November 22, 2017

Second Affirmative

By Douglas T. Hawkins

Proposition: The Scriptures teach that the cup (drinking vessel) in the communion represents the new Covenant.

I am again grateful for the opportunity to submit my second article of this exchange. I thank the editors, respectively, for the space afforded us in the Truth Magazine and Old Paths Advocate (OPA). Before I begin, let me reassure you that I’m not attacking brother Moore personally. I am only taking issue with his position. In this article, I want to focus clearly on the contradictions, misrepresentations, and failures of brother Moore’s first response. The negative has done a most inadequate job disproving what I have adduced thus far regarding this proposition. In fact, because of truth’s impervious nature, brother Moore has ignored the critical points that I have advanced. Instead of showing the fallacy of my reasoning, he has just twisted my statements, and then has argued from a postulated premise. I will now carefully point out his mistakes to you and meticulously unravel his “Gordian knot.” Intermingled throughout my answer to his first response will be additional material to further show the accuracy of my position and the absolute folly of his.

The Vortex of the Controversy

At times, the real points of disagreement are obscured in a discussion. My first article illustrates that the statements “This is my blood of the new covenant” (Matt. 26:28) and “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20) are teaching two distinct truths. One is affirming that something represents the blood — “This is my blood of the new covenant.” The other is stating that something represents the new covenant — “This . . . is the new covenant in my blood.” Unwarrantably and like I told you he would, brother Moore has presumptuously said, “these two statements are affirming the same truth. Both are teaching the contents of the cup represent the blood of Christ which ratified the covenant. The order of record is not always the order of occurrence.” However, these statements are wrong. To escape the unavoidable conclusions of my comparisons, brother Moore has conveniently said that “the order of record is not the order of occurrence.” In the process, he has implied that we may arbitrarily relocate words within a sentence without respecting their specific grammatical function. The Catholics are sure going to love brother Moore. How does his observation of “the order of record is not always the order of occurrence” affect the statement “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved?” Does it cryptically mean “he that is baptized shall be saved and believeth?” Why not? As to the matter at hand, how does his self-appointed rule apply to Jesus’ statement, “This is my blood of the new covenant” in Matthew 26:28? In light of his observation, does the statement actually teach that something represents the covenant instead of the blood? If the statement “this . . . is the new covenant in my blood” means that something represents the blood as brother Moore contends, then am I to understand that the statement “this is my blood of the covenant” means that something represents the covenant? Sounds like someone is fancifully tailoring the Scriptures to his practice to me. Let’s examine the statements closely. 

This is my blood (of the new covenant).

This cup is the new covenant (in my blood). 

Notice, the subjects, predicate nominatives, and prepositional phrases are different in both sentences. Contrary to brother Moore’s implications, the fact these are metaphorical expressions doesn’t change the grammatical function of the words in the sentences. In the statement, “this is my blood of the new covenant,” the pronoun “this” (referring to the fruit of the vine) is the subject. “Is” is the verb meaning metaphorically represents, and “blood” is the predicate nominative, which is linked to the subject. The statement simply means: “this” (f. of v.) represents my blood. Likewise, in the second sentence, “cup” is the subject. “Is” means “represents,” and the word “covenant” is the predicate nominative which refers back to the subject. The statement means the cup represents the new covenant. On one hand, Matthew and Mark affirm that the fruit of the vine represents the blood and on the other, Luke and Paul declare that the cup represents the new covenant. Brother Moore is falsely working from the assumption that Luke and Paul affirm the same thing as Matthew and Mark. Brother Moore is mistaken. Let him show otherwise. 

Rules of Metonymy and Metaphor 

Several times throughout his response, Brother Moore has stated that I have ignored the rules regarding these figures of speech. Brother Moore, I ask you specifically “where and what rules?” You quoted E.W. Bullinger where he says that figures are a departure from the natural and fixed laws of grammar to intimate that the statement “this cup is the new Covenant” is not to be understood as written. Let me remind you that any rule you apply to Luke 22:20 (This cup is the new covenant) to alter the phraseology will equally apply to Matthew 26:28 (This is my blood). Are there any laws governing figurative language? E.W. Bullinger says, “It is not open to any one to say of this or that word or sentence, ‘This is a figure,’ according to his own fancy, or to suit his own purpose. We are dealing with a science whose laws and their workings are known. If a word or words be a figure, then that figure can be named and described” (Intro. 11). In other words, brother Moore ought to be able to tell us exactly what rules have been vio- lated. It is not enough for him to make vague insinuations. Let me dwell for a moment on these figures, metaphor and metonymy, to show that I haven’t ignored their use at all. In fact, my position is built upon them. 

1. Metonymy. This is a figure based entirely upon association. The kind of metonymy used in the Lord’s supper is where the container is named to suggest or include its contents. Even though you may not recognize the figure of speech by name, you are very familiar with its daily use. For instance, if I were to say “the kettle is boiling,” I have used a metonymy where I name the container (kettle) to suggest its contents (water). Here are a few basic rules of this figure of speech. (1) The object named is not the thing suggested (i.e., the kettle is not the water). (2) The object named is real (i.e., the reference is to a literal kettle). (3) In metonymy of the “container for the contained” when referring to a liquid, the container named must contain the thing suggested. This is the only association or relationship that exists between the two objects. 

Near the end of his article under the section of 1 Corinthians 11:23-25, brother Moore says, “Thayer points out that the word ‘cup’ is metonymy, where one thing is named for something that pertains to it. He [i.e., Thayer D.T.H.] says ‘Paul uses the word “cup” in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 to refer to its contents’ (533). What does this mean? It means that in whatever way that the ‘cup’ is the New Covenant it is not the container but the contents.” Is that what Mr. Thayer means brother Moore? No, that is not what Thayer means at all. Thayer means the word “cup” is used metonymically to include its contents, the fruit of the vine, a symbol of Christ’s blood. I have already stated in my first article that the cup must be filled with fruit of the vine before anything is represented in the communion. How do I know that the metonymical use of cup in 1 Corinthians 11:25 and Luke 22:20 is meant to include but not put solely for the contents? Because, first of all, that is precisely what Mr. Thayer writes on page 15 under his entry on blood. He says, “1 Cor. 11:25; Lk. 22:20 (in both which the meaning is, ‘this cup containing wine, an emblem of blood, is rendered by the shedding of my blood an emblem of the new covenant’).” Joseph Thayer, the very man who said “cup” is used metonymically in the passages under question, explained the exact manner of its use. 

Secondly, I also know because the fruit of the vine can- not consistently represent both the new covenant and the blood of Christ. That is contradictory. Brother Moore is the man hopelessly at odds with the teachings of the New Testament, not me. I don’t need to give up my “container represents the new covenant theory.” He needs to renounce his unscriptural practice of individual cups. His position has the inspired writers contradicting each other by saying that the fruit of the vine represents both the blood and the new covenant. He vaguely says, “in whatever way that the ‘cup’ is the New Covenant it is not the container but the contents.” I have told you the exact way. When Jesus took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant,” he specifically referred to the vessel he had taken. The metonymy, as shown by Thayer, establishes that the cup was filled with the fruit of the vine. 

2. Metaphors. Along with metonymy, this figure of speech further proves my proposition. According to E.W. Bullinger in his book on figures of speech, a metaphor is: “a distinct affirmation that one thing is another thing, owing to some association or connection in the uses or effects of anything expressed or understood” (735). The established laws of metaphors given by Bullinger are: (1) “The verb ‘is’ means in this case represents” (735). (2) “There may not be the least resemblance” (735). (3) “The two nouns themselves must both be mentioned and are always to be taken in their absolutely literal sense, or else no one can tell what they mean” (735). Let’s apply Bullinger’s rules to the metaphorical statements in the Lord’s supper; specifically, the two rules stating the nouns are always to be taken absolutely literal, and the figure lies in the verb “is” which means represents. 

This (bread) is my body. This (f. of v.) is my blood. This cup is the new covenant. 

Brother Moore said I obligate myself to do two things. (1) Prove Jesus gave significance to a literal container. (2) Prove that the literal container represented the new Covenant just like the bread represented his body. These rules prove just that. Now, in light of these rules, does brother Moore still want to argue the “cup is the blood”? 

“This” is My Blood — The Fruit of the Vine or the Cup? 

I have explained in detail in my first article what the pronoun “this” in Matthew 26:28 has reference to — the fruit of the vine. In responding, brother Moore has slyly represented me as arguing “the cup is the blood,” but in doing so, has unfairly misrepresented me. Notice, he writes, “He (i.e. me D.T.H.) has grammatically argued that the cup is his blood . . . he tries to prove that the word ‘cup’ is referring to a literal container that has some significance. He gives an illustration of a cup of coffee. Brother Hawkins this denies what you are arguing, and admits my contention that the emphasis is on the contents and not the container.” I believe brother Moore almost saw the point. But I think he must have accidentally drunk the coffee from my illustration and the caffeine made him “jump to conclusions” prematurely. My exact point is that the pronoun “this” does emphasize the contents and not the container. Matthew and Mark didn’t write the “cup is His blood.” Elmer Moore wrote that. Matthew and Mark record Jesus to say “For this is my blood.” How can the pronoun “this” refer grammatically to the cup and yet mean the fruit of the vine? Because, as brother Moore and I agree, the fruit of the vine was “in” the cup. The pronoun “this” through metonymy refers to the contents of the cup. Can a pronoun be used metonymically? Absolutely. For instance, if I were to say, “take the kettle off the stove when it boils,” the pronoun “it” grammatically refers to the kettle, but through metonymy actually means the contents. The same is true regarding the Lord’s statement, “for this is my blood.” The cup that Christ had taken is the antecedent of “this,” but through metonymy the pronoun “this” emphasizes the contents of that cup, the fruit of the vine. When Jesus said, “I will drink no more of this fruit of the vine,” he wasn’t explaining the meaning of cup or its use. He was identifying what he had referred to by using the pronoun “this.” Brother Moore is exactly right when he said, “The emphasis is on the contents, not the container.” Not only do Stringfellow and Robertson agree, Elmer Moore does as well. Jesus said, “for this (f. of v.) is my blood.” 

Thayer On Matthew 26:27 

One other matter I quickly want to address in this article is brother Moore’s accusation of me misrepresenting Thayer on the definition of the word cup in Matthew 26:27. I noted in my first article that all reputable Bible scholars agree the word cup in Matthew 26:27 (not Luke 22:20 as quoted by brother Moore) is used literally. For comparison, I referred you to Thayer’s lexicon on page 533. Brother Moore contradictingly said, “they do not!” and then said, “Brother, you misrepresented Thayer.” Well, let’s see. Thayer on page 533 under Strong’s # 4221 says, “Poterion — a cup, a drinking vessel; (a) prop.; Mt. 23:25 sq.; Mt. 26:27 . . .” Brother Moore, do you know what prop. is an abbreviation for? — Properly or literally. I shall be glad for you to issue an apology for your mistaken accusation. 

Brother Moore’s Questions 

Question #1. Matthew and Mark declare that something represents the blood and Luke and Paul write that something represents the New Covenant. Question #2. In verse 27 (not v. 28 as brother Moore noted) Paul said we would be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. Question #3. Bread and fruit of the vine.