Chapter 15: THE LORD'S SUPPER


Seventh-day Adventists Believe...

The Lord's Supper is a participation in the emblems of the

body and blood of Jesus as an expression of faith in Him,

our Lord and Saviour. In this experience of communion Christ

is present to meet and strengthen His people. As we partake,

we joyfully proclaim the Lord's death until He comes again.

Preparation for the Supper includes self-examination,

repentance, and confession. The Master ordained the service

of foot washing to signify renewed cleansing, to express a

willingness to serve one another in Christlike humility, and

to unite our hearts in love. The communion service is open

to all believing Christians.--Fundamental Beliefs,15.

 

THE LORD'S SUPPER

With dusty feet they arrived at the upper room for the

Passover. Someone had provided a pitcher of water, a basin,

and a towel for the customary footwashing, but no one wanted

to perform the menial task.

Aware of His impending death, Jesus said sorrowfully,

"`With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover

with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer

eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God'"

(Luke 22:15,16).

The jealousy the disciples harbored against one another

filled Jesus' heart with sadness. He realized they were

still contending as to who should be considered the greatest

in His kingdom (Luke 22:24; Matt. 18:1; 20:21). It was their

maneuvering for position, their pride and self-esteem, that

prevented the disciples from humbling themselves, from

substituting for the servant and washing the feet of the

others. Would they ever learn that in God's kingdom true

greatness is revealed by humility and loving service?

"During supper" (John 13:2,4, RSV)(*1) Jesus quietly

arose, took the servant's towel, poured water into the

basin, knelt down, and began to wash the disciples' feet.

The Master as servant! Understanding the unspoken rebuke,

the disciples were filled with shame. When He had completed

His work and returned to His place, He said, "`If I then,

your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought

to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example,

that you should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I

say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is

he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know

these things, blessed are you if you do them'"

(John 13:14-17, RSV).

Jesus then instituted, in place of the Passover, the

service that was to memorialize His great sacrifice: the

Lord's Supper. Taking the unleavened bread, He "blessed it

and broke it, and gave it to the disciples" and said,

"`Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do

this in remembrance of Me.'" Then He took the cup of

blessing and "gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying,

`Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new

covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of

sins.'" "`This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance

of Me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink this

cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes"

(see Matt. 26:26-28; 1 Cor. 11:24-26; 10:16).

The ordinances of foot washing and the Lord's Supper make

up the Communion service. Thus, Christ instituted both of

these ordinances to assist us with entering into communion

with Him.

The Ordinance of Foot Washing

Custom demanded that in celebrating the Passover Jewish

families remove all leaven, sin, from their homes before the

first day of the Week of Unleavened Bread (Ex. 12:15,19,20).

So believers must confess and repent of all sin--including

pride, rivalry, jealousy, resentful feelings, and

selfishness--before they can be in the right spirit to have

communion with Christ at this deepest level.

To this end Christ instituted the ordinance of foot

washing. Not only did He set an example but stated they

ought to do the same, and promised them a blessing: "`If you

know these things, happy are you if you do them'" (John

13:17). This ordinance, preceding the Lord's Supper,

fulfills the injunction that all should examine themselves

so as not to participate in that meal "in an unworthy

manner" (1 Cor. 11:27-29).

The Meaning of the Ordinance

This ordinance reveals something about both Christ's

mission and the participants' experience.

1. A memorial of Christ's condescension.

The ordinance of foot washing memorializes Christ's

humiliation in His incarnation and life of service.(*2)

Although He held a position with the Father amidst celestial

glory, He "made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of

a servant, and coming in the likeness of men" (Phil. 2:7).

It was humiliating for God's Son to give so selflessly,

so lovingly, only to be rejected by the majority of those He

came to save. Throughout Christ's earthly life Satan was

determined to disgrace Him to the utmost at every turn. What

mortification it must have brought Him--the innocent One--to

be crucified as a criminal!

Christ lived a life that was a life of selfless service.

He did not come "`to be served, but to serve'" (Matt.

20:28). Through the act of foot washing He showed that He

would do any service, no matter how lowly, to save people.

Thus He impressed His life of service and meekness on the

minds of His followers.

In making this preparation ceremony an ordinance, Christ

intended to lead believers into a state of tenderness and

love that would move them to serve others. This ordinance

encourages those who reflect on its significance to treat

others with humility and sensitivity. By following Christ in

foot washing we profess His spirit: "Through love serve one

another" (Gal. 5:13).

Though participation in this service is humbling, it is

far from degrading. Who would not feel privileged to bow

before Christ and wash the very feet that were nailed to the

cross? Jesus said, "`Inasmuch as you did it to one of the

least of these My brethren, you did it to Me'"

(Matt. 25:40).

2. A type of a higher cleansing.

The foot washing did more than clean feet. It represented

a higher purification--a cleansing of the heart. When Peter

asked Jesus to wash him all over, Jesus said, "`He who is

bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely

clean'" (John 13:10).

One who takes a bath is clean. However, open, sandaled

feet soon become dusty and need washing again. So with the

disciples. Their sins had been washed away through baptism,

but temptation had led them to cherish pride, jealousy, and

evil in their hearts. They were not ready to have intimate

communion with their Lord, nor to accept the new covenant He

was about to make with them. Through the foot washing Christ

desired to prepare them to take part in the Lord's Supper.

Except for Judas, the betrayer, their hearts were cleansed

by Christ's grace from selfishness and pride, and they were

united in love for one another; through Jesus' selfless act

they were humbled and became teachable.

Like the disciples, when we have accepted Christ and been

baptized we have been cleansed by His blood. But as we walk

the Christian life, we fail. Our feet become dusty. We must

come to Christ again and let His cleansing grace wash away

the defilement. However, we do not need to be baptized again

for "he who is bathed needs only to wash his feet" (John

13:10).(*3) Foot washing as an ordinance reminds us of our

need for regular cleansing and that we are totally dependent

upon the blood of Christ. Foot washing itself cannot cleanse

from sin. Only Christ can purify us.

3. A fellowship of forgiveness.

The attitude of forgiveness among the participants

indicates that the cleansing this service symbolizes has

become effective. Only as we forgive can we experience God's

forgiveness. "If you forgive men their trespasses, your

heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not

forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father

forgive your trespasses" (Matt. 6:14,15).

Jesus said, "`You also ought to wash one another's feet'"

(John 13:14). We need both to be willing to wash another's

feet and to be willing to be washed by another. In the

latter case we admit our need of spiritual help.

When the service is over, our faith assures us that we

are clean because our sins have been washed away. By whom?

By Christ. But it is fellow believers who administer to us

the symbols of Christ's ministry and so this service becomes

a fellowship of forgiveness.(*4)

4. A fellowship with Christ and believers.

This foot washing service demonstrates Christ's love for

His followers "to the end" (John 13:1). When Peter refused

to have his feet washed Christ responded, "`If I do not wash

you, you have no part with Me'" (verse 8). No cleansing, no

fellowship. Those desiring continuing fellowship with Christ

will participate in this ordinance.

That same evening Jesus said, "`A new commandment I give

to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that

you also love one another'" (verse 34). The message of the

ordinance is clear: "Through love serve one another" (Gal.

5:13). Having this kind of love means that we will concede

the highest place to our neighbors by esteeming others

better than ourselves (Phil 2:3). It mandates us to love

those who differ with us. It allows us to hold neither

feelings of supremacy nor partiality. Our lifestyles will

reflect our love for fellow believers. Kneeling before them,

washing their feet, we rejoice that we will live with them

throughout eternity. All who follow Christ's example in this

ordinance will in some way experience what it means to love

as Christ loved. And such love can be a powerful witness.

A Buddhist monk once asked a missionary to suggest a

scene that would represent Christianity. Artists were to

decorate a hall on the monastery grounds with murals and

reliefs that depicted major world religions. After some

reflection the missionary began to share the account in John

13. The monk "said nothing as I read," the missionary

recounted, "but I felt a strange, awesome quietness and

power as the passage described Jesus' act of washing the

disciples' feet." In that culture, discussing in public

anything having to do with matters of the feet is considered

very poor etiquette.

"When I finished reading, there was a moment of silence.

He looked at me with incredulity and said, `Do you mean to

say that the Founder of your religion washed His students'

feet?'

"`Yes,' I replied. The usually placid moon face with

shaved eyebrows and head wrinkled up in shock and amazement.

He was speechless, and so was I. I swallowed very hard

several times, and we were both caught up in the drama of

the scene. As I gazed at him, the look of incredulity on his

face changed to a reverent awe. Jesus, the Founder of

Christianity, had touched and washed dirty fishermen's feet!

After a few moments he gained control of himself and rose to

his feet. `I see now the essence of Christianity.'" (*5)

The Celebration of the Lord's Supper

Among Protestants the most common name for the Communion

service is the "Lord's Supper" (1 Cor. 11:20). Other names

are "the table of the Lord" (1 Cor. 10:21, RSV), "the

breaking of bread" (cf. Acts 20:7; 2:42),(*6) and the

Eucharist--a reference to the thanksgiving and blessing

aspect of the service (Matt. 26:26,27; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:24).

The Lord's Supper is to be a joyful season, not a time

for sorrow. The preceding foot-washing service provides an

opportunity for self-examination, confession of sins,

reconciliation of differences, and forgiveness. Having

received the assurance of being cleansed by the blood of the

Saviour, believers are ready to enter into special communion

with their Lord. They turn to His table with joy, standing

in the saving light, not the shadow, of the cross, ready to

celebrate the redemptive victory of Christ.

The Meaning of the Lord's Supper

The Lord's Supper replaces the Passover festival of the

old covenant era. The Passover met its fulfillment when

Christ the Paschal Lamb gave His life. Before His death

Christ Himself instituted the replacement, the great

festival of spiritual Israel under the new covenant. Thus,

the roots of much of the symbolism of the Lord's Supper

extend back into the Passover service.

1. Commemoration of the deliverance from sin.

As the Passover festival commemorated Israel's

deliverance from slavery in Egypt, the Lord's Supper

commemorates deliverance from spiritual Egypt, the bondage

of sin.

The Passover lamb's blood applied to the lintel and

doorposts protected the inhabitants from death; the

nourishment its flesh provided gave them the strength to

escape from Egypt (Ex. 12:3-8). So Christ's sacrifice brings

liberation from death; believers are saved through partaking

of both His body and blood (John 6:54). The Lord's Supper

proclaims that Christ's death on the cross provided our

salvation, provided forgiveness, and guaranteed eternal

life.

Jesus said, "`Do this in remembrance of Me'" (1 Cor.

11:24). This ordinance emphasizes the substitutionary

dimension of Christ's atonement. "`This is My body,'" Jesus

said, "`which is broken for you'" (1 Cor. 11:24; cf. Isa.

53:4-12). At the cross the Innocent was substituted for the

guilty, the Righteous for the unrighteous. This magnanimous

act satisfied the demands of the law for the death of the

sinner, providing forgiveness, peace, and the assurance of

eternal life to repentant sinners. The cross removed our

condemnation and provided us with the robe of Christ's

righteousness and with the power to overcome evil.

a. The bread and the fruit of the vine.

Jesus used many metaphors to teach different truths about

Himself. He said, "`I am the door'" (John 10:7), "`I am the

way'" (John 14:6), "`I am the true vine'" (John 15:1), and

"`I am the bread of life'" (John 6:35). We cannot take any

of these expressions literally, for He is not present in

every door, way, or vine. Instead, they illustrate deeper

truths.

At the time He miraculously fed the 5,000, Jesus revealed

the deeper significance of His body and blood. As the true

bread, He said, "`Moses did not give you the bread from

heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.

For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and

gives life to the world.' Then they said to Him, `Lord, give

us this bread always.' And Jesus said to them, `I am the

bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he

who believes in me shall never thirst'" (John 6:32-35). He

offered His body and blood to satisfy the hunger and thirst

of our deepest needs and desires (John 6:50-54).

The Passover bread Jesus ate was unleavened, and the

fruit of the vine unfermented.(*7) Leaven (yeast), which

produces fermentation that causes bread to rise, was

considered a symbol of sin (1 Cor. 5:7,8), so it was unfit

to represent the Lamb "without blemish and without spot" (1

Peter 1:19).(*8) Only unleavened or "unfermented" bread

could symbolize the sinless body of Christ. Likewise only

the unspoiled fruit of the vine--the unfermented

wine--appropriately symbolizes the spotless perfection of

the cleansing blood of the Saviour.(*9)

b. The eating and drinking.

"`Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink

His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh

and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him

up at the last day'" (John 6:53,54).

Eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood is symbolic

language for the assimilation of the Word of God, through

which believers maintain communion with heaven and are

enabled to have spiritual life. He says, "`The words that I

speak to you are spirit, and they are life'" (John 6:63).

"`Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that

proceeds from the mouth of God'" (Matt. 4:4).

Believers feed on Christ, the bread of life, through

partaking of the Word of life--the Bible. With that Word

comes Christ's life-giving power. In the Communion service

also we partake of Christ by assimilating His Word through

the Holy Spirit. For this reason the preaching of the Word

accompanies each Lord's Supper.

Since we appropriate the benefits of Christ's atoning

sacrifice by faith, the Lord's Supper is much more than a

mere memorial meal. Participation in the Communion service

means a revitalization of our life through Christ's

sustaining power, providing us with life and joy. In short

the symbolism shows that "we are as dependent on Christ for

spiritual life as we are on food and drink for physical

life."(*10)

During the Communion service we "bless" the cup (1 Cor.

10:16). This means that as Christ "gave thanks" for the cup

(Matt. 26:27), so we express gratitude for the blood of

Jesus.

2. Corporate communion with Christ.

In a world filled with strife and divisiveness, our

corporate participation in these celebrations contributes to

the unity and stability of the church, demonstrating true

communion with Christ and one another. Stressing this

communion, Paul said, "The cup of blessing which we bless,

is it not a participation [or communion] in the blood of

Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation

[or communion] in the body of Christ? Because there is one

bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of

the one bread" (1 Cor. 10:16,17, RSV).

"This is an allusion to the fact that the communion bread

is broken into many pieces, which are eaten by the

believers, and as all the pieces come from the same loaf, so

all the believers who partake of the communion service are

united in Him whose broken body is thus typified by the

broken bread. By partaking together of this ordinance,

Christians show publicly that they are united and belong to

one great family, whose head is Christ."(*11)

All church members should participate in this sacred

Communion because there, through the Holy Spirit, "Christ

meets His people, and energizes them by His presence. Hearts

and hands that are unworthy may even administer the

ordinances, yet Christ is there to minister to His children.

All who come with their faith fixed upon Him will be greatly

blessed. All who neglect these seasons of divine privilege

will suffer loss. Of them it may appropriately be said, `Ye

are not all clean.'"(*12)

We experience the strongest and deepest sense of

community at the Lord's table. Here we meet on common

ground, with the barriers that separate us broken down. Here

we realize that while in society there is much to divide us,

in Christ there is everything necessary to unite us. While

sharing the Communion cup Jesus committed the new covenant

to His disciples. Said He, "`Drink from it, all of you. For

this is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for many

for the remission of sins'" (Matt. 26:27,28; cf. Luke

22:20). As the old covenant was ratified by the blood of

animal sacrifices (Ex. 24:8), so the new covenant was

ratified by Christ's blood. At this ordinance believers

renew their pledge of loyalty to their Lord, recognizing

anew that they are a part of the amazing agreement by which,

in Jesus, God bound Himself to humanity. Being a part of

this covenant, they have something to celebrate. So the

Lord's Supper is both a memorial and a thanksgiving of the

sealing of the everlasting covenant of grace. The blessings

received are in proportion to the faith of the participants.

3. Anticipation of the Second Advent.

"For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup,

you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" (1 Cor. 11:26).

The Communion service spans the interim between Calvary and

the Second Advent. It links the cross and the kingdom. It

joins the "already" and the "not yet," which is the essence

of the New Testament world view. It holds together the

Saviour's sacrifice and His second coming--salvation

provided and salvation consummated. It proclaims that Christ

is present through the Spirit till He comes visibly.

Christ's vow, "`I will not drink of this fruit of the

vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you

in My Father's kingdom'" (Matt. 26:29), is prophetic. It

directs our faith to a future celebration of the Communion

meal with our Saviour in the kingdom. The occasion is the

great festival of the "marriage supper of the Lamb"

(Rev. 19:9).

In preparation for this event Christ instructed, "`Let

your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you

yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he

will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks

they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants

whom the master, when he comes, will find watching.

Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have

them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them'"

(Luke 12:35-37).

With His followers gathered at the banquet table Christ

will celebrate the Supper as He did in Jerusalem. For so

long He has waited for this occasion, and now all is ready.

He arises from His throne and steps forward to serve.

Amazement fills all. They feel totally unworthy of the honor

of having Christ serve them. They protest, saying, "Let us

serve!" But Christ quietly insists and has them sit down.

"Never was Christ truly greater on earth than on the

memorable occasion of the Lord's Supper, when He took the

place of a servant and humbled Himself. Never is Christ

greater in heaven than when He ministers to His

saints."(*13) This is the climactic expectation to which the

Lord's Supper points us, the joy of future glory through a

personal fellowship with Christ in His everlasting kingdom.

Qualifications for Participation

Two great ordinances serve the Christian faith--baptism

and the Lord's Supper. The former is the gateway into the

church, and the latter benefits those who are members.(*14)

Jesus administered Communion only to His professed

followers. The Communion service, therefore, is for

believing Christians. Children do not customarily

participate in these ordinances unless they are

baptized.(*15)

The Bible instructs believers to celebrate this ordinance

with due reverence for the Lord, for the one who "eats this

bread and drinks this cup...in an unworthy manner will be

guilty of the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Cor. 11:27).

This "unworthy manner" consists "either in unbecoming

conduct (see verse 21) or in a lack of vital, active faith

in the atoning sacrifice of Christ."(*16) Such behavior

shows disrespect to the Lord and can be considered a

rejection of the Saviour and so a sharing in the guilt of

those who crucify Him.

Improper participation brings about God's displeasure.

Those eating and drinking in an unworthy manner eat and

drink "judgment" to themselves, "not discerning the Lord's

body" (1 Cor. 11:29). They fail to distinguish between

ordinary food and the consecrated emblems that symbolize

Christ's atoning death. "Believers must not treat the

ordinance as merely a commemorative ceremony of a happening

in history. It is that, and much more; it is a reminder of

what sin has cost God and what man owes to the Saviour. It

is also a means of keeping fresh in mind the believer's duty

to bear public witness to his faith in the atoning death of

the Son of God."(*17)

In view of these admonitions Paul counsels the believer

to "examine himself" before participating in the Lord's

Supper (1 Cor. 11:28). Before taking part believers should

prayerfully review their Christian experience, confessing

their sins and restoring severed relationships.

The experience of the Adventist pioneers reveals what a

blessing such an examination can provide: "When our numbers

were few, the celebration of the ordinances was made a most

profitable occasion. On the Friday before, every church

member endeavored to clear away everything that would tend

to separate him from his brethren and from God. Hearts were

closely searched; prayers for a divine revelation of hidden

sin were earnestly offered; confessions of over-reaching in

trade, of ill-advised words hastily spoken, of sin

cherished, were made. The Lord came near, and we were

greatly strengthened and encouraged."(*18)

This examination is a personal work. Others cannot do it,

for who can read the heart or distinguish the weeds from the

wheat? Christ, our example, rejected exclusiveness at the

Supper. Though open sin excludes persons from participating

(1 Cor. 5:11), Jesus Himself shared the meal with

Judas--outwardly a professed follower, inwardly a thief and

traitor.

What marks those who are qualified to participate in the

Communion service, then, is the condition of the heart--a

full commitment to Christ and faith in His sacrifice, not

membership in any particular church. Consequently, believing

Christians of all churches can take part in the Lord's

Supper. All are invited to celebrate often this great

festival of the new covenant, and through their

participation to witness to their acceptance of Christ as a

personal Saviour.(*19)

References

1. See Robert Odom, "The First Celebration of the Ordinance

of the Lord's House," Ministry, Jan. 1953, p. 20; White,

Desire of Ages, pp. 643-646.

2. Ibid, p. 650.

3. There is a relationship between baptism and the Lord's

Supper. Baptism precedes church membership, while the foot

washing serves those who already are church members. During

this ordinance we may appropriately meditate on our

baptismal vows.

4. See C. Mervyn Maxwell, "A Fellowship of Forgiveness,"

Review and Herald, June 29, l961, pp. 6,7.

5. Jon Dybdahl, Missions: A Two-Way Street (Boise, ID:

Pacific Press, 1986), p. 28.

6. Though it is generally understood that in Acts 20:7 the

expression refers to the celebration of the Lord's Supper,

it does not exclusively refer to this ordinance. In Luke

24:35 it refers to a common daily meal.

7. On the assumption that the people of Bible times could

not have preserved grape juice for an extended period of

time in the warm climate of Israel from the time of the fall

grape harvest until the Passover in the spring it is taken

for granted that the Jews celebrated the Passover with

fermented wine. This assumption is unwarranted. Throughout

the ancient world juices were often preserved in an

unfermented state for extended periods through various

methods. One method was to concentrate the juice to a syrup

by boiling it. Stored in a cool place, this concentrate

would not ferment. Simply diluting it with water yielded a

non-alcoholic "sweet wine." See William Patton, Bible

Wines--Laws of Fermentation (Oklahoma City, OK: Sane Press,

n.d.), pp. 24-41; see also C.A. Christoforides, "More on

Unfermented Wine," Ministry, April 1955, p. 34; Lael O.

Caesar, "The Meaning of Yayin in the Old Testament"

(Unpublished M.A. Thesis, Andrews University, 1986), pp.

74-77; White, Desire of Ages, p. 653. The Passover wine

could also be made from raisins (F.C. Gilbert, Practical

Lessons From the Experience of Israel for the Church of

To-day [Nashville, TN: Southern Publ. Assn., 1972 ed.],

pp. 240, 241).

8. In this light it is not without significance that Christ

avoids using the usual word for wine (Greek, oinos) but

employs the phrase "the fruit of the vine" (Mark 14:25).

While oinos can refer to wine in its fermented, as well as

its unfermented, state, the fruit of the vine refers to the

pure juice--a fitting symbol of the blood of Christ, who

calls Himself the "True Vine" (John 15:1).

9. Yeast also causes the fermentation of grape juice. Yeast

spores, carried freely through the air or by insects, attach

themselves to the wax coat of the grape skins. When the

grapes are crushed the spores mix with the juice. At room

temperature the yeast cells multiply rapidly, fermenting the

wine (see Martin S. Peterson, Arnold H. Johnson, eds.,

Encyclopedia of Food Technology [Westport, CT.: Avi

Publishing Co., 1974], vol. 2, pp. 61-69; idem, Encyclopedia

of Food Science [Westport, CT: Avi Publishing Co., 1978],

vol. 3, p. 878).

10.R. Rice, Reign of God, p. 303.

11.SDA Bible Commentary, rev. ed., vol. 6, p. 746.

12.White, Desire of Ages, p. 656; cf. p. 661.

13.M.L. Andreasen, "The Ordinances of the Lord's House,"

Ministry, Jan. 1947, pp. 44,46.

14.Cf. White, Evangelism (Washington, D.C.: Review and

Herald, 1946), p. 273.

15.See e.g. Frank Holbrook, "For Members Only?" Ministry,

Feb. 1987, p. 13.

16.SDA Bible Commentary, rev. ed., vol. 6. p. 765.

17.Ibid.

18.White, Evangelism, p. 274; cf. SDA Bible Commentary,

rev. ed., vol. 6, p. 765.

19.The Bible does not specify how frequently the Lord's

Supper should be celebrated (see 1 Cor. 11:25,26).

Adventists have followed the practice of many Protestants to

have this ordinance four times a year. "In adopting the

quarterly plan, the early Advent believers felt that in

holding the service more frequently there would be the

danger of formality and failure to realize the solemnity of

the service." It seems to be a middle-of-the-road

decision--between celebrating it too often and leaving it

for too long a period, such as once a year (W.E. Read,

"Frequency of the Lord's Supper," Ministry, April 1955,

p. 43).