Do priests have the power to change the elements of bread and wine into the literal flesh and blood of Messiah during the Mass ritual? Is this belief founded on Scripture, or is it based on something else?
The Roman Catholic position is summed up in these words: “In the celebration of the Holy Mass, the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ. It is called transubstantiation, for in the Sacrament of the Eucharist the substance of the bread and wine do not remain, but the entire substance of bread is changed into the body of Christ, and the entire substance of wine is changed into the blood, the species or outward semblance of bread and wine alone remaining” (1).
Support for this belief is based on the words of Y’shua when He said of the bread He had blessed: “Take, eat; this is My body” and the cup, “Drink you all of it; for this is My blood” (Matt. 26:26-28). But forcing a literal meaning on these words creates numerous problems of interpretation and tends to overlook the fact that Messiah commonly used figurative expressions. In a similar discourse, Messiah told the people that unless one eat “the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood” (John 6:53), none would see eternal life. The problem with taking this literally is that it directly breaks the Torah command to abstain from eating blood (Lev. 17:10, & Deut. 12:16). This was a practice of the pagans in their worship of their gods. It was after this that many went away and would not follow Him any longer (see John 6:66). Y’shua told them all then that “the flesh profits nothing: the words I speak to you are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63b).
The fact that Y’shua told us we MUST drink His blood is actually a direct reference to His Deity. None was to drink the blood of a sacrifice (for it represented intimate union with that deity), yet He tells us to feed upon HIS blood. In other words, we are to feed upon Y’shua the Messiah, for He alone is the ONLY true Deity and source of eternal life!
Figurative expression is used throughout the entire Bible. When some of David’s men risked their lives to bring him water from Bethlehem, he refused it, saying, “Is this not the blood of men who went in jeopardy of their lives? (2 Sam.23:17). Y’shua is also called a “Shepherd,” “door”, “vine”, and a “rock” (John 10:9, 15:5, 1 Cor. 10:4). Everyone recognizes these statements as figurative. So too, we are to understand the “body” and “blood.” The bread and wine are symbols of His body and blood. To think that Y’shua’s presence manifests in physical objects of bread and wine is idolatrous, for when objects are thought to contain the presence of a deity, those objects become the focal points for worship in pagan religions.
In addition, if priests are thought to possess the power to administer the eucharist (which is thought to be the very Savior Himself), and since only church members in good standing can receive the eucharist, is this not equal to possessing ultimate power of eternal life and eternal death? Anyone who falls from the graces of the Catholic church can not receive the eucharist (the very object of eternal life itself), and therefore can not receive salvation from the very hand of the priest!
Yet, this does not detract from the reality of Messiah’s presence among an assembly of believers, for He promised, “Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20).
After Y’shua blessed the elements, they were not changed into His literal flesh and blood, for He (literally) was still there. He had not vanished away to appear in the form of bread and wine. After He had blessed the cup, He still called it “fruit of the vine,” not literal blood (Matt. 26:29). Since Y’shua drank from the cup also, did He drink His own blood? And as stated earlier, if the wine became actual blood, to drink it would have been forbidden by Torah.
The Council of Trent proclaimed that the belief in transubstantiation is essential to salvation and pronounced curses on any who would deny it. The Council ordered pastors to explain that not only did the elements of the Mass contain flesh, bones, and nerves as a part of Christ, “but also a WHOLE CHRIST” (2). From the Catholic Encyclopedia we read:
The dogma of the totality of the Real Presence means that in each individual species, the WHOLE CHRIST, the flesh and blood, body and soul, Divinity and humanity, is really present.
Because the elements are thought o be changed into “Christ”, it is said that “He is present in our churches not only in a spiritual manner, but really, truly, and substantially as the victim of a sacrifice” (3).
The very idea of an actual re-sacrificing of Messiah is completely counter to our Savior’s own words on the Cross when He said, “It is finished (John 19:30). Of course, sacrifices prior to Messiah had to be done repeatedly as they only represented His atoning Sacrifice. The writer of Hebrews tells us;
By that desirewe have been set apart through the offering of the body of Y’shua Messiah once for all. And indeed every priest stands day by day doing service, and repeatedly offering the same slaughter offerings which are never able to take away sins. But He, having offered one slaughter offering for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of Elohim, waiting from that time onward until His enemies are made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being set apart.
not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters into the Set-apart Place year by year with blood not his own. For if so, He would have had to suffer often, since the foundation of the world. But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages, to put away sin by the offering of Himself.
Therefore, those who believe that the Mass is the actual re-sacrificing of Messiah, “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to open shame” (Hebrews 6:6).
The Mass is called “the highest prayer” and it is used as a means to raise the souls of dead loved ones out of purgatory (the in between place in Catholic doctrine where most every soul is thought to go). Families and friends pay money to the church for Masses to be said for their dead loved ones. Power is thought to be released at every Mass, the re-sacrificing of the victim, Y’shua, the Messiah. His saving power is thought to be released to raise souls out of purgatory to some uncertain and undefined measure. There is absolutely no telling how many Masses would need to be said for a dead soul, and the suffering of Messiah is perpetual since Catholicism exists in every quarter of the world and in every time zone. There are literally re-sacrifices of Messiah being repeated daily since every day begins with a Mass in the early morning hours somewhere in the world. In this way, our Messiah is kept perpetually suffering, perpetually dying! It is as if our enemy wants to keep Him dead!
Satanism has a very similar idea about the sacrificing of victims. In Satanism, it is thought that the longer and more intense a victim suffers, the more power that is released by that victim, and somehow, those inflicting the pain vamp on that power released. Does anyone find this strange, or is there a common inspiration behind Satanism and the Catholic practice of the Mass?
That the eucharist, thought to contain the very Savior Himself, becomes an object of worship, is displayed in the fact that the eucharist is placed in a monstrance in the center of a sunburst design. Before this monstrance, Catholics bow and worship to the little wafer God! The sunburst design of the monstrance, including the perfectly round shape of the eucharist itself is due to the mixture of sun-god worship so prevalent in pagan Rome. Evidence of similar sunburst articles of worship have been found in Egypt (4), and even in far away Peru, this image was known and worshipped (5). If one compares the sun image before which the heathen bowed with the monstrance sun image – in which the host is placed as a “sun” and before which Catholics bow – a striking similarity will immediately be seen.
Finding no Scriptural backing for this practice, the Catholic Encyclopedia says:
In the absence of Scriptural proof, the Church finds a warrant for, and a propriety in, rendering Divine worship to the Blessed Sacrament in the most ancient and constant tradition…
[Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 5, p. 581, article: “Eucharist.”]
This reasoning brings to mind the words of Y’shua, “…making the word of Elohim of none effect through your tradition” (Mark 7:13).
Transubstantiation did not originate with the Catholic church. It is in fact “one of the oldest ceremonies of primitive religion (6). In the scholarly work Hastings’ Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, many pages are devoted to an article “Eating the god.” In these pages, abundant evidence is given of transubstantiation rites among many nations, tribes, and religions.
Such rites were also known in pagan Rome among Mithra worshippers.
Mithraism had a Eucharist, but the idea of a sacred banquet is as old as the human race and existed at all ages and among all peoples.
[The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 10, p. 404, article: “Mithraism”]
In Egypt, a cake was consecrated by a priest and was supposed to become the flesh of Osiris. This was then eaten and wine was taken as a part of the rite (7). Even in Mexico and Central America, the belief in eating the flesh of a god was found. Catholic missionaries were amazed to discover “a religious rite which reminded them of communion [in which]…an image made of flour…after the consecration by priests, was distributed among the people who ate it…declaring it was the flesh of the deity” (8).
The Catholic church boasts a great number of what they call “Eucharistic Miracles” to validate their doctrines of transubstantiation and the sacrifice of the Mass. These miracles include “the bread being turned to stone and hosts which have bled and continued to bleed” (9). Yet, signs and wonders are never to be a sign of YHWH’s approval upon a doctrine or denomination. The Messiah Himself warned us of “great signs and wonders; insomuch that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matt.24:24b). The unchanging truth of the Word of YHWH, is the only standard for judging doctrinal purity, not signs and wonders. Strong delusion comes to those who do not receive the love of the truth, as we are warned in 2 Thessalonians.
…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. For this cause Elohim shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.
If the truth of the Scriptures alone is not a persons standard, any great sign or wonder that confirms to them what they have already falsely come to believe will serve to hold them in that doctrinal error until the day they die.
In summary, the doctrines of transubstantiation and the perpetual sacrifice of the Mass are simply abominable doctrines that find their source in ancient paganism, (which ultimately is inspired by hell itself)!
Messiah is indeed the true Bread from heaven and we are to feed upon Him, and abide in Him, the Living Word, for He is the Way, the Truth and the Life! “It is finished” and the power of His one time death is enough to set every man free! Lies are complicated! The truth is simple!
You will know the truth, and the truth will set You free
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vo. 4, p.277, article: “Consecration.”
Encyclopedia of Religions, Vol. 2, p. 77
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 7, p. 346, article: “High Altar.”
Inman, Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism, p.34
Dobbins, Story of the World’s Worship, p.383.
Durant, op. cit., p. 741
Encyclopedia of Religions, Vol. 2, p.76.
Prescott, History of the Conquest of Mexico, Vol. 3
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 7, p.492, article: “Host.”