Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Does The Book Of Hebrews Contradict The Roman Catholic Eucharist?

  • Introduction:

          -Roman Catholics are taught that priests transform bread and wine into the physical body and blood of Jesus Christ to be consumed during the Mass service. This dogma is known as transubstantiation. It is maintained that this alleged miracle is atonement for sin, that His propitiatory work is ongoing, and that His sacrifice is re-presented at each worship service. However, the Book of Hebrews contains a number of ideas which are in conflict with this theology.
          -The sacrifice of the Mass is said to be a continuation of Jesus Christ's work on the cross. In Roman Catholic theology, He is offered up as a sacrifice by priests throughout the world to make atonement for our sins. It is maintained that Christ's sacrifice is perpetual since it exists beyond time. Roman Catholic Priest Bryan Babick says that, "The one Sacrifice of Christ is continually offered because its merits can continue to be experienced until He chooses to return in glory."

  • Does Hebrews 7:26-27 Contradict The Sacrifice Of The Mass?:
          -The priestly ministry of Christ is one in which He need not make additional sacrifices. His work has been brought about to the fullest extent possible. The Book of Hebrews presents His atonement as being accomplished one time forever, without further sacrifices. For the author of Hebrews, that which is unchangeable entails perfection. That is the very nature of Christ's position as High Priest. No one else can legitimately lay claim to it.
          -The description of His atonement being made "once for all" emphasizes its perfection. It easily contrasts with the animal sacrifices performed under the Levitical priesthood. Those needed to be done on a daily basis. Those needed to be done on an annual basis. There was simply no end to them. This is not the case with Christ's work on the cross. His work had such an effect that animal victims are no longer necessary to be given for offerings.
          -The Penny Catechism has this excerpt explaining the sacrifice of the Roman Catholic Mass as being, " and the same Sacrifice with that of the Cross, inasmuch as Christ, who offered himself, a bleeding victim, on the Cross to his heavenly Father, continues to offer himself in an unbloody manner on the altar, through the ministry of his priests."
          -If the sacrifice of Jesus Christ at Calvary and the sacrifice of the Mass are one and the same event, then why does it have to be continually offered? Why so many sacrifices? If His atoning sacrifice is ongoing, then the implication is that it did not get finished. The Mass causes the atonement of Jesus Christ to be just like the repetitive Old Testament sacrifices, which cannot bring about the perfection of our souls. The Mass is not consistent with the presentation of His work in Hebrews as to why it is superior to the animal sacrifices.
  • Does Hebrews 9:24-28 Contradict The Sacrifice Of The Mass?:
          -The first problem that this text presents for Roman Catholic eucharistic theology is that it says Christ entered into a sanctuary not made with human hands. Thus, He cannot be present in His human nature in the golden tabernacles of Roman Catholic churches. Christ has ascended into heaven. This point serves to illustrate the ontological problems that accompany this type of theology. The Catholic Mass is in conflict with Christ's incarnation.
          -This passage speaks of Jesus Christ having completed His atonement sacrifice once in the last days. His sacrifice is not being performed again and again in the manner of the Old Testament priests who slaughtered animals. By the way, the Book of Hebrews does not even hint at the existence of a new order of priests who offer sacrifices during the Mass. This would have been an ideal place to do so because the context of the entire letter points to Christ being superior to the old order of worship.
          -This passage speaks of Christ returning physically for a second time to administer judgement on mankind and restoring a righteous order. It does not speak of Him coming down during this age at the command of an ordained priest to be consumed by parishioners. Hebrews presents us with there being only one sacrifice for sin. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Mass is a sacrifice of Christ’s body and blood, which is exactly what Hebrews addresses. 
          -The problem with Roman Catholic teaching is that Christ's sacrifice is believed to be a one time event and occurring on a daily basis. The author of Hebrews does not present His atonement in that way. According to Hebrews, Christ's sacrifice is not happening daily as did the sacrifices of the Old Covenant. It says Christ's sacrifice was “once for all,” meaning that it was a one-time event. The problem with the Mass begins with it being a sacrifice that happens repeatedly.
  • Does Hebrews 10:10-18 Contradict The Sacrifice Of The Mass?:
          -We have been sanctified by means of Jesus Christ's sacrifice "once for all" (Hebrews 10:10). That entails His work being fully complete at Calvary. His sacrifice is not continuing on in worship services across the world because that historical event has already come to pass. There is no sense in which His atonement is still in progress. His work on the cross alone covers us perfectly and completely.
          -Priests repeatedly offer the same sacrifices in vain as a result of Christ's expiatory work on the cross (Hebrews 10:11). They are powerless to accomplish anything to a person's benefit. Offerings cannot take away sin. No offerings are to be made since Christ's single sacrifice. This point is articulated more forcibly and explicitly in verse 18. It calls attention to the New Covenant being greater than the Old Covenant.
          -Jesus Christ has ascended into the full presence of God (Hebrews 10:12-13). Never again will He descend to this earth to make another offering for sin. He is not returning from heaven at the command of a parish priest to be eaten by laypeople. Nor can Christ's physical body be located at thousands of different churches across the world at the same time. It is evident that Roman Catholic eucharist theology suffers from ontological problems.
          -People who place their trust in Christ do not need any of the sacrifices performed during the Mass because they have been eternally perfected by His one sacrifice (Hebrews 10:14). Hebrews 10:18 is the climax of this argument in that it says no other offerings exist for the purification of our souls from sin. Christ has already given Himself up as a ransom. Ritual sacrifices are a thing of the past. They have no merit.
          -The idea that Jesus Christ is in some way still offering Himself up for our sins runs contrary to the reasoning employed in Hebrews 10:10-18 as to the nature and effects of His atonement. The work of Christ on the cross is not constantly happening throughout the ages until His return. Atonement is not being made for sin today. His body and blood are not being physically consumed each time Christians celebrate the Lord's Supper.

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