The Lord’s Supper after AD 70
Some full preterists no longer celebrate the Lord’s Supper, seeing it as a transitory thing, based on 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. Perhaps there is room for disagreement on this. But I don’t think this passage prohibits the communion table now. To cease communion based on this passage smacks of legalism, in my opinion. Here’s why.
First, the passage does not tell us to stop taking communion after Jesus’ return. It merely, like the rest of the New Testament, FOCUSES on the Parousia without denying the future past it. The New Covenant looks forward to the future in the world without end (Ephesians 3:21; etc.). Second, Jesus implies a continuation of the celebration in Matthew 26:29 and Revelation 3:20.
Author John Noe explained:
Post AD 70, we take it “anew” [Matthew 26:29] with Him “in my Father’s kingdom” and in joyous celebration. This word “anew” has great significance. We have a parallel event in biblical history when new meaning was taken on. In the Old Covenant, the Jewish Passover supper was instituted before Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage and was observed throughout the forty-year wilderness period. Likewise, the Lord’s Supper was instituted before Jesus’ death and observed during the interim forty-year period of AD 30-70 as a somber observance commemorative of his death, their deliverance from sin, and a longing for his consummatory coming.
But after entering the Promised Land, the Jews continued this Passover supper observance—no longer in anticipation of, but in celebration of entering. In a similar manner, after AD 70, the Lord’s Supper was no longer to be a solemn, memorialized remembrance of Him, but a glorious and victorious feast with Him, anew in his full Presence, at his table, and in our new inheritance—the new promised land of the kingdom of God (Matthew 25:34). [i]
Third, there is no evidence that Christians ceased this practice after AD 70. In fact, it probably became even more meaningful to them. Christians have consistently celebrated the Lord’s Supper since the beginning of Christianity, and it is important not to separate from the historic church and from our brothers and sisters in the faith now and over the ages.
And fourth, anything that is honoring to God should be acceptable. Let’s say that a father says to his young daughter, “I’d like it very much if you would bring me a flower from the garden every day until my birthday.” The child obeys her father religiously, bringing him a fresh-cut flower every day. But because of her love for her father, she continues to bring him a flower every day following his birthday. Wouldn’t this please the father?
Properly understood, preterism enhances classical Christianity; it does not harm it.
Postscript: Some preterists seem intent on attempting to create a whole new religion based on fulfillment. Christianity is rich enough in diversity as it is. I think these attempts lead to a dead end. They are unnecessary and harmful to the preterist movement. We are far better off staying in the church and gently introducing the preterist view to our friends. Blessings and grace to all.
Dave Green has a very helpful analysis of this issue here:
And check out my book on Amazon.
[i] John Noe, PhD, The Perfect Ending for the World (Indianapolis, IN: East2West Press), page 273.