Lord's Table, The; The Lord's Supper

Concise Bible Dictionary:

The first of these expressions is used in 1 Corinthians 10:2121Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. (1 Corinthians 10:21), in contrast to the table of demons with which those were identified who partook of idolatrous feasts. In this passage the expression appears to be synonymous with the bread, the wine being spoken of as the cup of the Lord. The idea connected with the Lord’s table is the identification of the saints as one body with the death of Christ. Hence “Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.” The cup is the fellowship of the blood of Christ, the bread is the fellowship of the body of Christ, and to this fellowship every believer is bound to be faithful. It expresses the separation of the entire company from all to which He died—from sin and from the world, in connection with which the god of this world furnishes his table. The “one loaf” was expressive of the oneness of the company of believers at Corinth, as bound together in the fellowship of the death of Christ.
The expression “the Lord’s supper” is found in 1 Corinthians 11:2020When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. (1 Corinthians 11:20), and is in connection with the remembrance of the Lord in the breaking of bread and drinking the cup by the saints as in assembly. This chapter gives the positive character of the ordinance, as 1 Corinthians 10 is rather the separation consequent on it. It is the assembly come together and the affections of the saints stirred by the remembrance of the Lord’s love in presence of the memorials of that which is the proof and expression of it, namely, His death. It is the assembly’s proper privilege as brought, in company with the Lord Jesus Christ as the leader of its praises, to know and enjoy God revealed as Father, and to worship Him by the Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12 -14, which succeed, the organization, the motive spring, and functions of the assembly are referred to.

From Anstey’s Doctrinal Definitions:

TheLord’s Table (1 Cor. 10:2121Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. (1 Corinthians 10:21)) is a symbolic term signifying the Scriptural ground of fellowship on which the Lord gathers Christians around Himself. (It is not a literal table on which Christians put the emblems of the Lord’s Supper to break bread.) Since a “table” in Scripture symbolizes fellowship, “the Lord’s Table” refers to the fellowship of Christians which the Lord has formed. It is a fellowship where He is in the midst of those whom He has gathered together for worship and ministry, and where His authority is recognized and bowed to in administrative actions that take place in that fellowship. In fact, the Lord’s Table is the only “fellowship” among men to which Christians are called (1 Cor. 1:99God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9)). All other fellowships that men make are schismatic—even though they may have been formed with the best of intentions. (See Gathered to the Lord’s Name.)
A couple of differences between these two things are: If a person is gathered to the Lord’s name, he is at the Lord’s Table 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but he only eats the Lord’s Supper at a specific hour on the Lord’s day, once a week. Another difference is that under normal conditions, a person should come to the Lord’s Table once in his life (when he comes into fellowship initially with those gathered to the Lord’s name), but he should come to the Lord’s Supper many times—i.e. weekly. Therefore, it would be incorrect to say that we go to the Lord’s Table on the Lord’s Day. It would be better to say that we go to partake of the Lord’s Supper on that day. Well-meaning people may say things such as, “Brother so and so stood up at the Lord’s Table to give thanks,” but the comment would be more accurate if it was said that the brother stood up at the Lord’s Supper to give thanks.
When a person is received into fellowship, he is received to “the Lord’s Table” wherein he has the privilege of eating “the Lord’s Supper.” If a person is “put away” under an administrative act of judgment by the assembly (1 Cor. 5:1313But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1 Corinthians 5:13)), he is put away from the Lord’s Table, not merely from the Lord’s Supper. Thus, he is put outside the fellowship of the saints gathered to the Lord’s name as a whole, which would include the privilege of breaking bread. Some think that the eating mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5:1111But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. (1 Corinthians 5:11) is referring to eating the Lord’s Supper. Hence, they conclude that we are not to break bread with a person who has been put away, but we can eat a common meal with him, and thus have fellowship with him on an individual basis. This, however, is a mistake; eating in this verse has to do with any kind of eating—whether it is in the breaking of bread or at a common meal in our homes. The J. N. Darby Translation clarifies it by stating that we are “not to mix with him” socially (1 Cor. 5:1111But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. (1 Corinthians 5:11)).
The Lord’s Supper is spoken of in 1 Corinthians 10-11 in two ways. Some differences in these two chapters are:
Chapter 10:15-17 is the collective act of breaking bread—it says, “the cup of blessing which we bless,” and “the bread which we break,” whereas chapter 11:23-26 is the individual act of breaking bread. It says, “This do ye ... ”
In chapter 10:15-17 the “bread,” viewed in its unbroken state, represents the mystical body of Christ, whereas the “bread” in chapter 11:23-26 represents the Lord’s physical body in which He suffered and died.
Chapter 10:15-17 puts “the cup of blessing” first, then followed by “the bread,” because it is speaking of our title to be at the Table as redeemed believers—which is a result of His blood being shed. In chapter 11:23-26 the order is reversed, putting the breaking of the bread first, then followed by the drinking of the cup, which is the order in which it is to be eaten (Luke 22:19-2019And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22:19‑20)). This is because we eat the Supper in remembrance of Him in His death, and He suffered in His body first, then after dying His blood was shed.
In chapter 10:16-17, the breaking of bread is in connection with “the Lord’s Table,” wherein we show forth the fellowship of the body of Christ (vs. 21). In chapter 11:26, in the breaking of bread (“the Lord’s Supper”), we show forth Christ’s death.
Chapter 10:15-22 has to do with our responsibility to keep separate from all other tables (fellowships)—be it schismatic Christian tables, Judaistic tables, or idolatrous tables, whereas chapter 11:23-32 has to do with our responsibility to maintain personal purity in our lives.

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