THE MASS (part 3)
TRANSUBSTANTIATION - WHAT DOES THE ROMAN CATHOLIC BIBLE SAY?
As was specified in a previous chapter, Transubstantiation is the Roman Catholic teaching wherein the bread and wine of the Mass are believed to be changed into the actual physical body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet undergo no change in appearance. The bread and wine also retain their original taste, colour, smell, weight and dimensions.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that "Chemical analysis or human science cannot demonstrate that the change has taken place. It is a special kind of change, absolutely unique. It is called sacramental. Such a change can only be known through faith in the teaching of Christ and His Church, faith in the Word of God."66 But nowhere in the Word of God can it be found that such a change takes place!!
In other words, the Roman Catholic Church claims Transubstantiation to be a miracle worked by the power of God exclusively through the Roman Catholic priest, though it remains indiscernible to the human senses. However, no miracle of this type is recorded in Scripture. In contrast to this, every miracle of God in the Roman Catholic Bible was obvious and apparent to all. It had tangible evidence to support it. One could readily see that a change had occurred: the blind man could see; the crippled man could walk; the deaf could hear and the dead were raised. One did not merely hear about a true miracle of God; people were not forced into believing it by faith, but an actual change was seen. Such is the evidence of a true miracle from God.
For instance, when the Lord Jesus performed His first miracle at Cana, He changed the water into wine (John 2). According to those present, the water no longer looked like water, it had undergone a real change. It became wine, looked like wine, smelled like wine and tasted like wine. This true miracle of God is so unlike the empty Roman Catholic ‘miracle’ of transubstantiation, which produces no change!
Though there is no physical evidence for her people to see, Roman Catholicism insists its followers, UNDER PENALTY OF ETERNAL DAMNATION, believe something that not only goes against their senses, but also runs contrary to the very attributes that are characteristic of a true miracle of God. A true miracle of God, as seen in the Roman Catholic Bible, was always accompanied with proof that left no doubt in the mind of the people, even the enemies of God, that a change had truly taken place. Dear Roman Catholic, let this sink deep into your minds. Think about what you are being told to believe by your church. Remember, you are not simply being asked to believe something, the Roman Catholic Church is TELLING you, it is commanding you, that you MUST BELIEVE, independently of your God-given mind, or you will burn in hell forever!!!
The Scripture passage most often used by Roman Catholicism in defence of its Transubstantiation doctrine is John 6:48-58. The following are the key verses: "I am the living Bread that came down from heaven; whosoever eats this Bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world..."; "...unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you..."; "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life..." (vs. 51,53,54).
The Roman Catholic Church would have us believe that the Lord Jesus was speaking literally when He uttered these words. However, these words of Jesus were spoken approximately 1 year before the institution of the Last Supper, and are in no way referring to it. Jesus was speaking comparatively of the time when the Jews had eaten manna from heaven: "Your ancestors ate manna in the desert but they died..." (John 6:49).
The Roman Church fails to give an answer to other passages in the Bible that have never been taken literally, wherein Jesus refers to Himself in the following terms: "...I am the Gate...", "I am the Vine..." (John. 10:9; 15:5). Now, no one believes that Jesus Christ is actually made of wood and has a handle; or that He is literally a vine, neither does God become literal bread! But figuratively speaking, Jesus Christ IS the Gate through which one must enter into heaven; He IS the vine which His people abide in and are thereby able to bear fruit, and He IS the Bread that true believers ‘eat’ so that they might have life.
"When He (Jesus) said, ‘Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life...’ (John. 6:54), He was speaking of a spiritual relationship between Himself and His people in terms of the Old Testament type, that is, eating the passover lamb and drinking the passover wine; but His Jewish hearers, being literalists, as are the Roman Catholics, misunderstood His words. The Jews pondered over such statements: (‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ John. 6:52). "He said, ‘You are the salt of the earth...’ (Matthew 5:13), and ‘You are the light of the world...’ (Matthew 5:14)....James said, ‘The tongue is also a fire...’ (3:6), and again, ‘...you are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears’ (4:14)....None of these statements are true if taken literally....Similarly, the expressions, ‘this is My body and this is My blood’, are clear enough for all except those who will not see, or those who merely follow medieval theologians. It is unreasonable in the extreme to take these two expressions literally while taking the others figuratively."67
The Roman Catholic Church teaches precisely what the carnal Jews had mistakenly believed, that Jesus’ words in John 6 were spoken literally of His body being eaten and His blood being drunk. But Jesus had this to say in response to the Jews, and His words are just as relevant for every Roman Catholic today: "What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. THE WORDS I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU ARE SPIRIT AND LIFE" (John 6:62,63).
Jesus was here saying: "‘What then if you should see the Son of Man ascending where He was before?’ Christ was asking them, ‘If you think you must literally eat Me for salvation, what will you do when you see Me ascend back to heaven?’ And this was why He immediately soothed their perplexed hearts by saying, ‘It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life’ (v.64). His words of eating and drinking were to be understood in a spiritual or symbolic sense and not literally."68 Jesus often used figurative language in His teachings (see Isaiah 55:1-3; Matthew 16:5-11; John 7:37-39).
The best, nay the only, interpreter of the Holy Scriptures is not the Roman Catholic Church but the Holy Scriptures themselves as taught by God’s Holy Spirit. John 6:58 says: "..whoever eats this bread will live forever." Compare that with John 3:36: "Whoever BELIEVES in the Son has eternal life..." "There are not two ways of salvation, one by the sacrament and the other by faith. Eating the bread is a representation of what happens when a person believes, he partakes of everlasting life through the Son of God. John 6:35...gives the key to the interpretation, ‘...whoever comes to Me will never hunger,’ that is eating Christ’s flesh. How do we eat Christ’s flesh? By coming to Him. ‘And whoever believes in Me will never thirst.’ How do we drink Christ’s blood? By believing on Him. We feed on Christ by coming to Him. We drink His blood by believing on Him. Salvation is by faith alone."69
"...It requires little discernment to see that the words ‘eat’ and ‘drink’ are synonyms for believe. This our Lord made plain when He used the word ‘believe’ six times over in the passage from John 6 (John 6:29,35,36,40,47, and 64)."70
Coupled with Jesus Christ’s use of symbolic language, it is interesting to note its use by David in 2 Samuel 23:17. In response to his soldiers having risked their lives to bring him water, David said: "The Lord forbid that I do this! Can I drink the BLOOD of these men who went at the risk of their lives?..." This is just another example of the Bible’s use of symbolic language.
Though the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the blood is to be drunk so that one can have eternal life, she WITHHELD THE CUP for centuries from her own followers! Only by coming to Jesus Christ through faith can there be salvation, not by merely eating the bread and drinking the wine of communion. This is done in remembrance of Him, not to gain eternal life, but as a subsequent act of every true believer. In addition, the Gospel of John, as well as other Gospel accounts, along with the passage in Paul’s first Letter to the Corinthians 11:25,26, all demonstrate the figurative meaning of Jesus’ words, ‘this is My body, this is My blood.’
Luke 22:20: "...this cup is the new covenant in My blood..." Paul added: "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup..." "In these words he (Paul) used a double figure of speech. The cup is put for the wine, and the wine is called the new covenant. The cup was not literally the new covenant, although it is declared to be so as definitely as the bread is declared to be His body. They did not literally drink the cup, nor did they literally drink the new covenant....Nor was the bread literally His body, or the wine His blood. After giving the wine to his disciples Jesus said: "...from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes" (Luke 22:18). So the wine, even as he gave it to them, and after He had given it to them, remained ‘the fruit of the vine’! Paul, too, says that the bread remains bread: "Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily.... A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup" (1Cor.11:27,28). No change had taken place in the elements. This after the prayer of consecration, when the Church of Rome supposes the change took place, and Jesus and Paul both declare that the elements still are bread and wine."71
In addition to all this evidence is the Scriptural law contained in the Old Testament: "Since the life of every living body is its blood, anyone who partakes of it will be cut off" (Leviticus 17:14); and Deuteronomy 12:16: "...you shall not partake of the blood..." This law was confirmed in Acts 15:28 by the Council at Jerusalem. "The actual eating of human flesh and blood is repulsive, abhorrent to all right minded people...such practice is contrary to Scripture and to common sense...the Jerusalem Council, legislating for the Christian dispensation, ratified a provision against the eating of blood: "...to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, [and] from blood..." (Acts 15:29). It is impossible to believe that when the apostles thus set forth the law of God they were themselves partakers, not merely of animal blood, but of human blood—as they would have been if in the Lord’s Supper they regularly ate the literal flesh and blood of Christ."72
Moreover, the Levitical law concerning sin offerings states clearly that the sin offering WAS NEVER TO BE EATEN!! Jesus was the sin offering for God’s chosen, therefore, according to the Roman Catholic Bible, it is against Scriptural law to eat Him!! As far as the issue of the SACRIFICE of the mass is concerned? "In the New Testament the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper is always presented as a sacrament, never as a sacrifice....the fact that in the Lord’s Supper the elements are eaten is proof in itself that it was never intended to be a sacrifice."73
"...The idea of eating the flesh of a god was of cannibalistic inception. Since heathen priests ate a portion of all sacrifices, in cases of human sacrifice, priests of Baal were required to eat human flesh. Thus ‘Cahna-Bal’, that is, ‘priest of Baal’, has provided the basis for our modern word ‘cannibal.’" Former Roman Catholic priest Charles Chiniquy comments: "...I extremely abhorred the idea of eating human flesh and drinking human blood, even when assured that they were the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ Himself. But what troubled me most was the idea that God, so great, so glorious, so holy, could be eaten by me like common bread!"75
In light of the Roman Catholic Church’s claim that Jesus Christ is physically present today and only in their churches, under the appearance of bread and wine, we recall the warning given by the Lord Jesus to His followers in Matthew 24:23: "If anyone says to you then, ‘Look, HERE is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There He is!’ DO NOT BELIEVE IT"
JESUS CHRIST - THE ONE TRUE OFFERING!!
Although the Roman Catholic Church holds to the historical fact that Jesus Christ suffered and died only once, upon the cross at Calvary, she does not teach that His once for all offering was enough. Roman Catholicism teaches that Christ’s offering is to be continued on a daily basis in the sacrifice of the Roman Catholic Mass. But, as this chapter of the booklet will demonstrate, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was offered ONCE on the cross and needs NO repetition!
The Letter to the Hebrews describes the Old Testament priesthood as a type of the One True Priest, the great High Priest Jesus Christ, who was to come. It tells us that after the Lord Jesus had offered Himself as a sacrifice to God, "...He took His SEAT forever at the right hand of God" (Hebrews 10:12). Christ’s being SEATED signified that His work of redemption was completed, and its effect eternal!
After the cross, no further sacrifices for sin were required—not from any priesthood—for Christ’s sacrifice, being everlasting, abolished the need for a priesthood. Neither was there any need to repeat Christ’s once for all offering, for a closer inspection of the phrase ‘once for all’ as used in Hebrews 10:10 reveals that it is describing something that "...is of perpetual validity, NOT REQUIRING REPETITION."76
"It follows then, that the sacrifice of Christ was a once and for all sacrifice that requires no repetition—no perpetuation. You cannot perpetuate an event in time which happened once and for all. Commemorate it, yes. Perpetuate it, NO!"77
The Roman Catholic Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus "...lives forever to make intercession..." (Hebrews 7:25). Jesus does not live forever to repeat His once for all offering upon Roman Catholic altars!!
The Old Testament sacrifices were offered daily, for none of them were that perfect sacrifice which was to come. Hebrews 7:27 reminds us that "He (Jesus) has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day...He did that ONCE FOR ALL when He offered Himself" (Hebrews 7:27). Here we see a direct contrast with Jesus’ unique sacrifice and the daily sacrifices of a human priest. True believers "...have been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE AND FOR ALL" (Hebrews 10:10).
Not only is there no need for Christ’s offering to be repeated, it CANNOT be repeated, for a repetition of Christ’s offering, no matter what the Roman Catholic Church says, would require His suffering, His death, and His blood to be shed again, and these things, according to the Roman Catholic Bible, will NEVER happen again!!: "We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over Him" (Romans 6:9).
"Hebrews, chapters 7, 9 and 10, constitute an overpowering refutation of all Roman Catholic claims regarding the Mass. Seven times this passage thunders forth its truth, ‘ONCE’, and those sounds come rolling down the centuries to us today, announcing the finality of an accomplished redemption. This finality of Christ’s sacrifice and the perfection of His priesthood sweep away for ever the claims of a sacrificing priesthood within the framework of a New Testament Christian Church."78
Hebrews 9:26 states: "...but now once for all He has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by His sacrifice." There is no sin for a Roman Catholic priest to ‘take away’ by his ‘sacrifice’, for the sins of God’s people have been taken away by Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus Christ does not regularly appear on Roman Catholic altars. We can be certain, however, of where Jesus does appear. The Word of God tells us that " ...Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but HEAVEN itself, THAT HE MIGHT NOW APPEAR BEFORE GOD ON OUR BEHALF" (Hebrews 9:24).
In searching for what God has said in His Word concerning Christ’s sacrificial offering, the word ‘once’ continues to appear and it is the word that we strongly emphasize to every Roman Catholic today when talking about Christ’s offering for sin: ONCE!! This word alone is enough to negate the need for the Roman Catholic Sacrifice of the Mass.
The Roman Catholic Bible tells us of the sacrifice that the true believer is to offer to God, which is the sacrifice of praise! "Through Him then let us continually offer God a SACRIFICE OF PRAISE..." (Hebrews 13:15; cf. Psalm 116:17). The apostle Peter states: "...like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5). The true Christian is to offer to God those sacrifices "...which are the offerings of the heart—the sacrifices of prayer and praise....It is called ‘sacrifice’, not because it makes an expiation for sin, but because it is of the nature of worship."79
"Thank God that His followers can look back to what their Lord did on Calvary and know that He completed the sacrifice for sins once for all, and that their salvation is not dependent on the whim or arbitrary decree of any priest or church. Any pretense at a continuous offering for sin is worse than vain, for it is a denial of the efficacy of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary."80