The writings herein reflect the views of the authors based upon their research into extra-Biblical writings and commentaries. Some of the comments counter what is written in the Bible, but they do reflect some early Christian and Jewish-Christian thinking and debates over various Christian theology of that time.
What is the Eucharist?
Regarding the Eucharist, Jesus had to accomplish the following; he had to make the ritual appealing to the gentiles, who for the most part, were accustom to pagan rituals wherein the believers ate the flesh and drank the blood of their dying and resurrecting god. Also, Jesus had to appeal to the "regular Jews" of his time, who were in the habit of killing animals to God. Thus, Jesus instituted a bread and water communal meal, saying that the bread was his replacement for animal bodies (Jewish) and god/human bodies (Gentile).
Thus, when speaking to Jews, Jesus said; "this is my body", he did not mean his own flesh and blood, but rather, he was saying that, instead of offering one of his lambs, he was substituting bread as a replacement for the lamb's body.
It was only later, when Paul added the Pagan aspect, did the Eurcharist take on its symbolism of today, that being the actual flesh and blood of Jesus. This is why God "allowed" Paul, if not "pre-ordained", him to introduce his pagan ideas into the church, to get the Gentiles to see Jesus as their ultimate sacrifice. You see, the gentiles not only had their mystery religions, but they still offered animal sacrifice to the various Roman gods and Emperors.
Paul, not Jesus, Invented the Eucharist:
It was Paul, and not Jesus who invented the Eucharist as we know it today, at least the basic idea of it. It would seem that John, the writer of Revelations may have finished the formation of the Eucharist.
We know that Paul invented the Eucharist, for Paul himself tell us this; "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, 'Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, 'This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me..." We can see by this that Paul claims he got this teaching from a revelation of Jesus. Why revelation? Because, Paul never met Jesus while he was alive, rather, Paul only saw him in visions, much like New Agers have visions of long dead Atlantians. Did Paul really have a vision? Perhaps, but, even if not, we must thank Paul, with all his short comings, since because of his brand of Christianity, animal sacrifice did stop in Pagan Rome and consequently, the rest of the Western World.
The fact that Paul made the Eucharist up is backed up by the fact that the book of Acts tells us what the original Apostols did regarding their gatherings and their is no mention of the so-called Eucharits.
Why so-called Eurcharist?
Because, the term Eurcharist was invented by early church fathers to cover Paul's pagan past. You see, Paul used the term "Kuriakon Deipnon" which was the exact same term used by the priests of the Pagan Priests of Rome. It was the Church Fathers who then termed it the Eucharist.
As said above, I believe that Paul was allowed by God to introduce Paganism into Christ's teachings so as to get the gentiles to stop animal sacrifice, however, like the animal sacrifice and meat eating of the ancient Hebrews, Paul's teaching was a limited time concession. Now that neither Jews or Gentiles offer up animal sacrifice, we need to return to or evolve to a more humane and spiritual understanding of Jesus communal meal. (Thankfully, many modern day Essene groups, such as Vic Forthyse's and David Owen's, are doing just that, unfortunately, the modern day Ebionite groups seem to be leaning away from vegetarianism and toward Israelite nationalism.)
I believe Jesus set out to establish a ritual which would accommodate both parties, Jews and Gentiles, which would, put an end to animal sacrifices in both the pagan and Jewish worlds. This in turn would be adapted by Paul to appeal to the Roman Pagans. Thus we have today the Eucharist where in people believe they are eating the body of Jesus and drinking his blood, or at least doing so symbolically. To the pagans, who would have seen the Eucharist in a similar fashion as do our modern day Apostolic Churches, this seemed to be quite natural. To the Jews, who would have seen the Eucharist more in line with today's Protestants, this too was acceptable. Of course, the higher interpretation was that Jesus had managed to do away with animal sacrifice in both worlds.
Yes, the higher truth of all this is that Jesus was replacing all animal sacrifice with bread and wine (water originally) so that animals would no longer have to suffer. Therefore, when Jesus states that this is my body and this is my blood, he is actual using a pun. On the one hand, for the Pagans, he is the bread and wine, symbolically; where on the other hand, to the Jewish Christian or Ebionites, the bread and wine replace animal bodies and blood offered up to God. In other words, what Jesus really said at the last supper was this, "This is my flesh", (referring to the bread as a replacement for animal flesh), and "This is my blood", (referring to the wine as a replacement for the blood of the animals that were usually slaughtered). Only at the Pagan level are we to understand the bread and wine to be the body and blood of Jesus. On the Ebionite level, which, in my opinion, is higher and comes to you when the Pagan or elementary level becomes unappealing, we see the Eucharist as a replacement for animal sacrifice to the Devil or Leviathan. Always keep in mind that Jesus' sacrifice was not to God.