Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning
"I am disposed to believe that these poor people have had the knowledge of our mode of communion, or of the annunciation of the gospel; or perhaps the [Pg 312]devil, most envious of the honor of God, may have led them into this superstition, in order that by this ceremony he might be adored and served as Christ our Lord."[312:1]
The Rev. Father Acosta says:
"That which is most admirable in the hatred and presumption of Satan is, that he hath not only counterfeited in idolatry and sacrifice, but also in certain ceremonies, our Sacraments, which Jesus Christ our Lord hath instituted and the holy Church doth use, having especially pretended to imitate in some sort the Sacrament of the Communion, which is the most high and divine of all others."
He then relates how the Mexicans and Peruvians, in certain ceremonies, ate the flesh of their god, and called certain morsels of paste, "the flesh and bones of ."
"After putting themselves in order about these morsels and pieces of paste, they used certain ceremonies with singing, by means whereof they (the pieces of paste) were blessed and consecrated for the flesh and bones of this idol."[312:2]
These facts show that the Eucharist is another piece of Paganism adopted by the Christians. The story of Jesus and his disciples being at supper, where the Master did break bread, may be true, but the statement that he said, "Do this in remembrance of me,"—"this is my body," and "this is my blood," was undoubtedly invented to give authority to the mystic ceremony, which had been borrowed from Paganism.
Why should they do this in remembrance of Jesus? Provided he took this supper with his disciples—which the John narrator denies[312:3]—he did not do anything on that occasion new or unusual among Jews. To pronounce the benediction, break the bread, and distribute pieces thereof to the persons at table, was, and is now, a common usage of the Hebrews. Jesus could not have commanded born Jews to do in remembrance of him what they already practiced, and what every religious Jew does to this day. The whole story is evidently a myth, as a perusal of it with the eye of a critic clearly demonstrates.
The Mark narrator informs us that Jesus sent two of his disciples to the city, and told them this:
"Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water; follow him. And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guest-chamber, where I shall eat the [Pg 313]passover with my disciples? And he will show you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover."[313:1]
The story of the passover or the last supper, seems to be introduced in this unusual manner to make it manifest that a divine power is interested in, and conducting the whole affair, parallels of which we find in the story of Elieser and Rebecca, where Rebecca is to identify herself in a manner pre-arranged by Elieser with God;[313:2] and also in the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath, where by God's directions a journey is made, and the widow is found.[313:3]
It suggests itself to our mind that this style of connecting a supernatural interest with human affairs was not entirely original with the Mark narrator. In this connection it is interesting to note that a man in Jerusalem should have had an unoccupied and properly furnished room just at time, when two millions of pilgrims sojourned in and around the city. The man, it appears, was not distinguished either for wealth or piety, for his name is not mentioned; he was not present at the supper, and no further reference is made to him. It appears rather that the Mark narrator imagined an ordinary man who had a furnished room to let for such purposes, and would imply that Jesus knew it prophetically. He had only to pass in his mind from Elijah to his disciple Elisha, for whom the great woman of Shunem had so richly furnished an upper chamber, to find a like instance.[313:4] Why should not somebody have furnished also an upper chamber for the Messiah?
The Matthew narrator's account is free from these embellishments, and simply runs thus: Jesus said to some of his disciples—the number is not given—
"Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover."[313:5]
In this account, no pitcher, no water, no prophecy is mentioned.[313:6]