As is frequently the lamentable case today, such catholic "church fathers" as St Ignatius of Antioch, St Justin Martyr, St Irenaeus of Lyons, St Cyril of Jerusalem, St John Chrysostom, St Augustine, and other names never mentioned as apostles nor disciples nor bishops in Scripture....simply did not sufficiently elaborate on the actual and real distinction between physical reality and spiritual association involving the subject of eucharistic bread and wine relating to "the body and blood of Christ."
In John 1:29 John the Baptist called Jesus "the Lamb of God." After his daily menu of locusts and wild honey, we can understand why John perhaps might have had thoughts of supplementing that diet with something classier and more nutritious.
A little backround is helpful.
The idea for eating the Lamb of God and drinking His blood has roots in the passover lamb of Exodus 12:5-10 =
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old; you shall take it from the sheep or from the goats;
6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs in the evening.
7 Then they shall take some of the blood, and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat them.
8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it.
9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled with water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts.
10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning, anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.
There are serious and nonresolvable discrepancies between the Old-Testament passover lambs (plural) in stark contrast to Christ's flesh and blood, like for example: Christ was not a year old when sacrificed, nor taken from a flock of sheep or goats, nor roasted with His head and inner parts, nor eaten with bitter herbs, and His leftovers were not burned by morning.
PRECISE word meanings are essential in correctly understanding both Biblical semantics and Webster's definition of English words. Consider the following:
In First Corinthians 5:7-8 Paul speaks about Christ being our "paschal lamb" not to be celebrated with "the leaven OF MALICE AND EVIL" but instead with "the unleavened bread OF SINCERITY AND TRUTH." [ Note how both "leaven" and "unleavened bread" are thus clearly QUALIFIED symbolically with no relation whatsoever to grain-composition bread nor actual yeast! ]
Matthew 16:6 Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
Matthew 16:11 How is it that you fail to perceive that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
Matthew 16:12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of BREAD, but of the TEACHING of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Mark 8:15 And he cautioned them, saying, "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod."
Luke 12:1 In the meantime, when so many thousands of the multitude had gathered together that they trod upon one another, he began to say to his disciples first, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is HYPOCRISY.
"Leaven" in that particular allegorical, metaphoric, or symbolic sense is not actual tasty or tasteless loaf-rise-causing leaven (i.e. grocery-store yeast)....but instead: TEACHING and also: HYPOCRISY. Hmmm.
First Corinthians 10:16 Paul inferred that the cup of blessing of communion eucharist is a participation in the blood of Christ and he called the bread a participation in the body of Christ........WHATEVER all THAT is supposed to mean!
Notice the precise words: a participation in "the cup" - of blessing.....and a participation in "the body of Christ". "THE BODY OF CHRIST?":
Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brethren, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.
First Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
Ephesians 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.....
WHAT is that "body of Christ," again? Is such in the above Scripture verses describing human body parts as cannibalistic edibles?
First Corinthians 11:27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.
29 For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.
30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
Have you ever drunk a porcelin or china or plastic "cup?" Might get stuck in your throat if you ever try! Are we again being besieged with "spiritual" euphemisms? And WHAT - please tell - is "an unworthy manner?" Has that to do with a communicant's clumsy or gaffy/goofy choreography while kneeling or standing at the ingestion altar? It seems that Paul is even threatening Bible readers with suicidal lethality of ingesting potentially-poisonous eucharistic bread and wine. If such is the case, church communion might turn out to be another Jim Jones koolaid massacre, reminiscent of the genocidal lunacy which happened in Jonestown Guyana.
There are naturally questions applied to those who equate eucharistic bread and wine with ACTUAL human flesh and human blood as possible poisons which can lead to death....something which can be reported to and catch the attention of investigative local police, sheriff, and judicial government courts who are authorized to arrest, fine, and incarcerate dangerous mentally-ill religious nut-cases.
Though He was not speaking "symbolically" in one sense when relating bread and wine to His flesh and blood as if what was referred to was completely imaginary, did not exist in any way, or did not even remotely be nucleonically comprised of protons and electrons and neutrons which all matter is composed of.... He admitted and plainly said that He was speaking: spiritually and NOT physically:
John 6:56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.
58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."
60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"
61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this?
62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?
63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the WORDS that I have spoken to you are SPIRIT and life.
The WORDS are "SPIRIT" and life. Hmmm. Sounds spooky. So much for actual 7-grain, 12-grain, multi-grain, whole-wheat, rye, pumpernickel, sourdough, or Wonder bread.
One of the most obvious proofs that the wine Christ intended people to drink did not really turn into actual human blood (a death-threat-accompanied God-demanded prohibition) is found in:
Genesis 9:4 Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
Leviticus 7:26 Moreover you shall eat no blood whatever, whether of fowl or of animal, in any of your dwellings.
Leviticus 7:27 Whoever eats any blood, that person shall be cut off from his people."
Leviticus 17:10 "If any man of the house of Israel or of the strangers that sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.
Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life.
Leviticus 17:12 Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood.
Leviticus 17:14 "For the life of every creature is the blood of it; therefore I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.
Leviticus 19:26 "You shall not eat any flesh with the blood in it. You shall not practice augury or witchcraft.
Ezekiel 4:12 And you shall eat it as a barley cake, baking it in their sight on human dung."
Ezekiel 4:15 Then he said to me, "See, I will let you have cow's dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread."
And God does NOT change His mind about never drinking ANY blood! He is NOT self-contradictory even and especially in view of Christ's command to "drink My blood!" The LORD is not some Jeckyl-in-Hyde Dracula! Yuck!
John 6:27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal."
The call to "not labor for food which perishes" seems either a call for unemployment......or starvation......or both. Such starvation would put the kabosh on those given to gluttony:
Proverbs 23:20 Be not among winebibbers, or among gluttonous eaters of meat......
The bread/wine=flesh/blood words of Jesus obviously are "SPIRIT" and life. Hmmm. So much for actual 7-grain, 12-grain, multi-grain, whole-wheat, rye, pumpernickel, sourdough, or Wonder bread. Or blood being actual Mogen David, Manischewitz, or Temple red wine.
John 10:3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, "Lord, he whom you love is ill."
4 But when Jesus heard it he said, "This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it."
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
6 So when he heard that he was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
He "stayed where He was" - without going to heal him but rather to let Lazarus actually die? Sweet. Nice guy. Thanks a lot. Thanks for NOTHING!?
It gets worse:
John 11:4 But when Jesus heard it he said, "This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it."
But in fact the illness of Lazarus was INDEED unto death, because obviously (according to the Biblical record), Lazarus actually DID die - both because of his indicated illness, and ultimately afterward temporally when he was older - blatantly contradicting(?) Christ's own words. Think seriously about that whenever some clergyman pretends he turns wafers and wine into human body parts at some communion or eucharist service in church!
Please keep in mind that the utterance of Jesus recorded in John 11:4 was [allegedly] said by the young Jewish Rabbi who apparently equated His own flesh with "bread," and His own blood with "wine!"
John 10:11 Thus He spoke, and then He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awake him out of sleep."
12 The disciples said to Him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover."
13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep.
14 Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus is DEAD"
Finally, Jesus gets real. It's about time. It took long enough. Jesus FINALLY talks plain and common sense. He orates practically - not in any weirdo or at least perplexing spiritual and spiritually-understood euphemisms:
First Corinthians 2:14 The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
[ Let's not be too hard on Jesus for His irritating euphemistic spiritualizations. When was the last time you got into your car and "stepped on the gas" instead of merely accelerating your car's speed? Or said that you were "abusing yourself with mankind" when engaging in self-sodomizing masturbation? How about claiming that "the Sun is rising or setting? Ask NASA and your friendly neighborhood post-orbital astronauts about that last one. ]
From all this, we gather that the bread and wine Jesus spoke of at His "Last Supper" before His crucifixion was NOT actual DNA-and-chromosome human blood and wheat-or-rye Wonder bread.
Nor do the ecclesiastical wafers and store-bought wine during eucharistic church services turn into ACTUAL human flesh and human blood - no matter WHAT the clergyman almost-nonsensically utters.
What makes the eucharistic-ingesting situation potentially lethal is the failure to have a sacred and holy attitude toward the Lord in and through His Spirit when ingesting the elements, with not only a sincere intent of honest, pure, and wholehearted to-the-death allegiance with Christ as Savior and Lord but even more to recognize that the actual historical happening of the ancient and far-away murder-by-crucifixion bloody death of Christ on a cross over in the Middle East around 2000 years ago actually did occur and such insane jewish/roman-hostility-motivated sacrifice-by-lynching really is THE one-and-only perfect atonement against all our sins performed by Jesus alone - Himself - (with or without eucharistic ingestion) for all the penitent of all time.