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Dinner and Supper

The English word dinner originated from a word that meant to eat, that is, to dine. In much earlier, supposedly less "civilized" times (which is a fallacy; as a whole, humanity today is just as barbaric as it has always been), it meant to devour. Dinner is generally used to refer to the main meal of the day, eaten at some time from afternoon to evening.

The English word supper is derived from an old Teutonic (German) word meaning to sup (sip, soup and sop all originated from the same word). Supper is usually used to refer to the evening, or last meal, or last dinner (a supper is a dinner, while a dinner isn't necessarily a supper) of the day.

Dinner and Supper In The Bible

Bread and Fish In the Bible, "dinner" is used to translate the Greek word pronounced ar-is-ton, meaning early meal, usually referring to that eaten sometime in the afternoon (when in the afternoon is not absolute, the reason that some say "supper" where others say "dinner"). Supper is used to translate the Greek word pronounced dipe-non, meaning the chief meal of the day, usually eaten in the evening when all family members were at home together after their day's work or travels. Although "dinner" and "supper" were used interchangeably in the Scriptures (both often included guests), the main Biblical difference between dinner and supper is that a supper tended to be more formal, as in a feast, or a banquet - although dinner is also used in that way because, by definition, a supper is a dinner.

Jesus Christ did not look down, or up, at any other human. He ate with "sinners," and He ate with the religious establishment of that time, many of whom were in fact worse sinners (just as is often the case still today, of all religions). On one occasion, after being invited to have dinner with some Pharisees, they rebuked Him for not having "washed before dinner," not meaning that He didn't first wash His hands, but because He didn't bother with their ritual washing of utensils. For that, The Lord responded by letting His hosts know that they were hypocrites:

"And as He spake, a certain Pharisee besought Him to dine with Him: and He went in, and sat down to meat. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that He had not first washed before dinner. And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness." (Luke 11:37-39 KJV)

On another occasion in which He was invited to dinner by the Pharisees (it's quite amazing that they kept inviting Him since Jesus always told it exactly as it was, regardless of who liked it or not), The Messiah rebuked His host for not being more charitable toward the less fortunate, for the Kingdom of God is open all who repent:

"And it came to pass, as He went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath day, that they watched Him ... Then said He also to him that bade Him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just [see When Will You Be Judged?]. And when one of them that sat at meat with Him heard these things, he said unto Him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God." (Luke 14:1,12-15 KJV)

The analogy of salvation as a supper that is open to all who repent was repeated more clearly in a parable that described salvation being opened to the Gentiles after many of the "chosen people" of Israel rejected the Messiah:

"Then said He unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse ... Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper." (Luke 14:16-18,21-24 KJV)

It was at the birthday supper of Herod Antipas (see The Herods) that John the Baptist was killed (see also John's Last Days):

"Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist." (Mark 6:21-24 KJV)

The friends of Jesus held a supper for Him in Bethany a few days before His crucifixion:

"Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom He raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of Spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment." (John 12:1-3 KJV)

The so-called "last supper" was held the night before the Christ was crucified:

"And 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. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22:19-20 KJV)

"Now before the Feast of the Passover [i.e. Unleavened Bread], when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded." (John 13:1-5 KJV)

The Return Of Jesus Christ will be the time of a "wedding supper" for the "marriage" of Christ and His Church (see Daughter of Zion):

"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Revelation 19:7-9 KJV)

Fact Finder: After His resurrection from the dead, before His ascension, did Jesus Christ actually eat with the apostles?
Luke 24:39-43


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