The Mystery of the Eucharist
Bartholomew f. Brewer, Ph.D.
Of all the ancient dogmas of the Roman Catholic religion, the dogma of transubstantiation is the most wicked and satanic. It is the very heart of Romanism and the key to the so-called "sacrifice of the mass." Transubstantiation is Rome's most lucrative, powerful and fixed dogma. Certainly it is her most effective control device for the perpetuation of her gigantic corporation whose existence is maintained by sacraments administered by a supposedly divinely empowered priesthood.
The doctrine of transubstantiation does not date back to the Last Supper as is supposed. It was a controverted topic for many centuries before officially becoming an article of faith, which means that it is essential to salvation according to the Roman Catholic Church. The idea of a corporal presence was vaguely held by some, such as Ambrose, but it was not until 831 A.D. that Paschasius Radbertus, a Benedictine monk, published a treatise openly advocating the doctrine of transubstantiation. Even then, for almost another four hundred years, theological war was waged over this teaching by bishops and people alike until at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 A.D., it was officially defined and canonized as a dogma.
Like many of the beliefs and rites of Romanism, transubstantiation was first practiced by pagan religions. The noted historian Durant said that belief in transubstantiation as practiced by the priests of the Roman Catholic system is "one of the oldest ceremonies of primitive religion." The Story Of Civilization, p. 741. The syncretism and mysticism of the Middle East were great factors in influencing the West, particularly Italy. Roman Society From Nero To Marcus Aurelius, Dill. In Egypt priests would consecrate mest cakes which were supposed to be come the flesh of Osiris. Encyclopedia Of Religions, Vol. 2, p. 76. The idea of transubstantiation was also characteristic of the religion of Mithra whose sacraments of cakes and Haoma drink closely parallel the Catholic Eucharistic rite. Ibid. The idea of eating the flesh of deity was most popular among the people of Mexico and Central America long before they ever heard of Christ; and when Spanish missionaries first landed in those countries "their surprise was heightened, when they witnessed a religious rite which reminded them of communion...an image made of flour...and after consecration by priests, was distributed among the people who ate it...declaring it was the flesh of deity..." Prescott's Mexico, Vol. 3.
The Christian Church for the first three hundred years remained somewhat pure and faithful to the Word of God, but after the pseudo-conversion of Constantine, who for political expedience declared Christianity the state religion, thousands of pagans were admitted to the church by baptism alone with out true conversion. They brought with them pagan rites which they boldly introduced into the church with Christian terminology, thus corrupting the primitive faith. Even the noted Catholic prelate and theologian, Cardinal Newman, tells us that Constantine introduced many things of pagan origin: "We are told in various ways by Eusebius, that Constantine, in order to recommend the new religion to the heathen, transferred into it the outward ornaments to which they had been accustomed in their own...The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holydays and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on fields, sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the East, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison, are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the Church." An Essay On The Development Of Christian Doctrine, pp. 359, 360. This unholy alliance also allowed the continuance of the pagan custom of eating and drinking the literal flesh and literal blood of their god. This is actually how transubstantiation entered the professing church.
The TESTIMONY of SCRIPTURE
True born again Christians who correctly interpret the Word of God see without any difficulty whatsoever that our Lord's reference to His body and blood was symbolic. When Jesus spoke of Himself as being the bread, He was not teaching the fictitious transubstantiation of the Papal church. It is preposterous to hold that the Son of God turned a piece of bread into Himself. When Jesus said "this is my body" or "blood," He did not change the substance, but was explaining that He is the one "represented" by the passover bread and wine. Jesus did not say touto gignetai, this has become or is turned into, but touto esti, which can only mean this represents or stands for. It is perfectly clear in the Gospels that Christ spoke in figurative terms, referring to Himself as "the door," "the vine'', "the light," "the root," "the rock," "the bright and morning star," et cetera. In Luke 22:22, Jesus said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood." In First Corinthians 11:25, 26, He said, "This is the new covenant in my blood...For as oft as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord's death till he come." "In these words He used a double figure of speech...The cup was not literally the new covenant, although it is declared to be so as definitely as the bread is declared to be His body. They did not literally drink the cup, nor did they literally drink the new covenant...Nor was the bread literally His body, or the wine His blood. After giving the wine to the disciples Jesus said, 'I shall not drink from henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come' (Luke 22:18). So the wine, even as He gave it to them, and after He had given it to them, remained 'the fruit of the vine'! Paul too says that the bread remains bread;...'but let each man prove himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup' (First Corinthians 11:28). No change had taken place in the element. This was after the prayer of consecration, when the Church of Rome supposes the change took place, and Jesus and Paul both declare that the elements still are bread and wine." Roman Catholicism, Boettner.
Our beloved Saviour and His apostles repeatedly warned that there would be a great departure from Biblical truth, and that increasing apostasy would be manifest through the centuries until there would be a complete turning away from the historic faith. Any Christian, his mind illumined by the Holy Spirit, can see that these predictions have been fulfilled. He can see that Paul's prophecy of Acts 20:29, 30 came true in less than a hundred years. He can see how "the mystery of iniquity" expressed itself in vain, unscriptural teaching through the Dark Ages when unregenerate popes, cardinals, bishops and priests "changed the truth of God into a lie," substituting the authority of their religion for the authority of the Holy Scriptures.
ACCORDING to the COUNCIL of TRENT
When Europe was electrified by the eloquent preaching of the sixteenth century Reformation, the Roman Catholic hierarchy gathered her ablest theologians who worked for three decades in the preparation of a statement of faith concerning transubstantiation. This document remains, to this day, the standard of Catholic doctrine. As the Second Vatican Council commenced, Pope John XXIII declared, "I do accept entirely all that has been decided and declared at the Council of Trent." What did the Council of Trent decide and declare? The first sections are as follows:
Canon I: "If any one shall deny that the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore entire Christ, are truly, really, and substantially contained in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist; and shall say that He is only in it as a sign, or in a figure, or virtually, — let him be accursed."
Canon II: "If any one shall say that the substance of the bread and wine remains in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and shall deny that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the blood, the outward forms of the bread and wine still remaining, which conversion the Catholic church most aptly calls transubstantiation, — let him be accursed."
Canon III: "If any one shall deny, that in the venerated sacrament of the Eucharist, entire Christ is contained in each kind, and in each several particle of either kind when separated, — let him be accursed."
Canon IV: "If any one shall say that, after consecration, the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is only in the wonderful sacrament of the Eucharist in use whilst it is taken, and not either before or after, and that the true body of the Lord does not remain in the hosts or particles which have been consecrated, and which are reserved, or remain after the communion, — let him be accursed."
Canon V: "If any one says that the principal fruit of the most holy Eucharist is the remission of sins or that other effects do not result from it, — let him be accursed."
Canon VI: "If any one shall say that Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is not to be adored in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist, even with the open worship of latria, and therefore not to be venerated with any peculiar festal celebrity, nor to be solemnly carried about in processions according to the praiseworthy and universal rites and customs of the holy Church, and that He is not to be publicly set before the people to be adored, and that His adorers are idolaters, — let him be accursed."
How frequently we hear Catholics and liberal Protestants exclaim, "Rome is changing!" What optimism prevails among religionists that Rome is heading toward a new reformation. Even professing evangelicals are convinced that Roman Catholicism is changing, changing, changing. However, true believers are not impressed by Vatican window-dressing. The Romish mass, that wicked counterfeit of the Lord's Supper, has been modernized but not renounced. The renowned Hislop states that "the doctrine of transubstantiation is clearly of the very essence of Magic, which pretended, on the pronunciation of a few potent words, to change one substance into another, or by a dexterous juggle, wholly to remove one substance, and to substitute another in its place." The Two Babylons, p. 259. The God of flour and water, produced by priestly sorcery, is still worshipped and adored to this day as it was defined in the dark years of medieval religion (bowing, genuflecting, praying to the "Blessed Sacrament" may be seen daily in any Catholic church). Modern Catholicism has produced no change in doctrine, but only a change of position.
VATICAN II UPHOLDS TRENT
Vatican II began in 1962 and ended in 1965. Some two thousand, five hundred bishops, and each with his committee of theologians, worked the greater part of four years, and spent between forty and sixty million dollars. Dozens of resolutions, called "Schemae," were passed, hundreds of similar ones were rejected, and thousands were proposed, most of which were reported in newspapers around the world. At the third session, the Council produced Sacrosanctum Concilium (The Holy Liturgy). One of its articles entitled "The Mystery of the Eucharist'' completely reaffirmed its belief and practice in the changing of the bread and wine at the mass into the very body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. It was not long thereafter that Pope Paul VI issued an encyclical, Mysterium Fidei, which reads in part: "During the Second Vatican Council the Church has made a new and most solemn profession of her faith in and worship of this mystery...For if the sacred liturgy holds the first place in the life of the Church, the mystery of the Eucharist stands as the heart and center...Those who partake of this sacrament in Holy Communion eat the Flesh of Christ and drink the Blood of Christ, receiving both grace, the beginning of eternal life, and the 'medicine of immortality,'...Indeed, we are aware of the fact that, among those who deal with this Most Holy Mystery in written or spoken word, there are some who...spread abroad such opinions as disturb the faithful and fill their minds with no little confusion about matters of faith as if every one were permitted to consign to oblivion doctrine already defined by the Church, or to interpret it in such a way as to weaken the genuine meaning of the words or the approved import of the concepts involved...the spread of these and similar opinions does great harm to the faith and devotion to the Divine Eucharist... we cannot approve the opinions which they express...We must therefore approach this mystery especially with humble obedience, not following human arguments, which ought to be silent...It is a logical conclusion, then, that we should follow as a guiding star in our investigations of this mystery the agisterium of the Church, to which the Divine Redeemer entrusted for protection and for explanation the revelation which He has communicated to us through Scripture or tradition having this from conviction that 'what since the days of antiquity was preached and believed throughout the whole Church with true Catholic Faith is true, even if it is not comprehended by reason, even if it is not explained by means of words'...we are not to tolerate anyone who on his own authority wishes to modify the formulae in which the Council of Trent sets forth the Mystery of the Eucharist for our belief...It is the teaching of the First Vatican Council: 'that meaning of the sacred dogmas must forever be retained which Holy Mother Church has once defined and we may never depart from that meaning under the pretext and in the name of deeper understanding.'...the Catholic Church has held to this faith in the presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, not only in her teaching but also in her practice, since she has at all times given to this great Sacrament the worship which is known as latria and which may be given to God alone. As St. Augustine says: 'It was in His flesh that Christ walked among us and it is His flesh that He has given us to eat for our salvation. No one, however, eats of this flesh without having first adored it...and not only do we not sin in thus adoring it, but we would sin if we did not do so.'...The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers the cult of latria to the Sacrament of the Eucharist...We therefore beseech you, venerable brothers...Tirelessly promote the cult of the Eucharist, the focus where all other forms of piety must ultimately meet and converge...May all those not yet in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, who though separated from her are honored by and glory in the name of Christian, share with us as soon as possible with the help of divine grace that unity of faith and communion which Christ wanted to be the distinctive mark of His disciples...May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary from whom Christ Our Lord took the flesh which under the appearances of bread and wine 'is contained, offered, and received in this Sacrament,' and all the saints of God, especially those who had a more ardent devotion to the Divine Eucharist, intercede with the Father of mercies so that from this same faith in and devotion to the Eucharist may come forth and flourish a perfect unity among all who bear the name Christian." Thus Pope Paul VI reaffirmed his loyalty to those canons of Trent which belched curses for those who deny them. Every Roman Catholic, under pain of mortal sin and excommunication is obliged to render religious worship to the host. Is it not then "double-talk" for Rome to consider non-Catholics as Christians or "separated brethren" when indeed at the same time they are considered accursed or damned?
Because of her ecumenical move toward the one world church, statues may have disappeared, rosary beads may be unpopular, limbo and purgatory may be de-emphasized, even the term transubstantiation may be unfashionable, but the doctrine of transubstantiation is here to stay.
The POSITION of the TRUE BELIEVER
Our hearts are heavy for the millions of Roman Catholics who, not knowing the Scriptures, greatly err in believing the fable of transubstantiation, undoubtedly the greatest lever of the Roman Church. How little these sincere, but spiritually lost people realize that "the worship of what is called the Blessed Sacrament is as vile an idolatry as the worship by the Egyptians of onions and other pot-herbs which grew in their own gardens," Charles Spurgeon. Any Roman Catholic who comes to a personal knowledge and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who has sincerely repented and is truly born again of the Holy Spirit of God, is no longer a Roman Catholic, doctrinally, whether he knows it or not. However, as he feeds upon the Holy Word of God and begins to grow spiritually, he will not only abjure the hideous dogma of transubstantiation, but all Romish teachings...the whole idolatrous circus! Those who truly understand what it means to have Jesus as Lord and Saviour immediately distinguish the teachings of God's Word from the teachings of man (John 10:27) painful though it may be, the Word of God, "Come out of her my people." (Revelation 18:4, also see First Thessalonians 5:22).
May God's Spirit convict the hearts of false shepherds of the Roman Church who feed "the faithful" the old Roman recipes, much to their own eternal destruction and that of their misled flocks. May God's Spirit have mercy upon the simple people who so unreservedly trust their eternal destiny to a sacramental priesthood that uses the host as a charm. May God's Spirit open the eyes of evangelicals to know that Rome is not a part of the Christian Church. The Roman Church has never had God's blessing. May God's Spirit bend the wicked arm of apostate Protestant churches who are more excited about "union" than Biblical truth. Finally, may God's Spirit raise up a faithful army of bold witnesses whose weapons "are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." (Second Corinthians 10:4, 5).