DID CAIN OFFER THE FIRST MASS?
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect... (Genesis 4:5)
We are not told how "the fruit of the ground" was made up into an offering for the Lord. Perhaps it was a nice vegetable display with a few flowers thrown in for good measure. Perhaps not. With some perception, Presbyterian, Henry Cooke, the great Protestant protagonist in Ulster in the 1850's suggests that it came in the form of a wafer made from flour. Obviously no one can be too dogmatic about it, but Cooke had a good point. The shoe certainly fits.
The mass is the central act of worship in the Roman Catholic Church. That, however, does not put it above investigation, but actually demands that it be carefully examined and repudiated if found wanting in the balances of Holy Scripture.
1) IS JESUS CHRIST REALLY PHYSICALLY PRESENT IN THE BREAD AND WINE OR IS HE ONLY SPIRITUALLY REPRESENTED?
ROME: He is physically present.
"The bread and wine are changed truly, really and substantially into the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, and the bones and sinews of Christ," (Catechism of Council of Trent)
BIBLE: He is spiritually present only.
SOME OBJECTIONS TO ROMAN THEORY:
1) If Christ is actually physically present, then we cannot remember Him as He has bid us to do. You cannot remember one who is actually physically there. You can remember one who is not physically there but who has left tokens that remind us of him.
2) The Lord’s Passover (when the feast was instituted) was itself symbolic. The words of Moses: It (i.e. the lamb) is the Lord’s Passover. No Jew was so irrational as to think that the lamb was transubstantiated into the Lord passing over the houses of the Israelites. The Passover was a figurative feast - likewise the supper which replaced it: "This is my body etc.,"
3) The grammar bears the symbolic sense also. Illustration: You produce a photograph and say, "This is my friend." You point at an outline on a map and say, "This is Ireland." It is not really, actually what you said it was. It is a representation. Likewise when the Bible says: "Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens." (Genesis 49:14) or "I am the door" (John 10:9) then, we understand it figuratively.
4) Did Christ have two bodies in the Upper Room? The one body breaking and distributing the other? Was one body being offered up as a sacrifice that night and the other offered up the next?
5) The purpose of the Lord’s death is given in 1 Corinthians 11:26 i.e. to show forth the Lord’s death. The word translated "show forth" is translated as "preach" elsewhere. By contrast the mass is a virtual re-enactment of the Lord’s death, with different bread and wine being used, different priests at different times and in different places and in different languages etc., all vaining trying to persuade us, contrary to basic grammaer, that it is the one same sacrifice.
6) The Lord’s death is shown "till he come" (1 Corinthians 11:26) Surely if the mass is right, then He is come already? If so, has every eye seen Him and the earth wailed because of Him? (Revelation 1:7)
7) The mass wafer even when transubstantiated into the body of Christ soon corrupts. This is contrary to Psalm16:9-11 (quoted in Acts 2:27) which declares that His body would not see corruption.
8) The mass denies our senses since the bread still looks, smells, tastes and feels like bread. Luke speaks of the senses as furnishing infallible proofs (Luke 1:3) Christ Himself appealed to the senses:"Handle me and see" (Luke 24:39) In the only case of true transubstantiation in the NT - wedding feast at Canaan where the water was turned into wine - the senses were appealed to particularly the richness of the taste.
9) A similar passage appears in 2 Samuel 23:25-17 where the water poured out unto the ground before the Lord is called blood. This was figurative language which was put so forcefully to recognise the risks that had been taken to get this water in the first place. No one takes it literally.
10) Christ cannot be bodily in more than one place at once. He cannot be in Heaven at God's right hand and at the same time be elsewhere not only in one place but in many other places. It would not be a true human body if it could.
11) Christ’s body cannot possess opposite properties at the same time. It cannot be glorified in Heaven and at the same time be humbled on earth under the appearance of bread and wine.
12) When a body is in parts, the parts cannot be individually and separately be equal to the whole. Not only is it declared that the body of Christ is complete in each of the millions of wafers handled by the priests of Rome, but if each single wafer was broken into a thousand parts, each single part is declared to be a whole Christ. This cannot be said of a true human body.
13) How can a priest of Rome create out of a piece of bread not only the true physical body, but also His soul and divinity? This makes (to quote St Alphonus de Ligouri) the priest to be greater than the Creator. Surely we have to say of the mass wafer: "For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God..." (Hosea 8:6)
14) How could Paul say "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more." (2 Corinthians 5:16) if His flesh was present there on the altar?
15) Rome refers to the mass as an unbloody sacrifice - surely this is a denial that the wine has turned into blood? A clearer inconsistency would be harder to find.
16) If we are going to take all the language of the words of institution strictly literally, then surely when Jesus said: "This cup is the New Testament in my blood" (Luke 22:20/1 Corinthians 11:25) we mean that it is the cup and not the contents which is the New Testament. If we take a figurative look at the passage, then the cup speaks of the wine which in turn speaks of the blood.
17) The Bible expressly forbids the eating or drinking of blood in the NT: "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well." (Acts 15:28-29)
18) Consider particularly the old style masses (which continued for hundreds of years) and see the priest dressed in a gaudy fashion. See the candles - smell the incense - hear the ringing of the bell etc., observe (as is still the situation) only the priest partaking of the wine. How far removed it is from the simple meal presented in Scripture. One could not be simpler - the other burdened down with many complex rules and regulations etc.,
19) Two of the greatest Cardinals in the RC Church (Cajetan and Bellarmine) both expressly confessed that the doctrine of Transubstantiation was not founded on the word of God, but received from the Church. This means that the words of institution as recorded in the gospel records and 1 Corinthians 11 cannot be taken literally.
20) If the wine turns into the literal blood of Jesus Christ, how is it possible to get drunk if you drink the consecrated wine in excess?
21) The canon law of the Church (Canon of Aelfric 957AD) gives instruction as to what should happen if, through carelessness, a mouse should eat the wafer. Indeed, "Quid comedit mus" (What eateth the mouse?) became quite a debating point in the various schools. Did the wine sanctify the mouse or did the mouse pollute the wine? Canon law also required the priest either to re-swallow a vomited host or at least separate the consecrated species and laid up in a sacred place. Can God be eaten by a mouse or vomited by a priest? The whole thought is revolting and ridiculous - but such are the questions which can be and indeed were raised and answered by the Church as it sought to defend a teaching that is far removed from the simple feast instituted so long ago.
2) IS JESUS REALLY SACRIFICED AT THE LORD’S TABLE?
ROME: Quoting from Catechism of Christian Doctrine: [Catholic Truth Society. Revised: 1985]
Q.274: Is the Blessed Eucharist a Sacrament only?
Ans:- The Blessed Eucharist is not a sacrament only: it is also a sacrifice.
Q. 277: What is the Holy Mass?
Ans:- The Holy Mass is the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, really present on the altar under the appearances of bread and wine, and offered to God for the living and the dead.
Q.275: What is a sacrifice?
Ans:- A sacrifice is the offering of a victim by a priest to God alone…
THE BIBLE: Jesus Christ is not sacrificed at the Lord’s Table.
SOME OBJECTIONS TO THE ROMAN THEORY:
1) The Bible speaks consistently of the sacrifice of Christ being only a one off act: Hebrews 9:27-28/10:10-14/Romans 6:10/1 Peter 3:18. This cannot be if He is being continually offered even now on many Roman altars.
Objection: Rome claims (above catechism Q278 that the mass is the one and same sacrifice as that of the cross i.e. there is only one sacrifice which is still ongoing.
Note: That a different priest takes a different wafer and a different cup of wine and pronounces yet again the words of consecration grammatically means another offering is professedly being made. The semantics say one thing - the reality another.
2) Why then did Jesus cry: "It is finished"? (John 19:30) Surely it would have been better to have cried: "It is only beginning!" or cried nothing at all? The RC Douay Version renders it: "It is consummated"
3) Why then does the Bible say: "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God." (Hebrews 10:12) The word "after" is so significant. It is finished. There can be no "after" in the RC teaching.
4) The offering of Christ upon the Cross was a sin offering. According to Leviticus 6:30 the sin offering was not to be eaten afterwards. The two are not the same.
5) The Lord Jesus used the present tense to describe His body being broken: "Which is broken for you" not shall be i.e. future. This is in line with the one sacrifice which is now finished forever.
6) Why does the Bible say in Hebrews 10:16-18 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." This language is grossly inconsistent with the teaching of Rome. Rome would have to contradict the inspired writer and point to the mass and say to the effect that there the writer could find an offering for sin. Both cannot be right. I choose the inspired writer.
3) DOES PARTAKING OF THE LORD’S SUPPER CONVEY SAVING GRACE TO THE PARTICIPANT?
ROME: Same catechism quoted above:
Q.269 Why has Christ given himself to us in the Holy Eucharist?
Ans:- Christ has given Himself to us in the Holy Sacrifice to be the life and food of our souls. ‘He that eateth of me, the same also shall live by me’: ‘He that eateth this bread shall live for ever." (John 6:58-59)
BIBLE: No sacrament can impart eternal life to its participants.
Note: The passage in John 6 has no reference to the Lord’s Supper. If so, then it was instituted about two years earlier than Paul makes out in 1 Corinthians 11:23 i.e. the night in which He was betrayed. The arguments against Christ referring to His flesh and blood being literal may be referred to in the first section.
SOME OBJECTIONS TO THE ROMAN THEORY:
1) What becomes of those who never partook of the sacrament of the mass? The Dying Thief coming immediately to mind.
2) Nowhere in Bible is any sacrament presented as an instrument of salvation, be it baptism or the Lord’s Supper.
OTHER INTERESTING INFORMATION:
The Mass as we know it today was not formally adopted until the 4th Lateran Council in 1215. Arguments that Councils only issued statements when something was challenged is a weak argument. There are plenty of evidences that the Church Fathers did not believe the teaching of the mass e.g. "Jesus made the bread, which He took and distributed to His disciples His body, saying, ‘This is my body’ that is to say, ‘a figure of my body." (St. Tertullian.) Where the Church Fathers sometimes use language like "drinking His blood" or "eating His flesh" (so loved of Roman apologists) consider how we are to interpret such words, as defined by St. Augustine: "For we must not consider in the sacraments what they be, but what they signify. For they be signs of things, being one thing in themselves and yet signifying another thing."
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