The Eucharist: A True Sacrifice or
a Denial of the Sufficiency of the Cross?

By Matt1618

I. Official Catholic Teaching
II. Protestant Objections to the Eucharist as Sacrifice
III. The Old Testament and Sacrifice
IV. The Institution of the Eucharistic Sacrifice
V. The Book of Hebrews and the Eucharist


In its liturgy, and in its official teaching, the Catholic Church affirms the teaching that the Mass that we celebrate is a true Sacrifice. Not only does the Catholic Church teach that bread and wine is truly transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ so that it is no longer bread and wine, but it teaches that what we celebrate at Mass is a true sacrifice. The Church teaches that Jesus’ once for all sacrifice is truly made present to us at the time of the consecration, when the bread and wine is so transformed. Now many Protestants object to both of these teachings. However, there are some Protestants, such as Lutherans and Anglicans who will admit that when Jesus said ‘This is My Body’, Jesus actually meant ‘This is my Body’. They do not relegate Jesus’ words to mere symbolism. However, there is a unanimity among Protestants who say that, whether or not Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, the Eucharist is not a true sacrifice (There are some Anglicans who term themselves Anglo-Catholic, and thus do not term themelves Protestant, who would accept the teaching I present, although there would be differences on the efficacy of their Eucharist). The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue whether the Eucharist truly makes Christ’s once and for all sacrifice truly present now, or is it a denial of the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross. I will first present the teaching from official Catholic sources, then examine the critiques of that teaching, and then go into some of the Biblical data that examines that issue.

Official Catholic Teaching

Rather than me pronouncing what I think the teaching of the Catholic Church is on the matter of the sacrifice of the Eucharist, it is best to start off by giving the official teaching of the Catholic Church on the matter. The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives the official teaching on the matter:

1357. "We carry out this command of the Lord by celebrating the memorial of his sacrifice. In so doing, we offer to the Father what he has himself given us: the gifts of his creation, bread and wine which, by the power of the Holy Spirit and by the words of Christ, have become the body and blood of Christ. Christ is thus really and mysteriously made present.

1358. "We must therefore consider the Eucharist as:
- thanksgiving and praise to the Father;
- the sacrificial memorial of Christ and his Body;
- the presence of Christ by the power of his word and of his Spirit."

1362. "The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's Passover, the making present and the sacramental offering of his unique sacrifice, in the liturgy of the Church which is his Body. In all the Eucharistic Prayers we find after the words of institution a prayer called the anamnesis or memorial. "

1363. "In the sense of Sacred Scripture the memorial is not merely the recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty works wrought by God for men. In the liturgical celebration of these events, they become in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them. "

1364. "In the New Testament, the memorial takes on new meaning. When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ's Passover, and it is made present the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present. 'As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which 'Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed' is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out.'LG 3; cf."

1365. "Because it is the memorial of Christ's Passover, the Eucharist is also a sacrifice. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is manifested in the very words of institution: 'This is my body which is given for you' and 'This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.' In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he 'poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'

1366. "The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit: (Christ), our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper 'on the night when he was betrayed,' (he wanted) to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit.[Council of Trent (1562): DS 1740; cf. 1 Cor 11:23; Heb 7:24, 27.]"

1367. "The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: 'The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.' 'In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner.'[Council of Trent (1562): DS 1743; cf. Heb 9:14, 27.]" [1]

The Catechism refers us to and reaffirms the teaching of the Council of Trent on this issue. The Council of Trent says the following on the matter:


Since under the former Testament, according to the testimony of the Apostle Paul, there was no perfection because of the weakness of the Levitical priesthood, there was need, God the Father of mercies so ordaining, that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchisedech,[1] our Lord Jesus Christ, who might perfect and lead to perfection as many as were to be sanctified. He, therefore, our God and Lord, though He was by His death about to offer Himself once upon the altar of the cross to God the Father that He might there accomplish an eternal redemption, nevertheless, that His priesthood might not come to an end with His death,[2] at the last supper, on the night He was betrayed, that He might leave to His beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice, such as the nature of man requires, whereby that bloody sacrifice once to be accomplished on the cross might be represented, the memory thereof remain even to the end of the world, and its salutary effects applied to the remission of those sins which we daily commit, declaring Himself constituted a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech,[3] offered up to God the Father His own body and blood under the form of bread and wine, and under the forms of those same things gave to the Apostles, whom He then made priests of the New Testament, that they might partake, commanding them and their successors in the priesthood by these words to do likewise: Do this in commemoration of me,[4] as the Catholic Church has always understood and taught. For having celebrated the ancient Passover which the multitude of the children of Israel sacrificed in memory of their departure from Egypt,[5] He instituted a new Passover, namely, Himself, to be immolated under visible signs by the Church through the priests in memory of His own passage from this world to the Father, when by the shedding of His blood He redeemed and delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into his kingdom.[6] And this is indeed that clean oblation which cannot be defiled by any unworthiness or malice on the part of those who offer it; which the Lord foretold by Malachias was to be great among the Gentiles,[7] and which the Apostle Paul has clearly indicated when he says, that they who are defiled by partaking of the table of devils cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord,[8] understanding by table in each case the altar. It is, finally, that [sacrifice] which was prefigured by various types of sacrifices during the period of nature and of the law,[9] which, namely, comprises all the good things signified by them, as being the consummation and perfection of them all.


And inasmuch as in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner the same Christ who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, the holy council teaches that this is truly propitiatory and has this effect, that if we, contrite and penitent, with sincere heart and upright faith, with fear and reverence, draw nigh to God, we obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable aid.[10] For, appeased by this sacrifice, the Lord grants the grace and gift of penitence and pardons even the gravest crimes and sins. For the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different. The fruits of that bloody sacrifice, it is well understood, are received most abundantly through this unbloody one, so far is the latter from derogating in any way from the former. Wherefore, according to the tradition of the Apostles,[11] it is rightly offered not only for the sins, punishments, satisfactions and other necessities of the faithful who are living, but also for those departed in Christ but not yet fully purified. [2]

In the Liturgy Itself

We see sacrificial prayers in the Mass itself. There are four Liturgical prayers that come from varying traditions. Three of the four prayers in the Liturgy speak explicitly of sacrifice. As we will see later on, the prayers of Christ himself in the institution of the Eucharist also speak of sacrifice and thus the second Eucharistic prayers are also sacrificial, although not as explicit as the other four prayers. In the Liturgical prayers that follow, I will focus on the prayers that explicitly refer to the fact that what is offered is a true sacrifice.

Prayer # 1:

We come to you, Father, with praise and thanksgiving, through Jesus Christ your Son. Through him we ask you to accept and bless + these gifts we offer you in sacrifice. We offer them for your holy catholic Church, watch over it, Lord, and guide it; grant it peace and unity throughout the world. We offer them for N. our Pope, for N. our bishop, and for all who hold and teach the catholic faith that comes from the apostles.

(For the Living)

Remember, Lord, your people, especially those for whom we now pray, N. and N. Remember all of us gathered here before you. You know how firmly we believe in you and dedicate ourselves to you. We offer you this sacrifice of praise for ourselves and those who are dear to us. We pray to you, our living and true God, for our well-being and redemption....

Prayers at Consecration

(Oblation of the Victim of God)

Father accept this offering from your whole family.Grant us your peace in this life, save us from final damnation, and count us among those you have chosen.(Through Christ our Lord. Amen.) Bless and approve our offering; make it acceptable to you, an offering in spirit and in truth. Let it become for us the body and blood of Jesus Christ, your only Son, our Lord. (Through Christ our Lord. Amen.)

Prayers after Consecration

(To Offer the Victim) Father, we celebrate the memory of Christ, your Son. We, your people and your ministers, recall his passion, his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into glory; and from the many gifts you have given us we offer you, God of glory and majesty, this holy and perfect sacrifice: the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation.

(To Ask God to Accept Our Offering) Look with favor on these offerings and accept them as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchisedech.

(For Blessings) Almighty God, we pray that your angel may take this sacrifice to your altar in heaven. Then, as we receive from this altar the sacred body and blood of your Son, + let us be filled with every grace and blessing. (Through Christ our Lord. Amen.)

Eucharistic Prayer #3:

We offer you in thanksgiving THIS HOLY AND LIVING SACRIFICE. Look with favor on your Church's offering, and see the Victim, whose death has reconciled us to your self..... Lord, may this sacrifice, which has made our peace with you, advance the peace and salvation of all the world.
Eucharistic Prayer #4:
Father , we now celebrate this memorial of our redemption. We recall Christ’s death, his descent among the dead, his resurrection, and his ascension to your right hand; and looking forward to his coming in glory, We offer you his body and blood, THE ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE which brings salvation to the whole world.

Lord, look upon this sacrifice which you have given to your Church; and by your Holy Spirit, gather all who share this one bread and one cup into the one body of Christ, a living sacrifice of praise.

Lord, remember those for whom we offer this sacrifice...

Thus, the Catholic Church does not shy away from what the Church has always taught, that during the Mass, we truly celebrate, and make present to us, the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus on the cross in the offering of the Eucharist, which is truly his body and blood. Thus, the sacrifice of the Eucharist is the one and the same sacrifice of the cross, being re-presented. However, it is not Jesus being resacrificed. It appeases God, as the Council of Trent says, and offers remission for our sins. This is God giving us through the sacrifice of the Eucharist grace for our souls, to transform us into his image.

Protestant Objections to the Eucharist as Sacrifice

Before I examine the Biblical basis for the Catholic teaching I will give some Protestant objections to the Mass the floor. First, the objection that we really see is based on what Christ’s sacrifice on the cross accomplishes and their view of justification. Although there are many variants of the view of Salvation by Faith alone (Sola Fide) (for example, some Protestants who hold to Sola Fide believe in baptismal regeneration, and others don’t), all deny that the Mass is a true sacrifice. This includes those who believe in some sense the reality of the real presence (even if in fact they do not experience it).

Martin Luther truly believed in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. However, he had an objection to the Eucharist as a sacrifice. He realized that uninterrupted the Church had taught that the Eucharist is a sacrifice. Martin Luther wrote:

What do I care about the multitude and renown of those who have gone astray? Truth is stronger than them all! [the papists appeal] to the sayings of the holy Fathers, so many authorities and so widespread a custom, constantly observed throughout the world. What shall we say to these authorities? I say first of all that, even if we had nothing else to answer, it is safer to reject them all rather than to admit that the Mass is a work and a sacrifice; lest corrupting both faith and Mass together, we deny the word of Christ.[3]

Therefore, Luther states that all the Fathers were mistaken and if one just reaffirms this age-long belief, he actually denies the Word of Christ. This attack is a frontal assault on the Christians of the first 15 centuries who unanimously agree that the Eucharist is a sacrifice.

Although Anglicans explicitly deny transubstantiation (and in article 28 of their faith it is termed repugnant), they also hold in some sense to belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Just as Luther did, they have a serious problem with the Catholic belief in the Eucharist as a sacrifice. The following article gives the Anglican view of the matter:

XXXI. Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross. The Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits. [4]
I must qualify the above quotation some because within Anglicanism there is a vast range of belief. The Thirty Nine Articles of Anglican Faith do not necessarily apply to all Anglicans, as it is more of a National Article of Faith for England rather than that which is held throughout the world. Even within England the view of the Eucharist is not monolitic. The range of belief in Anglicanism on the real presence will go anywhere from the Eucharist as a symbol to a spiritual presence to a real presence of Christ, although for those who accept the real presence the way in which they believe it becomes so is not clear. On the Sacrifice of the Mass Anglicans will generally agree with the statement above, but there is a significant Anglo-Catholic faction that does not term itself Protestant but many within that faction actually would agree with much of what I present here on the Eucharistic sacrifice. However, since they do not term themselves Protestant I would still be accurate in saying that all those who would term themselves as Protestant would reject the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist as sacrifice.

The other so-called “Reformers”, such as Calvin, Melanthion, Zwingli, etc. also attacked the view of the Eucharist as being a sacrifice. The main problem with seeing the Eucharist as a sacrifice is that they see the Catholic view of the Eucharist as being tied in with a supposedly insufficient view of justification.

Here I will look at some modern critiques of the sacrifice of the Mass from the perspective of modern Evangelical critics of Catholicism. In many cases, the book of Hebrews is often utilized to attack the Catholic concept of the sacrifice of the Eucharist. For example, both James White & Ron Rhodes, refer to the book of Hebrews and compare the Catholic view of the Mass with the Old Testament sacrifices as being insufficient. From the so-called “Reformed” Baptist perspective, James White attacks the Catholic view of the Eucharist in the following way: First, he quotes Hebrews 10:10-14:

10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Then, after a few comments, he writes:
The relevance of this passage to the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Mass as a ‘propitiatory sacrifice” is clear. Rome insists that the Mass is the very same sacrifice as that of Calvary, differing only in manner (bloody versus unbloody). Yet it is admitted that the effect of the Mass is limited, and that a person can draw near to the Mass over and over again and still die “impure.” According to their doctrine, it is quite possible for a person to attend Mass every day of his life, commit a mortal sin the hour before his death, and be lost for eternity , despite having approached the Mass as a sacrifice thousands of times. The Roman Catholic response would be that such a person is unlikely to commit such a serious sin because so much grace had already been given him through attendance at so many Masses. The fact remains that God’s grace is said to be channeled through the Sacraments, especially through the Mass. Yet that grace cannot accomplish its goal outside of the cooperation of the person drawing near to worship, and so the possibility of being lost for eternity remains.

The repetitive nature of the Mass stands in stark contrast to the completeness of the Cross. As the writer to the Hebrews said, if such a sacrifice as what is presented in the Mass were sufficient wouldn’t the persons drawing near be cleanses and have no more need of the offering? But the fact that they must come back over and over again shows that the sacrifice of the Mass has more in common with the old sacrifices of the Old Covenant than it does with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary. [5]

Mr. White comes from a perspective which says human cooperation is not necessary to maintain one’s salvation and sanctifying cooperation is only a fruit of one’s justification, not a cause of it. From a slightly different perspective Ron Rhodes makes a similar charge against the Mass. He does believe that one must cooperate by believing in Jesus and that is efficacious for one’s salvation, but in one’s justification that is all one has to do. Any works of grace that are added to one’s life can not be any grounds of one’s justification. Rhodes sees that the Mass detracts from one’s salvation. He likewise sees that the sacrifice of the Mass is insufficient to cleanse, similar to the Old Covenant’s insufficiency to cleanse. He also denies that the Mass can bring about any forgiveness of sin:
Because the Mass is said to bring about the forgiveness of sins, it is a necessity in the Catholic system of salvation. This very much detracts from the final salvation that Christ accomplished at the cross (see John 19:30).

For Protestants the idea that the Mass is in any sense a repetition of the death of Christ seems reminiscent of the repeated sacrifices of the old covenant, which were a “reminder of sins year by year” (Hebrews 10:3). As opposed to believers having the full assurance of complete forgiveness of sins through the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 10:12), the Mass gives a constant reminder of sins and remaining guilt to be atoned for week after week.

Rhodes goes on and tells Protestants to ask Catholics:

  • Did you know that Scripture says one of the great things about the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ is that people have full assurance of the complete forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 10:12)?

  • Doesn’t the Roman Catholic Mass resemble the Old Testament system in that it constantly serves to remind us of our sin instead of the fact that our sin has once for all been taken care of by Christ?
  • [6]
    Finally, another example is that which is written by Norm Geisler and Raleigh MacKenzie. Though Geisler has significant differences with Mr. White on the issues of salvation and election, he agrees with him on the attack on the Catholic Mass as a detraction from the finished work of Christ. Geisler writes:
    The whole concept of re-enacting and re-presenting Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is contrary to the clear teaching of Hebrews that this sacrifice occurred once for all time (Heb. 10:12-14).l Thus, when the Council of Trent speaks of Christ being “immolated” again and again in the mass, it violates the clear teaching of Scripture. [7]
    How does the Catholic respond to these charges? One thing that we notice is that these Protestant objections will often refer to the Book of Hebrews to refute the Mass. In the last section of this article I will examine the Book of Hebrews, and we will see that some sections of Hebrews can only be understood in light of the Eucharist, and how the Eucharist does make the once and for allness of that sacrifice of Christ present to us now. However, in this specific section I will not go into the Book of Hebrews to prove that the Mass is indeed consistent with that book, but that the main assumption behind Luther, Calvin, White, Geisler, & Rhodes’ objections is wrong: Supposedly the once and for allness of the Sacrifice of Christ on the cross does away with any ongoing need for an application of that sacrifice in reference to one’s justification. They all assume that the reason that one does not need this ongoing sanctification to maintain one’s justification is that they are credited, or imputed with Christ’s righteousness to their account. Thus, in one’s justification, one is covered with Christ’s imputed righteousness, which is a perfect righteousness, and one can never lose that righteousness (although Luther did say that one can unbelieve his way out of that righteousness). Thus, it is not necessary for a continuing infusion of righteousness as the Catholic Church teaches. They have what I term a legal fiction. In justification, one is not actually righteous himself, but is considered righteous because Christ’s righteousness is applied to his account.

    RC Sproul, author of the book, Faith Alone says something that all the authors above who have attacked the Mass and I have quoted would agree with in reference to one’s justification:

    By imparting or imputing Christ's righteousness to us sinners, God reckons us as just. It is "as if" we were inherently just. But we are not inherently just.... We are just by imputation even while sin still remains in us, though it does not reign in us... (He quotes Calvin) "To justify is nothing else that to acquit from the charge of guilt, "as if" innocence were proved"...When God justifies us...he does not acquit on us on a proof of our own innocence, but by an imputation of righteousness, so that though not righteous in ourselves", we are deemed righteous in Christ. [8]
    James Buchanan, a 19th century author of the 'Reformed' view writes that what we do can what we do and our own righteousness can never be any of the grounds of one’s justification:
    Since justification is the opposite of condemnation , it can only be, like the latter, a forensic and judicial term; and the one can not be signified to sanctify or to make one righteousness inherently...A proof of the forensic or judicial sense of the term ‘Justification’ is supplied by those equivalent expressions, which are sometimes substituted for it, and which serve to explain it. If these expressions cannot imply infusion of righteousness, but denote merely either the forgiveness of sin, or the acceptance of the sinner, they show that Justification denotes a change in his judicial relation to God, and not a change in his moral or spiritual character. It is expressly described as the ‘imputation of righteousness’ ‘Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [9]
    Thus, the underlying reason that Protestants attack the Mass is because belief in the Mass, and how it applies to us the fruits of Christ’s sacrifice to us on an ongoing basis has salvific implications, undercuts the theory that once one is justified, all things that happen afterward is irrelevant to one’s justification. In fact, as noted by Buchanan, justification is not even a change in moral character. Grace being infused may be nice and even a necessary byproduct of ones justification, but it is not any of the grounds of one's justification.

    This assumption is brought forward to rationalize the attacks that are done on the Mass. Since the once and for all sacrifice of Christ is applied only one time, at the point of one’s justification with a crediting to one’s account of Christ’s perfect righteousness, all other attempts at tying in one's holiness to one's salvation are seen as attacks on Christ’s finished work on the cross. However, when we study this assumption, this assumption is totally lacking Biblical merit. Now I have a detailed study of Paul, and address this assumption of an imputation of Christ’s righteousness being the one and only basis for one’s justification. The detailed study of Paul can be found here: That shows through a study of Paul’s letters that works and obedience are not only a necessary byproduct of one’s justification, but a cause of justification. This study also shows that the assumption is thus wrong. We do need an ongoing infusion of grace to keep in God’s grace. That is why the application of the fruits of the Mass are indeed important to Christians and those without that grace are depriving themselves of salvific graces.

    What is justification, according to Paul? Well, Paul’s declaration of what justification consists of is contrary to Buchanan and all the Protestant’s declarations that I have quoted (which is behind their attack on the mass). Let us look at what Paul writes in his description of what justification consists of in Rom. 5:17-21:

    Romans 5:16-21 16 And the free gift is not like the effect of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. 17 If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18 Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    The people who I have quoted (Buchanan, White, Sproul, etc.) are those that say that human nature is totally depraved. Catholics say that the human nature is wounded, in need of grace in order to do anything good. One is born a sinner (although it is original sin), the child is ontologically bent towards sin, as Rom. 5:12-19 shows, (see also Psalm 51:5). It is not about a mere declaration. Rom. 5:19 proves it. We see here in Rom. 5:16 what justification consists of: In justification, the believer is transformed. How is he transformed? Declaratively (the Sola Fide view), or actually (the Catholic view). Again, it says “For as by one man's disobedience MANY WERE MADE SINNERS, so by one man's obedience MANY WILL BE MADE RIGHTEOUS”. Paul notes that Human beings are ontologically not only declared sinners, they are sinners. Just as ontologically Adam’s sin causes all to be made ontologically sinners, those who are in Christ, are ontologically made righteousness. As v. 16 says, this is a description of justification. Thus, the quote by Buchanan that says that justification is not an infusion of moral attributes is contradicted by Paul’s words. Being made righteous is exactly an infusion of a moral quality. Thus, to maintain that moral quality, infusions of grace are necessary. Later on we will see how the Eucharist does biblically infuse that grace as the Church does teach. In any case, Paul’s description of what justification is in Rom. 5, destroys the concept of justification as merely a declaration.

    Buchanan in his work recognizes that imputation mentioned here in Romans 5 goes against his view. He realizes that in imputation, there is a change of moral character as the invariable consequence of imputation, “as the imputation of Adam’s guilt to his posterity, was connected with their loss of original righteousness, and the corruption of their whole nature;’ The imputation of Christ’s righteousness to His people is connected, in like manner, with their renewal and sanctification;” . He acknowledges that this fits the Catholic position. However, he attempts to get out of it by saying that sins were imputed to Christ., and as there was no change in Christ’s moral character, imputation is thus not necessarily transformative. However, Buchanan fails to give a Scripture which says that Christ was ever imputed with sin. Jesus of course became a propitiatory offering for sin (1 John 2:2, Eph. 5:2) but he was not imputed with sin. With that mistaken premise, Buchanan then writes that “while the righteousness of Christ, considered as the merit of His mediatorial work may become ours by being imputed to us, it is not communicated as an inherent habit or quality might be; and that our Justification, in so far as it depends on that righteousness, neither consists in the infusion of moral qualities, nor rests on these qualities, when they have been infused as its proper ground." [10] . Since Buchanan's whole argument rests on the supposition that Christ is imputed with sin, and that idea is not only not found in Romans 5, but is found nowhere in any biblical text, the opposition to transformative justification falls in light of Romans 5:16-21.

    Paul’s words here eviscerates that argument. In Rom. 5:19, Paul explicitly writes that those in Christ are made righteous. Paul does not write that he is only declared righteous, and does not even mention the word imputation of Christ’s righteousness when he speaks of justification. If one is made righteous, it is obvious that there is an infusion of moral quality, and does in fact rest on these qualities, as seen through God’s eyes of grace, contrary to Buchanan’s word. Paul drives this point even further, when in v. 21 he writes that this righteousness that comes to the justified, makes one’s grace rule in righteousness. The grace that causes one to be made righteousness, will make the person rule in righteousness. This is transformative justification. Thus, though Romans 5 has no direct allusion to the Eucharist, the idea that we need an infusion of grace to keep us righteous, is maintained. That is what the Eucharist does. Paul shows here in Romans that Trent is correct, which says in Session 6, Chapter 7:

    the efficient cause is the merciful God who washes and sanctifies[31] gratuitously, signing and anointing with the holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance,[32] the meritorious cause is His most beloved only begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were enemies,[33] for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us,[34] merited for us justification by His most holy passion on the wood of the cross and made satisfaction for us to God the Father, the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith,[35] without which no man was ever justified finally, the single formal cause is the justice of God, not that by which He Himself is just, but that by which He makes us just, that, namely, with which we being endowed by Him, are renewed in the spirit of our mind,[36] and not only are we reputed but we are truly called and are just, receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the Holy Ghost distributes to everyone as He wills,[37] and according to each one’s disposition and cooperation. For though no one can be just except he to whom the merits of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet this takes place in that justification of the sinner, when by the merit of the most holy passion, the charity of God is poured forth by the Holy Ghost in the hearts[38] of those who are justified and inheres in them; whence man through Jesus Christ, in whom he is ingrafted, receives in that justification, together with the remission of sins, all these infused at the same time, namely, faith, hope and charity. [11]

    This is obviously a process, not merely a one-time past event. It is also significant that right after Paul’s mention of the transformative justification, he speaks of baptism as the means to enter this state of transformation, in Romans 6:1-4. This grace, is thus, not merely divine favor, but divine life. This is not a mere byproduct of justification and grace. Grace is linked with one being made righteous, and is an active force. There is absolutely no hint of imputation at all in this section of Romans 5, but an infusion of an active grace. Paul's analysis of righteousness fits Trent's view, and does away with the idea of a forensic, imputation of righteousness legally accounted to one's account. For a discussion of failed attempts by Protestants to say that elsewhere Paul does speak of justification as imputation alone, see the following page that has articles that address these claims:

    Now, before we get to the Biblical basis for our understanding of the Eucharist as sacrifice, we must address their view that the book of Hebrews does away with an ongoing need for holiness in reference to the grounds of our salvation, when Paul speaks of the once and for all sacrifice of Christ. The Protestant apologists I have quoted always refer to Hebrews to do away with the theology behind the Mass. And they all hold that assumption that the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to our account is the reason behind the absence of a need for holiness in reference to the grounds of our justification. They will say that our holiness is a necessary byproduct of our justification, but never any of the grounds for it. Now, they do not say that sanctification is not important, as that gets you more rewards in heaven and because you love God you will want to grow in holiness, but they say that one’s moral transformation is not a cause of one’s salvation.

    There is a major problem with this theory of salvation in the Book of Hebrews. Nowhere is there any mention at all that one gets Christ’s righteousness imputed to one’s account and that is how the once and for all sacrifice suffices. No doubt the Book of Hebrews is emphatic that Christ’s sacrifice is once and for all, and Christ can not be killed again. However, the Church nowhere teaches that Christ is resacrificed. As shown earlier, when we saw the official Catholic teaching on the matter, the sacrifice of the Eucharist is not some other sacrifice, but this very once and for all sacrifice being made present to us now. Those who receive the Eucharist get the fruits and benefits of this once and for all sacrifice. Later on, in another section we will see how the verses in Hebrews that are used to attack the Mass actually point to the Eucharist when read in context. We will also see that the very Scriptures in Hebrews that are used to undermine the teaching of the Eucharistic sacrifice, indeed do not only not undermine the teaching of the Eucharistic sacrifice, but helps us to make sense of not only those Scriptures in Hebrews, but other sections of Hebrews that we will examine as well. However, here, the main point to be made is that there is no concept anywhere in the book of Hebrews that shows Paul thinking of any such thing as Christ’s righteousness being imputed to our account, and that works are therefore irrelevant to our salvation (or that it is only a necessary fruit of that salvation). When I used to believe in Sola Fide, I would often quote the book of Hebrews in this very manner, especially, Heb. 7, 9, & 10, saying to myself that works are not necessary to maintain one's salvation, and that there is no further need for sacrifice now. However, upon further study of the issue, when one examines the Book of Hebrews as a whole, this standard Protestant assumption is easily shown to be false. Throughout the book, there is a stress on a continuing need for the Christian to persevere not merely to get more rewards in heaven, but to attain salvation. In fact, as Robert Sungenis has noted:

    More than half of the book of Hebrews warns us not to fall away from the grace we have received in the New Covenant, for if we do, God will quickly become our judge and condemn us... The Epistle to the Hebrews warns against falling away from the Faith so much that it comprises full 51% of the total volume of the book...Footnote 53 - 40% deals with the Person and work of Christ, 8% concerning the New Covenant, and 1% miscellaneous. [12]
    Let us look at just some of these passages to see if what he says is true:
    Hebrews 2:1-3:
    1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2 For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard [him];

    Hebrews 3:1, 5-6:
    3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 5 Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 6 but Christ was faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope.

    Hebrews 3:12-14:
    Take heed, BRETHREN, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in DEPARTING from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;

    Hebrews 3:16-19, 11:29:
    16 Who were they that heard and yet were rebellious? Was it not all those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they should never enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief..... Heb. 11:29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as if on dry land; but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.

    Hebrews 4:1-3:
    1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest remains, let us fear lest any of you be judged to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them; but the message which they heard did not benefit them, because it did not meet with faith in the hearers. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, "As I swore in my wrath, 'They shall never enter my rest,'" although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.

    Hebrews 4:11-14:
    Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things [are] naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

    Hebrews 5:9:
    and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.

    Hebrews 6:4-6:
    4 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt.

    Hebrews 6: 9-12:
    9 Though we speak thus, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness in realizing the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

    Hebrews 7:24-25:
    24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

    Hebrews 10:22-29:
    22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 A man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace?

    Hebrews 10:35-38:
    35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised. 37 "For yet a little while, and the coming one shall come and shall not tarry; 38 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls.

    Hebrews 11:4-8:
    4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he received approval as righteous, God bearing witness by accepting his gifts; he died, but through his faith he is still speaking. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, took heed and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith. 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go.

    Hebrews 12:5-11:
    5 And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? --"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

    Hebrews 12:12-17:
    12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" spring up and cause trouble, and by it the many become defiled;; 16 that no one be immoral or irreligious like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

    Hebrews 12:25-26:
    25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 His voice then shook the earth; but now he has promised, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven."

    Those verses are just a sampling of the Book of Hebrews that show salvation is a process, and works, the pursuit of holiness and endurance are necessary for salvation. There are too many passages that show that we need an infusion of holiness to attain salvation. We need to stay in God’s grace. Thus, the premise that is used to attack the Mass is utterly absent from Paul’s letter to the Hebrews. For analysis of each of these passages, go to the following url:

    It is very curious that those who use Hebrews to attack the Mass, bring with them a false assumption in the first place (that justification is merely a forensic imputation of an Christ’s righteousness) that is nowhere found in Hebrews (or actually anywhere in the Bible), and ignore passages in this very epistle that directly show that one must persevere in holiness to attain salvation, and an ongoing application of grace is indeed necessary to stay in his grace. When we look at the Hebrew passages that directly deals with how Christ is a superior High Priest, and how his sacrifice is superior to all the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament, and how it does or does not relate to the Eucharist, one must take into consideration the context which shows that salvation is not a one-time event, but a process. In our last section of this study, we will look directly at how certain parts of Hebrews can only be explained by the Eucharist, and how the Eucharist fits nicely into Paul’s analysis, and how the Catholic understanding of Hebrews perfectly fits with the sections that deal with Christ’s once and for all sacrifice. However, before we get to that, first we need to have some background on the purpose and means of sacrifice in the Bible.

    The Old Testament and Sacrifice

    Why is sacrifice necessary to approach God? After the time of Adam’s sin, we do get sacrifices offered to God by faithful men. Scott Hahn gives us four Biblical reasons that he gives for Israel giving animal sacrifices to God:

    1) It was a recognition of God’s sovereignty over creation: The earth is the Lord’s (Ps. 24:1). Man gives back to God what is his.
    2) Sacrifice is an act of thanks. Creation is given to man as a gift, but what return can man make to God (see Ps. 116:12).
    3) Sacrifice served as a way of solemnly sealing an agreement or oath, a covenant before God (see Gen. 21:22-32).
    4) Sacrifice could also be an act of renunciation and sorrow for sins. The person offering sacrifice recognized that his sins deserved death; he offered the animals’ life in place of his own.
    That is a good summary of the reasons that man offers sacrifice to God. At the root of the problem is the fact that sin separates man from God. There was no sacrifice necessary before the fall of Adam. After Adam sinned, however, a big gulf separated man from God. After Adam fell, he was driven out of the garden (Gen. 3:22-24). We can see that Adam passed on his sin to his children. After Adam, man was born with an inclination to sin, which was a byproduct of original sin (Psalm 51:5). We see this sin played out in the context of sacrifice.

    Genesis 4:3-8

    3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it." 8 Cain said to Abel his brother, "Let us go out to the field." And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him.

    Before the sin of Adam there was no need to offer sacrifice. After Adam’s fall, there was a need that both Cain and Abel knew that they had to offer sacrifice to God in order to be acceptable to him. Sin had created a breach between God and man. Abel had a faith which was acceptable to God and his offering was accepted by God. See also Hebrews 11:4. Cain offered sacrifice as well (though we are not given much detail), but apparently it was his attitude that was bad in addition to the fact of his envy which led to further sin, murder.

    The need for sacrifice is shown in the story of the next major figure in the Bible: Noah. Man’s sin provokes God to anger. We see this in Genesis 6:5-6:

    Genesis 6:5-6

    5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.

    Sin provoked his anger so much that he sent the flood upon the earth as punishment for sinning mankind. The one who was a faithful man Noah survived as he built the ark. What did he do after he survived through the ark that God had told him to build? Genesis further explains: Gen. 8:20-21 explains:
    Genesis 8:20-21

    20Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the LORD smelled the pleasing odor, the LORD said in his heart, "I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.

    The odor from the sacrifice please God. Notice that it wasn’t merely Noah’s obedience to the command to build an ark that please God. It was after Noah actually built an altar and made a burn offering of animals (even at a time when animals were rare due to the flood) that God was pleased. It was God smelling the burnt offering, and sincere sacrifice of Noah that pleased God and it was only after this sacrifice that God made the covenant with Noah and mankind that he would never against destroy every living creature on earth. We also see the same with Abraham offering sacrifice to God and the building of altars for that purpose (Gen. 12:7; 13:18; 15:9-11). This was indeed in two places where God had made a solemn promise to build a nation. Later on, we see that Abraham was even willing to sacrifice his own son Isaac to God, in the belief that if he was to be sacrificed, God would raise up him up, because he believed God would still fulfill his promise (Gen. 22:1-19; Heb. 11:17-19).
    The Priest Melchizedek

    In the figure of Melchizedek we have a person who prefigures Christ. In the book of Genesis, Abraham victory in battle, goes to the mysterious figure of Melchizedek. This figure is the first one to be mentioned as a priest in the Bible.

    Genesis. 14:17-20
    17 After his return from the defeat of Ched-or-lao'mer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). 18 And Mel-chiz'edek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!" And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
    Notice what this priest brings out: bread and wine, in the context of being named a priest. As 2 Tim. 3:16 says, all Scripture is inspired and is profitable for teaching. In the very context of naming Melchizedek a priest, he offers bread and wine. As he is a priest, he offers sacrifice. This is no coincidence at all. Now the Eucharistic implications are easy to see, especially since in Hebrews, Jesus is called a priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Bread and wine are the exact items in the Eucharist that Christ instituted to become the Body and Blood of Christ. Christ is later seen a Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. We will examine this further when we examine the Epistle to the Hebrews. We can see for now that there is a priest offering a sacrifice of bread and wines. This happens to be the elements that Jesus used in the Eucharist. There is no argument there. However, some people say that the figure of Melchizedek has absolutely nothing to do with future Eucharistic offering given by Christ in the New Testament. For example, Ron Rhodes says this about Catholics bringing up Melchizedek’s offering as prefiguring the sacrifice of the Eucharist:
    The Roman Catholic interpretation is a huge stretch. A plain reading of the text in Genesis 14 indicates that as Abraham arrived with his troops and came before Melchizedek, Melchizedek brought out some food (bread and wine) to feed all these hungry guys. The verse makes no reference, or even the slightest allusion to God akin to the Mass. (Rhodes then says Protestants should ask Catholics):
  • Doesn’t a plain reading of the text of Genesis 14:17-20 point to the fact that Melchizedek was simply providing food for a bunch of hungry warriors? [14]
  • Here is the text again: And Mel-chiz'edek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. The plain reading of the text is that the very first time in the Bible that the word priest is mentioned, in the very sentence that Genesis speaks of priest, Melchizedek is mentioned as bringing out bread and wine. If this bread and wine was not sacrificial, why was there any mention at all of Melchizedek being a priest at the same time as him bringing out bread and wine? Further, there is a grammatical reason for the following translation: bringing forth bread and wine, for he was the priest of the most high God.
    for he was the priest: this is plainly referred to bringing forth, &c. which shows that word to be sacrificial, as in Judges 6:18. The Hebrew may be ambiguous. But all know that vau means for as well and. Thus the English Bible had it, 1552, “For he was the priest.” [15]
    Thus, the very bringing of the bread and wine was because he was a priest. The bringing out of the bread and wine was a description of his priestly duty. Since Melchizedek is a priest this offering of bread and wine is a sacrificial offering. The implications towards the Eucharist is apparent. This idea that the Eucharistic sacrifice is prefigured by the offering of a sacrifice of bread and wine by the priest Melchizedek is not something thought up by the 20th century Roman Catholics anachronistically wishing this. This goes to the earliest Christian authors. St. Cyprian of Carthage, one of the earliest Church Fathers in Christian history saw in the figure of Melchizedek the sacrament of the Eucharistic sacrifice:
    Also in the priest Melchizedek we see prefigured the sacrament of the sacrifice of the Lord, according to what divine Scripture testifies, and says, "And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine." Now he was a priest of the most high God, and blessed Abraham. And that Melchizedek bore a type of Christ, the Holy Spirit declares in the Psalms, saying from the person of the Father to the Son: "Before the morning star I begat Thee; Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek;" which order is assuredly this coming from that sacrifice and thence descending; that Melchizedek was a priest of the most high God; that he offered wine and bread; that he blessed Abraham. For who is more a priest of the most high God than our Lord Jesus Christ, who offered a sacrifice to God the Father, and offered that very same thing which Melchizedek had offered, that is, bread and wine, to wit, His body and blood?... ln Genesis, therefore, that the benediction, in respect of Abraham by Melchizedek the priest, might be duly celebrated, the figure of Christ's sacrifice precedes, namely, as ordained in bread and wine; which thing the Lord, completing and fulfilling, offered bread and the cup mixed with wine, and so He who is the fullness of truth fulfilled the truth of the image prefigured. [16]
    Abraham was faithful to God and despite overwhelming odds he had defeated four kings in battle. Melchizedek acts as a mediator between Abraham and God. As Sungenis notes,
    Melchizedek offers sacrifice to God for the people of the land, propitiating God for their sins and seeking His blessing (cf., Job 1:5; 42:8; Gen. 8:20). Melchizedek performed the function of priest that is still practiced today in the Catholic Church. [17]
    This is a common understanding throughout the Church. St. Clement of Alexandria, also in the third century comments on this passage in Genesis 14:
    As Moses says, Melchizedek king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who gave bread and wine, furnished consecrated food for a type of the Eucharist. [18]
    Psalm 110:4 further elaborates further on how this priesthood of Melchizedek is to be a permanent priesthood:
    The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, "You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."
    Before I go further, I would bring up a few things on the Jewish tradition on Melchizedek. Rabbi Juday bar Simon held that the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob received blessing because of the merit of having Abram’s having given Melchizedek a tithe. Philo and Josephus note that Melchizedek is the first priest mentioned in the Torah. They saw Melchizedek as not just a priest, he was the progenitor of all priesthood. For Rabbinic Judaism, the priesthood was passed on to Abraham and his offspring recorded in Genesis 14:18. Jewish tradition held that Melchizedek was identified as Shem, the Son of Noah. According to the age laid out in Genesis, Shem lived 210 years after the birth of Abraham, 35 years longer than Abraham lived. [19] That would make sense since he offered sacrifice to the true God, and Abraham respected that belief. If he was merely a Gentile king, why would Abraham offer tithes to a man who worships a false God? Scott Hahn, in his tape series, saying he is drawing upon Jewish Tradition, argues that it went without argument that Shem actually was Melchizedek. He argued that the early Christians assumed that was so, including St. Jerome and St. Ephraim. This would in fact explain why Melchizedek could be the source of blessing. Shem was the one blessed by Noah (Gen. 9:26). Noah would be the Father, and priest, of all the earth. Thus, Shem received the blessing from Noah, and thus now would be the priest over all the earth. That indeed shows how since Shem is priest-king, and would thus be a priest-king over all the earth, not just Salem. This shows even further how the type of the figure of Melchizedek (Which is a Title, not a Name, per se) is fulfilled in Jesus being a priest-king over all the earth. [19B] Therefore, that is how he could be the source of blessing for Abraham, who would therefore accept it.

    Notice that in Psalm 110 it says that coming will be a priesthood that is after the order of Melchizedek. As of the time of writing of the Psalm, the priesthood was the Levitical priesthood that offered predominantly animal sacrifices (though grain offerings were also done). The Levitical priesthood was based solely on proof of physical descent of the Levites. If proof was not shown, possible priests were excluded (Neh. 7:64). However, Jesus’ priesthood is eternal and not based on bloodlines as we will see in Hebrews 7. Notice however, that as we saw in Genesis 14, the only sacrifice that was offered in the order of Melchizedek was the sacrificial offering of bread and wine. When we look at Hebrews later on, we will see the superiority of the priesthood of Jesus over that of the Levitical priesthood. However, for now, we see that the order of Melchizedek offered bread and wine, which was sacrificial, foreshadow a superior priesthood which comes to offer bread and wine, which we will see in the New Testament is transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, as Cyprian of Carthage mentioned. The sacrifice of Jesus' Body and Blood as offered in the Eucharist is the only offering that fulfills the sacrifice of the order of Melichizedek found in Psalm 110:4.

    St. Augustine gives us further indication that Psalm 110:4 references the priesthood that would offer the sacrifice of the Eucharist when he writes:

    Because to Him it was said, “Thou art a Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek”. For you seek a sacrifice among the Jews; you have none after the order of Aaron. You seek it after the order of Melchizedek; you find it not among them, but through the whole world it is celebrated in the Church [the Eucharist]. From the rising of the sun to the setting thereof the name of the Lord is praised. (Mal. 1:11)
    The prophecy that Christians agree point to Christ shows that only the Catholic view of the priesthood can fulfill this. There is a permanent priesthood that Jesus has. As he is a priest eternally, according to the Psalmist, he permanently offers sacrifice. Thus, there must be something that is offered in sacrifice that fulfills Psalm 110:4. If one sees the fulfillment in Jesus being offered in sacrifice only in the cross, that is true, but that is only at a point in time, according to the Protestant anti-Eucharist sacrificial view. As His priesthood lasts forever, Jesus must offer sacrifice forever. The one and only sacrifice which Jesus offers forever, is the Sacrifice of His Body and Blood of Christ.

    The opposition to the Catholic interpretation of Psalm 110 as shown by Rhodes thus, has no merit whatsoever. As Augustine notes, there was no permanent priesthood of the Jews that would fulfill this order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek in Genesis was not shown as his primary function as being a chef (merely providing food), as Rhodes presumes. He offered a sacrifice of bread and wine. He was a priest. A priest offers sacrifice. Its only fulfillment can be that which is found in the Eucharist instituted by Jesus.

    Exodus 24:3-8

    3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, "All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do." 4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. 6 And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. 7 Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient." 8 And Moses took the blood and threw it upon the people, and said, "Behold the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words."

    Here we see God initiating a covenant with the people of Israel. This covenant that is instituted with the people of Israel is a covenant in blood. What is the relation of blood to covenant and sacrifice? Stanislaus Lyonnet noted: “The blood joins or unites the two parties which are to contract a pact, as in the case in pacts of friendship, where the blood of these is mixed with the blood of the others that one life, as it were, is produced.” [20]

    The covenant between God and his people was sealed by the blood rite: half of the blood of the victims was poured on the altar which represented God and half on the people. An indissoluble bond was established between God and his people. The dedicated blood God accepts and the people now shared in the blessings and power which it represents and conveys. This blood also represents the people’s obedience. [21] Notice the term that is used: The “blood of the covenant.” As we will see when we go to the New Testament, and the institution of the Eucharistic meal, Jesus calls what he will give to the disciples “The blood of the covenant.” The phraseology that Jesus thus uses in the institution of the new covenant borrows phraseology that means sacrifice as shown in Exodus at the institution of the covenant with Moses.

    We see here in Exodus that the people cried out that they would obey God (Ex. 24:3-4). Included in this covenant was the promise to not worship other gods (Ex. 23:23-33). Moses later goes up the mountain to converse with God. The people disobey the commandment and immediately break this covenant (Ex. 32:1-8). This is the pattern for God’s people throughout much of the Old Testament. This covenant that God established with Moses was the standard for God’s people until the time of Christ.

    How did God work in this disobedience? He first wanted to destroy the people of Israel because of their blatant disobedience (Ex. 32:7-10). There was a mediator between the people of Israel and God. That mediator was Moses. God’s anger against sin was appeased through Moses’ intercession (Ex. 32:11-14). God changed his mind based on this intercession. The model of Moses is fulfilled in Jesus, who likewise intercedes for us for appeasement of punishment due to sin. His intercession accords greater grace for us in the new covenant.

    Next, the Levites were ordained to their own priesthood through the killing of idolaters:

    Exodus 32:26-29

    26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, "Who is on the LORD's side? Come to me." And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. 27 And he said to them, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'Put every man his sword on his side, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.'" 28 And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. 29 And Moses said, "Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the LORD, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, that he may bestow a blessing upon you this day."

    God instituted various sacrifices through Moses. The holiness of God commanded purity. These sacrifices were attempts to reconcile his people with God. The Levitical priesthood and the various sacrifices commanded by Moses attempted to fill that breach. In fact the priesthood was earned by the Levites in reference to the people’s disobedience when they worshipped the golden calf. Because of this sin of idolatry and the golden calf, the people caused a great breach in their relationship with God. The Levites, on the other hand earned their priesthood due to their obedience and loyalty to Moses and God, as shown above.

    Although there were various faithful leaders and prophets, the blood of the Covenant sacrifices did not prove efficacious to cleanse the people from sin and rebellion. Despite the call of God to holiness what happened most frequently was disobedience and the breaking of the covenant with God.

    The sins of the people brought upon the institution of the Levitical priesthood and sacrifice. The people’s idolatry laid the groundwork for all ensuing sacrifices.

    Adam’s sin infected all of humanity (Rom. 5:12). As a result, frailties, concupiscence and sin separated man from God. Therefore, with these weaknesses, Vincent Taylor notes:

    No Hebrew could think of offering himself as he was to a holy and a righteous God, while the idea of a purely spiritual offering would have seemed to himself abstract and meaningless. The life offered must be that of another, innocent and pure, free from all impurity and sin, and yet withal the symbol of an ideal life to which he aspired and with which he could identify himself. [22]
    The priests in Leviticus made atonement for sin. This is shown in the book of Leviticus (Lev. 4:20, 26, 35; 5:6, 10, 13, 16, 18; 6:7). However, there were several problems with the sacrificial system. There was incompleteness in the way the sacrificial system was set up. Under the laws, serious crimes put people outside the community. Inadvertent sin, or sins of a lesser sort, had varying degrees of penalty. Thus, the sacrificial system was insufficient. Yes, there was an offering of a pure and innocent victim (in the day of atonement), but it had only symbolic purity. The animals were completely nonmoral in and of themselves. There was no personal bond between the offerer of the victim, and the victim (an animal). There was an endemic abuse of the ritual prescribed. Even the leaders that God chose for his people did not attain the purity spoken above, in the Old Testament. The high priest was Aaron. He was the one who joined with the revelers in helping to make the golden calf (Ex. 32:1-6). Aaron later complained with Miriam against Moses’ leadership (Num. 12:1-6). Moses had faults and displayed a lack of trust in God’s provision of water for his people (Num. 20:9-13). This lack of trust in God led to him not being able to enter the cherished promised land.

    The rituals that were established through Moses and Aaron was the basis for sacrifice for centuries after the institution of the covenant. Unfortunately, many would go to these rituals thinking that they fulfilled their religious obligation. Different prophets excoriated the people who performed the rituals but did not pursue holiness. Isaiah and Amos are representative of the many prophets who excoriated the people because of obedience to outer rituals without the holiness required by God (Amos 5:21-24; Is. 58:1-5). Fulfilling the external rituals without genuine repentance did not put one in a right relationship with God.

    The same holds true now. However, in the New Testament, Christ instituted a better covenant with more grace to truly cleanse us from iniquity. We will see in the New Testament fulfillment of Christ, this grace is given especially through the Sacrament of the Eucharist which cleanses us from sin. Unlike the Old Testament rituals, the one who was offered in sacrifice was a person, who we can have a relationship with. In fact, instead of the nonmoral animals, we have an intimate and adoptive relationship with the Father and his Son, which stands as the basis of our justification.

    Malachi 1:11-12

    Oh, that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire upon my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the LORD of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations (Gentiles), and in every place incense (Dhouay Rheims - sacrifice) is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. 12 But you profane it when you say that the LORD's table is polluted, and the food for it may be despised.

    From the very beginning of the Church, these verses in Malachi have always been seen as referring to the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Why so? We see several things in these verses that point to an offering that was not found in the Old Covenant.

    First, there would be an offering where the nations (Gentiles) would be a sacrifice. God would not accept the sacrificial offerings of the Jews. This obviously was not fulfilled in the Old Testament. Whatever the sacrifice is, it would not be offered by the Jews. As Father Muller notes:

    The Jewish sacrifices have ceased; the Jewish people have no priesthood, no altar, no sacrifice... The second part of the prophecy also is fulfilled. At the Last Supper, our Lord Jesus Christ, the promised Redeemer, instituted a new and pure and perfect sacrifice-that of His Sacred Body and Blood, which He substituted for the typical sacrifices of the Old Law. And now this adorable and perfect sacrifice of Our Lord’s Body and Blood is offered up all over the world, at every hour of the day and every part of the night, “from the rising to the setting of the Sun.” [23]
    Muller also notes that through the sacrifice of the Eucharist, there is a bringing together of the two distinct types of sacrifices that were in existence before Christ. From the time of Cain and Abel to the time of Melchizedek (bread and wine) and the Aaronic priesthood (blood of animals) there were two types of sacrifices and two classes of the priesthood:
    In His own divine person Our Blessed Saviour united both of these classes of the priesthood. He offered up bread and wine at the Last Supper according to the rite of Melchizedeck, and on the following day He offered up Himself in a bloody manner, as the victim of our sins, according to the rite of Aaron.

    Thus did He also unite the two kinds of sacrifice of the Old Law in the one adorable Sacrifice of His Body and Blood, which He offered up under the appearance of bread and wine. [24]

    What does Mr. Rhodes say in reference to such use of Malachi 1:11 to support the Mass? He argues:
    Contextually this verse has nothing to do with the Eucharist. For one thing, most translators today believe the word translated sacrifice in the NAB (New American Bible) carries the meaning “to cause to rise up in smoke,” which is why the NASB (New American Standard Bible) translates it, “in every place incense is going to be offered to My name.” It is noteworthy that the ancient Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament that predates the time of Christ) renders the word as incense. This Hebrew word is certainly not the normal word used for sacrifice in the Old Testament, and its unique use in Malachi 1:11 bears no resemblance to what takes place at the Eucharist.

    Further, many scholars believe the “pure offering” of the NAB is probably a grain offering (see Lev. 6:14-23), as the NASB renders it. If this is correct, it would not make sense for Roman Catholics to apply this to the Eucharist, since the Eucharist does not involve grain offerings. [25]

    First of all, we know that this verse does not apply to the one time crucifixion of Jesus. Since he dies at a point in time, and no one argues that Jesus is continually killed, “from the rising of the sun to its going down”. However, contextually the only sacrifice that can apply is the sacrifice of the Eucharist, as it is a pure sacrifice that is celebrated morning, noon, and night throughout the world, where the spotless lamb’s sacrifice is made present, and is thus pure. As Muller noted, it can not be merely a grain offering as shown in Leviticus that Rhodes cited, because it is a single sacrifice that is offered everywhere in all places, among the nations, which thus includes the Gentiles (which is fulfilled in the Eucharist), not repeated sacrifices. The Gentiles did not offer Levitical offerings. In addition, the context shows that God will have rejected the Jewish sacrifices as further evidence that it can not be the sacrifices that Rhodes refers us to in Leviticus.

    Contextually, the verse has everything to do with the Eucharist. The very first Church Fathers who knew Greek, who had access to the Greek Septuagint, as we will see below, who understood all the nuances of the language, unanimously applied Malachi 1:11 to the Eucharist. The verse says that this is a single sacrifice which is celebrated in many places throughout the world and is superior to the Levitical sacrifices. Nothing else fulfills it except the Eucharist. They knew the translation of the various words that refers us to, and they applied it to the Eucharist.

    Now, on to the translation of the various words that Rhodes refers us to in order to supposedly do away with the idea of Malachi referring us to the Eucharist. First, on the idea that the correct translation of the first part of Mal. 1:11 is incense and is not sacrificial. Yes, even some Catholic translations such as the Revised Standard version do translate the word as incense, not sacrifice. However, does it mean that incense is opposed to sacrifice and is not consistent with sacrifice, as Rhodes infers? First, I pull out Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible and look up the word qatar and I find the following definition of the word: smoke, i.e. turn into fragrance by fire (espec. as an act of worship): -burn (incense sacrifice) (upon), (altar for ) incense, kindle, offer (incense, a sacrifice). [26]
    Thus, according to Strongs Concordance is legitimate to translate it as offering as sacrifice. If there is any smoke or incense at all, it is synonymous with sacrifice. We see in the context that in v. 10, God says he will not accept the sacrifice of the Jews. Thus, in v. 11, God is talking about the opposite of that, the sacrifice he will accept that is offered in the Gentile nations.

    Robert Sungenis analyzes the use of the word qatar in the Old Testament and gives further grammatical sources to confirm this sacrificial understanding of the word.

    The Hebrew qatar appears over 100 times in the Old Testament. In the Piel stem, it is often translated as “incense” (e.g., 2 Kings 23:8; Isaiah 65:7), but even then it is associated with sacrifice (Amos 4:5). The Hilphil stem is commonly translated as “burn” and is almost always associated with sacrifice (e.g., Ex. 29:13, 18, 25; Lev. 1:9, 13, 15, 17; 6:15, 22, 23; Deut. 33:10, cf., Luke 1:11). Hence, the word does not merely refer to incense, but to the burning of incense for the purpose of sacrifice or burning it with another sacrifice. Lev. 6:15-23, for example refers to the incense as a “pleasing aroma before the Lord,” which is also the phraseology used to describe animal burn offerings - offerings which use the root qatar... The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, eds., Harris, Archer & Waltke, p. 796] states: “One should compare [with it] the many Hebrew words for sacrifice...Our verb is a technical expression denoting not only the burning of incense but all other offerings as well...The Piel stem (occurring only after the Pentateuch) can also represent the total act of ritual in worship (2 Chr. 25:14). (See also Gesenius’ Hebrew Lexicon, p. 882-883) [27]
    Also, Rhodes’ attempt to critique the translation of ‘pure offering’ as merely a Levitical grain sacrifice betrays the context. Remember, in Mal. 1:10, just one verse before here, the prophet Malachi had just said that when this period comes, God would not be accepting the Jewish sacrifices. How can he now be commending Levitical sacrifices that he just said God would not accept? Also, Rhodes is very selective in choosing a grain offering that does not offer atonement for sins in Leviticus 6. The Church does teach that Christ’s offering in the sacrifice of the Eucharist is a sin offering. As the same Hebrew Lexicon states, the word minscha is an “offering is made to God, of any kind, whether grain or animals (Gen. 4:3-5, Num. 16:15, 1 Sam. 2:17, 29:26:19 Isa. 1:13...)” In fact, even if it was exclusively a grain offering, what does the bread which is offered in the Eucharist, come from, except grain? Of course the bread is not offered in sacrifice in the New Covenant, as the bread becomes the Body and Blood which is then actually offered in sacrifice. Notice also though, that the word in front of the word ‘offering’ is pure. Strong’s Concordance calls the word ‘pure’ in Hebrew is tahowr, in the phys., chm., crem., or moral sense): -clean, fair, pure. [28] In fact the word ‘pure’ is used 95 times in the Old Testament but is never referenced to any Levitical sacrifice. However, it is a sacrifice that is pure that is prophesied here in Malachi 1. The only sacrifice that fulfills this is the Sacrifice of Jesus, as given in the Eucharist, as the Church from the beginning has understood.

    Protestant early Church historian J. N. D. Kelly writes in reference to the Eucharistic Sacrifice and Malachi 1:

    The Eucharist was regarded as the distinctively Christian sacrifice from the closing decade of the first century, if not earlier. Malachi’s prediction that the Lord would reject the Jewish sacrifices and instead would have a ‘pure offering’ made to Him by the Gentiles in every place was early seized upon by Christians as a prophecy of the Eucharist.[28a]
    Below are some of the quotes from the earliest of Church Fathers on Malachi 1:

    Didache 14:5, 60 AD:

    On the Lord's own day, assemble in common to break bread and offer thanks; but first confess your sins, so that your sacrifice may be pure. However, no one quarreling with his brother may join your meeting until they are reconciled; your sacrifice must not be defiled. For here we have the saying of the Lord: 'In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice; for I am a mighty King, says the Lord; and my name spreads terror among the nations.

    St. Justin Martyr -"Dialogue with Trypho", 150 AD [41: 8-10]

    Moreover, as I said before, concerning the sacrifices which you at that time offered, God speaks through Malachias, one of the twelve, as follows: 'I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord; and I will not accept your sacrifices from your hands; for from the rising of the sun until its setting, my name has been glorified among the gentiles; and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a clean offering: for great is my name among the gentiles, says the Lord; but you profane it.' It is of the sacrifices offered to Him in every place by us, the gentiles, that is, of the Bread of the Eucharist and likewise of the cup of the Eucharist, that He speaks at that time; and He says that we glorify His name, while you profane it.
    St. Irenaeaus, (Against Heresies 4:17:5 [A.D. 189]).
    He took that created thing, bread, and gave thanks, and said, "This is My body."(6) And the cup likewise, which is part of that creation to which we belong, He confessed to be His blood, and taught the new oblation of the new covenant; which the Church receiving from the apostles, offers to God throughout all the world, to Him who gives us as the means of subsistence the first-fruits of His own gifts in the New Testament, concerning which Malachi, among the twelve prophets, thus spoke beforehand: "I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD Omnipotent, and I will not accept sacrifice at your hands. For from the rising of the sun, unto the going down [of the same], My name is glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to My name, and a pure sacrifice; for great is My name among the Gentiles, saith the LORD Omnipotent;"(7)--indicating in the plainest manner, by these words, that the former people [the Jews] shall indeed cease to make offerings to God, but that in every place sacrifice shall be offered to Him, and that a pure one; and His name is glorified among the Gentiles.[29]
    St. Augustine, Sermon Against the Jews, 425:

    For from the rising of the sun to its setting My name is great among the Gentiles, says the LORD Almighty, and in every place sacrifice is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the Gentiles. What do you answer to that? Open your eyes at last, then, any time, and see, from the rising of the sun to its setting, the Sacrifice of Christians is offered, not in one place only, as was established with you Jews, but everywhere; and not to just any god at all, but to Him who foretold it, the God of Israel. . . . Not in one place, as was prescribed for you in the earthly Jerusalem, but in every place, even in Jerusalem herself. Not according to the order of Aaron, but according to the order of Melchizedeck. [30]
    One other thing that is to be noted about the sacrifice is that Jesus is the perfect offering given in the Sacrifice of the Eucharist that is celebrated for us the Gentiles. As Paul notes in the letter to the Hebrews the sacrifices of the old covenant were not perfect because the high priest would have to offer sacrifice for his sins for those of the people and himself. In any sense, the past sacrifices were not perfect because they could not purify, and the offerer would have his own sins that he had to be purified from (Heb. 5:1-3). However, in the New Covenant, as stated in Malachi, the offering is a perfect sacrifice. It is not dependent upon the sinlessness of the Priest. The offering itself is a propitiatory sacrifice which is of the perfect man-God who is perfect and pure who can not be sullied by the Priest. Even if the Priest has a multitude of sins on his soul, when he does offer the sacrifice of the Mass, it still is a perfect sacrifice. The Council of Trent saw this when it wrote in reference to the sacrifice that
    It is indeed that clean oblation which cannot be defiled by any unworthiness or malice on the part of those who offer it; which the Lord foretold by Malachias was to be great among the Gentiles.[31]
    So because of a strenuous need on the part of Rhodes and other Protestants who want to deny that a sacrifice is being mentioned here there is a strenuous need to deny the sacrificial implications of these verses in Malachi. However, this objection falls flat against an analysis of the verse. Besides that, this analysis is against the whole of Christian History that that the Eucharist is a sacrifice and a recognition that Mal. 1 does point to the Eucharist is a sacrifice. What the Prophet is speaking of and its only fulfillment is that which is found in the Holy Eucharist which continues to be offered from the rising of the sun to its setting.

    The Institution of the Eucharistic Sacrifice

    Jesus as Lamb

    In many analyses of the issue, much of the focus is on the question on whether the Eucharist is in fact the Body and Blood of Christ. That is something that is worth much discussion. However, in this writing, I want to keep my focus on the issue on whether the Eucharist is a sacrifice or not. Before we come to Christ’s institution of the Eucharist I want to focus on one title of Jesus: “The Lamb”. Jesus is the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who is called in the Bible the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Nevertheless, when John the Baptist first ran into his cousin Jesus who he saw as Savior he gave a mention of who Jesus is. He did not call Jesus any of those more awesome titles. When he saw Jesus approach him, he said "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). This is something we say before we receive Jesus in communion. The prophet who identified Jesus in that way tells us something about who the person is. He is a person who fulfilled Isaiah 53: "7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. The lamb did not resist, run away, or even cry out. Isaiah had foretold that the Lamb of God would do the same. He is identified as a Lamb. Notice, however, that the Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world. He does not cover our sins: he takes away our sins. In John we see that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from sin (1 Jn 1:7-9). Was Jesus a lamb who was once a lamb, who merely died in the past for our sins? No, we see in the New Testament much more than this.

    What was a lamb in ancient Israel? We see lambs being identified with sacrifice from the very beginning. Abel’s offering that was acceptable to God was a lamb (Gen. 4:2). The most important sacrifice for the beginning of the people of Israel was the lamb that was sacrificed in the place of Isaac (Gen. 22:16). The lamb also happened to be the animal that was sacrificed for the delivery of the people of Israel from the bondage of slavery:

    The Lamb was the animal that was killed for the sake of the people of Israel’s freedom.

    Ex. 12:5-21. God delivered Israel from slavery. How did he accomplish it? The Fathers of the house sacrificed a lamb. Lamb has to be without a blemish. They were commanded to eat the flesh of the lambs Ex. 12:5 - Lamb without blemish a male a year old; you shall take it from the sheep or from the goats; 8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled with water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. 10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning, anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 In this manner you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste.... 13 -The blood shall be a sign for you, upon the houses where you are, and which I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall fall upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.... 12:23 - For the LORD will pass through to slay the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to slay you.
    Those who had the blood appropriated to them, God passed over. The people were commanded to eat the Passover. Thus, the requirement of eating the lamb was essential to the feast. This commemoration of this Passover feast continued. The Lambs had to be slaughtered on an ongoing basis, especially at the time of Passover. The lamb was to be spotless. Also, we see in Exodus 12:48 that the only people who could partake of the feast were those that were circumcised. This is something that we do in the Catholic Mass. Just as the lives of the people of Israel were dependent upon having the blood for their protection, in the New Covenant as well, we need to partake of the sacrifice which includes eating the lamb. Just as in Exodus, where only those circumcised could partake of the meal, in the New Covenant, only those baptized and in the faith can partake of the Lamb.

    When the Passover is celebrated, it is important to note the way that the Hebrews celebrated the meal. They had a remembrance (anamnesis) of it unlike the way that 20th century Western minds think. We think only in linear fashion. This thing happened in the past. When we celebrate whatever it is, it is clearly a past event where we may have fond memories, but we do not make the past thing present. That 20th century Western way of thought that unfortunately shapes our view of theology that is foreign to the mind of the culture of that time.

    To the Hebrew mind, the mystical concept of anamnesis is an actual reenacting, a bringing of the saving power of the first Passover back into the lives, and its liberating effect, as they celebrate the Passover again and again. [32]
    Passover is a perpetual reminder of the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery to the land of Canan. In the Liturgy of the Jewish Passover, the language in use is that which is in present tense. Thus, the past deliverance from slavery is made present. And this is done with the eating of the lamb as well. Thus, the Lamb has connotations that are sacrificial in nature.

    That is important to know when we now see John identifying Jesus as the Lamb of God. He does not even say Jesus ‘will be the Lamb of God’ as one would expect. Even before Jesus is crucified for our salvation, and dies as a Lamb, he is identified presently as a Lamb. In our Western mindset with our focus on what is at the time, the identification of Jesus as a Lamb even before his death tells us who Jesus is. Even if John did not know the extent of what he was saying by identifying Jesus as a Lamb, we see God’s time entering our time even at that very moment. Of course, we say that those who died before Christ appropriated the Sacrifice of Jesus’ death as a Lamb even before Jesus actually died. The sacrifice of the Lamb was appropriated for their benefit.

    In Jesus we have a reigning Lamb. Scott Hahn notes that in the Book of Revelation, Jesus appears as a Lamb 28 times, while as the Lion of Judah he only appears once!!! [33] His identification as a Lamb presently states that in some manner at least, the once and for all sacrifice is still being appropriated for believers. Let us look at one appearance in the Book of Revelation to give us a flavor of how he appears as a Lamb. If his sacrifice was merely in the past, once and for all, and his sacrifice was not present in God’s time, then we would expect to see him in only a glorious manner. A Lamb that is sacrificed is not one that we would expect to see. However, one passage that shows his appearance as a Lamb is given here:

    Rev. 5:6-10

    6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth; 7 and he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints; 9 and they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth."

    Notice that Jesus appears in God’s eyes, as this is a picture of heaven, as a Lamb. As we have seen, identification of the Lamb is by clear implication that of a sacrificial victim. However, he is still not suffering because John says not that he is still slain, but is as though slain. Notice also that the Lamb is not the one seated on the throne, but the one standing before the throne. Thus, he is one who in the form of a sacrificial victim, intercedes for his believers. As a victim for believers, he helps to make the believers reign on earth. We also see in this passage the prayer of the saints as presented by the Lamb to the one who is seated on the throne.. The saints in heaven are presenting our prayers to the throne in heaven. This also points to the intercession of the saints. The prayers are effective exactly because they are made effective by Christ’s re-presented sacrifice. The Eucharist is the most explicit representation that makes sense of the Lamb doing this in heaven.

    Mt. 26:26-28

    26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

    Here is where Jesus institutes the Eucharist. (also Mark 14:22ff; Luke 22:19f; also 1 Cor 11:23ff). As we are concentrating on the sacrificial aspects of the Eucharist, let us concentrate on v. 28, where three parts of the sacrifice are pointed to:

    1) Jesus uses the language of blood of the covenant. Jesus specifically uses languages that reminds us of the institution of the Old Covenant with Moses and the people of Israel. At the institution of the Old Covenant there was a sacrifice of real blood of real ox, and the blood was the means of the uniting of the people of Israel to the people of God, where there was a real altar of sacrifice (Exodus 24:3-10). Then, the people were holy enough to eat the meal (Ex. 24:11). Here the same thing occurs. Instead of getting blood of animals however, Jesus points us to his real blood in terms of covenant. Instead of giving us real blood of animals, however, he gives us here his own real blood. Now, as Peter says: (1 Peter 2:18) You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. His blood accomplishes much more. However, the point I bring up here is not so much the fact that he is giving to the apostles his own real blood (which he is). It is that in establishing the New Covenant in his blood he is using language that especially in the mind of the Jewish disciples brings to mind an institution of a sacrifice. By using the words of Moses, what he is giving them right now is a sacrifice. To ignore the sacrificial language used by Jesus of the blood that he is giving his disciples because it does not fit the category of thought of people who repeat in mantra slogans that ignore Jesus’ own words, is not an honest study of Jesus’ words about the new covenant. Here is an example of a Protestant apologist, James White, who tries to repudiate the Early Christian belief in both the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the sacrifice of the Mass by appealing to these words:

    The texts themselves provide further basis for the symbolic interpretation of the words of the Lord. Both Matthew and Paul record the fact that the blood of which the Lord Jesus speaks is the ‘blood of the covenant’ of the ‘new testament (covenant) in My blood.” The Scriptures are unanimous in saying that the blood of the New Covenant is the blood of the Cross. Also the Bible plainly teaches in Hebrews 9 and 10 that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross was a one-time, never to be repeated, compete and perfect action. [34]
    Although my concentration here is on the sacrificial aspects of these words, I do need here to stress the reality of Jesus’ words that what he gives here is his real blood. In reference to Hebrews, we will examine that later. Jesus does not say this symbolizes the blood of the cross, as White believes he means. Nor does Jesus say that this blood that he gives represents the blood that he will pour out (or other translations), shed for many. That would point to what he will give in the future. Instead, Jesus says that the blood that he gives to them is poured out, or is shed for many. Thus, what he is giving at that specific moment is his blood and is poured out, at that specific time!!! Now true, it is the cross that makes this sacrifice efficacious. But the point is that at this specific time it is the blood that he is giving the apostles now is that which he is presently pouring out. That is only the blood of the Eucharist, which is his true flesh and blood (Jn. 6:54-58). Thus, it can not merely symbolize something that will happen in the future.

    Besides that, White totally misses the point of Jesus’ language. As noted before, when he uses the language blood of the covenant, he refers specifically to the blood of the covenant in Exodus 24:8. Here, in the institution of the Old covenant was a real sacrifice at the time of the institution. As Jesus is saying here is the blood of the covenant that I am giving to you, he is saying that what He is offering here is a real sacrifice. Yes, it points towards the blood of the cross, from which it is made efficacious for the apostles so receiving the Eucharist, but at the same time he points to a real sacrifice presently at the time of institution of the Eucharistic covenant.

    2) for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. The King James version as well as the Dhouay Rheims version has the language of the blood being currently shed. It does not mean that he is dying again, but the blood is being given to the apostles in the Eucharistic manner. Robert Sungenis gives a grammatical analysis of the tense of what is being poured out. I will highlight the words that he highlights to drive home the sacrificial point:

    “For this is my blood of the Covenant which is being poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” includes the present participle “is being poured out” along with the present indicative “Is” in the phrase “this is my blood.”. The present participle, being poured out, denotes an action in progress or simultaneous with the action of the principal verb, is. When the present participle is used with the present indicative, the time denoted by the participle is not the near or distant future, but strictly the present. This would mean that the blood, at the time Jesus is speaking, is presently being poured out, that is, it is the blood of Jesus under the appearance of wine.. [35]
    Therefore, White’s argument that the blood that he is referring to is only symbolic of the cross where he will shed (or pour out) his blood, is ungrammatical. It is presently being poured out. Thus, since this is currently being poured out, this is definitely sacrificial language. Since White and others argue that the language is sacrificial but only pointing to the future sacrifice of Christ, the argument actually proves that when we see that it is now in a present tense, this blood being poured out through the Eucharist, is sacrificial. Thus, the benefits of the sacrifice of the cross, is now being made present to the apostles when Jesus pours out his blood in the Eucharist.

    Now, in reference to the language of Jesus pouring out his blood. That which is being poured out is his blood yes. But is there any further indication that being poured out is sacrificial? Yes. As I have not studied Greek, I defer to someone who does: Rev. Mitch Pacwa, says that the language used in Mt. 26:28, poured out (or shed, in other translations) in and of itself has sacrificial connotations. The Greek word is ekcheo, (Strongs, 1632). Father Pacwa notes that the word poured out in the Septaguint, (The Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) also has sacrificial connotations where the word is used . The Hebrew word so translated is shaphak (Strongs 8210). As he says in his debate with White:

    It appears 12 times in the context of sacrifice. Poured out libation of water or of wine. In other 9 uses, refers to shedding blood, or pouring out blood as part of the sacrificial ceremony, Where they weren’t just getting rid of the blood in some practical way, they were pouring out that blood at the base of the altar as part of the ritual of the sacrifice. [36]
    In the debate he gave the 3 references for the use of poured out of libation for water and wine, but not the other references. The three references he gave are 1 Samuel 7:6, Sirach 50:15 and Isaiah 57:6.

    An example of one of the references that he gives is:

    Isaiah 57:6

    Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion; they, they, are your lot; to them you have poured out a drink offering, you have brought a cereal offering. Shall I be appeased for these things?

    The reference is clearly of a drink offering being offered in sacrifice. The other two references he gave are also clearly sacrificial. Although Father Pacwa in the debate did not give the blood offering verses as being poured out, here is an example that I found that is one of the nine references that Father Pacwa referred to:
    Deut 12:27

    and offer your burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, on the altar of the LORD your God; the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the LORD your God, but the flesh you may eat.

    Thus, when the term blood is being poured out, as Father Pacwa notes, it is even more clearly a sacrificial offering. With the disciples sitting right there, knowing the connotation of the words of Our Lord speaking directly about “blood of the covenant,” and in the present tense speaking of the blood being not only given but presently being ‘poured out’, the sacrificial meaning of those words would be clearly apparent. And we have more evidence to bring forth as we study further.
    3) for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
    What is the reason that Jesus gave us this sacrament? We have seen that he is primarily speaking here of giving his blood in the form of the sacrament to the disciples. Is this just something nice to have for us? Yes, partaking of our Lord and being united with him is a great blessing that is a marvelous fulfillment of 2nd Peter 1:4 where we become partakers of the divine nature. However, another primary benefit given by Jesus is reported right here: This blood that we partake of forgives us of our sins.

    The Church sees it as Jesus does. Thus, when I quoted Trent earlier, referring to Jesus, said that:

    He might leave to His beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice, such as the nature of man requires, whereby that bloody sacrifice once to be accomplished on the cross might be represented, the memory thereof remain even to the end of the world, and its salutary effects applied to the remission of those sins which we daily commit, declaring Himself constituted a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech.
    Thus, when the Church says partaking of the Eucharist remits sins, it is only repeating Jesus’ words in Matthew. Thus, the sacrifice is propitiatory. As the Eucharist forgives sins, it is a bearer of great grace for our soul. When we approach the Mass, we offer everything up to God, and our venial sins are forgiven. Now true, we do not say that mortal sins can be forgiven through the Eucharist. For our mortal sins, we do need to go to confession per Jesus in John 20:22-23. For the truth that there is a Biblical basis for the idea of mortal and venial sins, please see this: Mortal, Venial Sins and Purgatory This is not new, however. In the Old Testament, there were different prescriptions for different types of sins. The New Covenant has a better fulfillment.

    As we understand that the blood that forgives us our sins is the Eucharist, as our examination of Matthew has shown, in the Eucharist we thus see the fulfillment of Johns words:

    1 John 1:7

    But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

    The Eucharist is the fulfillment of this. It makes 1 John 1:7 accomplish what is said. Jesus calls us to have fellowship with him through the Eucharist (See John 6:54-58) where through the Eucharist we abide in him,. If we abide in him, we have fellowship with him. If we have fellowship with him in the way that Jesus said, we eat his flesh and drink his blood. Thus, the Eucharist literally is the blood cleansing us from sin. As this is an ongoing thing and we must continually be cleansed, as Paul wrote, the Eucharist fulfills John. We saw earlier that it is the direct application of Jesus’ words in Matthew 26:28.

    The Fathers all recognized that Jesus here in Mt. 26 as speaking of the Sacrament of the Eucharist as being the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist but for our purposes, also a sacrifice, that is a means of forgiving sins. For example, St. Cyril of Alexandria obviously understands Matthew’s gospel as pointing to the true body and blood is offered in sacrifice:

    He states demonstratively: “This is My Body,” and “This is My Blood,” lest you might suppose the things that are seen are a figure. Rather, by some secret of the all-powerful God the things seen are transformed into the Body and Blood Christ, truly offered in a sacrifice in which we, as participants, receive the life-giving and sanctifying power of Christ. [37]
    St. John Chrysostom again affirms that it is a true sacrifice along with Jesus being really present when he affirms:
    Christ is present. The One who prepared that [Holy Thursday] table is the very One who now prepares this [altar] table. For it is not a man who makes the sacrificial gifts become the Body and Blood of Christ, but He that was crucified for us, Christ Himself. The priest stands there carrying out the action, but the power and the grace is of God. “This is My Body,” he says. This statement transforms the gifts. [38]
    Notice that this is a sacrifice which transforms the gifts into his Body and Blood. This gives us a phrase which is consistent with the Catholic teaching of transubstantiation. St. John Chrysostom also gave a homily on this section of Matthew’s gospel. In this homily, among many other he things he taught the following:
    And He Himself drank of it. For lest on hearing this, they should say, What then? do we drink blood, and eat flesh? and then be perplexed (for when He began to discourse concerning these things, even at the very sayings many were offended), (the Saint is referring us to John 6:51-67 where he agrees that Jesus is speaking about the flesh and blood of the Eucharist) therefore lest they should be troubled then likewise, He first did this Himself, leading them to the calm participation of the mysteries. Therefore He Himself drank His own blood. What then must we observe that other ancient rite also? some one may say. By no means. For on this account He said, “Do this,” that He might withdraw them from the other, For if this worketh remission of sins, as it surely doth work it, the other is now superfluous.

    As then in the case of the Jews, so here also He hath bound up the memorial of the benefit with the mystery, by this again stopping the mouths of heretics. For when they say, Whence is it manifest that Christ was sacrificed? together with the other arguments we stop their mouths from the mysteries also. For if Jesus did not die, of what are the rites the symbols?....

    For thus shall we have both God propitious, and shall find many to receive worthily; and for our own diligence, and for our care for others, receive great reward; unto which God grant we may all attain by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory world without end. [39]

    We see St. John Chrysostom therefore holding that the Mass is a true sacrifice which is propitiatory (reflecting the Council of Trent's teaching on the issue) and where Jesus is truly present. He also sees it as giving grace and works the remission, or forgiveness sins (essentially just repeating Jesus' words). It is a propitiatory sacrifice which is of great reward, according to the Saint.

    Also, the following Saints are what I could find in William Jurgen’s book, The Faith of the Early Fathers, who when commenting on this passage in Matthew 26:26-28 affirm that what Jesus held was truly His own true flesh and blood, and were not symbols: St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus, Tertullian, Aaphraates the Persian Sage, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Theodore of Mopuesta, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Augustine, and St. John Damascene. [40] Of course the Jurgen’s volume only takes a snippets of the Fathers' writings and is not a compendium of all the Fathers' writings. And here I am focusing only on their analysis of Matthew's account and doesn't take into consideration their analysis of Paul or Mark or Luke's account of the Eucharist, where likewise they would affirm the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist and that it is a true sacrifice. The list would be much larger if I decided to do so.

    1 Cor. 11:23-29 and a
    Study of Anamnesis

    23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

    Here is another recording of Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist. First, we see that like Matthew, Paul uses the words that this is His covenant in his blood, which carries over all the sacrificial connotations we discussed earlier. He also uses the word new covenant in his blood to especially highlight the importance of this new covenantal institution. Jesus’ institution uses that word in v. 25. All the sacrificial implications that we saw earlier in Matthew would apply here. Since he referred to the New Covenant, this brings us to the point that this covenantal meal is also a fulfillment of Jeremiah 31, which we will see when it is directly quoted in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews. For now I want to focus on when Paul uses the word remembrance, which is anamnesis, in the Greek in both verses 24 and 25. (Luke also uses the word anamnesis, in his recording of the institution, Lk. 22:20). Protestants will often say that remembrance has absolutely nothing to do with sacrifice, other than to say that here we remember that in the past Jesus was sacrificed for us. As an example of this thought, James White writes:
    If we do as the Lord commanded, calling to mind His broken body and shed blood and thankfully confessing our complete reliance on the atoning work of Jesus Christ, we are showing the greatest demonstration of the fruit of His death until He comes...We look back to the Cross, for it is there that our redemption was accomplished. It is there that we received a full and complete remission for our sins. We do not look at another sacrifice or a “re-presentation” of the sacrifice of Christ. There is no need for this. It is a memorial supper, as the Lord said. We remember what has happened. But by remembering we do not cause the past to happen again. [41]
    Is the Eucharist merely a memorial supper? Are we only supposed to think back about what Jesus did in the past? In reference to the idea that it was merely the past event which gives remission of sins, we have seen in Matthew that the blood given in the Eucharist itself gives the remission of sins presently. However, an important word to look at in regards to whether this is merely thinking about something that happened in the past, or does it make the past event present and whether it is a sacrifice, we need to look at the word translated as 'remembrance' which in the Greek is the word anamnesis.

    Stephen Ray in his book Crossing the Tiber notes some Protestant Dictionaries and commentaries on the meaning of the word anamnesis.

    Gerhard Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. and trans. Geoffrey W. Bromily (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1983), speaks of “re-presentation” and “the making present by the later community of the Lord who instituted the Supper” (1:348-49). Protestant writer Max Thurian wrote, “This memorial is not a simple subjective act of recollection, it is a liturgical action. . . which makes the Lord present. . . which recalls as a memorial before the Father the unique sacrifice of the Son, and this makes Him present in His memorial” The Eucharistic Memorial, II, The New Testament, Ecumenical Studies in Worship as quoted in Colin Brown, ed., Dictionary of New Testament Theology [Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 1979], 3:244). [42]
    Therefore, we have other Protestants who recognize the Catholic meaning of the word anamnesis. Nevertheless, a further indication of the meaning of that word, is to use a principle that Protestants will often utilize in interpreting Scripture: Have Scripture interpret Scripture. If Scripture uses a word in one way throughout Scripture and not another way, it is best to interpret that specific way in which it is used when the issue is in dispute. Thus, in which way is the word anamnesis used throughout Scripture? Merely remembering something, or is it a memorial offering in sacrifice in Scripture? For arguments sake for the moment, let us leave aside the way it is used in the context of the Lord's institution of the Eucharist, since that is in dispute. Let us see how the word anamnesis is used. Now, in the Greek Septuagint, the word zakar is translated as anamnesis four times, and in the New Testament, outside of the Eucharist's institution it is used one time. Let us see the context and quotations.
    Leviticus 24:7-9

    And you shall put pure frankincense with each row, that it may go with the bread as a memorial (anamnesis) portion to be offered by fire to the LORD. 8 Every Sabbath day Aaron shall set it in order before the LORD continually on behalf of the people of Israel as a covenant for ever. 9 And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place, since it is for him a most holy portion out of the offerings by fire to the LORD, a perpetual due

    First, we see a sacrifice of bread that is offered to God in sacrifice with incense. The very word anamnesis is used in this sacrificial offering.

    In fact, we see that this bread is offered continually by Aaron. It is a holy offering to the Lord in sacrifice that Aaron and his sons are to eat in what is called a holy place. This is part of a lasting covenantal meal. Thus, this sacrificial offering to God is a holy meal. The parallels of this sacrifice to the New Covenant meal is striking. In the Catholic Church the Body and Blood of Christ are of course much more holy, but the fact that the holiness is stressed in even this sacrificial Old Testament meal is striking. Of course as we saw in 1 Corinthians 11, if one eats unworthily, one is profaning the actual Body and Blood of Christ. The offering in the New Covenant of course far surpasses that of the Old Covenant. We also see that on every Sabbath this bread that is a sacrificial offering is a covenantal offering to God. In the New Covenant, the Eucharist is a covenantal offering to God. This covenantal offering to God is celebrated every Sunday in the New Covenant: Acts 20:7: On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and he prolonged his speech until midnight. Besides all these similarities, a major point is that the word anamnesis that is used in the New Covenant institution is undoubtedly used of a sacrificial offering here in the Old Covenant. It is not merely about remembering something.

    Numbers 10:9-10

    9 And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered (anamninesko) before the LORD your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. 10 On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts, and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; they shall serve you for remembrance (anamnesis) before your God: I am the LORD your God.

    Notice that the word noted here in v.9 is a different word. Here the word to remember is not anamnesis but anamninesko. A different word is used, and it is not related to sacrifice, but only recalling. Here is where the focus is on God recalling his people. However, when we get to v. 10, the word used here for an offering is a sacrificial offering. The word that is translated as a sacrificial offering is anamnesis, here the English translation as remembrance. This again, happens to be the same Greek word that Paul uses in 1 Cor. 11:24 and 25, and Luke uses in Luke 22:19, in the institution of the Eucharist. It is not merely about remembering something.

    Psalm 38 Introduction

    Psalm 38 A Psalm of David, for the memorial (anamnesis) offering.

    Psalm 70 Introduction

    To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, for the memorial (anamnesis) offering.

    Two other uses of the word (anamnesis) in the Old Testament are the Psalms of David at the point where he makes a sacrificial, memorial offering to God. Psalm 38 is a song made over the sacrificial offering where he pleads for God's mercy and confesses his sin (vv. 18, 20) and pleads for God who is his hope and salvation. Psalm 70 is a song over a sacrificial memorial offering where David asks for deliverance from his enemies. Thus, the Psalms remind us of the Mass, where we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, and where we ask for God to deliver us from the bondage of sin and we plead for his mercy. It reminds us of the Mass where we sing songs that glorify God but done in the Mass, just as with David, in the context of sacrifice. It is not merely about remembering something.

    Thus, in each of the instances that anamnesis is used, it is used in the context of sacrifice. Thus, yes it recalls but does more than recalls. It is a sacrifice that serves as the memorial to God.

    Hebrews 10:3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder (anamnesis) of sin year after year.

    Here Paul mentions sacrifices being a reminder of sin. Paul refers here to the Old Testament reminders of sin in the sacrifices. Of course he goes on to mention the superiority of the New Testament sacrifice of Jesus to that of the Old Testament sacrifices. The Catholic Church also teaches the superiority of Jesus’ sacrifice to that of the Old sacrifices. But, nonetheless, the only other time anamnesis is used in the New Testament, it indeed talks about sacrifice. Of course, the Old Testament offerings did not wipe out sin as the New Covenant offering does. Jesus gives us an anamnesis of his death which wipes out sins, through the blood of the Eucharist that is given to forgive sins, as so stated in Matthew 26:28.

    Notice that in each of mentions in the Old Testament, and in the one other New Testament citation of the word, anamnesis refers to a sacrificial offering to God. It is not about merely remembering something. Every single time anamnesis is used, the sacrificial implications are apparent to see.

    Other Words Jesus Could
    Have Used to say “Remember”

    Protestants have a variety of views on the Eucharist. Some Protestants such as Lutherans and Anglicans believe that there is a real presence of Jesus (though we would not grant that they actually have the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist). Others Protestants such as some Calvinists believe in a real presence in a spiritual sense, in which Jesus is really present through the bread and wine in a purely spiritual way. There are others, the predominant majority of Protestants in the United States who have a Zwinglian view, which means that the Eucharist is purely symbolic, and there is no real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Of course there are many views in-between those three views due to the impact of Sola Scriptura. Nevertheless, although there are a few Protestants who agree the Eucharist is a sacrifice (such as the Anglo-Catholics I referred to earlier, who thus contradict one of the 39 articles of the Anglican Faith which condemns the teaching of the Eucharist as sacrifice) 99% of Protestants will unite on the fact that the Eucharist is not a sacrifice. Even a majority of those who really feel that Jesus is present in the Eucharist will agree that Rome is wrong for calling the Mass a propitiatory sacrifice. I repeat the earlier article, Article 31 of the Anglican Faith to emphasize this point:

    Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits. [43]
    Of course we have examined the Anglican charge that it is blasphemous that the Sacrifice of the Mass remits sins, and in fact it makes Jesus’ words meaningless in Matthew 26:28, as we have seen, where Jesus expressly says that his Blood given in the Eucharist does in fact remit sins. But that is besides the point. The main point is Protestantism does unite in condemning the Catholic view that the Mass is truly a sacrifice. They also say that what we do when we celebrate ‘The Lord’s Supper’ it means to recall what he did. We are only remembering what he did. As we have seen every single time the word anamnesis meaning sacrifice, let us look at other words that Jesus could have used to say let us ‘remember’ him. Are there other words that Jesus could have used that does not refer to sacrifice.

    Robert Sungenis, in his Book, Not By Bread Alone gives us some clue that there are eight other words that Jesus could have used if only he wanted to say “Remember”. He writes:

    The connection between sacrifice and anamnesis is made even stronger by taking into account that the neither Matthew, Mark, nor Luke (nor Paul actually) use any of the words which refer to some type of remembrance, but only the one with an exclusively sacrificial connotation is used at the Last Supper, that is anamnesis. [44]
    He then spells out the words that Jesus could have used to say in the Eucharist, to “remember”, where it does not mean sacrifice. He does that in the footnotes. Unfortunately, he spells it out in Greek which I am unable to read. Therefore, using a Strong’s Concordance and the Biblical verses he points in his footnotes, which shows the other rendering of these words, and the English translation of those words, we can identify the words in Greek so we can read them with the translation given us, with the verses that are given. The starting point in this analysis are the verses he points to in footnote 105 on page 123 of his excellent book on the Eucharist.

    : The Greek word found in the Strongs Concordance is also given with the English rendering of it. Since I have been using the Revised Standard Version in this article, if I see any discrepancy between the English rendering of the word in the King James Version as opposed to the RSV, I will give the RSV version of the verse, but if the word for remembrance is different in the KJV, I will give the KJV version of that specific Greek word in parenthesis. I will bold the English translation, italicize the Greek rendering of that word, and only if there is a discrepancy between the English translation of the King James Version and the RSV, I will put the King James Version of the English word in parenthesis. I will give thanks to Sungenis for the use of the verses that he points out which shows the use of these other words that could have been used instead of anamnesis:

    #1 Another word that could have been used by Jesus if he did not want to say that the Eucharist is a Sacrifice is:

    Mark 11:21

    And Peter remembered anamimnesko (Strongs, #363) (KJV - calling to remembrance) and said to him, "Master, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered."

    This word that that is used four times in the New Testament besides Mark 11:21 (Mark 14:72; 1 Cor. 4:17; 2 Cor. 7:15; 2 Tim. 1:6) that means remembered that Jesus could have used if he only wanted to ‘recall’ his death.

    #2 Another word that could have been used by Jesus if he did not want to say that the Eucharist is a Sacrifice is found in the following verses: (Hebrews 2:6; 13:3)

    Hebrews 13:3

    Remember mimnesko (Strongs, #3403) those who are in prison, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you also are in the body.

    #3 Another word that could have been used by Jesus if he did not want to say that the Eucharist is a Sacrifice is found in the following verse (According to Sungenis this is used 20 other times in the New Testament):
    Luke 23:42

    And he said, "Jesus, remember mnaomai (Strongs, #3415) me when you come into your kingdom."

    #4 Another word that could have been used by Jesus if he did not want to say that the Eucharist is a Sacrifice is found in the following verse (According to Sungenis this is used 20 other times in the New Testament):
    Luke 17:32

    Remember mnemoneno (Strongs, #3421) Lots’ wife

    #5 Another word that could have been used by Jesus if he did not want to say that the Eucharist is a Sacrifice is found in the following verse (According to Sungenis this is used 6 other times in the New Testament):
    Luke 22:61

    #6 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered hupomimnesko (Strongs, #5279) the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, "Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times."

    #7 Another word that could have been used by Jesus if he did not want to say that the Eucharist is a Sacrifice is found in the following verse:
    2 Peter 1:15

    15 And I will see to it that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall mnena (Strongs, #3418) (KJV - in remembrance of) these things.

    #8 Another word that could have been used by Jesus if he did not want to say that the Eucharist is a Sacrifice is found in the following:
    2 Timothy 1:5

    I am reminded hupomnesis (Strongs, #5280, KJV - When I call to remembrance) (KJV -) of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you.

    #9 Another word that could have been used by Jesus if he did not want to say that the Eucharist is a Sacrifice is found in the following verses: (Mark 14:9: Also found in Matthew 26:13; Acts 10:4). Here is a sample of one verse:
    Mark 14:9

    And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory mnemosunon (Strongs, #3432) (KJV - a memorial) of her.

    We therefore see 9 other words that Jesus could have used if he only wanted the Apostles to recall his death when they celebrated that Last Supper. These other non-sacrificial words that spoke of remembering were readily available to the authors of the Bible including those who heard Jesus’ words in Aramaic. The Biblical authors went out of their way when they made their translation of Jesus' Aramaic words into the Greek to avoid the non-sacrificial term of remembrance, and instead used the word anamnesis which is inextricably tied in with sacrifice as our study has shown. The use of this word instead of all the possible non-sacrificial words is a powerful testimony to the Eucharist being a sacrifice.

    Thus, using the Protestant idea of Scripture is the means to interpret Scripture, (which is not in and of itself a bad idea. When that becomes the sole means of interpretation is when that becomes a problem) anamnesis, the Greek word used by the Bible authors of Jesus’ words in the New Testament institution of the Eucharist, unanimously is sacrificial. Thus, the attacks by not only so-called “Reformed” Apologists on the sacrificial nature of the Mass such as James White and James Buchanan and RC Sproul, and other Protestant apologists who likewise attack the Mass such as Norm Geisler and Ron Rhodes, and even those who accept in some capacity the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, such as Lutherans and Anglicans who reject the Sacrifice of the Mass, fall by the wayside when they use their own principle of “Let Scripture interpret Scripture”. If we follow that principle of letting Scripture interpreting Scripture, the way that anamnesis is used elsewhere, and that the Biblical authors avoided using non-sacrificial words when those words were plenty available to them, the Eucharist must be sacrificial!!! On that basis alone, let alone all the other evidence that we have seen up to this point, and we are not done yet.

    Now, on to other parts of this passage which show sacrifice. Since we are now so far from the original quote, I will repeat v. 26:
    For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

    Notice that every time that Jesus, who is the living bread of life (Sidenote on the true presence of Christ: John 6:51: The bread I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world , also a look at verses 27-29 where Paul emphasizes that Jesus real Body and Blood are given. It is only the unspiritual man who sees only bread) is eaten, we proclaim his death. Thus, by partaking of Jesus we currently proclaim his death. In other words he is still the paschal victim. Although now he is the resurrected Christ, and his victory is true victory, by partaking of him, we again make present his once and for all death for our benefit. Thus, the concept of anamnesis which we have seen is making the past even present, is also given by Paul’s words where he writes every time we eat Christ (and we see in vv. 27-29) that it is the true flesh and blood we partake of) we are partaking of the once and all sacrifice for our benefit. It is not just us thinking about what he did for us in the past. By the one-time sacrifice being made present for us now, as upon the consecration the sacrifice is being offered up to God, and us partaking of this sacrificial meal, we truly proclaim his death. However, when we partake of him, he gives us grace to prepare us for his coming, as Paul proclaims in the second half of verse 26. That is why the Church, following along Paul’s thought, has inserted this phrase here right after the consecration. The grace given us here in the Eucharist prepares us for his coming judgment. Now in verses 27-29, Paul writes of the elements that one partakes of the Eucharist not being bread and wine, but Christ’s Body and Blood. However, for the sake of our focus here, it gives us a real clue of the sacrificial benefits given to us. Obviously Christ did not establish the sacrament for the purpose of us ‘being guilty of his Body and Blood’(v.28) or to drink damnation upon ourselves (v. 29). Thus, unworthily eating of His Body and Blood is a sacrilege that puts us in a worse spiritual state than we were before. Jesus intentions in establishing the sacrament was for the benefit of believers. Therefore if wrongly partaking of His Body and Blood demerits us, the partaking of these elements obviously would do the opposite of our spiritual destruction. Partaking of this sacrificial meal therefore brings grace that cleanses us from sin. We thus become partakers of the divine nature. This sacrifice gives, as we saw earlier in Matthew 26:28 the cleansing of our sins. A look at 1 Corinthians 11 and the anamnesis of Christ’s death and resurrection shows us a fulfilling of Peter’s call for us to partake of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). This is a literal fulfillment of us the Blood of Jesus cleansing us from all iniquity (1 John 1:7). His purpose is to really cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:19) and the Eucharist is a means of so doing. When we see the good intentions of Jesus establishing the Eucharist with the negative consequences of those who partake of Jesus in a bad manner (as seen in 1 Cor. 11:27-29), the realms of benefits for those who partake of Him in the way that he intended, is an adding of grace and spiritual life to our soul. Paul elsewhere writes that Jesus intended to purify us from all iniquity:

    Titus 2:11-14

    11 For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, 12 training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, 13 awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

    With the apparent consequences as shown by Paul of partaking of the sacrifice in the bad manner bringing us dis-grace, the partaking of the Eucharist in the way that Jesus intended (And as Paul was telling the Christians to partake of it in a good way in 1 Cor. 10-11) brings us more grace, and more cleansing from sin.

    Thus, in summary we have seen that this passage of 1 Cor. 11:24-29 shows not only the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist (which we have not focused on), but:

  • 1. The setting gives us a true sacrifice. The words by Paul in speaking of the New Covenant shows that the sacrifice given in the New Covenant far surpasses the Old Covenant sacrifice.
  • 2. The word anamnesis shows that the word translated ‘remembrance’ can only be interpreted as referring to this as a sacrifice.
  • 3. The Eucharist is a conduit of grace that forgives sins.

  • Let us look at how one of the great Fathers of the Church, St. John Chrysostom analyzed these verses, and how he believes whether the Eucharist is, or is not a sacrifice:

    But what is it which He saith, “This cup is the New Covenant? ; Because there was also a cup of the Old Covenant; the libations and the blood of the brute creatures. For after sacrificing, they used to receive the blood in a chalice and bowl and so pour it out. Since then instead of the blood of beasts He brought in His own Blood; lest any should be troubled on hearing this, He reminds them of that ancient sacrifice.

    Next, having spoken concerning that Supper, he connects the things present with the things of that time, that even as on that very evening and reclining on that very couch and receiving from Christ himself this sacrifice, so also no might men be affected...

    And these things thou doest when thou hast enjoyed the Table of Christ, on that day on which thou hast been counted worthy to touch His flesh with thy tongue. What then is to be done to prevent these things? Purify thy right hand, thy tongue, thy lips, which have become a threshold for Christ to tread upon. Consider the time in which thou didst draw near and set forth a material table, raise thy mind to that Table, to the Supper of the Lord, to the vigil of the disciples, in that night, that holy night. Nay, rather should one accurately examine, this very present state is night. Let us watch then with the Lord, let us be pricked in our hearts with the disciples. It is the season of prayers, not of drunkenness; ever indeed, but especially during a festival. For a festival is therefore appointed, not that we may behave ourselves unseemly, not that we may accumulate sins, but rather that we may blot out those which exist...

    Since if even that kind of banquet which the senses take cognizance of cannot be partaken of by us when feverish and full of bad humors, without risk of perishing: much more is it unlawful for us to touch this table with profane lusts, which are more grievous than fevers. Now when I say profane lusts, I mean both those of the body, and of money and of anger, and of malice, and in a word, all that are profane. And it becomes him that approacheth, first to empty himself of all these things so to touch that pure sacrifice...

    Ver. 29 “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself.”
    What sayest thou, tell me? Is this Table which is the cause of so many blessings and teeming with life, become judgment? Not from its own nature, saith he, but from the will of him that approaches. [45]

    Thus, what we see that not only our examination of 1st Corinthians confirm the points just spelled out, but one of the great Fathers of the Church, St. John Chrysostom affirms these as well. The Eucharist is a true sacrifice which we must be careful to partake of. However, the blessings which it bestows is so great that this sacrifice, which he himself calls a pure sacrifice is not only a conveyer of grace that gives and sustains life for the believer, but it also is a meal which blots out sins.

    1 Corinthians 10:14-22

    14 Therefore, my beloved, shun the worship of idols. 15 I speak as to sensible men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

    This passage is a description of the Eucharist. This is one chapter before the passage we just examined. The first part is that we can see that Paul compares what Christians have, as opposed to what the idolaters have. In the Corinthian community, there were other religions which worshipped idols. Christians that he is writing to come from that community of idol worshipers. Part of what he is doing here is comparing what Christians have, as opposed to what pagans have. The pagans have sacrifices and the Christian sacrifice is the Eucharist. It is apparent to any objective reader that this comparison that he makes only makes sense if one sees this comparison as the sacrifice of idols as opposed to the sacrifice of Christians. However, let us look at a Protestant objection to the use of 1 Corinthians 10 as proving the Sacrifice of the Eucharist. Here the objection is based on the use of 1 Corinthians 1:10:21 to prove that the Eucharist is a sacrifice. Ron Rhodes makes the following argument:
    The apostle Paul did not use the word altar (Greek: thusiasterion); he used the word table (Greek: trapeza). As Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausett, and David Brown put it, “The Lord’s Supper is a feast on a table, not a sacrifice on an altar. Our only altar is the cross, our only sacrifice that of Christ once for all.”

    In Bible times, tables were places of fellowship (people would eat “fellowship meals”). In the city of Corinth, there were cultic meals as well. Some who were involved in pagan religion would sit down at a table, believing they were dining and fellowshipping with pagan gods. Paul thus said you cannot eat at that kind of table and at the table of the Lord. It is one or the other-Christians must “choose whom ye shall follow.” But there is no indication of any kind of sacrifice in this verse. Hence, it cannot be applied in support of the Mass.[46]

    The only way that the above conclusion can be made is if a) The Protestant does not understand that the Sacrifice of the Mass and the sacrifice of the cross is one and the same. This is not some new sacrifice.; b) One totally ignores the context of Paul’s statements. If taken in isolation, the argument about v. 21 may be something to consider. However, v. 21 is surrounded by the context that proves the Catholic point.

    What does the context give us of v. 21 where he speaks of the ‘table’. And does table mean it can not be a sacrifice and since Paul does not use the word ‘altar’ in v. 21, does that mean that automatically the Eucharist cannot be a sacrifice, as Rhodes argues?

    We see in v. 14, Paul writing that the Christians are to flee idolatry. Earlier in this letter to the Corinthians, he wrote those that practice idolatry will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (1 Cor. 6:9). Thus, he warns against practicing idolatry for the sake of their souls. Next, in v. 16 he emphasizes the reality of the Body and Blood of Christ. This proves the true presence of Christ. He says we have communion with the Blood of Christ. This is the real thing. The broken bread that Christians partake of is communion of the Body of Christ (v. 16). He already begins the contrast first with the holiness of the Body and Blood of Christ, with the worthlessness of the food that is offered to idols. Next Paul writes that the Body and Blood of Christ is the instrument that brings together the mystical Body of Christ. The Eucharist brings unity to the one Body of Christ (v. 17).

    Next, after making the distinction on the holiness of the real Body and Blood of Christ (the stress on the true presence), as opposed to the worthlessness of the idols, Paul next moves to compare the sacrifice of demons to the sacrifice of the Eucharist. He calls in v. 18 and 19 the eating of the meals as sacrifices offered to idolatry. First, in v. 18 Paul says that one partakes of the sacrificial altar of Israel (which was a sacrifice done in Israel) which was the way to worship in the Old Covenant. One through the sacrifice became partners with God’s altar. Paul does not condemn this so much as to point out that this was a sacrifice that put one in communion with God’s altar. If one eats this sacrifice it was a good thing. In any case, it is to be remembered that here in v. 18, Paul is speaking about eating a sacrifice, which has an altar, with Old Covenant roots.

    Next, Paul brings idolatry again into the issue. However, just as he stressed in v. 18 the Old Testament sacrifices that Israel had that people partook of that was good, in v. 19 and 20 we see Paul writes specifically about sacrifices that were offered to idols were of no good. How did the people partake of this sacrifice? People partook of this idolatrous sacrifice by eating a meal. First, Paul writes that to partake of this sacrifice that is in effect offered to the devil is horrible, as the sacrifice is really offered to demons. However, note that in v. 20, here Paul writes that the Table of the idol is where the sacrifice is consumed. If one eats of this sacrifice that is offered to idols one is worshipping a demon. Then in the latter half of verse 20, Paul makes a direct contrast from the partaking of the demon worship in sacrifice as opposed to the drinking of the Cup of the Lord.

    With these two verses in hand giving us a background of eating sacrifice (one good, v. 18, one bad, vv. 19-20), Paul then writes of the comparison of the Table of the Lord to the Table to Idolatry. Paul warns Christians that they can not do both. One cannot worship the Lord and partake of idolatrous sacrificial meals at the same time. They will fall under condemnation if they do so. In vv. 19 and 20, the cup of the Lord is directly contrasted to the cup of devils, where the context is that of sacrifice. Just v. 20 says that both cups are sacrificial in context. However, Paul goes on to drive home the point in v. 21, where he specifically says that one cannot partake of the Table of the Lord and the Table of demons at the same time. Now, we see that the Table of demons has just been termed sacrificial by Paul. Now, back to Rhodes objection that just because the word ‘table’ is used it means it can not be sacrificial. Well, the word ‘cup’ does not always mean sacrificial, but can be used in such a way to offer sacrifice. We see in v. 20, the word cup meant a sacrifice because it was talked of as a sacrifice. Since v. 14, there has been a contrast of the great meal of Christians to the idolatrous meals. Especially since v. 18, there has been a contrast of different sacrifices (The Jewish sacrifices and the idolatrous sacrifices) to the Eucharist. If he did not want to call the Eucharist a sacrifice, why are the only things that he compares it to sacrifices? Why does he use the same phraseology for the idolatrous sacrifice to the Eucharistic sacrifice? Since Paul has emphasized that it is a sacrifice to idols, here it must be a sacrifice to God in the Eucharist. Now, true, he uses the phrase ‘table’ in speaking of the Eucharist and not ‘altar’ per se. And the use of the word ‘altar’ always speaks of sacrifice. That is true. We will keep this in mind as we proceed and will later be another proof of the Eucharist as we investigate further. However, the idea that ‘table’ does not mean sacrifice has no basis in Scripture at all. Especially since Paul used the same word ‘cup’ for the Eucharist as he did for the idolatrous meal in v. 20, which he had specifically called a sacrifice in both v. 19 and 20. The word ‘table’ is used for both the sacrificial idolatrous cup and the Eucharist. If he wanted to say, “Yes, the table and cup of the idol is a sacrifice but this Eucharistic meal is not a sacrifice” he could have said that. Or if he wanted to stress that ‘well, the sacrificial idolatrous meal is offered at an altar, but the Eucharistic meal is only offered at a table because that is not a sacrifice’ Paul could have said that as well. But he did not. And besides all these points, the fact is that the word ‘table’ or trapeza (Strongs, #5132, p. 72, Greek Dictionary of the New Testament) actually is used in Scripture in a sacrificial manner. Yes, the use of the word trapeza is usually used for the most part in meals, but the fact that the word is used in a setting of a meal does not mean that it can not be used in term of sacrifice. For example, when Paul writes this about the sacrifices of the Old Covenant:

    Hebrews 9:1-2

    1Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tent was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table trapeza and the bread of the Presence; it is called the Holy Place.

    Here, the context is clearly that of a sacrifice. The word ‘table’, which Rhodes had just said can not be used in terms of sacrifice in 1 Cor. 10:21, is used in a sacrificial setting. Therefore, the objection about the use of the word trapeza table automatically excluding sacrifice falls down on another count. Put this on top of the surrounding context in 1 Cor. 10 which shows without question as being sacrificial, and the objection against the Eucharist being a sacrifice has absolutely no foundation at all.

    Although many Fathers point to 1 Cor. 10 forth to prove the reality and true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, they also saw the parallels that we have seen in Paul and that here Paul shows that the Eucharist is also a true sacrifice. Also, at the Eucharistic Table (which is a sacrifice), sins get blotted out by the Eucharist (but not mortal sins as they have to be confessed - See St. Cyprian down below). Here we get communion with God himself as opposed to communion with an altar as in the Old Testament. The Saints recognize that the table referred to is also an altar, which is a sacrifice. The Blessings which come with the Eucharistic sacrifice, which incidentally not only dining with God but is a dining of God himself, far surpasses anything else one could have.

    We have already seen St. John Chrysostom write on Paul's affirmation of the Eucharist being a sacrifice in 1 Cor. 11. He writes of 1 Cor. 10 the following comments (on v.16):

    “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of the Blood of Christ?” Very persuasively spake he, and awfully. For what he says is this: “This which is in the cup is that which flowed from His side, and of that do we partake.” But he called it a cup of blessing, because holding it in our hands, we so exalt Him in our hymn, wondering astonished at His unspeakable gift, blessing Him, among other things, for the pouring out of this self-same draught that we might not abide in error: and not only for the pouring it out, but also for the imparting thereof to us all. “Wherefore if thou desire blood,” saith He, “Redden not the altar of idols with the slaughter of brute beasts, but My altar with My blood.” Tell me, what can be more tremendous than this?...

    But why adds he also, “which we break?” For although in the Eucharist one may see this done, yet on the cross not so, but the very contrary. For, “A bone of Him,” saith one, “shall not be broken.” But that which He suffered not on the cross, this He suffers in the oblation for thy sake, and submits to be broken, that he may fill all men....

    But do thou, I pray, consider how with regard to the Jews he said not, “they are partakers with God,” but “they have communion with the altar;” for what was placed thereon was burnt: but in respect tot he Body of Christ, not so. But how? It is “a Communion of the Lord’s Body.” For not with the altar, but with Christ Himself, do we have communion. [47]

    St. Cyprian writes of the Eucharistic sacrifice on both 1 Cor. 10:16-21 and 1 Cor. 11:27:
    Returning from the altars of the devil, they draw near to the holy place of the Lord, with hands filthy and reeking with smell, still almost breathing of the plague-bearing idol-meats; and even with jaws still exhaling their crime, and reeking with the fatal contact, they intrude on the body of the Lord, although the sacred Scripture stands in their way and cries, saying, “Every one that is clean shall eat of the flesh; and whatever soul eateth of the flesh of the saving sacrifice, which is the Lord’s having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from his people.” (Lev. 7:20). Also, the apostles testifies, and say, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord’s table and of the table of devils.” He threatens moreover the stubborn and forward, and denounces them, saying, “Whosoever eateth the bread or drinketh the cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. (1 Cor. 11:27)”

    All these warnings being scorned and contemned, -before their sin is expiated, before confession has been made of their crime, before their conscience has been purged by sacrifice and by the hand of the priest, before the offence of an angry and threatening Lord has been appeased, violence is done to His body and blood; and they sin now against their Lord more with their hand and mouth than when they denied their Lord.[48]

    The Book of Hebrews and the Eucharist

    Since the Book of Hebrews is a whole book dedicated to the mission and work of Jesus and with much of the focus on his sacrifice for our sins, we need to look at this book. This is the most heavily used book by Protestants to charge that the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist denies the finished work of Jesus Christ. Now we have already examined the fact that the book of Hebrews puts much stress on the believers to remain in covenant with the Father and the necessity of endurance in holiness to ensure salvation. As we noted, 50% of the Book of Hebrews does stress the need for this endurance. Here now, we want to focus on how Christ’s sacrifice on the cross relates to the Eucharist. Protestants will focus on certain chapters of Hebrews (especially chapter 7-10) to say that the book says Jesus died once and for all (which no informed Catholic would deny), but also says that no more sacrifice is necessary (which a Catholic must deny) because of Jesus’ past completed work on the cross. We will look at these very passages in this examination of Hebrews.

    Now I want to focus on passages that talk about both sacrifice and those that speak of Christ’s priesthood and how it relates to us and a Christian’s journey to salvation. Also, here will be a look at how our sins are forgiven and how Christ’s work accomplishes this. Also, although there are not explicit phrases by Paul which specifically say, “I am talking about the Eucharist here” we will see how some passages can only be explained with the presence of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and others that show how it is at least perfectly consistent with this theology behind the letter to the Hebrews. For a more thorough look at the Book of Hebrews and the Sacrifice of the Mass I recommend the appropriate chapter in the book by Robert Sungenis, Not By Bread Alone, and St. John Chrysostom's analysis of the Book of Hebrews. I will refer to both sources(and other sources) during this examination.

    Hebrews 2:17

    Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people.

    The backdrop to this verse in chapter 2 is the beginning of the chapter where Paul says that we must give heed to God’s Word and stay faithful. We would lose our place in God’s realm just if we neglect our salvation (v. 2). Then Paul writes how Jesus was humbled and became lower than angels and even became our brethren for our salvation. He died for every man (v. 9). Jesus is the captain of our salvation and he is the foundation of our sanctification (v. 11). Then Paul writes how he became flesh and blood so he can destroy death and the devil (v. 14). Then Paul writes how Jesus took on human nature to deliver mankind from bondage (v. 15). Thus, with that background to this verse, we see that Jesus’ mission was to do away with sin, and to release us from its bondage. Right off the bat that tells us, his mission is not to justify us with an imputed righteousness to cover us (The Protestant 'Reformed' or Lutheran view of Sola Fide), and then a nice byproduct of that is our sanctification (which is the Protestant basis for the attack on the Mass). Instead, the mission to destroy death is a reality of his mission. Thus, at the heart of his mission is an ongoing task to sanctify his children from sin’s bondage. To relegate that to only a nice and inevitable result of sanctification (and thus separating it from justification) is missing the point. As the reality of sin is something we face everyday, we need grace in order for us to be released from the bondage so promised in v. 15. Then in his mission he says he took upon our nature to help deliver us. (v. 16)

    Now when we approach v. 17 we see that Jesus is a faithful and merciful high priest. Note that as a high priest, he continues to work now as a high priest. The important point to note about v. 17 is that it says Jesus as high priest makes expiation for sins. Paul says Jesus makes expiation for sins on an ongoing basis. If ones sins was already expiated for when one appropriated Jesus’ righteousness to ones account, and then justification is only on a past due basis, then there would be no need for any further expiation for sins. However, Jesus’ work as High Priest is ongoing in reference to our own sins. Thus, the tense of the phrase “to make expiation for the sins of the people” shows the continuing need of the application of this grace for our own salvation. For if our account is already settled, what need would there be for an ongoing offering for sins? This offering for sin, is in fact given when Jesus as High Priest, through the work of the Priest on earth offering the Eucharist as making ongoing expiation for our sins. If Jesus is currently a high priest he currently offers sacrifice. If he currently offers a sacrifice, the only offering that fits the bill is the Eucharist.

    Robert Sungenis makes some particularly relevant comments on the matter of the Greek of Heb. 2:17

    Hebrews 2:17 contains two Greek “purpose” clauses (“that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest”}; the second is formed by a preposition followed by the article and infinitive (“in order to make propitiation for the sins of the people”) [49]
    Sungenis then goes on to quote several Protestant scholars such as Marcus Dods, Westcott (In The Expositor’s Greek New Testament, James Moffatt & Colin Brown who say that the offering here makes it apparent that Heb. 2:17 shows that Jesus continues to make propitiation, or expiation for the sins of the people. This is not only a past event at all. The Catholic offering of the Eucharist is exactly how Jesus can continue to make propitiation for sins as alluded to in Hebrews 2:17. The context shows that God’s goal is taking us away from enslavement to sin. As we daily face our own sinfulness, the Eucharist is a way of cleansing us from our sin and gives us grace in time of need as we cooperate with God.

    Hebrews 4:14-5:10

    14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 1For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. 3 Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. 4 And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was. 5 So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, "Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee"; 6 as he says also in another place, "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek." 7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. 8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9 and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

    Here we see that Jesus is called a High Priest several times: (4:14, 5:1, 5:5-6, 5:10). The difference between Jesus and Aaron (who was a sinful High Priest who sinned by making a golden calf and heeding idolaters) is that Jesus is without sin (4:15). Then it says that we can approach the throne of grace and find help by grace and mercy in time of need (4:16). However, look at what Paul writes exactly after he says that Jesus is a High Priest and that we can confidently approach the throne of grace to find grace and mercy: In 5:1, it says that every High Priest offers gifts and sacrifices for sins!!! Well, is this not a separate chapter, and therefore totally different ideas coming along? Of course not!!! Any informed person knows that the divisions of chapters that we have are constructed not by the authors themselves but by people, way after the Bible was written, indexed them according to their own convenience, to help us identify where such and such was written. However, these thoughts are linked. How do we approach the throne of grace, with Jesus who is High Priest? When he offers gifts and sacrifices!!! Now true, the High Priests before Jesus had to offer gifts and sacrifices for themselves (v. 3) as well as the people, but when Jesus became High Priest, he does not have to offer gifts and sacrifices for himself, but as High Priest, he can concentrate on offering gifts and sacrifices for his people. Now what in Protestant theology can account for Jesus as High Priest continuing to offer gifts and sacrifices?

    Martin Luther thought that all sacrifices were to be stopped. As apologist Norman Geisler approvingly quotes:

    Lutheran theology also rejects the concept of the mass as a sacrifice: “Since Christ died and atoned for sin once and for all, and since the believer is justified by faith on the basis of that one-time sacrifice, there is no need for repeated sacrifices.”[50]
    The Protestant theory put out by Luther, and echoed by Geisler (and all the other Protestant apologists I have cited) is that there is no more need for sacrifices, as Jesus death is once and for all. The Catholic will respond: "Yes, Jesus’ death is once and for all, but for once and for all-time." His death is a perpetual gift that is perpetually offered through the gifts and sacrifices. Now notice, the plurality of gifts and the plurality of sacrifices that are offered in Hebrews 5. The only thing that can fit the bill is Jesus who is himself both Priest and Victim who offers himself, but in many ways and many places (As Malachi prophesied and we examined that prophecy in our examination of the Old Testament) (thus making it plural) through the gift of the Eucharist.

    Now, the following verses after verses 4:16-5:3, only drive home the point even more as Paul continues when he writes what type of High Priest Jesus is. Paul writes that Jesus is made a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. Now, we examined earlier in Genesis 14 fairly thoroughly who Melchizedek was. Since Paul brings up Melchizedek again, we need to reexamine this again. He was the first person named a priest in the Bible. He offered a sacrifice of bread and wine.
    As apologist Shawn McElhinney writes in reference to Genesis 14 and the parallel of Melchizedek to Jesus offers us some additional insight on the matter:

    Melchisedech--King of Salem
    Christ--King of the Jews (JeruSALEM: the holy city where the Temple was) Melchisedech--Priest of the Most High God
    Christ: Eternal High Priest
    Melchisedech: A priest apart from Jewish criteria (which didn't exist at the time)
    Christ: A priest apart from Jewish criteria
    Melchisedech--Bread and wine as a sacrificial offering [note the context further down]
    Christ--Bread and wine as a sacrificial offering [I'll make this parallel further down also]
    Melchisedech is referred to as a "priest"; therefore (logically) there must be something that he did that was "priestly" in Genesis. Otherwise it makes no sense to refer to him in that context as a "priest" and would then bring into question why Our Lord would be referred to as "a priest of the order of Melchisedech" by the author of Hebrews. I refer you to the only reference to Melchisedech in Genesis:
    Genesis--14:18. But Melchisedech, the king of Salem, bringing forth bread and wine, for he was the priest of the most high God,
    Why is there a mention of bringing out bread and wine right before mentioning that Melchisedech was "a priest of the most high God"??? Another reference to Genesis might help:
    14:14. Which when Abram had heard, to wit, that his brother Lot was taken, he numbered of the servants born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, well appointed: and pursued them to Dan. 14:15. And dividing his company, he rushed upon them in the night, and defeated them: and pursued them as far as Hoba, which is on the left hand of Damascus. 14:16. And he brought back all the substance, and Lot his brother, with his substance, the women also, and the people. 14:17. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, after he returned from the slaughter of Chodorlahomor, and of the kings that were with him in the vale of Save, which is the king's vale. 14:18. But Melchisedech, the king of Salem, bringing forth bread and wine, for he was the priest of the most high God, 14:19. Blessed him, and said: Blessed be Abram by the most high God, who created heaven and earth. 14:20. And blessed be the most high God, by whose protection, the enemies are in thy hands. And he gave him the tithes of all.
    Lets see, Abram has just achieved a sizable victory in battle over 4 kings. What was the next step??? Possibly to offer a sacrifice in thanksgiving (eucharista) for God's assistance in defeating his enemies in battle. Who would offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving (eucharista) to the Lord in this event??? How about Melchisedech "the king of Salem" and "the priest of the most high God???" What sort of sacrificial offering would Melchisedech offer??? Simple: an offering of bread and wine as Genesis tells us that Melchisedech "brought forth." Notice also that Abram tithed to Melchisedech also and in the OT tithes were given in thanksgiving (eucharista) to God.... Therefore, I restate my question: Why is there a mention of bringing out bread and wine right before mentioning that Melchisedech was "a priest of the most high God"??? Possibly to contrast Melchisedech with Our Lord's "bringing out bread and wine" at the Last Supper which He then made into His body and blood when He actively offered Himself for sin??? [51]
    The parallels as shown by Shawn, can not be ignored by any objective reader. Earlier, we had seen that it was grammatical to say that because Melchizedek was priest, he brought forth bread and wine. In other words, this is what helped to identify him as priest: this sacrificial offering of bread and wine. In the New Covenant, of course the fulfillment of the type is greater than the type itself. The bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist which is offered for the remission of sins (Mt. 26:28) in sacrifice.

    Then Paul reiterates in Heb. 5:6, showing Psalm 110:4 that Jesus is a priest forever according to this order of Melchizedek. Thus, the gifts and sacrifices that he as high priest must offer (Heb. 5:3) is something that will be perpetually offered. He does not offer one gift or one sacrifice (Thus it can not refer only to the one time sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, in terms of it being only a past event) which we see are in the order of Melchizedek, bread and wine offered that becomes Jesus Body and Blood, not just once, but perpetually. A High Priest must continue to offer gifts and sacrifices as we see in v. 3. The order of Melchizedek can only be fulfilled in this offering of the Body and Blood of Jesus in sacrifice in the appearance of bread and wine. Paul quoting from Psalm 110 shows this, as we saw earlier, as this Priesthood is eternal.

    Notice that also in this section, just when he is noted as a High Priest, who offers sacrifices and gifts, Paul shows that our obedience is a cause of our salvation. From the beginning of this section (4:14) to the end (5:10), Jesus is seen as a High Priest. What we must note though, is that he is the source of our salvation (v. 9). Who is he the source of salvation for? Those who appropriate Christ's imputed righteousness to their account? No. Nor will anyone find this idea anywhere in the Book of Hebrews (or anywhere in the Bible actually). I reiterate that this is strange as the very people who refer to this book to attack the Mass as demonstrating the supposedly insufficient Catholic view of Christ’s work on the cross not only ignore the fact that 50% of it deals with the possibility of people falling away from salvation, but there is no basis anywhere whatsoever in the book, this central tenet of forensic justification, which serves as the basis for the attack on the Mass. Anyway, As High Priest Jesus is the source of salvation for those who obey him. Thus, to appropriate that salvation we must obey him. Thus, we see Jesus as High Priest (4:14, 5:1, 6, 10), who offers gifts and sacrifices (the Eucharist, v. 3) which is grace and mercy in time of need (4:16) and our obedience is a cause (5:9) (Not merely a necessary side-effect) of our salvation.

    Hebrews 7

    In Heb. 6:20, the last verse prior to chapter 7, the point is made that Jesus is always a high priest forever. In this chapter, we see the Priest Melchizedek lauded as greater than Abraham (Heb. 7:4) . Now this is a tremendous point that Paul makes to the Jewish reader . As Abraham is the father of the Faith of the Jews, and God is always considered the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, this is a tremendous point to make. This Priest who is barely mentioned in the Old Testament (Only in Genesis 14:14-18 and Psalm 110:4) is greater than the founder of the Faith of Israel (Heb. 7:3). Paul goes on to note that Melchizedek is King of Salem and King of peace. Then in v. 3 Paul writes that Melchizedek had no father or mother and without descent, but was the Son of God, abiding as a priest continually. The point is not that Melchizedek had no Father or Mother, as we know that Jesus had a divine Father and his mother was Mary, but that this priesthood came not by Levitical descent. Jesus did not have a genealogy that was through the Levitical line. In fact the Old Covenant Levitical priesthood was based solely on proof of physical descent of the Levites. If proof was not given, possible priests were to be excluded (Neh. 7:64, Ezra 2:61-62). However, Melchizedek’s priesthood is not based on that. His priesthood preceded that of the Levitical sacrifices. Paul then goes on to say that this priesthood is eternal (Heb. 7:3). Thus, as central to the mission of any priest is that sacrifice is offered, then there must be something that is continually offered in sacrifice. As we have seen elsewhere, what is offered is the Eucharist, the fulfillment of the type of offering that Melchizedek offered, which was bread and wine (Gen. 14:18).

    Paul goes on to note the superiority of Melchizedek to that of the Levitical Priesthood (Heb. 7:4-16). Not only does he stress that Abraham had to pay tithes to Melchizedek (Heb. 7:4), but points out that even in the Loins of Abraham were the seed of Levi. The Levites did, at the time of their ordination as priests forward (Ex. 32) until the time of Paul’s writing this letter, receive tithes from the people of Israel, and in a sense, were superior. However, (Heb. 7:5), the Levites themselves, as they came out of Abraham’s loins were inferior to the order of Melchizedek as even they paid tithes through Abraham to Melchizedek, which shows Melchizedek’s superiority (Heb. 7:6-11).

    Paul next begins to note the imperfection of the Levitical priesthood and the sacrifices they offer, starting in Heb. 7:11. This emphasis on the inferiority of the Levitical priesthood goes on from here through Hebrews 10. His main proof for the lack of necessity that Jesus be of Levite descent is the fact that (Heb. 7:14) there is a changing of the priesthood in the New Covenant, where the order is of Melchizedek (Heb. 7:17). Here Paul quotes again Psalm 110:4, (Heb. 7:17, 20) where there is a promise of a greater priesthood, which is eternal which abrogates the earlier, Levitical commandments. This covenant in the order of the priesthood of Melchizedek gives the power of an endless life (Heb. 7:16). That is, a new covenant comes which brings us victory over sin and brings eternal salvation for those in Christ.

    Now, we begin to get to some passages that some Protestants will continually refer to in order to disprove the Mass.

    Hebrews 7:21-28

    21 Those who formerly became priests took their office without an oath, but this one was addressed with an oath, "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, 'Thou art a priest for ever.'" 22 This makes Jesus the surety of a better covenant. 23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. 25 Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever.

    Here we see Paul now getting to how Jesus our Priest in the New covenant brings to us our salvation. Jesus is made a surety of a better covenant (v. 22). Of course, we know in the background, as we have earlier seen in Exodus the use of the phrase covenant pertaining to the sacrifice of bulls in Exodus 24, to the blood of the covenant in the institution of the Eucharist by Jesus (Mt. 26:26-28). Jesus specifically said: This is the blood of the Covenant. We also have in the background, the fact that Paul has reiterated, and the Old Testament background also that this priesthood of Melchizedek that Paul speaks of here, is where bread and wine are offered in sacrifice to God. These facts can not be ignored as we speak of Jesus’ priesthood.
    only a onetime offering, as stated in v. 27 where he offered up himself means that he does not mean that he offers sacrifice continually, is mistaken. That is because, in v. 17, v. 20, and v. 22, it is said that Jesus is a priest forever. Being a priest forever means that, as what a priest does, is offer sacrifice, he continually offers sacrifice. We need to see that background before we approach verses 25-27.

    Verse 25 gives us part of what Jesus’ work has to do with our salvation. Notice that after he is named a Priest in v. 24, it tells us part of what he does in his priestly office Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. . Therefore his job as a Priest is not merely to offer sacrifice, but his work is to intercede for us. For what reason is his mission to intercede for us? To help us in our daily lives? Yes, but that is not stated here. To help us in our road to sanctification? Yes, but that is not stated here. To help us fight against the evil we face in our daily lives? Yes, but that is not stated here. To help us get more rewards in heaven? Yes, but that is not stated here. These answers are something that Catholics and Protestants would agree that Jesus would help us in his intercession. However, the purpose of his intercession according to Hebrews 7:25 is this: To save those who draw near him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. The purpose of Jesus’ ongoing intercession is to help us achieve salvation. Notice what it is not. There is nothing whatsoever saying, “well, since he suffered on the cross once for all, one gets an imputation of Christ’s righteousness to ones’ account, and thus, one’s salvation is wrapped up past on the finished work of Jesus Christ.” The ones who attack the Mass based on v. 27 which says Jesus’ death was once and for all, forget that Jesus proves that the purpose of his continual intercession is that we achieve salvation. Our salvation is not absolutely assured. Not that it is wrapped up. If it was wrapped up, there would be no need for Jesus to continually intercede for our salvation. Also, note the first part of v. 25 says that Jesus is able for all time to save those who draw near him. We see Jesus has an important role in our salvation, but we have a part to play as well. We must draw near to him. Of course we draw near to him in the Best way in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It says he is able to save, but it does not say that our salvation is once and for all set in stone once we have Christ’s righteousness imputed to our account, or anything of the sort. It does not say that Christ mandates that we are saved, and our cooperation is not necessary for our salvation. Christ’s works as an intercessor in an ongoing way because our salvation is in fact contingent upon this our cooperation, as we must continually draw near to him. If we draw away from him, (as we saw earlier in Hebrews, there are many passages which show that we can fall away), we can lose our salvation. Thus, this passage in Hebrews shows that there is a cooperation of both God’s grace and our cooperation with that grace. Thus, Jesus needs to intercede for our salvation.

    Let us look at St. John Chrysostom’s interpretation of Heb. 7:25 where he focuses on Jesus’ intercessory role for our salvation and the part that says Jesus is able to save to the uttermost:

    What is “to the uttermost”? He hints at some mystery. Not here only (he says) but there also He saves them that “come unto God by Him.” How does He save? “In that He ever liveth” (he says) “to make intercession for them.” Thou seest the humiliation? Thou seest the manhood? For he says not, that He obtained this, by making intercession once for all, but continually, and whensoever it may be needful to intercede for them.

    “To the Uttermost?” What is it? Not for a time only, but there also in the future life. ‘Does He then always need to pray? Yet how can [this ] be reasonable? Even righteous men have oftentimes accomplished all by one entreaty, and is He always praying? Why then is He throned with [the Father]?’ Thou seest that it is a condescension. The meaning is: Be not afraid, nor say, Yea, He loves us indeed, and He has confidence towards the Father, but He cannot live always. For he doth live always.[52]

    Therefore the idea that what Paul says in v. 27 that his once and for all sacrifice means that one does not have to do things to accomplish salvation, or that whatever one does afterwards is merely the fruit of one’s already assured salvation is destroyed by the context which shows that Jesus continues to offer sacrifice as he is a Priest according to the Order of Melchizedek, and that we must cooperate with his grace on an ongoing basis, and Jesus role of intercession for shows us that our salvation is also an ongoing process. It is not merely a one-time past event.

    With that background in mind, I do see attempts to use Heb. 7:27 to say that the Mass is “unbiblical” as being utterly without foundation. Here I will requote the verses that I gave above earlier that I want to focus on which Protestants will say disprove the Mass.

    26 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever.
    I will give one author who opposes Catholicism the floor: Ron Rhodes, who uses Heb. 7:27 along with other passages to supposedly show that no more sacrifice is necessary:
    Jesus completed the work of redemption at the cross with a single once-for-all sacrifice. No more sacrifices (or “re-presentings”) would occur. It was a “done deal” - a finished transaction - at that point. Consider the Book of Hebrews. God assures believers that “their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Heb. 10:17) And “where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin” (10:18). Christ made a sacrificial offering “once for all when He offered up Himself” (7:27). He did so “not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (9:12). By the death of Christ “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (10:10). [53]
    Later on we will look at each of the passages so cited by Rhodes to show that these verses in Hebrews are consistent with the Mass, but first thing to note, is what I mentioned earlier, nowhere in his book, nor did White in his book, or other Protestant apologists who attack the Mass as ‘unbiblical’ address the fact that more than 50% of the Book of Hebrews address the real possibility of a Christian losing one’s salvation. Nor does Rhodes’ theology line up with the verses that he does present, we will especially see this when we go to Hebrews 10. Yes, he cobbled some verses together, but his analysis of them at the beginning of the paragraph does not coincide with what even the verses he presents, does teach. On the idea that our salvation is accomplished only because of his work on the cross is not something he actually believes. In one sense the redemption of mankind was indeed accomplished by what Jesus did on the cross, but the appropriation of that for our salvation is another story. After all, Paul in Romans 4:5 writes that Jesus Christ was:
    Romans 4:25

    put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

    Even Jesus own work on the cross did not accomplish our justification, according to Paul. His resurrection was for the purpose of our own justification. Of course Paul elsewhere says that if Jesus was not raised for the dead, our faith would be in vain (1 Cor. 15:13-14). So obviously not only does Hebrews 7:27 (or any of the verses so cited by Rhodes prove his point) not teach that our salvation is automatically wrapped up, but the work on the cross did not even complete Jesus work for our justification. As we have seen, Jesus’ work for our salvation continues as he intercedes for us even today for that purpose (v. 25). The point is that it is not wrapped up. In actuality, Rhodes does not really even believe what he wrote here, or at least he contradicts what he wrote, because he elsewhere writes that justification is God’s pardoning of sinners and declaring them absolutely righteous at the moment they trust in Christ for salvation (Rom. 3:23, 28, 30; 8:33,34; Gal. 4:21-5:12; 1 John 1:7-2:2).[54] Whether those verses teach what he writes is besides the point (of course I believe that they don’t). Rhodes thus admits one must believe and at least ‘trust in Christ’ to achieve salvation. Of course the notion of belief as put forth by Rhodes is wrong by the Biblical account anyway, but that is also besides the point. By writing that he basically admits that what Jesus did on the cross does not accomplish his salvation because he must at least believe in order to appropriate his justification. Of course as Paul just pointed out, according to this passage in Heb. 7:25, we must continue to draw near, and Jesus must continually intercede (not a one time intercession, as St. John Chrysostom pointed out) in order for that salvation to be accomplished.

    Besides that point what does it mean that Jesus sacrifice is once for all as opposed to the sacrifices being offered by the Levitical priesthood continually? Earlier we saw that this was the attack on the Mass, that the Mass denies that Jesus died once and for all. Rhodes even calls it a ‘resacrifice’. Both Rhodes and White argue that the Sacrifice of the Mass is just as insufficient as the Levitical sacrifices. For example, White writes:

    The imperfection of the old sacrifices is highlighted by their being repeated over and over again. If they had been effective, they would have stopped being offered. If they had accomplished their goal, they would have ended. But since they went on and on, they witness to their own inadequacy and insufficiency.

    What, then, is the opposite of this? That if a sacrifice is sufficient, adequate, and proper, it will accomplish its goal and will not be offered over and over again. This is how Christ’s sacrifice is strikingly superior to those of the Old Covenant. [55]

    White goes on to say that while the Catholic Church does teach that the Mass as a ‘propitiatory sacrifice’ is the very same sacrifice as Calvary, he says it is more in common with the sacrifices of the Old Covenant, and insufficient.

    The one drawback that this view has, is that it is that of a Western mindset which has a totally linear look at time. It does not view what Jesus did on the cross in the same way that God does. In our mind, what Jesus did on the cross is only a past event, and thus any sacrifice that we do now it is not easy to see the way God sees it. We know God sees the sacrifice differently than we do because God is not bound by time. When God sees what Jesus did on the cross, he does not see it in terms of past, present, or future. He sees the event as an Eternal now. In our eyes, Jesus’ death is only a past event. However, not with God. In the Mass we touch eternity, we enter into God’s time and make that past event present. Shawn McElhinney relates this and compares that to the Passover in God’s eyes:

    The Apostles are being told to make Our Lord's sacrifice "present" meaning that the sacrifice at the Last Supper (which prefigures the death on the Cross) is "made present" every time it is offered. This is a direct parallel to Exodus where the Passover "makes present" the exodus from Egypt to the Jews every time it is celebrated. When you take into account that the past, present, and future are simultaneous to Our Lord, it should (key word here is SHOULD) become obvious that if all of eternity is simultaneous in the eyes of God. The Sacrifice of Calvary (like the Passover) is occurring as we speak before the eyes of God. The Last Supper and Calvary are one and the same sacrifice (one is unbloody the other is bloody). Remember xxxx, WE are the ones trapped in time not God. To US the Passover happened 3,500 years ago, to Him it happens as we speak. To US the Last Supper (the unbloody offering of the victim) is "made present" before Him simultaneous with its occurrence. To US the crucifixion happened 2,000 years ago NOT to God. To God what happened then and happens now (not to mention what happens in the future) are simultaneous events. They are not "multiple" sacrifices but THE SAME SACRIFICE. The Eucharist and Calvary are one and the same just as the Passover and the exodus from Egypt are one and the same. THIS is a concept that is lost on modern skeptics of the 20th century who read the Bible and judge texts of it with a 20th century mindset. The purpose of the Passover was to "make present" the exodus for all generations thereafter. The purpose of the Melchisedech priesthood is to "make present" Calvary under the veil of bread and wine forever.
    It is here where the critique of the Catholic Mass falls short. The Protestant outlook does not fit God’s view of time and is unable to grasp how God works. This Protestant outlook thus has a hard time explaining what we saw earlier, that Jesus is perpetually a Lamb. This outlook is unable to explain how Jesus is viewed in the Book of Revelation as the Lamb of God. Not “was a Lamb”, but Is the Lamb. Thus, the Catholic view has no trouble seeing Jesus as Revelation shows, in the following verse:
    Revelation 13:8

    And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the World.

    In God’s eyes, he saw his Son sacrificed from the foundation of the world. Through the Mass, we enter into the eternity through God’s eyes. It is only this way, that we can make sense of Heb. 7:27. Now Jesus did die once, and only once. In the Mass he is not newly crucified. However, his once and for all sacrifice is truly made present. In that way, it totally differs from the Levitical sacrifices where new animals are newly killed, that Paul speaks of in v. 27. The sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass is not a new killing of Jesus, it is only making his sacrifice present, whereas in the Levitical sacrifices there were new killings. Thus, the many sacrifices that are held in many Masses throughout the world are not new sacrifices, but are only making that one sacrifice present to his people, where sins are forgiven and makes his children partakers of the divine. The repetition of the sacrifices is thus not a showing of its imperfection but truly a display of the efficacy of the cross. The Eucharist continues to cleanse us, and the only way it does is because it is the same sacrifice as Calvary.

    Cardinal Ratzinger gives us a further outlook:

    The Crucifixion of Christ, his death on the Cross, and in another way, the act of his Resurrection from the grave, which bestows incorruptibility on the corruptible, are historical events that happen just once and as such belong to the past. The word semel (ephapax), “once for all” , which the epistle to the Hebrews emphasizes so vigorously in contrast to the multitude of repeated sacrifices in the Old Covenant, is strictly applicable to them...St. Bernard of Clairvaux says that the true semel (“once”) bears within itself the semper (“always”). What is perpetual takes place in what happens only once. In the Bible the Once for All is emphasized most vigorously in the epistle to the Hebrews, but the careful reader will discover that the point made by St. Bernard expresses its true meaning. The (ephapax), “once for all” is bound up with the aionios (“everlasting”). [56]
    This is not some new “Roman” Catholic view of the Mass. The sacrifice of the Mass has always been seen as the sacrifice of Calvary which gives those who partake of it a multitude of benefits. The many sacrifices that are offered in many Masses, throughout the world, are really not many sacrifices, but the one and only ‘unbloody’ sacrifice of Calvary. St. John Chrysostom recognized this in his study of the Book of Hebrews. We will see him spell it out even more clearly when we go further in the Book of Hebrews. But for now, I will show that this view is ancient, when he analyzes Heb. 7:26-28, when he speaks of the Sacrifice of v. 27, and how Jesus is made perfect forever (v. 28, or the translation that Chrysostom had, “forevermore”). He recognizes the Many sacrifices offered in the Mass are not many sacrifices but the one sacrifice of Calvary.
    What is “forevermore”? Not now only without sin but always. If then He is perfect if He never sins (v. 26) if He lives always, why shall He offer many sacrifices for us? But for the present he does not insist strongly on this point: but what he does strongly insist upon is, His not offering on His own behalf.

    Since then we have such an High Priest, let us imitate Him; let us walk in His footsteps. There is no other sacrifice: one alone has cleansed us, and after this, fire and hell. For indeed on this account he repeats it over and over, saying, “one Priest,” “one Sacrifice,” lest any one supposing that there are many sacrifices should sin without fear. Let us then, as many as have been counted worthy of The Seal (Here the Saint is speaking of Baptism), as many have enjoyed The Sacrifice, as many as have partaken of the immortal Table, continue to guard our noble birth and our dignity: for falling away is not without danger. [57]

    Hebrews 8:1-13

    1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary; for when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, "See that you make everything according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain." 6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry which is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second. 8 For he finds fault with them when he says: "The days will come, says the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; 9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant, and so I paid no heed to them, says the Lord. 10 This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11 And they shall not teach every one his fellow or every one his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." 13 In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

    Here we have further evidence of sacrifices continuing to be offered, even after the once and for all sacrifice has taken place. However, it is superior to the Levitical sacrifices offered in the Old Covenant. Paul specifically writes that Jesus is High Priest (v. 1) who continues to minister in the sanctuary, sitting down (v. 2) . Notice that he continues to minister in the sanctuary. Not only is Jesus a High Priest who ministers, but ministers in the sanctuary. What sanctuary does Protestantism say that Jesus ministers in as High Priest? What is he doing? The Bible says here that He continues to offer sacrifices. These sacrifices are for our sins. Contrary to White’s opinion that the continual offering of sacrifices display ‘inadequacy’ and ‘insufficiency’, Jesus’ role as High Priest indeed means that he continues to offer gifts and sacrifices. Therefore, White’s denigrating Jesus’ work as such is tantamount to blasphemy. Paul had earlier driven home this point in Heb. 5:1. It is apparent that if anyone misinterpreted his reference to the once and for all sacrifice in Heb. 7:27 to mean that sacrifice is not offered any more, Paul corrects that errant thought in this passage here. As High Priest it is necessary that he have gifts and sacrifices to offer. In other words, if Jesus did not offer gifts and sacrifices any longer, then he could not be a High Priest!!!

    Again, St. John Chrysostom gives us great wisdom in his discourse on Hebrews 8:

    “A minister of the sanctuary,” not simply a minister, but “a minister of the sanctuary. And of the true Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man.”...How is it then that it is here said, “a minister”, and “a minister of the Sanctuary”? for he means here the Tabernacle.

    See how he raised up the minds of the believing Jews. For as they would be apt to imagine that we have no such tabernacle [as they had], see here {he says} is the Priest, Great, yea, much greater than the other, and who has offered a more wonderful sacrifice....

    Then, after quoting v. 3 which is quoted above he writes:

    Do not now, because thou hearest that He sitteth, suppose that His being called High Priest is mere idle talk. For the former, viz. His sitting, belongs to the dignity of the Godhead, but this to His great lovingkindness, and His tender care for us. On this account he repeatedly urges this very thing, and dwells more upon it. for he feared lest the other truth should overthrow it. Therefore he again brings down his discourse to this: since some were inquiring why He died. He was a Priest. But there is no Priest without a sacrifice. It is necessary then that He also should have a sacrifice.

    And in another way; Having said that He is on high, he affirms and proves that He is a Priest from every consideration, from Melchizedek, from the oath, from offering sacrifice. From this he also frames another and necessary syllogism. “For if” (he says) “He had been on earth, He would not be a Priest, seeing that there are priests who offer the gifts according to the Law.” If then He is a Priest (as He really is), we must seek some other place for Him. “For if He were “indeed” on earth, He should not be a priest.” For how [could He be]? He offered no sacrifice, he ministered not in the Priest’s office. And with good reason, for there were the priests. Moreover he shows, that it was impossible that [He] should be a priest upon earth. For how [could He be] There was no rising up against [the appointed Priests], he means. Here we must apply our minds attentively, and consider the Apostolic wisdom; for again he shows the difference for the Priesthood. “Who (he says) serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.”

    What are the heavenly things he speaks of here? The spiritual things. For although they are done on earth, yet nevertheless they are worthy of the Heavens. For when our Lord Jesus Christ lies slain [as a sacrifice], when the Spirit is with us, when He who sitteth on the right hand of the Father is here, when sons are made by the Washing, when they are fellow-citizens of those in Heaven, when we have a country, and a city, and citizenship there, when we are strangers to things here, how can all these be other than “heavenly things”? [58]

    The next thing to note is that Paul writes of the New Covenant being better than the Old covenant. Of course, in deliberately using the word covenant, it reminds us of two things: First the covenant that was established in sacrifice and blood in Exodus, and of course he quotes the Jeremiah text (31:31-33) which speaks of the fulfillment in the New Covenant. Of course, Paul is certainly aware that the phrase ‘covenant’ not only refers us to the Jeremiah passage that he cites but brings to mind in the Jewish readers that first covenant that was established in blood and sacrifice in Exodus 24. The Levitical priesthood, we saw earlier was established only when Israel had fallen into idolatry. The Levites killed the idolaters and thus ordained themselves (Ex. 32:28) as priests. Also, Paul is certainly aware (as he is the one who wrote 1st Corinthians 11, which we examined earlier) that the phrase ‘covenant’ as used in 1 Corinthians 11 and Luke 22, speak of the Eucharist. This was a better covenant established with better premises. The Eucharist is a fulfillment of other types that we have seen, but also that word ‘covenant’ is used in the New Testament elsewhere only in reference to the Eucharist. Thus, the placing of the word ‘covenant’ here after the phrase where Jesus is termed a High Priest and continues his work in the sanctuary where he offers gifts and sacrifices is evident that he is referring to the Eucharistic sacrifice.
    Hebrews 9:8-14

    8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary is not yet opened as long as the outer tent is still standing 9 (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various ablutions, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation. 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation)12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

    Paul here makes the comparison of the Old Covenant to the new one. Earlier in the chapter, Paul mentions the worship and the sanctuary and references the temple. Then, the High Priest goes to the Holy of Holy, btw, which includes the Bread of Presence (v. 3). Old Covenant Priests continue to offer sacrifices, but finally a High Priest goes, only once a year, where he takes blood which he offers to God in sacrifice for the sins of the people and himself (v. 7). The sacrifices under the Old Covenant, and even the Sacrifice of the High Priest, Paul terms as unable to perfect the conscience of the worshipper, in a way that is superficial, dealing with food and drink and ablutions that do not cleanse, or perfect the conscience of the believer (v. 9). These sacrifices are unable to cleanse. They get repeated. Then Paul gives examples of the gifts and sacrifices that do not thoroughly cleanse the believer.

    Then Paul notes that Jesus entered once and for all into the Holy Place and makes it possible to secure an eternal redemption (v. 12). Thus, all those who achieve salvation have Jesus’ sacrifice to thank them for. The blood of goats and calves were only types that were fulfilled in Jesus’ sacrificial offering. Notice that the redemption is caused by purification, not a covering over of sin. The Protestant view that says the following: ('well, our salvation is by Jesus' once and for all sacrifice, and our purification is only a byproduct of our salvation, and not a cause of our salvation. Thus, grace that God gives to purify us is not a cause of our salvation, but only a byproduct of the salvation') is insufficient. That outlook contradicts Paul here in Heb. 9:12-14. A sufficient purification is thus the means to salvation, according to Hebrews 9:14. Purification is God making us righteous, which is the Catholic view. We also must cooperate with this grace and make our own efforts at purification. In fact Paul is in agreement with the apostle John who writes:

    1 John 3:3 And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
    It is not God covering over our sins by him looking at Jesus' perfect righteousness, with purification and making us righteous only a necessary side effect, which is most often the Protestant view. As purification is the grounds of our salvation as shown here by Paul, we must continue to receive the gifts and sacrifices of Jesus to so purify us, to keep in his grace. The Protestant view, though claiming to give Jesus' one-time sacrifice its proper honor by saying that no further sacrifice is necessary, actually fails to take into account the purification so noted here in Hebrews 9. As we saw earlier, the Protestant view actually is the same as Paul's view of the Old Covenant, because this Protestant view argues that the purification that Christ gives to his people is unable to sufficiently cleanse, as the means of salvation is supposedly not that cleansing. In the Protestant view of salvation, Jesus' blood only covers us (As God only looks at us through the eyes of Christ's righteousness), and the purification that it does give is insufficient, as this cleansing that is done, is only done in a forensic, legal manner, not an ontological righteousness of the believer himself. Just as Paul proclaims the insufficiency of the blood of goats and bulls to purify to secure eternal redemption, actually the Protestant view repeats the same thing: "Jesus’ blood really is insufficient to purify enough to secure salvation, just as the blood of goats and calves were insufficient." Then, a legal fiction must be made to justify one. The Protestant view is that even though the blood does not sufficiently cleanse us from sin in a real sense, one is justified by God acting as though one is really cleansed, even if he is not. The difference between the Protestant view of Jesus’ sacrifice and the Old Covenant view of the sacrifice, is that God really acts as though you are purified, even though you really are not, as he look at Christ’s perfect righteousness. The Protestant view is just as the blood of goats and bulls can not actually purify us from sin, the Sacrifice of Christ does not actually purify us from sin sufficiently to be saved, as it only covers believers. However, the Catholic view is that one is really made righteous, and one is sufficiently cleansed to be saved, just as Paul writes here in Hebrews 9.

    Now, is Paul contradicting what he just wrote in the prior chapters by saying that gifts and sacrifices are no longer necessary? Remember, Paul wrote specifically that as High Priest Jesus offers gifts and sacrifices (Heb. 5:1, 8:3). He offers his once and for all sacrifice that is made present to God the Father, and gives us the gift of his Body and Blood. There is no new killing of Jesus, unlike the Levitical sacrifices which entailed the killing of new animals for each sacrifice. In the Eucharist, the many sacrifices offered in the many Masses throughout the world, are only the one sacrifice of Calvary made present now. This sacrifice is part of the purification process given by Paul in Hebrews 9:12-14.

    One other thing must be noted, before we move on to further verses in Hebrew. Notice that back in verses 8 and 9 that Paul spoke about sacrifices and gifts were offered in the Old Covenant that only offered food and drink that were imposed until the time of reformation. Those were the things that did not perfect the conscience (v. 10, 12-14). Well, doesn’t the Catholic view not only offer gifts and sacrifices but also food and drink and ablutions, so therefore is not the Catholic view a repeat of the Levitical sacrifices in the sense that we have food and drink and ablutions? A huge difference is that the old sacrifices and food and drink were only regulations for the body, they did not cleanse the soul, as Paul elaborates. Not only does Jesus as High Priest offer gifts and sacrifices, but we have food and drink for the Spirit that indeed cleanse the soul. This is not mere Catholic wishing it to be so, as we see Paul pointing out that we have ablutions, food and drink that actually do cleanse the conscience and indeed purify the soul. Paul shows that not only here, where it is inferred, but also elsewhere in the same chapters that we are speaking of. For example, Paul refers us in Hebrews 10:22 when Paul writes:

    22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
    Remember, we just saw in Hebrews 9:12-13 that the Old Covenant sprinkling of the blood of goats and bull failed to purify the flesh and were unable to purify the conscience. However, the sprinkling of water in Hebrews 10:22 is a clear reference to Baptism and look at what Paul proclaims it does: not only sprinkles and washes our bodies but cleans our conscience. Also note that this is the language Peter used in saying how baptism saves us: 1 Pet. 3:21 baptism now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience.

    Now Paul clearly alludes to the Eucharist in Hebrews 9 as well, when he writes that the blood purifies us. He has already spoken of gifts and sacrifices which Jesus must offer as High Priest (Heb. 5:1; 8:3). Later on in this very chapter (see the next set of verses that we look at), he even more clearly shows that the Eucharist forgives us our sins. Thus, the type of gifts and sacrifices as offered in the New Covenant are profoundly superior to the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant sacrifices and gifts were only regulations for the Body. The New Covenant sacrifices and gifts are for purification of the soul. The blood of Christ is offered to us in the Eucharist as an offering that removes sins (we will see this in the next verses in Hebrews, but also Mt. 26:28, as we saw earlier). The Holy Spirit (noted in 9:14), offers us this when he transforms the bread and wine into the Body and Blood that makes the offering an acceptable sacrifice. Thus, Paul is showing that the Old Covenant gifts, sacrifices, and foods were only for the body and did not cleanse the soul, whereas in the New Covenant, we have gifts and sacrifices and foods and drinks that cleanse the conscience and soul. We will see this further in our next verses.

    Hebrews 9:22-28

    22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

    One of the passage that is often used to show that the Sacrifice of the Mass is ‘unbiblical’ are verses 9:26-28. For example, James Buchanan in his book that supposedly proves “Justification by Faith Alone” complains about the Catholic Mass and says that the Catholic religion’s sacrifices are just as insufficient as the Levitical Sacrifices of the Old Testament. He criticizes the fact that Human priests offer the sacrifice of the Eucharist. He writes:
    A human priesthood assumed the functions of the great High Priest, and the sacrifice of the Altar was added to the sacrifice of the Cross. It may seem that Christ, and the merits of His death and passion, were thus solemnly recognized, and perpetually presented to the faith of the Church; but the perfection of Christ’s priesthood, and the allsufficiency of His one sacrifice, were virtually denied, when human priests were acknowledged as acting officially ‘for men towards God,’ and when it was supposed that His sacrifice could be, or needed to be, repeated , for the forgiveness of their sins. The imperfection which belonged to the sacrifices that were offered under the Law was thus transferred to the sacrifice of Christ; for the Apostle contrasts the two by insisting on the repetition of the one, and non-repetition of the other. [59]
    Then he quotes Hebrews 10:3, 4, 10, 12, and finally Hebrews 9:26, as proof that there is no more sacrifice. This sounds great, and if you totally ignore the immediate context from which Paul is citing, totally ignore the mindset of the people who are reading this, totally ignore Hebrews 5:1 and Hebrews 8:3, and what Paul wrote earlier in this very chapter, and totally ignore the fact that 50% of the book of Hebrews is focused on the necessity of continued holiness to achieve salvation, Buchanan may have a point. However, if we don’t ignore these factors, Buchanan’s argument falls flat. Buchanan’s statement in fact does ignore the immediate Eucharistic context. What Eucharistic context? Well, Paul gave attention earlier to the insufficient sacrifices of food and drink as opposed to the New Covenant having much better food and drinks that cleanses the soul, as we just saw. However, we see this played out even more in the immediately preceding verses prior to verses 26-28. Notice that in v. 22, another verse that is often used to attack the Mass actually is proof of the Sacrifice of the Mass. Here it says that under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Let us notice St. John Chrysostom’s comment on v. 22, after quoting it, he focuses on the ‘almost’ all things by the law are purged by blood.
    Why the ‘almost’ and why did he qualify it? Because those ordinances were not a perfect purification, nor a perfect remission, but half-complete and in a very small degree. But in this case He says, This is the blood of the New Testament (covenant) which is shed for you, for the remission of sins. [60]
    Notice that St. John Chrysostom argues that the Old Covenant did the job half-heartedly. It was unable to cleanse and perfect. However, in this very verse the Saint sees that Christ’s blood, as shed in the Eucharist is able to forgive sins. The Eucharistic blood as shed in the Eucharist, is able to accomplish what the Old Covenant sacrifices could not. Thus, right here, four verses before the verse that Buchanan used to supposedly disprove the Sacrifice of the Eucharist, we see the Eucharist as an important means of forgiving sins. Thus, the context destroys Buchanan’s idea. After all, as we saw earlier in Mt. 26:28, the fact that Jesus says that the Blood of the covenant that he sheds (or pours out), is for the remission of sins. As we saw earlier when we examined Matthew, the tense did not say that the blood he will shed, but the blood that he shed, which he gave to the apostles.

    Is there any more evidence that here Paul is speaking about the Eucharistic sacrifice? Verse 23 drives home this point even more for those missing it in v. 22. Why do I say that? Well, right after writing that the shedding of blood (as given in the Eucharist) remits sins, he amplifies this in v. 23. He then compares the sacrifice that he is speaking of as heavenly things that are to be purified by rites, and there is to be a purification with better sacrifices. Notice this right here. There is in fact right now better sacrifices than that was under the law, according to Paul. Notice that there is a plurality of sacrifices. How can there not be a plurality of sacrifices unless there is a repetition of sacrifice? Thus, the charge that there can be no longer sacrifice or repetition of sacrifice is repudiated by Paul’s statement only a few verses earlier (than verses 26-28 which opponents will use to argue that there is no more sacrifice). Also, look at v. 24, where the sacrifice is made effective by Christ appearing before God the Father presenting this offering.

    Robert Sungenis makes some very salient points in his analysis of Hebrews 9:22-24 that further shows that the Protestant argument attacking the Sacrifice of the Mass ignores these verses, right before the verses they want to highlight:

    There is a further connection: the specific manner Hebrews 9:23 is phrased makes the “shedding of blood” refer to both the Old and the New Covenant, thus making Christ’s work in “heaven itself” a “shedding of blood.” This requires us to conclude that, in some manner, Christ’s shed blood appears in heaven, which would coincide with Heb. 9:24’s statement that He will “now appear for us in God’s presence.”

    Since Heb. 9:23-24 clearly teaches that some kind of blood sacrifice is occurring presently in heaven, and since such sacrifice is occurring presently in heaven, and since such sacrifice would constitute the ongoing work of Christ’s eternal priesthood, we are not surprised to see Heb. 9:23’s use of the plural word “sacrifices” in the phrase “with better sacrifices than these” in reference to Christ’s present work. Since Heb. 9:22 introduced “blood” in the text as that which forgives sins, then Heb. 9:23 would simply mean: “but the heavenly things themselves with better blood sacrifices than these.” St. Paul is comparing and contrasting the Old Covenant “blood sacrifices” with the New Covenant “blood sacrifices.”

    Hence, Scripture is clear that “sacrifices” are being continually presented to God in heaven. This is the essence of the Catholic Mass -- Christ sheds His blood on the altar, under the appearances of bread and wine, and is presented, along with us, His body, to the Father in heaven, to propitiate Him for our sins and to seek His effectual graces. [61]

    Another point on top of these ones, is just in making the comparison that Paul makes, just before Heb. 9:22-24, in v. 19-21, he specifically cites Exodus 24:8, which we saw earlier. He writes Moses saying in the first covenant “This is the Blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” What did Jesus say when he instituted the Eucharistic Covenant? Paul has Jesus saying in 1 Cor. 11:24 “This cup is the New Covenant in my Blood & we earlier saw Matthew’s quote: “This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness (remission) of sins . The language that Paul cites in Moses, brings to Jewish Christian minds who read this the fact that when Jesus instituted these words, He said that He is giving His apostles His own blood in the New Covenant. Not that he will give his blood in the future, when he dies for him the next day. But at that time he is giving his blood, as we saw earlier. This absolutely clearly shows that Paul is speaking here, even in the backdrop to verses 22-24, of the Eucharistic sacrifices. When he says there are better sacrifices than the sacrifices of the Old Covenant, there is absolutely no other way than saying that this sacrifice Paul is speaking of, is the Eucharistic sacrifice.

    Thus, there is no other way to look at these verses and give a rationale for them outside of the Eucharist. What “better blood sacrifices”, in the plural does Protestantism offer, that fulfills Heb. 9:23? If you add all these points together, plus the points Sungenis brings up, plus the immediate context, the only way to explain these words is the Eucharist. Any explanation that says anything else is an insufficient way to explain Paul’s use of these words.

    Now, with that in the background we can approach verses Heb. 9:26 through 28, which speak of the once and for allness of Christ’s sacrifice. We know that Christ does not repeat his death, but that Christ in heaven is currently offering sacrifices that are better than the old covenant sacrifices. Again, only the Eucharist sacrifice explains Heb. 9:26-28, when read in the context of Heb. 9:20-25. Any attempt to read Heb. 9:26-28 in order to say that the Mass is ‘unbiblical’ operates in a manner that totally ignores the context where the terms ‘blood of the covenant’, and ‘better blood sacrifices’ were just used a few verses earlier. Also, in v. 24 we have Jesus entering into heaven appealing to God for us for our sins, which is exactly what he does in the Eucharist. Thus, the Heb. 9:20-28 passage which shows that there is a once and for all sacrifice that is offered in many places, shows how Mal. 1:11 is being fulfilled by the Eucharist. There, a pure offering (sacrifice) had been prophecied by the prophet, which is offered in many places. This sacrifice for our sins is made present with Jesus in heaven appealing to God on our behalf (Heb. 9:24). Jesus does not kill himself repeatedly (v. 25), but that one sacrifice is made present now. The once and for all sacrifice has become the once and for alltime sacrifice.

    The early Fathers recognized this. St. John Chrysostom foresaw the Protestant objection which says that one can no longer offer sacrifice (and of course ignores v. 23) and to repeat the sacrifice is a denial of a sufficiency of Christ’s death on the cross. He faces this very same objection here when commenting on vv. 26-28:

    "So Christ was once offered." By whom offered? evidently by Himself. Here he says that He is not Priest only, but Victim also, and what is sacrificed. On this account are [the words] "was offered."... What then? do not we offer every day? We offer indeed, but making a remembrance of His death, and this [remembrance] is one and not many. How is it one, and not many? Inasmuch as that [Sacrifice] was once for all offered, [and] carried into the Holy of Holies. This is a figure of that [sacrifice] and this remembrance of that. For we always offer the same, not one sheep now and tomorrow another, it is always the same thing: so that the sacrifice is one. And yet by this reasoning, since the offering is made in many places, are there many Christs? but Christ is one everywhere, being complete here and complete there also, one Body. As then while offered in many places, He is one body and not many bodies; so also [He is] one sacrifice. He is our High Priest, who offered the sacrifice that cleanses us. That we offer now also, which was then offered, which cannot be exhausted. This is done in remembrance of what was then done. For (saith He) ”do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19). It is not another sacrifice, as the High Priest, but we offer always the same or rather we perform a remembrance of a Sacrifice. [62]
    Thus, the attempt to utilize Heb. 9:26-28 actually shows the Protestant view of the cross as insufficient to deal with the context.

    Next is a look at another passage that is often utilized by Protestants to attack the Mass.

    Hebrews 10:10-14

    10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

    James White uses this verse to repeat the familiar charge that the sacrifice of the Mass is similar to the Old, Levitical sacrifices. After quoting Heb. 10:10-14, he writes:
    The High Priest offered sacrifices that could “never take away sins.” He stood in the Holy Place, never sitting down, never resting, because his work was never completed. The offerings he made were inadequate to perfect those for whom he made them. But Christ’s sacrifice accomplishes its goal. He does not stand, repeatedly offering His work. His work of atonement is completed. Instead, He is seated, His work finished, the one offering needed to perfect for all time. There is no need for repetition for “re-presentation,”...

    Rome insists that the Mass is the very same sacrifice as that of Calvary, differing only in manner (bloody versus unbloody). Yet it is admitted that the effect of the Mass is limited, and that a person can draw near to the Mass over and over again and still die “impure.”[63]

    White starts his analysis from a faulty premise: The fact is, that Christ’s goal is not to cover us with his imputed righteousness, which is implied by his comments. Remember, White starts with that premise nowhere stated or assumed in Hebrews, and works from that premise. Where does it say in Heb. 10 that his work of atonement is complete? Because he sits down does not mean that he stops being a priest, which by definition offers sacrifice. Jesus is an eternal Priest. Back in Heb. 8:2 Paul wrote that he sits down at the right hand of the throne, but ministers in the sanctuary. In the same context Paul writes that since by definition a high priest offers gifts and sacrifices, Jesus also does offer such (Heb. 8:3). Also see Hebrews 5:1. We just saw that there are better sacrifices in the plural now (Heb. 9:23). The gift that he offers to his people is His body and blood, and the sacrifices he offers to God the Father, is the one and only sacrifice of Calvary. Also, remember back in Heb. 9 he secures redemption by the purification of his people (Heb. 9:12-14). Purification, which is sanctification, is an ongoing process, as any Protestant will admit. Thus, the idea that those of us who have concupiscence, may fall, means that we must continue to attain holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14). That is exactly why gifts and sacrifices continue to be offered. The only basis for that, however, is the once and for alltime offering of Jesus, as shown here in Heb. 10. When we fall short, the Eucharist continues to forgive sins, as mentioned in Heb. 9:23, and earlier Mt. 26:28.

    Ron Rhodes also refers to Heb. 10:14 as a proof text that ongoing purification for our salvation is not necessary. Here he uses it to attack the idea of purgatory, but his comments would also attack the need for an ongoing sacrifice of the Eucharist as well:

    A key verse you will want to share with the Roman Catholic is Hebrews 10:14: "For by one offering He has PERFECTED FOR ALL TIME those who are sanctified." In other words, no further purging is necessary because Christ has perfected "for all time" those who have believed in Him. THAT WHICH IS ALREADY PERFECT "FOR ALL TIME" NEEDS NO FURTHER PURGING. There is no need for purgatory (or the Eucharist) for those who have truly trusted in Christ as Savior. [64]
    The use of this isolated passage which ignores the theme of the book of Hebrews, the meaning of the passage, and the context surrounding Hebrews 10 is not a way of proving anything, much less ‘disproving purgatory or the Eucharist’. I have said this elsewhere but again I must drive home the point again, since the objection to the Eucharist operates from this very premise that ignores this: In fact in Hebrews, 50% of the passages have to do with Paul’s concern of believers’ need to persevere in the faith in order to attain salvation. We saw this demonstrated earlier. To reiterate, the following passages: Hebrews 2:1-3, Hebrews 3:1, 5-6, Hebrews 3:12-14, Hebrews 3:16-19, 11:29, Hebrews 4:1-3, Hebrews 4:11-14, Hebrews 5:9, Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 6: 9-12, Hebrews 10:22-29, Hebrews 10:35-38, Hebrews 11:4-8, Hebrews 12:5-11, Hebrews 12:12-17, and Hebrews 12:25-26, (not an exhaustive list by any means) show that salvation is progressive, not once for all, and that there is indeed an ongoing need to persevere in the faith to attain salvation. Without holiness no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14). Paul doesn’t say without ‘declared holiness’ no one will see the Lord. In fact in Hebrews 12:9, it says that God disciplines us, and though it seems painful rather than pleasant, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Heb. 12:11).

    That aside, let us go back to Heb. 10:14. Robert Sungenis directly rebuts the type of argument that Rhodes is making on Heb. 10:14. As Sungenis writes:

    Although some opponents (such as Rhodes and White) may interpret the clause in Hebrews 10:14(“...made perfect forever those who are being made holy”) as suggesting that the salvation of Christian is complete and totally secure with no possibility of falling away, this is not what the verse is teaching. We can see this by the way the word "perfect" is used in the book of Hebrews. According to Hebrews 10:1-2, the individual's "perfection" refers to having his sins completely forgiven in order that the conscience may be free of guilt, something which the Old Covenant law could not provide (cf., 7:19;9:9). Thus, the individual stands "perfect" because his past sins have been completely forgiven, not because he has reached a perfect state which eliminates the possibility of losing his state of grace. It follows, then, that the use of "perfect" here does not mean that the individual cannot retard the sanctification process, or that his eternal perfection is a foregone conclusion (cf., Hebrews 11:40; 12:23). The verbal form chosen for "being sanctified" is a Greek participle of continuing action, which specifies the process of sanctification, a process by which we are continually forgiven of our sins, albeit now it is a complete or "perfect" forgiveness for the sins we have confessed. In other words Christ did not make a blanket forgiveness of sin but has perfected the process by which sin is forgiven when it is confessed. [65]
    Also, as we have seen, the Eucharist itself forgives sins. As we live our Christian lives on an ongoing basis, and we unfortunately continue to fall, Jesus gives us grace to restore our holiness in an ongoing manner. He instituted the Eucharist as one means of forgiving sins. He also of course instituted the Sacrament of Penance (or Confession) in John 20:22-23 as another means of forgiving sins.

    On the idea that this 'once and for all' idea means that one can not lose one's salvation is refuted not only throughout the verses I showed earlier, but also in this very chapter.

    Hebrews 10:22-29

    22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 A man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace?

    In the beginning of this passage, Paul encourages believers to draw near with a true heart. The effects of baptism are alluded to, when Paul mentions that we can draw near with a clear conscience because of our washing with pure water (v. 22). This is similar to how Peter says that baptism saves us and gives us a clear conscience (1 Pet. 3:21). The grace from baptism survives and cleanses us, just as Peter writes that baptism now does save us. This grace helps us as he then tells us to hold fast the confession of our hope in Christ (v. 23). God is faithful to his promise and will give grace to those who cooperate and persevere in faith. Then Paul encourages the believers to not neglect to meet together, and encourage one another. Thus, there is a clear allusion to attending the Mass.

    Paul writes that there is a mortal sin by sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth. (v. 26). We know he is speaking of believers as we see later Paul write that these are sanctified people who will be punished (v. 29). However, isn’t every sin that we do in fact deliberate? So is Paul writing that if anyone sins after being a believer that they are condemned? No. Paul elsewhere shows that there are distinctions between types of sins (Heb. 12:5-15, 1 Cor. 3:14-17). Not every sin causes our disinheritance. However the immediate background to the sin of v. 26, is vv. 24-25. Paul had warned of not neglecting of the assembling together. Remember earlier, even the sin of neglecting had salvific consequences. Heb. 2:3 says, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; The sin mentioned in Hebrews 10:26 is thus not going to Mass. V. 26 is a continuation of the preceding passage. Often, when people go out to prove that this passage proves that one will lose salvation (It does, but not in the way that they say that it does), they leave out the important context. V. 26 says, For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth. In other words, it is a continuation of what he had been writing earlier (the forsaking of assembling together). He is not speaking of sin in a general sense, but a specific sin that separates one from God. Thus, v. 26 makes a lot of sense when Paul writes that there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin, when one willfully refuses to come to worship. It is thus a mortal sin to neglect the worship instituted by Christ. Paul has written in many ways in Hebrews that Christ’s work is far superior to the Old Covenant. Worship and grace provided in the New Covenant far surpasses the Old Covenant worship and grace. Paul thus lambastes those who do not stay in the worship of the New Covenant. One actually spurns the Son of God and profanes the blood of the covenant when he commits the sin of absenting himself from the Sacrifice of the Mass (vv. 24-26). We must remember that the phrase blood of the covenant is used elsewhere in the New Testament only when Christ instituted the Eucharist (at the heart of the Mass).

    The sacrifice spoken of here is the same sacrifice prophesied in Malachi 1:11-12. I refer to that passage one more time because it is appropriate in this point to compare this to Hebrews:

    For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. 12 But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and the food for it may be despised.
    Notice that the sin in Malachi 1:12 is despising the sacrifice. We know that Christ’s offering of himself is the only pure offering that suffices. This offering is that which is offered in many places is pure. There is no other pure sacrifice so mentioned in the Old Testament. Note also for our specific attention here in Heb. 10:29, in Mal. 1:12, the sin is when the people despise the Lord’s table, and profane it. This is exactly the sin spoken of (in v. 29) when Paul writes of one who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of Grace? The gravity of the sin of those who treat with contempt the food at the Lord’s table is given by Paul. This is similar to Paul’s condemnation of those who partake of the sacrifice in a sacrilegious manner (1 Cor. 11:27-29).

    What is another hint that what Paul is writing about pertains to the Eucharist? Notice the words that Paul used in profaning the blood of the covenant (v. 29). Paul notes that the believers have already been sanctified by this blood. This means that they have been partakers of the flesh and blood of Christ in the first place (John 6:51-58). They have been sanctified by the grace given. Again, Paul uses the phrase ‘blood of the covenant’ used in Heb. 9:20 and in Luke, Matthew and 1 Corinthians accounts of the institution of the Eucharist.

    Paul in Hebrews 10 uses language that specifically calls us to the Eucharistic feast. The language that Jesus himself uses of blood of the covenant calls us back to Exodus 24, in the institution of the covenant between God, Moses, and Israel and the sacrifice of bulls. Here Paul refers us to Christ’s much superior sacrifice in the New Covenant, which is spoken of here.

    Also notice in v. 26, Paul writes there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. One who had access to the sacrifice, no longer has access to it by their absenting themselves from that sacrifice. What is the sacrifice? The context which we have examined only points to the Eucharist, which applies the fruits of Christ death on the cross to believers. By direct inference, there does remain a sacrifice for sins, for those who do not forsake the assembly of believers, and come to worship God in the way Christ instituted.

    V. 27 shows that those who have so sinned, will be facing a fearful judgment. As Moses had two witnesses to suffice to bring condemnation of someone (v. 28), the two witnesses that will so condemn in the New Covenant will be the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ (V. 29). By going back to the Old Covenant, they have spurned the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, (v. 29) and the blood of the covenant. However, the people so spoken of by Paul, have already been sanctified by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, and deserve to be condemned even more than those who turned their back on Moses and God in the Old Covenant.

    Hebrews 13:9-10

    9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is well that the heart be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited their adherents. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat.

    Here Paul takes does another contrast of the Old Testament foods and drinks to that of the New Covenant. We earlier saw in Hebrews 9:12-14, the Old Covenant foods were unable to purify. Thus, it only dealt with the body, and did not cleanse the soul. The above translation inserts a comma in-between foods and which... However, I understand that in Greek there is no such comma in that place. Therefore our heart can not be strengthened by grace, not by foods which have not benefited their adherents. Thus, Paul’s main point is that the Old Covenant foods do not bring grace. However, in contrast to the Old Covenant foods which do not bring grace, there is a new covenant food that does bring grace. Note how next Paul identifies the food and drink that does bring grace. It is that which where we have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. BTW, this points to the reality of the Eucharist. Why do I say that? The fact is that in v. 9 Paul wrote about the Old Covenant meals that do not bring grace. In any case, Paul specifically wrote about Old Covenant foods. He was not merely speaking of some merely spiritual things. He talked about physical food. Thus, when in the very next verse he speaks about what is served at the altar, he absolutely must be speaking about something in the New Covenant that is also physical. Any way to say that Paul is not writing of the Eucharist again denies the context. Next, the food that Christians offer are off limits to those who are Levitical priests who are not Christian. Of course, only believers can partake of the Eucharist.

    Besides these points, however, here the word altar is used, in v. 10. Earlier, when Rhodes denied that Paul was writing about the Eucharist being a sacrifice, in 1 Cor. 10:21, the main ground for denying that was that Paul did not use the term ‘altar’. Back then, when the word ‘table’ was used Rhodes argued that it was not a sacrifice because the word ‘altar’ was not used. If Paul wanted to use the word ‘sacrifice’, he should have used the word ‘altar’, according to Rhodes. Here is the earlier quotation when he denied that the Eucharist was a sacrifice in 1 Cor. 10:21:

    The apostle Paul did not use the word altar (Greek: thusiasterion); he used the word table (Greek: trapeza). As Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausett, and David Brown put it, “The Lord’s Supper is a feast on a table, not a sacrifice on an altar. Our only altar is the cross, our only sacrifice that of Christ once for all.”

    Guess what word Paul used here in Heb. 13:10, in the context of comparison to Old Covenant sacrifices? The word altar thusiasterion !!!! Since Rhodes’ earlier statement admits that when one uses the word ‘altar’ it means sacrifice, if he would be consistent, he must admit that here in Heb. 13:10, Paul is speaking about a physical sacrifice, (when comparing it to the Levitical sacrifice, which is of physical food) where only Christians can partake of. Of course, that can only point to the Eucharist. The altar is nowhere used in the Bible of some merely spiritual thing. From the beginning of the Bible to the end, whenever altar is spoken of, it speaks of some kind of physical sacrifice. Thus, the idea to explain this in some merely spiritual way, contradicts not only the admission of Rhodes and the person he is quoting, but the way that the word altar thusiasterion is used throughout the Bible. If Rhodes and his colleagues’ only altar is the Cross, then they are deprived of the altar of Heb. 13:10 and they are repudiating or at least not coming to grips with this Scripture. Yes, later on in v. 15 it does speak about a sacrifice of praise. And as given earlier, the Catholic Church has the Mass as a Sacrifice of praise. However, it is not merely a sacrifice of praise, it is a sacrifice surrounded by an altar, which always in Bible is in the context of a true sacrifice. The Sacrifice of the Mass gives praise to God and worships him. In the context of this worship there is a sacrifice of praise. This is, as we see in Psalm 70, where there is a sacrificial offering, and at the same time praise and thankfulness is given to God. However, it is not merely a sacrifice of praise. Where there is an altar, there is also a true sacrifice.

    Again, St. John Chrysostom recognizes this when he writes:

    Reverence, therefore, reverence this table, of which we are all communicants!(1 Cor. 10:16) Christ, slain for us, the SACRIFICIAL VICTIM WHO IS PLACED THEREON! (Heb. 13:10) [66]


    In this paper, we have seen that the Catholic Church does truly teach that the Mass is a true Sacrifice where Jesus’ death on Calvary is truly made present. The Church teaches that Jesus is both an Eternal Priest according to the Order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4, Heb. 5, 7), and the Victim who is offered to God the Father. The Catholic teaching on the Eucharist is easily one of the most misunderstood teachings of the Church. We examined the basis for the Protestant attack on the Sacrifice of the Mass as being an incorrect understanding of justification and an incorrect, linear view of time that works outside of God’s realm. Although the short study of justification may be seen as a digression from the study of this specific issue, the faulty Protestant understanding of justification serves as the basis for the attack on the Mass as an ‘insufficient’ view of the cross. Thus, when we realize what justification really is in Scripture, the first assumption behind the attack on the Mass is shown to be false. When we see that our justification is dependent upon us being righteous and holy, and is a process, we see that infusions of grace as given in the Eucharist are a necessary element of our salvation. The book that serves as the basis for the attack on the Mass, the book of Hebrews, as I showed in Part II of this study, shows that it is possible that one can lose salvation, and therefore ongoing grace is needed to persevere to the end to attain salvation (Heb. 12:14). The premise most often given is that since Christ was sacrificed once, our salvation is guaranteed, because we are given Christ’s imputed righteousness when we are saved. Our works and endurance are supposedly only the fruits of our salvation, and any attempt to do any other sacrifice thus denies the sufficiency of the cross. The premise behind the attack on the Mass which is most often the Book of Hebrews, is destroyed by the fact that 50% of the Book of Hebrews is concerned with the real possibility that one can lose salvation. I gave a plethora of verses from Hebrews to show that.

    In Part III, we saw the Old Testament references that showed what sacrifice means to God. We saw that sacrifices were given in Covenants given to the patriarchs including Noah, and Abraham. They showed that God was pleased with sacrifices. We saw Old Covenant sacrifices (such as Exo. 24:8 and Lev. 24:5-7) that served as types of the Eucharist sacrifices. We also thoroughly examined Mal. 1:11 that prophesied the New Covenant sacrificial offering of the Eucharist.

    In Part IV, after we examined phrases that pointed to Jesus as being a lamb, and what it meant to be a Lamb, we then examined the Institution of the Eucharist by Jesus himself. We saw that the language that Jesus used when he instituted the Eucharist can only be understood in terms of sacrifice. We saw that the blood that Jesus gave in the Eucharist to the disciples did not merely signify something that will happen in the future, but spoke to the blood he was giving to the disciples as being the cause of the forgiveness (remission) of sins. Among other things we also did a study of the word anamnesis and when we examined it throughout the Bible, the Eucharist can only be understood in terms of sacrifice.

    In Part V we dissected the sections of the Book of Hebrews that relate to the Eucharist. Although many try to cite the Book of Hebrews and with the Western mindset deny that the Sacrifice of Calvary can be made present, we saw that view was contrary to the mind of Paul. We see that the Once and for all sacrifice of Jesus is not only a once and for all sacrifice, but in God’s eyes a Once and for all time sacrifice. His sacrifice is eternal, and with the Mass, we do heavenly worship, and enter into eternity. Christ is truly both Priest and Victim. We saw in Hebrews several passages that can only be explained by the Sacrifice of the Mass (Heb. 5:1, 8:3, 9:22-27, 13:10 among others). Jesus serves through the Mass as an intercessor who pleads to God on our behalf, and offers sacrifice for our sins. The gift that he gives to us is his Body and Blood. This far surpasses the Old Covenant sacrifices that were insufficient to cleanse us. Also, we saw that the Early Fathers had this view of the passages we looked at.

    Thus, our study has shown that the Mass is truly a sacrifice. It is a wonderful gift that those who are not in the Catholic Faith miss out on. We truly become partakers of the divine nature. For us Catholics, who so sometimes leisurely partake of His Body and Blood sometimes miss out on the wonder that the sacrifice of Jesus for our salvation is truly made present and the Sacrifice of Calvary is made present for our benefit where we partake of divinity itself. This sacrifice is a wonderful gift.

    The fact that the sacrifice of the Mass is efficacious for not only us, but for the people we pray for should not be lost on us. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in the 4th century, taught exactly what the Catholic Church teaches now, when he wrote:

    7. Then having sanctified ourselves by these spiritual Hymns, we beseech the merciful God to send forth His Holy Spirit upon the gifts lying before Him; that He may make the Bread the Body of Christ, and the Wine the Blood of Christ(8); for whatsoever the Holy Ghost has touched, is surely sanctified and changed. 8. Then, after the spiritual sacrifice, the bloodless service, is completed, over that sacrifice of propitiation(9) we entreat God for the common peace of the Churches, for the welfare of the world(1); for kings; for soldiers and allies; for the sick; for the afflicted; and, in a word, for all who stand in need of succour we all pray and offer this sacrifice. 9. Then we commemorate also those who have fallen asleep before us, first Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, that at their prayers and intercessions God would receive our petition(2). Then on behalf also of the Holy Fathers and Bishops who have fallen asleep before us, and in a word of all who in past years have fallen asleep among us, believing that it will be a very great benefit to the souls(3), for whom the supplication is put up, while that holy and most awful sacrifice is set forth. 10. And I wish to persuade you by an illustration. For I know that many say, what is a soul profited, which departs from this world either with sins, or without sins, if it be commemorated in the prayer? For if a king were to banish certain who had given him of-fence, and then those who belong to them(4) should weave a crown and offer it to him on behalf of those under punishment, would he not grant a remission of their penalties? In the same way we, when we offer to Him our supplications for those who have fallen asleep, though they be sinners, weave no crown, but offer up Christ sacrificed for our sins(5), propitiating our merciful God for them as well as for ourselves. [67]
    The fact that the Mass is a true sacrifice, but as admitted by Protestant scholar JND Kelly is not some new Catholic teaching but has been taught from the beginning of the Church instituted by Jesus Christ. This propitiatory sacrifice is for the benefit of us and others as well. But what should we think about this gift that God has given for us? Pope St. Gregory helps to give us a good perspective on the Sacrifice, 590 AD:
    This Victim alone saves the soul from eternal ruin, the sacrificing of which presents to us in a mystical way the death of the Only-begotten, who,-though He is now risen from the dead and dies no more, and death will no longer have dominion over Him, for He lives immortally and incorruptibly in Himself, - is immolated for us again in this mystery of the sacred oblation. For His body is eaten there, His flesh is distributed among the people unto salvation, His blood is poured out, no longer in the hands of the faithless but in the mouth of the faithful. Let us take thought, therefore, of what this sacrifice means for us, which is in constant representation of the suffering of the Only-begotten Son, for the sake of our forgiveness. [68]
    Finally, a Father, St. John Chrysostom, who has given us much wisdom in our analysis of Scripture in asserting its teaching on the Sacrifice of the Mass helps us realize that when we worship Jesus in the Mass, that this is not an earthly worship, but a heavenly worship that is in the company of angels, as we behold our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when he speaks of the gift of the Priesthood, but also what the laity take a part in during the Sacrifice of the Mass:
    For when thou seest the Lord sacrificed, and laid when thou seest the Lord sacrificed, and laid upon the altar, and the priest standing and praying over the victim, and all the worshippers empurpled with that precious blood, canst thou then think that thou art still amongst men, and standing upon the earth? Art thou not, on the contrary, straightway translated to Heaven, and casting out every carnal thought from the soul, dost thou not with disembodied spirit and pure reason contemplate the things which are in Heaven? Oh! what a marvel! what love of God to man! He who sitteth on high with the Father is at that hour held in the hands of all, and gives Himself to those who are willing to embrace and grasp Him. And this all do through the eyes of faith! Do these things seem to you fit to be despised, or such as to make it possible for any one to be uplifted against them? [69]


    [1] Catechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America, United States of America copyright, 1994, United States Catholic Conference, Inc. - Libreria Editrice Vaticana, sections 1357-1367. The search engine for this Catechism is available here:

    [2] Council of Trent, Twenty-Second Session, Chapters 1 and 2, Under the Supreme Pontiff, Pius IV, September 17, 1562. This is taken from:

    [3] Quote taken from, Robert Sungenis, Not By Bread Alone: The Biblical and Historical evidence for the Eucharistic Sacrifice, Queenship Publishing, Goleta, CA, 2000, p. 382. (Quoting from Martin Luther, Babylonian Captiviity, in 1520; WA, VI, 512, 522-24.

    [4] Thirty Nine Articles of the Anglican Faith: This is taken from:

    [5] James White, The Roman Catholic Controversy, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MI, 1996, pp. 179-80.

    [6] Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with Catholics, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 2000, pp. 186-187

    [7] Norman Geisler and Ralph MacKenzie, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 1995, p. 267.

    [8] RC Sproul, Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 1995, p. 102. The other authors who I have cited have sections in their book basically agreeing with Sproul on this: Rhodes, op. cit., pp. 121-170; Geisler, op. cit., pp. 221-248; White, op. cit., pp. 141-160.

    [9] James Buchanan, The Doctrine of Justification, The Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 1867, Reprint 1997, pp. 231.

    [10] ibid., p. 324

    [11] Council of Trent, Sixth Session. Under the Supreme Pontiff, Paul III, January 13, 1547. This is taken from: TRENT6.HTM

    [12] Sungenis, op. cit., pp. 71-72.

    [13] Scott Hahn, The Lamb’s Supper, Doubleday Books, New York, NY, 1999, p. 19.

    [14] Rhodes, op. cit., p. 207

    [15] Rev. Fr. Geo. Leo Haydock, The Old Testament of the Holy Catholic Bible, Catholic Treasures, Monrovia, CA, printed 1859, 1992, p. 29.

    [16] St. Cyprian of Carthage, Epistle LXII, 4, Philip Schapf, Anti-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5, Hendrickson Publishers, 1994, p. 359. This can be found here:

    [17] Sungenis, op. cit., p. 27.

    [18] St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, Book 4, 25, Philip Schapf, op. cit., Vol. 2:439.

    [19] Fred Horton, The Melchizedek Tradition, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1976, pp. 122, 157-9, 114.

    [19B] Scott Hahn, Tape series The Epistle to the Hebrews 8 tapes, tape 3, St. Joseph Communications.

    [20] Stanislaus Lyonnet and L. Sabouring, Sin, Redemption and Sacrifice, Rome, Biblical Institute Press, 1970, p. 172.

    [21]Vincent Taylor, Jesus and His Sacrifice, A Study of the Passion-Sayings in the Gospels, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1965, 137.

    [22] ibid., p. 61.

    [23] Father Michael Mueller, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass , Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford Illinois, 1883, 1992, p. 122.

    [24] ibid., p. 123

    [25] Rhodes, op. cit., pp. 208-209.

    [26] James Strong, STD., LL.D., , Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, MacDonald Publishing Company, McLean Virginia, 1965, Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary #6999, p. 103.

    [27] Sungenis, op. cit., p. 114.

    [28] Strong’s Concordance, op. cit., Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, #2889, p. 45.

    [28a] J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian DoctrinesAdam & Charles Black, London, 1958, p. 196.

    [29]St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 4, Chap. XVII, 1, Philip Schapf, Anti-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5, Hendrickson Publishers, 1994, p. 484. This can be found here:

    [30] St. Augustine, Sermon against the Jews, [9, 13], in William Jurgens, Faith of the Early Fathers, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MI, 1979, Vol. 3, p. 168.

    [31] Council of Trent, Twenty-Second Session, Chapters 1 and 2, Under the Supreme Pontiff, Pius IV, September 17, 1562. This is taken from:

    [32] Stephen Ray, Crossing the Tiber: Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1997, p. 210.

    [33] Hahn, op. cit., p. 15.

    [34] White, p. 174.

    [35] Sungenis, op. cit., p. 150.

    [36] Debate, Fr. Mitch Pacwa vs. James White, The Mass Debates, Alpha and Omega Ministries, tape 1.

    [37] St. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Matthew, in William Jurgens, op. cit., Vol. 3, p. 220.

    [38] St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Treachery of Judas, Jurgens, ibid., vol. 2, pp. 104-105.

    [39] St. John Chrysostom, The Gospel of Matthew, Homily LXXXII, Philip Schapf, Nicene and Post-Nicene , First Series , Volume 10, Hendrickson Publishers, 1994, p. 359.

    [40] Jurgens, op. cit., from the following three volumes: Vol. 1: St. Justin Martyr, p. 55. St. Irenaeus, p. 95. Tertullian, p. 124. Aaphraates the Persian Sage, p. 304. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, p. 360; Vol. 2, St. Gregory of Nyssa, p. 49. Theodore of Mopsuesta, p. 81; Vol. 3, St. Augustine, p. 16. St. John Damascene, p. 339.

    [41] White, op. cit., pp. 175-176.

    [42] Ray, p. 210 .

    [43] Part of Article Thirty One of Thirty Nine Articles of the Catholic Faith: This is taken from:

    [44] Sungenis, op. cit., p. 123. For his comments on other words that Jesus could have used, and the Greek rendering of those words, see footnote 105 on p. 123, and pages 120-127.

    [45] St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on First Corinthians, Homily XXVII and XXVIII, Philip Schapf, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series , Volume 12, pp. 161, 162, 163-4.

    [46] Rhodes, op. cit., p. 206.

    [47] St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on First Corinthians, Homily XXVII and XXVIII, Philip Schapf, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series , Volume 12, pp. 139, 140.

    [48] St. Cyprian, The Treatises of Cyrpian Treatise 3, 13-14, Philip Schapf, Anti-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5, p. 441.

    [49] Sungenis, op. cit., on the quote, p. 95, on the Protestant scholars look at Heb. 2:17, pp. 95-97.

    [50] Geisler, op. cit., p. 267, quoting from Luther Babylonian Captivity, p. 140.

    [51] Email received from I. Shawn McElhinney, 12/15, 2000, per exchange he had on :Catholic Convert Message Board.

    [52] St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Hebrews, Homily XIII, Philip Schapf, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series , Volume 14, p. 429.

    [53] Rhodes, op. cit., pp. 188-9.

    [54] ibid., p. 133.

    [55] White, op. cit., 178.

    [56] Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, Trans. by John Saward, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2000, pp. 134-135. .

    [57] St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Hebrews, Homily XIII, 8-9, Philip Schapf, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Volume 14, p. 430.

    [58] ibid., Homily XIV, 1, 2, p. 433.

    [59] Buchanan, op. cit., pp. 109-110.

    [60] St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Hebrews, Homily XVI, Philip Schapf, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Volume 14, p. 444.

    [61] Sungenis, op. cit., pp. 81-85.

    [62] St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Hebrews, Homily XVII, Philip Schapf, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Volume 14, p. 447. 449.

    [63] White, op. cit., p. 179.

    [64] Rhodes, p. 239.

    [65] Sungenis, p. 104.

    [66] St. John Chrysostom, The Epistle to the Romans, Homily VIII, Philip Schapf, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Volume 11, p. 394.

    [67] St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechical Lectures, On the Mysteries, 23, 7-8, Philip Schapf, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 7, p. 154., 350 AD.

    [68] Pope St. Gregory I, Dialogues, [4, 5], Juergens, op. cit., vol. 3, pp. 320-321.

    [69] St. John Chrysostom, On the Priesthood, Book 3, 4 Philip Schapf, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Volume 9, pp. 46-47.

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