"This is my blood of the covenant ..." (Matthew 26:27-29)

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." (Matthew 26:27-29)

What did Jesus mean by 'this is my blood'?

"My blood" is being translated from the Greek word αἷμα (haima) which could mean blood, but according to the lexicon can also 'refers to the seat of life,' and its metaphorical meaning refers to one's mission' or 'purpose.'

As we understand that Jesus was speaking metaphorically, Jesus was not referring to blood at all. He was referring to his core purpose and intention: His mission.

The next word in the verse is διαθήκη (diathēkē) in Greek, which is being translated to "of the covenant." διαθήκη (diathēkē) means 'dispositions,' 'arrangements,' or 'contracts' relating to testaments or wills. In other words, διαθήκη means a type of pact.

So what kind of pact, covenant, arrangement, or contract is Jesus referring to?

Remember that God maintained a covenant with Noah, with Moses, and a number of other ancient teachers according to the Old Testament. Some texts in the Bible discuss a covenant between God and the people of Israel.

Is this the same covenant Jesus is describing? What were these covenants described in the Bible about?

Just as He wants for each of us, God wanted the people of Israel to return to Him. He wants us to return to our loving relationship with Him. God simply wants us to return to His loving arms. The covenant is about exchanging a loving relationship with God.

This is why Moses' and Jesus' most important instruction was:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)

What does 'poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins' mean?

The word "forgiveness" in Matthew 26:27 is being translated from ἄφεσις (aphesis), which means, according to the lexicon, "release from bondage or imprisonment."

Instead, Roman scribes translated this word to "forgiveness" - which was then assumed by other translators centuries later.

The phrase, "of sins" is being translated from the Greek word ἁμαρτία (hamartia), which, according to the lexicon, refers to "to be without a share in, to miss the mark, to err, be mistaken, to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honor, to do or go wrong, to wander from the law of God..." This can be summarized by something like 'straying from God's will.'

What is the foundation for 'straying from God's will?' It is self-centeredness. It is greed. It is envy. These elements facilitate our straying from our original loving relationship with the Supreme Being.

Self-centeredness and envy can be compared to being imprisoned, because these grab us and draw us further and further into greed, leading to violence. This is why God taught Cain:
"But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." (Genesis 4:7)
Self-centeredness is ready to take hold of us at any time. Self-centered thoughts lead to desires, which pull us into greed.

We can only be released from the "bondage" that self-centeredness brings by following Jesus' and Moses' instruction to re-develop our loving relationship with the Supreme Being. Should we do this, then by God's "covenant," we can be released from the bondage of self-centeredness, and thus materialism, and become a candidate for returning to the spiritual world.

This is what Jesus is speaking of - not cleansing the sins of others with his blood as ascribed by some.

What did Jesus mean by 'when I drink it anew with you'?

In Jesus' next statement, he says, "I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."

Jesus is confirming that the "covenant" mentioned in the prior sentence is related to his return to "my Father's kingdom." Jesus is referring to our returning to our relationship with God - within the spiritual realm.

But Jesus is not only talking about his own return to the spiritual realm: "that day when I drink it anew with you" means that Jesus will only feel that the "covenant" is fulfilled when those followers Jesus is speaking to embrace his instruction to love and serve God with all their hearts, and thus return to the spiritual realm with him.

This covenant is also available to anyone who chooses to follow Jesus' teachings.

This understanding clarifies Jesus' purpose and the meaning of his statement here. Jesus was not some sacrificial lamb that supplies blood for people to drink so they can be relieved from the consequences of their sins so they can continue their self-centered behavior without guilt. This perversion of Jesus' life is offensive and abominable and has nothing to do with the real teachings of Jesus.

Rather, Jesus' purpose was to instruct us to renew our loving relationship with the Supreme Being. Should we do this, we will be released from the bondage of our self-centeredness, and become eligible to return to the spiritual realm. This is the "covenant" Jesus is referring to here. This is why Jesus' most important instruction was:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)

Was Jesus drinking wine?

Jesus said this after he offered the grape juice to God with praises and then passed the cup around to his disciples.

How do we know this was grape juice and not wine?

The Greek praise translated to "fruit of the vine" is γενήματος τῆς ἀμπέλου. The word γένημα (genēma) refers to fruit and ἄμπελος (ampelos) refers to a grapevine. Jesus is referring to a fresh drink, not a fermented drink.

The Greek word for fermented wine is οἶνος (oinos). There is no mention of this at the 'last supper' because Jesus was not drinking wine.

In the Old Testament we find multiple Hebrew words translated to wine:

עָסִיס (`aciyc) - which refers to sweet wine or juice (unfermented)

תִּירוֹשׁ (tiyrowsh) - which refers to new wine, which may be fermented and intoxicating, or may simply be juice.

יַיִן (yayin) - refers to fermented and intoxicating wine.

Furthermore, the ancient custom for drinking fermented wine was to dilute it with water. For customary uses - for gatherings and so forth - if fermented wine was used, it was diluted with up to 20 parts water - leaving the alcohol content well under 1%.

Furthermore, we know that Jesus' teacher, John the Baptist did not drink wine. Jesus said this himself:
"For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine..." (Luke 7:33)
We also find this in the words of the angel that appeared to Zechariah regarding John:
"...for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born." (Luke 1:15)
And because Jesus was one of John's students (meaning of baptism) we know that he certainly followed his teacher in this respect of not drinking alcohol - or at least drinking minimal alcohol in the form of the watered-down version.

We also find that Jesus turned down alcohol even when he was suffering on the cross:
There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall [myrrh or wormwood]; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. (Matthew 27:34)
Once Jesus tasted it and found it was wine, he didn't want it. This is even though wine was being used to help numb the pain.

Why did he say it was the 'blood of the covenant'?

There is a critical misunderstanding with regard to why Jesus is calling the bread and the grape juice "my blood of the covenant."
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them (Matthew 26:27)
The Greek word being translated to "given thanks" here is εὐχαριστέω (eucharisteō) - and the word Greek word translated to "given thanks" in Matthew 26:26 is the synonym ὐλογέω (eulogeō), which both mean "to praise, celebrate with praises" and "to consecrate a thing with solemn prayers" according to the lexicon.

What is this? It is referring to the ancient practice - handed down from the ancient prophets and also taught by Jesus - of making an offering to the Supreme Being.

When something is offered to the Supreme Being it becomes "blessed." This is why the food and the grape drink were so special. Jesus offered them to God with praises, so the food and the grape juice became blessed.

Offering food to God was an ancient practice handed down from teacher to student for thousands of years as a practice to help us re-establish our loving relationship with God. The books of the Old Testament describe clearly the practice of offering to God, and God Himself requested it:
"Tell the Israelites to bring Me an offering. You are to receive the offering for Me from each man whose heart prompts him to give." (Exodus 25:2)
Just consider what a boy does when he wants to get to know a girl better. He brings her flowers - an offering. This is meant to facilitate a relationship between the two.

This is the same purpose for making an offering to the Supreme Being. We are extending ourselves to Him - wanting to come to know and love Him.

What about bathing in the blood of Jesus?

Does this make any sense? Today even, several institutions are conducting the ritual of "bathing in the blood of Jesus" by pretending that Jesus' blood and body are wine and crackers.

Why should we believe this?

The ritual assumes a self-centered purpose of cleansing of one's sins through Jesus' crucifixion. This means taking advantage of Jesus' suffering.

Isn't that what this means? Using Jesus' suffering for our own advantage?

Who would use someone's suffering and persecution for their own purposes?

Someone who was self-centered. Someone who didn't care about Jesus.

And is it a coincidence that this interpretation and translation arose from the same government involved in persecuting Jesus?

Not only was the Roman government involved in the murder of Jesus' physical body when he was here: They then proceeded to cover up Jesus' real teachings, with a doctrine that Jesus was God turned man so that God could die for our sins.

This is a nonsensical interpretation of Jesus' life and teachings.

They are teaching that God died. How could God die? How could the Supreme Being - who created everything - come under the influence of the physical world and die? Is that logical?

The Supreme Being does not die. He is eternal and never comes under the control of the physical world. Thus he never faces death.

Furthermore, God is God. He never becomes a man. It's like saying that a man can become a rock. How could that be so? They are completely different types of entities. The Supreme Being is always supreme. He is always superior. He would never have to succumb to being a lower organism - a human physical body.

More importantly, the Supreme Being never has to make a sacrifice to atone for anyone. The Supreme Being can cleanse someone's sins simply by willing it. He doesn't need to make a show of supposedly dying.

This fact - that God can forgive our sins directly - is confirmed by Jesus' teaching his followers to ask the Supreme Being to forgive their sins within the "Lord's Prayer:"
"and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us." (Matthew 6:12 NLT)
The word "sins" is translated from the Greek word ὀφείλημα (opheilēma), but this means "offense, sin" and "debt" according to the lexicon.

Furthermore, we know Jesus was referring to God forgiving sins:
"But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 6:15)
So why, if Jesus is teaching his followers to ask the Supreme Being to forgive them for their sins, do some teachers and their institutions conduct this ritual of "bathing in the blood of Jesus"?

The word "sin" or "transgressions" in Matthew 6:15 comes from the Greek word παράπτωμα (paraptōma), which means, according to the lexicon, "to fall beside or near something" and "a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness."

What are we talking about here? Jesus is discussing activities that are self-centered and hurtful to others. But what is this and why would God need to forgive us for being selfish and for hurting others? Why couldn't those who we hurt just forgive us and we're all clean?

Because Jesus is speaking of a deeper offense: Offending the Supreme Being by rejecting our relationship with Him.

Does God give us the freedom to reject Him?

Because love requires freedom, the Supreme Being allows us the complete freedom to love Him or not.

And because He loves us dearly, certainly He is hurt and offended when we decide we don't want to love Him anymore.

This is why, in fact, we are each dwelling in a temporary physical body in the physical world and not in our home in the spiritual realm. We have been given these physical bodies in order to get away from God. He gave us these physical bodies so that we can pretend we are someone else - so we can forget our relationship with God.

Yes, the Supreme Being is so loving that He will give us the ability to ignore Him and even forget Him - and even deny His existence.

This element of not only accepting God's existence but accepting our role as a loving servant of God is critical to Jesus' teachings. This is why Jesus said:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:21-23)
The phrase "but only he who does the will of my Father" is very clear. To do someone's will means to serve that person. Jesus is talking about serving the Supreme Being.