Jesus, the God-man, is our high priest! He made the one and only propitiatory sacrifice to merit the forgiveness of sins before God. The Levitical priesthood and sacrifices have ceased. “Accordingly the New Testament, since Levitical services have been abrogated, teaches that new and pure sacrifices will be made, namely, faith, prayer, thanksgiving, confession, and the preaching of the Gospel, afflictions on account of the Gospel, and the like” (Ap, XXIV, 30, Bente, page 395). The Scriptures do speak of New Testament believers as “a holy priesthood” and “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5,9). That priesthood (with an emphasis on the group of believers) is the church. In the New Testament these priests actively participate as laymen receiving the Lord’s gifts with praise and thanksgiving. When the Scriptures do talk about individual Christians as priests, it is always speaking about either living in our vocation(Romans 12:1-2, Hebrews 13:15-16), or about dying to sin and rising to new life(Psalm 51:13-19).
Among American protestants, the priesthood of believers is usually misunderstood to teach that individual Christians are all ministers. That is not the Scriptural teaching. God calls one of the priests to be a servant/minister to the priesthood. The pastor is not an Old Testament priest offering up sacrifices for the people. The pastor publicly preaches the Gospel and administers the sacraments to the priesthood (1 Cor 4:1). The pastor is an “ambassador for Christ” (2 Cor 5:17-21) so that the priesthood might receive the Lord’s gifts. God is reconciling the world though the Ministry(Pastoral Office) of Reconciliation which preaches the Word of reconciliation so that people come to believe! The pastor’s sacrifice, according to his vocation, is to preach the Law and the Gospel. The law kills the Old Adam in his hearers and the gospel creates faith and new life.
The Lord’s Supper is a sign of God’s will toward man that He is gracious and desires to save us. In the Lord’s Supper, the Lord is giving out His gifts of Christ’s Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins. “And just as the Word has been given in order to excite faith, so the Sacrament has been instituted in order that the outward appearance meeting the eyes might move the heart to believe [and strengthen faith]. For through these, namely, through Word and Sacrament, the Holy Ghost works” (Ap XXIV, 70).
The principle use of the Lord’s Supper is for God to give out forgiveness and create/strengthen faith in terrified consciences. Nevertheless, when we remember the benefits (which Christ purchased, and which He is giving out in this Supper) and receive them by faith in accordance with the words of institution, then by our use of the sacrament, there is added a secondary use: we praise God! Receiving the Lord’s Supper for the principle use which God intended has the effect of thanksgiving(a secondary use). The person receiving the Lord’s Supper as a sacrament, holds the gift in high esteem and praises God for His benefits. “And the Fathers, indeed, speak of two-fold effect, of the comfort of consciences, and of thanksgiving, or praise” (Ap XXIV, 75). The highest worship of God is to receive His gifts! “…so the reception itself of the Lord’s Supper can be praise or thanksgiving” (Ap XXIV, 33).
“Thus the worship and divine service of the Gospel is to receive from God gifts; on the contrary, the worship of the Law is to offer and present our gifts to God. We can, however, offer nothing to God unless we have first been reconciled and born again. This passage, too, brings the greatest consolation, as the chief worship of the Gospel is to wish to receive remission of sins, grace, and righteousness. Of this worship Christ says, John 6, 40: This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life” (Bente, Ap IV, Reply…, 189).
After a brief review, we show how God has been teaching the same thing in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Jesus Christ is the one propitiatory sacrifice which merits forgiveness. God is giving out that forgiveness through the promise of His Word to be received by faith. Second, we apply the terms sacrament or sacrifice to the Reformed, Scriptural, and Roman teaching concerning the Lord’s Supper.
–The Reformed churches teach that Lord’s Supper is a sacrifice which man does in order to honor God. The reformed reenact the Lord’s Supper to show their obedience toward God. It is a mark of their will to love God. When others see it, then they know that this person is a Christian.
–The Roman church considers the Lord’s Supper to be a sacrifice in which the Roman priest offers up the Lord’s Supper to merit forgiveness of sins for the living and the dead. Faith in not required to receive benefits.
–The Scriptures teach that the Lord’s Supper is a sacrament, in which God graciously desires to give us the forgiveness of sins merited by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The Lord’s Supper is a sign of God’s will toward man.
In the Old Testament, the Triune God directed and provided for a Levitical priesthood and a sacrificial system for the Israelites. He included a faith-creating promise with these sacrifices. Thus, God’s Old Testament provisions are to be considered sacraments.
The Apology to the Augsburg Confession, XXIV, 53, “…the Levitical priesthood was an image of the priesthood of Christ. For the Levitical sacrifices for sins did not merit the remission of sins before God; they were only an image of the sacrifice of Christ, which was to be the one propitiatory sacrifice, as we have said above. 54] Therefore the Epistle is occupied to a great extent with the topic that the ancient priesthood and the ancient sacrifices were instituted not for the purpose of meriting the remission of sins before God or reconciliation, but only to signify the future sacrifice of Christ alone. 55] For in the Old Testament it was necessary for saints to be justified by faith derived from the promise of the remission of sins that was to be granted for Christ’s sake, just as saints are also justified in the New Testament. From the beginning of the world it was necessary for all saints to believe that Christ would be the promised offering and satisfaction for sins, as Isaiah 53, 10 teaches: When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin.
56] Since, therefore, in the Old Testament, sacrifices did not merit reconciliation, unless by a figure (for they merited civil reconciliation), but signified the coming sacrifice, it follows that Christ is the only sacrifice applied on behalf of the sins of others. Therefore, in the New Testament no sacrifice is left to be applied for the sins of others, except the one sacrifice of Christ upon the cross.
The Old Testament Prophets continued to condemn the opinion of the people who thought that God was pleased with works-righteous sacrifices, simply on account of their having done the work apart from faith.
Handout 1: The-Third-Genus-Prophet-Priest-Pages-1-8.pdf
Handout 2: Sacrament-in-AP-XXIV-Handout-for-Nov-4-2018.pdf
Overheads 1 (Review): Sacrament-Sacrifice-Overheads-on-November-4-2018.pdf
Overheads 2: OT-Sacrifice-Overheads-on-November-11-2018b.pdf
Overheads 3: Jeremiah-7-Hear-Obey.pdf
In the Old Testament, God demanded sacrifices to make atonement for sins(Lev 17:11). However, in the New Testament it says, “…For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:1-4). In order to figure out this conundrum, we first make a distinction between those ceremonies/sacred works which are sacraments and those which are sacrifices. Next, we make a distinction between the two kinds of sacrifices: propitiatory and eucharistic. Our high Priest, according to both His human and divine natures, made the only propitiatory sacrifice to merit the forgiveness of sins. All other sacrifices are eucharistic sacrifices, which do not merit forgiveness, but instead give honor and thanks to God for the forgiveness of sins which a person has already received.
The Apology to the Augsburg Confession, XXIV, 27 makes it clear that, “The Jews also did not understand their ceremonies aright, and imagined that they were righteous before God when they had wrought works ex opere operato. Against this the prophets contend with the greatest earnestness.” The Old Testament Prophets continued to condemn the opinion of the people who thought that God was pleased with works-righteous sacrifices, simply on account of their having done the work apart from faith.
Our High Priest Jesus Christ “continues forever” (Heb 7:24). Through both His human and divine natures conjointly, He continues as our High Priest in His state of exaltation(Rom 8:34). Though the atonement is completed “once for all” (Heb 9:12), His priestly work of intercession continues. “He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25). Through the Word and Sacraments presented by the Pastoral Office, our Prophet/Priest is preaching the Gospel promise of forgiveness through faith in the atonement. 1 Tim 2:5-6, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle….” Our High Priest, who appointed prophets, apostles and pastors, is working through the Pastoral Office to reconcile men to Himself. 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 says, “that is, that God … has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
Handout 1: The-Third-Genus-Prophet-Priest-Pages-1-8.pdf
This study begins to examine the execution of Christ’s work as High Priest. Everything which the Savior did and still does to save sinful mankind (His official acts) may not be ascribed to either of His natures exclusively, but must be ascribed to both natures conjointly (The Apotelesmaticum Genus).
Appointed by the heavenly Father(Heb 5:5-6), Jesus took on human flesh. The God-Man did His priestly work of atoning for the sins of the world (1 Jn 2:2). He has completed that atonement work once for all (Rom 6:10, Heb 10:10). We distinguish within His work of redemption(Gal 4:5) His active obedience in keeping the law and His passive obedience in suffering and dying to take away the punishment which we deserved(1 Cor 15:3). Though faith in Christ’s atonement, believers are declared righteous (Rom 5:19b). Our high Priest “always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25).
Handout 1: The-Third-Genus-Prophet-Priest-Pages-1-8.pdf
This audio concludes the study of Christ’s work as the promised Prophet for us. As we have seen in the Holy Scriptures, we have no right to ascribe to the Son of God after His incarnation, any activity outside His flesh. Now that Jesus has risen from the dead and ascended to heaven, he continues to work as our Prophet according to both of His natures through the ministry of the Word. With Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus promises to be present through the baptizing and teaching of His New Testament ministers. St. Paul confesses that his preaching is “Christ speaking in Me” (2 Cor 13:3). St Luke 10:16 records Jesus’ promise associated with the Office of the Ministry, saying, “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”
Everything which the Savior did and still does to save sinful mankind (His official acts) may not be ascribed to either of His natures exclusively, but must be ascribed to both natures conjointly (The Apotelesmaticum Genus).
Handout 1: The-Third-Genus-Prophet-pages-1-4.pdf
Everything which the Savior did and still does to save sinful mankind (His official acts) may not be ascribed to either of His natures exclusively, but must be ascribed to both natures conjointly (The Apotelesmaticum Genus). This study examines the execution of Christ’s work as the promised Prophet for us.
When the Scriptures speak of Jesus’ work of saving us, we see that He determined to do it by the taking on of human flesh. His incarnation was necessary so that He might begin the fulfillment of His salvific work for us. In St. Mark 1:38, Jesus says, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” The work of the God-Man, the whole Christ, is revealed in His preaching. Jesus didn’t just preach as would any ordinary man. “He who comes from heaven is above all. And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies” (Jn 3:31-32). Making use of His divine attributes, “He taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Mt 7:28-29).