Gen 49:11 refers to wine as the “blood of the grape”, see also Deut. 32:14
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
Does this verse say that the wine is literally Christ's blood, or rather, the communion of His blood?
Matthew 26:27-2827 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Notice how this verse speaks of the blood as having already been shed. Yet we know, His blood was not already shed; that would happen later. Why would He refer to the wine as His shed blood before it was shed? Because the wine was symbolizing His blood, which would be shed. In the future, all believers would be taking communion to symbolize the shed blood of Christ, just as they understood it, before His death, to symbolically represent His blood.
1 Corinthians 11:25 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.
Believers would be remembering this moment, not re-enacting it. It is symbolizing something which has already occurred; we “remember”.
Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
Notice the symbolism here...He is not yet crucified; He is speaking of what has not happened yet. Still, the wine is figuratively His blood which will be shed. It can not literally be His blood; His blood is in His body, not in the cup. He is setting up the model of a symbolic communion to be done in His memory.
Notice also our Lord's words “this cup is the new testament...”. Is the the New Testament a tangible thing, like a cup? Surely you see how a cup is a literal thing and a Testament is not a physical thing, but rather a concept. Or, if the New Testament is a physical thing, such as a document, is our Lord then saying that the literal cup is a literal scroll or such?
Other examples in scripture are symbolic of our Lord.
- “I am the door...” John 10:9
- “I am the TRUE vine...” John 15:1Though the word “true” is used, we don't use this as proof that our Lord is a literal vine...” we understand the allegory, based on the concept, despite the word “true”.
- “I an the good shepherd...” John 10:11We are symbolical sheep, he is our symbolical shepherd.
Many Catholics and other groups believe that the wine is the literal blood of Christ, and that it is not symbolic.
They point to our Lord's words in John 6:55 where the word “indeed” is used. But we understand that this is allegorical, despite the word “indeed” based on the context of the surrounding text. In verse 63, he tells us that the words He speaks are spirit and truth.
61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Here we see that Jesus is explaining to the Kosher-observant Jews that He is not speaking of cannibalism (an unbiblical practice) but rather, of a spiritual, symbolic observance of communion with Him.
Furthermore, if Jesus is saying that his blood is literally drink, at that literal moment, we would expect Him to cut his flesh and pour out a cup for all. Clearly, based on the context of the text and the fact that Christ is physically present when He says this, we can take this to mean that Christ's blood is “spiritual drink” in the same way that He is the True Vine without literally being a plant.