Betrayal and Communion
Luke 22:14-16 says,
14 And when the hour had come He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. 15 And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, 16 for I say to you, I shall never again [“not,” as in verse 18] eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.”
Matt. 26:27-29 indicates that Jesus said these words well into the Supper, while He was explaining to them that the bread was His body and the wine was His blood. In fact, both Matthew and Mark indicate that it was Jesus’ final statement before they left the room and went to the Mount of Olives (Matt. 26:29, 30).
Serving No Wine Before Its Time
After Jesus’ resurrection, when He appeared to the disciples, He often ate with them, but there is no record that He drank wine with them. In Acts 10:42 Peter did say that some “ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead,” but it does not say that He drank wine. He ate bread (Luke 24:30) and fish (Luke 24:42, 43; John 21:13) but no wine is mentioned.
In fact, the phrase “ate and drank” was also a Hebrew idiom that pointed toward living normally or doing the normal things in life. In Exodus 24:11 it says that the elders went up the mount with Moses, “and they beheld God, and they ate and drank.” In other words, they survived—they lived in spite of seeing God (Jesus).
Because Jesus specifically mentioned not drinking wine with them until the coming of the Kingdom, we cannot say that He drank wine with the disciples. Hence, Peter’s statement in Acts 10:42 must be seen in that light.
Wine signifies both blood and rejoicing in Scripture. The Last Supper was instructive about His blood that was soon to be shed, but the rejoicing would come later at the coming of the Kingdom. (This would be David’s kingdom, not Saul’s kingdom.)
When Jesus was raised from the dead and appeared to His disciples, He told them that He had “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). He said this to prove that He was not a spirit. He says nothing about having blood. In the law, we read in Lev. 17:11 (literal rendering), “the soul [nephesh] of the flesh is in the blood.” The blood is signified by wine, and so this seems to be behind Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 15:45,
45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
Hence, the fact that Christ had become (through resurrection) a life-giving spirit shows that He was then fully separated from the first Adam. He had been born with a heavenly Father and an earthly mother, and so He functioned as a hybrid between heaven and earth during His earthly ministry. However, the final result was a change of body. He still had authority in earth as in heaven on account of His earthly mother, but His body had changed. After His resurrection, He could adopt a flesh-and-bone body when appearing to the disciples on earth, but yet it was a spiritual body (without blood).
According to prophetic law, as explained in Ezekiel 44:17, 19, the Melchizedek Order in the Kingdom are not allowed to minister to the people on earth in their linen (heavenly) garments. Neither may they minister to God in heaven in their woolen (earthly) garments. They must dress appropriately for each occasion. So we find that when Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, He had to set aside His heavenly garments and put on earthly garments—flesh and bones, as it turns out—in order to minister lawfully.
Hence, in Jesus’ example we see clues about the “change” that must come about in our own bodies. When we were begotten by the Holy Spirit, we too became hybrids between heaven and earth. The Christ in us has a heavenly Father and an earthly mother. Because that holy seed in us cannot sin (1 John 3:9; Rom. 7:17), if we were led perfectly by the Spiritual Man, our bodies would not sin either. Jesus was so led at all times, but we find it more difficult, as Paul confesses.
The day will come, however, when we will be changed (1 Cor. 15:51). At that point, like Jesus, we will fully shed the image and identity of the old Adam and come fully into the likeness of Christ. The overcomers who are changed in that day will then minister to others on earth in a way similar to what Jesus did after His resurrection. The overcomers too will minister on earth in flesh-and-bone bodies that are spiritual, and when they go into the heavenly dimension, they will simply change clothing, as it were.
It appears, then, that the role of the wine in The Last Supper was to signify Christ’s blood being shed for us at Passover, but its role in the Kingdom signifies rejoicing, for the feast of Tabernacles, preceded by the Jubilee, was to be a time of jubilation, or rejoicing (Lev. 23:40).
Judas Identified as the Betrayer
Luke’s account of the Communion omits any reference to Judas and how he left the supper to finish his act of betrayal. However, Matt. 26:21-25 tells us,
21 And as they were eating, He said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.” 22 And being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23 And He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me. 24 The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” 25 And Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said it yourself.”
Mark 14:18-21 repeats Matthew’s account almost word for word. John is more specific, telling us that Jesus first washed the disciples’ feet—including the feet of Judas (John 13:5). This was apparently motivated by the discussion among the disciples about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom. Jesus washed their feet as a lesson of humility.
Afterward, Jesus brought up the fact that one of them was to betray Him. They were all incredulous. Even Judas apparently thought that He could hide his betrayal from Jesus (Matt. 26:25). He was unaware that prophecy itself had exposed him, for although the disciples failed to understand the prophecy, Jesus certainly knew it well.
The betrayal of David had occurred at Hebron (2 Sam. 15:10), whose old name was Kerioth-arba (Joshua 14:15). Judas “Iscariot” is the Greek form of the Hebrew Ish-Kerioth and means “a man from Kerioth. In other words, Judas was from Hebron, where, a thousand years earlier, Ahithophel had betrayed David. Jesus knew the story and understood that He was to repeat it in His own way.
Though Matthew tells how Jesus identified the betrayer, he says nothing about Judas leaving immediately to do his work of betrayal. John alone gives that account in John 13:23-30. During the Last Supper, John was on one side of Jesus, while Judas was on His other side. Peter was down the row at some distance, but he gestured to John to ask Jesus specifically who was to betray Him. John then asked, “Lord, who is it?” (John 13:25). Jesus said He would give the betrayer a morsel of bread. He then gave it to Judas. This answered John’s question, and Peter probably understood it as well from sign language and eye contact.
John 13:27-30 concludes,
27 And after the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Jesus therefore said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. 29 For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor. 30 And so after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.
This must have occurred near the start of the meal, otherwise, there would be no reason for some of the disciples to think that Judas had to buy what was needed for the feast.
Did Judas Take Communion?
Jesus had already washed Judas’ feet as an example of humility even to a betrayer. But John indicates that Judas had to leave before Jesus could begin sharing His heart with the disciples. So we read in John 13:31,
31 When therefore he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him.”
This is the introduction to Jesus’ discourse, which extends through chapter 17. Very little of this had been recorded in the earlier gospels, and so John felt it was necessary to tell us these omitted details.
Some believe that Judas participated in the Communion. If so, he did so “unworthily” (1 Cor. 11:27), and his suicide would indicate divine judgment. Luke’s account says little about the actual Communion, but he places the Communion before Judas’ exposure. Luke 22:17-20 says,
17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; 18 For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”
Only then does Luke speak of Jesus telling the disciples about Judas’ betrayal.
21 “But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Me on the table. 22 For indeed the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”
In Matthew’s account, we see the order reversed. After speaking of the betrayal in Matt. 26:21-24 and then identifying Judas in verse 25, we then read of the Communion afterward in verses 26-29. Matthew does not tell us that Judas left the room after his exposure, but John does tell us that Judas left “immediately” (John 13:30). Hence, we understand that only after Judas left the room did Jesus institute Communion, in spite of the reversed order of events in Luke’s account.
Mark’s account agrees with Matthew’s in the order of events, though he too omits any reference to Judas leaving the room. We are fully dependent, then, upon John to answer the question about Judas taking Communion.
It seems that Jesus did not want Judas to participate in the Communion unworthily.
The greater prophetic question remains, however, when we seek to understand how this may apply to the scenario surrounding the second coming of Christ. Jesus said that He would not drink of the cup until He drank it with them in the Kingdom. These words provide us with the link between the first and second coming. Perhaps, too, the story of Joseph hints of this, for when he was reunited with his brethren, he provided them with a feast (Gen. 43:31-34).
Perhaps also the Last Supper in Luke 22:15-20 finds its parallel in the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9).
There are some similarities and some differences between the two comings of Christ that may affect the two Remembrance Meals. The main difference is that Christ came the first time of the tribe of Judah in order to claim His throne rights—that is, the scepter. The second time He comes as the Heir of Joseph in order to claim His birthright.
The original story of David and Absalom is primarily a prophecy about the first coming of Christ. However, it also contains a second coming of David, when he returned to claim His throne. Absalom was killed, but, of course, Ahithophel had already hanged himself and no longer appears in the story.
Yet when we look at the actual fulfillment of prophecy in our time, we see that the present conflict is over the birthright and the birthright name, Israel. As I showed in my book, The Struggle for the Birthright, today’s conflict is mainly between Jacob-Israel and Esau-Edom. It goes back to the story of Jacob and Esau and how Jacob lied to his father to obtain the birthright. Isaac then prophesied that Jacob would have to give the birthright back to Esau for a season, in order to allow Esau time to prove himself unworthy.
As this story unfolds, we find that many of Jesus’ disciples today do not know that betrayers have emerged in our time as well as in the first coming of Christ. Because they do not understand the story and do not know that the Israeli state is playing the role of Edom, many now support their claim to the name Israel. In so doing, they betray Jesus today in the matter of the birthright, even as Judas betrayed Jesus in the matter of the scepter two thousand years ago. This is an important issue, but we cannot retell or explain that story here, nor can we prove this assertion. The Struggle for the Birthright is devoted to that story, so we recommend reading it.