who would choose to ignore Him would do so only at the greatest of perils, for it was Jesus Himself who said: "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you."
Surely you must agree, Karl, that the stakes are high on this issue. These Christians who believe in the Real Presence of the Eucharist and kneel before it, are either being incredibly blasphemous... or mystically enjoy the greatest treasure in the universe. There is no in-between. What a tremendously important topic we have for our discussion! As we delve into our subject, let's first look to our common held ground in our beliefs, as found in both Scriptures and the writings of the first century Christians. If we study closely what the first Christian writings held to be true, perhaps this can refresh our perspective. I suggest we begin with the Gospel that contains the most extensive discussion of the body and blood of Jesus, and study this subject from the perspective of the disciples as if we were actually there with them.
We begin our dialogue with Christ in the Gospel of John Chapter 6, after he has just performed the great miracle of feeding a crowd of over 5,000 by multiplying just 5 barley loaves and some fish.
"Jesus took the loaves...
"Jesus took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated..."
We find Jesus now standing before the people of the synagogue, teaching of an even more wonderful gift than the bread which He just gave gave to His followers:
"I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35)
Intriguing words, Lord. You are the bread of life? You? An interesting metaphor, no doubt...
"But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away. And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given me...." (John 6:36-39)
What is it that we do not believe Lord? That you are the bread? Well, to tell you the truth, I am sort of confused here. I don't quite understand your point... And yet a little later you again tell us:
"I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die." (John 6:48-50)
Lord, you are saying that there are two kinds of bread, and one is from Heaven. But... I'm sorry, I'm still not quite sure what you are teaching me here. Yet if it means I will not die by having this Heavenly bread, then tell me more...
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever..." (John 6:51)
Curious, Lord, that you repeat this teaching for the third time in a row. You are obviously emphasizing that it is You Who are the bread. OK. But in what way? How? What sort of metaphor are you giving to us? You are obviously not a loaf of bread standing before the crowd. Therefore a symbolic understanding of your words here seems to be the obvious one, and certainly the most sensible.
"...and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." (John 6:51)
Uh-oh... What did He just say Karl? The bread He is talking about is His flesh? How can this be? And yet it is clear that Jesus is now identifying just exactly what the "bread" actually is. Perhaps we're just thoroughly confused here... let's listen further:
"The Jews then disputed among themselves
"The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?' " (John 6:52)
We're not the only ones confused here, Karl. These folks have understood Jesus quite literally too, and they don't like His meaning either! It looks as though we have some company. If Jesus doesn't intend the literal interpretation of His words, He had better clarify things here and now, and calm these people down
"So Jesus said to them, 'Very truly, I tell you..." (John 6:53)
Oh good! Jesus sees that the people are misunderstanding Him, so He begins this next passage with an oath. (1) Now He will get down to business and set the record straight. Certainly we can trust that our Lord will make it clear exactly what He means to teach us:
"...unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you." (John 6:53)
(Can you hear the crowd gasp?)
"Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day..." (John 6:54)
How can He say this?! Can't Jesus see that He is upsetting the crowd?
"for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink." (John 6:55)
Does He really have to keep repeating the "flesh" and "blood" part in such a graphic way? This crowd is getting ugly!
"Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.'" (John 6:56)
Goodness! What is Jesus doing?! He is not exactly calming the crowd down with a beautiful and soothing explanation that this was all just a metaphor, or simply a symbolic description.
We have a real problem here, Karl.
Let's try to get our bearings here once more, and re-read this passage as a whole, for this certainly seems to be a stunning revelation:
"Whoever eats of this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?' So Jesus said to them, 'Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.'" (John 6:51-56)
How, Karl, should we understand the intent of these words? Surely Christ knew that this was going to be a tremendously controversial teaching. Yet as shown in the Greek text, He does not soften his words; rather Jesus does the opposite and emphasizes the earthy realism of "eating" His flesh. This is shown by the use of the word "trogo" in the Greek (though it was translated here as the word "eat"). This unique word is actually a stronger word than what is normally used in the New Testament to describe the idea of eating. A more precise translation would be closer to "chew" or "gnaw" (2), rendering the passage: "Those who chew my flesh and drink my blood"... Powerful words!
"Those who eat my flesh...
"Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.'"
Those listening understood Christ literally, since this was not the language of metaphors. Their literal understanding was only reinforced as Jesus repeats over and over -- five times in a row -- that His followers must eat His flesh, as well as telling them four times in a row to drink His blood. He even makes the point that "my flesh is real food and my blood is true drink". All this after Christ takes care to begin these pronouncements with a solemn oath, so that the people would know He was speaking earnestly. Nowhere else in all of Sacred Scripture does Jesus repeat Himself in such an emphatic and insistent way. Could He make His message any more blunt for His listeners? Isn't it universally true that when someone doesn't quite understand what we are saying, that we repeat ourselves over and over until they do?
By using this particularly graphic choice of words, and this repetitive manner of description, it seems clear that Jesus was going out of His way to make the point that He wanted His words to be taken at face value. This is why the crowd listening to Jesus was so upset with His words. But let's continue and see what further things He will add to this:
"'Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.' He said these things while He was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum." (John 6:57-59)
OK, Karl, let's sort this out. There are two kinds of bread. We know that the manna Jesus refers to was the first "bread from heaven" given by God to the Chosen People in the desert. Jesus teaches his listeners that this bread fed the flesh and saved their forefathers from physical death as a pre-figurement of Him. Manna was a powerful symbol for the Jews listening; it was so revered by their forefathers that it was given the supreme honor of being placed in the Ark of the Covenant, along with the tablets of the Ten Commandments. Later on it was placed in the Holy of Holies within the Temple. Yet we are reminded by Jesus that even this holy and heavenly bread could not save the people of God from spiritual death. However, Jesus as the "bread of life" will save us from such a death. Incredible!
Let's see if Jesus will calm these people down with an explanation of this "bread of life" which is easier to accept than actually gnawing Jesus' flesh and drinking His blood. Will He lose His followers over some terrible misunderstanding? Will He scatter His sheep?
"When many of His disciples heard it, they said, "This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?" (John 6:60)
Oh my... not only is the general crowd gathered at the Synagogue rebelling against the meaning of Christ's words, but even the very disciples of Jesus are now grumbling against Him! Well, Karl, these angry people agree with you! Like you, they are repelled by the thought of having to chew the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus. It is obvious that even His disciples have not understood Jesus symbolically, but literally. And they don't like this difficult commandment of His in the least.
If we were one of the disciples sitting with the crowd looking around at all of these bewildered and angry people, we might be muttering to ourselves: Well, Lord, this may be your last chance. Do You really mean what You say? Or are You going to drive away these people away from You over a misunderstanding? You are the Truth, aren't You? The Good Shepherd? A few moments ago, didn't You tell us that:
"...anyone who comes to me...
"...anyone who comes to me I will never drive away..." (John 6:37)
We have come to you, Lord, in search of answers. In my heart I know You would never drive away your sheep... and certainly never because You wanted them to misunderstand You. That is the mark of Satan. Yet before, when we have been confused, You always explained Yourself to us. (3) You have taught us that You are the Way and the Truth. Will You now simply watch us as we stumble down the dark path of falsehood?
"But Jesus, being aware that His disciples were complaining about it, said to them, 'Does this offend you?'" (John 6:61)
Well, Lord... I... uh...
"Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?" (John 6:62)
Good grief Karl! Instead of apologizing for the confusion here or explaining His words as having some symbolic meaning, Jesus offers them yet another marvel to accept in faith. He actually raises the stakes by insisting that His followers believe Him without question! Jesus is not backing down in the least about either the meaning or the impression which He has made with His followers. Clearly, He is testing His followers, requiring of them that they either believe in Him and His teachings through faith... or leave. He then continues:
"It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." (John 6:63)
All right, Lord, You encourage us to believe in this new teaching by telling us how important these words are. Indeed, they are "spirit and life". You are not now repudiating what You have just taught us. (4) For we know that man's flesh was fed by manna, and this new bread will feed our spirit. The words of Moses in the desert when he commanded the Israelites to eat the manna have now given way to the words of Jesus as He commands us to eat his flesh. The old command could save a person from the physical death of the flesh, but it was meant to prepare us for that sacred moment when the Word would come down from heaven and give eternal "spirit and life" to our soul. That's why, after feeding the crowd of 5,000 earlier today, You are now cautioning us that simply feeding "the flesh is useless." Ok, that miracle was just a sign, but now You want to give us the reality. I think I get it Lord... Therefore if I want to have the "spirit and life" contained in the words you have just spoken, I should pay close attention to them. What were those exact words again?
"unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you". (John 6:53)
I see... I must eat your flesh and drink your blood in order that I gain the "spirit and life" You promise... These are the words which now divide the hearts of those listeners standing before you. Even for those of us who would call ourselves your followers. Your words test our faith in You, Lord. Shall I believe?
"But among you there are some who do not believe"
"But among you there are some who do not believe." (John 6:64)
Lord, how is it that we are to come to believe such a difficult teaching? In this moment of wonder we question this new manna from heaven. What is it? Yet in so questioning your words, we find that we are fulfilling the prophecy found in the very word of "manna" itself. For manna actually means "what is it?" It is what the rebellious Israelites retorted when they were given the first "bread from heaven". Whether it is the old manna, or the new, still we doubt the mysterious gifts God offers to us... (5) Now is the moment when the followers of Jesus will betray the true depth of their belief.
"For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray Him." (John 6:64)
What?! Not only is the issue of our faith on the line here, but also betrayal? Scripture seems to be telling us that the betrayal by one of His own disciples is connected to this test of faith.
"And He said, 'For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.'" (John 6:65)
Hmm... So, if we are to pass this test and come to believe Christ's words here, if we are to answer the question "what is it?", then faith is required. Yet when I look around amongst your disciples, Lord, I fear. For some of them have set their face against your Word...
"Because of this many of His disciples turned back and no longer went about with Him." (John 6:66)
Stunning! Even His own disciples were so shocked and outraged by this incredible teaching that they left Jesus! They simply could not tolerate the literal meaning of His words. A symbolic meaning would have been nice and neat... not a problem. How then are we to cling to the idea that Jesus spoke symbolically here, Karl? Did the Holy One of God deliberately confuse and scatter His flock? Did He "drive them away" right after He promised He would not do this? Would He deliberately tempt the crowd, the disciples, and even the twelve apostles to abandon Him because of poor communication?
Would He ever do such a thing?
Though this is a question we must finally answer, for now let us return once again to the powerful scene unfolding before us. In response to this remarkable teaching of Christ's, Scripture sadly portrays the crowd thinning ,and the disciples shaking their heads in disbelief -- even leaving in disgust! But Jesus is still not finished testing them with this difficult choice. Next we find that even the apostles themselves must face the Believer's Test:
"So Jesus asked the twelve, 'Do you also wish to go away?'" (John 6:67)
1 "Very truly, I tell you..." was an idiomatic oath of the time of Christ, used frequently by Him to specially designate those teachings which must be taken with the greatest seriousness.
2 The Greek word "trogo" is a strong and primitive word, which connotes a graphic representation of eating; Strong's Concordance  tells us that it has "the idea of a crunching sound; to gnaw or chew"; it is not the typical or more tame type of words such as "edo" or "phago", which are commonly used throughout the New Testament to convey the idea of eating. In fact, the word is only used by St. John when He directly refers to the body of Jesus, occurring four times in the above passage and only once more at the Last Supper in reference to the Eucharistic Bread. Even though Christ spoke Aramaic and not Greek, nevertheless John wrote his Gospel in Greek, and took pains to use this more aggressive word "trogo" in order to make a point.
3 Scripture tells us that Jesus explained Himself to his disciples when they were confused (though not always to the proud Scribes and Pharisees). For example, in Mark 4:33-34 we find that "With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples. " Also see Matthew 13:36, 15:15, Luke 8:9 and John 14:22 for further examples of how Jesus would always explain Himself to His disciples.
4 Some attempt to interpret the word "spirit" here to mean "symbolic", and then argue that eating the "flesh" and "blood" of Jesus only refers to symbolically "internalizing" the Word of God. As confirmation, they point to the statement by Jesus where He says the "the flesh is useless". This interpretation, however, is inconsistent with Scripture's meaning and intent for several reasons.
First, there is no precedence for interpreting the Greek word for "spirit" as meaning "symbolic", since nowhere else in Scripture is this word "pneuma" (used in the original New Testament texts) used to signify the term or idea of "symbolic". While it is true that in modern times we sometimes use a symbolic connotation with our own word "spirit" (viz. we might say, "in the spirit of friendship, let us break bread together"), nevertheless this is not a legitimate way to translate the Greek, since they did not have such a use for this word. Even the Protestant-based Strong's Concordance never mentions any such meaning for this word (see Strong's 4151 in the Greek). Thus, while such a forced mis-interpretation might be tempting to the novice in exegesis, it would nevertheless violate the fundamentals of Scriptural interpretation.
Secondly, the whole context of the scene being shown here in Scriptures makes it very obvious that the disciples do not understand or believe that Christ is speaking symbolically. It is painfully clear that everyone listening to Jesus took Him very literally. For if Jesus had in fact explained Himself to be speaking symbolically by talking about the "spirit" of his words, then His listeners should calm down after that. As soon as they realize they don't need to actually eat His flesh and drink blood, and that it was all just a metaphor, it presents no real problem for his disciples. With a symbolic interpretation, we should see the rebellion calm down, and people begin to relax. Do they? No, quite the opposite. This is abundantly clear from the passages which follow the line where Jesus talks about the "spirit" of his words. For after this explanation is given, his disciples continue to increase in their anger, and go so far as to get up and leave Christ. Thus we may conclude from their own behavior that they do not have any reason to change their understanding of His literal meaning that He wanted them to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood.
Thirdly, we must also trust that Christ would never deliberately confuse His disciples and encourage them to walk away from the salvation He offers them. That is the sort of thing Satan would do. If His listeners were truly misunderstanding Him, then surely our Savior would say something to clarify things -- at the very least for his own disciples (see footnote 3 above for a further study of how Jesus always explained Himself to his own disciples when they were confused). Yet as we will see in the passages which follow John 6:63, Jesus says nothing to stop them from walking away and making what would be a terrible mistake, if it were simply a misunderstanding. Rather, He does the opposite. Jesus challenges them repeatedly to use their faith in Him, and choose to believe the difficult teaching He is now giving to them. Thus, we are left with the obvious fact that Jesus was communicating with perfect clarity. That clarity was understood by all as a literal meaning which left no room for a symbolic interpretation.
A fourth reason which demonstrates that Jesus was not speaking "symbolically" when He said His words "are spirit and life", is shown through a careful study of what Christ means when He says "the flesh is useless". One of the difficulties faced in interpreting Scriptures almost 2,000 years after it was written in a foreign land, is the fact that idioms are easily missed by those who are not well-trained in Biblical exegesis. It is easy to assume that since He used the word "flesh" prior to this, that Jesus was once more referring to that same flesh, i.e., His own flesh. Was He? Is the term "the flesh" in the current passage of John 6:63 referring to the same flesh that Jesus speaks of in the previous passages when He uses the term "my flesh"? In fact, the subtle word shift from the word "the" to "my" which Jesus uses in these two phrases is a clue to a distinction He was making. For there is a commonly agreed upon fact (by both Protestant and Catholic scholars alike) that the term "the flesh" is often an idiom used throughout the New Testament to refer in a particular way to the corruption within mankind which resulted from the Fall of Adam. That is, "the flesh" refers to our human weakness and tendency to sin, as embodied in our own flesh. Strong's Concordance corroborates this when it instructs us that "the flesh" will often refer to "human nature with its frailties and passions". For example, in 1 Peter 2:11 we find, "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul." See Mat. 26:41, Jn 3:6, Rom. 7:5, 7:14-20, 7:25, 8:1-17, 13:14, 1Cor.3:1-3, Gal.5:16-24, 6:8, Eph. 2:3, 2 Pet. 2:9-10, 2:17-19, and 1 Jn 2:15-17 for further study on this term. After some research, it becomes clear that this particular use of the term "the flesh" is actually the most common way in which the term is used in the New Testament. Thus it becomes very significant that Christ never said "my flesh is useless". Indeed, Jesus had just gone to great lengths in insisting that not only was His flesh useful, it was absolutely vital for eternal life.
There is yet a fifth way to see that the symbolic interpretation of this passage is inappropriate. Not only is the most common reference in the New Testament for "the flesh" a reference to our own sinful inclinations, as shown above, but it is also the only interpretation which makes sense in the context of this particular passage. Those who attempt the symbolic interpretation of here tell us as part of that claim that "the flesh" refers to Christ's own flesh. Such a claim implies that the very same flesh and blood which Christ offered up to the Father on the cross in reparations for our sins is somehow "useless" to bring us "life". This claim harmonizes neither with common sense, nor with Scripture. Consider the following passage from St. Paul which indicates how important the flesh and blood of Jesus actually are for our salvation: "Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh..." (Heb. 10:19-23) Obviously St. Paul is saying that the "flesh" of Christ is far from useless toward our salvation. Rather, he teaches that the flesh and blood of Jesus are "the new and living way" to God. Notice here should be given to the word "living", for Paul is saying that life itself comes through the flesh of Jesus. This, indeed, is what Jesus meant, when He said his words are "spirit and life". Life comes through His flesh and blood, and because of this, the words which inform us of this reality thereby become our "spirit and life:" (Oddly enough, those who attempt to say that the flesh of Christ is "useless" will nevertheless usually admit that they are "saved by the blood of Jesus")
Clearly then, the flesh and blood of Jesus are far from being "useless" toward our salvation. Therefore the only interpretation which makes sense of the passage "the flesh is useless", is to accept the more common interpretation of "the flesh", namely that is refers to our sinful tendancy. Not surprisingly, this interpretation is also consistent with the earlier part of this chapter of John, when after His miracle of feeding the 5,000 from a few loaves, Jesus says: "Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. " (John 6:26-27) Clearly the lesson Jesus is teaching here is that the eagerness of the crowd to be fed so easily and freely was a temptation of "the flesh". Jesus was concerned about this, and wanted them to recognize that their earthly desires of "the flesh" do not bring them life, but only a full belly. Thus, Jesus had already established the contrast between the food of "the flesh" here in this passage, and the food that will give life to the spirit. Therefore, when He says "the flesh is useless" later on in John 6, He is building upon this teaching by recognizing their carnal desire for bread and for feeding their own flesh in this manner, but ignoring the spirit-filled and life-giving flesh of Jesus.
A sixth reason to reject the symbolic or metaphoric interpretation of the flesh of Jesus, is found in a simple gramatical rule which effectively denies this notion. Let us assume for argument's sake that the symbolic interpretation is true; this means that "the flesh" refers to Jesus own flesh, and that this flesh is "useless" in giving us life. This position argues that the flesh and blood spoken of by Christ are only meant as a metaphor, just as when Scripture speaks of Jesus as "the Gate", or as "the Lamb". Now setting aside all other considerations, it is certainly possible that the flesh and blood are only metaphors of whatever actually gives us eternal life, just as the Gate and Lamb are metaphors. But there is a problem with this. St. Paul cannot possibly be interpreted as speaking metaphorically when he says that we are saved "by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh..." (Heb. 10:19-23) Why? Simply because Paul already uses a metaphor to refer to the flesh of Christ in this same passage, when he speaks of "the curtain" of His flesh. Since the term "the curtain" is used as a metaphor, Paul would be using a metaphor to describe a metaphor... an obvious absurdity. Only one level of metaphor makes both grammatical as well as common sense. Hence Christ's flesh and blood in this passage cannot be a metaphor, but must instead speak to the literal flesh and blood of Jesus. Thus this passage teaches us that it is the actual flesh and blood of Jesus which brings us to eternal life. One may safely conclude that His flesh and blood are anything but "useless".
A final reason to reject the "symbolic" interpretation of the body and blood of Jesus, is made clear when we pay close attention to what Christ actually says here in John 6:63. He tells us that "it is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life" It is important that we pay close attention to what He is referring to in the actual words of "spirit and life". The context shows that He is referring to the words He has just given to the crowd... the very words which have upset them. Thus, the words that give "spirit and life" are, "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you". Since these are the words of "spirit and life", then they cannot be "useless". Jesus is plainly telling us here that "life" comes through His flesh and blood. Obviously, this flesh could hardly be the "useless" flesh of the world, but rather something different. Those who claim that the flesh of Jesus is useless for giving life are implying that Jesus contradicts Himself a few passages after He teaches that His flesh brings "life".
5 The word "manna" means literally, "what is it?" It takes its origin from a prophetic moment of discontent when the Israelites grumbled at what they were being fed by God. Before the bread had fallen from heaven to feed them: "The LORD spoke to Moses and said, 'I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread....'" (Exodus 16:11-12). Thus God attempts to teach these complainers that He will provide them with bread. Yet when this heavenly bread is given to them and "the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, 'What is it?'", clearly prophesying our current moment in Scriptures with the questioning of the new heavenly bread by the crowd and even the disciples. And just as Christ is required to repeat His message to His followers in order that they might understand and believe, so too Moses is required to repeat his message once more to the Israelites, and "said to them, 'It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.'" (Exodus 16:15)