The word “indeed” (v.55) means in reality or in truth. The Lord has been talking about the meat or manna that fell in the wilderness, and now says that His flesh is meat in truth and in reality. Does that mean the manna wasn’t true or real? No, calling the heavenly tabernacle “the true taber-nacle” (Heb. 8:2) didn’t mean that the one Moses pitched wasn’t real. This is just the Bible’s way of saying it was symbolic of the heavenly tabernacle (cf. v.1-5). Likewise, the manna was real, but it was only a symbol of the Lord, the true manna. The Greek word for “true” (Heb.8:2) is the adjective form of the word translated indeed in John 6:55.
Besides manna, there are many types or symbols of Christ, and of His resurrection. Since it is Resurrection Day, let’s name a few. In the Flood, all humanity “died” and rose again in Noah. The ark rested on Aararat the same day of the year the Lord rose, and Noah began a new life, just as He did. That doesn’t mean Noah wasn’t a real person, it just means he was a type of Christ. The feast of firstfruits was celebrated the 3rd day after Passover, just as Christ rose the third day after He became our Passover (ICor.5:7). Firstfruits guaranteed more fruits to come, just as Christ’s resurrection guaranteed ours (ICor.15:23). But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a real feast, it was just a type of Christ.
When Aaron’s dead rod budded, it proved he was God’s anointed, just as when Christ arose, it proved He was God’s anointed. Moses then showed Aaron’s rod to the people, just as the apostles showed Christ’s resurrection to the people in early Acts. Moses then put the rod back in the tabernacle, just as Christ ascended back into the heavenly tabernacle. All this doesn’t mean Aaron’s rod wasn’t real, it just means it was a type of Christ. If a leper wanted to be cleansed, he had to kill a bird and dip the wing of a live bird in its blood and release it, a type of Christ’s death and resurrection. This doesn’t mean it never happened, it just means Christ was the true resurrection. You must believe in the types, else you can’t believe Christ “rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,” for no Scriptures outside of the type of Jonah said He’d rise the third day (Mt.12:40).
We’ve seen that eating the Lord’s flesh and drinking His blood (Jo.6:56) is symbolic of believing on Him (v.40 cf. v.54). So Verse 56 is saying that Jews who believed on the Lord dwelt in Christ, but not in the Body of Christ. All men are either “in Christ” or “in Adam” (ICor.15:22). Even when Old Testament saints believed, God put them into Christ (Rom.3:25), but not into the Body of Christ. Paul says the Body of Christ was “new” with his ministry (Eph.2:15). Israel had a different gospel, a different program, and a different hope, and you must keep them separate to understand the Bible!
Dwelling in God is nothing new. Hebrew believers under the Law were saved and dwelt in God (Ps. 90:1). We know that they were secure in Him because the person being talked about in Psalm 90:9-12 is also said to have made God his habitation, and it was talking about Christ (Mt. 4:6)! So Hebrew believers were as safe in God as Christ!
When the Lord told the Jews that if they’d believe it was also true that He’d dwell in them, this means they were in-dwelt by Christ. But how could this be, since He was stand-ing next to believers when He said that? He explains in the next verse, where He says that He indwelt them in the sense that His life was in them (v.57), the same life that was in His Father. His Father’s life was in Him, just as your parents’ life is in you since you have their blood and “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev.17:11 cf. Acts 20:28). And this is the life the Lord promised to give to believers.
Now this is different than the indwelling of the Spirit. When Hebrew believers believed, they were indwelt by Christ, but the Spirit was only “with” them; only at Pente-cost would He be in them (John 14:16,17). Do you see how Pentecost was nothing new (certainly not the begin-ning of the Body of Christ) but was rather just a continua-tion of what God was already doing among the Jews. Here we see a dispensational difference, for when we get saved, we are indwelt by the Son and the Spirit at the same time.
Those who believe you can be saved by eating communion are emphasizing symbolism over substance!